Sydney was a young boy when he found his true best friend. But this was no ordinary best friend.
This, was someone who would give ANYTHING to see Syd happy. Including giving of themself.
Syds parents were worried about him. For you see, his playmate was none other, then a tree in their orchard, marked by a stuffed bear that sat by the base.
And yet, their worries were soothed. At least they knew where he was when he went to play.
What they didn't realize was that this tree was alive. It could talk to Sydney, and together they would joke, and tell stories and secrets.
The time passed, and Sydney grew as boys tend to do. The Tree, which Syd had named Pike, enjoyed watching him go through life content.
And then.... there came a somber day. Sydney had lost his parents in a house fire. Pike wept for him.
"Do not cry, my boy. For I shall use my leaves to build you temporary shelter. If you wish to afford a real house, take of my peaches, and sell them."
Syd dried his tears. "I won't be able to make enough money selling peaches though." Pike smiled.
"These are magical peaches. You need only sell one per customer. Allow them to try a bite before they buy it for a high price."
The teenager did as he was told, and before long, he had plenty of money. However, he was foolish and spent the money on a car, and new clothes for a job.
He returned to his friend and looked in shame. "I am sorry. I wasted the money on material items, and now have no home."
"It is okay my boy. Take of my branches and build yourself a home. But promise to share it with any ill you may come across, until they are healed."
The boy did as he was told. He built a home, and used it to nurse sick people to health. He recognized many if his customers from when he used to sell peaches.
There seemed to be an epidemic going around in his area, yet Syd kept his promise. He took good care of everyone he came across.
Years passed, and eventually he fell in love with one of his patients. They began to date, and as the time went by, eventually they married.
Now an adult, Sydney returned to his friend to ask another favor. "I am a doctor now Pike, yet my wife and I wish to retire and sail away."
Pike looked both happy and sad. "If you wish to leave, I understand. I warn you however, I am getting old."
"Take of my trunk and build a lovely boat. But take care of it as I am no longer strong."
Sydney did as told again, and sailed away with his wife to the Caribbean. But only a couple days passed before he was back, fuming with anger.
"MY wife died in that boat! The wood was rotting, and caved in right under her. This is YOUR fault Pike!" The man shouted.
Pike was only a stump and roots now. Before he could speak, Sydney had an idea. "Im going to go get my tools. It's time you were uprooted."
He did not return, however. Pike was alone in his dying days, still marked by the teddy bear. His only company.
First a decade went by, then two, then it all became a blur.
When Sydney finally came back, he was old. Pike was relieved to see his friend, and sighed. "I have nothing else to give but time. Please, sit and rest, and we can tell secrets like before."
Syd smiled and was happy to comply.
But the moment he sat down, he found himself unable to move.
The stump chuckled. "I have a secret to tell you. You are not the first boy I have watched over. All your life you trusted me and took from me. And as you did, I took from you."
"When you took peaches, I poisoned those around you, taking your community."
"When you took my branches, I took your freedom and gave you responsibility."
"When you took my trunk, I took your wife. "
The old man felt the roots wrapping around his legs. Pike coughed. "I have one last favor to ask before i die."
"I need you to give me YOUR body now, so that I may be fertilized and grow again."
The roots began to constrict him, and pull down into the soft dirt. Syd tried screaming but it was no use. No one would hear.
"Now we can be one my boy. And I shall grow strong, until another child stumbles upon a bear in an orchard. And when they do...."
"I shall take from them, too."