You won’t see it until it’s too late. Any forest you go into, any woodland you traverse, any park you walk in… hell, anywhere a tree grows, there’s a chance that it will be there too.
It blends in perfectly, matches whatever flora surrounds it. The environment doesn’t matter; whatever the sunlight and water levels are, that’s irrelevant to this thing. Flesh and blood are the only things it needs.
Its leaves are just an illusion, like camouflage. Whenever it has its prey in the right spot, those leaves just vanish and it goes straight into full predator mode.
It was born in in the depths of Madagascar, they say. The ancient natives thought of it like a god and routinely made sacrifices to it, something that missionaries discovered to their shock and horror. It was the travelling of these missionaries that allowed the creature's spores to travel across the globe. By now, there are clusters of these creatures spread across every continent.
By now you might be asking, what is this thing? It’s a tree. A carnivorous, man-eating tree. Its branches are tentacles, wooden pythons that catch their prey. Its eyes and maw are hidden within its bark, concealed from sight until it’s too late for you to do anything. It’s a patient monster, likes to wait until you’re nice and close, so close that you couldn’t escape it if you became aware of what it was.
Its tentacles will snatch you up like wooden pythons, wrapping around your body until you’re entirely cocooned by the wood. If it’s not the suffocation that kills you, it’s the crushing. The tendrils will constrict and bear down on your body, breaking every one of your bones in the most painfully-slow way you can imagine. If you’re lucky, you’ll be caught by a grown one, since they can kill you faster like this. The younger ones, well, a crushing from them can take time.
When it’s done crushing the life from you, then it eats. Its bark opens wide into a gaping maw of teeth, like two rows of gleaming steak knives. Its tentacles tear you limb from limb and then it gets to work munching every limb and slurping every little droplet of blood that escapes your corpse. It is always hungry, always eager to feed.
What’s the name of this man-eating tree you may ask? Well, there is the ancient term used by the Madagascar natives and the rough English translation of the name.
I See You.