There were thirty-one of them in all, mostly evenly-spaced apart. There were many different poses and styles, too. A balance of females and males, adults and children, even the wood varied from form to form. At first she thought they were sculptures made by some long-ago craftsman and presented along the beach as offering, perhaps.
Maybe, whatever. She wrapped her arms tightly around her shoulders. They were creepy, though. She made sure to run her eyes along the horizon in every direction, turning in a complete circle because those "Tree People" made her uneasy for some reason, and she felt the overwhelming need to make sure she was alone; the last thing she needed was to let down her guard enough to allow a few of Them to crest the surrounding dunes toward her location.
The Tree People picked at her curiosity, despite the aura of unease they emitted. As she neared the closest one, she took a look over her shoulder, just to be sure, then stood on her tiptoes to inspect the Tree Person's face. Interesting. Though it perfectly resembled a young man in shape and form, there were no chisel marks or other signs of man-made creation. It seemed more so that this curious artifact was, in fact, grown and not sculpted.
"But that's impossible," she whispered, her nose not an inch from the Tree Man's chin. The details in the bark were exquisite, from the flowing tunic at his waist to the knots which perfectly represented eyeballs. She shivered; this may not have been done by a man's hand, but it was very unnatural.
She took a step back and thought, Maybe it is some kind of curse. Maybe these people were once alive and are now trapped inside the bark of trees as punishment for all eternity for some long-ago transgression.
Against whom? Them? Unlikely, she scowled, They did not possess the power to create, especially things so eerily beautiful. They sought only to destroy.
The Tree People all shared a similar, pensive expression, with their eyes all locked expectantly on the horizon. There was a certain pull to that stare, and soon she followed their unblinking gaze toward the same spot on the water.