Mr. Coughlin stands makes his way to the front of the classroom. Silent and still as if fear itself placed a chisel upon his backbone and took one swift strike against his spine. The class unwillingly joins the silence entering total sponge mode. Mr. Coughlin stands blankly in front of the class and the anticipation is unwavering. You can hear a student’s heartbeat as they pick at their own fingertips accompanying the stillness of the classroom. Finally, Mr. Coughlin begins.
MR. COUGHLIN. (Addressing the class.) As the Lu Fond family became established not only did their fortune grow but so did their greed. In order to keep the wealth within the family, they performed incestuous marriages in a house kept far from the public eye on a road unmarked by any map. Today, what some refer to as the Cult House lays abandoned on the furthest hill at the end of Devil’s Road. Made of white brick and stone, its walls are soundproof to the harrowing screeches from the deformed children it sheltered from society. Trees lining the outer edge of the now private drive, begin to grow further away from the street the closer one gets to the Cult House. Trespassers claim to have seen the structure with abnormal family photos lining the walls alongside inverted crosses accompanied by the unwelcome stench of mutilated animal corpses. No photographic or historical evidence of the house exists, of course. Non-believers and nay-sayers claim the house is a myth and the trees were cut by road workers to avoid power lines. However, what draws believers in is no house or structure of any kind, but a tree. A tree watered by the blood of stillborn fetuses. Remains of the deformed young were mercilessly abandoned within the tree hollow. Legend states passerby’s peeking through the hollow left with beaten faces and bloody noses eventually forcing locals to fill the hole with cement. As their bodies continued to fertilize the soil, the outline of a skull warped into the roots thus receiving the title of the Skull Tree. To this day, the Skull Tree still stands on Devil’s Road and those spirits cry out to trespassers and wanderers alike. (Beat.)
Failing to hold back a smile, Mr. Coughlin bursts into mad laughter. Half of the class joins in with an awkward chuckle. Mr. Coughlin retrieves his biology textbook and begins to formally address the class.
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