The Cornfield

October 31, 2022

On one lone night

Photo by Benjamin Jopen on Unsplash

It was 9 pm in the evening when Sarah and her friends decided to leave for a concert. They filed out the door one after the other to enter Sarah’s black Chevrolet Malibu.
‘Do you have the tickets for the show?’ asked Sarah to her boyfriend Tom as they got into the car. ‘Yes, I got them last night before I left my house,’ Tom replied. ‘Great, this is going to be one hell of a mosh pit tonight,’ Sarah replied.
The moon was full overhead with an ominous orange haze as the three friends drove down the gravel dirt road leaving Sarah’s house. There were cornfields and giant pine trees along the cliffs for miles as far as the eye could see, and the sound of Shania Twain’s “If you’re not in it for love” blasted from the speakers of Sarah’s car as she drove and held Tom’s hand tight.
‘When do we eat?’ blurted out Jed, Sarah and Tom’s larger than life friend. ‘We’ll pick up some McDonald’s on the way to the show, Jed. You’re always hungry it seems’ replied Tom. The three laughed as they saw the city lights in the distance.
As they got closer to the city lights, a WHACK hit the side of the car with freight train force sending it spiraling into uncontrollable chaos. ‘TOM, GRAB THE WHEEL!’, Sarah shouted. Tom frantically tried to reach for the wheel, but to no avail as the gravity of the spin sent his large frame flying against the door of the car. BAM!
One hour later, Tom and Sarah awoke in a hazy state. ‘What happened?’, mumbled Tom. ‘I don’t know, but my head feels like a polka band stomped on it’ replied Sarah. ‘Where’s Jed?’, asked Tom. ‘He’s not here!’ replied Sarah.
The rear door of the Malibu was completely broken free of the car and Jed was nowhere to be seen as Tom and Sarah frantically looked around trying to push pine branches out of the interior of the car.
In the distance a lone wolf howled at the moon with all of its might sending chills down their spines. ‘Sssounds like it’s hungry’, said Tom. ‘It sounds rreally hungry’, replied Sarah. ‘Maybe we should find out where we are and try to call for help’, replied Tom. ‘My cellphone is missing!’, exclaimed Sarah. ‘Mine too!’, Tom replied as he frantically searched his pockets. ‘Someone must have took them while we were passed out from the accident’, Sarah replied. ‘I don’t know, but the whole situation is creeping me out. Let me see if I can get my door open to see where we are’, replied Tom.
Tom tried with all of his strength to force the passenger door open, but it was no use. It was jammed against a large white pine tree with branches splintered dangerously like knives in the panel. ‘Maybe we should try to exit through the door that is missing’, said Tom. ‘Good idea, I’ll try to crawl into the back’, replied Sarah. Sarah unlocked her seat belt with her right hand and twisted to try to crawl into the back seat.
As she twisted she let out a blood curdling scream. “Ahhhhhhahahahahahhhhhhhhhhhh, fuck!’ screamed Sarah. ‘WHAT, what is it?’ tom frantically replied. ‘I think that my ribs are broken’, Sarah replied as she winced in excruciating pain. ‘Let me help you, try to hold steady. We need something to keep your ribs straight and to help get you out of here’, Tom replied.
Tom frantically searched around as his eyes spied a stack of old books in the back of the car. Sarah loved to collect old books, and her stash was going to be very useful on this day in Tom’s opinion to make a splint for Sarah.
Rrrrrriiiipppp resounded through the car as Tom made quick work of dismantling the books to make a splint for Sarah. ‘Do you think that this will hold me steady to exit?’, Sarah asked. ‘I think it will be very excruciating pain, but it will have to do for now’, Tom replied. ‘Fuck, why didn’t we stay home to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters tonight?’, Sarah replied. ‘I don’t know, but we sure are not going to make the concert after this’, Tom retorted. ‘$500 out the damn window that I worked all month for’, Sarah sneered. ‘I know, but at this point I just want to get you to safety’, Tom replied.
Tom found an old dusty roll of ductape in the glove box of the car to create his vision. ‘Remove your shirt, please’, he said to Sarah. ‘You’re just trying to get me naked in a remote location, aren’t you’, Sarah winced. ‘No, trust me, if we have the opportunity for our first time together, this is not how I want it to go’, Tom replied. ‘Ok’, Sarah replied, as she removed her purple hoodie and shivered in the night air. ‘Here, try to hold the book covers steady, and I will wrap them securely’, Tom said. ‘Ok, but you bettered not have cold hands!’, Sarah contorted.
Tom made quick work of wrapping the book covers into place on Sarah’s ribs. ‘There, please put your shirt back on now so you don’t catch cold’, he said. ‘I can barely move in this’, Sarah replied. ‘That’s the point, you don’t want to move broken ribs’, Tom said. ‘Ok, but you’ll have to help me, and don’t get handsy’, Sarah stated. ‘I’ll be the perfect gentleman, I promise’, replied Tom. ‘You’d bettered be, or my Dad is going to kick your ass, Thomas!’, replied Sarah. Both laughed as Tom gently slid Sarah’s hoodie over the make-shift splint.
‘There, that outta do it’, Tom replied. ‘Let’s get out of here before something else happens’, Sarah stated. ‘I completely agree’, said Tom.
Tom quickly and carefully helped Sarah maneuver from the drivers seat over the center console of the car and into the back seat. ‘There, now my turn’, he said. ‘I suppose you want me to shift towards the door’, Sarah asked. ‘Yes, that would be great unless you want me on top of your broken ribs’, Tom said as he smiled with a nod of approval.
Sarah quickly shifted her weight towards the open door with all of her might and let out another blood curdling scream. ‘Ahhhhhhahhahahahahahah, fuck! I am going to have to visit a doctor when all of this is said and done, aren’t I?’ she shouted. ‘Yes, I fear so’, Tom replied.
Tom quickly shifted his weight as he crawled into the backseat of the Malibu next to Sarah. ‘We have to move some branches to get out of here and see what we are up against’, he said. ‘Let me see if I can let you past me being you will doing all of the heavy lifting after my condition’, Sarah replied.
Tom shimmied past Sarah in the seat trying his best not to put any part of his body against Sarah’s broken ribs. He dropped down in the seat closest to the door and let out a loud sigh of exhaustion. ‘I feel like I just ran a marathon, but maybe this exercise is just the beginning of our night’, he said.
Tom shoved his feet against the branches that entered the car to try to push them out of the way. Finally with several attempts “crraaaacccckkk”, the branches snapped and he was free. In front of him in the clearing he saw a giant corn field for as far as the eye could see. He turned around and looked behind him, and he could not see the road.
‘Fuck, we must have spun off of a cliff’, he said. ‘Are we going to die here tonight’, Sarah asked frightened. ‘Not on my watch’, Tom replied.
Tom slowly and cautiously exited the car to survey where they had landed. As he looked up, he saw a very tall and menacing cliff in front of him.
‘Well, we are definitely not going back to the road to get out of here’, he said. ‘It looks like the only way out of here is going to be through that corn field’, he gestured. ‘Let me help you get out of here, and I will help brace you slow and steady so that we can find a hospital’, he said to Sarah. ‘Ok, but please promise me that we are not going to die here tonight’, she replied with wide eyes. ‘Ok, I promise that I will be your knight in shining armor and save the night’, Tom stated courageously. ‘You always have had a way of saving me in our three months together’, Sarah replied.
Tom steadily helped Sarah out of the car and they were finally free of the menacing metal trap that held them at the bottom of the cliff.
‘It looks like we have a great distance to cover to get out of here’, Tom said. ‘We’re going to have to eat our weight in popped corn for dinner tonight’, he observed. Sarah winced as she tried to laugh with the pain of her broken ribs. ‘Take it easy, please’, Tom stated as he acted as a human crutch to help Sarah walk. ‘I promise that I will try not to crack any more bad jokes to give you pain’, he said. ‘You’re jokes are always appreciated’, Sarah replied.
As they neared the edge of the cornfield, Tom spied something shiny out of the corner of his eye in the weeds. As he got closer to find out what it was, he helped Sarah to sit on a rock. ‘What is it?’, Sarah questioned. ‘It looks like it is my cellphone!’, Tom exclaimed. ‘Really?!?’ Sarah excitedly replied. ‘Yes, really, but it is very wet’, Tom stated.
As Tom pulled his cellphone out of the weeds, he became pale white and felt terrifying shivers down his spine as he pushed the on button to see if the phone had battery. The phone was covered in blood, and there was a photograph of their friend Jed on the lock screen dead in a cornfield sliced to pieces with a sign that read, “This is what you get when you run, and to run is no fun.
‘Ssssarrrrahhhh’, he shakingly called out as he turned with his hands covered in the blood on his phone. ‘Jed is dead’, he stated. ‘Jed is dead!’, Sarah retorted. ‘How, why, where?’ she said. ‘It looks like here in this corn field’, he replied.
Sarah began to well up in tears. She had known Jed since kindergarten, and their families were close. They had shared lunches together, and he always had a way to cheer her up when she felt down in their friendship.
‘This is beyond fucked up!’, she stammered. ‘We have to get out of here and get help!’ ‘I know. We’ll make it, but we have to be extra careful now’, Tom replied. ‘Jed is clearly in this cornfield, and by the looks of the photo and how he is laying in pieces, we are not alone here’, he said.
No sooner as he finished his sentence the howl of the lone wolf sounded in the distance. ‘I wonder if it ate Jed?’, he said out loud to himself. ‘Ate JED!’, Sarah contorted. ‘Now I am beyond fucking flipped out! Please TAKE ME HOME!’, she cried. ‘I promise you that I am going to do my best, but we have to stay level headed’, Tom replied. ‘Ok’, Sarah whimpered, ‘but I am scared’, she said. ‘I am too, but if we don’t want to end up like Jed, we have to keep it together!’, Tom said.
‘Let me see if I can call out on my phone’, he replied as he wiped the blood on his jeans to clean his phone. ‘Damn, no signal, maybe if we get higher up in elevation we can get a signal again’, he said.
Tom helped Sarah to stand up from the rock that she sat on, and as they moved closer to the cornfield, the leaves began to rustle and hum. ‘Ittttssss just the wind, right?’, Sarah asked as she looked dartedly to the left and right. ‘Yeahhh, umm, just the wind’, Tom replied as he nervously looked around for signs of anyone with ill will. ‘We have to go through the corn in order to get to higher ground and get a signal’, he replied.
Thirty minutes later, and about a mile and a half into the expanse of the cornfield, Tom looked down at his left arm and noticed more blood. He quickly looked at Sarah’s arm on his shoulder to see if she was ok, and shouted, ‘Sarah, you are dripping blood!’ ‘Huh, what, who, why?’, Sarah replied as she almost fell over from exhaustion. ‘You must have gotten cut by some very sharp leaves on the corn stalks’, Tom replied.
Tom carefully made a small clearing in the corn with his feet by pushing over stalks to help Sarah sit down and tend to her wounds. He removed his red checkered flannel and bit it to rip a piece for Sarah’s arm. “Riiiiipppp”, echoed through the night as the flannel strip broke free of his shirt. He carefully bandaged Sarah’s wounds and said ‘there, that out to do for now’, triumphantly.
Just as he was about to stand up to help Sarah to her feet, he heard the cry of the lone wolf again. It was much closer this time, and seemed to almost be near their position. ‘Stay behind me, Sarah’, he whispered as he frantically searched for where the sound was coming from. ‘Are we going to be a wolf snack?’, Sarah replied. ‘Not on my watch’, Tom replied.
Tom searched the ground and found a softball sized rock. He wielded it above his head similar to a caveman about to smash anything in his path over its head. The sound of the lone wolf drew nearer, and the breath grunted and panted of an animal looking to devour its prey.
“Crrrraaaaaccccckkkkkk!!!” came the sound of gunshot in the opposite direction. Tom could not see anyone or anything outside of the small clearing that he had made, but the whimper of an animal in extreme pain cried through the night and he heard a distinct thud to the ground.
‘I think that someone shot the wolf’, he replied as his eyes darted in a 360 degree motion looking for anyone that may help or try to shoot them also. ‘That damn bullet could have hit us!’, Sarah replied in hush tones also scouring the corn for signs of life. ‘I know, we have to be careful, they could have been aiming at us for all we know’, Tom whispered as he got low to the ground.
A giant rustling noise came from Tom’s left, and he quickly wielded the rock in anticipation again.

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P.S. Happy Halloween everyone! I hope that you and yours have a safe and happy celebration!

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“The Cornfield” Copyright 2022 Charlie Naebeck. All Rights Reserved. This story may not be copied or reproduced by any means without the written expressed consent of Charlie Naebeck. Thank you!

Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

The Cornfield was originally published in What Would Charlie Shoot on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.