Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
“In the midst of the fields, they say are where the bodies were found. They were nailed to a stick of wood and used as scarecrows, but not before their bones and organs were removed and replaced with straw.”
“Is the story true?” Jonas asked.
“Of course not, my boy,” Hicks replied, laughing his way into the kitchen.
Hicks was a sixty year old man who had lived across from the fields his whole entire life. Jonas was a young seventeen year old male who was hitchhiking along the road that sits just outside Hicks’ home. Hicks felt bad for the boy, so he allowed him to stay in the spare bedroom of his home, in exchange for work around the farm. He’d only been there for four days and everything was well, but there was something about the fields that gave Jonas the creeps. It was the way the crops swayed inconsistently with the wind. It was the smell that would linger around the fields and make its way toward the house. But most of all, it was the stories that Hicks would tell him about the fields.
Every night before he’d go to sleep, Jonas would take a peak at the fields. He’d never see anything other than crows, but one night he saw something else. It fled across the fields and disappeared into the distance. He didn’t get a desirable sighting of the thing, and that’s what scared him the most. The only thing he saw was a dark shadow. He didn’t look away, even after the thing had already disappeared, he kept his eyes gazed out at the fields. He thought about what Hicks had told him.
Dying is not exactly what people are afraid of, it’s the fear of the unknown. Nobody knows what comes after death, so they fear dying in every way possible.
In this situation, Jonas was fearing the unknown. If he had gotten a more desirable glimpse of the thing, he’d know what it was. It’s the fact that something is out there and he had no idea what it was. That’s what scared him the most.
The next morning, Hicks and Jonas both were distressed to find some of the crops in the fields to be destroyed. Thinking about what he saw the night before, Jonas was convinced he knew what had destroyed the crops. He informed Hicks about what he saw. “It’s the damn crows,” Hicks said, ignoring what Jonas had told him. “It’s always the damn crows.”
The hours went by, slowly but surely. Jonas was just finishing up work in the barn and heading toward the house when he’d heard something shuffling through the fields. He was curious, but yet afraid of the unknown. He walked cautiously into the dark fields, the moon being his only source of light. He had a pitchfork in his hands and he held that pitchfork in a defensive position as he shuffled through the fields. He heard something; he knew it was out there. Even when he was standing completely still, he heard something moving through the fields; he heard it snickering, he heard it breathing. There was something out there, but he couldn’t see it and that’s what scared him the most. Fear of the unknown.
As Jonas stood in the center of the fields, he realized he was lost. He smelled something, something deadly. He shuffled through the fields a bit more and that’s when he found it. Not the thing, not what haunts the fields, but he found a man nailed to a piece of wood as the straw hung out of his gut. His skin was desiccated and the bottom portions of his legs were removed, just above his knees. He thought he heard him breathing, but no, the man’s been dead for over a month. He heard something else. He looked to his right and that’s when he saw it. Not waiting for a second, he took off running. He ran through the fields, not even worrying about the fact that he was lost. All he could think about was what he saw. Despite the fact that he’d seen it, he still did not know what it was. Fear of the unknown.
He kept running, shuffling through the fields as horrified as he could be, until he ran into Hicks who’d gone out to look for him. He followed him back to the house, explaining to Hicks everything that he saw. “He’s out there!” he yelled. “I’ve seen him!”
“You calm the hell down, boy!” Hicks yelled. Jonas had become silent, but still shaking from fear. “What haunts the fields is not a he and it’s not a who. It’s a what, it’s an it, it’s a thing.”
“It killed a man,” Jonas said. “It’s out there, we have to call the police.”
“There ain’t nothing no police can do,” Hicks said. “We’ll be safe, just as long as we stay from the fields at night.”
“What does it want?”
“It’s the damn crows,” Hicks replied. “It’s always the damn crows.”
Jonas went to bed that night, unable to sleep with the haunting images of what he saw earlier that night on his mind. He spent most of that night, glancing out the window, fearing that what haunts the fields is still out there. It wasn’t until he began dosing off that he saw it again. Its beaming red eyes could be seen from miles away, but it was much closer than that. It was standing near Hicks’ tractor, staring into the fearful eyes of Jonas before it fled into the fields and disappeared.
The next day, Jonas still could not get the images of that night off his mind. From the dead man to the beaming red eyes of the thing, he was being haunted by the images. When the night rolled along, Jonas made sure to get inside the house before sundown. He was all alone that night; Hicks had left hours before for a supply run. Just a few hours after sundown, a scream had echoed from the fields. It was a woman. Jonas thought about it and he thought about it hard. He decided that it wasn’t right for him to just stand there and listen as the woman screamed for her life. He grabbed a shotgun belonging to Hicks, not even sure how to use it. He ran out of the house and into the fields, screaming out for the woman. She was no longer screaming, hadn’t screamed in minutes. He got to the center of the fields and that’s when he saw her. She was nailed to a stick, straw hanging out of her gut. The bottom portions of her legs were removed and were also filled with straw. He thought that she was breathing, but no, she was dead and again, it was the thing. With it’s beaming red eyes staring back at him. Jonas took off running, able to find the house minutes later. He ran inside and locked every door and every window. It was coming after him and he knew it.
Eventually, everything had become silent. The only thing he could hear was the beating of his own heart. There was a knock at the door and his heart was getting louder! Another knock and his heart was getting louder! Again, another knock and his heart was getting louder! He knew that it could have been Hicks, but he also knew it could have been the thing. His chest was getting tighter as he took a deep breath; the fear was growing more intense as he didn’t know who it was outside the door. Fear of the unknown. He walked slowly to the door, dragging his feet as he got closer and closer. He looked through the peephole, but all he could see was a bright red. It blinded him for a few seconds, but he knew what it was because he stared into that red a few times before. He ran from the door; unsure of what to do, he hid inside his bedroom closet.
Everything was quiet for a minute, the only thing he could hear was his own breathing. When the front door creaked open, the fear got more intense and his chest, even tighter. He tried with everything he had not to make even the smallest sound. The sound of footsteps wandered through the home and made it’s way toward Jonas. They were getting closer and the closer they got, the louder his heartbeat would sound. His bedroom door creaked open, whatever or whoever it was, was in the room. Its breathing, he could hear its breathing as it was louder than it had ever been before. The closet door creaked open and Jonas was certain he was the next to be nailed to a stick and displayed as a scarecrow. However, it was Hicks who stood in front of him.
“What are ya doin’ boy?” he yelled, taking the gun from Jonas.
“It was here!” Jonas said. “It was outside the door!”
Hicks shook his head as he was snickering, a sound so familiar to Jonas. “You got it all wrong, my boy,” He said, “Ya see, I left out a very important part about what haunts the fields.” He got closer as Jonas backed up against the wall. “It doesn’t just kill anybody. It picks up hitchhikers and it takes them to his home where it tells them stories about the fields.” His eyes become a bright beaming red. “Do you know what it does to them next?”
“No,” Jonas cried.
“It guts them, it stuffs them with straw and then it nails them to a stick out in the fields,” he said. “Do ya know why it does that?”
“No,” he cried again.
“It’s the damn crows,” he said. “It’s always the damn crows.”