By Audrey W.
“We sure are out a ways from town,” John Gage commented as he looked around at the hills covered in dry yellow grass surrounding them. A few green bushes sprinkled with brown leaves here and there stood out amongst the lighter landscaping, along with greener hills off in the distance where the dirt road appeared to end.
He and his paramedic partner, Roy DeSoto, were in their squad in search of a ‘man down’ they’d been dispatched out for. However, with no sign of any other life but themselves in the vicinity, it was beginning to look like they’d perhaps been pranked on Halloween afternoon.
“Man, can you imagine what the rest of the day is gonna be like if the ‘fun’ is startin’ this early?”
“I’d rather not think about it.”
John opened the passenger side door of the now stopped red rescue truck, then stood on the frame as he scanned the area from a higher line of sight for a second time since being in the area.
“Hello? Anybody out here?” He hollered, continuing to search with his gaze. Suddenly some previously missed colors within the deep straw-like grass in a field caught his attention from his elevated vantage point.
“Wait! I think I see something on the ground!” He quickly got back in the squad and immediately pointed in its direction. “Over there!”
As Roy made a u-turn, both men hoped they weren't too late if they were dealing with a real victim after all.
The senior paramedic brought the squad to a stop at the edge of the field. The two men scrambled out, quickly grabbed the biophone, drug box and oxygen canister from the compartments of their truck, then trotted through the dried grass toward their new discovery. As they neared, the two slowed their pace. They stopped short when they realized 'who' was lying a couple of feet in front of them, the view no longer obscured by the grass.
“It’s a scarecrow!” Gage called out, the biophone in one hand, oxygen in the other.
Roy obviously didn’t need to hear the update. With his attention still on the ‘victim’, he noticed a narrow round wooden pole lying on the ground not far from the straw man dressed in denim jeans and a red plaid shirt.
“Well, I'd say we got our answer."
John gave a nod. "Pranked."
The men traded glances with a shrug, then both eyed the scarecrow once again. Their lower jaws dropped open in surprise.
The round face with black triangle eyes and nose, and a black painted on grin, had been facing upward but was now turned to the side and staring directly at them.
As he turned to look the other direction, Gage hollered "All right. Enough is enough!" to whoever was likely hiding nearby. Though, other than the squad, it wasn't like there were a lot of things to duck behind.
In the meantime, Roy stepped over and reached down to feel for a string that would lead them to the pranksters. Only problem was. . .
"Johnny, there's nothing attached to it."
His partner quickly turned around again. "What?"
"There's no string. There's not a wire. I don't even see an end where one might've broken off."
"Then how. . .?"
Both paramedics once again glanced around the open space, wondering what obvious answer they were missing. Suddenly Roy felt Gage nudge him in the ribs.
"Uh, Roy. . .” He quietly spoke once he found his voice again.
The head was still facing them but was now partially off the ground, still attached to the body.
“Say no more,” his partner responded. “Just turn slowly and head for the squad.”
Both did just that, their pace increased with each step. The paramedics hurried to stow the equipment, then closed and secured the compartment doors, all the while glancing back at the downed straw man.
“How can that be? There's gotta be an explanation,” John again whispered.
“I'm sure there is, but I don’t want to stick around to try and figure it out.”
“Maybe whoever called it in didn’t wanna, either,” the younger man said as the two rushed to their respective doors, then climbed in. “Probly didn't wanna come back,” he added.
Roy immediately put the truck into drive and pulled away. He listened to his partner call them in as available and wondered how they should write this one down in their log book. He also wondered how they would explain it to their captain and the rest of the engine crew.
As they drove down the dirt road toward Carson, John looked in the side mirror to make sure nothing, mainly the scarecrow, was running down the road after them. Though he wasn’t sure he actually expected it, he couldn’t shake that it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise.
Both paramedics hoped that was the last strange call they’d get for awhile, at least till ‘All Hallows Eve’ was in the rearview mirror.
This was inspired by the picture
Click above to send Audrey feedback
Halloween Stories October Picture 2017