Another blog entry for Chuck Wendig’s weekly fun contest. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/06/02/flash-fiction-challenge-choose-your-random-words/ Check out the link if you want to read a pretty amazing blog, or enter the contest yourself.
Scarecrow, the Mint, and Moon
I felt my feet dangling above the wet dirt. I wondered what had awoken me from my slumber. Then, I saw it. A pack of double mint gum right between my swaying shaggy, worn boots. “Well great,” I muttered to myself internally. I wasn’t awake enough yet. A panic gripped me as I jerked my head upward, but it didn’t go anywhere. “Must not be a quarter moon. I’m safe. I can stay half awake all night hanging from this post.”
I heard a shuffle of boots as light broke across the my field of vision. The light tinged with reds, oranges, and yellows. Sunset, it was sunset. A few quiet whispers too indistinct for me to hear them or if it was more than one speaker.
A strong, girlish voice broke in. “Devin, this is stupid. You are stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.” Her tone went a pitch higher with every stupid she uttered. “Do you think a pack of mint gum, saying some dumb phrase is going to make McNalley’s scarecrow wake up?”
I have to agree with Devin’s girlfriend? Friend with Benefits? Girl who was ‘his friend’? That double mint gum, and some dumb phrase wouldn’t wake me up. But, a pack of mint gum under a quarter moon would. I wonder when some whispered code words got added to the lore. I thought about it, I’d only been asleep a few years. Perhaps, McNalley died, went crazy, or something worse.
“Trish, come on. I thought you wanted to see real magic. If we can get this,” He slapped my chest with his hand. “To get up, it would be real magic. Don’t chicken out.”
An annoyed feminine sigh responded with the cluck of the tongue, I assume this was Trist. “I’m not afraid. Check that, I’m afraid of looking stupid in the middle of a corn field.” A pause as I could hear her feet move. “Besides, I’m not sure if we should be hanging around McNalley’s place at night.”
Now, I was starting to become really concerned about McNalley. We were best friends. He turned me into a freakin’ magical construct, but only after I died. Typically, drunken farmer tractor sort of nonsense. But, had he died? I’d have to ask these kids once I was moving.
Devin went back to whispering. “Oh come and unveil yourself great nature spirit.”Wow, who’d been filling that kid’s head with nonsense.
I could hear Trish shuffle back and forth. I caught a glimpse of her tanned legs shooting of a work boot. The sound her skin rubbing made me think she was cold. “Stupid Devin, why didn’t he tell the poor thing to bring a coat.”
Irrationally, I attempted to jerk my head to the side. To my surprise, this time it worked. “Nice, thanks kids.” My voice was the same as I was alive. Cheery, but a big gravelled from all the smoking.
Both of them leapt back. Devin was a tall, gangly kid with brown eyes, and hair. He hadn’t grown into himself. Trish a tanned, hard working farm girl from top to bottom. “You scared now? Ha.” I hopped off the pole.
“Are you going to kill us?” Trish lip trembled. I noticed her hands wrapped around a bat. Yeah, she was the brains of this brainless operation.
I laughed. “Hell, no. What happened McNalley?”
Devin stepped forward blocking my straight path to Trish. “Didn’t you kill him?”
“He’s dead.” I felt myself fall back against the pole as I wiped a tear from my painted on eye. “That bastard. Who killed him?”
Devin’s shoulder lifted up and down. “No one knows. They found him in the basement, with a scary book, his own blood, and some candles.”
Together me and McNalley learned a lot about summoning and binding spirits. I needed to see in the house. I’d be able to sense what he was trying to do. “Grab the mints and let’s go.”
The kid grabbed it and trotted behind me. Apparently, reality sunk in and he threw them at me. Trish and Devin took off screaming and running out the field.
I knelt down picked up my soul anchor and continued to McNalley’s house. The place looked run down, the porch needed a new whitewash, and the whole place needed a good scrubbing. Nobody wanted to buy the creepy, old man’s house. I opened his hand carved door stepping right up to double set of stairs. One going up with hand carved rails, and one going into a dark, dingy dungeon. I went down, flicking on the light as I went.
The basement was an old storage cellar. The ceiling hung low, filled with old metal shelves, and one small altar. I walked over and saw he planned to do. Based on what he carved into the rock he was binding another spirit. There was only one other person he’d bother with. “Patricia.”
“How did you know? How can you hear me?” A voice like nails on the chalkboard.
I saw a thin outline of her older, scowling face, no body only a ghost. “He didn’t like anyone else. He called you and the backlash energy killed him. I’m magically delicious now, so I can see you. What killed ya?”
“Heart attack. I don’t want to be here. I want to go back.” Being trapped without a body, and no one to talk to sure had mellowed out her personality.
There was only one way I knew to free Patricia, but I’d be gone too. I didn’t really want to be here. I only agreed to the whole thing for McNalley. “I’ll free you.”
A few pokes and the secret compartment opened up. Inside was his focus, a fishbowl filled with thing he loved mints, Patricia’s perfume, a bit of corn, moonshine, and a page out of the bible. What a stereotype. I picked up the focus and shattered it against the wall.
Right away Patricia vanished. I felt myself unravel. I chuckled, maybe I’d see McNalley in the place we go after.