Every morning, I go out with Jimmy and wrangle the cows, gather up the profits from last month’s yield, and go out to the pasture to plant more seeds. It’s a day-to-day routine that never is deviated from, never stopped by weather conditions or predatory wolves. And every week we head into town to buy supplies.
But this week’s been different. And it’s all our fault.
We made this scarecrow to keep the damned birds away (I know, those things never work). We named it ‘Jimbo’, after Jimmy’s dog that died a few years back.
When it wasn’t planted outside guarding our pumpkin seeds, we’d bring it in and pretend to eat with it, tell jokes and tell stories to this inanimate sack of hay and burlap. This was most nights it got rainy, or when the birds got particularly ornery. It always smiled back with a complacent smile.
Well one day, me and Jimmy got real drunk, the kind of drunk that makes people on the outside look on you in disgust. We were hootin’ and hollerin’, and we wanted a new friend to join our little group of gentlemen. So we got one of my friends, an old Gypsie fellow, and we got him drunk too. Things happened, and somehow during the night, we got this cockamamie idea to put a spell on old Jimbo.
The Gypsie worked his magic, convulsing and muttering alien bullshit as he waved his hands over the scarecrow. To our messed up brains, this was a hilarious ordeal, and we laughed until we passed out, listening to that strange tongue of his. Before I passed out though, I could’ve sworn the scarecrow twitched at the hands.
Well, we forgot all about that and went on with our lives, the day of debauchery behind us. That’s when we noticed something was wrong. Whenever we came back to the shed-house at 5:00 pm, Jimbo would be standing in the corner of the shed, usually in an upright position. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but after consulting with each other, me and Jimmy decided neither of us had moved it. We just guessed some young’un came by and pranked us, some bored inner-city kid with nothin’ to do on his family vacation.
The only problem with that? Nobody had lived in the vacation house a little over a mile ago for at least five months, and the only families that lived nearby lived over 12 miles yonder rugged hills. Not nearly enough effort needed to pull some mischief miles from home…
Me and Jimmy stayed away from Jimbo and the shed as much as we could. Whenever we came in to get some tools, we’d stay away from Jimbo, who each afternoon had somehow moved around by his own means. One time we even found him hangin’ by his arms from the slot where we held our pitchforks, smiling innocent as a baby in the cookie jar. Call me suspicious, but I felt like Jimbo was watchin’ me.
It was the nights that got tense. Every night, we’d lie asleep at night, rocked to sleep by the sounds of crickets and drones from the animals, then jolted awake by the sound of the shed doors being wrenched open by some un-godly force. We’d lie awake, eyes wide as we watched a figure, tall and lanky, stalk the horizon and disappear behind the cows and bales of hay.
We had no idea what to do. At some point we hadn’t gone out to get supplies or milk the cows for three days. Neither of us wanted to go out with whatever the hell was walking out there. And there was no way we was trying to get rid of it either. There had to be something we could do.
So me and Jimmy pulled straws. Whoever got the shortest had to go out and get the supplies, then we’d take shifts milking the cows. I lucked out, and Jimmy got the shortest. I told ‘im I’d be keeping an eye on him to make sure he was okay. Jimmy nods shakily and walks out the door.
I watch him ‘till he disappears over the pasture hills and onto the dirt road. And I wait. And wait. And wait.
Jimmy never shows up. By 7:30 pm, I’m a nervous wreck and I havn’t eaten anything. Jimmy hasn’t walked out those doors for hours now. That’s when I hear the noise on the roof.
CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP
Something be walking on the roofs, mighty heavy and with a slight gimp.
I walk out the door and look to the roof; nothing could prepare me for what I would see.
Jimbo was trompin’ up and down the roof, gazing at the sun now setting in the blistering heat.
In the dying light, I could make out the scarecrow laying out a stretched out, bloody skin to dry in the sun.