About Butcher’s Broom Care:

Butcher’s broom (Rhus cinerea) is a perennial herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean region. It grows from 2–5 feet tall with upright stems and small leaves. Its flowers are white or pinkish purple, and it produces small green berries that taste like strawberries when eaten raw.

The plant has been used medicinally since ancient times. However, its medicinal uses have not yet been fully researched. It is known to possess antiseptic properties, which may help prevent infections and even reduce pain.

In addition to being used for food and medicine, it has other health benefits such as helping to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It also helps with digestive problems including indigestion and diarrhea. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help with arthritis and joint pain.

However, there are no studies that prove how effective these health benefits actually are. There is some evidence that suggests that it may help prevent cancer as well. However, there is still much research needed before any conclusions can be made about this plant’s potential medical applications.

The scientific name of Rhus cinerea is Rhus (Hyraceum). In some places in the world it is also known as Trech, or Turpentine plant. In the Mediterranean region and some parts of Europe, the plant has been used as a food source.

Its berries are edible and taste similar to strawberries when they are cooked.

In some places in India and Pakistan its roots have been used as a replacement for tobacco. In order to do this, a small piece of root is chewed and then placed between the cheek and gums. The plant has also been used for centuries as a medicine.

Some people chew the stem and leaves of the plant as a treatment for diarrhea, and its astringent properties make it useful for treating gastrointestinal problems such as hemorrhoids. The roots can be made into a paste and applied to sores or infected wounds to promote healing.

In addition to these purposes, Rhus cinerea is sometimes used as an aphrodisiac! The roots contain a compound called ruscogenin, which has been shown to have hormonal activity in laboratory experiments.

In the past, people have used it as a remedy for scabies and other types of skin irritation. Some healers in India have also claimed that it can be used as a treatment for cancer. However, there is no scientific evidence that it is effective for any of these conditions and further research is needed.

Besides being used for medicinal purposes, the wood of the Rhus cinerea tree can be burned to produce a fragrant smoke that is used in some religious ceremonies. In the past, farmers have used it to repel spiders and other pests. It is also sometimes used as a source of flavoring for food.

A type of tea can be made from the leaves and flowers.

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The plant is known by many different names in different parts of the world. Some of these names include:

– Afrikaans: trechappelstruik

– Arabic: kharquz

– Azerbaijani: qovurma toxu

– Bulgarian: travkino derevo

– Catalan: planta trepat

– Czech: Trepušnice

– Welsh: gwenestry

– Danish: Treskebove

– German: Spindelstrauch, Gemeiner Wacholder

– English: Treak, Treacle Tree, Spindle Tree

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– Spanish: guayabillo, guayabo, algarrobo

– Basque: tontorr

– Persian: agar vasi

– French: trepa, genévrier des Indes

– Croatian: hrast trepat

– Hebrew: shkirbet troppit, kataha shekirbet

– Italian: genziana di India, genziana spinosa

– Japanese: himeshigure

– Norwegian: treaks

Butcher’s Broom Care – Information And Tips For Growing Butcher’s Broom - Image

– Latin: rhus cinerea, rhus tripartite

– Lithuanian: trispalvė kryžminiai

– Dutch: Spindelstruik, Gemberstruik, Gemeentegeen

– Polish: Trzcina, Szczawik szkodliwy

– Portuguese: guayabo, genciana da India

– Romanian: busuioc pădurar

– Russian: trehopu

– Scottish Gaelic: fuasgladhrainn

– Serbian: tresak, trepat, trsak, pramenasti tresak

– Slovak: Treskuška obycajna, Treskuška vlašská

– Slovenian: treskavica

– Swedish: spindelträd

– Turkish: tüysük karabuğday

– Ukrainian: trepat

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All of the parts of Rhus cinerea contain a type of acid known as gallic acid, which is why it has antiseptic and astringent properties. It also contains a substance called rhusin, which is an irritant.

In addition to these active ingredients, the plant also contains essential oils and tannins, which are known for their ability to treat diarrhea. These chemicals can be toxic in large quantities and can lead to vomiting, stomach pains and even death if too much is consumed.

In some places in South Africa, people use the plant as an ingredient in arrow poison.

TREATMENT FOR OVERDOSE:

As little as 1.5 milligrams of pure alkaloids can be fatal, so medical treatment should be sought immediately.

Vomiting should be induced and a saline drip may be needed to replace lost fluids.

It may be necessary to use an antidote to counteract the effects of the poison, but this depends on what has been taken and the amount.

The patient’s heart rate, breathing and blood pressure should all be monitored carefully.

Sedatives may be given to help keep the patient asleep for 24 hours, during which time any symptoms such as hallucinations should begin to cease.

If given the antidote, it should begin to take effect within 30 minutes and patients will begin to recover around 12 hours later.

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Recovery is likely within 48 hours, although it may take up to 5 days in some cases.

This is of course for a short term exposure to the plant. Longer term or heavier exposure can be much more serious and may require admission to hospital.

21

THE OLD MILL

You are lying next to a river, staring at the old water mill in front of you. It’s night time and the only light comes from a dim yellow bulb on a wire that stretches from one side of the building to the other. It sways in the breeze, casting strange shadows over the ground around you.

You sit up and look behind you, but there is no sign of your brother.

You jump to your feet and look around. Maybe he’s wandered off in search of a toilet. “Jacob!” you shout, but there is no reply.

You rush up to the door of the building, a wooden structure that has seen better days. You have to duck down to get inside as the roof is just too low. Once inside you find yourself in a large room with wooden beams supporting the walls.

A steel vat takes up most of the space, standing on wooden legs. It looks like it might have once been used to cook pig meat, but it is empty save for a few dead insects that have fallen in over the years.

A series of belts and cogs are attached to the base of the vat, although they have not been used in many years. Old wooden tables are stacked in the corner of the room next to piles of old sacks.

There is no sign of your brother in here. You want to keep looking for him, but it will be much easier to do if you have some light. You could try starting a fire, but you’d need some dry wood and there doesn’t seem to be any in here.

You notice that there are a few candles on one of the tables, but there is no candle stick and you’re not sure if they are still safe to use.

Choose A) Try and light a fire using the candles and hope they are still okay to use.

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OR

B) Go back outside and see if you can find your brother.

You decide to try and start a fire. After all, candles are often made from wax which comes from animal fat. You find a box of matches in your pocket and quickly light one of the candles.

You blow it out before the wax melts too much and quickly place it in between two small pieces of wood. You strike another match and place it next to the first one. Within a minute you have a faint glow, just bright enough to light the interior of the mill.

There is nothing here that could be used to make a marker for Jacob. You try not to think about what may have happened to him. He’s probably wandered off and gotten lost.

You need to stay here and try to build up the fire so that rescuers will be able to see it during the day.

You spend the next few hours gathering dry wood and placing it by the mill. Finally, you can take no more and decide to try and get some rest

You wake up with the dawn. It is still cloudy, but at least it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain again. You have no idea where Jacob could be, but you cannot spend any more time looking for him.

You have to get help to find him before night time.

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Using a piece of wood, you write a note telling him where you have gone and stick it on the door. With any luck someone will find him soon and he will be safe. There is nothing more you can do here.

You make your way down the hillside to the dirt track below. From here you can head cross country to the nearest town. You don’t know how long it will take, but you have plenty of food in your pack to last you awhile.

Most importantly you have a bottle of water to keep you hydrated.

You walk along the dirt road, keeping an eye out for any sign of Jacob or a house where you can get help. There is no sound except for the occasional bird cry or the rustle of leaves in the wind. You have been walking for over an hour when you see a figure in the distance waving at you.

It is a man, wearing a grey shirt and jeans, and looks to be middle-aged.

Choose A) Wave back and approach the man or B) Ignore him and carry on down the road.

You see from here that the man is waving at you. He doesn’t seem to be carrying anything, not even a backpack. Maybe he has been out here for a long time without any supplies and is desperate for yours.

Choose A) Share some of your supplies with the man or B) Keep everything for yourself

You decide to give the man some of your food. You pull a packet of crackers from your pack and head towards him. As you get closer, you realise that he does not, in fact, have short brown hair, but instead is wearing a knitted wool hat.

You can see now that he is not middle-aged either, but perhaps in his late twenties or early thirties. His clothes are modern and nondescript. As you get closer still, you realise that he is not waving at you at all, but is instead leaning against a large tree, taking pictures with a strange looking camera.

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Choose A) Say hello to the man and ask him what he is doing or B) Keep walking past him

You decide to say hello to the man and ask him what he is doing. As you approach, he smiles and turns towards you.

“Hello,” he say pleasantly. “I haven’t seen you here before. You look like you’ve been walking a long way.

Where are you headed?”

You aren’t sure that you should tell him anything, but he looks so friendly that you decide to tell him some things, but not others.

Choose A) Tell him you’re looking for your brother and show him the picture or B) Say you’re just exploring and move on

“I’m looking for my brother,” you say, showing him the picture. “

Have you seen him?”

The man takes the photo from you and stares at it for a long time. Finally, he looks up. “Yes, I’ve seen this boy,” he says. “In fact, I’ve seen him quite recently.”

You gasp. “

You have? Is he all right? Where is he? What happened to him?”

“He’s fine, he’s fine,” the man says. “Or at least, he was the last time I saw him. Not too far from here, as a matter of fact.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” you say. “

Do you know where he is? How I can get to him?”

The man points over your shoulder. “He went that way,” he says, his finger waggling back and forth. “Down that trail there.”

You turn and look at the trail, then turn back to the man, kneeling on one knee in front of him so you are eye to eye. “You’re not making any sense.

If he went down that trail, then how can he be right here?”

The man smiles and shrugs his shoulders. “Eh, time travel,” he says, as if that is an answer.

Choose A) Time travel?

or B) This man is nuts – get outta here!

Time travel?”

you ask. “That’s impossible!”

Impossible?”

the man laughs. “

You really haven’t been paying attention to the world around you, have you?

Everything is impossible ’til it’s been discovered and invented and explored and proven. The wheel. The airplane. Space travel. Time travel. They all seemed impossible at one time too. But never mind that now.

Do you want to go or not?”

Choose A) Go with this crazy man or B) politely thank him and say goodbye

You decide that this man is crazy and too much of a risk, so you turn to leave. But as you do, he calls out to you.

“Hey, kid! Don’t go that way!”

You turn to see what he means, and suddenly a large bull is charging down the trail in your direction. You have no choice but to run back towards the man calling out to you for help. He sees you and reaches out his hand to grab you as you run past.

He pulls you close as he reaches for his strange camera-like device, points it at the bull, and presses a button. There is a flash of light and a high-pitched whine, and the bull comes to an abrupt halt, turns around, and stomps back down the trail away from you.

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“I can’t be running around rescuing you and your brother all day,” the man says, slipping the device into the pocket of his baggy pants. “You should have taken my advice and gone back home.” He turns around and walks away briskly, calling over his shoulder, “Make sure you keep up!”

You watch him walk off, then look down at your feet. The ground has changed yet again. Now it’s a dark gray, the sky an ominous black.

You look up just in time to see the man stepping through a doorway that’s appeared among the trees. A sign on the door reads: “Enter.” Under that it continues, “Before he catches you.”

The man looks over his shoulder and beckons for you to follow. He seems to have forgotten his advice about the bull, but then, you weren’t planning to go that way anyway.

“Wait!” you call out, and run after him.

He pushes the door open and holds it for you as you hurry through. He follows close behind, and as he passes through the doorway he grabs your arm and pulls you back. The door slams shut in front of you, and when you turn you see that the man has again vanished, though this time the world around you has changed once again.

You are now in a place you recognize: your living room! There’s Mom in the kitchen, and there’s your brother lying on the floor in front of the TV! You turn to thank the man, but he’s gone.

You run over to the corner he was just standing in and look for something that might explain what just happened. There on the floor you find a small round disk. Picking it up, you try to make out what it says on it.

It’s too dark in this world to read the words printed in fancy letters around the edge, so you turn it over. On the back is a picture of the man who was just standing here in this very spot. The words “Portable Hole” are written underneath.

As you stand there puzzling over this mystery, you hear Mom call from the kitchen, “Son? Is that you standing there in the dark?”

You quickly slip the disk into your pocket and step into the light.

“Yeah, it’s me,” you say, making your way into the room. “I just got home.”

“You’re later than I expected.

Did your brother ride home with someone else?”

she asks between rinsing the lettuce and slicing the tomato.

“I don’t know. I haven’t seen him yet.” You step behind her and give her a kiss on the cheek.

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“I’ll go see if he’s in his room.”

“All right,” she smiles. “But remember, he has a test tomorrow, so no riding around and distracting him after school.”

“I won’t. I’ll make sure he gets straight home.”

You turn and head down the hall to your brother’s room. His door is closed, so you give it a light push. It swings open slowly, seemingly of its own accord, and you half expect to find him lying in bed reading as usual.

Instead, you find his bed neatly made and empty.

“That’s strange,” you mutter to yourself. “He always leaves his door open.”

Deciding that he must be out with his friends, you close the door and head back to the kitchen. As you round the corner, you see your mother sitting at the table with her head in her hands.

Mom? What’s wrong?”

She looks up at you with red, puffy eyes. “I’m sorry. I tried to be a good mother. I wanted to be here for you.”

You remember the note in your pocket and take it out as you sit down across from her. “

Is this why you’re crying? Because of the note?”

“Yes. My son is gone. He left without even saying goodbye.”

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“No. He would’ve said goodbye if he’d had the chance. He probably just rushed out in the middle of the night before he got a chance to.

He’s fine, wherever he is.”

She shakes her head and sniffles. “No. I’m sure something bad has happened to him.

Otherwise, he would’ve said something.”

How do you know?

Maybe he was in a hurry or something. Maybe he wanted to say something but just didn’t have the time.”

She wipes her eyes and sighs. “Maybe you’re right. I’m just so worried about him.

He’s never gone for long periods of time without saying anything.”

“Well, I’m sure that doesn’t always mean something bad has happened to him. Maybe he just wants his privacy.” You stand up to leave.

“I’ll go try his friends again.”

“Thank you, honey. Please come back soon. And tell your brother I’m here if he wants to talk.”

“I will. Bye. I love you.”

“I love you too. Now be careful. It’s dark outside.

And I want you home before midnight.”

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“OK. Bye. Love you.”

You leave the house and walk down the street to your friends’. When you reach it, you see that their outside lights are on and their garage door is open. You decide to try there first and walk up to the house.

As you step onto their front porch and reach for the doorbell, you hear a muffled voice coming from inside. You pause and step closer to the door to listen.

What did I tell you?

I said not to tell anyone!

But you just had to, didn’t you?

I can’t believe you’re so stupid sometimes!”

“I’m sorry!

I’m sorry, OK?

Please don’t hurt me! I’m sorry I told! Please, I don’t want to die! I have a wife and kids! I…”

“Shut up! I should kill you for what you did, but I’ve got bigger plans for you. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to live long enough to see them through.

Now, get in there. We’ve got lots to prepare before the sacrifice. The ceremony needs to be perfect. No mistakes. We can’t afford to make any mistakes.”

The doorbell rings, startling you. You step back and look at the entrance nervously. After a brief pause, you hear the angry voice again.

What is it?

I thought I told you to get in there!”

“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir. It’s the doorbell.”

“I don’t care if the king of England himself is here, you don’t interrupt me! Now get in there before I…

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argh! I’ll deal with you later! I’ve got a headache like you wouldn’t believe! Your master has given you a second chance. Don’t make him regret it!”

You hear footsteps approaching the door, and you quickly step back and hide around the corner just in time for the door to open. You see a pale man with black hair in a butler’s outfit.

Hello?”

he asks, looking around nervously. “Oh, it’s you.

What do you want?

I’m busy taking care of some unfinished business. We’re really busy right now what with the preparations and all.

Can’t you come back another time?”

Busy?

But I thought…” You start to say, before the man holds up a finger to his lips and motions into the room. You’s standing in the foyer of a massive mansion. You see lots of expensive-looking antiques and paintings, both of landscapes and still lifes, on the walls. You don’t spend too much time looking at them, though, since the man is now motioning you to follow him as he walks deeper into the house.

You follow the butler from the foyer, through a living room, and into a den. He comes to a sudden stop in front of a painting of a peaceful-looking valley surrounded by mountains. He puts his hand on the painting and, without saying another word, pushes the canvas to the side.

Behind it is a spiral staircase. The butler leads you down the spiral staircase and far underground, where there’s another door that the butler opens with his handprint.

“You can stay here for the night,” he says. “You’ll be safe here. I’ve got to go deal with some unfinished business.

I’ll come back in the morning.”

Before you can say anything, the butler has already closed the door. You’re locked in a dimly lit room that smells faintly of salt and vinegar. You look around and see a few dirty beds against the wall.

There’s not much else in the room save for a table and a single chair in the middle.

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You walk over to the chair and sit down in it, then immediately jump up. The seat is hot! You look underneath the chair and see a heating element attached to the bottom of it.

You try not to think about how much this room resembles a torture chamber as you lay down on one of the beds and stare up at the ceiling, which is being projected with images of the night sky.

“Well, this isn’t so bad,” you say aloud to break the silence. “I’ll be safe here for the night. The butler guy said he’d be back in the morning.

I can’t wait to tell him that his boss is a…”

Suddenly, the stars on the ceiling begin to move. They form a pattern that seems familiar, and then you realize what it is. It’s the constellation of Orion, the hunter!

Orion has three stars in his belt. They’re moving out of their normal position. They’re moving towards you!

You just barely roll off the bed as a spear flies through the air where you were lying. Another spear flies in and pierces the pillow you were lying on. The final spear spears the bed frame.

You run for cover behind the chair as a fourth spear flies in. It bounces off the arm rest and pierces the floor, right next to your head.

“Okay, this is really starting to freak me out,” you say.

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You look up again and see that the spears have stopped moving. They’re still, aimed at you. You look away and then look back again.

Still, they haven’t moved. You slowly get up, trying not to make any sudden moves. You creep toward the stairs that will take you back up top.

As soon as you put your foot on the first stair, the spears move again. They’re aiming for your legs. You try to jump back, but fall off the chair and onto the floor.

At least the spears don’t move too fast. You have enough time to get out of their way. You jump over one spear, then another, then another. By the time you’re on the last spear, you’re already at the stairs and about to run up them.

Just as your foot hits the first stair, the final spear pierces your heel. You fall down the stairs, bouncing off each one. You’re screaming in pain as you roll down the floor and into the room below.

All you can feel is pain and all you can hear is your own shrieks of agony. You don’t think anything is broken, but you can’t be sure until you take your foot out of the spear. You try to pull it out, but it’s stuck tight.

Eventually, you manage to pull it out. You scream in pain once again as blood drips from your foot. The spears above you are still, as if the whole thing was a coincidence.

You have a feeling that it wasn’t though. There’s some kind of trickery at work here.

You crawl over to the closest bed and lie down on it. You wrap a torn part of your shirt tight around your bleeding foot to act as a bandage. You’re going to need to be able to walk and running will be out of the question.

You just hope the bleeding stops soon.

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You close your eyes and take a deep breath, trying to forget your pain for a moment. When you open your eyes again, you see something sticking out of the wall that you didn’t see before. It looks like a remote of some sort.

You decide to see if anything happens when you press the buttons.

You press the first button and a movie screen drops down from the ceiling. It starts playing a documentary about the history of film. You giggle a little bit at just how cheesy it is.

This guy had this installed in his room?

The next button plays music. It’s not your taste, but it’s not bad. The next few buttons you press are for other TV shows. One is a nature show about penguins, or something. The next is an action show, which looks pretty old. It’s in black and white, the special effects are horrible and the acting is even worse. The final one shows a series of clips from a kids show, with a puppet as host. You’ve never heard of it before.

“Hi! I’m Puzzle Puss! And today I’ll be showing you how to do a variety of things around the house!” the puppet says in a high-pitched tone.

“Oh what the heck…” you say and press the button again.

Suddenly you feel the floor disappear from beneath you. The bed softly catches you as it turns into a slide, sending you down into the basement. A collection of pinball machines and arcade games lines the walls.

A swear escapes your lips before you even know what’s happened. The floor turns back into a floor and the bed back into a bed once again.

What the hell?”

you say out loud.

You look around and see some of the machines are turned on. A few have coins inside them and you spot a familiar looking silver one with a clown on the front in the corner. It’s the same one you used to play at that old bar.

You walk over and sit down, remembering how to play after just a moment. You play for a while, trying to get a high score, but eventually realize that you really should try to find a way out of here. You’ve been down here a while and the guy with the mask might come back down for more torture.

You stand up and walk over to the other side of the room where you find another staircase. This one has a live person at the bottom, looking up at you. It’s the girl from the tape.

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“Hey!

Who are you?”

she say in a panicked tone, taking a step back.

“I’m… I just woke up in this room too and…” you say, but she doesn’t seem to listen.

Instead she turns and runs, heading to the other side of the room. Another staircase is there, leading up this time. You try to call out to her, but she’s already gone.

You head up after her.

When you reach the top, you find yourself in yet another hallway. Three more doors wait for you. You go through the one on your left, as the girl went through the one across from it.

You find yourself in a room with two baths and nothing else. The room she’s in has a bed, a dresser and a bookshelf.

You go back to the hallway. Left again is a dark room filled with what looks like surgical equipment. Something tells you you’re not supposed to be in here.

You go back and try the last door on the right.

You find yourself in a room with a large table in it. On the table lies a woman, completely naked and…

dead? You’ve seen enough dead bodies before to know what one looks like. Something about this one scares you though. There are scars and cuts covering the body, which is misshapen and deformed in several areas. The body is missing both feet, the left arm and the right hand, which are all placed in a neat row on the table with the body. The most horrifying part is the fact that someone has taken great care to make the body look like… well, like a doll.

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“Ah, I see you’ve found my masterpiece!” You turn around to see the man from before, holding an object under his arm. “This is my…” he pauses, seemingly searching for the word.

“Creation. I’m a… what did you say those strange men called themselves? An artist. This is my latest work of art.”

You killed this woman and disfigured her body to make it look like a doll?”

You ask, not really knowing what to say.

“No, no, no!” he says, walking over to the table. He places the object under his arm on the table and you see that it’s a wooden model of a…

cat? “This is my last piece, but I’m not quite done with it. It’s supposed to be a perfectly normal cat. The woman on the other hand…” He walks over to the woman and strokes her hair affectionately. “She is my ultimate masterpiece. I’ve taken away everything that would make her look human and remade her into a work of art. I call it ‘The Final Dollification’.”

“That’s… Well, that’s certainly something.” You say, unsure of what else you can say.

“You should stay and watch! She’ll wake up any minute now.” The man says excitedly, walking back over to the cat and picking it up.

You hear a door open behind you and turn around to see the girl from before standing in the doorway. She stares at the two of you before quietly turning around and walking away.

“Hey!” the artist shouts, turning to watch her go. “

Where are you going?”

“I’m leaving.” She replies from down the stairs.

Why?

You haven’t even heard about my masterpiece yet.” He says, walking over to the door. You hear him call out for her, but she’s long gone. He sighs and walks back over to the table, laying the cat down next to the woman’s hand and picking up one of her feet.

Shall we begin?”

Follow the girl and find out what happened to her

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You do your best to stay as quiet as possible. You only really make one mistake, stumbling into a nest of broken glass, but you manage to keep your head down and back away before the rats attack. For the most part, they ignore you, although you do get bitten a few times.

It’s not long before you reach another door. You try to open it, but like the last one, it’s locked. You search the nearby area for the key and find it lying on a table in the middle of a large, empty room. You quickly head back to the door and unlock it before heading through.

“I feel like I’ve been in this cabin before. It all seems very familiar.” You hear a voice say behind you.

“Have we… met somewhere?”

You turn around, but no one is there. “Oh, that’s right. I died before we had the chance to meet.

That’s a shame. I always thought that we would’ve become good friends.” You hear the voice say. As soon as you realize who it is, your heart nearly bursts with joy.

Lisa?”

You ask, even though you know she’s dead.

“That’s me!” She says happily. “Or at least, it was.

I suppose I’m nothing more than a mindless ghost now.”

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“You’re here. I never thought I’d see you again.”

“I’m not sure how you can see me at all. I’ve never been able to show myself to anyone before. I guess since you saw me before, when I was alive, that means we had a special connection.”

“You could say that.” You reply, smiling fondly at the memory of the first time you met her. “

How have you been?”

“Bored out of my mind. I’ve mainly been stuck in this house for the past few weeks, only leaving to get food in the morning and then returning here to sleep. If I had known dying was this boring, I would’ve done it years ago.” She complains, although you can tell she’s being playful with you.

Why have you been haunting this house specifically?”

You ask.

“Because of her.” Lisa says, irritation clear in her voice. “That doctor’s wife invited me in, and then forced me to stay here against my will.

She did some really cruel and grotesque experiments on me. I’ve been trapped here, unable to leave, for the past three weeks. At first, I was too scared to do anything, but then I realized that she was giving me time to practice. The last thing she said to me before I managed to escape was that she was going to kill my husband and child.” You feel a pang of dread in your heart when you realize that she’s talking about Elizabeth. “I need your help. If we work together, we can save them and escape from this house.”

“Of course!” You say, ready to start looking.

“We have to be quick, the sun’s about to come up, and I don’t survive its rays for long.” You look around the room, and spot a trunk at the bottom of the stairs. You walk over to it and open it, surprised to find that inside are various notes about different experiments.

What are these for?”

You ask, showing Lisa a page describing how she was able to survive without food or water and only minimal oxygen.

“Those are my notes. I figured if I was ever freed, I would be able to recreate the process and achieve my goals of immortality.” She says.

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“I need your help to turn these into reality.”

“You can count on me.” You promise, as the sun starts to rise. You look up, and realize that your vision is a lot more blurry than it was a few seconds ago.

“Uh, Lisa, I think the sun is affecting me…”

“I know. It affects us both. That’s why we don’t have time to waste.” She says, opening the door.

“I’ve been watching that woman for the past three weeks, I know her patterns. She always leaves the house at eight to go to the hospital. We only have until ten to break the spell.”

What do we have to do?”

You ask, preparing yourself for the long list of tasks ahead.

“First things first, we need to get my husband and daughter’s bodies out of their graves.”

What? Why?”

You ask in horror.

Did you see how old my husband was?

He’d be physically unable to break the spell. My daughter however, was still young, about your age. If we’re to break the spell, and get immortality, we need to use her body instead. Once she’s dead, she’ll become young again and will be able to join us.”

You feel sick as you realize what she’s saying. “Lisa, I don’t…”

“We don’t have time for this! The longer you stand there arguing with me, the less likely we’re going to succeed!” She says, grabbing a shovel and walking towards the graveyard.

“Help me, or don’t, I’m going to do this myself if I must.”

You realize there’s no point in arguing. You’re either going to help her, or you aren’t.

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]

You help Lisa dig up the grave. You find yourself sobbing throughout the whole process, and you’re really thankful that Lisa can’t hear your cries as she’s already experiencing enough sadness herself. After half an hour of digging, you finally unearth Patrick’s body.

He looks so pale and ghostly, like something out of a horror movie. You didn’t know him for long, but he was so kind to you.

“Okay,” Lisa says, leaning against Patrick’s grave. “Help me push the body into the bag. We need to dispose of it.”

You approach the corpse slowly, before grabbing one of its arms and pulling as hard as you can. It slides out of the grave with relative ease, and you wrap it up in a garbage bag that Lisa got from somewhere. You wonder if she had it prepared for this occasion, or if she thought of it a little bit ago.

Either way, you put it in the trunk and push the grave dirt back in, trying to ignore the corpse in the next room.

You go to sit down at the dining table as Lisa cries over the newly formed grave. You don’t feel great about what you’ve done, and you find yourself beginning to blame Lisa. If she hadn’t taken away your free will, this never would have happened.

You wouldn’t have had to kill Patrick and bury his body. You wouldn’t be facing certain doom along with Lisa.

The thought occurs to you that Lisa may have planned all of this. Maybe she drugged you when you showed up so she could take control of you. Maybe she’s been controlling you for a lot longer than you thought.

You don’t know what her plan was, or if she even had one, but it makes you feel a little better knowing that it wasn’t entirely your fault.

Sure, you still killed Patrick and buried him in his own backyard, but how could you have resisted?

You feel tears coming to your eyes as you see Lisa sitting alone in the graveyard, sobbing quietly. You don’t know what she’s crying about. Patrick has been dead for years, after all.

Is she crying over the fact that she killed him? Is she crying over the fact that her plan failed? Or is she crying over the fact that you had to help her?

Maybe it’s a combination of all three.

You get up to join Lisa, and find yourself walking very slowly. You feel a mixture of anger, sadness, confusion and a whole bunch of other emotions that you don’t want to admit are there.

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You can see Lisa fighting back tears the whole time.

“I’m sorry,” she says finally, once you’re close enough to hear. “I’m just…

really upset right now.”

“It’s fine,” you reply.

Sources & references used in this article:

Butcher’s Broom by S Horne, M Montgomery – treelite.com

Wild and cultivated plants: a note on the peasant economy of Roman Italy by JM Frayn – The Journal of Roman Studies, 1975 – cambridge.org

Bucher’s Broom and Selenium Improve Lipedema: A Retrospective Case Study by S Nourollahi, TE Mondry, KL Herbst – Altern Integ Med, 2013 – lipedema.nl

Management of varicose veins by RH Jones, PJ Carek – American family physician, 2008 – aafp.org

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