A Previous Life

13

September 28th, 1878
Mitchelstown, Ireland.

Bill had constructed the crude “sack man” that now sat on a chair next to their back yard fire pit only three hours earlier. He had done it quickly, it had button eyes and a nose, and a drawn on mouth, it also had small pieces of hay sticking out of the messily sewn stitches across its body.

Fiona sat on the ground surrounded by a pile of burning corn, a pile of burning bluebells, and a pile of burning bog myrtles, chanting words she was reading from a leather bound book in her lap. Bill was extremely skeptical about all of this, but Fiona explained to him that about thirty years prior, her hometown was going through a horrific harvest season, and was on the brink of an economic collapse, so the entirety of the small town looked towards old folklore, and by the next week, they had a surplus of exports. Plus, Bill, stressed and exhausted, didn’t really have any other option.

“…FÓMHAR!” Fiona yelled to complete the spell. The second she said that word, Fiona began looking around frantically.

After about ten seconds of nothing, Bill sadly shuffled towards the ritual site to put out the small fires, but a loud cheer from Fiona stopped Bill dead in his tracks. Looking up, Bill saw a red mist emerging from the ground about ten feet away from Fiona, but what got Bill gulping and clenching his jaw, was watching that mist whirl around into the form of a humanoid. Featureless, yes, but very obviously human.

“Oh great spirit! We have created a body for you! Please honor us by using it.” Fiona said proudly, pointing at the sack man.

Bill watched as the mist floated towards the sack man, position itself in front of it, and began to “seep” into it. What happened next nearly made Bill faint. The second this merge occurred, the once crude and simple sack man, began to morph into a burlap covered monstrosity, jagged, tall, with red shining from its eyes and mouth. Its long arms stretched toward the sky, burlap talons forming before Bill and Fiona’s eyes. The sight of the giant beast sent waves of both awe and absolute terror through them both.

“My children of the harvest, why have you summoned me?” The Spirit asked in a raspy and shrill voice as it rose from the chair.

Even Fiona had gone silent, a look of terror written across her face.

“Uh…O-Our cornfield… A group of drunken marauders came across it yesterday, bastards burnt it down for fun.” Bill stammered, trying his best not to stumble over every word.

The spirit turned around in a fast and powerful motion, Bill felt the breeze created by this movement brush against his face. The Spirit growled as it looked upon the scorched fields.

The Spirit turned back around, “You do know my price, correct? One soul for every acre.” its voice sounded like pure mayhem, chilling both Fiona and Bill.

“Y-Yes… The ones that did this, they’re just down the road… Camping in Mister Johnston’s cow field. I thought you could… take them.” Bill squeaked.

The Spirit’s burlap covered face contorted into one of ominous glee, “Of course, you lovely crafty folk…My children, go home, rest, and by tomorrow, you shall have what you desire.”

The Spirit turned around and began walking away from the farm, Fiona scrambled to her feet and into Bill’s arms, who led her back to their house. But before entering, Bill looked back and saw The Spirit at the edge of their property, still moving with slow and booming steps.

The second Bill and Fiona got into the house, a sense of regret filled both, they knew that they desired both their fields restored, and some retribution from the evil doers, but they had made a pact that they could not come back from. As they both ate dinner that night, Bill and Fiona traded thoughts on what other supernatural myths of old could be real, both trying to distract the other from the reality of the situation.

That night, Bill couldn’t sleep. He laid next to Fiona, but he truly only laid there, thinking about the horror they had just unleashed. Before Bill knew it, daybreak had arrived. Bill and Fiona were silent the whole morning, hesitant to step outside. But after nearly an hour of silence, Bill walked over to Fiona, gave her a kiss, and went out back.

The first thing that Bill saw as he stepped outside was his cornfield, it had never been fuller or more pristine, every single stalk was perfect. What would have been months of incredibly hard work, had popped up overnight. Bill began smiling to himself, the stories he had heard in his youth couldn’t prepare him for the real thing. A certain mystic aura surrounded his fields now, Bill took a deep breath to really take it all in. But then, almost as if the thought took form of an invading force in his head, he remembered the dark deed he and his wife had to perform to receive this gift. With that, Bill silently shuffled to Elan, his connemara, saddled up, and rode off.

It only took about thirty minutes to reach the scene, Bill didn’t dare get off of Elan, and simply leaned over to be sick. The already moist grass was slick with blood and gore. One body looked as if it had been cut surgically clean in half, another body laid charred on a broken tent, Bill couldn’t identify any other whole body, just chunks of bone, organs, and skin strewn everywhere.

The last thing that Bill saw before he rode back home, was about forty feet away, propped against a hay bale, the sack man. It was no longer a burlap monstrosity, it was now back to its crude and simple form. But the drawn on mouth had been bent upwards, into a very large grin.

-

Malvyn sat at the edge of his bed, shaking, images of a past life flashed before his eyes. He tried going back as far as possible, thinking about how revered and feared he once was. As Malvyn thought back to the look on people’s faces as he recovered their lost crops, he stopped shaking, when he thought back to people on their hands and knees in front of him, begging for his help, a smile crept across his face.

At 08:00, just like every morning, Dr. Merrill opened the door to Malvyn’s room and greeted him with a “Good morning Malvyn, I hope you slept well.” Usually, Malvyn would respond cheerfully that he slept great, but this morning, Malvyn had a shrewd tone in his voice.

“I had a fantastic dream Dr. Merrill, rejuvenating actually. I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Dr. Merrill cocked an eyebrow, “Oh? Well, what was it about?”

Malvyn swayed side to side, a wistful smile plastered onto his face…“The power of sacrifice”.

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