IN THE HOLLOW TREE

Nothing sinister or suspect.

Samson looked out at the row of bungalows. A car drove past, a dog barked, the trees swayed in the breeze.

He stepped inside the house, walking through the hallway, glancing in each room.

No signs of disturbance.

She lived here alone. Late last night, a call from neighbours reporting screaming.

In the backyard a huge oak tree dominated. Samson walked up to it, feeling the cracked bark.

He walked round the wide trunk. His hand felt a sticky, dark excretion. His fingertips were red. He looked up.

A large hollow. He had found her.


tree-sandra-crook
Copyright Sandra Crook

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Read more stories featuring Detective Samson: THE DETECTIVE SAMSON STORIES

111 responses to “IN THE HOLLOW TREE”

  1. Nicely done, Iain. I see we went along the same lines here and suspect FriFic will be littered with corpse-filled trees before too long. Perhaps I should have done the weeping reindeer after all. 😉

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Let it be, Sandra, Rudolph already has a red nose!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Nope, I’m definitely warming to the idea.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Save it for a Christmas Special.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s nice to know I am not alone in seeing corpses in the prompt photo. Somehow reassuring!

      Like

      1. The place is littered with them!
        Maybe including Santa?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a sad story for a lovely tree 🙂 but Samson did well,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Michael – perhaps next week I will try and write a happier tale!

      Like

  3. What an ending. Great story, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Iain.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sent a chill down my spine, very good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The desired effect, thank you!

      Like

  5. Dear Iain,

    That’s not what one wants to find hanging in a tree, is it? Chillingly well written.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rochelle – will put him off climbing trees for a few years I suspect.

      Like

  6. Lain, your story kept me right up to the last word, and then I wanted more. Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The tree as a hiding place for bodies! Rumor has it that Thomas Pynchon would stash manuscripts for his editor in a hollow tree somewhere in Central Park, so reclusive was he.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are they still there, do you think? Has anyone searched?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s legend. But hey, it’s a good story.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I have to admit, I wasn’t surprised. Still well played, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tight and tense as always, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Like a scene from a movie! Bloody brilliant Iain

    Click to read my FriFic!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Poor girl. Nice job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not a happy ending, thanks Janet.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You seem to be channeling Sandra. Nicely done, Iain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Neil – reassuring that I’m not the only one who saw death in a picture of an old tree.

      Like

  13. Dead people in trees. Reminds me of “Harvest Home” by Thomas Tryon. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not familiar with that one, will need to look out for it. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I just saw the Jo Nesbo film The Snowman at the cinema – I think it had an effect.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. that was scary as hell

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, the desired effect.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Delightfully creepy story, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t think I could be a detective…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not for me either. I’ll just write about one instead.

      Like

  17. Excellent job. Great economy of words .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Less is more. Thank you Shehanne.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m glad I didn’t go for the hollow as a hiding place this time… you did so much better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, very kind.

      Like

  19. May I just say “Ick” and be done with it? In a good way, that is. Kudos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course you can. I like a good ‘ick’.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. The way you painted a picture of suburban normality at the beginning lowered my guard and although I knew something must be coming, I didn’t twig what it was until you told me. Very well told.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you saw that at the beginning, it was the effect I was aiming for.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Great story. Very dark.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Ooh, gruesome. Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. This had the feel of a murder mystery from the off. And I was not disappointed. I like the crisp viewpoint of the narrator.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kelvin, much appreciated.

      Like

  24. Oh God! How many dead bodies is this tree hiding. Yours is a fresh one. Watch out- grandma is here too!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Let’s keep searching 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  25. You’ve given me a good idea Iain. I hope I won’t get caught.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dear, I hope I haven’t started something…!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I wonder if the tree ate her?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That could be a good defense if they ever catch a suspect!

      Like

  27. I wonder how many armadillos a person could stuff in that tree?

    Liked by 1 person

  28. ‘Nothing sinister or suspect.’ Love that opener, as I know fulle well this is not going to be the case with your fiction! A great set up and the creepiest of pay offs. But how did she die and how did the killer get her up into that tree? Good beginning to a crome novel Iain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Err, Crime novel. Not sure what a crome novel is 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A whole new genre! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you Lynn. Quite a distance to get a heavy body up there, I’m guessing there might be a few body parts…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I think that would be the only way. Unless they had a ladder and an accomplice. Or supernatural powers. Am I over thinking this? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Usually the simplest theory is the right one 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  29. Bloody Mess! What a shame to dirty that beautiful old tree!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ruth, hopefully it can be cleaned up!

      Like

    1. Thanks Scott – it just looks like a tree you would hide something in..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, but I saw, instead, an invasion! lol

        Liked by 1 person

  30. Oh no. Oh dear what on earth happened? Truely terrifying to imagine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s on the case to find out… Definitely something that will live with him.

      Like

  31. It did seem like she had come to no good end, and indeed, bloody and up a tree counts as “no good end.” What a gruesome ending! The tree in the photo does look a bit like it’s bleeding, now that you mention it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joy, that’s what I saw when I looked at it – not sure if that’s a good thing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You aren’t alone in that, at least — so it’s not just you!

        Liked by 1 person

  32. i was hoping for a happy ending, but maybe not this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe I need a break too, to find a bit of happiness!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Very atmospheric – I like the spare style, and build up to the grim truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Great build up of tension and use of the photo. I have a vision of someone trying to stuff her down that hole. Ugh! Good story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Irene – sorry for giving you that vision!

      Liked by 1 person

  35. So chilling – well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Oh! Quite a discovery! Stop this short stuff! Give us a great big novel of gore. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, NaNoWriMo is round the corner, so I’m gearing up for a bit of longer writing soon. Thanks Sascha.

      Like

      1. Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

        Liked by 1 person

  37. Cool! Nicely done Iain 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Detective Samson I presume? Some people take the blood and bone fertilizer too literally. I am guessing the gardener did it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, he’ll certainly be wanted for questioning! Thanks for reading.

      Like

  39. That matches the picture a little too close for comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks like blood, right? Thanks Alice.

      Like

  40. Ouch! This one’s gory and like how. And yes, the picture portrays your tale too well.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Great work !
    See some of my blogs as well hope you will like them 😇

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, look forward to checking out your work 🙂

      Like

  42. Interesting how reading that has completely changed the way I looked at the picture. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

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