When It Rains In The Outback

20151109_164935[1]By: J.J. Cheesman

 

My name is Eddie. I live in a small farmhouse in New South Wales, though I won’t disclose my exact location. I guess I can’t exactly say I ‘live’ there anymore. I don’t know who in their right mind would be living there after what I have seen. So I suppose I should say I ‘lived’ there for a very brief period.

You see, my Uncle Reggie passed away last month and having no children of his own he left the farmhouse to me. They found Uncle Reggie lying face down in front of the sink, dead from a heart attack. Now, Uncle Reggie was the strange sort. My parents never talked about him, and he never visited. He just kept to himself up there in his house all alone. No wife, no girlfriend, no pets, just him and his wheat field. “I don’t even know why he bought that place” My father said the morning after we heard Reggie passed on, “He never does anything with it, wonder why he left it to you?”.

Regardless of why Uncle Reggie decided to leave his house to me, I was absolutely delighted. It was little more than a shack with four rooms and a bathroom, but I was eighteen and it was a house that I would have ownership over, so to me it was a palace. I moved in only two weeks ago on Monday. I took a weeks’ worth of holiday at work and drove to my Uncle’s house that morning. The outside of the house was as you might expect from an aging grump who kept to himself. The wood siding was almost nearly devoid of paint, with a couple flecks of white left. The front of the house had a good sized porch, though the wood banister that ran from the stairs and wrapped around the porch was broken and I decided that my first act of home renovation would be completely removing it. Once inside the house though, Jesus Christ.

If someone showed me a picture of the outside of the house, then showed me one of the inside and told me they were the same place I’d call them a raving lunatic. Apparently, Uncle Reggie cared very much about his inside living conditions despite seemingly not caring at all that the outside of his home looked like Chateau de Vincent Price. The entire home was fully furnished, which was the first plus because it meant I wasn’t going to have to move much of my stuff in at all. But I can’t even describe how clean that house was with words. I couldn’t find a speck of dust in the entire place. I thought I was gonna’ spend the entire day cleaning out trash, but this was definitely a welcome surprise. I walked through every room in the house; which didn’t take long, until I came to the kitchen.

My eyes were immediately drawn to the kitchen window that sat just above the sink. Through the window staring in at me, was the ugliest scarecrow I had ever seen. It made me jump when I saw it and I cursed out loud to no one in particular as I fell back against the wall behind me. My heart thumped in my chest, but as soon as I caught my breath I stepped closer to the window to get a better look at the thing. The scarecrow’s head was made out of straw and a sack of burlap, like any other I suppose. But it was the metal plate attached to the burlap that gave it its face. For its eyes two holes equal in size were cut into the metal, and within the holes sat stones with elaborate symbols carved into them. The metal plate contoured around the head of straw and had symbols similar to the ones on it eyes drawn in what I assumed to be red paint all along its edge. I looked beyond the scarecrow to the wheat field that lay behind it. The wheat crop was high and stretched for miles on end, wind blew through the field giving the impression of something moving about in the wheat. I then drew my attention back to the scarecrow. “You’ll be one of the first things to go” I said out loud to the scarecrow as if it could hear me.

 

Soon after that, I went to work tearing apart the porch banister, which came apart very easily. I took all of the pieces of lumber from the banister and threw them down in a pile on an open area of the rather big yard a good distance from the house and the field. I then walked around the house to where I knew the scarecrow stood. I untied the rope that tied the scarecrows arms and legs to the iron cross sticking out of the ground only a mere two feet from the house. I then carried the scarecrow which seemed unnaturally heavy, to the burn pile. I went and grabbed the gas can I kept in the back of my truck and doused the scarecrow and all in gasoline. I lit a match and threw it on the pile and watched it all go up in flame. I kept an eye on the fire for a minute to make certain it was going to spread anywhere, then I went back in my truck to head to town for paint.

I was back at the house about a half hour later, the flames of the fire had nearly died out then and I could see all that was left of the scarecrow was the metal plate that was once it’s face. “Good” I thought, as I prepared myself for a long day of painting. I went straight to work, painting the entire house. It actually didn’t take long at all, given the size of the house though I guess that’s not a huge surprise. This wasn’t the first house I’ve painted either, so I knew I’d probably have to go over it again in the morning. After I lost daylight, I began working on moving in small stuff from my truck. My T.V. and game systems and the like. It was about nine o’clock when I stopped working for the night. I settled in at the kitchen table listening to the radio, and eating some beans that I heated up on the stove. I was about to get up and put my bowl in the sink, when I saw it. The scarecrow in the window, was back.

Or at least that’s what I thought at first. There was definitely a shape in the window, I could make out its head, but nothing else. I sat there frozen in silence for several minutes, unsure of exactly what to do. I could see slight movement, the slow shift in movement as whoever was outside my window breathed. Finally, I called out “Who’s out there!?” I hollered.  The figure then darted from my sight. I ran quickly to the front door, which aside from the windows, was the only entrance into the house. I ran to the door and turned the deadbolt. I then knelt down to my tucker bag which I left lying next to my boots near the door, and pulled out my hunting knife. That’s when the sound of heavy rain came.

 

I waited there, sitting on my couch in the living room, waiting for whoever was outside my home to try to break in. I had my cell at the ready to call anyone if I really needed to, but I didn’t want to have to do that. Call me silly, but calling the police to handle something was just not something I ever want to do if I can help it. So I waited. The sound of rain pounded against the roof and walls of my home. I was pissed about it ruining a good day’s worth of paint, but I knew it wouldn’t take long to redo. I thought about getting up and going to the window to look out and see how bad the rain REALLY was, but I thought better of it. If that guy was still out there, I didn’t want him seeing where I was. The rain is a soothing sound though, and eventually sitting on that comfy leather couch, I fell asleep.

 

I woke up in the early hours of the morning with a start. My hand was still grasping the handle of my knife firmly. I stood up and looked around the house. Door still closed and locked, all windows still in one piece. Good. No break in.

I walked out the front door of my home to see what kind of damage the rain did to the yard, the night before sounded like bloody Katrina, so I was sure the yard would be flooded. I stepped out into the sun drenched porched and was shocked to find no water anywhere at all. The porch was dry as a bone, and the yard didn’t seem to be wet at all. I walked down the stairs of the porch onto the yard and knelt down, putting a hand out to feel the grass. Not even a little damp. I scratched my head, stood up, and turned back to the house. Then when I saw what was on the house I ran straight to my truck, threw my key in the ignition, and drove the hell off that property as quickly as I could. There, in the still wet paint that covered the house, were thousands of hand prints.

 

I’m sitting at my parents’ house in my old room, and I pull out my phone to call my Mom or Dad, both who are at work. My plan was to explain to them that instead of moving I just wanted to sell the house. But I have a voicemail on my phone so I listen to it. It is my Uncle’s Lawyer, the one who carried out his will. “Hey Eddie, how are ya mate? Sorry to bother you, but I forgot to tell you something your Uncle wrote in his will. He mentioned that I should tell you not to disturb a guardian or somat. He said if you do, ‘they’ will come for you, and they won’t stop till’ you’re dead. Crazy bugger, anyway it’s me job. You take care bruv”

The phone fell from my hands, and I was unable to speak as once again, came the sound of heavy rain.

 

When It Rains In The Outback

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