The Scarecrow – Part 1

A cool northerly wind blew threw the trees. The autumn leaves. Rustle along the dusty path. The boys were running too fast to hear it. They were running from the local Red Earthean bullies and they were being pelted by rocks as they ran. Just finds himself looking at the ground. He tripped on what he believed to be a tree root. He looks up to see Wolf’s face turn white as if he had just seen a ghost.

A tall shadowy figure was tied to planks of wood. It wore a long black cape and tethered pants. Crows started lining its boney arms. What Just tripped on was not a tree root but its leg outstretched on the path. A burlap bag was wrapped around its head, tied tightly around its neck. It looked like one of the scarecrows that scattered the corn fields around Red Earth.

The bag sunk into its eye sockets. Its arms and legs started moving off the planks. Two beady black eyes appeared on the bag in the eye sockets. When it moved its jaw to open its mouth the burlap bag ripped to reveal a almost toothless smile. It got off the planks bent down and picked up an old rusted sickle. It had a row of crow heads hand etched onto the blade. Its handle was made of bones; crow leg bones. The figure started walking toward to boys. “Duh-duh-duh-duck!” yelled Wolf and Just obeyed. The figure jumped over them and disappeared into the mist.

While Wolf was mesmerized Just noticed something, “It’s a church,” he said confused.

“L-l-l-let’s get back to the c-c-c-clubhouse,” suggested Wolf.

“Ditto,” agreed Just with a thick Romanian accent.

***

Red Earth, Alberta nestled among spruce and fir groves has a history of spine-chilling legends. The towns original name was Deerway because the town is in the migration path of caribou. The town was presumed to be named after a strange occurrence that swept through the town. The legend states a young girl was murdered in Central Park. When she was killed she fell into some rose bushes. As the drops of blood hit the petals of the white roses, the roses turned red. The color travelled down the stem and eventually the ground. The whole town was said to turn red. that’s why it was named Red Earth. To keep its old name main street was named Deerway.

***

Its illegal to kill crows. This was the highly enforced bylaw created by the town of Red Earth. Johnathan Baker was such a person to commit this crime; unknowingly of course. It is believed that the bylaw was created just the get him locked up or even executed. Johnathan Baker was a very secretive person. He lived in the middle of a corn field an a little run down shack. He couldn’t afford a scarecrow so to get rid of the pests he would kill them with his handmade sickle.

One moonless night the sheriff and a mob of townspeople, with flaming torches and sharpened pitchforks, stormed bakers property. Forcefully Baker was cuffed and thrown in the horse drawn police carriage. Instead of going to the police station the carriage went straight to the courthouse.

“The accused Johnathan Baker is charged with unlawfully killing crows and has been found guilty of the charge. He is sentenced to death by humiliation. The place of execution will be St. Lucia’s Church. May his soul repent on his actions,” the judges toneless voice echoes in Bakers ears.

At the church Johnathan was thrown on wood planks. His arms were tied and a long nail was driven into his back. A burlap bag was vehemently placed on his head. The bag was tied so tightly around his neck that he let out a chilling choking cough. There he died. For days when people went to church they would stop and laugh at him; even though he was dead. Years went by and he was forgotten. The church would empty and become overgrown. His skeleton would hang waiting for its revenge. Johnathan was never given a proper funeral.

 

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