Friday, May 2, 2014

Scarecrow (Part 1/3)



The night sky was filled with a bright red light. A strange circular object could be seen falling towards the horizon hidden by the nearby mountains. Most of us thought that it may be some kind of meteor. Little did we realize that it heralded the beginning of strange event that occurred in my small town.

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The news said that the strange object landed somewhere on Mt. Torres. A team of scientists were scheduled to visit the area to study the meteorite.

I walked back home after school passing by a farm with several scarecrows. They used to scare me as a kid. To be honest, it took me until high school to get over that fear. Dad told me tales of how they would walk around at night and attack children who didn’t listen to their parents. He would even go so far to claim that the couple who lived across our house lost their son to them.

The neighbour’s kid, Glena, greeted me as I took out my keys to the gate.

“Hey, Jake!” she cheerfully greeted.

“Hello, Glena” I replied.

Glena lives right next door. When her parents are out, I’m usually called to babysit her.

“Mrs. Largosa told me that she’s off to buy some stuff” Glena said.

“Oh, mom’s out? Thanks for the info.”

“Can I come in?”

“I’m kinda busy with homework.”

“I’ll be quiet! Promise! Besides, you’ll be alone with all sorts of monsters there.”

“Nice try. But there’s no such things as monsters.”

“Pretty please!” Glena gave me an adorable look. I sighed.

“Fine.”

“Yay!”

Glena rushed inside. She tends to visit now and then while telling me random stuff or asking me random questions. I used to read her stories before. These days I’ve become too busy with school as I get swamped with homework.

“Did you pass by those scarecrows?” she asked as she sat on the couch.

“Yup” I replied while taking out notebooks from my bag. “I pass by it everyday.”

“Whoa. Mom told me that they come to life at night.”

“That ain’t true” I quickly replied laying my notes on a table.

“Yes it is!” Glena said. “Mom told me that mister and misses Cuevas lost their kid to the scarecrows.”

“Actually” I spoke in a confident voice. “They never had a kid in the first place. I asked them myself.”

“Really?”

I didn’t bother to reply. I opened my text book and sat down. Glena crept closer with curiosity.

“Wa’cha reading?” she asked.

“Physics. Didn’t you promise to be quiet?”

“Sorry” she innocently spoke. “You’re going to college in a few months, right?”

“Yeah” I replied. “Engineering is gonna be tough I hear. Physics will be quite a subject.”

“Wow” Glena flipped through some of my notes. Clearly she didn’t understand any of them.

I began to scribble some calculations on a piece of paper while looking at a notebook. A few hits on the calculator, I jotted down my answers.

“I want a puppy.”

That was random. I continued to write pretending to take interest in what she’s saying.

“What for?” I replied with my eyes still fixed on the homework.

“Puppies are cute!”

“I bet you can’t even take care of one.”

“Yes I can!”

Great. This conversation might keep on going. I stood up and picked up the remote control.

“Care for some TV?” I asked her.

“Okay!”

Shortly, the TV was on. As I switch the channels looking for Glena’s favourite cartoons, I stumble upon the local news.

“… a man was reported to be missing” I heard the newscaster say.

“Change the channel” Glena complained.

“Wait” I said.

The news spoke of an old man from our town that vanished only recently. An accident left him unable to walk and had to stay in the local hospital. The nurse reported his disappearance when she went to check on him. Police suspected that he may be kidnapped.

“Maybe the scarecrows got him” Glena commented.

“They only attack children, silly” I replied.

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“The scientists sent to Mt. Torres have not returned or made any contact. A rescue team is currently dispatched to locate them.”

It’s been about a week since we saw the meteor. As much as the news intrigued me, I’ve got other priorities. Unfortunately, the school was buzzed about the police warning everyone to never go out alone or stay outside late at night as two more people were reported missing.

My parents were out one night. With the recent happenings, I decided to stay at Glena’s for the time being.

“Scared of the monsters, Jake?” Glena teased me as I got inside.

“Now, now, Glena” her mother scolded her. “There’s a real threat lately.”

I pulled my tongue out to mock Glena. A while later, Glena took out some story books.

“Look!” she said. “You used to read me these.”

“Oh, right. Maybe you should read them to me now.”

“Aww… but it’s more fun if you read them.”

“I won’t always be here you know. Might as well get used to me being gone before I get a dorm.”

Glena was quiet. She took out a book titled “The Little Monster” and began to read it out loud. The children’s book was about a small creature that had the body of a small dog and bat wings. Glena read the description of the little monster carefully highlighting its tiny horns and sharp teeth.

I’ve almost forgotten the plot of the creature’s adventures. The story was too childish for me. Something about the little monster’s quest to make friends despite its appearance.

“What would you do?” Glena read the last line. “Would you have been friends with the little monster?”

“I’m not really sure” I replied.


“I know I would” Glena proudly proclaimed. “In fact, I wish I had a puppy like him.”

“Complete with bat wings?” I rhetorically asked.

“Yeah! At least I’ll have some neat company when you’re gone.”

My chest tightened. There aren’t many kids of Glena’s age around here. Her parents told me that she’s quite shy at school with only a handful of friends. She’s grown up used to my presence and soon I’ll be gone.

I felt absent minded all of a sudden. Glena stopped talking. I stared across the room. I felt a shiver that crept on my spine but I didn’t know why. Glena just stared at me quietly.

Before I could say anything, Glena’s mom told me that my parents were back. I promptly thanked her and gave my goodbye. Oddly, Glena didn’t react much.

As I head home, I stopped on my tracks. Instead of going through the gate, I backed off then walked away. Before I knew it, I already passed by the scarecrow field. My mind was filled with thoughts about my disappearance and how Glena would deal with it. I couldn’t stop walking.

I wanted to panic, but it was as if guilt drove me to keep on walking…

“Jake…” I heard a voice calling me. “Jake…”


Instinctively, I followed it towards Mt. Torres. I felt drowsy… tired… yet I carried on…

“Jake…”

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I woke up in a hospital. My parents were present in the room.

“Thank goodness!” my mom exclaimed.

“What happened?” I asked.

“You collapsed on the road to Mt. Torres” dad explained. “Luckily, Mr. Cuevas who just happened to be passing by found you.”

“What?” I reacted.

“What were you doing out there?” mom asked.

“I… I don’t know.”

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I had visitors in the hospital. My classmates were kind enough to update me with what I’m missing. Glena also stopped by to bombard me with her childish blabbering.

“… and that’s how I found my new puppy! I named him ‘Ray.’” she proudly shared.

“Oh, really?” I replied.

I had to remember that to her, my approval was everything. But, I couldn’t help but doubt that the little monster from story book would wind up in her care.

“Really! He even has those bat wings, horns and everything!” she insisted.

“If you say so.”

Her mom later explained that Glena had a new imaginary friend. She would observe her running around in the garden by herself but pretending to have the company of a pet. The thought of it made me smile. My temporary disappearance has already prompted her to create an amusing mental construct.

The first thing I did upon leaving the hospital was to visit Glena. Her parents were out and she was all alone save for her imagination. As I pictured it out, there she was running around the muddy garden pretending to chase the little monster from her book.

“Jake! You’re back!” she greeted me. “Look at my new friend!”

She gestured at a particular spot. I pretended to see the critter and said “Hello, Ray.”

“I’m heading back inside” Glena informed me.

“Alright” I replied.

“Follow me, Ray!” she called out to her imaginary friend.

As I watch her enter the house, I couldn’t help but notice tiny muddy paw prints following her. Glena stopped in her track and the paw prints stopped near her. She bent down to pat the unseen creature. I noticed the paw prints now facing towards me as if Ray was looking right at me.

“What’s wrong?” Glena asked me noticing me shiver.

“Um…” I froze.

“Aww… what’s wrong Ray?” she motioned to pick the critter up.

Then Glena stared at me. Whatever she was holding, I could tell that it focusing its gaze at me too. Glena was silently observing me. Just like before.

“I-I’ve g-g-got to go” I stuttered.

“Jake, what’s wrong?” I heard Glena as I hastily made my exit.

I got back in my house and locked the door. I looked outside the window and saw Glena looking for something.

“Ray!” I heard her call out. “Where are you?”

I heard something slam on the door followed by scratching. Ray. He followed me.

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Click here for Part 2.

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