Gas Masks and Cornfields

📅 Published on May 8, 2020

“Gas Masks and Cornfields”

Written by Hugh Lu
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 9.25/10. From 8 votes.
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We’d been driving around Texas for a while. Clayton, Tom and I had recently graduated, so we had no destination. We were just there to dick around and create some memories until we had to snap back to real life.

At one point, Tom had gotten into a heated bar-fight at some dingy joint in Bexar County. The police were called. Although he hadn’t gotten any charges, the cops pretty much warned us that we weren’t welcome back in the area. Fair enough. We decided to tone it down a bit. That’s when we started planning some shit that wouldn’t get us potentially stabbed and/or arrested. We all settled on the paranormal. That stuff was just so interesting, you know? I guess it really preys on that esoteric fear of the unknown that the human psyche implicitly holds, stimulating some kind of fucked-up rush to the brain. Anyways, we were in the market for some spooky shit.

We looked around and did some research, but no potential destinations popped out at us immediately. They were either too far away, sounded boring, or sounded like absolute made up horse-shit. It wasn’t until we found ourselves at another obscure bar near the other end of the county where something truly interesting popped up.

We’d gotten shitfaced during happy hour and couldn’t stop ourselves from talking to all the locals. In the midst of a conversation with a construction worker, we brought up the fact that we were looking for some paranormal “thrills”.

He scoffed when we said this:

“Everybody’s got their stories ‘round here. Lemme guess, you went to some shitty abandoned barn somebody claimed had a little ghost girl, found nothing, and now you want something real”

“Not exactly,” Clayton responded. “We haven’t gone anywhere yet. We’re looking, though.”

The man nodded. “Well, I’ve got something for ya.”

As he said this, we all perked up. Now, our expectations weren’t high at this point. I mean, the chances of him lying and feeding us some BS story were astronomical. However… we still listened. We were looking for anything at this point. The man continued:

“Don’t know if this has anything to do with ghosts or demons, but it’s weird enough. If you drive about 15 miles west from here, you’ll find an abandoned cornfield maze. Used to be a big tourist draw, but it didn’t pan out long term. The place is dead now, creepy as shit. But here’s what you’ll be looking for… at the center of the maze, there’s a building. I saw it with a few buddies of mine when we went exploring there a few weeks back. It’s only got one floor, but I ain’t sure how far it goes. Here’s the fucked up part: apparently, that building wasn’t there when the cornfield was still functioning. Nobody knows when it was built. Weird shit, huh? We couldn’t get a closer look at it because… well because, there were five people standing at the entrance wearing these freaky-looking masks, like the ones people use in those apocalypse movies.”

“Gas masks?” I piped up.

“Yeah, sure,” he continued. “Anyways… the minute they saw us, we bolted. I mean, we weren’t sticking ‘round for that shit.”

He paused, taking a big swig of his beer.

“You guys can check it out, though. Personally, I wouldn’t go back, but it’s up to you… if you’re looking for that kinda stuff. There’s directions in there, so you probably won’t get lost. I’d try to keep outta sight from those people though. Who the fuck knows what they’re up to.”

As soon as he finished his explanation, I exchanged glances with Tom and Clayton. They had the same looks on their faces that I probably did.

There was no way in hell that we weren’t going.

It didn’t even matter too much if the guy was completely lying about the building. A dead cornfield maze sounded fun enough to explore.

He gave us some more detailed directions before leaving.

We decided to take a few hours in order to sober up before heading over there. It was only 3 PM, after all. At around 6, we started driving. The sun was still high and probably not coming down any time soon, so we had no fear of getting lost in the maze. A little while later, we found the place. The crops were taller than we’d expected, but they were indeed dead. There seemed to be a small lot to the side, so we parked there. Funnily enough, it was empty, save for us.

“Looks like we won’t be seeing any spooky gas mask men,” Clayton blurted out. “What a shame.”

“Yeah, I’m sure if you were part of some weird cult located in the middle of a cornfield, you’d leave your vehicles out for everybody to see. Good thinking,” Tom responded.

Clayton looked as if he was about to make a comeback but closed his mouth. I heard him mutter some expletives as he walked past me.

As we stepped foot into the somewhat foreboding labyrinth, we noticed what the construction worker was talking about. There was duct tape on the ground, forming the shape of arrows. Like the guy told us, we just followed them.

While we traversed our way through the maze, Tom raised a concern:

“What if these arrows aren’t actually leading us to the center?”

“The fuck are you talking about?” I responded.

“Well, think about it. This is the easiest way to rob somebody. That guy didn’t seem a little bit sketchy to you? What if we’re being led directly to him, where he’s waiting with like six other guys or something?”

“Yeah, I don’t know man,” I told him. “Sounds like paranoia to me.”

In retrospect, what he was saying made a lot of sense. However… that would’ve been a way better outcome than the one we actually got.

“Don’t worry about it,” Clayton piped up. He then lifted up his shirt to reveal a small revolver strapped to his waist.

“Dude, what the fuck?” Tom flinched at the sight.

“Gun laws in Texas.” He smiled. “Just in case, you know?”

“Whatever, man, just don’t wave that shit around. Jesus Christ,” Tom retorted.

Although my own initial reaction was one of shock, I couldn’t help but feel my nerves calm a bit, knowing that Clayton had the weapon. We followed the arrows for what felt like ten more minutes before we finally reached a clearing. To our absolute bewilderment, a building was right there in front of us. Actually, calling it a building is kind of a stretch. There was only one floor, after all. It really didn’t even look too big, maybe the size of three convenience stores mashed together in a mess of stone. But as creepy as it was… there was nobody in sight. At first.

We must have stood there and stared at the thing for 5 minutes before the doors swung open. In that instant, we all retracted back into the maze. Fortunately, there was a small hole in the stalks where we could peek out from. It was small, so we went one at a time. Being deathly quiet, I strained my vision, eventually managing to make out four figures standing right by the entrance. Funnily enough… they did indeed have gas masks on. But other than that, they seemed to be wearing casual clothing.

I looked at Tom and Clayton, trying to get a read on how they were feeling about this. They just shrugged. I guess that we all made some kind of silent agreement to not leave, because none of us budged. I don’t know why we didn’t. Looking back on it, there were a multitude of things that were obviously wrong with the situation that we had put ourselves in. However, I suppose that adrenaline makes you do a lot of crazy shit.

We must have waited in the maze for about an hour before the gas mask people left. They didn’t go inside, however. They went around to the sides of the building and disappeared from view. We waited for about 10 more minutes, but nobody came back.

“Let’s go,” Clayton whispered.

“Are you kidding?” Tom barked back.

“So you’re telling me that we waited here for nothing? Don’t be a pussy, this is fucking crazy.”

A few more moments of silence passed while Tom and I contemplated this.

“Fuck it,” he finally spoke up.

Clayton gestured to his waist. “If anything goes wrong, right?”

“If anything goes wrong, we’re calling the damn cops,” I told him. I wasn’t exactly excited at the prospect of a shootout.

Moving quickly and quietly, we made our way to the front door. I couldn’t locate a knob anywhere so I tried pushing. At first, I just thought it wasn’t supposed to open that way. But then I realized it was just really heavy. It took a few tries, but I finally managed to get through. The three of us stepped into what appeared to be a living room. There were no windows, but a light bulb dangling from the ceiling gave us all the illumination we needed. All in all, there was a couch, a table with a few chairs, and some stools. We walked around, but couldn’t find anything worth mentioning.

However… we started hearing footsteps coming from outside a few moments later. Although we should have been expecting this, our faces still went pale.

“Shit”, I heard Tom mutter under his breath. I scanned the room and located another door near the far corner. It was pretty obvious what choices we had here. We snuck our way over to it and barged in. Thankfully, this one wasn’t heavy as shit. We were suddenly plunged into pitch-black as we heard the front entrance open. We all collectively turned on our cell-phone flashlights in order to see where the hell we were. I nearly dropped my phone as the light struck our surroundings.

We were in a tunnel. In fact, it nearly resembled the catacombs, but without skulls. The walls and ceiling were rough and uneven, and the whole place just gave off a “Get the fuck out of there” vibe. It was long as well. No clear end in sight. We didn’t move. Clearly, none of us really wanted to go further. However… what we heard from the entrance room made us reconsider. It sounded like somebody was dragging a large crate out there. We could make out voices, but they were too muffled to understand. I nearly shouted out in surprise when an abrupt, heavy stomping echoed in from under the door. It sounded like an elephant was moving around out there. It was immediately followed by a deep, grating voice that was nowhere near human. It was… laughing, but without emotion, if you can imagine that.

We took off once we heard the stomping coming towards us. There was no way out here. We ran quietly, using the walls and shaky phone lights in order to navigate. Eventually, we found a ladder, climbing upwards just as we heard the door to the tunnel swing open. We must have climbed for about five minutes. We were all exhausted when we finally made it up. However… it was still pitch-fucking-black. We shone our lights around, but this time we couldn’t see anything. It was as if we were in a large cave or something. At some point, we managed to locate a wall and used it to guide us along. But then again, we had no idea where we were going.

About five minutes later, Tom stopped.

“Guys… where the fuck are we?”

I had no idea why he’d chosen to ask this now.

“How are we supposed to know?” I responded.

I shone my light on his face, revealing a demeanor that was equal parts confused and terrified. He shook his head:

“When we were looking at it from the outside… this place didn’t have a second floor.”

That’s when it hit me. I guess there had been too much adrenaline pumping through my veins. I hadn’t even noticed it up until that point. We had been climbing up that ladder for a while… we hadn’t gone down any stairs… but there was also no second floor…

So where the fuck were we?

My attempts to rationalize this were cut short as a light flicked on some meters away from us. We all snapped our heads towards that direction. The area that had actually been illuminated was rather small. It was maybe about the size of a bedroom. However… standing right under that light was a person. A person wearing a gas mask.

But unlike the people that had been standing outside, this person… or thing, or whatever, was also wearing a full hazmat suit. We watched in abject horror as it started walking towards us. As soon as it left the light, we heard it start running.

Wasting no time, we started booking it. The only direction that we had was away from the thing chasing us. As we ran, more and more lights started coming on, and under each newly illuminated space was another figure in a gas mask and hazmat suit. At one point, there had to have been 12 sets of footsteps coming at us from all directions.

Out of sheer luck, I managed to spot a metal door in the wall up ahead. I pushed my legs, which were about to buckle at that point, and made a surge towards it. I tried shouting out for the others, but only Clayton was in sight. We made brief eye contact before he and I managed to reach and close the door behind us. There didn’t seem to be a lock, so we just pushed our body weight against it, hoping to hell that it’d be enough to keep those things out. Eventually, we felt someone pushing back. There was no way in hell that we were letting up. Not even when we heard Tom’s voice coming from the other side.

“Guys, what the fuck are you doing? Let me in!”

We didn’t budge. That was not Tom. There was something about his tone… his cadence that made it pretty obvious. He was speaking in broken patterns, like a text-to-speech translator.

“Oh, god… I can see them coming after me. They’re getting close. Guys? Guys? Guys……”

His voice had been getting deeper and deeper ever since he started talking. It had pretty much turned into a guttural growl at that point. Eventually, whatever was on the other side stopped speaking English altogether, replacing it with some kind of language that I’m pretty wasn’t meant for the human ear. It was making noises that made my brain feel like it was about to implode. Eventually, it got to be too much and I had to cover my ears. It was at that moment where the door swung open and the thing stepped in. My phone had fallen onto the ground facing upwards, so I could see the illumination of the horrific figure slowly making its way towards me. As it was mere centimeters away, I heard the gunshots. Clayton had fired all six rounds into the back of this thing.

I watched as the creature jerked around violently before slumping to the floor. I got up, trying to regain my bearings. Clayton’s breaths were heavy and scattered as he bent down towards the thing.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked him.

“I just need to know,” was all that he said back.

It looked as if he were trying to rip the mask off of whatever was wearing it, but instantly winced upon touching it.

“It’s slippery… what the hell?”

I bent down myself to get a better look. This is when I nearly burst into hysterics. What I had initially thought to was the rubber of the mask seemed to be something else entirely. It was… squirming, like black intestines. Clayton cursed again before taking the revolver and smashing the eye-holes. But instead of shattering glass, we were met with the sight and sound of something bursting open. Some kind of black goo had gotten all over both the weapon and Clayton’s hand. He shrieked in pain as he flung the revolver away. A few seconds later, I noticed movement on the ground.

There were… things pouring out of the burst eye-hole. They looked to be some kind of dark insect with a multitude of legs. We didn’t waste any more time. We started running. I can’t say how long for. All I know is that once we started, we couldn’t stop.

Still trapped in the ever-engulfing darkness of whatever hellhole we had stumbled upon, the cell-phone flashlights were our only hope of navigation. We made our way through what appeared to be a twisted maze of halls. At nearly every turn we took, there seemed to be more and more of those masked creatures wandering around. Whenever we saw one of them, we just took another route.

Sometime later, we found steps leading downwards. At that point, it seemed like the best option. Before we descended, Clayton held out his arm and leaned against the wall, trying to catch his breath. That’s when I noticed his hand. It looked as if he were wearing a rubber glove. I told him and he just stared at it in dismal confusion.

“What the fuck?” He exclaimed, before trying to take it off. However… it wouldn’t move. He started freaking out, forcefully pulling on his fingers. I moved the light up close to it.

I really wish I hadn’t.

He wasn’t wearing a glove. No… His hand had become one. Well partially, anyways. The amalgamation of skin and rubber was absolutely revolting to look at. However, we didn’t have time to deal with this. There were footsteps coming towards us. Without any more hesitation, we rushed down the steps. After about 5 minutes of this, we noticed a light in the distance. Now, this would’ve been great news except for the fact that it was purple. Sure wasn’t sunlight.

We started moving slower, not wanting to rush into whatever was emitting the creepy glow. Eventually, we found ourselves in a room at the bottom of the steps. There were obscure, alien-looking symbols scrawled all across the walls and floors in addition to four buckets filled with dark liquid sitting in each corner. There was also one door on the other side. But the real story was at the center.

Right in the middle of a room was what I can only describe as a purple void. A hole in the concrete that was devoid of time and space. A path to oblivion.

I don’t know how long I stared at the thing. All that I know is that I snapped out of my trance once a figure started emerging from it.

It was another one of those gas mask creatures. The entity made a sickening shriek as it crawled its way out of an unknown reality and into ours. I turned around to see Clayton kneeling down in a corner. He was… whimpering. I took a few steps towards him before he spun around to look at me.

His face… it had changed. Half of it was still the same Clayton that I’d always known. But the other half… he was turning into one of them. The next few moments were a blur. I remember making a beeline towards the door and rushing through it. It led to another tunnel and I had nowhere to go but forwards. After an ungodly amount of running, I was met with another door at the end. I pushed it open to find myself back in the first room of the building. I looked around, but nobody seemed to be there. I bolted out, into the night.

It was a bit disorienting trying to find my way back through the maze, but I eventually did. Thankfully, I hadn’t let go of the car keys at any point, so I was able to drive out of there.

I called the police immediately and pointed them towards the direction of the cornfield maze. I told them that we had stumbled upon the building when we were jumped, and that only I had gotten away. There was no way in hell that they’d believe the truth.

They said that they’d go check it out, but I didn’t hear back from them. In fact, every time I called asking for an update, the operator acted like it was the first time I had spoken to them. I just gave up after that.

Not knowing what to do, I just made my way to another bar. I knew that drinking this kind of experience away probably wasn’t possible, but I was gonna give it a shot anyway. But guess what?

Sitting down in the first bar that I went to was the same construction worker who had initially told us about the cornfield. (Note that this was a different bar than the one we had met him in).

He was talking to what appeared to be a young couple. When we made eye contact, he didn’t smile, wave or gesture me over. He just glared at me with a stunned expression on his face.

Rating: 9.25/10. From 8 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Hugh Lu
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Hugh Lu

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

More Stories from Author Hugh Lu:

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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