Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
After a short time of exploring the Oklahoma territory where they were forced to go, a group of Native Americans stumbled upon a mysterious plant while hunting. This plant looked like a gnarled tree root, with so many twists and turns within its seemingly fragile length that one could barely tell it was not one solid object. The mottled green and brown color stood out against the yellow grasses that made up the floor of the Oklahoma Crosstimbers. The young tribesmen thought little of it, seeing as they had not had much time to grow accustomed to the plants and creatures of their new home. They scrutinized it. Eventually, they decided to uproot the plant, and bring it back to their elders. They all agreed that was the simplest, and wisest idea, but one tribesman was wary of the plant. He understood more about the laws of nature than his other group members. He was the chieftain’s son, after all. So, he told the men to wait, but they were already reaching for the plant together to uproot it. They all put their hands anywhere that they could get a grip, and began to pull. Suddenly roots exploded from around the plant, bursting through the earth like a knife through freshly tanned deer skin. The impact knocked the chieftain’s son off of his feet and sent him sprawling in the dirt a few feet away from the carnage, unconscious. The roots formed a net around the men and tightened slowly. Within seconds, the men were completely obscured from view.
The chieftain back at camp began to grow suspicious that his son and his tribemates had not returned. Fearing the worst, he sent out a search party the next morning in the direction that they had gone. The chief himself and even a group of elders went out with them. It took several hours to navigate the forested area, but they eventually heard strange noises coming from just over the horizon. When they got closer, they recognized the sounds as screams. The screams were sounds of pure agony and terror, and they chilled the tribe to their very core. They hastened to find the source of the noise. None of them had any idea what could have made the young warriors scream like that. They scoured the land, inspecting every inch of the place. However, they could not find the source of the noise. It grew louder and louder, until, very suddenly, it quieted. It was soon replaced by muttering. It sounded as if a group of people was standing behind them at all times, quietly reciting a prayer. The chieftain had no idea what was going on, but he understood that this was not an ideal place to be in the dark. He ordered the lot of them to return to their camps.
Upon their return, they found the chieftain’s son, curled up into a ball, shaking. The chieftain rushed to his son’s side and held him close. Suddenly, the son screamed and shoved his father away from him. “Please, no! Oh, god, no! Not you too, father! NOT YOU TOO, FATHER!” The son screamed those words so loudly that the other members of the tribe had to cover their ears from the sound. The young men of the tribe began to restrain the man, for fear that he might hurt himself. They bound him tight with ropes, while he flailed and kicked, wailing at the top of his lungs for them to leave him be. Once the men had finally restrained him, he lay there, quietly sobbing. He looked upon all of them in sheer terror, appearing to be seeing something that was not truly there. His sudden change in nature confounded the tribe. They wondered what had happened to him.
After several hours of trying, the father calmed him down enough to recount the events of the previous days. He remembered waking up in the middle of the forest and seeing nothing but bent trees, and six corpses. They were all the corpses of his friends, each with a fountain of crimson spurting from the depths of their open jaws. The sight of them like that caused him to turn away for fear of disgorging his stomach and dishonoring them. As he did, he noticed the plant sitting nearby, looking almost the same as it had before. There was one noticeable difference. The plant had a red flower upon it, with a red stem. The son went up to inspect the flower, believing that this difference must have been indicative of what had happened to his friends. He was correct in that assumption, although he soon wished he had not thought to check it. The petals of the flower were blood-soaked tongues, while the stem was made up of the twisted vocal cords that connected to the flower’s petals. The man leaped back in horror and retched. Upon hearing the noise, the flower sprang to life, moving from the twisted roots to look him in the eye. The young warrior remained rigid, fearing the same fate as his fallen comrades. The plant began to retract back into its original position, eliciting a sigh of relief from the terrified warrior. As if alerted by the noise, the plant shot back towards him, spraying a torrent of black liquid from between its petals. The man screamed as the liquid burned his eyes, and entered his open mouth. Blinking rapidly, he sprinted away, as fast as he could. The sound echoed behind him.
However, before the son could describe the horrors that had taken place, the ground around him erupted, and long green and brown tendrils encircled him, slowly pulling him beneath the earth. The son screeched, and wailed, struggling with all of his might. However, he was powerless against the roots that had trapped him within their vice-like grip. A moment later, the earthen tendrils disappeared beneath the dirt, causing the chieftain’s son, and his story to fade from the memory of the living world. The Native American tribe did not understand what had happened, but they realized enough to name the roots, “Death Devil.” Approximately two centuries later, there was a police case involving a recently deceased man, buried in Oakwood Cemetery, located in Wewoka, Oklahoma, which is near the heart of the Cross Timbers area. The police had to dig up the body of a man by the last name of Hess, for evidence. They noticed something incredibly peculiar about it when it was pulled up, and autopsied. Ripped from the subject’s mouth, they found its tongue, and there were large holes in the coffin walls, broken inward. Upon this discovery, the police officers began to check several other recently buried coffins and mausoleums. All of the bodies had the same phenomenon occur. The officers were confounded. Who would be interested in stealing just the tongue and vocal cords? The officers scratched their heads and began to leave. As they departed, a chorus of screams, moans, muttering and begging shattered the peaceful scene. The sounds mingled with that of dogs barking, birds chirping, cats meowing, and coyotes howling. This cacophony caused the officers to bolt, and leave the body that they had been investigating laying in the dust. As one officer remembered himself enough to turn around for the evidence that they had been sent to collect, a very unusual sight met her eyes. A writhing field of crimson flowers and dark roots covered the entire cemetery. Some say they are still there. Still taking their petals and adding to the collection. So, if you choose you can seek them out. Just consider one thing before you do: They are only a few voices away from the full choir.
Credit: Gray Samigina
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