All I wanted was to be free. Not a tree. The technical term for my illness was epidermodysplasia verruciformis, better known as tree man syndrome. I grew up in the hamlet of Wickenby. My father worked at the Royal Air Force station where he designed light aircraft. My grandfather flew in the RAF. My great-great-grandfather, Ernest, was a carpenter. It was reported that Ernest Wood died due to complications associated with turning into a tree man. Through my genealogical research, I established that my rare and recessive disorder had skipped two generations.
I always had a death wish, I just didn’t expect it to come true while I was still alive. Funny that. The condition was called Cotard’s Delusion, named after the neurologist Jules Cotard, who described the disease as a delirium. The denial of ones own self-existence. The feeling of being dead, basically.