THE LEGEND OF THE TREE OF GOOD AND EVIL synopsis (LEGENDS part one)
When a fast-growing tree-shoot springs up in the middle of Julia Genesee’s backyard, her parents pick it like a weed. Asking herself why everyone has to be so mean, the 14-year-old eighth grader from the town of Humansville would have loved to climb its branches one day. She desperately wants Humansville to be a better place to live. As she heads off to school, it starts raining. When she returns home, she is excited to find a full-grown tree in her backyard. The tree is filled with green leaves and red, juicy apples. A dripping wet player piano sits next to it, making haunting music.
As her parents and brother Nathan come home, they join her in the backyard. Each is perplexed by the mysterious tree. Julia bites into a gorgeous, shiny apple from the tree, but her dog Meatloaf barks a warning—worms are crawling from the fruit. Julia drops the apple after swallowing a chunk, and Meatloaf kicks it under a bush. Out of curiosity, everyone in Julia’s family eats the glistening apples on the tree anyhow. Despite their attempts, there is no way to turn off the player piano. It plays creepy music all night long and keeps the neighbors awake.
The next day, Julia and her family have superpowers from the apples. They are each taller in stature and stronger in form than they have ever been. With bulging muscles, Julia can lift the family car from the driveway. Nathan can throw the football to the end of the street; his mother and father can rearrange the dining room furniture in minutes. Despite the worms in the apples, everyone in her family craves more apples and the results of eating them. Meatloaf continues to bark at them . . . to no avail. Julia’s mother even makes batches and batches of homemade applesauce so they can eat handfuls of the fruit at once. Life seems so much easier when eating the rotten apples, except when Julia gets detention at school for slamming the bathroom door shut and breaking a window. She also bumps a lab table in chemistry class and accidentally knocks it over, shattering its glass bottles and flasks.
After school, Julia notices a scantily dressed woman crawling in the tree, singing along with the player piano. As the story goes, the woman says its music has the power to bring life or death, and Julia gets to decide which one she wants for her town. As a descendant of Eve, the first woman, she says her name is Evelyn and shares the legend of the Tree of Good and Evil with Julia, saying the Tree appears from time to time to test people. After all, when Julia said she wanted Humansville to be a better place, she did ask for the Tree’s appearance. Until the town understands its faults, how will it ever be a more gracious place to live? Evelyn recounts the time when Eve and her husband Adam ate its apples and were kicked out of Eden. She observes that Julia and her family have clearly become addicted to the Tree’s apples. Julia says that sounds similar to what her science teacher taught about rats and mice becoming addicted to narcotics and other illegal drugs.
When Evelyn disappears, Julia gathers the apples from the Tree and hides them in her bedroom so no one else can get any. But as soon as she picks the apples, the Tree grows more fruit. Meatloaf barks at her as she hides the apples, howling at the fruit, instead of being tempted by it. As man’s best friend, the dog tries to protect Julia from the poison. Even if the apples make her big and strong, Julia decides she doesn’t want to be addicted to them and doesn’t think anyone else should, either. The apples grow back overnight. Later that night, Evelyn appears asleep on a tree branch, mumbling something to Julia that her family can’t see Evelyn. Why? Simply put, her family did not ask for the Tree.
Although Julia tries to stop eating the apples, she suffers from withdrawals and feels like she’s hallucinating. She thinks she has no choice but to eat another apple. After she eats the fruit, she temporarily feels better, but then ends up destroying everything in her path in a fit of rage. She realizes that she got her powers too easily and did not earn the responsibility that comes with them. Hours later, she feels even worse, almost like she’s dying, and craves more apples. Julia’s family and neighbors who have stolen apples from the Tree act in violent ways, destroying the neighborhood. The Tree keeps producing more bad apples.
Longing to save Humansville, young Julia begs a very jealous Evelyn to tell her what to do. Although she wants to help humans learn a lesson, Evelyn also withholds information for a solution from Julia. As merely a messenger, Evelyn says she will never be a true human being and hates humans for their freewill. After a wrestling match with Julia, Evelyn admits that she knows of a second tree, the Tree of Life . . . in Eden. The seeds of its fruit create an elixir that reverses the curse of the apples on the Tree of Good and Evil. She says there is a window that opens next to the Tree of Good and Evil at midnight on the seventh full day of the Tree’s appearance. When the player piano plays a magical song, the window allows a person to travel to Eden. If Evelyn helps Julia through the window, she wants Julia’s assistance in becoming human. Julia vows she will help Evelyn in any way that she can.
When the window finally appears, Julia jumps through it to find a golden tree, the Tree of Life. Then, Julia realizes that she is unable to get back through the window to Humansville. Sticking her head through the window, Evelyn gloats that she tricked Julia into leaving her friends and family to die in Humansville. If Evelyn can’t be a human, then the humans will die. If Julia wants to come back to her hometown, she can beseech Adam II, the new ruler of Eden. Evelyn says that it is only Adam II who can change her into a human being, and he has previously refused her request, saying that she is only a messenger and does not have the strength for freewill. If Julia doesn’t speak to Adam II now, Evelyn says there is no hope for anyone in Humansville—Julia’s family and friends will die in a matter of three days.
After Julia seeks help from the residents of Eden to meet Adam II, she finds him on his throne of fire. Upon hearing Julia’s story, Adam II speaks to Evelyn through the window and chastises her for her lack of compassion for Humansville. Although he originally sent Evelyn to grant Julia’s wish for a better Humansville, Evelyn was not supposed to cause any havoc. Even though it was Evelyn’s first foray into the town, Adam II forbids Evelyn to ever become a human being. As punishment to Evelyn, he commands her to appear chained to the original Tree of Good and Evil in Eden for eternity, saying she will be a sign of the dangers of evil. She weeps in regret.
As Adam II opens the window to Humansville and sends Julia home, he gives her golden apple seeds from the Tree of Life. He tells her to make an elixir from the seeds to save her dying family and friends. Then he asks her to save one seed and plant a Tree of Life in Humansville as redemption. After returning to Humansville, Julia visits her high school chemistry lab, makes the elixir, and runs to her family and friends with the potion. Meatloaf the dog goes with her, helping to save lives. When Julia rids the town of the cursed apples, the Tree of Good and Evil disappears, but the player piano remains for Julia as a reward for passing the test. She takes the piano inside her home. Although it now plays more hopeful melodies, she also learns to play it herself. All the while, she watches blossoms bloom on the Tree of Life as it grows in her backyard, wondering what test it might bring Humansville next. She realizes that Humansville improving itself was never that simple.
THE LEGEND OF THE TREE OF LIFE synopsis (LEGENDS part two)
It has been several months since the Tree of Life stood tall in 14-year-old Julia Genesee’s backyard in Humansville. With the Tree of Good and Evil gone, all seems quiet and serene. Then one night in a thunderstorm, lightning hits the Tree of Life, and it cracks through the trunk of the tree into its roots. Listening to the player piano in her living room once again play a magical song, Julia and her dog Meatloaf run into the backyard only to find that the song opens the window to Eden for a second time. Evelyn, a descendant of Eve, partially crawls through the window to deliver a message to Julia. Although Evelyn can’t crawl through the window entirely—because she is chained to the original Tree of Good and Evil in Eden for eternity—she warns Julia that Adam II has been captured by an evil ruler named Prince Ubel. He wants all the power from the original Tree of Life in Eden, and he has sent lightning storms to all the places in other worlds where seeds were planted to grow secondary trees. If she is brave enough, Evelyn asks Julia to visit Eden and help save Adam II and the original Tree of Life, which Prince Ubel has uprooted from the springs in Adam II’s palace and hid in an unknown location. If Prince Ubel controls all the power of the Tree of Life, he will have the ability to decide the life and death of every soul everywhere, and he will most likely destroy them and their children to create his own species—a species that would make any humans subordinate to them. Because humans have too much freewill, Prince Ubel’s new race without freewill would control any humans who are not killed. Evelyn tells Julia that she only has minutes to decide if she is up to the task. The window will soon close, and Julia will not have a second chance to slip through the window. Worried her family will wonder where she went, Julia scribbles a note in the dirt saying: “Be right back.” Before thinking about it too much, she jumps through the window and sits next to Evelyn, chained to the Tree of Good and Evil.
Rain pours as Julia and Evelyn sit beneath dripping tree branches in Eden. Evelyn explains that Adam II has been gone for days, and Eden is desperate for someone to find him and the missing Tree of Life. Then to Julia’s surprise, out from behind the tree trunk jumps Meatloaf. She wasn’t aware that her dog had followed her through the magical window from Humansville. As the dog starts to howl, a looming figure walks in the shadows until he appears to the women. Holding the sword that was supposed to guard the Tree of Life in Eden, Prince Ubel threatens the women to either join him with the rest of Eden or die. He tells them that Adam II has only days to live and that the power from the Tree of Life will then be his forever. The Prince taunts Evelyn and says that he would surely free her from being chained to the Tree of Good and Evil, if she serves him. Unable to think of anything else to do other than lie, Julia tells Prince Ubel that she will join him in his reign. Secretly, in her heart, Julia plans to kill Prince Ubel at the earliest moment and free Adam II, but she can’t convey this to Evelyn in front of Prince Ubel. Evelyn gasps and refuses to join Julia in her supposed betrayal. Then Prince Ubel decides that Evelyn’s fate chained to the Tree of Good and Evil is worse than death, so he leaves her chained to the Tree, and he departs with Julia and Meatloaf.
Later that evening, Julia arrives at Prince Ubel’s camp outside of Adam II’s palace. He gives her a tent and says that his soldiers will move into Adam’s palace once his belongings are removed. The Prince says he wants to put Julia in charge of identifying all the Trees of Life throughout the cosmos. If she could organize them into an exact list, then Prince Ubel would be sure they were all destroyed with his lightning attacks. He shows her the key for the vault in his tent, where the maps of the Trees of Life are held in safe keeping. He tells her to arrive early in the morning to start her job. When Julia asks Prince Ubel where he is keeping Adam II, the evil prince threatens Julia with the sword that once protected the Tree of Life in Eden. When Prince Ubel isn’t looking, she grabs the key to the maps. She apologizes with tears and runs with Meatloaf into her tent to sleep for the evening. While in the tent, Julia whispers to Meatloaf that he must go out during the night and find Adam II and come back and give her a clue as to his whereabouts. After she sends Meatloaf out, she sneaks back over to Prince Ubel’s tent and spies through the curtains to see where he has kept the sword that protected the Tree of Life. As she peers through the curtain, Meatloaf returns with no clue as to where Adam II might be. He whimpers and digs in the dirt. The sword from the Tree of Life is also nowhere to be found.
Curious as to what else might be in the vault, Julia slips into Prince Ubel’s tent with the key while he is asleep and opens the vault door when his guards are not looking. Next to a set of maps is a second key, which Julia believes might be able to free Adam II. As she lifts the key and the maps from the vault to take them with her, she finds the missing sword. She looks at Prince Ubel who is fast asleep and then glances at his guards. With Meatloaf outside the tent, she decides that she has no choice but to kill Prince Ubel now and put herself in charge until Adam II can be found. She takes the sword and decapitates Prince Ubel. Then, she stabs the prince’s guards in the back with the sword before they notice what she is doing. Meatloaf runs into the tent and barks. As other soldiers approach the tent, Julia holds the head of Prince Ubel on a dinner plate. She points the sword at the guards and declares that she is now the ruler of Eden, and they will bow to her or be destroyed with the rest of the prince’s soldiers. In terror, the guards flee as a beam of light streams from the sword and strikes them dead.
Before any more guards arrive, Julia grabs Prince Ubel’s head on the plate with the maps and the second key and flees with Meatloaf back to Evelyn. She figures the only way that Evelyn will trust her is if she shows Evelyn the head of the dead prince. When Julia arrives to Evelyn, she gasps in horror and asks if Adam II has been found. Still unable to find Adam II, Julia unrolls the maps from the vault. Fascinated with how many seeds have been planted from the Tree of Life in other worlds, Evelyn asks her if she and Meatloaf checked in the caverns below the palace for Adam II and the uprooted Tree of Life. She said there is a channel of rivers that runs beneath the palace into caverns. Maybe there is still time to find Adam II before he is killed in captivity by whatever inevitable trap Prince Ubel set. So, Julia and Meatloaf set off on a small boat with a lantern that descends into the caverns. As they hold up their lantern and descend into the caverns, the water grows higher and higher, and the boat nears the top of the ceiling. After hours of floating along a dark corridor, they come across Adam II behind bars in a corner of the cave. The Tree of Life had been tossed next to him with the roots toward the ceiling. Julia uses the second key that she found in Prince Ubel’s vault, and it opens the cell door.
Thankful for his release, Adam II tells her he thought he had only a few more hours until he drowned in the rising water. She tells him that she killed Prince Ubel and took control of the kingdom, but Eden is in disarray, and they must hurry before someone else tries to put themselves in charge. Worried that they still might drown, Julia hurries back into the boat with Adam II and Meatloaf. She floats the tree next to the boat, as Adam II holds it, and they try to float to the surface. After hours of rising water and capsizing a few times, Julia and Adam II return to the surface. The Tree of Life, however, is sopping and moldy, and Adam II is concerned it won’t grow. Now in charge of his kingdom again, Adam II carries the Tree on his back and replants it firmly beside the springs of his palace. Slowly, over a few days, the Tree begins to bloom. For her faithfulness, Evelyn is released from being chained to the Tree of Good and Evil. Adam II once again sends Julia back to Humansville with seeds from the Tree of Life. After returning through the magic window between Eden and Humansville with Meatloaf, she plants the seeds in Humansville in her backyard to grow another Tree of Life, hoping for a second chance. Watching the sun rise over the hills, her family never even noticed she was gone.
THE LEGEND OF THE TREE OF BLEEDING HEARTS synopsis (LEGENDS part three)
When a tree bleeds costly hearts, more courage is needed than ever before.
Fourteen-year-old Julia Genesee's backyard starts to bleed red, pink, and white hearts from the Tree of Life that she planted months before. Covered in blood, Evelyn, a descendant of Eve, shows up to tell Julia that one of her worst enemies is now out for revenge and has already killed Adam II, the ruler of Eden. When he died, almost all the trees in Eden bled heart petals. Before it gets worse, Evelyn asks Julia to finish what she began and rid Eden of an evil regime. Otherwise, the regime will make its way to Humansville, and there's no telling what might happen then.
After planting a second Tree of Life in her backyard, 14-year-old Julia Genesee notices a strange phenomenon on the branches: tiny little flowers that look like hearts grow from its limbs. As it was growing into a full tree, it looked like the first Tree of Life that grew in her backyard after the Tree of Good and Evil disappeared, but when it grew to full form, it started to change shape and bloom red, pink, and white hearts. From a distance, it almost looked like the tree was bleeding. Of course, her family thinks nothing of it and ignores all of her attempts to discuss the mystery with them. On a windy night when her family is asleep, she and her dog Meatloaf dance beneath the tree in a storm of falling hearts. Fascinated at their shape, Julia grabs them in her hands and studies them. She collects enough to make a design across the top of her player piano. As she does so, the player piano plays its magical song and opens the window to Eden for the third time. Free of her sentence of being chained to the original Tree of Good and Evil, Evelyn, a descendant of Eve, stumbles through the window covered in blood.
Evelyn tells Julia that Adam II has been killed by the brother of the deceased Prince Ubel that Julia decapitated, named Prince Asmodeus. Adam II was killed while sitting on his throne when Prince Asmodeus charged his sanctuary. Although Evelyn tried to save Adam II, she was unable to keep him alive. Evelyn begs Julia to return to Eden with her once again and help protect the kingdom from Prince Asmodeus. With Adam II dead, the kingdom is vulnerable to a corrupt ruler. Reluctant to return to Eden again, Julia questions how much help she would be at protecting the kingdom. Evelyn explains that if Prince Asmodeus gains full control of Eden, then he will come for Humansville next. She says that the original Tree of Good and Evil and the original Tree of Life still stand in Eden, and they are the only thing keeping Eden from becoming overtaken with evil. After Adam II died, she explains that many of the trees in the land bled hearts, which is why the phenomenon began in Julia’s backyard. All the while, Meatloaf whimpers as the player piano continues its concert at the sight of Evelyn covered in blood. Julia is not sure what to think and wishes that everything could be made right in the world.
Before the sun comes up, Julia decides to travel with Evelyn back to Eden. Of course, Meatloaf, her faithful canine friend, accompanies her. As Julia travels through the magical window to Eden, she is confronted by a vision of Adam II asking her: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Shocked at the interaction, Julia arrives in Eden, asking Evelyn: “Are you sure Adam II is dead?” She explains she just saw him in the tunnel between Eden and Humansville. As Evelyn and Julia tread across Eden in an attempt to kill Prince Asmodeus, Julia has visions of Adam II, giving her motivation to save the land.
When Julia first arrives in the Garden of Eden, she sits at the trunk of the original Tree of Good and Evil in tears. Red, pink, and white hearts cover almost every tree in the kingdom, and the petals blow in the wind, catching Julia’s hair. Evelyn brushes the petals from her face, so that she can see clearly. Wanting to wash the blood from her body, Evelyn asks Julia to come with her to the springs at Adam II’s palace, so she can bathe in the waters. She explains to Julia that she tried to save Adam II's life and was instead covered in his blood. As she washes in the springs, Julia sees Adam II standing next to the original Tree of Life that grows by the waters. After a moment, his image fades away, and Prince Asmodeus marches into the grounds with a group of guards. Julia grabs Meatloaf and hides behind the Tree of Life. Evelyn swims and hides in the corners of the springs, whispering that she thought Asmodeus was in hiding, fearing for his life. Neither Julia nor Evelyn can hardly breathe. Studying the Tree of Life, Prince Asmodeus rants and raves, asking his guards to figure out how to open the widow to Humansville. He wants to overtake Humansville because Julia killed his brother. Covering Meatloaf’s mouth until the evil Prince leaves, Julia sees another split-second vision of Adam II, after which Prince Asmodeus retreats with the guards. Evelyn hops out of the springs, and she flees with Julia to the hills, where Adam II’s sister, Princess Bethany, lives in hiding. According to Evelyn, Bethany’s son, Jairus, is the next man in line to be king. In the meantime, the Princess is deciding if she wants to be Queen or pass the right to her son.
As Julia and Evelyn approach Princess Bethany’s cottage in the hills of Eden, Jairus steps out on the front porch with a spear. He runs to greet the two women, embracing Julia and telling her that he is honored to meet her. He knows that she rescued his deceased uncle and killed Prince Ubel. He invites Julia and Evelyn inside his mother’s cottage, hoping that none of Prince Asmodeus’ guards followed them. That evening, they have an elegant feast, and Princess Bethany explains that she wishes to pass the crown to Jairus. They are in hiding until they can figure out how to defeat Prince Asmodeus. As Evelyn talks with the Princess about Humansville, Jairus and Julia dance by the fireplace. He kisses her and gives her the sapphire necklace from around his neck in gratitude of what she did for Eden. She places it under her shirt. Then she has another momentary vision of Adam II, wondering why she is seeing his face again.
Before Julia can regain her composure, Prince Asmodeus’ guards burst through the cottage door and stab Princess Bethany in the heart. Jairus stabs several guards with his spear and throws kitchen knives at them. Petals from the bleeding trees blow through the door into the fireplace as Jairus holds his dying mother. Julia fights off the guards with the irons by the fire, and Evelyn cracks one of the ceramic pots over a guard’s head. With Princess Bethany’s dying words, she blesses her son as the new King of Eden. She charges him to take the throne. Julia promises to help him as much as she can. Burying his mother in the morning, Prince Jairus collapses in tears. Julia suggests that the three of them leave before Prince Asmodeus sends more guards for a second attack. Then Julia sees Adam II again holding the bleeding hearts, as though they had the solution of how to defeat Prince Asmodeus. She asks Jairus: “Do you think the bleeding hearts from the trees can be used to kill Asmodeus?” He explains that it has been said that the bleeding hearts act as poison to anyone who has evil in his heart. If the person has good in his heart, then the hearts act as protection. This is why the trees produced hearts when Adam II was killed. It’s like they were crying to protect Eden. Wondering how the bleeding hearts could ever kill Prince Asmodeus, Julia gathers as many petals as she can in a wooden bin. After a few minutes, she suggests making the petals into a serum that can be put on the tip of an arrow. She suggests baiting Asmodeus at the Tree of Life by the springs and shooting him with a concentrated dose of bleeding-heart serum. Jairus agrees, and the trio collects as many bleeding hearts as they can and crush the hearts into a serum. Once the gel-like serum is made, the trio heads to the Tree of Life with a special deadly-tipped bow and arrow. Upon reaching the Tree, Jairus stands in front of it, screaming: “Come and find me!”
Within minutes, Prince Asmodeus arrives with a legion of guards. Julia lies in wait as a sharpshooter. Evelyn crushes more bleeding hearts for extra serum for other guards. However, Julia’s first shot might be her last if she misses Prince Asmodeus. She waits for the perfect moment and aims for his heart as he charges toward King Jairus. On the first shot, he collapses and cries in pain. One after another, Julia sends other arrows with serum into the guards. As his guards collapse, Prince Asmodeus fights the hardest to stay alive, charging toward Jairus with his sword drawn. Before he can slay Jairus, he falls to the ground, and Julia stabs the Prince in the heart with his own sword. Then she sees Adam II standing next to him with grief. Now King Jairus is ruler of Eden, and peace will once again be restored. Before Julia steps through the window to leave Eden, Jairus kisses her and hopes that she will one day return. Then Adam II suddenly appears, granting Evelyn’s request to become a human being. After all the trials, she is finally responsible enough for freewill. He says that Julia has saved not only Eden, but also Humansville, and he is eternally grateful. Although the trees in Eden have stopped bleeding hearts, one tree grows strong at the place of Adam II’s death—the original Tree of Bleeding Hearts grows through his throne. All three original legendary trees stand tall in Eden, radiating domes of light as sacred testimonies to the reign of Adam II.
Julia returns to Humansville with the relief that the evil that started in Eden ended there. Three symbolic trees of the original Trees of Eden also now stand tall in Julia’s Humansville backyard: The Tree of Good and Evil, the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Bleeding Hearts. Every time Julia sees the trees she is reminded of the battle between Eden and Humansville and that nothing should be taken for granted.
Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters