The Hanging Tree

**CW: this piece contains dub-con and death. Happy Halloween!**

“They say this part of the woods is haunted. That a handful of centuries ago, those accused of witchcraft were brought here after their trials – they were invariably found guilty – for execution by hanging. Though official records weren’t kept in those darker times, it’s estimated that at least a hundred and fifty women died beneath this very tree. While some of them would surely have been guilty of crimes both minor and major, the vast majority of them would have been innocent.

“But none of that matters now. It doesn’t matter whether they were young, old, infirm, frail, framed…all of those women have one thing in common. One thing that brings them together, that wakes them, that makes their spirits walk these woods. They’re angry. And that anger is so powerful it won’t allow them to rest. Not until they get their revenge on those who wronged them.

“Tonight, we’re going to… dammit, Irena!”

I hold my hands up in surrender, yawning so hard my jaw cracks. Coffee spills from the foam cup I just kicked over, creeping slowly toward Millie over hard, icy ground. She whips her long coat out of its path and glares until I shrug and shuffle out of her way.

This witches’ revenge movie she’s declared herself director of is total and utter horseshit. Everything about it makes me cringe so hard I’m convinced that I can feel my innards shrivelling up every time I think about what we’re about to do. Highlighting the historical plight of the West Lake women is one thing, a noble thing even, but let me ask you this; does it have to be a porno? Is that really necessary? I, for one, don’t think it is.

But Millie and the others are adamant that fucking our way through All Hallows Eve is the way forward. Taking it back, she says. It’s for the girls, she says. I watch her waving her arms in the beam of a dying torch and snigger. She’s always enjoyed hopping from cock to cock, has our Millie.

The limbs of the tree behind her scratch together in the evening’s gentle breeze. I tell myself that I’m shivering because I can feel the first bite of early winter in it, but I know in my heart that it isn’t true. It’s that damned tree, I hate the very sight of it. It’s an ancient thing, broken here, stripped of its bark there, and blackened by a fire that ripped through it after it was struck by lightning a decade ago. Almost all of it is disfigured in some way or another, except for that one branch which managed to grow perfectly parallel to the ground.

I can’t stop looking at it. At how unspoiled it is, how thick and healthy it looks. My eyes fight me until, against my will, I’m fixated on that point halfway along the branch’s six-foot length where a deep arch has been chafed into the wood. Suddenly, I can’t breathe. My throat feels tight, for a split second, I feel nothing but air beneath my feet. And then Millie is cheering and clapping at the sight of a dozen bobble hats bouncing among the trees half a dozen metres away and the feeling fades.

When they emerge, the twelve men who have joined us start to grin and nudge each other. Expectations already high, dicks already hard. They make me feel sick to my stomach. Their pack leader, Jez, was so eager to be involved in Millie’s mucky movie. I was there when she’d approached him in the clearing by the lake. He’d been fishing and we…well, so had we, I guess. Different bait, different quarry, but we were fishing all the same. She’d chatted him up, told him about the project and promised that he and anyone he could harangue into taking part would not only have the best night of their lives, but they’d end up going viral online, too.

He’s standing next to Millie, yapping at her like a puppy who understands what it means when its owner rattles its leash. He’d looked exactly this excited when he’d caught a glimpse of her cleavage by the lake. That’s all it took to get him to agree to spend a night being man-meat. I try not to look at him like I already hate him, so it’s probably a good thing that he only has eyes for Millie because I’ve never been good at concealing my emotions. That’s how I’d ended up in this mess. Millie knows I resent what happened here just as much as she does.

As the sky gets darker the stars in it get brighter. The moon is high, too, but its light is obscured by that damnable tree. I wish I could complain about the cold, tell Millie that we should forget it and leave, but I can’t. I’m numb, just like she is, just like all of us girls are. I’m numb to the chill wind, numb to the encouraging smiles of the man Millie sends my way.

As he pulls off his bobble hat and scarf and shucks off his coat, he tells me that his name is Heck. Sean Hector. That his family has lived in West Lake for generations and that he thinks it’s terrible what happened to all those women back in the day. He shivers when he sheds his shirt and cold air ripples through his chest hair. I watch his nipples pucker, watch goosebumps explode on his arms, his belly, his hips.

“They probably deserved it though, truth be told,” he says, giving Millie an appreciative nod when she throws off her coat and jiggles her tits for anyone who cares to look. “I mean, they wouldn’t have executed them otherwise. I won’t believe that folks around here ever did women that way. I know my ancestors certainly didn’t show that kinda disrespect.”

Typical man. Knows everything about fucking everything, even those things that happened in the infancy of his great-grandfather’s great-grandfather. I can hear his companions saying pretty much the same things to the other girls. They must have done something wrong, my great-great-grandaddy would never.

Once Heck is naked and wrapping his arms around his torso for warmth, he nods at my chest, which is where his eyes have been since he pulled off his hat. “You gonna get them out?” he whines. “I feel silly standing here in the buff when you’re fully clothed. Don’t be shy, let me see.”

All I have to do is take my coat off and I’ll be as naked as he is. But I make him wait. I let myself look at him, taking in the wiriness of his red hair, the freckles on his thighs, the cock that’s less sure of itself now that it isn’t tucked behind a cosy pair of pants. I stare and stare until it shrivels, until it becomes a little shiny ball peeking from a nest of wrinkled skin.

That’s right, Mr Hector. Be uncertain. Be self-conscious. Doubt my intentions. Wonder if I’m smiling because I’m enjoying myself or because I’m laughing at you.

I can feel the weight of my stare crushing him. This isn’t what he came for. He came here safe in the knowledge that he could do this, that he could fuck an absolute stranger on camera and be hailed a hero. Whereas I? I’ll be branded a whore the whole town over. It is now as it ever was. Millie believes that times are changing, but far too slowly, so she wants to gee them along, just a bit.

I’ve stood here staring for so long I’m almost convinced that young Heck is about to tell me he’s changed his mind, but then he hears Millie. From the pits of hell to the throne in heaven, everyone hears Millie. Laughing with abandon, squealing with carnal delight. If she could see the moon I swear she’d howl. Her little camera is rolling, her cunt is swallowing one cock and her hands are all over another two.

Her energetic display emboldens Heck and gives his cock new life. He lunges at me, all hands and arms and lips, but he has no power here. I’m the one flying this broom.

Twigs snap when his back hits the ground. Air explodes from his lungs and he struggles to refill them. But he smiles when I drape my coat over a bush and stand naked between his ankles. I’ve been looked at like this so many times. Hungry eyes devouring me from tits to cunt, never looking at or caring about the rest of me.

Heck shrugs and puts his arms behind his head. I notice that he’s propped up on a long coil of rope, right beneath the tree, and can’t help but grin.

“Do whatever you please,” he laughs.

Oh Heck. I’m going to.

Bending my knees, I crouch at his feet. Tickle their soles with my nails, pinch their fat little toes between my fingers. It’s only a tiny amount of skin on skin contact but it sends his warmth rolling through me. My cheeks redden, my lips and nipples tingle. A gentle beat begins to throb in my cunt and I feel the first beads of moisture seep from inside of me. I’m sure he sees it, because a low, satisfied growl rumbles in his throat.

Heck bends his knee, wiggles his big toe between my lips. A few rolls of my hips and I feel it probing, his leg is shaking. Holding my breath, I wait to see what he’ll do. Will he have it in him to hold himself back? Will he be different? The force of his foot slamming against my cunt almost knocks me onto my back. I should have known he’d be no different. He isn’t the first of his family to do that to me, they’re all the fucking same.

Poor guy, I bet he didn’t know he could get his legs all the way up there. He pushes against me, but I push back harder. Tighten my grip on his ankles, grind his knees into the ground by his shoulders. Look at the way that cock stands to attention! Long, thick and proud. And all mine.

I shift my hips forward, positioning his tip at the entrance to my cunt, then start to thrust. I have him right where I want him, doubled over, unable to move, at my mercy. Can he breathe? His cock sinks deeper in. I don’t care. Spit patters from his mouth, he snorts, growls, tries to thrash beneath me. He’s staring at my tits, so close but so far away, straining his neck to reach them, but he won’t. I won’t let him.

I can taste his confusion in the breath he exhales into my face, I can feel the discomfort of his helplessness vibrating through his body. He came here for sex, to perform for his friends, but now he’s on his back with his knees by his ears, being fucked missionary style by a woman who won’t let him have any control over her, or even himself.

Struggling is useless, he’ll never overpower me. I fuck him harder, laughing when he begs for release, screaming with raw delight when my cunt squeezes him over and over, when he begins to sob and call me a nasty whore.

Millie is chanting. I watch the rope behind Heck’s head begin to move, hear eleven other lengths of rope snapping and slithering through dead grass. Men scream. Their screams become gargles. I rise and retreat, standing beside seven of the women who were hung from the blackened tree in front of me.

The creaking of the rope pulls forward a tumble of memories. The day the father of Heck’s great-grandfather’s great-grandfather took me for a stroll down by the lake and told me he loved me. The day, seven months later, when the old bastard’s wife pointed her finger at my swollen belly and called me a witch.

The hanging tree groans and bows, heavy with the swinging bodies of the descendants of the men who long ago tied knots around our necks. The men who accused us of consorting with the Devil. It’s a pity for their sons that they were right.

Week #217

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