The Cornfield Maze Completed (6/15/16)

You guys remember those cornfield mazes they had near Halloween time? I was always so terrible at those, no surprise seeing as how my sense of direction is somewhere on par between Mapquest and Apple Maps. I’d get lost in those for hours. My friends, like any good friends, would always get out before me, stand on top of the stairs overlooking the maze, and shout out wrong directions to me. To this day I can’t even go inside an Ikea without having a panic attack.

As much as I hated being inside a maze, there was one thing I loved about them. My dad and I had a ritual for a long time before they stopped having them in my town. The day after they would tear it down, we’d grab our metal detectors and go hunt for buried treasure in the now empty field. Our “treasures” usually consisted of bottle caps, pull-tabs, some loose change, and if we were really lucky, some jewelry, but it was all about the thrill of the hunt. One person even gave me $40 dollars for finding their car keys.

Our hobby stopped around the same time they stopped hosting the mazes; they hadn’t had one in three years. Out of curiosity, I asked my dad about it. He’s on the city council, he knows these things—at least he acts like he knows everything. He told me they stopped because there was a problem with teenagers using it as a place to drink and hook up after hours. I didn’t question him about it, and it sure explained all the beer bottle caps we found over the years.

I had the bright idea earlier today to go out and hit up the field for old times sake. My metal detector was sitting in the garage looking so pitiful, so I dusted it off, threw in some fresh batteries and drove down there. I got out of the car and looked around. The once bustling city attraction was now nothing more than a desolate, abandoned field taken over by knee high weeds.

I was out there for maybe an hour before I got bored of digging up bottle caps. When I got the center of the field, I turned to leave, and that’s when my machine let out a long, loud signal instead of the usual short and sharp beeps of a coin. I was going to pass it up since it usually doesn’t make that noise unless I found a soda can or something.

I don’t know what made me do it. I was tired, sweaty, and hungry and I just wanted to go home. Yet I still got on the ground on my hands and knees with gardening trowel in hand and dug. I got maybe an inch in the ground before I felt my shovel collide with something hard. I could see something colorful in the dirt. Found the soda can, I thought. I pressed my shovel into the earth one more time before out popped something I wasn’t expecting. It was large, square, and pink. I picked it up and gave it a look over until I realized what I was staring out. Underneath all the dirt sat an older model cell phone, maybe an original Samsung Galaxy or something.

Excited about my unusual find, I stuffed it in my pocket along with the days treasures. (Which consisted of three pennies, a hot wheels car, and something that looked like it fell off a tractor.)

The phone itself was as dead as a squished opossum on the side of the road, but I stuck my phone charger in it anyway more than a little surprised to see it filling up with juice. I pulled the memory card out of the side of the slot and stuck it in my pocket. Then I left the phone on the counter and let it charge while I went about my business for the rest of the night. I honestly forgot all about it until my dad pointed it out and asked where it came from.

I announced, quite proudly I might add, that I had found it metal detecting today. I could see his eyes light up in interest at the memory of our forgotten hobby. We even used to belong to a metal detecting club that would hold contests each month for the best finds. If we were still involved, the phone would surely have won the prize for most unusual find. His behavior changed when I told him where I found it though. His smile dropped to a disproving stare that seeped with disappointment like I had just told him I was going to be a teen mom.

“You’re not supposed to be over there,” He said sharply. I blinked in surprise.

“Why not? We used to go there all the time.” I pointed out.

“It’s private property. I don’t want you going over there.” He said. I was quite shocked. I thought he’d be way more accepting of the fact that I found it in the old field. So what if there was an NO TRESSPASSING sign? Since when had we ever listened to those?

I pressed the issue, but he just got irritable, which made me irritable. He played the, “You’re a girl; it’s not safe card,” "And I played the, “I’m eighteen years old! I’m an adult!” Pretty soon we were having another shouting match.

“An adult! Ha! I’ll let you say you’re an adult when you stop pissing the bed!”

Seething in anger from him going over the line, I grabbed the phone off the counter, but he stopped me and demanded I give it to him.

“Why?”

“BECAUSE I SAID SO, RACHEL!” He hollered at the top of his lungs. Once he threw the parent card, there was no use trying to negotiate. I handed it over, knowing I still had the memory card in my pocket.

I stormed to my room without looking back and slammed the door shut, before collapsing on my bed in tears. He had changed since mom left three years ago. He had changed and so had I; and neither of us had changed for the better.

My dad became really over protective of me since then and I hate it. I want my independence. He treats me like a child, but at the same time, how can he not since I’ve been acting like one? Ever since mom left without even saying goodbye I’ve… taken a few steps back, so says my therapist. I’m more emotional, immature, and, well, as you read, I turned into a bed wetter.

I punch my pillow in frustration. How dare he play the bed wetter card! He knows how sensitive of a topic that is for me! I let out a moan of frustration and sorrow as I hold my pillow tight against my chest as I continued to cry.

Whenever I get in a fight with my dad I… I like to pretend I’m little again. I like to pretend that this pillow I’m holding between my arms isn’t a pillow at all. I like to pretend it’s my mom. I pretend she’s holding me against her chest and stroking my head like she used to when I was little, back when she still loved me. Why else would she have left us? If I concentrate really hard I can almost smell the perfume she always wore. But that could be because I used to spray it on my pillow before I ran out and found out they discontinued it.

It’s all pretend though, picturing the perfect mother in my mind. My therapist says it’s all part of the grieving process. Maybe if I was seven. 18 year olds don’t spray furniture with perfume and pretend it’s the mother that abandoned her family. 18 year olds shouldn’t still cry from the hurt. 18 year olds shouldn’t pretend they are seven and crave that person’s embrace like an addict craves heroin. And 18 year olds shouldn’t wet the bed.

One day three years ago she just never came home from her job teaching at the high school. We called her work and she never said anything to them. All her stuff was still here, her car still parked at the school. We called the police and at first they suspected foul play, but then they noticed another teacher was also missing. A male teacher. And then they found the emails. She had been having an affair and the police put two and two together. She had run off with him to start a new family. I knew my parents had been having problems, but I didn’t think she’d go that far. We’ve never heard from her since. I don’t think I could even recognize her voice anymore.

I look up at the clock and let out a sigh. I really should get ready for bed just incase I fall asleep. I reach under my bed and pull out the package of bed wetting pants. Too many times I’ve fallen asleep before I got changed only to have to take the walk of shame to the laundry room with soiled clothes and sheets.

I begin to tug my pants down, only to remember the memory card in my pocket. I pulled it out along with my phone and swap them out. Maybe looking through someone else’s life will help me forget about my own. After changing, I turned off my bedroom light and plopped onto my bed. Phone in hand I searched the memory card. It was just a bunch of pictures of the high school. Some pictures of food, some of random teenagers around campus. As I suspected, it belonged to a student.

Along with the pictures was a video file. I clicked on it. It was taken on an older phone, so the picture quality wasn’t that great, but you could still clearly hear voices and make out the shapes of faces in the poor lighting of the phone. I recognized where they were immediately when I saw the tall rows of corn in the back round. The old maze. Well duh, I thought after a second, that is where I found the phone. I watched as the owner turned the phone around. Two giggling high school girls clearly a little buzzed by the sounds of their voices. My dad wasn’t kidding; it really was the teenage drinking zone.

I watched the video of the two blonde teenagers carry on as they staggered through the maze in the dark giggling. “Shh, shh I hear someone.” One of them said, while she herself was anything but subtle. The video panned out to the stalks of corn where two blurry outlines of people could be seen on the other side.

Two other voices began to play through the phone. I thought there’d be more teenagers, but I was surprised to hear two adults talking. I strained to listen, but I couldn’t make out the words. Then the figures began to embrace.

“Those two adults are making out.” The owner of the phone whispered.

“That’s Mr. Chancler! Whose he with?”

“OH, EM GEE! It’s Mrs. Brook! My history teacher!” the other girl squealed.

I immediately felt my blood run cold. Mrs. Brook is… my mother.

I continued to watch, my eyes, and ears now intently glued to the screen. The figures on the other side came into focus better as the girl zoomed in. I could make out my mothers long brown hair. I turned my volume up to max on my phone and listened as they began to talk again.

“Run away with me, Stayce.” The man said as he brushed my mothers hair from her face. I felt my blood boil as I watched. This was the man who stole my mother from me!

“We’ve talked about this before.” My mom said. He let his hand fall limply to his side.

“Why not? Why won’t you leave hi-”

“I’ve told you! It’s not about him! I’m not leaving my daughter! I love you, I do, but I can’t just pack up to a different state and leave her behind.”

I could feel fresh tears sting my eyes and blur my vision. But wait… if she was so adamant about not leaving me behind, where was she? Had he convinced her to go? I paused the video and checked the date it had been taken. It was the day she had gone missing. I continued the video and watched them argue back and forth for a while. Things were getting heated, and a growing sense of dread began to build inside of me. The tension between them continued to escalate until a loud BANG filled the air. I let out a choked sob as one of the figures slumped over onto the ground.

“OMG,” One of the girls screamed. They dropped the phone and I could hear them run away. The phone landed next to the stalks of corn and remained propped up pointed towards the scene so I still had a good view, albeit much lower.

I was shocked when I focused my eyes through the stalks to see not my moms’ body, but that of her lovers. I thought for sure he had shot her. Was it… was it the other way around? Had she shot him? I could hear my mother’s screams; the sound brought all the hairs on my arms on end.

“RICHARD!” She shouted. She dove to the ground and leaned over his body. “Richard! What happened?” she turned him over and saw the bullet wound. Her head snapped around and that’s when another figure appeared out from the cornfield into the clearing wearing a Halloween mask from the movie Scream. “What did you do!?” She shouted.

“Shut up, bitch! Get on the ground!” The muffled voice through the mask said. She looked down and saw the phone recording a few feet from her through the stalks. She grabbed it and made a run for it. All I could see was the ground flying past as she ran through the cornfields. “I’m coming for you, Stayce!” The other voice said.

She continued to run until she came to a dead end in the maze. She turned around only to hear him approaching. She held the phone up in front of her to record. I could see my mother’s terrified face looking straight at me.

“I know you’ll find this. I love you, Rachel. You’ll always be my baby girl.” I watched as she got on the ground and began to dig a hole in the soft dirt with her hands before burying the phone. Although I could no longer see, I could still hear the muffled conversation.

“I know it’s you, Tom, take off the mask.” She said.

“Shut up!”

“Why, Tom?”

“You’re cheating on me!”

My eyes widened in terror as I heard another BANG. I sat on my bed un-moving for a good 30 minutes before the shock wore off and the tears finally came. My mom, she knew I metal detected that field every year and left me this video as a warning.

My mother never left me. She was stolen from me. Stolen from me by my father.

Re: The Cornfield Maze

A high intensity little short. Well done.

Re: The Cornfield Maze

Wow, that was dark. I agree with WBDaddy, it’s really well done.

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Nice way of subverting the expected outcome; I definitely expected her mom to be shot by the other teacher.

Overall, an excellent piece. It almost feels like something done by Christie or Poe.

However, there are a few points I find a bit dubious.
For one thing, regardless of whether it had been discontinued, any perfume her mom wore three years ago would definitely still be available if one were to look in thrift shops or online. My mother has perfumes dating from the 1960s. Also, her mom’s prioritizing leaving a message for her daughter which may or may not be found over talking her husband down or attempting to fight back is a real head-scratcher. It also seems incredibly convenient that she thought to remove the SD card that contained this incredible video right before her father demanded she hand it over. Maybe he should have checked to see if it was still in there?

Like I said though, these are minor quibbles. It’s a great piece. The only thing that I really would wish would be to at least to see the next step. You’ve basically provided us with the first act of a modern setting of Hamlet, so cutting it off right after the ghost leaves seems like a waste. How will Rachel proceed from here? This lack of resolution is really kind of chewing on my brain.

Just so I’m not misinterpreted here, let me repeat: this is excellent. Thank you.

Re: The Cornfield Maze

When you do a vignette that ventures more than just a snapshot, it’s nearly impossible to avoid an occasional deus ex machina. I overlooked it simply because I saw how necessary it was to the plot. I mean, you can’t subtly remove an SD card from a phone in front of someone. You just can’t.

Re: The Cornfield Maze

It doesn’t explicitly say, but I assumed in reading that she removed it before he entered the room.

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I pretty much dismissed it as it went by. I guess I should try to have more of a critic’s eye when I read here, but it’s always been hard for me to do that with a story that hooks me. And I guess that fact alone should tell people that, if I post relatively brief praises and no criticisms, it means they’ve accomplished the primary mission, at least for me - they made me stop analyzing and just absorb. :wink:

Re: The Cornfield Maze

She definitely took it out before her father walked in. Well before her father walked in since the narrator says she forgot about it “for the rest of the night” before he asked about it.

My guess is that she planned to look at it while the phone was charging or in case it didn’t work after being buried for so long. I don’t see a problem with it in that context.

Good story but I would love to see what happens next.

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I agree with TheOneWhoSees considering the narrator has a moral dilemma between taking it to the cops or keeping the secret to her grave; I have my own vote if anyone’s interested. MORE PLEASE!

Re: The Cornfield Maze

Or even just to use it as a spare memory card in her own phone.

Re: The Cornfield Maze

Working on a part 2.

Btw if anyone’s seen my backbone please let me know.

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(If a mod happens to come across this, would you mind moving it to the regular story section so I don’t spam the story section with double posts. Please.)

Part Two

So much has happened in one day I don’t know where to start. I suppose the most logical place would be the night I watched the video. Once I managed to snap myself from my catatonic state, I cried until I felt like I couldn’t move (as pathetic as that sounds). I hugged my pillow tight and went back in time. Back before my parents fought, back when I’d climb in my mothers lap and she’d hold and rock me and tell me those six words, “you’ll always be my baby girl.”

My therapist is the one who gave me the idea. She told me whenever I feel scared, or sad, etc. to think of a happy time in my life and stay in that mindset until I calmed down. That’s how I came up with seven. She called it my safe space, but I call it my little space. I tried to google it once to see if this was common. I wish I hadn’t. The term infantilism popped up, and being my naïve, and innocent self, I clicked on it. I noped the fuck out of there so fast as soon as I got a message asking if I was looking for a daddy. I set fire to my search history, and that was that.

The phrase you don’t know what you have until it’s gone really hits home for me. My mother was always affectionate, and I was always such a brat by pushing her away. I’d always tell her I was too old, and that’s where the phrase, “You’ll always be my baby girl,” came from. The relief that she didn’t leave me to run off with some man felt amazing, but it was short lived. Soon after, the fear began to set in. I had a problem and I didn’t know what I was going to do about it. I was living with a killer.

I noticed a lot of you telling me to run away, but I have no money, no other relatives, and nowhere to go. Once my mother left- well died- I changed. I pushed all my friends away and hid in my room. Going metal detecting was really an unusual spur of the moment thing. Now that I think about it, I’m starting to think it was my mom pushing me to find that phone.

Once I managed to get a hold of myself, I went to my computer and copied the files from the memory card onto my own flash drive, and also onto my computer. I don’t think my dad will notice the missing memory card, but just in case he does… I deleted the video off of it. I don’t want him knowing I know. If he gets a hold of the memory card and looks through the files, all he’ll see is the pictures.

Just when I finished moving everything I needed to, someone started pounding on my bedroom door. I jumped a foot in the air as my dad stormed in and asked what the hell I thought I was doing. I looked at the time. It was 1:30 in the morning. I just stared at him with a blank expression on my face. Was he mad I was up so late? Or did he know what I’d done?

“Why are you making so much racket? I have to get up in the morning! Go to bed!” He yelled. What? Was I crying too loud?

“I-I wasn’t making any noise.” I said. My voice came out cracked and nervous sounding. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. I was never good at hiding things. My parents always knew if I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. My face was an open book.

“I heard you pounding on the hall with your fist! And for God’s sake pick up your feet when you walk! You sound like an angry toddler stomping down the hallway!” He left and slammed the door behind him. I don’t know what he heard, but it wasn’t me.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I didn’t get any sleep that night, and it sounded like my dad didn’t either. I could hear him up around 4 in the morning in the kitchen. He must have been in a really bad mood because I could hear him slamming the cabinets closed behind him.

What was I going to do? My dad killed my mom in cold blood. It was obvious what I HAD to do; I had to go to the police. My mom was buried out in that field; I just knew it. That’s why my dad didn’t want me metal detecting there. If the bodies weren’t there, the gun surely was. He was afraid I’d find something, and since bodies aren’t metallic…

I spent the night trying to mentally prepare myself for what I had to do. Turn my dad in. My stomach churned at the thought. The voices in the back of my mind argued with each other all night. How could you do that to your own father, half of me said, while the other argued he had no problem doing it to my mother. On the bright side I didn’t wet the bed. Probably because I didn’t get any sleep.

Right when I finally felt myself drifting off to sleep I heard my dad shout from the kitchen, “RACHEL! GET OVER HERE, RACHEL!”

My eyes sprang open and I dashed into the kitchen in fright. I stopped and stared wide eyed at the scene before me. All the cupboards were open, every drawer, and every door. This included the fridge, freezer, and dishwasher.

“What the hell did you do?” He said, standing there in his navy blue bathrobe. I shook my head wide eyed.

“I thought it was you making all the noise.” I said. He frowned, clearly displeased with my explanation.

He ignored me and went on, “Are you trying to waste all our food for a prank!? Look at all the meat I have to throw out! And look! The ice creams melted!” He mumbled under his breath before saying. “I don’t have time for this! This kitchen better be spotless by the time I come home!”

I let out a frustrated sigh and went to clean things up. All I had to do was close the doors and throw out the ice cream. It’s obvious to me my dad was sleepwalking. He probably knows I’m on to him, and the stress got to him. Or maybe I’m sleepwalking and the stress got to me. Or maybe it’s a passive aggressive ghost come to take revenge on him by spoiling his ice cream.

I let out a weak smile despite the situation. Maybe if I got a ojuji board I could channel the vengeful spirits and ask them to hide one of every sock in his drawer.

After a night of thinking it over I made up my mind to go to the police. Flash drive in hand, I drove over there before school and tried to think of how I’d explain my situation. When I got there and stood in front of the lady at the front desk, who asked if I needed help, my brain shut down and turned to mush. I stood there stammering out half thoughts as I tried my best to explain what was going on. By some miracle I managed to get out that a murder had taken place.

The lady at the front desk made a call before asking me to wait and said someone would be down to speak with me shortly. After twenty minutes a man by the name of Detective Mario Gonzales took me to a back room to talk. I handed over my flash drive and we watched the video together. I explained as best I could that was my mother in the video. He seemed pleasant and eager to help, but as soon as he went to get her case and came back, he acted different. It was almost as if he was an entirely different person.

“You know videos can be faked.” He said. He began trying to find holes in my story. “There were no bodies, and no murder weapon. You can barely make out anything more than figures off in the distance.” And of course, he brought up the fact that it was a corn maze. She could have just pushed through the corn. That was why he believed it was a fake.

I tried to explain if they would just look in the field, but he said because it was private property he’d have to get a search warrant, and the video just wasn’t enough to justify it.

“What if you just got permission from the owner?” I tried, but he just shook his head.

“I doubt the owner of the field will give us permission.”

“How do you know if you don’t try!” I nearly shouted. How could they just brush me off without even trying?

“Because,” he said without even flinching, “You’re accusing the owner of the field of murder.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. The reason the corn mazes stopped was because of change of ownership. I thought he had managed to convince the city council somehow of stopping the event. I never thought he’d outright buy the field.

“Please, help me.” I begged. “I’m scared.”

His face softened at this. I think he could see the genuine fear on my face. It took everything inside of me to come here today. “I could see about questioning the girls in the video. If there’s an eyewitness account, it would help validate your claims and help get a search warrant, but as it stands, a shaky phone video isn’t enough to convince a judge an actual crime occurred.”

“Thank you,” I said. It made me feel a little better. Not much, but a little. I packed up my stuff and went to leave, but he stopped me and asked if I had any more copies of the video. I nodded and told him I had more copies at home.
………………………………………………………………………………………………

I went to school after that. I missed the first three periods, but other than that, the day was pretty uneventful. I’d just have to make sure to beat my dad home and erase the message on the answering machine that said I was absent from school.

When I got home, I noticed right away something wasn’t right. The front door to my house was open. I know I closed and locked it and my dads’ car was nowhere to be seen. Not wanting to walk into a robbery in progress, I ran to the neighbors’ house and knocked on their door.

I apologized for bothering him, but that there might be someone in my house. He let me inside and I sat with his wife. His wife told him to call the police, but instead he grabbed a baseball bat and went to check it out. He came back thirty seconds later looking white as a sheet. This time he called. When he hung up he explained my house had been torn apart. All the drawers were open, and all the furniture was upside down. The cops came before my dad did. The searched the perimeter and said it was safe to come inside.

The house was a disaster, and I was freaking out. Papers were scattered everywhere, lamps knocked over, and all the electronics in the house were dead. But they were still there. Nothing was taken. The police said there was no sign of forced entry. They think I forgot to lock the front door-- even though I swear up and down I did. I told them about what happened this morning but they didn’t think it was related.

My dad came home shortly after and pitched a fit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so mad. Even my neighbor intervened and told him to calm down.

All the electronics in the house are completely fried: the computers, the TV, the lights. We each have a working laptop because we bring them with us; his for work and mine for school. Unfortunately, the router is dead, so no Internet at home. It creeps me out being there, so I’m at a McDonald’s right now, clearly ignoring their “30 minute” signs.

It feels. . . violating to know someone was in your house going through all your stuff. The house doesn’t feel right anymore, I feel like I’m being watched, but I guess I’ve been more on edge since. I’m wondering if whoever broke in was looking for something in particular since nothing was taken that we’re aware of.

I’m still waiting to hear back from the detective. If he doesn’t call by tomorrow I’m going over there. I’ve left him a few messages, all of which were ignored. Too many weird things have been going on since then. I’ll keep you guys updated if anything else major happens. At least with my desktop fried, I no longer have to worry about my search history.

Re: The Cornfield Maze

Thank you, great and powerful moderator! ^^

Re: The Cornfield Maze

Im really loving this story alot. The premise is interesting and has really hooked me in. Please keep up the amazing work. I cant wait to see what comes next.

Sent from my SM-G925T using Tapatalk

Re: The Cornfield Maze

This is a good story would love to read more so keep it coming. Why do I have a feeling that it’s her mom that is doing all of this damage just to get revenge against the girl’s father for killing her.

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Sasha, is everthing ok? This story seems too real

Re: The Cornfield Maze

lol, yeah I’m fine ^^ It’s a story I’m writing for a no sleep, with abdl elements. They are always told in first person like the events have/ are happening to you. Thought i’d try my hand at it. They have contests every month and the best ones get read on their nosleep podcast.

Re: The Cornfield Maze

I was worried for a moment Sasha; good thing there’s no cause for alarm.

With that now out of the way: it’s good that Rachel suspected my vote and took it, but I think her father may have had at least 1 accomplice; I personally smell foul-play.

Loving this; MORE PLEASE!

Re: The Cornfield Maze

Friday night—well actually Saturday morning-- when I finally came home from McDonalds, I went straight to my room and collapsed on my bed. I was so exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open to drive home. I didn’t bother changing out of my school clothes from the night before either. My pillow was beckoning me, and in a trance, I obliged.

I dreamed I was being chased in a cornfield, begging and pleading with whoever—or whatever-- was behind me. I could see the stalks moving every time I looked behind me, getting closer and closer with every second. I ran, feeling powerless and terrified as I shouted for someone to help me. I sprinted into a dead end, just as my mother had. I turned to face my pursuer, but there was no one there. I stood, my nerves on edge, looking left and right. All the hairs on my arms stood on end. Where was it? I jumped as I felt something grab my ankle. I looked down to find several rotting hands reaching up from the ground, one with a tight grip on my ankle as it begin to pull me down into the soft earth. I felt myself begin to sink like quicksand. My chest in the ground, then my waist, followed my legs. I could feel the hand pulling followed by another, and another. Just as my head was covered with dirt I woke up gasping for air.

I felt a presence in my room with me. I looked up to find my dad staring at me from the hallway. He came and sat on the edge of the bed and asked if I was all right. I scooted away from him in fright. I could see the hurt in his eyes, but my racing heartbeat warned me to stay on guard. His eyes of sympathy slowly began to morph into one of disgust. He launched up out of my bed as if a spider had crawled onto him. He looked down at me in annoyance, as if repulsed by the mere sight of me.

I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion and motioned to get out of bed, but as soon as I moved the blankets the smell hit me. I had forgotten to change last night, and could feel the moisture surrounding my waist. I looked away from him no longer able to meet his eyes. He mumbled something that sounded like, “disgusting” and left my room in a huff.

I let out a sigh of frustration. He’s always seen my problem as childish and thinks if he gives me enough negative reinforcement, I will somehow subconsciously stop doing it, like a yappy dog given a shock collar. It only happens maybe once a week, unless I’m really stressed—like right now.

I pulled the blankets back ready to inspect the damage and let out a startled gasp. My legs, the beddings, and the blankets were all covered in blood. I whimpered as I tossed the blanket back over me and let my mini heart attack run its course. I felt shivers run up and down my back as my mind raced to find a possible explanation. It’s my period, I finally told myself, my period that’s two weeks early. When I made up my mind that this was perfectly normal biological response to stress (yay hormones) I turned the covers over only to be greeted with . . . nothing. No blood, or urine.

I sat there staring at my lap utterly perplexed. How was this possible? Maybe it was the sleep deprivation? Or maybe it was the lighting playing tricks on my eyes by casting a shadow over my legs. But what about the smell and the moisture I felt? I sniffed myself and grimaced. I was covered head to toe in sweat.

I peeked under the blankets a third time to make sure I wasn’t going to suddenly find myself sitting in a pile of green Jello this time. Once the coast was clear, I sat up out of bed and headed to the bathroom to take a shower. I stood under the hot water for a good 45 minutes, still shaken up from the nightmare. It wasn’t until I was rubbing the soapy loofa over my legs did I notice the bruise that wrapped around my ankle. A bruise that was in the shape of hand.

I tried to tell myself I was loosing it. What I needed was a good nights sleep without any nightmares and I’d be okay. I just needed to think of something to calm myself down, I thought as I stepped out of the shower. Now wasn’t a good time to be seven.

The bathroom was thick with steam and the mirror clouded with condensation as I grabbed a towel off the rack, and threw it over my head. I closed my eyes and began to dry my hair. It wasn’t until I removed the towel did I notice the mirror. I stood rooted to the spot as I stared at the message. Written in condensation in the glass were the words HELP ME.

I dropped my towel to the floor and stared as it began to dawn on me. I think I brought home more than just a cell phone.

“I’ll try, mom.” I whispered.

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I must have left a dozen more voicemails for the detective, none of which were returned. I ended up pacing back and forth in the house most of the day trying to figure out what to do. I’d give him until Monday. He was a homicide detective; he must be pretty busy, right?

I convinced myself my mom caused whatever was going on in the house. I felt more at ease; she wouldn’t hurt me! My mom wanted me to solve her death and I was determined that’s what I was going to do! Somehow…

A leather bound book sitting in the hallway caught my attention. I grabbed it and decided to kill time by looking through old photo albums. I noticed right away most of my moms’ pictures were missing. A sure sign of guilt, I thought. I flipped through the pictures reminiscing of old Christmases and Thanksgivings. I smirked when I got to a picture of me with French braids standing in front of the fireplace mantel. That was the night I accidentally stuck one of my braids in a candle and it caught on fire. My dad panicked and threw a bucket of water on my head. I slipped in the puddle and reached out with my hand to try and catch something and ended up pulling my dads shorts down as I landed on the ground. Seven was a good year.

I turned the page and came across a picture of me around the same age holding up a fish between two men. One was my dad and the other… I couldn’t quite place him but he looked oddly familiar. I pulled it out of the sleeve and stared at it. My blood ran cold as I read the printing on the back. Lake Pyro. Frank, Rachel, and Mario.

I clenched my fists in anger. That’s why the detective wasn’t returning my phone calls! He was a friend of my dad! “Son of a bitch!” I grumbled.

So if I couldn’t count on the police, what could I do? He had the only copy of the video now that since my computer was fried. What I needed was solid evidence a crime had taken place in order to take it to a different police station.

The more I thought about it, the more obvious the solution became. If they needed more evidence, I knew exactly where to get it. I had a metal detector, so what was keeping me from digging it up? I looked at my cellphone for the time. I had three hours until my dad came home.

I grabbed my metal detector and headed to my car. I drove down to the lot trying to think of the exact location where I had found the phone. It couldn’t have been too far from there. I got there, parked, and pulled my metal detector from the car. I only made it a few yards in until I heard a police siren behind me. “Fuck.”

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“I TOLD YOU TO STAY OUT OF THE FIELD!” my dad yelled when he came to pick me up at the police station. “Why do you think I had a cop there waiting? I knew you’ve been acting suspicious lately!”

A cop had chased me off, but I had waited until he turned the corner to try again. He caught me.

“Oh, I’m acting suspicious?” I fired back as I got in his car and we drove home. “I know what’s in the field.” I mumbled underneath my breath.

“Stay away! I mean it! I’m calling a company first thing in the morning and putting up a barbed wire fence.” He said. I could see his fists shaking as he gripped the steering wheel.

“What happened to mom?” I asked. My eyes blurred with tears of anger.

“Jesus, Rachel. We promised to put this behind us. Why are you bringing all this up now?”

“I just . . .really miss her!” I sobbed into my hands.

“You’ve got me, Rachel, you don’t need her! Not after what she did to us.” He added darkly. It was clear he wasn’t sorry at all. We pulled into the driveway and I got out, tears still streaming down my face and I ran from him. “RACHEL!” He shouted after me.

I didn’t get very far. Actually I didn’t even get past my driveway before I ran into my neighbor that I asked for help when the house was broken into. I must have looked like a mess with tears and snot running down my face. I was at my breaking point. She tried to ask me what was wrong, but I just kept shaking my head and whimpering, “nothing.”

“Did you get in a fight with your dad?” she asked softly. I nodded my head and sniffled. She invited me to spend the night in their spare bedroom, and I took her up on it. I couldn’t stay with my dad another day. I had to get away, even if it was only one house over.

I sat in the living room by myself and tried to pull myself together while she made tea. Her husband was in the other room watching sports on tv, and I could hear him talking to the players through the screen. I took my shoes and socks off and examined my ankle. It was swollen and the bruise was even more pronounced.

“Oh, honey, how did you get that?” Judy asked, as she came in carrying two mugs. I shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t even think about how bad it must look, until she leaned over and whispered in my ear, “did he do that?” I felt bad about lying, but I nodded my head. If it got me away from him longer the better off I was before he really did do something violent. “Oh, sweetie.” She said, setting the mug down on the coffee table. She pulled me into a tight hug, and I can’t begin to tell you how good it felt. It had been so long since I had felt any kind of physical affection, and I just kind of broke down. She rubbed and patted my back and let me get it out of my system. I felt calmer after.

After an hour of talking about my plans after I finished school (I had to admit I was going to be a super senior) did she ask if I needed her husband, Frank, to get anything from my house. I was going to say no, but I thought of the package under my bed. I would be mortified if I repaid their kindness by wetting their bed. I wrote a list, which included: spare clothes, pill box, my phone charger, the package under my bed, and my laptop. I grimaced in embarrassment when she asked me to clarify what the package under my bed was, just incase he had trouble distinguishing it from something else. I mumbled what it was, and her lips curled into a tight frown. For a second I was afraid she wouldn’t let me stay here, but I was a little shocked what came out of her mouth.

“You know that’s a sign of sexual abuse,” she let the phrase hang in the air until I understood where she was going with it.
“No, no, no” I sputtered. I wanted my dad to get arrested, but I didn’t want him to get shanked while he was there. “Never, it’s just a problem I’ve had off and on since my mom left.” I admitted.

When Frank came back with all my things, I thanked them and got ready for bed. Judy came in to check on me and make sure I was all right. She sat on the edge of the bed and we talked for a little while longer. My eyes were getting heavy, and as I turned my head to check the time on the clock I noticed a picture on the nightstand. In the picture stood a smiling blond girl, the same girl from the video!

“Who is that?” I asked now wide-awake.

“Hmm? Oh, that’s my daughter.” Judy said. She reached out and touched the photo affectionately. I was afraid she was going to tell me she had gone missing with how sad Judy’s face appeared. “She’ll be home from college next week.” My heart soared. I had a witness! I was one step closer to the truth!

Re: The Cornfield Maze (6/8/16)

Most excellent development which means a potential plot-twist; her father gives me the creeps. It’s good that Rachel’s neighbors are helpful even when the law-people aren’t; a witness should be of massive help. MORE PLEASE!