“Most unusual.” Northrop touches the knot. “The sap looks like…blood.”
The bark-covered pustule oozes, coating Northrop’s fingers. He can’t pull them away.
“Denis, a little help.”
The sap burns. The knot sucks down his hand to the wrist.
“Sorry, professor. Had to get a shovel.”
As Northrop turns, Denis bashes his head in. It takes him the rest of the afternoon to dismember the body and bury it at the base of the tree. He wipes his brow and looks up to the topmost branches.
“One more and you let my brother go, right?”