The Dead Giveaway

Written by Jamie Board

Mrs. Elie does not believe in ghosts nor does she believe in anything she can’t see for herself. If you told her there was a talking animal outside, she would say, “Prove it!”

And if you could not show proof, she’ll smile with her arms folded and say “Thought so.”

Well, Mrs. Elie is in for a big surprise because she just bought herself a new home in a little town called, “TreePort” and TreePort is not like any other town. In fact, it is beyond anything anyone outside this town could imagine but the truth will always be in front of their eyes.

“What a cute little name!” thought Elie. Warmth fills her heart as she imagines the look on her friends and family’s faces when she tells them the name of her new home. “Oh they’ll be tickled.” She giggled. She was very excited to be moving into her new home, she could use a change of scenery. She was tired of living in such a noisy city and after living in the same place for sixty-two years; it was time for something different.

She didn’t want to move too far, so she had taken out a map and played it across her coffee table. She then closed her eyes and placed her finger randomly on the paper. When she opened her eyes and lifted her finger to “TreePort”. She smiled and felt glad it would only be a two hour drive from her current home. She carefully chose a beautiful little house by a lake surrounded by a forest. Most of the town was surrounded by trees and wildlife but to actually live by a forest made her feel excited for this new adventure. Since then, she has been counting down the days till the final move and that day finally came!

“Today is the day!” She cheered as she woke up from the morning light. She stepped into her fuzzy slippers and began her day.

Everything was loaded into the truck she rented with the help of the neighbor’s kid, Cayden. “Thank you so much for your help!” Elie said as she pulled out money from her pocket. “Here is the fifty dollars I promised, you’ve earned it!” And with a wink, she hands it to him. Cayden’s eyes grows wide as he throws his baseball cap into the air.

“Thanks Mrs. E!”

“My pleasure! But it is I who should be grateful. I couldn’t have done this without your help!” 

“You’re really leaving?”

“Well doesn’t this truck prove it?” Ellie asks with a laugh. “Yes, I am leaving.”

Cayden let out a big sigh and rubbed his stomach. “I sure am gonna miss your ginger snaps, Mrs. E. No one makes them like you do.”

“Well don’t you worry, I told you mother I would send some for Christmas.”

“Really? You’d do that?” His eyes lit up even more.

“Of course!”

“Mrs. E, you’re the best!” Cayden shouts as he jumps in the air. He pauses for a moment and signals for her to come close to him. With a whisper he says, “Don’t let the trees steal your cookies, they get very hungry during the winter from what I hear.”

Elie bellows out a laugh from her small bones and says, “I’ll be sure to guard them with my life!”

Cayden laughs along and hugs her good-bye. He runs back home, waving his money in the air.

“What a peculiar thing for him to say.” Thought Elie, “Kids these days.”

Two hours in and Elie arrived in TreePort. She passed a big sign that said, “Welcome to TreePort!” with beautifully drawn trees on each side with feet. “What a funny sign!” Elie thought with a smile.

As she drove through the town, she was in awe at how beautiful her new home was. A fresh blanket of fluffy snow cuddled everybody in. Everyone had their Christmas lights ready, not a single house was naked. She was welcomed by a giant Santa on one of her neighbor’s yard, it’s arm waved slowly up and down. Elie parked in her new home and was ready to unpack!

Every day there was always something peculiar no matter how normal everything seemed. She didn’t mind it at all and she had to admit, it kept her amused. There was always something on the news about “walking trees” and how to avoid them. When she first heard about it, she nearly choked on her coffee. “Walking trees? Have these people gone bonkers?”

One day she wanted to go grocery shopping and as she walked to her car, there was a giant tree in the road! Now how did that get there? A city worker had cones around the tree and guarded it with a stop sign. Their eyes meet and he scratches his head. 

“Something the matter ma’am?”

Elie blinks and walks towards the man. “Well, I’m not sure. I guess the question is obvious, how did that get there?”

The young man smiles and nods. “You must be new here. Well I’ll tell you what happened. It walked and fell asleep!”

Elie stuffed her hands in her jacket pocket and stared at him. “It walked and fell asleep?” She repeated his words doubtfully. 

The man stared back at her, his brows scrunched together. “Why yes! You don’t believe me do you?”

Elie started to chuckle. “Of course I don’t believe you! How could a tree possibly walk and then fall asleep? As far as I’m concerned, you’re just making things up because you have nothing else better to do!”

“Now you listen here lady, you think I’m making things up but just you wait and see it for yourself! Then you’ll be the one who will feel sorry.” The man sniffed and turned away from her.

Elie couldn’t help but feel sorry for the man. The cold must be getting to his head. “Do you know when this tree will be removed?”

The man puffed his chest and dared not to look at her. “Whenever it feels like it!”

 Elie clicked her tongue and shook her head. That man sure is sour. Moving trees. Ha! She shrugged her shoulders and walked back to her car. Won’t stop me from leaving! She backed out from her garage and drove around the man and the tree. Their eyes locked again as she passed by and he stuck out his tongue! She shook with rage and kept her eyes steady on the road. What a rude man!

Weeks had gone by and it was nearly Christmas. Left and right, there were stories about trees doing this and trees doing that. These people seemed to be really into these made up stories, enough to actually believe them! Hell there were even songs and children rhymes about trees! All the talk made her wonder at night when she heard noises outside. “Ooooh could be those trees, better watch out!” She giggled to herself. When she went out driving through the town there were even signs that warned drivers to slow and let the trees pass. What a hoot!

Christmas day finally came and she was looking forward to a nice quiet evening alone. This year she told her family that for once she would like to have Christmas alone in her new home. Her family were dismayed of course but they respected her wishes and flooded her house with presents she received in the mail.

In spirit of the holidays, she had made cookies for the delivery people because she knew how hard they worked and it gave her an excuse to bake more. Every now and then she would set out a new plate of cookies outside her door and they would be gone the next time she added more. She felt pleased.

The fire in her fire place was crackling and hissing. The Christmas tree she put up all by herself, shined brightly. At last she was able to enjoy her hot cocoa with little marshmallows floating on top. The mug felt soothing to her small hands and her cheeks burned bright pink.

Something flickered at the corner of her eye as she walked to her chair by the fire. She turned around and stared through the window. Nothing but darkness and the colorful lights on the neighbors’ house filled the evening. She shrugged and sat in her chair, slowly bringing the cocoa to her lips.

She eventually dosed off with the empty mug safely on the table stand next to her and a book cuddled against her lap.


Elie practically leaped out from her chair, the book that was on her lap flew onto the floor, bending the pages. She placed her hand over her heart and looked around. Where did that sound come from? She searched the kitchen and all through the house but nothing had fallen. She then went straight to the door to check if the plate of cookies had fell onto the ground and she was face to face with A GIANT TREE! It’s face was inches from her own and it really did have a face! It’s eyes glowed amber and crumbs stuck to it’s mouth while it made what sounded like Mmmmmmm. Its branches stretched out and she shrieked, closing the door on its face. Her heart beat heavily as she held the door closed for dear life even though there was no fight with the door. 

Get yourself together Elie! She told herself. What you saw could not be real, you must be dreaming! She pinched herself and hissed. She was indeed awake. But I could still be seeing things, right? Well there’s only one way to find out.

She took a deep breath and carefully opened the door, enough to peak outside and shut it if danger was to come. The cookie plate was still shattered on her front porch but the cookies were gone. Thankfully no tree in her face but when her eyes followed the trail of crumbs up her walkway, there they were. Trees walking slowly, following the road. One by one, root by root, they were actually walking! She rubbed her eyes to make sure and still she saw their roots twisting and wiggling as they marched to their destination. She watched until her own feet grew weary.

After that night, Mrs. Elie put it all together: The town name, what Cayden said about the cookies, the signs, the stories, that rude young man! It hit her all at once and just like the young man had told her; she felt sorry. It was all in front of her face and she didn’t believe one word of it. From that day forward, she believed anything.

The End.

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