The scarecrow stared through the door while Jason ate his dinner. The porch door was conveniently located so the cornfield could be seen just by turning one’s head. Jason didn’t dally with his vegetables. It’s normal for a ten-year-old to hate broccoli, but his mother was a woman of love and strict discipline, so Jason learned to eat quickly. Tonight wasn’t any different, other than the fact that his father and mother were lying upstairs with their skulls cracked open.
The day before was nothing out of the normal. Jason’s mother spent her day cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry, while his father tended the field. His parents were old souls. They didn’t mind the roles they were dealt in life. A provider and a caregiver. Nothing more – nothing less.
Jason spent his day with his father. The field was vast, with countless rows of corn. While running through the field, Jason would keep his eye on the giant scarecrow that sat near the center. There were six scarecrows in the whole town, but his was the largest. It’s weathered overalls, tattered flannel shirt, and leather hat made it seem inviting, but its face told a different story. Jason recalled watching his mother sew it on. Its eyes were misshapen and its mouth crooked. Jason hated and feared it. Late at night, he would check the window several times to make sure it hadn’t moved. Luckily, it never did – until…
Jason checked the window that night. Surprised, the scarecrow was gone. He strained his eyes, searching for it, but it wasn’t on its perch. Frightened, Jason went to alert his father, but their bedroom door was closed. He remembered his father thoroughly enjoyed the pie that night and eyed its maker across the table. Knowing their intentions, Jason waited by the door, but time was running out.
Near the end of the hallway, a shadow appeared at the bottom of the stairway. Long ligaments slithered as the light enhanced the shadow with each step. Jason froze when the scarecrow appeared at the top of the stairs. He wanted to pound on the door, but his mind seemed to focus on the living, maybe breathing, scarecrow walking toward him with his father’s club hung off its shoulder.
It didn’t touch Jason. It merely stared at him with its misshapen eyes before entering the bedroom. Jason listened as his parents, confused, tried to understand the situation, but how does one grasp the absurd?
Jason maneuvered his head around the frame of the door just in time to see his father’s jaw shatter as the club kissed his face. A small piece of rhubarb pie rolled out of his bloody mouth. His father always had a problem with chewing. The next strike hit him near the eye, sending it across the room. Jason doesn’t know at what point they died. Maybe it was being impelled by the bed post, or when the back of his mother’s head collapsed in on itself.
Once satisfied, the scarecrow joined Jason in the hallway. There were no words between the two. Jason didn’t know if scarecrows could even talk.
The following day, Jason went about his day. He made sure to check off his chores and make his rounds before retreating to his room. That night, the scarecrow came to visit him again, but this time, he escorted Jason outside to the field. Near the edge stood all the scarecrows from around the town. Jason remembered most of them, but it’s what they presented to him that was unnerving.
Nearly sixty years later and the authorities are still baffled by the case. It’s unclear how long they were up there, but a trucker from a neighboring town was the one that discovered their bodies. Every scarecrow in the farming town had been replaced with their owners. Their bodies mangled, twisted, warped to fit on the perch once occupied by straw men. Six families were murdered that night, and to this day, not a single scarecrow or child has been found.