Night Harvest: Like Father, Like Son by Michelle Ceasar Davis

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Night Harvest, NightHarvest, Writing | 0 comments

Night Harvest: Like Father, Like Son by Michelle Ceasar Davis

Welcome to the Night Harvest. For the entire month of October, we’ll be featuring scary stories and illustrations from talented authors and artists around the globe. I hope you stay awhile. After all, the Night Harvest is quite a scream. You can see the live list of participants and their posts dates on this link.

 

Follow the buzz on twitter using the official hashtag #NightHarvestOh, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom of this post for a giveaway!

 

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Like Father, Like Son

by Michelle Ceasar Davis

 

The world knows me as Father Dave, owner and operator of Farmer Dave’s Pumpkin Patch, Corn Maze and Hayride. You though, you can call me by my real name, Ty.

I’ve had my little seasonal tourist attraction for about two decades, since my dad helped me plan my first pumpkin patch. The next year I designed and planted my first corn maze. The county commissioners took notice of the number of people visiting our family farm and decided to make it a larger event. They worked with Dad, the original Farmer Dave, to have a few small carnival rides and create a party atmosphere. So began the Fuller County Harvest Festival, a day filled with family fun – if you believe all the hype found on the county’s website.

That was also the year we learned about the monster in the woods.

Dad used to tell me stories when I was a little boy about a monster that lived in the deep, dark woods next to our property. The monster would grab random children from around the county and no one would see them again. This would happen two or three times a year. As a child, I believed everything he told me. It was about the time I stopped believing all his stories when I lost two of my friends.

Aaron, Jack, and I were 10, maybe 12 at the most, and we were playing catch with an old baseball in my backyard behind the barn. Aaron dreamed about becoming a professional ball player and finally getting cool frames for his glasses. He had a crazy curveball that no one could catch and he like to show off his pitching skills. He threw it to me, and I obviously missed it. I had to go around to the other side of the barn and spend about five minutes looking for the ball, cussing out Aaron the entire time. When I had the ball in my hand, I ran back to my friends, ready to throw to Jack.

I was alone where I left them.

“Aaron! Jack! Where are you?” I called for them, pleaded for them to stop joking. They never responded.

I searched all our outbuildings and then searched again with Dad’s help.

And still we couldn’t find them.

Families and neighbors soon flooded our property. Everyone skirted the woods. No one even got close enough to walk in its shadow.

And none of us found Jack or Aaron.

The next week was the harvest festival, and four men from the county commission came two days after the disappearance of Aaron and Jack to meet with Dad at our house. He sent me to play in the yard but all I could think about were my missing friends. I felt too old to play so I decided to mow the area where the carnival games and food booths would set up.

The tractor was an old one that made lots of noise so I put on my headphones and listened to music, hoping to drown out my own memories. The first pass went without incident. Hell, I didn’t even see a turkey or deer. Something caught my eye on the return trip.

There was a twinkle of light off of something. And it came from about six feet inside the woods.

I turned off the tractor and slowly walked toward the shadowy darkness.

There wasn’t a sound inside, not a bird call, not the rustling of any tall grass. I walked toward the glinting object, careful to not make a sound to alert the monster to my presence. The object fit in my hand so I grabbed it and turned to run out when something else caught my attention.

It was a piece of red flannel, exactly like the shirt my friend Jack wore the day he disappeared.

I run the entire way to our house. The county commissioners were still meeting with Dad in the kitchen but I had to interrupt them.

“Look what I found!” I dropped the items on the kitchen table.

“What have you got there, son?” Dad asked, putting his hand on my shoulder.

“I don’t know.” I picked up the flannel. “This looks like it could’ve been part of Jack’s shirt.”

“And these?” one of the commissioner asked.

It was a pair of glasses.

“They look like the ones Aaron wore,” I said, reaching for them. I knew Aaron’s mom had his glasses personalized so he couldn’t lose them for long.

I found his name, A Klassen, engraved on the inside bridge.

“What does this mean, Dad?” I asked. I held out the glasses for him to see. “What does it mean?”

“The monster must have got them, sport.” He held my attention with his eyes. “That’s what happens when you don’t believe. The monster gets you.”

“Dave,” another commission said, “we can’t continue to lose children like this. We need a solution.”

“What do you recommend?”

“Maybe we need to present the monster with an offering or a sacrifice.”

“I don’t think that’s a real solution,” the first commission said.

“Do you want one of your children to be its next prey?”

“Son, go upstairs,” Dad said. “You don’t need to hear any more about this.”

“But, Dad,” I said.

“I said go upstairs and do your homework. Now!”

At the harvest festival later that weekend, a drunk teenager fell out of the corn maze and wandered toward the woods. His body was never found. And no more children were taken by the monster that year.

So that began the tradition of getting a teenager intoxicated and leading him or her to the woods. As long as the monster received at least one sacrifice during the harvest festival, the county’s children were safe for the rest of the year. Once the hayrides began, though, a child or two would go missing from the wagon. Again, they were never seen again.

 

Dad and I lived on the property until he died five years ago. He was literally on his deathbed, smoking a cigarette and wheezing from the cancer that was eating him alive, when he confessed he was the monster in the woods. He also told me that we had been eating human flesh for as long as he could remember.

Today, I’m the monster in our woods, and I still crave human flesh.

 

Michelle_0007BWSmallMichelle Ceasar Davis has contributed to previous Pen & Muse showcases. She currently lives in northern North Dakota, where she daylights as a college administrator.

You may find her previous stories below:

Blind Sighted (Dark Carnival showcase)

The Spirit of Christmas (12 Days of Christmas showcase)

Ma (PM Haunt showcase)

Relative Proximity (Spring Fling showcase)

 

Giveaway

Anyone may enter the giveaway. This includes the artist and writers contributing to the Night Harvest, as well as the readers of the stories. Enjoy!

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