A Day in the Cornfield
by Glenn Gray
Karl rubbed his eyes with the back of his hands, fisting the gun. “Uh-huh.”
“I ain’t seein’ things am I?”
“You wanna wake the Sheriff?”
Karl knelt down, not releasing his gaze from the thing in the yard, and rattled the Sheriff’s shoulder. “He ain’t movin’.”
Sheriff Maynard roused, but did not wake.
“’Sides, I got the gun,” Karl said.
“Wanna make a break for it?” asked Stew.
“No ways. Don’t yet even think about movin’.”
In the distance, where the big mound had been, there stood a man-thing. It was a kind of hybrid, like a Karl and Stew and Bongo all mixed together. A furry man-dog-thing.
Only it stood seventy feet tall.
Karl and Stew gazed up, the towering monstrosity throwing a big black shadow on the ground. It started to move slowly, like an old geezer trying to work some kinks from his aged joints. It swiveled its neck, shrugged its shoulders, bent its knees.
Sheriff Maynard was coming round, sanding his face with both palms, and quickly shook his head. He gazed sideways and saw Karl and Stew. Momentarily he forgot what was going on. He climbed to his feet and looked at the great man-dog-thing and slid back to the ground like syrup.
Out for the count.
“You gonna shoot it?” asked Stew.
“With this? Heck, it’d be like spitballs from a straw.”
“You wanna try talking?”
“Like,” Stew managed a smile, “we ain’t gonna hurt ’em or nuthin.”
“Don’t be a wisengoat.”
The thing made a noise that startled Karl and Stew, and they reflexively crouched.
“Dang!” Karl said and accidentally fired off a shot.
Stew dropped low and the giant man-dog-thing startled too, hunched down. It got on all fours like a dog and started sniffing the ground. It came up close to the barn and sniffed around some more.
Then it stood up and let out a loud bark-like noise.
It started to roll its shoulders and make funny motions, like it had an itch. It moved and moved and wriggled its head. Then there was a sound like tearing lettuce and it started to shake its shoulders and another rip and then it leaned over a bit and screeched and then its back started to undulate.
“The heck it doin’?”
“Darn if I know. Havin’ a connipeshon?”
And then one feathered wing broke free from its back and fluttered. And then the other wing, and the wings fluttered and flapped, and it shook its back wildly, and the wings took on full span and were probably fifty feet on either side, and they blocked out the sun for a minute and Karl and Stew could feel great waves of wind that tossed their hair and blew sand and dust in their eyes.
The thing flapped and lifted a few feet off the ground and started to sail towards Karl and Stew, and it was walking and flapping and walking, and then it barked, and then it made a groan, and it seemed to see Karl and Stew and fixed its gaze on them.
The great airplane wings relaxed a little and came down at its side and it walked again, inching towards Karl and Stew.
“You still wanna talk?” Karl said and backed up a little.
Stew said, “Maybe can we make it to the house?”
The giant man-dog-bird-thing took another step, and Karl and Stew looked at each other and bolted towards the house, aiming at the screen door, and halfway there Karl said, “The Sheriff!” and they stopped dead in their tracks and looked back and by that time the thing had a hand on the roof of the police cruiser. It started to lift the vehicle from the ground, and the Sheriff was lying there, starting to come to, rolling a bit.
By this time the thing had the cruiser twenty feet off the ground and the Sheriff, sensing something, sat up on his behind and looked round. He saw the man-dog-bird-thing holding the cruiser overhead, staring down at him. Karl thought quickly and started blasting off shots.
And the thing stopped, twisted its neck and regarded Karl. The shots had hit the thing in its thigh and flank to no avail.
Stew said, “Dangit, they’s was just like skeeter bites.”
“Better get in the house.”
The Sheriff saw the thing and collapsed back on the dirt, and the thing was more interested in Karl now and it tossed the cruiser, spinning end-over-end in the air, smashing one hundred feet away with a loud crash. It rolled and burst into flames.
Karl and Stew bolted towards the screen door, and it flapped shut just as the thing reached the house and peered its massive head through the tiny opening.
Karl and Stew were just inside the door breathing hard, in the kitchen, and all they could see was a gargantuan eye filling the door frame. Karl was up against the refrigerator with the gun pointed forward and he fingered the trigger but there was a CLICK.
Stew was busy crawling under the table and saying, “Get down!”
Outside there was a wailing scream, a siren, and the eye vanished from the door.
Karl peered through the window over the sink and could see another cruiser barreling down the dirt road, siren screaming, a dust ball kicking up behind.
The backup police that Sheriff Maynard had called.
Karl suddenly remembered the Sheriff and went to the door to check.
He saw the man-dog-bird-thing lumbering back towards the pool.
The sound of the siren escalated, getting louder and louder, and the new cruiser was heading up the drive now and Karl saw the man-dog-bird-thing flap its wings, kicking up a brown cloud and lifting off the ground.
Higher and higher.
It twisted in mid-flight like a graceful bird and darted swiftly and smoothly into the sky. So high that Karl had to pull open the door and crane his neck, and by then it was a tiny faded speck against the blue.
“Karl?” Stew said from under the table. “Can I come out now?”
Copyright © 2009 by Glenn Gray