A Day in the Cornfield
by Glenn Gray
One day, Karl and Stew discover strange “turd”-like things appearing in their cornfield. The things have a strange power of mimicry, and their intentions are far from clear. Karl and Stew elicit the help of Sheriff Maynard and his daughter Roxy. Consternation ensues, and the once quiet farm becomes the epicenter of national attention.
Ida Mae Wheeler opened her eyes. At first she forgot where she was and what she was doing; thought maybe she was lying in her own bed, quilt pulled up to her chin, almost time for the morning fizz.
She could see the towering trunk of a tree shooting up to the sky, branches spiraling out, fluffy clouds sailing by.
She smelled smoke.
She got on an elbow, rubbed her eyes, a bit dizzy. She saw the shotgun on some leaves in the dirt, the barrel bent like a downward frown. Beyond the gun was her pride and joy, the Harley — handlebars and front tire mangled, smoke rising from its engine.
Then she remembered the big Sasquatch critter thing and sat upright. She looked around.
She surveyed her body; legs moving, no real aches, just a little sore. Leather pants in one piece. Her do-rag was on the ground. She picked it up and wrapped her head. The Glock was still at the small of her back. She palmed it and got to her feet.
Ida brushed off and made her way toward where she last saw the thing, where it flopped to the ground.
Up ahead were broken tree limbs where the thing had tried to escape. A small tree was cracked midway up, tipped over. She saw a dark mass on the ground.
Ida stepped closer, making a wide arc, trying to get a good view. She had the Glock out front now, arm straight. She listened, heard nothing but a faraway whippoorwill.
She continued across the gravel drive, along the low brush, now within fifty feet. She came round a curve and stopped behind a sizable pine. She peeked and could see something.
She squinted. It looked like a huge pile of black dung.
Ida said, “Crimeny,” thinking it had gotten away, left a big mess just like she thought all along. She relaxed her grip on the pistol, let her arm drop. She took another look around.
Ida stepped closer, got within a few feet of the monstrous mound.
She was confused.
It really didn’t look like dung and it seemed too much to come from that thing. The critter was big, but this was some load of stuff.
And the smell. It wasn’t what she expected. It didn’t smell bad, in fact, it smelled pretty good. Like a loaf of bread, just baked, sitting on the kitchen table, mixed with the passing scent of a good cigar.
The mound glowed a little too.
Ida held out the gun, pushed the barrel toward the mound. She prodded it slightly, just to get a feel.
It was barely a touch but somehow the gun, along with her hand, was pulled right into the stuff. Ida tried to yank back but the great force drew in her arm up to the shoulder, so that she had to twist her head.
Ida tried to get purchase, trying to push off, but it was too much and before she knew it she was sucked completely into the mound. It was a fleeting second in darkness before she felt herself exit, tumbling along the opposite side of the blob, landing on her bottom.
She quickly scooted away, examining her arms and chest, nothing, clean as could be. She still fisted the gun.
Then something started.
Ida jumped up, scampered away, a safe distance. The mound started to rumble, vibrate, as if an earthquake approached, but everything else was still.
The thing rumbled faster then abruptly stopped. It changed colors, alternating between red and orange and purple and black and even a little green. The surface started to undulate and that’s when Ida got scared, thinking it might explode.
Ida inched back, still watching.
Then the mound stretched upwards, elongating. It bubbled and gurgled and stretched and got taller and taller. It started to take shape, like a person, still undulating and there were screeching sounds and the thing quickly took shape.
Ida stared up at a giant person, a woman.
Ida stood in its shadow.
One hand was holding something, a gun. Then she saw wings flap out from the sides and she thought, Here we go, another critter thing.
Ida’s vision cleared.
She couldn’t believe this critter thing was wearing a do-rag just like hers. It was even wearing her “Born to Ride” t-shirt and was holding a Glock the size of a canon. She was taken aback when she realized she was looking at an eighty-foot version of herself. The face was the spittin’ image.
Then the wings. Didn’t know where those came from. And the legs. She knew she had skinny legs but darn, those were some chicken legs. She looked down and saw the claws and realized that the lower half was actually bird-like. The kicker was the tail that swung round, swattin’ at bugs.
A dog’s tail.
Ida definitely thought she might cut back on those toddys.
The thing looked down, her own face. It took a step. Ida took a step back. It took another step. Ida stepped.
Ida realized she still had the gun. When the thing leaned down she couldn’t help but pop off a few rounds. The thing stopped short and the face, Ida’s big monster face, scowled.
It reached down and Ida turned to run but before she knew it, humongous fingers wrapped around her waist and Ida was rising off the ground. Ida emptied the Glock into the “Born to Ride” logo.
Ida could see the wings unfolding at full span, starting to flap, creating a strong gust.
Ida could see the tops of trees.
Then she saw the mountain ledge and the big drop-off into the valley.
Ida had a whole new perspective of the mountain. She twisted her neck and could make out her own house in the clearing, like a little toy house.
Ida couldn’t help but think, Jeepers, a toddy would be nice right about now.
Copyright © 2009 by Glenn Gray