Story Go Round 10/20/2007, round 2, #3

Your Next Nightmare

(post-titled by Amber)

The shredded scarecrow came alive that night. It was looking for revenge. The passions of hate and inflicting pain burned in its eyes supernaturally. seeking its victims even in the shadows of a dark and gloomy night.

The carful of joy-riding teenagers careened down the lane, laughing and yelling that exaggerated gusto that only the drunk can manage.

How these two things, the scarecrow and the teenagers, came to intersect, is not accidental, unless you count stumbling out in a cornfield to pee and thinking how funny it would be to wear his straw hat an accident.

Perhaps you do.

Perhaps it was also by accident that one teen tripped over an exposed root in the ground and was unable to rise again for inebriated giggling. But there was nothing accidental about the way the scarecrow's sharp pointy nose stabbed into the third teen's eye sockets and ears.

It was, however, a complete accident that I read of the deaths in the paper the following day. I was using the paper to clean up after my roommate's cat, when the article caught my attention.

I recognized the carrot from the scarecrow's nose that had been impounded for evidence. that was my carrot! It had disappeared from my fridge a week before.

You declare that there is no way I could be sure his weapon of dastardly stabbing was the same one I'd been intending to grate into a cobb salad for dinner almost seven days ago, but I can! It was a purple Mexican variety of carrot, and only twenty were sold from that store before the rest went soft and limp and had to be thrown out.

I have since accounted for the other nineteen and have only to trace the route of the twentieth - mine - to track down the real culprit. And who am I, you ask, to do such a thing? I am Harmony T. Jones, and I know things - things other people would not dare to know, like the fact that you can't leave fingerprints on a carrot. It's true! They're too moist and porous, so the prints smudge. finding it would still be easy, though. First, I rented a bunny rabbit from my cousin's pet store. Then I let him sniff another Mexican carrot and let him hop! In this case, he hopped through some briars, over a culvert, and up the hill to that old Victorian house - the witch's house!

To be fair, I only call her 'the witch' because that's how she answers the door to tricker treaters every year at Halloween. But on second thought, I've never seen her any other time of the year. So perhaps it's not a costume...

Standing at her front door, bunny safely stowed in my handbag, I felt like a small child, dressed as a princess or a cat, ready to extort free candy again, like all those years ago.

Would she still look the same?

Would she be behind the murderous scarecrow and his need to kill every night?

"Of course not," she said sweetly as she opened the door.

Pretending not to notice what had just happened, I said, "Pardon me, but can I borrow some carrots? I live on the next street over, and I'm trying to make vegetable stew."

The witch blinked. "Why yes, please come in."

As I entered her kitchen, I noticed a trail of hay straw out the back door. My heart started to pound. I was allergic to hay and straw. All grains really.

Somehow I don't think it could have been an accident that I saw the telltale signs of her involvement. Speaking from the grave as I am, through the mouth of an animated storefront dummy from our local five and dime, I am fully acquainted with the hows of our mystery. What I still don't understand is why?

"Isn't it obvious?" came the sweet voice beside me. "Look what it got me- " I looked over to see the hateful scarecrow, now dressed and spiffed up like it was for sale for Halloween. It was pointing to its face. "It got me an unlimited supply of killer noses."

"It was purely by accident?" I asked into the spiritual realm where it and I could communicate. "You saw her garden, and then..."

"No you dummy. It was all my idea. I made her plant them. Then I made her bring me to life--"

"That doesn't make any sense," I interjected as a sales associate straightened my twinset and smoothed my wig while the boss was watching. "How could you have planned it all before you were--"

"Hold your tongue, Harmony," it intoned across the ether, "Or I'll--"

"You'll what? Come over here and peck me to death?!"

All that bickering on the astral plane finally set the store on fire, so that's the end of my story, but the beginning of your next nightmare.