I saw this post on Facebook and decided I had to do something about it. Please enjoy:
23 years ago, I made a tragic error. You might say I wasn’t to blame, an ignorant child with a wild imagination. No one in their right mind would blame me.
Except I blame me.
Perhaps I am not in my right mind, although, I have wondered about that for years.
They called it the Hundred Acre Woods even though it was well over that by more than double. It was believed that centuries ago it had been named the most generic name possible to hide a deadly secret.
My parents didn’t care what I did during the days as long as I went to school and was home by dinner and it was on such a fateful evening that I heard the voice whispering from the Hundred Acre Woods.
Before then, the woods and I had never crossed paths. The fastest route to school was the path at the north side of the property and the woods themselves were dark and a terrifying place for a child’s imagination.
Children know things, even when they do not listen.
The whisper sounded urgent, almost scared, and I was not one to leave someone alone in the dark. Dropping my bag at the edge of the forest, and bringing only my small yellow bear, I climbed several sticks and teetered my way toward the sound.
The tree was dark and looked older than anything I knew of. The age of things was beyond me, but even in my diminutive years I could tell that this tree was unique. For reasons that I still do not understand, I began to refer to it as the First Tree.
Owl would choose to live in the First Tree.
The hole in the base of the tree was where the voice was coming from and this close I still could not make out what was being said. In both fear and curiosity, I placed my head into the hole.
One voice became many and they were too loud. Through the cacophony of sound, I chose one and tried to focus my attention. This was the voice of a woman and filled with the gentle attitude of motherly affection and yet I could not help but feel terrified of it.
The voice had a gift that it wanted to give me. A small thing to it but something unimaginable to a child. She wanted to bring my toys to life while they were in the woods. She wanted to give me friends and fun and adventures that no one could compete with. All that she asked in return was that I bring her things.
Without knowing anything more, I shouted “Yes!”
Her first offering was a strand of my hair.
I write this now because I can not pay her most recent request.
Over the years, my toys evolved. They grew more daring, more dangerous, and from time to time I found them bringing the First Tree animals or gems. I would wake in the night to see Pooh Bear, my best friend, dragging a racoon into the Hundred Acre Woods.
As a child, I couldn’t fathom what she wanted them for. Perhaps a coat, if she had a body. Or was she a spectral emanation and wished only to feel the warmth of other creatures. It was obvious that she was tethered to her location in the First Tree. Perhaps she wished to know what things outside of her vision looked like.
I did not know.
Pooh’s evolution took ten years to complete. By the time I was in my early adolescence, he was five times larger than when I originally brought him to the First Tree. His hands were stained red and I assumed it must be from the mud or tree sap. Perhaps all of that honey.
Piglet has vanished. Rabbit has begun collecting the ears of things he discovers. The ears of people have started to appear in his garden. Eeyore has laid down and splayed his belly open, silently waiting for animals to step into his insides for warmth before he snaps it shut. He rarely moves.
Tigger is the most terrifying. No longer the fun-loving tiger with the bounce, his tail has become a tentacle of sorts. His limbs have become entirely useless and shriveled as he uses his formerly glorious tail to wrangle food and things into his jaw.
If I aim a light into the woods at night, I can see him swinging between the trees.
The voice in the First Tree has sent Pooh to my home to collect her offering. Over the years, I have brought her dogs, cats, and even robbed cemeteries on two occasions for fresh corpses.
Today she asks too much.
“Christopher,” my old friend’s voice echoes through the house as my family and I huddle in the corner of my closet. “Christopher Robin? Mother only wants to meet your daughter. Bring her to me please?”
Tigger’s voice, gnarled by age and something darker, joined.
“Yeth, Chriftopher Robin! Bring uth your daughter. Come on, chum! For old time’th thake.”