It is a warm summer noon. A man, named Richard Banks, is driving down the dusty street. He is driving to Allomburg, to pick up a special ‘package’ for his boss. But, it seems that he had taken a wrong turn, and has found himself in the middle of nowhere.
“Christ!” Richard exclaims “I knew I should have taken the M4 highway. Now, I’m stuck in this God forsaken place”
He tried to find any indication of civilized life but the only thing around him were giant fields of corn.
“What’s with the all the fucking corn?” he thought to himself. Suddenly he burst into a maniacal laughter. He just remembered that his favorite cereal was ‘Corn flakes’.
“How is that for some irony?” he laughed at his own thoughts. No doubt that the intense heat way was taking its toll on his sanity, but Richard wasn’t going to give up.
After an hour of driving around, aimlessly trying to find his way, Richard’s car broke down.
“Come on, work you piece of junk!” he yelled at his car and threw a tantrum. He stepped out of his red Cadillac and kicked its side with anger. Richard then proceeded to sit on the hood of his car and sighed in distraught.
“Why did this had to happen to me?!” he yelled out and looked into the distance. It seemed that the dusty road stretched into eternity.
“Well, at least they can’t find me out here”, he tried to comfort himself. At least he is safe from his bosses’ goons, for now.
Richard Banks worked for the Figaldo crime family. He was the right hand man to Gerrio Figaldo, the head of the family. All of the important stuff like drug transport, elimination, and racketeering went through him. He was supposed to get a new shipment of heroin from Allomburg, but he ended taking the M3 and not the N4 highway. He knew that his boss would have his head on a silver plate if he came back without the ‘package’, but there was nothing he could do now.
So, Richard took out his emergency backpack which contained five one liter bottles of water, one emergency health kit, some food, and his trusty 9mm semi-automatic handgun, and ventured down the dusty road in hopes of finding a gas station nearby. The heat began to increase with every step he took.
His heart was pounding, his legs were tired and he felt like he was about to collapse at any second now. How long has been walking now? Who knows? It could have been minutes, hours or maybe even days. Richard felt so weak.
He looked around to find some shade where he could escape the ruthless heat. And then it hit him.
The cornfields were high enough to hide him from the cruel morning star. He had no other choice but to jump over the small fence separating him from the giant plants. The corn did its job quite well, as Richard felt a sudden relief. The heat was still there, but at least it was a bit more bearable then on the open road. He walked slowly separating the corn to the side as he passed through. Every now and then the corn would lash back at him and smack him on the face. This got very annoying but Richard preferred it over the insufferable warmth. But as he walked further, and further he started to hear something.
A slight whisper, like the wind blowing through the corn, could be heard through the field. But there was no wind today. Not even a slight breeze. And it seemed that the whisper only got progressively louder and louder. Also in the beginning it was just mumble of nonsense but now he could hear the voice as clear as daylight. The voice was a feminine one and it was saying:
“You fear the night
As you see his scythe
He comes for your soul
And your secrets will be told”
Richard started to run. From what? He didn’t know. The only thing he did know was that he had to stay alive. He ran faster and faster, and he could see that somebody was chasing after him. When he turned around he could see the rattling of the corn behind him and saw blades of corn falling down one after another. At one point Richard saw the metal scythe coming after him and he even saw the reaper himself. The hooded skeleton was hovering above the ground and he was coming after Richard at a very high speed.
“Get away from me you freak” Richard yelled out. Richard was on the verge of his strength when suddenly he was out of the cornfield.
“Where the hell am I?” he said and looked around. He was in a small clearing surrounded by corn. There was only a small rural house on the clearing with a windmill next to it.
This house was small, with a red roof, beige wall color, two small windows with some flower pots on them. There was only one thing bizarre about it. In front house were ten scarecrows all in a single row.
Richard came close to these straw filled puppets and closely observed them. The strange thing was, that, even though the scarecrows were faceless, he could see some vague faces if he really concentrated. This was very odd to Richard, so he decide to move away from the scarecrows and into this house. Insides the house looked pretty much as you would expect.
There was only one room with a bathroom. In that room was a large wooden table with four chairs, a stove with a filthy, used pot on it, a sink, and even a small bed with a radio next to it. The bathroom had indoor plumbing, although it looked like it hasn’t been used in ages.
Richard looked at this bizarre structure.
“Who built this house, and why?” were his first thoughts.
But he quickly chased them away, because this house was just the salvation he needed. He could have easily hid here until the whole drug problem blows over. He had enough food in his backpack to last him for days to come, and he was pretty much surrounded by corn, another great food source.
The biggest problem now was water. Richard only had two liters of water left in his backpack. His only salvation would have to be that faucet he saw. Richard slowly opened the tap, and heard a soothing sound of water burbling through the pipe. He laughed in joy and immediately filled all three of his empty bottles of water. After he had filled his bottles, he sank his head in to the sink and started to glug down the cold, refreshing water. After he had finished chugging down, he raised his head away from the sink, wiped the remaining drops of water off his face, and lighted a cigarette.
“No more running away for us, Richie boy. Finally we can relax” he talked to himself and blew a smoke circle. Finally there were no worries in his life. No running away from angry mobster tried to kill him off, no more doing the dirty work for his boss and, best of all, no more killings. And the best way to start this new life of his was by getting a good sleep.
He lied down on the harsh wooden bed and fell instantly asleep. In any other occasion he wouldn’t be caught dead sleeping in a rundown piece of waist as this. But, then again, this wasn’t exactly a ‘normal situation’. He slept for what seemed to him as hours, but when he woke up it was still daylight outside. He looked at his golden Rolex watch, to see what time it was. It was still noon.
Richard thought he might have slept in a whole day, but it was still weird how he woke up at exactly noon. He tried not to think about it. And went on with his day. He pulled out from his backpack a sandwich and ate it in a flash. He then drank some of the water he had brought, and went outside. Since there was almost nothing to do in the middle of nowhere, he tried to harvest some corn.
He picked ten of the nearest corn clips, and brought them back to his cabin. He looked back at his watch. It still showed noon.
“Blasted thing must be broken again”, her thought to himself.
The rest of the day he spent thinking about how he could make this house a tad bit cleaner. He found a duster and started to wipe the spider webs and dust on the walls. Richard must have been doing this for quite some time because when he looked outside, it was nightfall.
He didn’t even bother to look back at his watch because he knew that it would still show twelve o’clock.
So, in the light of his hard work and indulgence for this place, he sat on the porch and looked in to the vast ocean of green corn cobs. But something caught up with him. Now that he had more time to himself, he had more time to think about his past. All those people he killed have come back in his memories like viruses.
He killed his best friend Lucrecio, because he wanted out of their mob, he killed his first cousin Angelio, for not fulfilling his duties to the ‘family’. But all these deaths only culminated, when he had to kill off his wife Jane, because she threatened to expose their mob, if he doesn’t quit.
But what bother him the most was, how little empathy he had, and still has, for those people. He justified their deaths, by saying to himself, that it was the best thing he could have done for his own gain. Maybe that is why the scarecrows in his backyard, looked like these people to him. Which was another reason they had to go. He couldn’t stare at the scarecrows any longer. But, whenever he tried to move them, they wouldn’t budge.
He decided that there is nothing he could do with them, so he left these weird twisted ragdolls like they were. Upon returning into his house he turned on the radio. Mostly he got white noise, but then a song came on. It was “Jane Doe” by “Within Temptation”. Because nothing else was on, Richard decided to leave the song. But, there something in those lyrics that disturbed him. The lyrics go as follows:
“Run away, hide away
Secret's in your name
Sacrificed just her life
For a higher love
No matter how many stones you put inside
She always keeps on floating in your mind
With every turn of your head you see her face again
Until the end, over and over again”
After just the first verse he switched the radio station. But the song continued and its chorus kicked in
“Why, you just don’t leave my mind
Was this the only way
I couldn’t let you stay”
He pressed the button to switch the radio and smashed it into a million pieces. Finally he was free from the infernal song. He took out a cigarette to calm himself down. His hand was shaking so badly, that he barely got out his lighter. But the haunting sounding of that song still echoed in his mind. And it got louder and louder. He ran outside screaming
“Leave my mind! It had to be like that! I am sorry!”
After a few moments he calmed down and laughed at himself. It was just a song on the radio. He probably imagined it all. But what was that coming out from the cornfield?
A pale silhouette of a woman dressed in white, silky, dress, with dark hair and gray eyes was coming towards him. Behind her was… The reaper himself. Floating over the ground in his dark, ripped cloak, holding his scythe up in the air and coming closer, and closer towards Richard. The woman recited the second verse of that infernal song:
“Told the truth she laughed at you
Something snapped inside
She had to go or they would know
All you tried to hide
The sins of your life are now catching up with you.
You can't stay ahead, there's nothing you can do”
Suddenly the scarecrows came back to life. His best friend, his cousin, the mafia thug he killed just three days ago, all of them came alive in the form of ten grizzly scarecrows. And all they wanted was revenge. Richard started to run away from his demise, but there was no escape the deeper he went into the corn the more vulnerable he became.
His eyesight was blurred by the thick blades of corn, and he couldn’t see straight ahead. He ran right into the womanly silhouette. It was his late wife.
He could barely mouth out the word “Jane” before she kissed him and he blacked out. Upon waking up he discovered that he was tied to a pole. His hands were being held together by barbed wire so every move he made was excruciatingly painful. Surrounding him were the ten scarecrows and his wife as the leader of them.
“ What are you doing? You can’t kill me like this!” he yelled.
Jane looked at his pleading eyes and said “Of course I can’t kill you. You are already dead” she says.
Jane notices a gleam of fear in Richard’s eyes and continues “A month ago, you were driving to pick up that package of heroin. As you were driving down the M3 highway you realized that it was a wrong decision. Figuring that Figaldo’s men were on your trail, you quickly came to a realization that you needed to hide until all of this heath would blow over. So you drove your car into the middle of this cornfield and found this very house. You decided to crash in here for a couple of months, until the heath blows over. But, the original owner of the house didn’t like that, and as soon as he saw in his house he shot you” she finished and revealed a dead corpse of his body in front of him.
“And guess where you are at right now” she said and looked at him maliciously.
Richard screamed in agony over the realization of his position.
Jane slowly came towards him and whispered into his ear “There, there. This will only hurt so much”. She then proceeded to stab him and pull out his still beating heart on the blade of her knife.
“It has begun. Tear him apart” she screams as the rest of the angry past victims start to tear Richard limb from limb. Richard screams in pain, but he is aware that he can’t die. Jane smile and says “This is merely the beginning”. After their ceremony everything quiets down. Only the faint whispers of The Reaper can be heard in the distance. He is saying
“You fear the night
As you see his scythe
He comes for your soul
And your secrets will be told”
It is a warm summer noon. A man, named Richard Banks, is driving down the dusty street…
Authors note: After a long time, I have finally written this new story. I hope you have enjoyed it. I will try to post more stories when I have the time. And do tell me, fo you think
Richard deserved a fate like this?
P.S. THe song I used in this work is an actual song. It is called Jane Doe, and is sung by my favorite band Within Temptation. I would highly suggest that you listen to it when reading this work because it really adds another level to the story.
© Copyright 2016 Jonathan DeLacuso. All rights reserved.