“THE SCARECROW” by Scott Donnelly #MicroTerrors
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“Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids”™ 2023
Welcome to Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids, where it’s always the spooky season – full of chills, thrills, and spine-tingling spooks! Micro Terrors are family-friendly frights for those ages 8 and up. And while our stories are for younger ears, we are still talking about things that go bump in the night, and some children may not be able to handle what others can. Parental consent is recommended. Now… for tonight’s MICRO TERROR!!!!
My great aunt, who I had never met, passed away. She lived in California and we lived in Kansas. My parents weren’t going to make me go, not only because I had never met my great aunt in person, but also because the flight would have been too much for me. So instead, they drove me to my grandparents house a couple hours away.
I was excited to stay with them. Especially because my grandfather always set up a cool little pumpkin patch that attracted the locals. He sold pumpkins, fresh honey, gourds, and the homemade pumpkin rolls that my grandmother should have been world famous for.
And since it was the first weekend of their fall season, I knew I would be able to help out selling some of their autumn goods. When my parents said goodbye and left, I took a look around the farm. I only really got to see it once every couple of years since my grandparents were the ones who usually visited us. I hit some of my favorite spots: the water hole, the run-down barn which I always thought was haunted, and of course the cornfield that sat below the window to my temporary bedroom.
The cornfield was dead. The dry husks all scratched against each other in unison as the wind blew. Something about it was soothing to me. I lived in a more populated town where our common noises were dogs barking and traffic around every corner. As I walked along the row of corn closest to the house, something caught my eye. It was sticking straight up, roughly twenty yards into the field. I squinted, the sun beaming straight at me from the other side of the object. When my eyes adjusted, I realized it was the top of a scarecrow. I could kind of make out the red and white shirt it was wearing, the straw tendrils sprouting out from its sleeves and neck, and the floppy hat on top of its head.
A hand touched my shoulder and I jumped. It was my grandfather. “Whoa, you scared me,” I said, catching my breath.
My grandfather just looked out into the corn with a straight face. I watched him carefully study the waving stalks.
“Did you see something?” my grandfather asked, still leering out into the field.
I shook my head and he finally looked down at me.
“You didn’t see them?” he asked.
My grandfather didn’t answer my question. Instead, he turned back to the house and said, “Just stay away from the corn. I need your help on the other side of the house. We have some pumpkins to move.”
“Okay,” I said, and then followed him to the other side of the house.
That night, I was in bed with the blankets pulled up around my neck. The house was old and drafty, but I guess that was part of its charm. My grandfather told me to be up by six in the morning to help set up some of the tables. He wanted to “open shop” no later than seven. I set the alarm on my phone for a little before six, played a few levels in Candy Crush, and then went to sleep.
I was awoken not long after by a large boom outside. It sounded like thunder. And before I could open my eyes, there was a quick flash of something blue. I could see it through my eyelids. When I opened my eyes, I sat up, startled. Everything was quiet. I thought for a moment that I dreamed whatever the flash and noise were. But then, I heard shouting outside. It was my grandfather.
I climbed out of bed and raced to the window that looked out over the cornfield. I saw my grandfather standing in the grass below me, waving a flashlight around and shouting something out into the corn. I opened the sash and listened. He was shouting, “Leave us alone! What more do I have to do to keep you away!”
I looked out among the corn. Aside from his flashlight catching against the scarecrow for brief seconds, I saw nothing. Aside from the rustling of the corn, I heard nothing. And then I noticed the moon in the sky. And the stars. That boom couldn’t have been thunder and that blue flashed couldn’t have been lighting.
My grandfather lingered for a moment more, not saying anything else, before he retired back to the house. I shut the window and climbed back into bed. I was confused by what happened and had zero clue as to who he was talking to. I finally fell asleep and woke up to my alarm going off just before six.
I rubbed my eyes and climbed out of bed. The sunlight was just starting to tease the day through the thin curtains on the window as I shuffled across my room to the door. I turned the creaky old knob and pulled it open.
I screamed at what stood before me. It was the scarecrow from the fields. It was secured to a dirty wooden post and leaning against the doorframe. It was dressed in a flannel shirt, floppy brimmed hat and had straw protruding from just about everywhere on it. Its featureless face was made from an old burlap bag, which also had straw sticking out through its weaving.
My grandmother came rushing up the stairs, panicked, and saw me as white as a ghost.
“Oh, dear!” she exclaimed, trying to move the scarecrow out of my way. “What is this doing here?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I said, trying to catch my breath. That’s when my grandfather emerged from his bedroom. He glared at me.
“It’s scary, right?” he ominously asked. “It would keep you away, wouldn’t it?”
I looked from my grandfather back to the scarecrow which my grandmother was now leaning against the wall in the hallway. I put my hand on my chest and felt my heart racing.
“Yeah, I guess so,” I said. I looked back at my grandfather. “Why did you do that?”
“To see how effective it is. It scared you, but it doesn’t scare them,” he said.
“Scare who?” I asked, still not understanding.
My grandfather slowly turned around and walked back into his room, uttering his next words quietly. “I need to do more…” he said before the bedroom door closed behind him.
“What’s Grandpa’s problem?” I asked my grandmother. She smiled, but in a way that made it seem like she didn’t want to speak negatively of him.
“He’s having some issues with trespassers,” she said. “It’s been happening for weeks. He’s at his wits end with them. This is the third scarecrow he’s made. And each time, they get a little creepier…”
“Who? Who’s trespassing?”
My grandmother shrugged. “He won’t tell me,” she whispered. Later that day, before dinner, I watched my grandfather drag the scarecrow back out into the field and post it back up. Once it was upright, he turned around and looked off into the distance. Where I just saw more rows of dead corn, he saw something else. Something that I couldn’t, because he wouldn’t tell me what it was. He stayed out there until the sun went down. Then he slowly made his way back to the house.
My dreams that night were heavy and confusing. I couldn’t make heads or tails of them. There were places and people I’d never seen. My parents were there too, mourning the loss of my great aunt. The scarecrow lurked over her casket and wriggled its straw fingers at her like it was teasing, or mocking her corpse. Then, a boom, another flash of blue light, and the echoing crack of a single gunshot. This time, I didn’t wake up. I kept sleeping. Even my subconscious was over the bizarre things happening on my grandparent’s farm.
I woke up at six again the next morning and got an early start setting up the tables for the shop. I thought it was odd that my grandfather hadn’t come out of the house yet, but chose to just keep working and surprise him with having it all done by the time he finally came out.
I took some trash to the cans on the other side of the house, next to the cornfield, and stopped dead in my tracks. I saw the scarecrows’ clothing, hat, face and straw all piled up in a heap. I faced the field and saw that, at some point, my grandfather replaced the scarecrow with a new one. It poked out from the stalks a little taller than the one reduced to a heaping pile in front of me. It had a similar hat, a long shirt, but this time it appeared to have hands and fingers.
I walked out into the field to see what he chose for his new design. I wondered what he thought would finally scare off these mysterious intruders that neither myself nor my grandmother knew any details of. I pushed the tall stalks apart as I cut a straight path to the scarecrow. I saw the wooden post sticking out of the ground up ahead of me. This time, the thing had pants on; old, ripped khakis by the looks of it. As I walked around to its front, my curiosity turned to confusion. And then that confusion became an unsettling knot in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t know what I was looking at.
Beneath the old clothing was a body. But it wasn’t human. It was dark green and dripping with a translucent fluid. Its large, black, almond-shaped eyes were wide open and its mouth was just a mere slit, barely parted open. There was a single gunshot wound just below its thin neck; black crust surrounded it.
I felt myself go numb. I trembled and my heart was fluttering incredibly fast. A hand then rested on my shoulder. I barely reacted; my level of fear had already piqued. I turned and saw my grandfather standing there. He had his hunting rifle with him.
“The scarecrows were all made of average materials,” he said. “Burlap, clothes, straw…there’s nothing scary about that stuff. That’s why they kept coming back.”
He looked up into the sky and arrogantly studied every square inch of it with a menacing smile spreading across his face. “I’ve made an example of one of them,” he said. “Let them come now. Let them see what happens to them if they don’t stay away…”
Thank you for listening to Micro Terrors!!! Join us each Saturday for another scary story! For more fun, visit our website at MicroTerrors.com where we also have spooky games you can print out and play — like wicked word searches, mysterious mazes, and more! MicroTerrors.com is also where you can find us on your favorite social media and even send in your own scary story for us to tell! Plus, you’ll learn more about our author, Scott Donnelly, who has other horrors for both young and old! I hope you’ll join me again soon for Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids!