Sometimes you think you’re following the right path with a short story, and sometimes the road forks and you end up in places unexpected. Today, being the sixth release in the Short Fictions & Curiosities collection, I ventured into the woods in search of an urban legend:
A shoe tree whose cursed existence sometimes takes the lives of the kids that travelled through the forest to find it. A sneaker tree known by a few other names by the generations who’ve seen it for themselves.
Sometimes, where you end up with a piece of fiction is surprising, and the magic behind the tree in this story carries a little bit of that unexpected darkness.
Announcing “Hanging Tree”
I began this experiment partially for the love of the fantastic, and partially because I wanted to take mini-vacations from the novel I’ve been toiling over for the last year. I look at Short Fictions & Curiosities as a collection of oddities that didn’t quite want to fit anywhere else: misfit creatures that occasionally poked their heads out of the murky places where I’d hidden them.
As bizarre as they were, I still wanted to give them a home. And here we are.
About Short Fictions & Curiosities
Short Fictions & Curiosities are monthly offerings: a sample of short stories, wonders, terrors, and experiments in speculative fiction: small slivers of dark fiction and horror from the vault for your enjoyment. They are free to read, with the hopes that you’ll share with others on the social media platform of your choosing. Each story has been penned and designed by Kira Butler. They are formatted for ePub, Mobi, and PDF, and it’s at your discretion how you’d like to receive them.
You can read the initial announcement about the series here.
About the story:
Everyone knew the stories about the wood: passed between each successive class of students to matriculate through Barrow High — they said there was a tree standing at the exact centre whose boughs were weighted by the numerous sneakers draped over its branches. The senior dare had been the same for generations: Find the tree, then get the hell out. Corinth never meant to take the dare, but when Penn gets a little too handsy at the homecoming bonfire, Corinth escapes into the wood despite the warnings. The tree has another name, however, a name that no one can pronounce anymore — but in the thickest part of Barrow’s wood, the tree has been waiting for Corinth to find it.
About Kira Butler:
Kira Butler is a speculative fiction writer and creative professional from Montreal. She holds a BFA from Concordia University, is a supporting member of the Horror Writers Association, and a member of the Quebec Writers Federation. She has been writing fiction for over ten years, having produced over twenty short stories, and three novels. She haunts KiraButler.com, and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.