There they were! I called them the dirty half dozen for they were six of them, abutting each other. I would carefully circumvent them each day on my walk, distressed by their evil manifestation.
Cranky gnarled trunks, twisting this way and that to fight for the daily sunshine. Huge plate sized thick dark leaves lined each branch, overlapping at junctions to form a whorl. These pooled with rain water often which then dripped like silent tears with each passing moment. Discarded ones lay rotting below the trees, choking the undergrowth.
But it was the enormous nexus of their exposed roots, snaking this way and that, that I feared the most. Nothing else grew under these trees, the roots snuffing out even the hardiest of all weeds.
Its ruby red fruit hung in generous clusters off every branch, glistening like blood drops when the sunlight fell on their dew covered form. These rotted with a malevolence that seeped like a dirty stench in the air around the trees.
They appeared to intimidate every living creature around them. Birds, bees, butterflies – all seemed to avoid this cluster by a unanimous vote.
I tried to find out exactly what trees these were but failed to find anything on them. No one knew how these sprouted up and uprooting them had no effect, for new ones sprung up. The colony gardener muttered something about Djinns and bhoot which made no sense to me. Its 2020 after all and who believed in this nonsense really?
Determined to solve this puzzle, I called on one of the Tree guides of Delhi who agreed to come down and have a look at them. He was most amused by my trepidation of these sinister mobster trees, as he jokingly called them over the phone.
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I decided to sit on the bench near the dirty half a dozen while I waited for the tree expert to arrive. As I sat there, I noticed an opening at the base of one of the trunks. Even as I watched the hole yawned open wider, the distorted roots pirouetting like a dervish.
A disquieting miasma poured out of the cavern; cloying like grief and clinging like the sticky trails of a broken spider web. Engulfing me in its malodorous embrace, the degenerative vapor seemed to tug at my center of gravity. And before I knew it, I had toppled head first into the cavity.
I flailed wildly to claw onto a grip and prevent myself from sinking deeper. But the hollowed out cavern had other ideas. All the handholds began to melt at my touch and I felt the roots enmesh me into their latticework. Crushing pressure on my ribs made me cry out with pain but no sound emanated; none that I could hear.
Next day there was a new shoot under the dirty half dozen, shaking in the non-existent breeze.
If you would like to read more of my fictional writing, then perhaps this one will intrigue you – Everlasting seasons of dreams and defiance