Old Man Scarecrow
Sweat poured and poured down my face. I bent over for about the 400th time and picked up the corn that I had dropped. I almost had to get on my knees to pick it up, but I just barely managed it. My back hurt, my feet hurt, my eyes hurt, but little did I know that my eyes would hurt even more in a few minutes. The Farmer didn’t even give me sunglasses. All he gave me was gloves (which only increased the sweltering heat), and a basket.
I moved a few feet further and bent over for the 401st time. Nothing new. New. I would definitely find something new, just give a minute. Back when I was a few hundred feet away from my current position at that time, I swore I saw something over the cornfield. A crow also flew near the thing.
I was near the thing, but I wasn’t paying any attention at all. Then I saw a shadow on the ground. I looked up and jumped back when I saw the ominous figure standing above me. A scarecrow, The Farmer had said something about Old Man Scarecrow. Weird, I’d seen that one crow before, but I hadn’t really ever seen a crow out on the farm. I would quickly learn why.
I knew I shouldn’t have, and The Farmer might have punished me again, but I stood there. I stopped working and gleamed at the scarecrow. It seemed normal, at first. I almost assumed it as a sort of friend, something that could reassure my loneliness on the farm. But I kept staring and made more observations.
I looked at its clothes. They were stitched on to the hay inside of the scarecrow, which was strange. I wasn’t sure how that worked. I looked at the feet, the socks were stitched to the pants and the black shoes were tightly tied on. The gloves were more of the same.
The face, that damn face. It didn’t look like a sack, it looked….like leather. The eyes were stitched shut, but the mouth was open. Inside of the mouth was a fabric divot. There seemed to be a small hole in the middle of the divot though. Lastly, inside the fabric divot, was two corn kernels. Overall, the face looked like stretched leather and was generally creepy.
All of this I spent a long time looking at, completely silent, just my thoughts. That’s until I heard a groaning noise. It was very faint, and I must have drowned it out while staring at the scarecrow. Then the skin started stretching out a tiny bit more. I quietly muttered, “Dear God.”
I took two steps back… and heard the cocking sound of a shotgun. It was The Farmer. How did he get out here? How did he know? He must have been watching me. I dropped the basket of corn and turned around. There he was, sure enough, holding his shotgun.
He said in a soft voice, “Step aside.” I stepped to the left and he pointed the shotgun at the scarecrow’s head. I heard a slightly louder groaning noise before the scarecrow’s head was blown off. Bits of brain and blood flew all over. I stood there, frozen in shock, as The Farmer pulled the legs and arms through the nails that were originally holding the body to the cross. He laid the body on the ground.
He then turned the gun to me. He pointed in a direction and told me to go there. He led me to his garage, pointing the gun at my back the whole time. I was about to turn around, but The Farmer saw this, and said, “Don’t.”
The Farmer pulled a remote out of his pocket and pressed a button. The garage suddenly opened. He kicked me into the garage before bashing the shotgun into the back of my head. I crawled on the ground, barely alive, while the garage door closed. Come on, stay awake…just stay….awake… I told myself. But I couldn’t, I just stopped, my head hit the ground and I closed my eyes.
The sound of metal hitting a hard surface woke me up. I was on a table, tied down completely. I could not feel a single thing. I looked around more and saw that my pants and shirt had been stitched to my skin. I quickly realized my fate.
I couldn’t move my mouth. It stayed open. He then stitched a piece of fabric onto my lips. This was the fabric divot from earlier. There was even a small hole in the middle.
Then the worst part happened. He laid his hands over my eyes and easily closed them. He then stitched my eyes shut. I was then untied, and thrown into the back of a pickup truck. I couldn’t feel my body, must have been drugged.
I heard the sound of a truck drive over a cornfield. It stopped, and I was suddenly lifted out of the back of the pickup truck. I then felt my hand placed on a piece of wood, as something sharp was jammed through my hand. Then it went through faster. He was nailing me to the wood. The Farmer did this to my other hand and used bigger nails on my ankles.
That was the moment I felt something on my hair. A hat was stitched to my hair. Then a tube was inserted into the hole in my new fabric mouth. A jelly-like substance was pushed through the tube. This must have been some kind of nutrient, as I knew nothing to do but swallow it. Another tube was inserted after the last had been taken out. Water was pushed through this time. The last thing he did was put corn kernels in my mouth.
The last thing I heard was a truck drive away. I was stranded. Stuck to a cross. This was my life now.
About an hour later, I heard the squawk of a crow. A crow head entered my mouth, trying to get the kernels. I didn’t want this, so I bit down on the crow’s head. It started clawing at my face and squirming, but it eventually stopped. I felt the body of a crow hit my shoe as it fell to the ground. I spat out the crow’s head too. I understood that this was my purpose now.
I still stand here, repeating the story over, and over again in my head. I don’t entirely know why. The Farmer inserts the tubes three times a day. I still gnaw off crow heads, but few living creatures would ever want to come here. And I now accept that this is my life.
Cursed is he who can do nothing but live in pain, and recollect on his life when it was advancing. I can only wait until there is a new worker, and The Farmer tells him about, Old Man Scarecrow.
credit: C. J. Smith
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