This story is by Sarah Ramharrack and was part of our 2017 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the Spring Writing Contest stories here.
We all have those moments in our lives. Those moments you wish you could blank out, memories of things you wish you had never done, people you wish you had never met or things said to you that leave scars so deep that it still hurts when you recall them. Those moments are like blood on a wedding bed, your mental virginity lost, never to be recovered.
I’ve always been able to instantly recall things with graphic description. I’d recount something read in a book ages ago or a flash of a scene in an old movie or the color of a stranger’s eyes in a crowded room. My brain tends to store without filter and no, I’m not capable of deleting any of it…therefore I drink. A lot.
So when you have a mind like that and you wake up in the middle of a corn field with no idea of the time or location, it’s logical to assume that it would scare you, but not really shock you. My mind was muddled but the first thing I attempted to do upon waking was the tedious task of erecting myself.
The dirt was soft against my digits as I struggled through the maze of maize. I laughed softly at the pun and instantly stopped as it was punctuated by my big toe stubbing against a rock. The pain was blinding and as I stood on one shaky foot while squeezing my throbbing toe and grinding my teeth, I had a flashback. Was my biker boots still under the table at the bar? That I remembered, but not how the hell to get out of here or how I got here in the first place. Everything was fuzzy and fragmented.
I don’t know if it was the jarring pain or the stalks scraping against my skin, but I started to panic because it felt very real at that exact moment. No you’re not dreaming, you’re in an actual field, like the one in Children of the Corn, or where crop circles are found or worst yet, where the Scarecrow is actually a psycho waiting to murder you. Believe it or not, that last one made me literally pee myself. It was dark and the only sound was the rustling of the leaves as the cold wind blew through causing my arm hairs to stand on end. Strangely enough I found the warm pee comforting in this chilly clustered place. It was proof that I was alive and still sane enough to warrant a predictable reaction from a disoriented woman waking up in a freaking corn field.
I’m alive and I will get out of here.
My head was aching and I felt like I was going around in circles. How long had I been walking? I couldn’t tell but as the initial fuzziness of my thoughts started dissipating, it occurred to me that I had been trudging through possibly a mile of stalks and I needed to find higher ground in order to ascertain in which general direction Civilization could be found. But how do I find higher ground? This is a corn field which generally tends to be cultivated on plains. Sighing, I looked up at the moon, she seemed a bit hazy with clouds slow dancing around her every minute. Thoughts were starting to blur again and then I heard someone yell out in pain. I wasn’t alone!
I was about to holler when a shot screamed out, startling me and I fell to the ground as something slapped pass the stalks about three feet to my left. What the hell? It was unmistakable, that was definitely a gunshot!
“She can’t be that far ahead, watch out for movement!” A strangely familiar sounding voice commanded from my extreme right.
“I think I got her that time. See? The corn ain’t moving no more!” A whining sound came from behind me, sounding too close for comfort.
I was…being hunted? Why?
Before I could even process that, I heard them moving through the stalks once more and I decided that it would be in my best interest if I remained close to the ground so as not to disturb the stalks and signal to these bastards my current location.
Mr. Right as I had dubbed the initial speaker, was making his way towards me, his movements slow and deliberate like he had all the time in the world. Mr. Rear was smashing through the corn stalks behind me like a tsunami, probably scaring all the field mice and sending them scattering in my general direction. That thought got me crawling on my belly with my throbbing toe and now pounding head.
It was even darker down here and I was thankful when the miserly moon shed a glimpse of light every other minute or two. I just needed to see where I was going and I didn’t have the luxury of feeling my way through this maze. At the base between each row appeared what looked like a tunnel that a regular dog could just make it through and though I wasn’t exactly an underfed Cujo, at this moment in time I was so terrified I’d be a Chihuahua if need be. I crawled into a tunnel a couple feet to my left and thankfully the wind picked up just then and covered my movements as the stalks swayed for a bit before ceasing.
As I continued to wriggle away from my pursuers, I heard them convene at my previous location. My heart was rocketing within my chest and somehow that translated to a pounding in my ears so I missed the first few exchanges, but it got heated quickly and the voices soon rose and was carried to my crawl space like a telephone wire newly installed and fully functional.
“It’s your fault, you moron!” came the voice of the unmistakable Mr. Right.
“I’m the moron? You duh idiot who wanted to drug a fitness nut!” Mr. Rear responded indignantly.
“A fitness nut? What the hell that got to do with anything?” Mr. Right was incredulous undoubtedly.
“Well duh, she done menabolite everything quickly, that how come she done woke up before we got to the house and jumped the hell off my truck into this here god forsaken shithole of a corn field!”
“I think you meant metabolize…and that was good stuff that I bought from a guy I knew back in college….and she jumped off the freaking truck cuz you’re the idiot who didn’t think to tie her hands!”
“Why would I tie her hands? She was blacked out when I dropped her in there and we put so much of that stuff in her drink I thought she’d be out cold for the rest of the night!”
Mr. Right lowered his voice and I could almost hear him smile when he said “Well that didn’t happen and here we are, so stuff your complaining and let’s just find her, she couldn’t have gotten far and I’m betting she’s crapped her pants already…”.
Well not quite, but close enough.
As if following his cue, Mr. Rear muttered something unintelligible and the stalks a couple feet to my right started crumpling.
As they moved, I moved. I knew the ruckus Mr. Rear was making would cover my movement and I didn’t know where I was heading but one thing was certain, I could not stay in one spot. At some point in time they would have to come out of the field and when they did, they would lead me out as well to a road that I could possibly follow and find my way home.
They crashed through the unsuspecting stalks for what felt like hours to me, because they were walking and I was crawling. It must have been just about half an hour though, because the moon was exactly where I left her a while ago, perched directly above me, safe among her wispy dancers, peeping out now and again for what I felt was my sole benefit to make sure I didn’t feel forsaken. But I did. Here I was, on my bruised elbows, my face scratched up and bleeding from the sharp protrusions that dared to call themselves leaves, crawling in a urine drenched jeans in the middle of nowhere, covered in dirt and being hunted by two strange men I couldn’t even identify in a line up. But the thing that scared me the most was the fact that the only sounds I heard were from Mr. Right and Mr. Rear. There were no sirens, no car horns, no engines, no television sounds, no radio, not even a dog barking! Tears ran down my face, the salt stinging my cuts but I didn’t care, this wasn’t fair. All I did was have a drink at a bar. I felt so tired right then I just stopped crawling and rested my head on the cool soil. Why bother? No one knows where I am. Who’s gonna save me?
An urgent whisper brought my head back up so suddenly that I felt like a bulb popped somewhere in the recesses of my mind.
This time the voice was clearer and felt…closer. I looked around. There was no celestial lighting or paranormal projections but the conviction in that one word made me resume my position and proceed towards only God knows.
A moment later I realized that they were bickering again and the mystery of the voice was solved.
“Me?” Mr. Rear bellowed. “How duh hell am I to be blamed for this? T’was your cockamamie idea in the first place! I should have gone to a strip club like I always do, instead of being here in the middle of a corn field cuz you read some shit in a book somewhere and wanted to try it! It’s called fiction for a reason, ya dumbshit!”
The noise that came from Mr. Right did not sound remotely human as he crashed into Mr. Rear. But that wasn’t the most interesting thing. Nope. The most interesting thing was the light just ahead that was unmistakably…coming from a headlight. While they were grappling and possibly creating a crop circle of their own I picked up my pace with militant swiftness I didn’t even know I had. The lights were on and the engine was running, I assumed to keep the battery from dying. Good for me. Bad for them.
I got to the truck which was parked across a dirt road and I kept low for two reasons. Firstly, I didn’t want them to even glimpse me and secondly, every single joint and muscle in my body ached. The doors were opened. I could just imagine them jumping out and running into the field, after a woman they had randomly drugged who had awoken in the back of a pickup, possibly quite scared out of her mind. That woman wasn’t me. This was me, behind the wheel of this truck.
I put it on Reverse, hit the gas for a few seconds until I hit the stalks behind me, braked, slipped it into Drive and waited.
Within seconds they came crashing through the corn and unto the dirt road directly in front of the headlights. Their mouths were open in surprise and then closed as they started towards me with clenched fists. Without hesitation, I plowed through them with a war cry of my own and as I backed up over their bodies and drove away, the one thought that made me smile was the fact that fortunately, the truck was an automatic. If it had been stick, I’d have been stuck, because I could never remember how to work the clutch. What a hangover this would have been. I probably would have never gotten the chance to regret anything I actually did happen to remember.