No Dialogue October 2020 Prompt Scarecrow
Night Of The Uprising
Our town is very different since then. Visitors feel it and are not eager to come to our town. It may be because we don’t decorate our houses and yards anymore.
Why, at one time, this town was known for elaborate and festive decorating. We loved doing it and it showed. In fact, that was why many visitors came.
Any holiday from New Year’s Eve to Christmas found every house and yard decorated and glowing with lights. We would all walk around with visitors from out of town to gawp and aww at every one of them. It was magical!
In spite of the efforts of other townspeople, the only one who absolutely refused to decorate was Maisie Horne. She lived alone in a ramshackle house on the edge of town with no neighbors. Some called her a collector, others a hoarder, but most were repelled by her.
Maisie managed to supplement her pension by gathering old clothes, rags and other bits and pieces to sell. Her house was almost overwhelmed by the things she collected. Time and again, the mayor and police chief tried to get her to clean up both herself and her place.
Each time, she threatened to sue them and drove them off with a twelve-gauge. She was a hermit or acted like one. The only folks she tolerated were children.
Any that came to her door, especially on Halloween, got toys she’d fixed up as treats and smiles. Hugs too if they wanted. When the parents found out, they banned their children from going to her place, fearful of what she might do.
But being repulsed by Maisie never stopped people from going to her for the clothing they wanted for their yearly harvest and Halloween scarecrows. Since every yard had one or more, that was the time when she made the most money from her scavenging. Not that she was more pleasant because of it, but she was the only game in town!
One fateful Halloween started with an eerie green sky and capricious winds, just before the kids were due to start out for trick or treating. The sky then blackened with flocks of crows. Their raucous cries drowned out other noises, including the voices of alarmed citizens that saw them.
The winds continued erratic and began to pick up scarecrows from all over town. Pulling them out of the ground, they caused them to fly through the air like aircraft squadrons in formation. The eyes of each one glowed eerily.
But most frightening, was the scarecrow that led them. Anyone outside long enough to watch, swore the leader was Maisie Horne in effigy. Lightning began to shatter the sky.
The flying figures caught fire when struck by it. As they burned, they fell to earth onto houses, garages, and other buildings, setting them aflame. My volunteer fire department was overwhelmed. That meant many of the townspeople were killed or injured.
As I was dragging myself home, dirty, hungry and exhausted, I decided to stop in to see how Maisie had fared. Her front door swung in the wind, which made me cautious. She was not known to leave her door off the latch, ever!
Calling her name, I entered the house. The place was nearly swept clean, unlike its normal overstuffed and cluttered state. I made my way toward the faint gleam of a fire.
There in her rocking chair was Maisie, stiff and cold. As I felt for a pulse and found none, I noticed something in her hand. With difficulty, I pried it out.
It was a grubby piece of paper. Written on it was a curse against the town for its treatment of her. As I called the police, I closed her eyes.
Eerily, I began to feel like I was being watched. Two pinpoints of light in a shadowed corner of the room drew me. It was a scarecrow covered with slips of paper containing the names of everyone in town, including mine!
The news of Maisie’s curse spread like wildfire. The fear among the citizens was palpable, so the town fathers passed a new ordinance. No more outdoor decorating, and certainly no scarecrows!