France x Reader x England
Reader's gender doesn't matter (can be male or female)
That name was carved into a bare tree that sat on the very edge of a cliff. So close its roots hung off the cliff in the open air.
Francis Bonnefoy... He was dead.
It's been said that the boy, Francis, was only 15 when it happened. He admitted to being in love with another boy, who was 14. Back in the year he died, that was a really bad thing.
A week after admitting, several of the boys from the neighborhood chased him out in the middle of the night in the rain. They chased him to this very cliff.
But since the dirt was soaked... the thin amount of ground on the edge of the cliff fell, taking Francis with it. Right to the jagged rocks 30 feet below.
The boys swore never to speak of it, and acted as if they knew nothing. The 14 year old boy Francis loved had heard what happened and was heartbroken. The day after Francis died, the name Francis Bonnefoy was carved into that ugly, bare tree. And every year on his death date, the boy Francis loved would bring a bouquet of violet-blue roses, and a single red rose planted in the middle.
After 15 years of doing this every year (some say he did it for 15 years because Francis was 15 when he met his untimely death) the boy, now 29, laid the bouquet by the tree on the 15th anniversary and jumped off the cliff.
Meeting the same end as Francis. Then there were two names carved into the tree.
“Legend has it that their ghosts come out at midnight once a year on the day they died. And anyone who makes a joke of them or disturbs their place of rest like the boys did will meet the same end they did.”
“Oh goodie, a couple of gay ghosts will molest me.” You stated flatly.
“Be careful (name), if you joke about them they'll push you off the cliff.”
“Key word: Legend. It's all fake. Just some ghost story in the neighborhood.”
Two boys from your class decided to tell you some ghost legend and dared you to go to the bare tree on the cliff and spend the whole night there tomorrow night, since tomorrow night was the anniversary of their death.
“You're just chicken.” They taunted.
You looked up from your book and glared heatedly. “If it's so important to you, why don't you go yourselves?” You snapped.
To your surprise, they actually had an answer at the ready. “There's a rumor saying you aren't afraid of anything, and we want to prove it.”
“That's idiotic. Everyone is afraid of something. I'm no exception.” You stated, turning a page of your book.
“Everyone in the school knows how much you love mystery and conspiracy (name). We both know how much you're dying to go and see if the story's true.” One of them said, putting emphasis on 'dying.'
You sighed. You knew what would happen if you went. It'd turn out to be a hoax and the boys would jump out of some bush and scare you.
….So why the hell did you say yes?
Your parents weren't home again, so you had an amazing one person dinner of Spaghetti-O’s, and set out at 10pm.
You knew it would be really cold (since it was February), and dark too, so you wore long pants and a thick jacket and brought a flashlight and blanket with you.
You also had your cell phone (in case of emergencies), your book (in case of boredom), and a pocket knife, because it made you feel safer and something told you you would need it.
It was a clear night with no wind. You quietly hiked up the dirt trail to the cliff, trees were on either side of the path, but cleared as it neared to cliff, which left you with plenty of space to pick a spot and sit without getting too close to the edge.
You set down your blanket and laid back against a boulder, putting your other items on the ground next to you. You took a picture of the tree from where you sat and sent it to the boys – whose number you gave – as proof you were even there.
'Good. Now you just have to stay there the rest of the night, or at least until after midnight.' was the reply.
You sent a short reply back and then picked up you book and flashlight, deciding to read. You read a full chapter, and then another, and then another....
How many have you read now?
You set down the book for a moment and checked the time on your phone. 11:39. Almost midnight. You sighed tiredly, kind of bored. And you had to admit that the overall silence of the outside was unnerving to you.
A few more minutes and more than a few quick glances to the surrounding bushes and trees later, your eyes began to slowly close against your bidding. You snapped them back open, blinking. You checked the time again. 11:51. 'So close now...' you thought.
You felt a little paranoid, looking all around you, afraid to look behind you, where the tree stood with the two dead-man's names on it. You shivered.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a patch of fog rolled in, and you shifted uncomfortably, nervously. Then everything suddenly went black. It felt like you had been hit in the back of the head and knocked unconscious only without any of the pain. It didn't hurt at all.
When you next opened your eyes, it was daytime.
You looked around, something was off. This can't be right... There! A bunch of young boys – in their young teen years – were in a group standing where the trees started, talking.
But something one of them said almost made you stop breathing.
“...Francis. We should chase him out of town!”
“Yeah!” Several of them cheered their consent.
“People like him should die.” Die.
“I want him gone. I swear he's a man slut.”
These words struck you like knives, and you weren't even the one these words were directed at. You tried to shout at them, tried to say, “Stop! Don't say things like that! It's cruel!” but found your voice unusable and mute. You realized then that you were meant to sit by and watch, not interfere.
Maybe the ghosts wanted you to see....?
The boys faded away. You blinked. 'Where did they..?'
As if in fast forward, the sun went down and up and down and up again as two days went by in what was 6 seconds to you. And it was night. And freezing cold.
A clap of thunder, and you were also suddenly soaked. You sputtered, startled by the onslaught of ice cold water pelting your skin and face. Lightning flashed everywhere, making you disoriented. You could distantly hear shouting over the thunder and the splish-ing of soaked shoes running on the muddied dirt path.
You stared at the opening of the path, just then, a teenage boy, panting and soaked to the bone, ran up, looking absolutely terrified. For a moment he looked around, and you jumped a little when for a moment it seemed as if he were looking right at you.
And you somehow knew exactly who he was. This was Francis Bonnefoy.
The shouting boys caught up. Francis ran a few more steps, but then stopped, in fear of getting to close to the edge of the cliff.
At least ten other boys now ran up, also soaked and muddied and yelling. And pointing at Francis. The boys came within a 10 foot radius of Francis, and shouted insults. And with every insult, Francis took one.. step.. back.
“You're own parents hate you! Everyone hates you!”
“Even that ugly boy you love hates you!”
All eyes were on Francis as the ground beneath him caved in and fell into open air. Your eyes showed horror, but you were sickened at what you saw in the boys' eyes. You saw cruel laughter in their eyes. It seemed only a few were actually horrified at witnessing the death of someone. And more importantly, a death they caused.
A brilliant flash of lightning cracked across the sky behind Francis just as the ground caved in, and a tremendous clap of thunder nearly drowned out Francis' scream. Almost. But nothing could mask the absolute horrific scream that Francis made as he fell. And nothing could mask the sickening thud as his body was impaled on the jagged rocks at the bottom.
Everyone was silent for a moment as it all sunk in. You felt as if you would retch, and a couple of the teens did. The oldest one, it appeared, made the rest swear never to tell, not even the police. And then it was sunny again, and you were dry.
'Make it stop!' you thought 'I don't want to see anymore! I saw how you died, what more is there to see?! I wanna go home!'
Just then, in the peacefulness of the early morning, you heard footsteps walking up the dirt trail. You quieted your thoughts and watched as an unruly head of blond hair on a skinny, awkward looking teen walked up. Walked straight up to the tree. And then carved something in it. You knew what it said.
The teen said some words, then just stared off the edge of the cliff, looking at the bottom, before eventually leaving.
You watched as 14 years went by, the – now man – blond leaving a bouquet of flowers by that tree every one of those years.
Then year 15 came. And it was raining as hard as it had been that one night. The night where Francis died. The man walked up the path without an umbrella, holding the bouquet of drenched brightly colored flowers.
He kneeled by the tree, being careful of his footing to make sure he wouldn't slip off the edge, and placed the bouquet. He began speaking, and this time you could hear what he said.
“You frog. You were so annoying then. But really I just wanted to be your friend. I don't know why we always got into arguments and fights.. I don't remember. You always went on and on about your 'beautiful silky hair' and your flashy clothes. You really did love flashy things didn't you? That's why I always give these color roses. You do know what the red rose means right? You being from France and all... You always seem lonely when I come to visit you here every year, but you don't have to be lonely anymore, love.”
The man pulled out a pocket knife and bent at the tree.
He began carving. A name. You watched, frozen. You watched intently, the breath sucked from your lungs for a reason unknown to you as your eyes followed every etch he made into the bark of the skinny gray tree.
The second name.
Then the man, Arthur, stood up, pulled out another red rose and threw it off the cliff. Before he too, sucked in a sharp breath, and jumped.
You gasped loudly as your eyes shot open, a bright light in your face. And then you realized you had turned on your flashlight in your sleep when it was pointed up at you from your lap.
You sighed, catching you breath. You looked around half frantic. You were back at the boulder, it was night, and you couldn't see anything out of the ordinary.
You shakily stood up, stretching your cramped legs. Picking up your flashlight, you slowly and cautiously walked up to the tree. There were no roses. You pointed the light at the trunk, seeing the names.
You felt strange, in a way you couldn't explain. You didn't understand the feeling you had.
You whirled around. Too fast. Your footing slipped for a second, and you fell... on your face.
“Whoa! Are you okay? Be careful!” The two boys from your class were there.
“What the hell are you doing? You trying to kill me?! Don't go yelling at someone when they're on the edge of a cliff!” you screamed.
“Sorry! We just came to check on you. How's it going?”
“You came.. to check on me.”
“Just in case you saw something interesting.”
You thought back to the things you saw.
“Nope. Nothing. Like I said it's just some stupid legend. I bet you some random kids just came up and carved their names into this tree for fun like any other teen would.” As you said this, you continued looking at the names on the tree.
When you turned back around, in place of the two classmates was Francis and Arthur. You stepped back in shock, nearly screaming.
“What's wrong (name)?” They were back to normal.
“Be careful on the ledge.” You felt relief seep through you, but it didn't last long as at the end of that sentence, when he said 'the ledge', he suddenly turned into Arthur. And the other into Francis.
“Be careful on the ledge love.” He warned, but his voice was flat, showing no real concern.
“You wouldn't want to fall.”
You screamed as you tumbled backwards off the edge of the cliff. Screamed and screamed until... Until you felt an impact with no pain. Because you were dead.
You stood in between Francis and Arthur, looking up at the two older men curiously as they looked at you fondly. As if you were their own.
“What is it?” you asked.
“You've got a pocket knife don't you love?”
All three of you stood in front of the gray tree. It was a cloudy day, although not very cold.
'Oh yeah that's right. I brought one with me.'
You pulled it out. Francis lightly nudged you forward. You knew what you were supposed to do.
You stepped up to the tree, kneeled, and began carving.
(first name) (last name)
You stood back up and faced the two. They were smiling. So were you.
You stepped back to them, held each of their hands, and together you three walked towards the tree, fading into the air.
Now there are three names carved in that tree.