So I was sitting on my parent's john flipping through the only available reading material, Country Woman magazine. I've never gotten so angry on a toilet. You would not believe the garbage they print. A few nice "reminiscence" articles about how great life was before penicillin, a well-worded advertisement for backhoes, and the rest is asinine, poorly-thought-out fluffy scraps. Prose that stumbles around a bit before it topples over and dies in a big stinky heap. Plodding, kindergarten-level poetry that insists on rhyming and is almost as challenging as a nice brief nap. I said to myself, you can do better than this. OR . . . you can do worse.

And oh yes, someone is paying me for the right to publish this in an actual magazine, glossy cover and all, circulation two million.

Scarecrow's Secret

See the scarecrow in the field
Scaring off the crows?
Where'd he get that awful hat?
Bet your grandpa knows.

And the gaudy shirt he wears -
Orange as a carrot!
Ask your father why it's there.
He certainly won't wear it.

Checkered pants in blue and green,
Colorful and bright.
Earrings, gloves, a spotted tie,
And not a crow in sight.

What's the secret - how to shoo
Those birds upon the fence?
"Very simple," Scarecrow says,
"Offend their fashion sense!"

Curled up snugly under the covers, groping a security blanket that really doesn’t live up to its name and trying so desperately not to let the cold light of the moon penetrate the barrier you’ve created with the comforter your mom made for you, you can’t help but lie awake dreaming of things only the imagination of a six year old could produce.

Brown eyes wide and tiny beads of sweat building on your brow, every sound, from the deafening bang of the shutters to the gentle rustle of leaves gets magnified in your mind. The more you search for it, the harder silence is to find. As the seconds loudly tick by, you have no choice but to sit there and be a slave to your imagination. The images in your mind perpetuate themselves until you have to get up and see for yourself. Lying here imagining isn’t going to do anyone any good.

Squeezing it for maximum effectiveness, your security blanket leads the way. Down the hall; slowly, the moonlight is fleeting. Once you reach the stairs, your grip relents as you reach out to grasp the railing. The hardwood turns to carpet, but your feet are just as cold. At the bottom, you stop. Trying to see the top of the staircase you just descended you briefly consider going back to your warm bed. Remembering the noises, curiosity drives you towards the solid front door; the one remaining barrier between you and the true contents of the night. Peace of mind is only a few feet away.

Once the door is fully ajar and the whine of overused hinges subsides it rushes towards you, almost knocking you off of your feet; the silence that you’ve been looking so hard for. Deafening silence that digs deep as you survey your surroundings.

Without realizing it, your legs subtly start to carry you forward. At first with a reserved caution that is only brought about by a deep fear, but soon faster and faster with urgency that only real terror can cause. Eyes locked on the source of your discomfort, you’re running through an ethereal mist that covers everything. Blanket flapping in the wind, your short legs eventually slow down and you start to experience a strange calm. Fear washes away and all of a sudden. Standing in the dew, you find an uneasy comfort.

But it’s not alright. There’s no reason to be calm. Off in the distance you think you hear something… sounds like children, children your own age, but you can’t be sure. Slowly walking forward, absorbing every sound, being careful not to disturb even a blade of grass, you strain to hear it…. It is childrenchildren crying….

Opening your eyes, the blinding light finally breaks the barrier you tried so hard to maintain all night. Still sweating, you jump out of bed and almost forget to stop at the window. There it is, the source of all your fear last night, and the thing that went missing in the mist. Grinning wildly from its rotting orange head, it stares at you with its vacant eyes. You can tell the scarecrow is just dying to tell you its secret…

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