1) Of Screams and Nightmares
The deep blue sky had darkened quickly as Farmer Jake Flayger did his slow trek across his fields.
“Dang October evenings come quick and cold,” he cursed quietly to himself.
His body was aching all over from all the hard work, and being cold only made it worse. Jake glanced to the right, taking in the impressive view of his property, containing row upon row of ripe green corn shoots stretching across the horizon.
Jake felt fortunate that autumn was unusually warm, and he was able to get one more crop in. As he continued his walk, he noticed the six scarecrows that stood scattered across the field. He didn’t remember putting out so many, but still he was impressed with his handiwork in making them.
Scarecrows with their worn patched coats, gloved hands full of hay, and their cloth sack heads with sewn button eyes. All this along with those old hats his father had kept, made a nice final touch to his cornfield works of art. They gave his fields a good country feeling. But why were there so many of them out there now? He wondered.
“Must be at least a half-a-dozen of ‘em, at least. Well, an artist at work would lose track after making so many masterpieces.”
The field worn farmer then turned and looked ahead toward his old barn. The two-story, rotting affair was old, very old, and often he wondered why he still used it to store his equipment.
“I should have torn it down a long time ago and built a new one. Must have been too busy making scarecrows,” he laughed to himself. Jake knew the place was rotten and unsafe, but it also gave him a nostalgic feeling to see the barn. Demolishing the place would be like euthanizing old Bette, his retired milk cow. All farms need to have an old rustic barn.
No, he would keep the place, though he had to be careful about the building. It was rickety and old.
While Jake was lost in backwoods thoughts of his beloved barn, an unusual thing was happening out in the cornfield. As he passed the scarecrows, their heads slowly turned to follow him. Button-eyed heads somehow saw Farmer Flayger as he walked past them. As Jake progressed closer and closer to the barn, an excited energy rippled through them with such intensity that tiny blue sparks danced across their exposed hay as if they were live wires deadly to the touch.
Now Jake, a thick-headed corn jockey, was beginning to have a clue that something unnatural was in motion. The hairs on his arms were standing up, and a bout of nervousness was settling in. Could there be a storm coming? There wasn’t a cloud out there. Maybe something was wrong with the barn? His mind raced with uneasy thoughts, something was not right. Then he saw the barn door. It was slightly ajar even though he had been religious about always keeping it closed and locked.
Reaching the barn, he cautiously slid through the gap. Inside it was dark, too dark for this time of day. He could barely see anything in front of him.
As he reached for a flashlight hanging from a support beam he noticed there were already lights. Tiny, blue-tinged ones spread out through the darkened barn. As he watched them, he could make out shapes formed by the lights, triangles, circles, and zigzags. He stared at the lights until he saw that they were actually faces, that of almost a hundred glowing jack-o’-lanterns. Jake’s last living thought was that he didn’t even grow pumpkins on his farm.
His scream echoed outside across the empty cornfield. Not even the scarecrows were there to hear it. Only their support polls remained.
It was getting late when Jason Myers rode his bike up to his house. Feeling some anxiety for missing supper, the young boy bravely opened the garage, ready to face any punishment in store for him. Strangely, it was empty with no sign of his mom’s car. Instead a table sat in the middle with a large carved pumpkin resting on top. Its face decorated with triangle eyes and nose along with a square teethed mouth. The type of jack-o’-lantern you would see almost everywhere. Ignoring it, Jason moved to park his bike, when he heard a voice whisper to him.
The boy looked around the garage unsure of who was speaking to him.
“Jason.” The voice spoke again.
This time Jason knew where it was coming from, the jack-o’-lantern. Slowly approaching it, he could see that something was inside it. Peeking through the pumpkin’s carved openings; Jason could see a boy’s face inside. It was his own.
“Trick-or-treat!” Jason said to himself from inside the pumpkin.
Waking up the twelve-year-old opened his eyes and sat up on his bed, it was still dark.
“What a weird dream,” Jason thought out loud. Then he smiled. “That’s because it’s almost Halloween.”
Jason happily went back to sleep.
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