What Does That Have To Do With The Price Of Corn

📅 Published on July 12, 2022

“What Does That Have To Do With The Price Of Corn”

Written by The Vesper's Bell
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com 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: 9.80/10. From 5 votes.
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It was that time of year when ‘fresh corn’ signs along the rural roadside are a common sight. Not being a big connoisseur of either fresh produce or farmer’s markets, I had never pulled over for one myself. But it was one particularly attention-grabbing sign that caused me to finally decide to give roadside corn a try. It was a hand-painted, blood-red sign with white, almost calligraphic lettering advertising “One-of-a-kind Crimson Corn! Sweet & Savoury, $7 a Dozen – Cash Only! Try Our Diabolical Corn Maze And Win A Secret Prize!”.

Intriguingly, the sign had a labyrinth symbol encircled by an Ouroboros – a snake eating its own tail. I had never heard of Crimson Corn, and found myself curious enough to make a slight detour to see what it was. The sign pointed down a dusty driveway which led through a thick tree line that kept me from seeing if there was actually anything down on the other end. It would have made more business sense to put their corn stand on the side of the road, but I figured they must really want people to see this corn maze of theirs.

And as it turned out, I was right.

I turned left down the bumpy dirt path just barely wide enough to accommodate my car, passing under a wooden arch as I crossed the tree line. As I drove under it, I took note of an odd mechanical-looking box attached to the archway’s side. I wondered briefly what it was, but the thought immediately left my mind as I left the trees behind me and entered the farmstead.

On a hill in front of me sat a picturesque, dark red barn alongside a stately farmhouse that looked more like it should be the penthouse of a high-rise building, and all around them were cornfields of towering, crimson corn stalks. I had just naturally assumed that crimson corn had been referring to the kernels, but it was their foliage that was as red as a Japanese Maple’s. It was a bewitching sight, such vast fields of surreal-looking corn, swaying and rustling in the soft wind. Even the sunlight felt slightly off and dreamlike, but I chalked that up to the way it refracted off the red leaves. Though there was no sun to be seen, the sky was cloudy enough that I thought nothing of it.

The corn stand itself was set up at the very edge of the field, beneath the shade of a gnarled and twisted oak and beside the entrance to the maze. Many baskets of picked corn were laid out ready for purchase, and the stand was staffed by a girl who looked to be around twenty years old. She had brilliant blue eyes, pitch-black hair in bunches, and wore a red and white checkered farm dress.

She exhaled a long drag from her cigarette and gave me a friendly smile and a nod as I pulled up beside her. I noticed that she was barefoot with bright red nail polish that contrasted sharply with the dirty and calloused soles of her feet. I gave so much attention to her feet that I barely gave a thought to the three large, dark creatures lying around them.

“Hello there, Ducky! Looking for some corn?” she beamed.

“Hello yourself. I’ve never seen corn like this before. Is it really one of a kind?” I asked.

“Absolutely – our own private cultivar of corn. One hundred percent Non-GMO! It’s pesticide-free too, so you can even eat it fresh off the stalk!”

The girl set down her cigarette in an ashtray and picked up a cob of pre-shucked corn, producing a satisfying crunching sound as she bit into it. Red juices squirted outwards and ran down her chin as she looked up at me with a suggestive – if obviously mercantile – stare.

I can’t say it wasn’t an effective sales tactic though, as I found myself stepping towards her and reaching for my wallet. I only stopped when an aggressive snort drew my attention back to the animals at her feet and was surprised to see that they were, in fact, large, black pigs.

“Oh! I thought those were dogs,” I muttered dumbly.

“I prefer pigs to dogs,” she explained, throwing down some unshucked corn for them to devour. “They’re just as smart, but they haven’t been bred for unconditional loyalty – so if a pig likes you, you know you earned it. Sorry if they startled you, but a girl can’t be sitting out here and meeting with random strangers without a bit of protection.”

As the pigs chomped down on their corn, it stained their teeth and mouths red, an effect which was much less enticing on them than it was on the girl. I had never been so close to pigs without a fence between us, and I couldn’t help but take note that even the smallest one looked like it weighed more than I did. They were extremely formidable-looking creatures, and I didn’t doubt that they could do some serious damage if I got on their bad side.

They grunted and snorted hostilely as they ate, all of them giving me an evil eye that seemed almost resentful – as if they’d rather be eating me than the corn.

“Hey, hey, hey! That’s enough of that, fellas,” the girl scolded them gently as she knelt down and started scratching the largest one behind the ear. “Don’t mind them, Ducky. They’re harmless, really – so long as they’re fed on time.”

The pig rolled over on its back to let the girl rub its belly, all of its menacing aura instantly vanishing as it took on the trappings of a typical pet. The other two pigs laid back down in the shade and seemed to lose all interest in me, allowing me to immediately regain my confidence.

“Yeah, they don’t look like they skip too many meals,” I bantered back. “Are they really all you got watching your back out here? Your Pa’s not going to come running out with a shotgun if he hears a commotion or something like that?”

“My Pa? No. My brother’s around here somewhere though; in the maze, I think,” she said with an uncertain glance towards the maze entrance. “He doesn’t have any of his guns on him, but if you’re thinking of causing trouble, I don’t much care for your chances.”

“I’m not planning any trouble, Miss. Just concerned for your safety, is all” I assured her. “So do you recommend eating this corn raw, or is it good cooked too?”

“Actually, the best way to prepare it is to turn it into homebrew whiskey,” she said with a coy smile.

She reached under her stand and pulled out an unbranded glass bottle half-filled with a translucent red liquor. She raised it to her lips and took a swig, closing her eyes and savouring the mouthful for a moment before swallowing, then sighing in satisfaction.

I arched my eyebrow at the implication that she had already drank the other half of the bottle, as I would have described her behaviour as buzzed at most, and that much hooch should have left her absolutely shit-faced.

“Hmmm, yeah. Not meant for mere mortals,” she said, guessing my thoughts. “My brother makes this himself right here. He likes to use it for his cocktails, but I prefer Bloody Marys and martinis, so when I drink whiskey, it’s usually straight. They do make good Manhattans, though. I’d let you try a shot, but you have to drive so it might not be a good idea. I’d offer to sell you a bottle, but that wouldn’t exactly be legal. But… if you ran through the corn maze, it could be your prize, and there wouldn’t be anything illegal about that, now would there?”

“Oh, so that’s the secret prize the sign mentioned?” I asked, a little amused with her underhanded business tactics. “How much?”

“Twenty dollars, and it’s yours,” she said in a tempting, sing-song voice, waving an unopened bottle of corn liquor in front of me.

“Alright, sold. Seven dollars for the corn, and twenty for the ‘maze’,” I said, putting the exact change down on the stand. I reached for the bottle, only for her to pull it back.

“Uh-huh. You’ve got to walk the maze first, Ducky,” she insisted.

“Fine. And it’s Holsten, by the way,” I said, growing a little tired of her favoured epithet.

“Mary. Mary Darling,” she reciprocated with a satisfied smile. Nodding, I marched off towards the maze to earn my bottle of bootleg whiskey. I only really noticed then that there were several other vehicles parked on the grass alongside the corn maze, but I hadn’t seen or heard any sign of anyone else yet.

“How big is this maze, anyway?” I shouted back at her. She just shrugged as she took another swig of whiskey.

“Depends on how good you are at solving it,” she shouted. “Oh, and keep an eye out for my brother! He likes to dress up as a scarecrow and scare people!”

Shaking my head in irritation, I stepped into the maze of crimson corn.

The instant I was inside, I was struck by how much darker and quieter everything was. The bloody red stalks loomed over me at more than seven-feet-tall, casting shadows in all directions. The corn was so tall and thick it seemed impenetrable, absorbing any ambient sound so that the only thing I could hear was the stalks rustling in the winds and my own feet crunching the straw beneath them. The sky seemed to darken as well, along with taking on a reddish hue, as if the sun had hastened its descent to the horizon. I dismissed it as an illusion caused by some sudden increase in cloud cover and the odd color of my surroundings, and pressed onwards.

The maze offered only ninety-degree turns at randomly spaced junctions. I tried making only right-hand turns, but I quickly came upon several junctions where that wasn’t an option, as well as running into a couple of dead-ends and having to double back. Before long, I was completely disoriented and had no idea which way I had come from. I decided to give up on any sort of strategy for the time being and simply wander the maze at random.

There were signposts spaced out at irregular intervals, though none of them provided any useful information at all. The signs all had short, scary messages like ‘Every Way Is The Wrong Way’, ‘You Were Lost Before You Started’, and ‘Don’t Scream. He’ll Hear You’.

Since these signs offered the only sort of landmark within the maze, I took out my phone to take a picture of each one I passed, in the hopes that they would help me find my way out. I saw that I had no signal, which wasn’t surprising given that I was a fair way out in the sticks, but it was enough to raise my anxiety a bit. I was technically lost, with no way to phone for help, and nobody knew where I was.

I was so ensconced in thought that when I looked up from my phone, I nearly hollered out loud at the sight of a scarecrow rising over the corn. I remembered what the girl had said about her brother, and I struggled to tell if the scarecrow was a person or not. The lighting was terrible, and hanging off a post over twelve feet in the air put him at an awkward and unfamiliar angle. Craning my neck and squinting my eyes, I strained to make out every detail that I could.

The head was either covered in or made out of a tattered burlap mask with a jagged, crudely stitched mouth. There were eyeholes, but the space within them was too shadowed for me to tell whether or not it had any eyes. The burgundy shirt, coveralls, boots and work gloves had all seen better days, but none were so ragged as to provide a definitive view of human flesh beneath them. The scarecrow’s head was leaning downwards and pointed directly at me. In his right hand, he grasped a rusty sickle.

I stood frozen in place for a moment, staring at the thing and waiting for any sign of movement. When I was sufficiently convinced that no living thing could remain so perfectly motionless for so long, I let out a sigh of relief and continued on my trek down the straw-laden path.

Just as I had convinced myself that the girl probably didn’t even have a brother and that she had just been messing with me, I heard a loud thud cushioned by the crushing of straw under booted feet. I spun around and saw that the scarecrow had leapt from his post and was now standing upon the path. As he stared at me, I caught a glimpse of blue behind its mask, the same bright blue as the girl’s eyes had been.

“Shit!” I cursed, taking a few stumbling steps back but fighting the urge to flee entirely. “Listen, buddy, I’m just doing this to get the bottle of whiskey. I already paid your sister, this is just a technicality, so I’m not interested in this haunted maze schtick you got going on. Do you understand?”

Raising his rusty sickle high into the air, he broke out into a sprint, cackling maniacally as he raced towards me.

Even though I was still about eighty percent sure at that point that he was simply messing with me, the lingering twenty percent of doubt was more than enough to send me running like my life depended on it. I zigged and zagged down every turn I could in the hopes of losing the sickle-wielding scarecrow, not knowing what I would do if I went into a dead-end before I could lose him.

A brief feeling of relief washed over me when I saw another person walk out of a junction and into the path ahead of me. He looked as confounded as I was by the situation, but unharmed, indicating perhaps that this was just an unusually elaborate roadside attraction, after all.

He wasn’t able to see the scarecrow behind me, however, since the pathway was too narrow.

“Whoa, hey! What are you doing?” he shouted as I nearly ran him over, pushing him aside and continuing on my way. But when I heard him scream, followed by the sound of steel slicing across flesh and his body thudding against the ground, I had to look back.

The man was lying down with his head to the side and his throat slit open, the blood gurgling in his throat and frothing in his mouth as he still desperately struggled to breathe. The scarecrow knelt upon his lap and plunged his sickle into his abdomen, slicing through his stomach with a practiced, surgical precision. He had quite deliberately avoided the vital organs, drawing out the kill for as long as he could, what little I could see of his face spasming in manic giddy as he watched his victim suffer beneath him.

He wasn’t dead yet. Maybe I could have helped. Maybe I could have fought the scarecrow off him and got the man to a hospital before he had lost too much blood. I don’t know. I only know that I didn’t, instead taking advantage of the scarecrow’s preoccupation with his victim to put as much space between him and myself as I could.

Night fell immediately after that, with a full blood moon rising in the sky, its red light the only illumination any of us had to evade the things that hunted us. I say us because I heard the other victims in the labyrinth, even if I never ran into any more of them while they were still alive. I heard terrified children screaming for their parents, desperate parents screaming for their children, panic-stricken adults screaming like children, and all of them screaming in agony as they fell before the scarecrow’s sickle.

There was also a woman laughing psychotically alongside the squealing and trampling hoofs of swine, so I could only conclude that Mary wasn’t a mere accomplice but an active participant in this massacre. Just like with the first man, I never offered any help. I just ran as far as I could as fast as I could while making as little noise as possible. Given how long I lasted without running into the scarecrow or his lackeys again, this was apparently a winning strategy.

I tried to get off the path, of course, desperate to hide among the corn stalks and possibly escape the field just by running straight for as long as it took, but it was impossible. The stalks were unbreakable and had been sown too close together to squeeze between. The more I pushed them, the more they seemed to push back, their rustling transforming into a vicious hissing sound.

I was able to pluck some cobs, the closest thing to defensive weapons that I could get my hands on. Their red kernels gleamed like drops of blood in the crimson moonlight, throbbing rapidly with my own racing heartbeat. The same corn that had seemed uniquely beautiful in the broad light of day were monstrous abominations to me now, and I detested touching them, but I needed something, anything, to use as a weapon.

I lost all track of time in that disorienting and monstrously mammoth maze, constantly on the run and pumped full of adrenaline, but eventually, I felt as exhausted as if I had run a full marathon. Shambling forward, I lurched down another path, barely even aware that I was staggering into a dead-end.

When I finally looked up, I stopped in my tracks, seeing that the scarecrow was crouched in front of a freshly dead body. It was a boy, around ten years old, and the scarecrow had used his sickle to cut the top of his skull clean off.

“I’m afraid I’m going to be needing your brain, young man,” the scarecrow said to his victim, gently petting the exposed grey matter. “Cliché as it sounds, I don’t have one of my own.”

“But how can you speak if you don’t have a brain?” the dead child asked with an equally dead expression, his voice flat and his jaw moving up and down like a ventriloquist’s dummy. Somehow, the scarecrow was using the boy’s body as a puppet.

“Well, I’m not sure, but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?” the scarecrow quoted. Smiling, he plunged his hand into the boy’s open skull, grabbing his brain and tearing it free with a single strong tug. He squeezed it slightly, causing it to drip blood onto his hand and onto the ground below. “Let’s see if this helps, shall we?”

Looking directly at me, he placed the brain upon his head, wearing it like a raw, blood-drenched hat.

“The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an Isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side!” he quoted again, smiling perversely through freshly made tears in his mask.

Not knowing what else to do, I threw my cobs of corn at him. He sliced one of them mid-air with his sickle, but the rest of them didn’t even get close enough for him to bother with. With a condescending stare, he waited for me to make the next move. Deciding that fleeing would be slightly less futile than fighting, I turned around and limped down another path as fast as my wobbly legs would go, my gasps turning more and more into sobs with every step.

I didn’t hear the scarecrow giving chase, but in a few seconds, it was clear why. I had run straight into a large, square clearing at the end of the maze, where all the other victim’s bodies had been piled up on a skid to block my path to freedom. One of them had been savagely ripped open, their viscera and entrails haphazardly scattered about like a paint-filled balloon splattered upon a canvas. Mary was there, wallowing naked in the gore alongside her pigs, each of them coated red in their victim’s blood.

The pigs’ greedily chomped away at whatever body part was within reach of their snouts, while Mary used a butcher’s knife to saw off fistfuls of flesh and devoured them with a feral madness. I just stared too dumbstruck to react, too petrified to even try to make my way past them to the exit, until I felt the scarecrow place his hand on my shoulder and poke his sickle against my back.

“You were supposed to say ‘That’s a right triangle, you idiot!’,” he said, and I felt the warm, squishy brain being shoved on top of my head. “I think you need that more than I do. Oh, Mary Darling!”

At his call, I saw a flicker of lucidity replace the animalistic instinct in her eyes. Despite the absence of clothing and abundance of other people’s vital fluids upon her body, she assumed a polite and dignified pose as she rose to speak with him.

“Yes, James Darling?” she smiled at him, her accent distinctly less rural than it had been when we spoke earlier.

“This is our last victim, if my count’s right, and I thought I should see what you’d like done with him before I do anything too irreversible,” he explained as he pushed me closer towards her. I was too exhausted and terrified to offer any protest or resistance, aside from some reflexive whimpering and gasping. If I was going to fight back, it would only be to provoke them into killing me quickly instead of whatever grim torture they might have planned.

“Oh, that’s so thoughtful, James Darling,” she beamed at him. “Hmm, let’s see. My bloodlust feels pretty well sated, and I think I must have at least five pounds of raw flesh inside of me. I need to leave some room for a nightcap or I’ll wake up with the shakes. We’ve got more than enough for the larder and market until our next hunt, so unless you’re just itching for one more kill, I say we let him go and call it a night.”

The largest of the pigs seemed to grunt distastefully at this suggestion, eyeing me with the same hungry look as he had before.

“Hmmm. He does have another victim’s DNA on him; a child’s, no less,” the scarecrow said thoughtfully. “Letting him go like this would be hilarious.”

“Looks like you’re outvoted, Orwell,” Mary shouted back to the lead pig, before pointing her bloody knife directly at my heart. “Don’t you get too comfortable though, Ducky. We may come after you again in the future, or we may not. It’d be fun, but we might just plumb forget about you. For you, this is the worst day of your life. But for us, it’s a Tuesday. A good Tuesday, though.”

She yawned and stretched before looking past me again to speak with her brother.

“James Darling, I’m too tired to hose off first, so I’m going to plop down here with the pigs so I don’t mess up the residence. Just get rid of him, stick the bodies in the larder, and come join us when you’re done,” she told him.

I felt something sharp pierce my backside, and at first, I assumed it was the scarecrow’s sickle, but quickly realized it had been a syringe of some kind. I saw Mary herd her pigs together and lay down against them as she swigged her nightcap from another bottle of whiskey before I lost consciousness.

When I woke up, I was in police custody. I had been abandoned naked on the side of the road, with the child’s brain still on my head, and the scarecrow’s sickle in my hand. I’m now being held without bail as the prime suspect in not only his murder, but the disappearance and presumed murder of the seven other victims as well, since that sickle had DNA from each and every one of them on it. My lawyer is going to try to convince the jury that I am, in fact, another victim of the real killers, and that the more fantastical elements of my story are the results of trauma and being drugged.

But there’s no evidence to back up my story. The corn maze is just gone! The sign’s gone, the weird box I saw on the archway is gone, and the driveway just leads to an abandoned lot. The toxicology report showed there was nothing special about what the scarecrow used to put me out, and the bastard made sure to prick my back in a place that I could have reached myself.

I know my odds of winning over a jury aren’t great, but I’m not too worried about that now. This morning, I woke up wearing the scarecrow’s mask. The Darlings haven’t forgotten about me, and they want me to know that even in county jail, they can get to me whenever they want.

I guess Mary’s pigs aren’t going to have to settle for corn much longer, after all.

Rating: 9.80/10. From 5 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by The Vesper's Bell
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: The Vesper's Bell

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com 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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