The fate awaiting rubberneckers
Trudy knew she shouldn’t have gotten far from her family, not in this farm. She has been told several stories about what happens in the Carruthers’ farming estate. Murder stories, horrible tales. Bloody tales. Several youngsters went missing and were never to be found. Someone was walking by and slaughtered. He killed relentlessly, again and again, with complete impunity. Witnesses told they saw a man, a hatchet in his hand, cutting, slicing into bodies, before taking them who knew where. Some talked about cut up corpses, decapitated. Others told that some odd smells, burnt flesh, were coming from the family’s furnaces. The “monster”, as the community called him, looked like, according to the stories, to an ogre. Giant. Merciless.
Rumor had it that this season was the favorable period for the murders and the rule in the community was to never be alone in the vicinity without an adult. Her parents told her to never adventure in the farm alone, to never enter the buildings, especially in the barn, especially at night. Especially her.
But it was too late. She took her time to wander around and now she was lost, far from her family. Her curiosity had won once again. She couldn’t help it, she loved to dawdle peacefully, watching the scenery, play with the dirt she’d walked on, looking for worms, playing with them.
Trudy was now in front of the Carruther’s barn. She opened her eyes wide and had a partial but imposing view of the building. The barn, with the crackling red varnished wooden walls, topped by a flaming red roof, rose before her. She felt like it extended to the infinite, endlessly, in the sky, until it would hide it. She craned her neck as high as possible, vainly. Trudy, while staring at it, couldn’t help but to think of the snuffy legends that haunted this house, as impressive as scary. She got goosebumps.
She saw that the entrance of the barn was open but forbid herself to go in. She knew she had to go home, to her relatives and to get close to the farm. She stayed in front of the door a few minutes, racked by a dilemma. She was curious to visit the place but was frightened of all the stories she had been told. However, she wanted to examine this place filled with mysteries, to be able to brag to her friends, telling that the legends surroundings the Carruthers’ farm were just a bunch of lies and that she, and only her, managed to bust the myth.
However, she wasn’t entirely convinced.
Higher up, the moon was progressively rising. The harvest moon shone with light in the deep falling night. Trudy didn’t like the night, it scared her, terrorized her.
Suddenly, she heard a noise close to her, a footstep flattening the grass. She looked around to distinguish the origin of the sound but didn’t see anything. There was no one. Only cornfields, and the barn. She couldn’t see above them. She was surrounded by a fortress of ears and tall grass, bending under the wind’s will. Whispers echoed, carried by the air. Other pastoral noises rustled from the vicinity. She thought she caught sight of shadows coming towards her, but these vanished almost instantly in the nature. The footsteps slowly resumed. The grass cracked and indicated a movement towards Trudy.
Ending her dilemma, with the awful stories in mind, sick with fear, she pounced with her small steps, recklessly, into the barn.
She stepped, with fear, the threshold of the building and rushed into the darkness. The inside was plunged in pitch black. Only a dim lunar light pierced the room in its center, as a divine circle of light, coming from the only window, located above Trudy. She walked forward a bit and went into the obscurity.
She called out, asked if anyone was in there and waited for an answer. Nothing came. Nothing but the echo of her own voice in the empty room. She only heard the cracking and grinding sound of the lathes covering the wall of the barn. She perceived the wind squeezing in the cracks of the wooden structures, whistling in the frameworks. So many innocent sounds that terrorized her and brought her back to terrible and cruel myths. She felt desperately alone. She was feeling unsafe, vulnerable. She got into the feeble light a bit more and immediately suspected that something wasn’t right. She was now intimately convinced.
With a gust, the front door abruptly closed in a sharp bang and sank the room into pitch black. Trudy, at the time of the shock, holed up in fear. She could feel the terror climbing into her, feeling her heart wildly beating, hammering in her body. She closed her eyes, trying to calm down and opened them only a moment later. The darkness filled the room to plunge it in an almost complete daunting opacity. It occupied each parcel, covered everything, leaving nothing left for the skinny light filtering from the window. This unique circle of light was weakly lighting the place. Even with this natural lightning, one couldn’t see anything, the darkness was too thick, strengthened by the night. The luminescent flow was just lying there, lazy, useless.
Eyes wide open, a heavy feeling of oppression grabbed Trudy. She didn’t saw a thing. She had to wait until her eyes got used to this threatening obscurity to be able to guess indescribable forms, edges of furniture, tables, a ladder in the back, haystacks put here and there and some tools hanged on the wall. Hammers, axes, sickles. Instruments of death, arranged there, on the scene of the crimes.
Trudy felt isolated. She felt that the wooden walls were coming closer, indistinctly, moving forward centimeters by centimeters, and that she couldn’t see, understand why and even less do something about it.
She was now close to the circle of light, in the center of the room. She was feeling her way moving, with her light steps in the darkness. The whispers she heard became louder, just as the footsteps were getting closer. Shadows quickly crossed through the walls of the barn, in a quiet rustle. Panic gained ground on her. She cried out a little, desperately waiting for a friendly answer. She hoped that it was her relatives, out to look for her, that were here and that they would take her away from this evil building, away that persistent fear, from that dark night.
Suddenly, while she got closer to the bottom of the barn, the front door opened violently and smashed against the wall. A huge flood of lunar light flowed in the darkness. A voice called out “Trudy? Trudy? Come here darling”.
And in the frame of the door, appeared two long legs, then an imposing chest and finally the monster, a hatchet in his hand.
Trudy hid under a wooden table wedged in a corner and stood still. It was him, for sure. Her greatest nightmare, this morbid legend, was real and was standing before her, clearly for a reason. A bad one. The room instantly lost all of its warmth and was replaced by a freezing cold, lethal. The ogre remained still. He was standing there, at the front door, peering in the room sunk in the darkness, through the circle of light, looking for his prey. He said in a strong but calm voice: “I know you’re here. I’m going to catch you”.
Trudy was paralyzed with fear. Her frail little body hidden under the table, she didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t dare moving, fearing she would make herself visible. She knew that the least sound, the least step would mean her death warrant. Her very own pants were scaring her. She tried to breath the most quietly possible, praying to stay invisible. She looked with terror at the entry of the barn, where the man was standing.
The nightlight, shining beyond the frame of the door, finely defined the forms of the monster that was covering almost all the space. He was motionless, huge, frightening. She couldn’t see his traits, hidden in the obscurity of the room. But he was here, for her. And she felt that he was determined, that she didn’t really stand a chance to get away. She had made the mistake to walk into the barn.
He was still there, without moving a finger. He was watching, waiting for a mistake from his victim, something to locate her and take care of her.
After a few minutes where none of the both moved, Trudy decided to switch her hiding place. However, no sooner had she moved an inch than the monster got into the darkness, towards her.
She couldn’t contain her fear any longer, she started to run, screaming, calling for help. She ran in every direction, giving up to her greatest fear. She bumped into all the furniture, blindly running. She felt the presence behind her. She couldn’t control herself, panic had taken the upper hand. It was only a matter of minutes.
Suddenly, the light burst in the whole room, blinding Trudy. When her eyes got used to the light again, all she saw was the monster getting closer, a gloved hand reaching out. He then pounced on her. She wanted to struggle, to tear away from these deadly claws. She wanted to fly away, but it was too late. The hand closed on her neck and started to grip. The man lifted her easily and took her within head range. A big smile, on big white teeth, ran along his face. In a surrealist laugh, she heard him say: “tonight, we’ll treat ourselves a delicious meal.
Even though Trudy was flapping her limbs to free herself, the oxygen in her lung rarefied, the pressure around her neck increased, and quickly life left her. She had some spasms of reflexes and ended up idly lying in the murdering hand, dead.
That night, the Carruthers had an excellent night and all greatly enjoyed the meal cooked by Madam. Thanksgiving had never been that successful for the family and all went to bed filled with delight from that moment of sharing.
All? No. Little Timmy didn’t take part in the euphoria of the tradition. He was sad. He was crying the loss of his friend. He wouldn’t see her ever again, couldn’t play with her any more, burying his head in her feathers, chasing her in the farm.
He was inconsolable, he was crying his Trudy. His poor turkey Trudy.