Tag Archives: Harvest

Fiction – The Harvest: Unwelcome Visitor

Today’s Flash Fiction is a continuation of the story I posted for the corn related challenge a few weeks ago. I plan on adding to this story serially (cereally?) over the coming weeks. They’ll be available on my Wattpad
page as well. Wattpad is a story sharing site and everything is free. Enjoy the story!

Victor Avalon pulled his car into the farm’s driveway and shut the engine off. There was no truck here and that was good. From what he’d been able to dig up, the guy that lived here only had one vehicle. He made monthly trips about this time to pick up supplies. The whole trip usually took something like eight hours. If he timed this right he had about four hours of quiet time and that was on the conservative side.

He reached into his glove box and retrieved the thirty-eight. He broke open the cylinder to make sure it was loaded. He grabbed a couple of speed loaders, the rings of bullets letting him reload without having to do it one at a time. The gun went into the right pocket of his windbreaker and the bullets into his left. He patted his hip to make sure the cell phone was still there and grabbed his camera. This was just going to be an information gathering trip.

He got out of the car and inhaled deeply. He’d spent his youth on a farm like this, but that had been decades ago. He never forgot the smell though, and how much he loved it. He didn’t know what he expected when he took the case, but to wind up here wasn’t it. He wasn’t convinced that the young man, Jake Pond, was responsible for the deaths in question. He’d keep an open mind though and leave it up to the eventual jury. He took a few minutes to walk around the grounds. The boarded up farm stand hadn’t been used this season. He pulled at a few of the two by fours and they were very sturdy with no evidence of rot. The nails that held them in place had oxidized a little, but were pounded in true and judging by the lack of holes he hadn’t set one wrong. It all showed a very ordered mind. The construction of the stand itself was nothing fancy. It was a good fifteen or twenty years old and had been patched here and there, but it stood up to the years and the weather better than some houses.

The boy he was here after hadn’t built it. Maybe the elder Pond or a farmhand was responsible. You couldn’t tell precisely by the limited information he had, but something told him that it was the boy’s father. The father and mother had died five years ago. According to his digging there hadn’t been anything suspicious. Satisfied with the shed, he moved towards the house. It was original to the family, built in the twenties, by the grandfather. This land went back a hundred and fifty years with the same bloodline. None of them had given in to make a quick buck on the land sale. That even the son had kept thing up was a little surprising. Kids these days usually didn’t value history.

The stairs were as solid as everything else. They did seem newer than the surrounding wood. The father had died in a fall. He scratched his chin. The screen door and the wooden one beyond were closed tight. The brisk wind tried to pull the outer door open, but it wouldn’t budge. He reached into an inside jacket pocket and pulled out a pair of blue gloves. He snapped them on with practiced ease and made sure that the camera’s strap wouldn’t get in his way. The screen door wasn’t latched or locked. The stout inner door showed a brand new deadbolt and a door handle that couldn’t be more than a couple of years old. The metal was bright, even on a dim day like this. There were no scratches around the keyholes.

He pulled out his set of picks and went to work. The deadbolt was tough, but he got it in less than forty-five seconds. The door handle’s lock yielded in less than five. He hesitated before opening the door. What if the boy was waiting inside for him? He reached down and pulled his cell phone free. It had four bars. His coverage was good even this far out. He put it in his left hand windbreaker pocket with the bullets and pulled the pistol from its place. He opened the door with his left hand, slowly. It didn’t creak; it just swung into an empty hallway.

The place was somewhere between a tomb and a museum. In the entryway there was a bookshelf to the left with all manner of books on theology and agriculture. That was, of the books whose spines he could read. Some were in foreign languages. There wasn’t a speck of dust to be found. The grandfather clock at the end of the entry way was stopped at one thirty-seven. He freed up his hands and powered up the camera. He made sure that it operated silently and the lens would take advantage of all the available light. Through the lens he could see that the furnishing and carpet were likewise scrupulously clean. There wasn’t a sound in the place.

He swung through the first doorway on the left and into a sitting room. The sofa and love seat were covered in plastic. Under that he could see hand tatted doilies on nearly every surface. The coffee tables were also covered. The only non-vinyl surface was a hardwood rocking chair. He was no expert, but he guessed that it was antique. The rest of the furniture was only twenty years old at most. He’d bought similar sets for his now dead wife. He took pictures of every square foot to pour over later. The door out of this room led into a small, formal dining room. The pattern was repeated here. Nothing appeared to be actively used and the dining table and chairs weren’t old by any means. Still, it appeared Jake wanted to make sure that nothing marred their surface.

From the dining room he could either go back out into the hallway or into the kitchen. He chose the kitchen. Here was the first glimpse into the twenty-first century. The refrigerator, dishwasher, range, and microwave were all gleaming stainless. The refrigerator was far larger than any one person would need. The only old thing here was the island and a butcher block rolling cart. The latter was a little scarred but well maintained. Various knife handles stuck up from the block top. Nothing was left on any of the sparse counter space. The room smelled faintly of strong coffee and bacon grease, with something unpleasant just underneath. He snapped a few more pictures and let the camera hang from its strap.

Satisfied it wouldn’t get in his way, he drew the pistol and made his way around the kitchen, opening cabinets and drawers. They were filled with a small amount of completely normal groceries and flatware. It was in this that you could see there was only one inhabitant. He had everything he needed for his own use and no more. He must have washed dishes after nearly every meal. It was also apparent that he cooked everything from scratch.

When he had become a bachelor everything came out of a box. Like this boy though, he now found satisfaction in making things the way Mom did. Finally his trek took him to the refrigerator. He was reluctant to open it, but couldn’t see why. Not one given to watch horror movies, life held horrors enough, even he knew about the kinds of things that happened in them. He held his pistol tightly, chided himself, and opened the door. There was no decapitated head or jar of eyeballs, just some milk, eggs, packages of lunchmeat, and some fresh vegetables. He let it shut and chuckled.

He opened the freezer and nearly screamed. There was the head he had feared. She looked to be about his age, old enough to be the boy’s mother. There were no pictures. That struck him. So far he hadn’t seen any pictures on the walls or book cases. He swallowed back the bile, pocketed his gun, and took a few pictures of the head for later identification. It was wrapped in clear plastic, but the features were clear enough. With a trembling hand he closed the door and pulled his pistol again.

Now he had something to go on. Still, he wanted to make hay while the sun shone. This wasn’t a large house by any means. He could have the whole thing searched and be done in thirty minutes. Suddenly he wanted to be out of here. The rest of the first floor held a bathroom and another sitting room. One must be a parlor and the other the living room. Damned if he knew which was which. There was no television on this floor. There was no computer either.

He went up the stairs. Only here did he hear his first creaky stair. There were three doors at the top, all closed. He started with the one on his left. It opened easily. This was a boy’s room. It was bigger than any one boy needed, but when the house was built, sharing rooms was more common. There was a single bed, made up in primary colors. Posters from a local baseball team and a national team were hung with care. A book case held books on the sciences, astronomy and anatomy taking a front row. He had a shelf with a few trophies, mostly baseball, but some football as well. They were all from about ten years ago. That made sense. A small telescope peered out of one window. On a whim he looked through the eyepiece. It was trained on the incoming road.

He was about to pull his head away, when a motion caught his eye. A truck was slowing down on the road at the end of the driveway. He couldn’t move his head if he wanted to now. The truck pulled in. It must be the boy’s. “Damn it. You were supposed to be gone all day.” He backed away from the window in a crouch. There was no way the boy would have seen him. All the damage would be done by now though. His car was plainly visible. He had thought about parking up the road, but there had been no good place to park.

“Think. Think.” He had to see what was in that last room. There was time and the windows on that side would mean an exit out of view of the driveway. He left the bedroom, careful to close the door and leave it as is.

The middle door proved to be a modest bathroom. Here were the first signs of real habitation. The scent of shampoo and deodorant hung delicately in the air. Anxious to answer a burning question, he opened the medicine cabinet. Small brown bottle filled one shelf. He took a picture, not wanting to waste another second. If he got out of here alive then he may have some more answers. He backpedaled out of the bathroom and opened the last door on this level.

He was flooded by a sense of normalcy. The queen bed was a rumpled mess. Dirty clothes littered the floor. In one corner he spied what could have been a gold mine if the boy hadn’t gotten home so early. The laptop was closed, but a light in one corner blinked at him. The printer beside it has a few papers stacked on top. He worked his way around the bed and peaked at the top sheet. It was a print out from a local newspaper. The faces of a young couple looked up at him. He was intimately familiar with them thanks to his client.

Satisfied that he’d learned all he could, though not all he wanted, he turned to one of the draped windows. He pulled the cover back and saw that this looked out on the back of the house. Perfect. He unlatched it and raised the window smoothly. A short space of roof, over the kitchen if he didn’t miss his guess, was like an island of security. There was a short drop, but provided he moved slowly it wouldn’t be a problem. He swung his leg through the open window and perched on the ledge. Once fully outside, he closed the window. There was no way to lock it. By the time the killer figured out where he had been he would be long gone.

A fresh breeze picked up and chilled his neck and legs. He looked down and saw that his pants where damp. He didn’t know if he’d pissed himself or sweated through the material. He didn’t have time to worry about that. He’d be ashamed later if there was any shame to be had in fear of this killer. The next part was a little trickier than he thought. There was no good hand hold for him to use once he lowered himself. He could hold on to the window ledge for a bit to stabilize himself. At some point though he would need to let go and trust his feet. He dropped his right foot off of the ledge and stretched it down for the roof below. Without being able to look it felt like he was going to step into thin air.

With a “Hail Mary full of grace” on his lips he let go and was thrilled to feel the solid wood of the roof beneath him. He almost tumbled backwards and at the last minute threw himself forward. He landed on hands and knees with a solid thump. Anyone below would be sure to hear the fuss. He moved as quickly as he could in a kneeled position. The edge of the roof wasn’t far away. He moved towards the absolute rear of the house, finishing the trip on his stomach.

He rose up just enough to make out what he could of the back yard. A small lawn tractor was parked near the house. A shed, probably for tools and chemicals, stood straight and tall about ten yards from the house. It was of newer construction than the rest of the house.

“Hello!” The voice carried well. It was deep and booming. “Hello! If you can hear me I bear you no ill will. You’re on my property and I want you off. It ends there.”

That deal wouldn’t last long. If he stood by it at all, once he saw the camera gear it would be a no go.

The voice didn’t get any closer. He repeated himself a couple of times, each time growing fainter.

Now he edged far enough out that he could see what lay just below the ledge where he lay. The flat strip of grass looked hard. It wouldn’t be a soft landing. He examined the gutter. He wasn’t sure it would hold his weight. There were a million reasons not to do this, but one great reason to get it done. He could escape almost certain death.

There was no time like the present to get it done. He secured the pistol in his jacket pocket. He didn’t want it bouncing loose when he fell. He’d do his best to land on his feet. If he broke a leg at least he could shoot the bastard if he needed to and finish the day off by crawling to his car. He didn’t worry about breaking the camera. Its memory card would survive the drop and that was what he needed.

He turned his body around and dangled his legs over the edge of the roof. The gutter bit into his stomach through his coat and shirt. There was a soft groaning as the sheet metal bent under his weight. He eased himself out more and more, kicking his legs. Finally he reached the gutter with his hands. It was the only thing he had purchase on. It held his weight long enough for him to stretch out his body’s length. He had enough time to wish he were a foot taller when the gutter gave way and sent him to the ground below.

He wasn’t able to get the “Oh shit!” all the way out of his mouth before he hit the ground. Rather than landing on his feet, he fell flat on his back. The air woofed out of his lungs and then his body locked up, refusing to replace the breath with new fresh air. The rational part of his brain knew that he wouldn’t die from lack of air. He’d be able to breath in a few seconds. The more primitive part of his brain knew that death was close.

He struggled with every fiber of his being to move. The blue sky above him filled most of the range of his vision. He was able to move his eyes and saw movement in one of the windows. If the maniac was taking the time to look around the bedrooms, he would make it. He drew a ragged breath and then another. The shock of the impact was wearing off. He rolled to one side. He was closer to that cornfield than he would like. Those places gave him the creeps. He shook off the feeling and made it the rest of the way to his feet.

He stifled his groan from the aches and pains. He’d feel that fall in the morning. Slowly, he began the walk to his car. After only a few steps he reached for his pocket to retrieve the gun. He freed it and was happy to see that it was all in working order. He pulled the hammer back and continued the walk. With his left hand he checked the camera. There was no time to check his pictures, but a cursory inspection showed no physical damage. If he could make it up the road, he’d upload the pictures to his online file storage. It needed a 3G signal or better or an open Wi-Fi hotspot for that. He wished he had one here. He’d upload them now.

His mind tracked back to the laptop. There hadn’t been any internet hardline attached to it, had there? He looked up at the house and saw the curtain move in the freak’s bedroom. Setting his jaw, he moved to the shed. It was closer than his car. He holstered the gun and lifted the camera to his face. A few button taps later and he saw an open wireless router listed. The “Netgear” allowed him to connect.

“Do you wish to upload your pictures?”

“Hell yeah I do.” He clicked the yes button and watched the first file begin to upload. Now, no matter what happened, someone would have pictures of what he’d seen. He let the camera fall back to his side and drew the pistol again. He would wait as long as he could to let the pictures upload.

A gust of wind plucked at his hair and rustled the corn stalks. It sounded like whispering.

He had a moment to register the shadow near his feet before a burst of fresh pain spread out from an impact point in the small of his back. He was able to cough out a scream before the point of a sickle erupted from just above his navel. The pistol cracked off a shot as his finger yanked the trigger reflexively.

It took great strength to lift a man a foot off the ground while he was impaled on the primitive tool. The blade was sharp and the weight of his body caused it to cut upwards. The blade was stopped by his rib cage. The awful smell of his guts spilling into the fresh country air filled his nose as the pain and shock took his mind away.

He felt his body falling and the blue sky was nearly the last thing he saw as he died. The other thing, a scarecrow of monstrous proportions, had to be a product of his imagination. Finally, everything went black.

The Harvest – Forgiveness

Today’s Flash Fiction is a continuation of the story I posted for the corn related challenge a few weeks ago. I plan on adding to this story serially (cereally?) over the coming weeks. They’ll be available on my Wattpad
page as well. Wattpad is a story sharing site and everything is free. Enjoy the story!

Jake watched the car recede into the distance. He stumbled back a few paces and squinted at his hands. He was having difficulty seeing them. It wasn’t until then that he realized that he was wearing his hood. He ripped it off with his left hand and saw that his right held the sickle. When had he taken it from his belt? He threw it to the ground.

“What have I done?” He’d killed less than a dozen people since he’d first used the sickle as a weapon. They had always been adults, and they had always been alone. He never took more than one a month. It was all the ground required, and they were always the sort of person no one would miss. Then the young couple had come to his farm. Taking them had been an act of impulse. It felt right.

“I enjoyed the killing. I wanted to feel their blood on my hands.” He turned and stumbled to the stairs. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He gave a body to the ground, and it gave back to him tenfold. It wasn’t about joy. It was no more than good farming.

“I sent them.” The whispered voice came from the nearby cornfield.

Jake rubbed at his ears with the heels of his hands. “I’m not hearing this. I almost killed that little girl and her mama. You don’t need them.”

“You are hearing me, Jake. You’ve been good to me. I need you to keep being good to me.”

“I’m hearing voices. My killings are…” He searched for the word that he’d heard on some cop show. “Escalating. Oh my god, I’m a serial killer.” He looked across the driveway at his mask and sickle. “I’m not doing it for you. I’m doing it for me.”

He fell to his knees on the hard packed earth and looked up at the pristine sky. “Take it from me, God!” He held his hands up to the sky, clasped together. It wasn’t the first time he’d begged like this. When his father had still been alive he would take this pose to try and avoid a whipping. He wanted that whipping now. “I don’t want this any more. I’ll be a good boy.”

“God won’t answer you, Jake. I’m the god that you chose.” The corn field rippled at its nearest edge. A man stepped out, dressed in dark jeans and a red and black checked shirt. His face was hidden in the shadow of his hat. Each of the man’s arms ended in a sickle. “You will continue to appease me, Jake.”

Jake’s head whipped around and he looked at the thing that stood there. He screamed and scrambled backwards on all fours. “Oh, no. No, no, no. God, no!” Tears and snot ran down his face.

The thing with hooks for hands strode forward. “Oh yes, Jakey. You will water my fields with blood. You will fertilize it with bones. If you do not do this, then I will be most displeased. You will have to take your station in the field, scaring away the crows.”

Jake’s mind flashed to the scarecrows. He imagined blackbirds unafraid of him as he hung there, arms and legs held in place with bailing twine and barbed wire. They wouldn’t be scared until his eyes and the flesh from his face had been pecked clean. That would take a very long time. Even after his sight was mercifully taken from him, he would hang there for eternity, the sun burning him and the twine cutting into his flesh.

He scrubbed at the snot and tears on his face with the back of one sleeve. “I don’t want that, sir.” His voice was cowed.

The edge of one blade caressed his cheek. “I know you don’t, Jake. So, you go on and do what I tell you to. Then things will go well with you. Only more blood will wash your stained soul clean.”

“Yes, Daddy.” He came to his feet, stumbling a bit as he did. The figure was gone. He walked over to the mask and sickle that lay on the ground. He reached down and grabbed them, tucking them both in his belt. The corn god would send him more people soon. He needed to be ready.

He didn’t want to fail.

The Harvest – Mother And Daughter Date

Today’s Flash Fiction is a continuation of the story I posted for the corn related challenge a few weeks ago. I plan on adding to this story serially (cereally?) over the coming weeks. They’ll be available on my Wattpad
page as well. Wattpad is a story sharing site and everything is free. Enjoy the story!

Jolene looked in the rear-view mirror at her daughter. The eight year old girl’s hair was done up in pigtails. It was adorable but she could see that it wouldn’t be much longer before that little girl cuteness would dissolve into a full grown beauty. She still had a few years of innocence left and Jolene intended to make the most of it.

“Nicole, we’re almost there.”

Nicole looked up from her book and smiled. “Kay, Mommy.”

The corn maze was just ahead, at least she hoped it was still a corn maze. She’d gone there when Nicole had been just a toddler. Richard thought it would be a great idea and it turned out to be one of the few times that year he was right. It had been the last time they’d had fun together as a family. The cancer took him away just six months later.

When she saw the sign advertising fresh corn she got excited. If they were still selling corn then there should still be a maze. She wasn’t a country gal by any means, but she thought the stalks would still be high and green. This whole trip had been a little last minute. She lost her job the week before and she wanted to use the time off to be with her little girl.

She flipped the blinker even though there were no cars coming in either direction. She hadn’t seen a vehicle in the last ten miles, but now this old highway was off the beaten path ever since the bypass opened up. She slowed well in advance and stopped before turning onto the drive.
When she saw the corn, tall and lush in the distance, her heart swelled. It was going to work out. The only vehicle parked by the boarded up farm stand was an old pickup truck. The joy she felt took a dangerous dip. There was a house closer to the cornfield, but it looked like it had seen better days. She pulled her little Honda to a stop beside the truck.

“You stay here, baby. Mommy is going to see if we can walk in the corn.” She got out of the car and closed the door, only after making sure that the back window was rolled down. It was a warm day and she knew that the car could heat up in a hurry. Satisfied that Nicole wasn’t going to follow her, the girl always had her nose buried in a book these days, she walked to the house and mounted the steps. They were more solid than she thought they’d be. Not a single one creaked.

The front door was screened and the interior door opened. She heard a radio on inside, some hellfire and damnation preacher going to town. Not a religious person herself, she wrinkled her nose at the strident tone. She knocked on the door and waited. Seconds crept by and finally she knocked again. “Hello. Is anyone home?”


Jolene nearly jumped out of her skin when the soft, deep voice came from behind her. She spun around with her hand to her chest. “Good Christ, you scared me.”

The young man with curly red hair frowned slightly. “My apologies for scaring you ma’am. Don’t need to take the Lord’s name in vain though.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot. My name’s Jolene.” She held out a hand and took the opportunity to give the man a once over. His overalls were spotless. She could see the handle of some sort of tool sticking out from behind his back. He had a rough cloth of some sort tucked into his belt.

The frown evened out into a thin line. “Good to meet you Jolene. How can I help you today?” He didn’t offer to complete the handshake.

Eventually she dropped her hand. “I came out here a few years ago and my husband and I brought our daughter. We did the corn maze.”

The frown re-appeared on his face. It brought life to his otherwise flat eyes. “Sorry, Jolene, we don’t have the maze anymore.”

“Sh-… Shoot. That’s too bad. I was really hoping my daughter and I could have a look around.”

“Didn’t bring your husband?”

The question bothered her a little. It wasn’t like she needed a man. “He passed away a few years ago.”

“My condolences. I lost my parents not all that long ago.” He tried to smile. “I tell you what, why don’t you and your little girl have a walk in the corn rows? It’s not quite a maze, but it’s a beautiful day and I won’t charge you anything. I’ll even let you pick a few ears for free.”

She smiled. “That would be so great. I can’t thank you enough.” She tried to step around him and they did that little two step that people do when trying to avoid bumping one another. She made it to the steps and walked to the car. When she walked around to let Nicole out, she saw that the man was gone. She hadn’t heard the door open and shut. “Where did you go?”

The wind died down and all she could hear was the wine of crickets out in the field. She looked at Nicole. The girl was slumped against her seat belt. Her book had fallen to the car’s floorboard.
For a brief moment she was terribly afraid that the farmer had reached through and snapped her neck done something to her. When she saw the rise and fall of her baby’s chest, she sighed in relief.

She took her keys in hand and walked back around to the driver’s side, keeping an eye out. Subconsciously, her fingers walked the keys around the ring until she had her pepper spray ready. Her thumb flipped the little safety stud. “We’ve changed our mind. Thanks!” She didn’t know if he could hear her and didn’t care.

She got into the car and cranked the engine to life. Relieved, she hit the lock button and put the car in reverse. She looked into the rear view and saw the man right behind her. He stood inches from her rear bumper. “Moron.” She edged backwards and then threw the car into Drive and cranked the wheel hard to the right. She floored it, spitting rocks and dirt up onto her would be host. She left him in the cloud of dust and had a moment to realize that she couldn’t see his face, before having to focus on getting out onto the road. The last thing she wanted was to run into a ditch.

The Honda was two miles down the road, air conditioning bringing the car’s interior down to sub-comfortable temperatures when Nicole woke up. “Where are we going, Mommy?”

“Home, baby. Maybe we’ll get some ice cream on the way. The man back at the farm didn’t want us to stay.”

Nicole soon dozed back off and Jolene didn’t stop until she was back on the highway proper.

The Harvest – Yuppies

Today’s Flash Fiction is inspired by Chuck Wendig’s challenge from last week – Another Ten Words. It’s a continuation of the story I posted for the corn related challenge a few weeks ago. I plan on adding to this story serially (cereally?) over the coming weeks. They’ll be available on my Wattpad
page as well. Wattpad is a story sharing site and everything is free. Enjoy the story!

Marcie let out an exasperated huff, for the third time on the trip back from her Mom’s funeral.

“What is it, dear?” Brad hissed through clenched teeth. He’d had about enough of her attitude. The only reason they’d gone was to hear the reading of the will. That turned out to be a colossal waste of time.

“You know damn well what it is. You were captivated by Charlene the whole time we were there, or at least by Charlene’s ass.” She turned and glared at him, bright green eyes shards of bottle glass.

He shook his head. “I was just amazed by the sheer size and roundness of it. I’ve never seen an ass like that on a white girl. I like big butts and I can not lie.” The joke fell flat, but it was at least a change of pace from the silence or the only other alternative, the screaming.

“Stop the car.” She hit him on the arm.

“What the actual hell?” It had hurt, but it hadn’t made him lose control. Lifting weights three times a week kept him buff.

“I said stop the car. Or at least stop the deceit. You’ve been lying to me about your trips out of town, haven’t you?”

This again. “Look, Marcie, I have to do a lot of traveling. You knew when I took this job that would be part of the deal. I’d have to be out of town a week a month.”

She hit him on the arm again, in the exact same god damn spot. “Stop the fucking car.”

He slowed down, looking for a place to do exactly that. He’d spaced out the last few miles. They were in the middle of nowhere. It must have rained here in the last half an hour and there was no way he was pulling the Beemer off onto a muddy shoulder. He spotted a sign up ahead, but couldn’t read it yet. “You’re so interested in me stopping, you’ll have to wait a minute.”

She turned and glared out the front window.

He could almost smell brimstone coming from her pores. He’d seen her mad before, but never anything like this. In the ten years they’d been married there had been plenty of ups and downs. Their physical relationship started off great. She still had the body that she had in high school and he had a better one. Things had cooled off in the last couple of years. The lack of any fruit from their sex life had something to do with that, he was sure. She’d been ready for a baby for the last eight years. He didn’t feel like he’d ever be ready.

He pulled onto the gravel side road and stopped. The sign he’d seen earlier read “Fresh Corn” in a brownish-red paint and pointed down the road. He could see a corn field in the distance. He turned to look at his wife. It felt like there was a canyon in between them instead of just an emergency brake. He bridged the gap with his arm. “Look, Marce…”

“Don’t you ‘Marce’ me.” She slapped his hand away and shouldered open her door. When she was out, she slammed it as hard as she could.

“Jesus Christ.” He put the car in drive and followed her. He watched her start jogging. Tan legs flashed below the hem of her jean shorts and her white sneakers bit into the rocky surface.

The road turned into driveway of sorts. When he reached the end, Marcie was leaning against an enormous oak tree. A deflated balloon hung near one of her shoulders with a manic looking clown superimposed on silver mylar. Three slashes split the clown’s face and it appeared to be staring at him in warning or accusation.

He parked the car near a battered old pickup truck and got out. A farm stand stood boarded up a dozen yards past the tree. A farm house that looked like it could use some TLC in the form of some paint or maybe a molotov cocktail sat further back from it. “Marcie, let’s not do this here. We’re likely to be less than an hour from a hotel. I’ll find us a place to stay. We’ll even get separate rooms if that’s what you want. You’re just grieving the loss of your Mom.”

She dug the toe of one shoe into the red clay near the oak’s base. “I won’t be grieving that bitch any time soon.” She looked up at him. “What I miss is what we used to have.”

He felt the anger began to build up. It’s gone because of you. He wanted to shout it until the rage disfigured his face. Instead he took a few calming breaths. “I miss it too.” He took a step towards her.

A screen door banged shut just past the tree. “We’re not receiving visitors right now.” The voice was strong, deep and masculine.

Brad moved to one side to see who was speaking. The oak was no weeping willow. It was eight feet across if it was an inch. “Sorry. We just had some car trouble.”

The owner of the voice, a youngish man with a mop of red hair, was dressed in coveralls and heavy work boots. “Really? Sorry to hear that. Won’t start at all?”

Something in the man’s eyes made Brad want to run. That was ridiculous. He had at least fifty pounds and three inches on Farmer Brown. “I’m sure it will. We just wanted to let the engine cool down a bit.” He looked back at Marcie. “We need to go, honey. They’re expecting us back home.”

She looked at him in confusion. “Who are you talking about? There’s no one…” She stopped as Brad nodded towards the farmer.

“Maybe I can help you get where you’re going.” The farmer’s voice was muffled now.

Brad looked back and saw that the man was wearing a bag over his head. His mind went blank as he saw the hand scythe gripped in one of the farmer’s work hardened fists. He couldn’t move, not even when Marcie’s head tumbled to the ground at his feet. It was like an atomic bomb had gone off in his brain, wiping out all cognition. He didn’t even feel the pain when the man’s weapon bit deep into his neck.

Had to use:










The Harvest – My Corn Flash Fiction

Under The Empyrean Sky
I’m all about spreading the love. So I’m going to give away a copy of the Kindle version of Under The Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig. All you have to do is write some flash fiction that features corn.

Details are here.

I thought I’d share with you my own corn story. I hope you enjoy it!

Jake stood at the edge of the corn field. The brown leaves whispered to one another. Stalks swayed in the wind. People always mentioned how creepy it was. He wondered if they thought corn fields were creepy before those movies came out, or if that was what started it.

He was pretty sure that there was always an element of fear involved. He’d been out in the middle of the sea of brown when it had still been green. It was hot and claustrophobic. Even then you couldn’t tell if there was someone just on the other side of the curtain of vegetation.

Goosebumps rose up on his skin as he thought about it. He supposed he couldn’t blame people for being afraid. Hell, he’d wet his pants the first time he saw a scarecrow. It wasn’t one of the cutesy Halloween costume jobs. Dad had made it truly terrifying, even for people.

The guardians and the grain didn’t bother him now though. He’d been exposed to it his whole life. It was the life’s blood of his family for generations. Until recently they’d done very well. When things went south, Dad even made their field into a Maize Maze and charged people two bucks a pop to wander around. Laughter coming from the acreage didn’t seem right. It was almost sacrilegious. He and Dad had argued about it, but the old man got his way.

Now that the land belonged to Jake, he’d put an end to that nonsense. Sure, there wasn’t much money in corn, unless you owned one of the mega farms. That didn’t matter much to him. Mom and Dad had huge insurance policies. The house was his free and clear. He planted his corn the old fashioned way and harvested it by hand. A few city folk even came out and bought up the stock he put out for sale. He broke even most years.

Jake took the burlap sack from his belt and pulled it over his head, tying it in place around his neck. The holes were a little hard to see through, but he knew his rows like the back of his hand. All good farmers did. He pulled the hand sickle from his belt and smiled under the mask. The screams were just now becoming audible. The lady from the city must have gotten tired of hiding.

He stepped into the whispering waves of grain. Fear had returned to the land once more. The harvest was ripe for the picking.