My Protector

The scarecrow is no longer by my side. Looking back up the hill for assurance I see it cemented in its posture—eyes wooden and dull.

Nervous tension creeps in and tightens my skin like piano strings. The thought of my own mortality reverberates in my skull. The well played wavelengths of dread thrum.

The door hangs open. I move cautiously into the dank must of a ruined kitchen. A man sleeps on a piece of cardboard not an inch off the floor. His long dirty blonde hair splays out flat under no pillow.

“He’ll khhill you,” a deep whisper flows over my ear. Startled, I check behind me. No one. I sneak to the window and pull the curtains open. The scarecrow is stationed atop the hill—its eyes are fluttering storms of illumination. A blank headstone juts from the earth by its feet. “Which name shall I engrave tonight?” Its mouth never moves.

My hand feels heavy holding a large and rusty cutlery item. I notice a gun outlined in the man’s shirt pocket.

I must act while he sleeps, I think.

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