The air was heavy, Max's chest was tight and he had to fight for every breath. Yet he remained standing. He had fought for his country, in two wars, he had never backed down from anything and was not about to run from a tree. Even one that was bleeding. He looked around for his axe but it was nowhere to be see.
He stared at the tree, his head was filled with the wailing of the beast as it continued to bleed. The grass was now completely submerged and Max felt his feet sinking into the saturated earth. He raised his fist and shook it at the tree as a pain burst through his right side almost sending him crashing to the floor. Max didn't know what it was from, there was no centre of pain, no direct point of causation but rather his entire right hand side was aflame.
He had another axe in the garage, one he used for cutting wood to place on the fire. It wasn't anywhere near the same standard as his larger, Woodsman 2000, which he had bought for this very occasion, but an axe was an axe, and the tree must be felled.
The further Max got from the tree, the better he felt, the air pressure was less, his movements freer, and by the time he got to the garage he actually felt younger. Hell, he looked younger; he saw after stopping to look at his reflection in the wing mirror of his car.
"So you want to play it that way do you?" He spoke to the air as he marched, hell ran back to the tree. It had once been a large oak, or so he believed - he was no tree expert - but now it was a twisted sinister figure. The sunlight didnt touch it, it was as if once you stepped within a ten meter radius of the once mightly oak, you entered a world of perpetual dusk. "You're coming down today even if I have to bite through you." Max bellowed as he swung the smaller much lighter axe. The impact zone was smaller, and the power was significantly reduced, but the speed and accuracy of his strikes increased as if in counter balance.
With each short sharp strike, blood splattered against Max's face, his eyes were wide and crazy, his hair filled with a static charge from the electified air around him, and he was smiling as he and his trust weapon ate through the tree. A shard of the white inner wood flew up and hit him on the cheek. Max pulled it out and stared at it. It wasn't wood at all, but bone. The entire tree was bone, covered in a dead leathery skin. He saw it now, and as he looked up he realised that it wasn't leaves and vines that hung from its branches but scalps, human scalps with long hair matted together wtih human gore.
The screaming inside his head and increased and was now a roar not of rage but pain, a pure agony. A vicious wind whipped up, and Max felt his body aging, time slipping futher away from him with each stroke he made. His joints were stiff and burning with arthritis, his eyes were blurred with cataracts he hadn't had that morning when he woke. His hands were more wrinkled than ever and large brown liver spots had appeared over his arms, as well as other parts of his body he was sure.
Max stopped, unable to continue. He was ready to stop, he would let the tree stand and go away with what years he had left. However, instead of just walking away, he looked up. Up into the branches. Whether by choice or because some bellowing voice inside his own mind commanded him to he wasn't sure, but he did it nonetheless. He looked up and there hanged his wife. Her body swinging freely in the wing, her head twisted to a strange angle as the rope of intertwined scalps wrapped around her neck and had slowly cut off her oxygen until she died.
Max stared, a thundering rage building inside him. He roared and raised the axe once more. All the pain forgotten, as the earth around him began to shake and tear apart.