The Dead Tree: The House Excerpt

**Brief Excerpt: Subject to change pending editing.**

The visions I had of where an aging, eccentric, reclusive woman might live were nowhere close to what I found. The property was gated, and I'd been given the security code to enter into the drive-up keypad. The gates slowly creaked open, allowing me access. Once my car cleared the gates, they automatically slid closed again behind me.

Just inside the entrance, stood a massive -- but dead -- oak tree. I thought it strangely out of place among the pristinely maintained greenery visible as far as the eye could see. As well-landscaped as everything appeared to be, I speculated that the tree must have died recently and no one had gotten around to having it removed.

From the gated entrance, the driveway slowly climbed toward the house, the top of which was barely visible from the road. Situated high up on a bluff overlooking the Mighty Mississippi River, there were no words to describe the residence itself -- other than a magnificent mansion.

I stopped the car in front of the home and climbed from behind the wheel to snap a few pics for Marlena. I typed a quick text, I suppose if I had to, I could be forced to live in such a dump, and hit send.

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Lori L. Clark

Lori L. Clark currently resides in Hazelwood, MO with three rescue dogs. When Lori isn't listening to the voices in her head, waiting for the next creative inspiration to strike, she also loves to read, run, paint pet portraits and save dogs. Email Lori at

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