It was a cool gray October morning when Jim Jacobson saw his wife Sarah out in the wheat fields. One would think this would not be a big deal, but Sarah had been dead for over a year. The couple, married straight out of high school, had been so eager to set out in their new life together that they bought the land their farm is on instead of taking a honeymoon. Their farm occupied four hundred and thirty acres of land in Big Creek, Kansas. They tried for children for a long time, but due to an injury Jim received playing football in school they were unable to, so they unofficially adopted Jim’s nephew Ray. Rays mother was Jim’s sister and also a chronic alcoholic and his father disappeared when he was four years old. The farm was a bright and happy place for the most part, even with the occasional droughts, floods and bad crops. When their happy life together ended, it was far too soon for Jim. It was about three years ago when the doctor told Sarah about the lump on her breast and it had been two years since she had the surgery. Jim took her loss hard, falling to drinking and sinning but he had found the Lord after a horrible car accident and returned to working the land.
This fateful day found Jim out in the fields twining up the wheat bales when Jims basset hound Ol’ Miss started snarling at something standing upwind that he could see but not quite make out. Whatever it was that Ol’ Miss smelled appeared to be coming towards them. Ol’ Miss was a calm animal, preferring to attack whatever it is that gets her dander up instead of barking at it. This time however she was clearly terrified of whatever it was that had caught her attention. Jim took notice of this, picked up a hammer from his toolbox, and set out towards the shape in the distance.
Jim was walking over the recently harvested fields as Ol’ Miss began becoming more and more agitated, walking slowly with a deep, and guttural, almost primal hunter/prey type growl in the direction of the shape. Jim was debating in his head on whether he should run to the house and grab his rifle when Ol’ Miss ran out ahead of him to meet the shape on her own. He called out “Miss! Get back here! Miss!” but the dog continued on its path towards the shape off in the distance barking and growling the entire way. “Damn fool dog.” Jim muttered to himself. As he walked Jim started picking up hints of the smell of rotting flesh in the wind blowing from the shapes direction, and he was about to turn around towards the house when Ol’ Miss let out a loud “Yipe!” sound, having apparently met up with whatever it is out in the distance. Startled, Jim forgot all thoughts of going back to the house and ran out towards the shape and his dog until he tripped over a dirt mound and landed with a “THUD!” face first in the dirt, dropping the hammer.
As he began to pick himself up off the ground, Jim clearly heard a moan and looked out in the direction of the shape, which was much closer now. It was near enough that Jim could clearly see it was a woman in a white dress stained with spots of gray and brown dirt and bright red blood and had something swaying in her left hand. Jim jumped to his feet and called out to the woman then he realized what was swaying in her hand, it was Ol' Miss. Jim felt anger well up deep inside of him, a fire he had not felt in a long time. He charged out towards the woman, unsure of what he intended to do but determined to make this woman pay for what was she had done. There was roughly a hundred or so feet between the two now and Jim could clearly see who the woman was, and he stopped abruptly in midstride as a pain ripped into his chest and crushed his heart. “Sarah?” he said softly, partially from being out of breath but more from disbelief. The only reply Jim received was a deep moan, as he stared at the woman he loved; with her face, half decayed on the right side showing huge chunks of skull.
He still loved her and could see her beauty beyond the rot and decay, but he also knew deep down in his gut that this couldn’t be the woman he loved. It was an abomination; come to destroy him and the memory of the mask the dead thing wore. Jim turned back towards the mound he had tripped over to retrieve his hammer and headed back in the direction of the horror with Sarah’s face. The stench of death was so heavy in the air Jim almost choked on it. There was a fury to Jim now as he gripped the hammer so tight that it made his knuckles bone white, it purified his thoughts, he had one focus, one goal; He had to destroy this thing. He stood his ground as it shuffled slowly towards him, observing how disgusting and ungodly it appeared, feeding his rage. The corpse was a few feet away when Jim ran towards it, spearing its abdomen with his shoulder; both of them fell to the ground, Jim somehow landing on the bottom smacking his hip on the ground and dropped the hammer again. Before he could move, the dead thing was on top of his back as he laid face down in the dirt. Jim tried to push the corpse off him but the angle made it impossible. The beast was tearing at his face now, working itself into frenzy at the smell of Jim’s blood.
Realizing that there was no way to push the damned thing off him; Jim decided to try to roll it under him so he would be on top. Jim anchored his weight to his right knee on the soil beneath them and using every bit of strength, he attempted to roll them both, which worked until his hip snapped from the strain, sending pain shooting out everywhere. Before he could even let out so much as a whimper, the demon tore open his left cheek, blood gushing down his chin into a puddle on the ground beneath him. Jim was in so much pain, everywhere, that he experienced a moment of clarity. The hammer, it was under his leg, practically stabbing him. He brought his elbow back smashing it into the beasts face, causing it to stagger back just enough for him to shift his weight to get to the hammer. He started swinging the hammer behind him, connecting with the things eye socket, destroying most of what was left of Sarah’s face in the process. The demon bit into his shoulder in response, pulling out a big chunk of flesh in its jaws. Jim almost passed out from the additional pain but he refused to let this filthy thing win, he owed it to Sarah, and Ol’ miss to see this through to the end. When the beast finished devouring what used to be Jim’s shoulder it let out a dry almost satisfied sounding moan and lunged back into the open wound like a fat kid at a pie-eating contest. Against his will, Jim slipped into unconsciousness from the agony of his many wounds.
Jim could smell lemon berry muffins, which were Sarah’s specialty. Sarah was home. Jim opened his eyes and looked around, it was their house, it was their room, and their bed. Jim had not slept in this part of the house in over a year, since Sarah went to the hospital to stay. He was instantly uncomfortable, and the thought that Sarah could be downstairs, while the answer to his prayers, terrified him. Jim knows the truth; Sarah is dead, and there is no coming back from that. Suddenly this putrid odor wafted throughout the bedroom and Jim remembered the shape, the dog, and the fall and he knew. He knew what this was. He was dying.
As Jim slowly regained consciousness, he noticed the ravenous beast had moved down from his shoulder to his forearm, a trail of teeth marks and missing flesh dotting down his arm. Fortunately, the hammer was still in Jims other hand and he now had the opportunity to move so he yanked his injured arm away. Almost passing out again in the process, Jim tried to stand up but his light head and broken hip denied him, so he tried the hammer again. This time bringing it crashing into the side of the beasts skull, which got the first reaction Jim had seen, so he did it again, this time the horror dropped all of his flesh it had in its clutches and sat there for a few seconds in a kind of daze. Jim brought the hammer down a few more times until there was a huge hole in the side of its skull. He struck the beast one last time, the hammer piercing the remnants of its skull, stabbing its brain. The thing fell backwards to the ground unable to get up but still very animated and frantically moaning. Jim dragged his wounded body on top of the corpse of his wife, which was still attempting to tear into him, and brought the hammer back as far as he was physically able to and then brought it crashing down with every bit of strength he had, shattering what remained of the ravenous corpse’s skull. The dead thing was still after that, becoming an average corpse once again. He said a silent prayer for Sarah’s soul then collapsed on top of her withered husk.