Corn Chaser

It was just like in the movies, the madness squawked at Edgar as he sprinted through the cornfield. The thought did little to comfort him as harrowed stalks slapped him with indifferent glee. Each wind-sharpened husk delighted in carving a millimeter trough of flesh from his skin, creating a symphony of pain as sweat trickled across the strings of blood.

Edgar had always wanted to be in the movies, and now here he was in the scene of his life. He didn’t think that anyone was going to yell cut here though. He wouldn’t have heard them anyway, not over the roar of the fire. His Suburban had exploded with unexpected gusto, and the surrounding harvest was now paying the price. He hadn’t seen the big boom, only felt the shockwave and the gust of heat. He’d been quite a few rows into the corn by then, legs pounding. One didn’t tarry when the madman gave you a head start.

He knew he shouldn’t look behind him, but he couldn’t hear anything over the flames spreading across the corn. The migrating flock of ash screaming its constant hunger, concealing the crashing strides of the maniac chasing him. He needed to know if he was gaining ground, or god forbid, losing it. He needed to look.

Did he hope to catch sight of movement? Hardly. The dancing fire would fill the field with prancing murderers. A glint of metal? Edgar choked laughter as the knives flashed into his memory. Rusty lengths of steel as long as his forearms that had recently been sharpened to a cleaving edge. No, there would be no telltale glint in the smoky haze. What then? A strangeness of shape against the natural backdrop? The killer’s burlap mask would blend with evil ease, but the galvanized bucket he wore as a helmet might serve. That matte gray cylinder could be just the thing.

Edgar’s adrenaline addled mind latched onto that slim hope, and he turned to scan for his pursuer. Hell chased after him. The maniac vanished in his mind. The corn was going to kill him. He turned his gaze forward and with renewed energy, he plunged ahead, seeking an end to the starchy sea.

But this was not the movies. The smoke had caught him, and the heat was not far behind. Edgar’s body collapsed after overlong exposure to the toxins and with no end to the corn in sight. Knowledge that the killer had been scorched beyond recognition would never reach him, his spirit having departed somewhere between his flesh boiling and blackening.

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