The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight

Free The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight by R. L. Stine

Book: The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight by R. L. Stine Read Free Book Online
Authors: R. L. Stine
    “Not now!” I told him. “We have to stop Stanley. We have to —”
    Stanley’s voice, high and excited, rose up from somewhere nearby. Mark and I both froze as we listened to the strange words he was chanting.
    “Is he reading something from that weird book?” Mark demanded.
    Without answering, I headed in the direction of Stanley’s voice. It was easy to follow him. He was chanting the strange words at the top of his lungs.
    Where is Sticks?
I wondered.
    Why hasn’t Sticks been able to stop his father?
    I pushed frantically through the tall stalks. I was moving blindly, my eyes watered over, brushing the stalks out of the way with both hands.
    In a small clearing, I found Stanley and Sticks. They were standing in front of two scarecrows on poles.
    Stanley held the book up close to his face as he chanted, moving his finger over the words.
    Sticks stood frozen, a blank expression on his face, a face of cold terror.
    Had the words of the chant somehow frozen him there like that?
    The scarecrows stood stiffly on their poles, their painted eyes staring lifelessly out from under their floppy black hats.
    Mark and I stepped into the clearing just as Stanley finished his chant. He slammed the big book shut and tucked it under one arm.
    “They’re going to walk now!” Stanley cried excitedly. “They’re going to come alive again!”
    Sticks suddenly seemed to come back to life. He blinked several times and shook his head hard, as if trying to clear it.
    We all stared at the two scarecrows.
    They stared back at us, lifeless, unmoving.
    The clouds floated away from the moon. The shadow over the cornfields rolled away.
    I stared into the eerie, pale light.
    A heavy silence descended over us. The only sound I could hear was Stanley’s shallow breathing, tense gasps as he waited for his chant to work, for his scarecrows to come to life.
    I don’t know how long we stood there, none ofus moving a muscle, watching the scarecrows. Watching. Watching.
    “It didn’t work,” Stanley moaned finally. His voice came out sad and low. “I did something wrong. The chant — it didn’t work.”
    A smile grew on Sticks’s face. He gazed at me. “It didn’t work!” Sticks exclaimed happily.
    And then I heard the
scratch scratch scratch
of dry straw.
    I saw the scarecrows’ shoulders start to twitch. I saw their eyes light up and their heads lean forward.
    Scratch scratch scratch.
    The dry straw crinkled loudly as they both squirmed off their poles and lowered themselves silently to the ground.

    “Go warn your grandparents!” Sticks cried. “Hurry! Go tell them what my dad has done!”
    Mark and I hesitated. We stared at the scarecrows as they stretched their arms and rolled their burlap bag heads, as if waking up after a long sleep.
    “Jodie — look!” Mark choked out in a hushed whisper. He pointed out to the fields.
    I gasped in horror as I saw what Mark was staring at.
    All over the field, dark-coated scarecrows were stretching, squirming, lowering themselves from their poles.
    More than a dozen of them, silently coming to life.
    “Run!” Sticks was screaming. “Go! Tell your grandparents!”
    Stanley stood frozen in place, gripping the book in both hands. He stared in amazement, shaking his head, enjoying his triumph.
    Sticks’s face was knotted with fear. He gave my shoulders a hard shove. “Run!”
    The scarecrows were rolling their heads back and forth, stretching out their straw arms. The dry scratch of straw filled the night air.
    I forced myself to take my eyes off them. Mark and I turned and started running through the cornfield. We pushed the tall stalks away with both hands as we ran. We ducked our heads low, running in terrified silence.
    We ran across the grass, past the guesthouse. Past the dark, silent barn.
    The farmhouse loomed darkly ahead of us. The windows were dark. A dim porch light sent a circle of yellow light over the back porch.
    “Hey!” Mark shouted, pointing.
    Grandpa Kurt

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