User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Melissa opened her eyes and stared up at the unfamiliar ceiling. She listened to the sound of Daniel's slow, deep breathing beside her as she groggily recalled where she was. In their brand new bedroom of their brand new house. The house which they had moved into just yesterday. A smile touched her lips. Finally - after so many months of torment - she was waking up in the morning with a peaceful day stretching ahead of her. No more being afraid to step outside, no more staring out of the window at those ... things that had kept appearing, time and time again. There they would be, every single day. No matter what she had done to get rid of them. She'd burned them, dragged them to the river and thrown them in. She'd tried everything that she could think of - and yet still, they'd kept on appearing. Finally, she had been able to bear it no longer. Daniel had been reluctant to agree to the move at first - but as always, she had not stopped until she had gotten her way. And now, here they were...

 A contented sigh escaped her lips as she climbed out of bed and padded barefoot across the room towards the window. Behind her, Daniel grunted in his sleep and rolled over. She could see the warm glow of sunlight through the white cotton curtains and she was eager to look out upon the day which heralded her fresh start. It was surely going to be a perfect, glorious summer's day.

 She reached for the curtains and wrenched them apart, the smile on her face widening as she did so - but the expression quickly froze into a grimace of pure horror and disbelief as her eyes fell immediately upon the two scarecrows that were standing on the lawn below. It looked for all the world as though they were gazing up at her - wide, demented grins upon their faces. And the clothes they wore were the same ones as always. One of them in a neat grey cardigan and skirt, the other a cream silk blouse and smart black trousers. Dark bloodstains were spattered across all the garments.

 ''No!'' she cried out. ''No - no, this can't be happening again. Not here! We were supposed to have got away from them...''

 She backed away from the window, unable to look at those grotesque creations which had somehow followed her here. Who could have put them there? Who could be doing this to her? Hot tears burned in her eyes. It wasn't as if anybody knew what she had done - they couldn't possibly. It wasn't her fault. It had been that bitch who Daniel had worked with -  if only she hadn't been making a play for him, then none of this would have happened. Melissa would never have followed her home from work that day. Never have given her a swift push from behind, right into the path of that oncoming truck which had been speeding along. It had been over in an instant. But then - the very next morning, the scarecrow in the white blouse had appeared outside Melissa's home. Melissa had recognised at once that it was wearing the very same clothes as her victim had been wearing at the moment of her death.

 And then - months after that, Daniel's interfering old aunt had begun to get suspicious of her. Always asking questions, poking her nose in where it did not belong. And always looking at Melissa as though she could see all of her guilty secrets written upon her face...

 So, of course, Melissa had dealt with her, too. What other choice had there been? She wasn't going to let anybody ruin her life.

 It hadn't been difficult. The old lady was doddery even at the best of times - and everyone knew that she had a fondness for the gin. It had been a piece of cake to slip into her house one evening, make a noise upstairs and then give the old bat a hearty shove down the stairs when she had come up to investigate. It had been easy - almost too easy, really. But then, the next morning, there had been two scarecrows outside her house. And neither of them had ever left her alone since...

 ''Melissa?'' Daniel's voice came to her now, cutting through the haze of panic and dread which had filled her like a poison. She had really believed that she would never have to see those things again. ''What is it - what's wrong?''

 He was crouched beside her - she had fallen onto her knees. Her breaths were coming in sharp, ragged pants and she could see the look of concern that was upon his face - his lips pulled down into a frown and a deep crease marrying his usually smooth forehead. The hair that was still mussed was sticking up at odd angles, but his blue eyes were sharp and alert as they stared into her own dark ones.

 ''Melissa - talk to me, for God's sake!''

 ''I - '' She could not seem to summon any coherent words. She tried again - raising a trembling hand to point in the direction of the window. ''They're here! They're back! They've come for me again. I'll never be able to get away from them! Never! Never... ''

 ''What?'' Daniel's eyes narrowed as she gave into the sobs that were tearing at her chest, tears coursing down her cheeks. How could this be happening to her? Why - why was she being tormented like this? All she had ever done was try to preserve her marriage, when other people had been trying to wreck it. Was that really so bad? She had only done what she had to, nothing more.

 Daniel straightened up and hurried over to the window as Melissa clutched at her long hair in dismay, pulling on the strands until she felt her scalp cry out in protest. She couldn't bear it - she simply could not take it any more. Not after everything that she had done to try and get away from them, to make a fresh start for herself...

 ''What the - '' She heard Daniel mutter. ''Not again.'' Then - raising his voice to a normal pitch again as he turned around - he said, ''Melissa, how did these things appear in the garden overnight?''

 ''I don't know,'' she sniffled. ''They just won't leave me alone - it isn't my fault!''

 ''Melissa, please,'' he ran his hand through his hair, looking immensely frustrated but also worried. ''We can't keep doing this. Whatever it is that's going on with you, we need to sort it out. This has been going on for a long time now. The only reason that I agreed to this move in the first place was because I thought that it might finally put an end to all of this, but - '' he shrugged helplessly. ''Obviously not. We need to get you some help - professional help. You're not well, Melissa.''

 She looked up at him, mouth agape. ''Wha - '' she spluttered. ''You think that I've been - you think that it's me, that I'm the one who put them out there.''

 ''Of course it was you. There's nobody else it could be,'' he responded quietly. ''We both know that.''

 ''But why on earth would I?'' She scrambled onto her feet, shakily. ''You know I've always had a fear of scarecrows, ever since I was a little girl! Why would I keep putting them in my own garden, for goodness' sake!''

 ''I don't know why - why the hell would you dress one of them up to look like my dead aunt?! You're obviously unwell. I've known that for quite some time now, and I'm sure that you must have as well, deep down... ''

 ''What? No - no, you've got this all wrong - ''

 ''We need to stop burying our heads in the sand and start dealing with the situation like adults, instead of just trying to run away from our problems all the time - ''

 ''YOU'VE GOT IT WRONG!'' she bellowed. Daniel stopped speaking at once, looking at her in alarm. ''I'm not the one doing this, it's them... It's them... '' Once again, she raised a finger and pointed over at the window. ''It's them, they're tormenting me because I - ''

 ''Because you what?'' he frowned. Her eyes widened as she looked at him, fear coursing through her. Her nerves had her so on edge that she was hardly aware of the things she was saying and doing.

 ''Because you what, Melissa?''

 ''Because I killed them!'' she blurted. At once, her hands shot up to her mouth to press tightly against her lips - but she could not take back the words that she had just said.

 She gave a quiet whimper as Daniel's mouth fell open in horror.

 ''No,'' he whispered, shaking his head. ''No - no, what are you talking about?''

 ''I - I didn't mean it! I don't know what I'm saying! It isn't true!''

 ''Oh, my God... '' Despite her frantic denials, she could see the light of dawning realisation in his eyes, and the panic that she felt dug even more deeply into her chest until she could barely draw breath. ''It was you - you pushed my aunt down the stairs.''

 ''It was an accident!'' She dissolved into fresh tears. ''Daniel, please... Please... ''

 But there was blank hatred in his eyes now as he looked at her -as though he were seeing a stranger standing before him.

 ''She was right about you all along.''

 ''No, she wasn't - she was just trying to break us up! Like that bitch who worked with you, she just wanted you for herself. Daniel... ''

 But he was backing away from her now, shaking his head as though he could not believe what was happening. Melissa ran forwards and tried to embrace him - desperately wanting him to forgive her, to comfort her and tell her that everything would be alright. But he shoved her aside violently - she stumbled, breathing heavily, and fell against the window. Then everything happened in an instant. The glass shattered beneath her weight, and she felt a sickening lurch in her stomach as she began to fall...

 She screamed - and the sound seemed to hang, suspended upon the air above her as she dropped like a stone towards the ground.


 She heard the cracking of her own bones breaking as she landed. Felt the warm spread of blood beneath her before a strange and unpleasant numbness took over. She had landed right in the middle of where the two scarecrows stood. She could see them, staring down at her - along with Daniel's white, ashen face far above. The sight swam before her as her vision blurred. She thought that she heard laughter - the satisfied chuckles of souls who had finally got their justice.

 And then, all at once, everything grew dark and silent.

Bio: Samantha has been writing horror fiction for several years now, ever since completing a writing course in 2012. Since that time, she has completed three novels, the most recent of which is currently being looked at by agents. She also regularly writes short stories and poetry for magazines, and has had work published in both England and America.


Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:


Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!

Stories Tips And Advice