4 - Cornfield

3 - Farm Road 5 - Orchard
Damn, I can't see for shit here. He slowed down a lot after his first steps, trying to keep heading in the direction but it got really disorientating. The corn rose a few heads above him. The last light was still in the air but the corn ate a lot of it. With his rubber gun in his right hand, he took out his flashlight in his left. A bit early and it'll probably ruin my night vision, but I need to be able to find the tracks.
The flashlight had some settings and he dropped it to the lowest before activating it.
The corn was set in rows and he was going diagonally through them. He counted them in his head so he'd know how many he had to pass to get to the path again. Eighteen, that's already pretty deep. Better follow straight until I find some tracks. She seemed to be almost near the bend of the road, if I don't find anything, I should arrive back at the road I came in on. Did she follow me up the road? Or… was she waiting in the fields?
A snap ahead of him made him full stop. It wasn't in the row he was in, he would've seen something there. He turned off his flashlight and bended through his knees, the corn was not as thick on the bottom, but he still couldn't see a lot. He scanned almost a full tour around him, no motion and no further sounds. He got up and started taking slow steps forward again, making sure not to hit any corn stalks. Sounded like one of the stalks snapping, should find something up ahead. Feels like someone is watching me, better keep quiet and have my flashlight off.
He took some ten steps down his row and looked for a quiet passage into the next row. He still made a lot of sound but passed into the next row. Nineteen, nothing here; Twenty, nope; Twenty-one, no— right there. To Derrek's left he saw the snapped stalk, it hung straight over the row. He couldn't have missed it. Beyond he couldn't see anything else. He approached the stalk and inspected it. Really gonna need my flashlight. The light shone bright onto the stalk, he holstered his rubber gun and grabbed the stalk, moving it up and down. Snapped by hand it seems, that actually requires some force. You don't do that by accident. He shone his light on the soil beneath. It was dryer than the roads but still moist enough. Shoe prints, sneakers it seems, not a large size. They seem to be heading back toward the farm —or the barn. This feels off. He deactivated his flashlight and bent down again. Darkness was really eating away, in the few minutes since entering the field he was constantly losing more light and his eyes needed to adjust from the flashlight.
Give it some time, Derrek. You know this feels wrong, who'd run away, snap a corn stalk and then run back toward the field? Someone's messing with you. He was still waiting when he spotted a tiny light go on, not down his row but the previous one. Eighteen. Is that, a phone? I can try creeping closer but I'll lose my sight. He tried taking steps in the crouched position but could feel his squat muscles straining. Should have stretched more, I'm way out of shape for this. I could try calling out… No, I need to see what's going on first. Really feels like they're messing with me. Derrek got up, took a few silent steps, crouched again; got up, steps, crouch; up, steps, crouch; u — the light turned off. He got back down and waited. His night vision was getting better, but it was way too dark still. Putting on my flashlight would be the same like shouting: "Hey, here I am!" I could try passing through the row, I could see more then. He heard some leaves rustle behind him. The hair on his neck stood upright, his heart went into sixth gear. Oldest one in the book, Derrek, and you still fell for it. His right hand went to his rubber gun, his left put the flashlight to maximum brightness but didn't activate it yet. All in.
He turned, ignited the flashlight in full force and drew his rubber gun. His mouth was looking for words: "Freeze", "Stop right there", "Hey you", "Oi" were all valid, but Derrek went with a deep "Aaaah" instead. Legs moved through the row behind him, passing him toward the farm. Sneakers, the girl. Then who— His heart and thoughts were racing as he got up and passed into row nineteen again and shone his light down to the left. The white dress shone bright as it passed into the previous row again in a rush.
"Hey! Stop!" Derrek yelled before running after it. Damn cardio. Could have been anyone here but it had to be you with your mouth. As he passed back into row eighteen, he saw the girl passing down into seventeen. Wait, that's about where I saw the light, they could be in ambush there. Can't run straight into them. He was running down eighteen and shone at the spot the girl used to pass through. He saw nothing but the next few stalks of corn. This is pointless, I won't see anything rushing through like this. They want me to follow. I know where they are, so I can play this game too. He deactivated his flashlight, turned the other way and passed into row nineteen, twenty, twenty-one. He ran down that row for some twenty seconds. With the sound he made, he couldn't pick out anything else.
He spotted the barn some distance ahead of him. Let's see from here. He stopped and bent down again. All was quiet around him except for his heart beating in his ears and throat, sweat starting to form beneath his clothes. Breathe, you need to focus. He released a few sighs and tried to regain his composure. It took him some ten breaths. All right, what do you know, Derrek? Someone is messing with you, two someones, possibly more. The scream could have been a distraction or it could still be someone in danger. They're luring you somewhere. The girl was bait, drawing you into the field. Scary bait at that; white dress in the fields, long dark hair as far as I could see. A shiver ran over him. That's gonna be nightmare fuel. In the movies, they always run straight into the trap. So do the opposite. Don't follow, they'll be looking for you too. The farm's up ahead, you have a vantage there. No other sounds came and no lights below either. With each blink, his natural night vision grew better. That'll do.
Derrek got up and slowly walked further down the row, making sure not to rustle any leaves. It took him a minute before he arrived at the back of the barn.
He stopped at the edge of the field. The stalks were still high enough for him to stay hidden. First check your surroundings.
The barn has a back door which is open. Seems a bit ominous with the front gate chained, but they are using it for something then. Maybe if I can get in unnoticed.
Nothing to see down below.
To the right is an orchard, cannot see anything there, way too dark now. But it's a good place to hide again. It seems to be spaced more than the corn, should be able to see more.
Left is the house and should be the two from the fields.
He peeked out more from the stalks so he could see further down the other rows.
A tiny light went on from a window of the house's first floor, Derrek pulled back. Is that a phone again? Yes, I can see some reflection on a face. So someone is in there. Lookout? The light went out again and Derrek couldn't see anything in the window anymore, darkness hid the person there.
I cannot let that one spot me, while I have some advantage. I could call in for help… Derrek frowned. "Hey boss, someone chased me in the fields, I think they are messing with me." Yeah, that's not gonna work. I'll just take some time to see what they are doing. I'll pass a bit deeper and go through the orchard.
Derrek looked around once more and started passing slowly through the rows again.
Twenty two.
Twenty three.
Twenty four. A flickering light. Up ahead to his right, deeper in the corn field about five rows further. The orchard was only two rows further to his left. Can't have been one of them, should have heard or seen something. If I pass into the row, I can what is causing it.
Twenty five.
Twenty six.
Twenty seven. The light grew brighter and flickered a lot more, it came from an open spot in the corn field. From below, Derrek saw there was something in the middle of it, a bigger piece of wood, and a smaller stick to its right. The light is coming from that smaller one, probably a torch. And the middle one, I can almost guess what that's gonna be. I can still turn toward the orchard… but someone set this up for a reason and there doesn't seem to be anyone around. And fire in a field is dangerous too, so at least I should put it out, it's my duty.
Twenty eight.
Twenty nine, he saw the clearing from here but not the middle of it. The opening was about three rows wide. Derrek had to see it up close, he walked very slowly down the row, eyes and ears open for anything.
He was a few steps removed from the opening and saw the torch peek around the corner. Damn, there goes my night vision. Can't see the middle yet. Passing through the next row is gonna be way too much sound and I'll be fully exposed by the light. I could fully circle round but that's also gonna be a lot of light. He though about it for a few seconds but as no other sound came from nearby he decided to push ahead.
He kept his left hand in front of him to block the light from the torch, right hand held his rubber gun. A few steps later, he spotted the first horizontal piece of bound straw. Yep, scarecrow but I seem to be at the back of it. Doesn't seem to be anyone or anything around here. He stepped further and now fully saw the thing, well from its backside. It stuck out a bit higher than the corn and was the ordinary cross shaped scarecrow, with some small additions. Attached to its right arm was a sickle, on its head there was some kind of mask attached to it. He couldn't see it from his position. It was bound to the back of its head, with some… Wires, why are there— Derrek took another step forward, pinching his eyes to see what it was.
At the bottom of the scarecrow, at the lowest piece of bound straw, a tiny red light flashed on. He heard a whirring sound as the head turned toward him. Dear mother of— as he fell to his ass, dropping his gun. The mask was a metal face with red lit flashing eyes, the scarecrow started screeching in a high mechanical pitch.
Derrek scrambled backward on his butt. Holy shit, didn't see that coming. He released a tense breath as the scarecrow cackled a few more times, head spinning back and forth. He was breathing away his adrenaline as realization and another adrenal spike hit him. They know I'm here now. Bye, bye advantage.
Derrek got off his butt, took his gun, ran to the torch, threw it in a patch of mud, stamped it hard to make sure it was out and scrambled back down the row he came from.
He couldn't pick out any other sounds with all the rackett he was making, but he kept going and passed into the orchard at full tilt.

Continue reading: 5 - Orchard

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