Welcome to October Frights Blog Hop, 2019 Edition. During these six days, you’ll be able to check out some cool, spooky stories, blog posts, and giveaways. Check out the links to the other blogs below.
Kevin Appleby stirred and opened his eyes, then immediately groaned and squeezed them shut again. He had forgotten to pull the shade down last night, and now the early morning sun was streaming through the window and right into his eyes like a laser. He rolled over, determined to get back to sleep. It was Sunday, the one day of the week that he didn’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn, and he intended to make the most of it.
The universe, however, had other plans.
A cacophony of caws rose from somewhere outside, from a distance at first, and then coming closer. Stupid crows. He burrowed deeper into his pillow and covered his ear with his fist, trying to block out the sound.
Just as he got comfortable again, from down the hall, he heard a distinct thud that told him Keith was awake. Hopefully he’ll go downstairs and turn on Cartoon Network.
Again, the universe had other plans.
Thump-thump-thump-thump. Footsteps came down the hall. A moment later, the bedroom door flew open. “Kevin! Kevin, help! The crows are hurting Sammy!”
Kevin opened one eye to glare at his brother. “Go back to bed, Keith. The crows are not hurting Sammy.”
“Yes, they are,” he insisted, swinging the door back and forth in his distress. “They’re pecking his eyes. They’re ripping his face.”
“I don’t care, Keith.” Seven year olds could be so annoying. Kevin pulled the covers over his head and squeezed his eyes shut again, trying to ignore the squeak-squeak-squeak of the door and the incessant caw-caw-caw of the crows, both punctuated by Keith’s distraught whimpers. He’d get back to sleep, or die trying.
A moment later, Keith dashed into the room and pounced on the bed. “Kevin, you have to help! I love Sammy! Sammy’s my friend!”
After a single, surprised “Oof,” Kevin sat up abruptly, knocking Keith onto the floor. “Gosh darn it, Keith! It’s just a stupid scarecrow! You’re the one who was dumb enough to stuff his head with corn. It’s your fault they’re pecking his face off.”
Keith’s eyes widened with the realization that he was to blame for his beloved Sammy’s imminent demise. Suddenly, he let out a sob and leapt to his feet. “Mo-o-o-o-om!” His wail of anguish echoed through the house as he bolted from the room and ran down the stairs.
Kevin swore under his breath and threw back the covers. There would be no going back to sleep when his parents found out he’d made his brother cry.
Later that afternoon, Kevin sat on the front porch peeling potatoes for dinner–part of his punishment for upsetting his brother. His best friend Damon sat on the steps absentmindedly scrolling on his phone. Every so often, Mrs. Appleby came to the door to check on them. She was sure that Kevin could be trusted, but she couldn’t say the same for Damon. She agreed with her husband’s assertion that Damon was about as Eddie Haskell as they come.
Once, after Mrs. Appleby had gone back to the kitchen, the screen door opened, and Keith came outside. He paused long enough to glare at Kevin and then pushed past Damon to stomp down the steps.
“What’s his problem?” Damon asked as Keith ran off in the direction of what remained of the garden.
Kevin raised his eyes to glare after his brother. “The big, bad crows are after his precious Sammy.”
“How’s that your problem?”
“Because I told him it’s his fault.” Kevin tossed a peeled potato into the pot next to him and grabbed another from the bag. “Dipwad stuffed the head with corn.”
Damon snorted and then laughed aloud. “What a dumb kid.”
Both boys watched as Keith approached the drooping scarecrow. As he flailed his arms and shouted, a dozen crows rose cawing from the scarecrow and circled the garden before settling on the fence.
Keith wrestled the limp scarecrow from its perch and started toward the house. Kernels of corn fell from a hole in Sammy’s burlap head, leaving a Hansel and Gretel trail behind him. Seeing the chance for a free meal, the waiting crows flew from their perches and gobbled up the corn. Realizing what was happening, Keith whirled around to chase them away, but in doing so, he scattered more corn, which in turn attracted more crows.
“This is great! This is epic!” Damon leaned against the railing, laughing so hard he could barely hold his phone as he shot video of the spectacle. He began doing his own comical narration. “Ru-u-un! Zombie crows! They’re after your scarecrow brains!”
“Shut up, you idiot! I’m in enough trouble,” Kevin hissed, dropping both potato peeler and potato as he jumped off the porch to help his brother.
Still laughing, Damon set down his phone and followed Kevin. He kept the thieving crows at bay while Kevin helped Keith get the scarecrow back to the house.
Once the scarecrow was safely on the porch, Keith sat staring at it for several minutes, lovingly fingering the holes in its face. Then in a fit of grief and rage, he tore one of the holes wide open and emptied the remaining corn from Sammy’s burlap head. When every last kernel had been dumped out, he threw handfuls of corn from the porch, all the while shouting, “Stupid crows! Stupid crows!” The crows, of course, were only too happy to accept the corn offering, no matter the spirit in which it was given.
When every last kernel had been hurled from the porch, Keith picked up his beloved scarecrow and cradled it in his arms. Large tears formed in his eyes and spilled onto Sammy’s poor, deflated, crow-pecked head.
Even though Kevin thought his brother was making a fuss over nothing, he couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. He stopped peeling once more and turned his eyes to his friend.
Damon, too, had corralled his mirth and sat regarding the young lad with what could only be described as sympathy. In an uncharacteristic display of compassion, he reached out to touch the boy’s arm. “Hey, K-bot.”
“Don’t…call me…K-bot,” Keith snuffled, pulling away from him.
“Come on, little dude,” Damon said. “I just want to help.”
“You can’t help,” Keith replied, throwing Sammy’s remains on the porch and getting to his feet. “My scarecrow sucks. He isn’t scary at all, and the crows just want to eat him.”
“True dat.” Damon nodded, looking down at the decapitated scarecrow.
When Keith stomped his foot and scrunched his face at Damon, Kevin intervened. “Damon, lay off will ya?”
“Dude, I’m just trying to help. Keith, come here.” Keith stayed where he was, but met Damon’s gaze. Damon picked up the limp scarecrow and studied it as he spoke. “Look, you’re right about Sammy not being very scary. I mean, seriously. A poop emoji sweatshirt, smiley face pajama pants, black button eyes, and a painted-on grin? That’s not scary at all; that’s cute.”
“Not to mention the corn you stuffed his head with,” Kevin muttered, not quite loud enough for his brother to hear.
Keith swiped at a renegade tear running down his cheek as he considered Damon’s words. “So how do I make a scary scarecrow?”
“You have to give him creepy eyes and sharp teeth, and maybe even some claws. Make it something you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark cornfield.” He lunged at Keith with a toothy leer and a swipe of his fingers that made Keith gasp and take a step toward Kevin.
Kevin immediately jumped to his brother’s defense. “Chill out, Damon. He’s just a little kid; don’t put your horror movie ideas into his head.”
Insulted by his brother’s words, Keith stood as tall as he could. “I am not a little kid, and I’m not scared of Damon’s scarecrow. I want to make a scary scarecrow, a really scary scarecrow!” He gave Sammy’s remains a disdainful kick. “I don’t like this stupid baby scarecrow anymore.”
Damon grinned, and Kevin knew his friend had something up his sleeve, but he was afraid to ask what. “Tell you what, kid. I’ll get the stuff together and come over next Saturday, and we’ll make the scariest scarecrow you’ve ever seen.”
…to be continued.
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