T’was a fine morning, with the rich autumn smells thrilling our senses. Snail, Tic, Wee Willy and I were sitting at the kitchen table having a nice cup of hot cocoa while we looked out the window, admiring the garden. Today was an extra special day for it was Halloween Eve and we planned a big celebration that night, to express our gratitude to Nature and have a bit of fun and mischief.
Snail yawned and began to say something about it being so peaceful when there arose such a piercing screech from the forest we all froze in alarm. Before I could gather my scattered wits to take action, a blur of movement erupted from the forest and a most horrifying apparition slammed right into the window. Oh, it was ghastly! As it pressed it’s deranged face against the glass, worms crawled out of its large slack mouth and writhed around the club like hands that beat on the window pane. Beady eyes stared unblinking at us from under an old tattered hat. As the tremors of fear cleared from my brain, my first impression of the beastly apparition changed. Those were not worms crawling out of its mouth, it was straw. Beady eyes, indeed! I pushed my chair back and said, “That creature is Sylvain’s scarecrow!”
We jumped up and ran out the door to help the scarecrow for he was obviously in a panic. The stitches on his mouth had burst open in his attempt to yell out what had frightened him and now he was spitting straw everywhere. At best, the scarecrow talked gibberish anyway so we couldn't understand a word he was saying. Finally we tried having him mime his story and he ran about the yard, his loose-jointed body getting into the most ridiculous and impossible poses.
Tic leaned toward me and whispered, “Are you sure this isn't a trick?
I was shaking my head and trying not to laugh. “Don't think so Tic, I think this is serious. We just haven't asked the right questions yet.”
We finally worked out that the scarecrow, whose name was Hedge, had been let off the hook since the corn harvest and was wandering down by Kachoome Creek when he saw a dreadful sight. What the sight was we could not quite figure out until, in desperation, Hedge yanked off his head and held it out away from his body.
Well, I might have fainted had I not known scarecrows are magical creatures and a needle and thread puts them to rights again. “Oh, I think I know what it is,” says I “It’s a headless horseman out for a haunting.” It was the eve the dead came walking, or riding in this case, so it was a truly frightening thought. A headless horseman wants living heads. We all trembled a bit, but Hedge was shaking his detached head in a vigorous, no!
Snail waved his arms and jumped up and down, “I think he means a bodiless head.” Hedge nodded his detached head, a vigorous yes, and then tried to throw it in the air. Of course, it promptly fell to earth. His hand felt around until it found his head again and then he threw it even higher in the air and pointed. “Maybe he means, the head is falling, no the bodiless head is floating.” said Snail, sniggering just a little. The scarecrow retrieved his head once more and sagged in relief, nodding his head yes, very slowly.
I was doubtful, a floating head seemed a perfect Halloween trick to play on us. Although the scarecrow did not seem to be in on the hugger-muggery. He was truly frightened and if this floating head was real it might be a great danger, every bit as much as a headless horseman.
We dragged Hedge and his head into the kitchen and I sewed him back together while the young ones ran around collecting what members of our family they could find. When they arrived I had made my decision, we would go into the forest and find this floating head and find out if it could do any real damage.
This would be changing our plans for a celebration that night but I made sure we had an abundance of good treats and drink to take along. We also wore our long cloaks as they helped us blend into the surrounding forest and harder to see by flying creatures or floating heads. If someone was playing a trick on us we would find out soon enough!
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