It was a few weeks ago that the hay bales started creeping slowly away from the house. Every morning when I woke up, each had moved a few hundred feet from where it was before. I assumed it was pranksters with nothing better to do, and I so I ignored it. Within a few days, though, the bales began to approach the boundaries of the farm. I was tired of the whole game by then, and decided to move them back. It took a tedious hour to bring them all from where they were to over near the house again, and by the time I was done I was ready to snap the neck of whatever little pissant was deciding to screw with me.
The next morning, I found each and every one of my horses messily decapitated. The smell was what woke me up. Each one was slumped over against the side of its stall. There were no signs of the heads. I spent the rest of the day cleaning up the mess and burying the remains. It was only when I was done that I noticed the bales of hay had all returned to their positions from the day before, scattered far out into the fields. This time I left them where they were.
That night I sat on my porch with my shotgun in hand and a pot of coffee on the table beside me. I sat for hours, straining my eyes into the fields to catch a glimpse of who was moving my hay bales. Finally, I was beginning to nod off. I would have, but just as my eyes began to close I heard a clamor and a rustling of trees from the nearby woods. I leaned forward, my heart racing with excitement; I was going to catch the bastard. I fumbled with my gun and fidgeted in my seat, waiting anxiously for whoever it was to get close enough to ambush. It was only when the thing got close enough for me to make out its silhouette in the dark that I was frozen still. The thing that crept into my fields from the nearby woods didn’t seem to notice me sitting there. It stalked, hunched and deliberate, through the field with the posture of a tiptoeing thief. If not for the fact that it must have towered to over ten feet tall even in its crouched position, it might have seemed almost frail. The thinness of its arms and legs and the emaciated, caved-in quality of its chest reminded me of a starving animal. Still, this thing was undeniably strong, and I watched it hoist each bale up into its arms with ease, and set it down carefully a while away, taking only a few strides to cover the distance. I watched it work, moving each bale thoughtfully. Every once in a while it would straighten up to look around at the other bales’ positions in the field, before adjusting the one it was working on ever so slightly.
Before it left, it looked towards the house. I felt its eyes sweep over me in the dark, but whether it saw me or not I couldn’t tell. Then, it turned silently and crept back the way it came, disappearing into the dark of the woods. It took me an hour before I had the courage to move at all. I went inside after a while, but didn’t sleep that night. It was only when the sun rose that I dared step off my porch into the fields. The hay bales were where it left them. Strangely, it didn’t move them as far as it had in the previous days. They were approaching something invisible in the fields, and as I looked at them I realized that they seemed to be marking some line. Indeed, as I walked around the house, I saw the distinct circle that they formed with me at the center. At first I thought the bales were just being haphazardly moved away from the house, but now I could see that they were instead being moved towards some boundary. The thing was sending me a message. I slept uneasily that night, and only because I was exhausted.
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