a short story by Lily Jin, ’24

That frosty autumn night, a cold wind carried a lone soft whisper. The young lad was taking a stroll when he looked up, only seeing a smiling face of a straw scarecrow gently swaying in the wind. He scratched his head in confusion, swearing that he heard a faint voice. But as he walked past, the scarecrow’s button eyes followed his every move.
“Come here… I’m lonely …” the scarecrow whispered, hoping, longing, begging for him to turn back. The boy spun around, and their eyes met. Overcome with curiosity, his trembling hand slowly reached out to touch the scarecrow’s smiling face. In that split second, a malicious gleam flashed across its button eyes. The boy’s eyes widened in fear, and he backed away as fast as he could. As his instincts screamed for him to sprint back home, he felt the bristle of straw slowly creep up his neck. He looked over his shoulder, shaking uncontrollably with fear, and saw that the scarecrow’s demonic smile was only an inch away. The boy leaped back, landed on his back, and was finally able to let out a high pitched squeal. But as he opened his mouth once more, the scarecrow lunged forward.
The boy later found himself, strung up to a wooden pole, his body stuffed with straw. His mouth was stretched into a forced smile while his eyes had buttons sewed over them. His head hung low, and a tear fell onto the dry autumn leaves. He tried with all his might to scream but all that came out was a hoarse whisper.
“Come to me… Help me… ” A cool breeze carried his desperate whisper into the dark night sky, to anyone who could hear it.