Friday, October 31, 2008

Children of The Corn

Tonight is the night for ghosts and goblins-
witches and warlocks,
vampires and werewolves.
Tonight is the night for secrets
and spells
and the telling of stories.

Gather round.
Listen closely.
Don't pay attention to the shadows
or the bumps in the night.
I even have a few scary stories to share.

Tonight I am here to tell you about
Sheep Man...

It was a beautiful summer afternoon.
My sister Linda and I-
(she was always my partner in crime :)
went with Mom and Dad to visit
Betty A.
(I never knew what the A. stood for.)
She was a woman from church who lived
out in the country near us and
there was always other kids to play with.

As far as one could see
there were green corn fields-
and what better place to play
than in the rows and rows of
secret paths and mazes!

I think we must have been about
nine or ten-
so one of the older girls was in charge
and entertaining us
while the adults enjoyed their visit.

"Nancy" (I think was her name)-
led us through the fields and hills
as we played house
and explored the territory.
We laughed and giggled like
young girls do-
delighted with our silly games
and the new, unfamiliar play ground.

At one point, we had wandered
pretty far from the house.
In fact, it wasn't even visible
through the corn fields.

Resting beneath a big tree in a clearing,
we began to hear a strange noise.
It was a steady banging of some sort
and Nancy finally volunteered
to find out what it was.
It seemed to be coming from over the hill,
so Linda and I sat and waited-
(cool as cucumbers, I might add)
while Nancy climbed the hill
and peered over the edge.

Her eyes grew wide
and she came running at us fast.

"What?! What?!" we shouted.
"What is it?"

We hopped to our feet
as Nancy explained
that there was a man
chopping the heads off of sheep
and that he was coming right at us with an ax.

Well, Linda and I could have won
the marathon that day.
We broke speed records and
made heart rate history.
Our little chests were beating
a hundred miles a minute
and our tennis shoes
were like wings of fire on our feet.

Sweat and dirt splashed off of us
as we headed for the corn fields-
not really knowing which way
the house stood.

All we knew was that we had
to get away from Sheep Man.

The sun was setting
and the corn fields began casting shadows...

Our faces and hands
were sliced and pierced
from sharp corn leaves
as we continued to race our way
to safety.
We just had to get away from
the monster with the ax!!

We twisted our way through rows and rows
of weeds and cockle burs and corn-
at times we fell and got back up-
we cried and said our prayers-
we never once looked back.

It was almost dark before I saw
the rooftop of the house
and made a bee line
toward security.
I kept running and running
and running.
My side hurt from running-
My head hurt from running.
My blouse was torn.
My face and hands had "paper cuts"
from the corn shucks.

Out of the field a few yards away-
out popped Linda!
Still flying like a Gazelle-
her long hair a tangle of tassels-
and dirt beads as big as a snake
around her neck.

We both talked at once-
our breathing labored-
as we tried to explain to the adults
what had happened.
But even beneath the safety of the porch light
and wrapped in our parents arms,
we still feared for our lives.

The Sheep Man was still out there somewhere!

Then Nancy emerged from the corn maze
with a smile on her face,
explaining that it was just a joke.
That the chopping sound
was a simple oil well pumping away-
that there was no sheep-
no man-
no ax.

Well, Linda and I slept better that night
knowing that Nancy would probably
not be able to sit down on her butt
for awhile.
She was punished immediately by her parents.
But probably not severely enough-
considering that she put us through
one of the scariest days of our lives.

Even now when we hear
the steady rhythm of an oil pump,
Linda and I freeze.

And then we prepare to run
from Sheep Man.