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The Barn

by A. W. Knowland 10 months ago in supernatural
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Miller's Farm

The Barn
Photo by joey senft on Unsplash

In the small rural town of Plainview, Wisconsin, there lies an old, rundown barn. Painted in red with white outlines, it stands amongst the other dilapidated structures. The surrounding landscape, which once had lush cultivated fields, is now a shadow of its self. The chipped paint, broken tools, and overgrown weeds, have become the prevailing tone.

The barn was once part of a thriving farm, but now is a place locals dare not tread. They would often preach, "Beware of Miller's farm, a place that's full of harm. A creature stalks at night, and will surely give fright. Many men have gone brave; many men return deprave. So beware of the farm, for it seeks only harm."

Adeline Acre was fifteen years old when she first met Daniel Greene, a drifter working in the town near her compound. He would often stop by the gate, dropping off weekly supplies. The first time she fell in love, is the first time she saw Daniel smile. His beautiful green eyes, short messy dark hair, and gentle smile had overtaken her.

Hoping to get a glimpse of Daniel, Adeline began sneaking into town. She'd often follow him around, carefully admiring him from afar. She felt at ease staring at him, but yet sad for knowing they would never meet. But unbeknownst to her, seventeen-year-old Daniel was also smitten with her. Each time he made a delivery, he'd see her from a distance. Eventually wondering who the girl with the golden blonde hair, heavenly blue eyes, and quaint personality was.

After months passed, their eyes finally met. Daniel had caught Adeline staring from a distance, recognizing the girl behind the gates. He quickly made his way to her, hoping to talk to her. From there, love blossomed. And this is where their troubles began, as Adeline was unlucky enough to be born into a cult.

A pandemic plagued the world, indiscriminately killing billions of people. Eventually, the government created a vaccine, but many were too suspicious to take it. Their choice perpetuated the virus, causing it to evolve into a deadlier strain. Soon the governments of the world fell apart, as rampant chaos became widespread.

During this time, Jedediah Cross and his family rose to power, as many believed he was a messiah. Those who worshipped him miraculously became immune, further increasing his myth. Society quickly burned to the ground, and the apocalypse became inevitable. And from the ashes rose the Cult of Cross, spread across the old ruin states of America.

Every year during the fall season, the worshippers of Jedidah hold a festival honoring him. They gather all the young women of the compound, bathing and clothing them in ceremonial garbs. These young, newly sixteen-year-old women are offerings, chosen to be part of Jedidah's inner circle.

In the middle of a cold fall night, Autumn Greene wakes up to the sounds of her older brother. Daniel frantically packs, informing her they'll be leaving tonight. He tells her to wait by the river, then shortly disappears. Having gotten used to living like this, Autumn does what he asks.

After the virus killed their parents, Autumn became Daniel's responsibility. And for as long as Autumn could remember, Daniel had always been there for her. He knew what it took to survive, the sacrifices to make, and the dangers of this broken world. But Autumn was caught off guard, seeing him with Adeline.

The three teens crossed the Michigan river, carefully using an old rowboat they stole. They quickly paddled across the water, escaping into the free lands of Wisconsin. After walking all night and into the morning, the trio stumbled upon remains. Having never been in the outside world before, Adeline had no idea what was going on. But Daniel and Autumn knew, each silently staring at one another.

As night slowly approached, Daniel sees a gated farm in the distance. He breaks the lock and leads them inside, discovering an old farmhouse beyond the field. Except for a few cobwebs and dust, the place was in good condition.

Later that evening, Adeline felt at ease in Daniel's arms. She could finally enjoy her freedom, but most of all, being with the one she loved. And Daniel felt the same, having felt he done the right thing by leaving. However, Autumn had reservations about Adeline, though she was too upset with Daniel to say anything.

Restlessly wandering the house, Autumn opens an old can of peaches. She notices a rhyme written on the label, mentioning something about Miller's farm. Autumn tosses it and picks up another, seeing it again on a new can. Soon she felt unsettled, discovering that they all had it. And from the corner of her eye, she notices the looming barn from the window.

During the middle of the night, the sound of crackling wakes Daniel. He notices the lit fireplace and panics, rushing to quell the flames. He stomps the fire, then empties a canteen of water. Autumn wanders in half asleep, inquiring about the commotion. Daniel angrily asks if she'd done it, but Autumn knew better. She points at Adeline, asking him to asks his clueless girlfriend.

Daniel wakes Adeline up, then kindly asks her about the fire. She admits to it, as the room had gotten cold. Daniel anxiously rummages through his bag, taking out his machete. He tells the girls to pack their things, then waits outside. Unsure of why they're leaving, Adeline inquires about it. She becomes frightened, learning about the cannibals in the woods and how the fire will attract them.

Autumn and Adeline leave to meet with Daniel, but the two can't seem to find him. They follow his footprints, which lead into the fields of tall unkempt grass. Adeline calls for Daniel, slowly stepping closer. Sensing something was wrong, Autumn pulls her back and suggests they wait for him inside. But as they head back to the house, they see a man by the doorway who wasn't Daniel.

Adeline immediately screams in horror, seeing a man in a mask made of human skin and animal bones. The sound of her screams attracted more of them, slowly emerging from the darkness. Realizing they were too many of them, Autumn quickly grabs Adeline and rushes towards the barn. She starts boarding up the windows and doors, pushing whatever she could find against it.

Adeline becomes hysterical, asking Autumn where Daniel is. She tells Adeline to worry about it later, as they need to prioritize their safety. But Adeline ignores her, shouting to herself that it was a mistake to leave. Autumn frustratingly agrees with her, admitting that it was indeed a mistake to leave town. Autumn blames Adeline for ruining her life, for clouding her brother's judgment, and for attracting cannibals.

Adeline holds her bag closer to her, reciting scriptures from the Cult of Cross. Unamused and fed up with Adeline, Autumn tells her that maybe they should all go back. And that perhaps if they do, their lives could return to normal. Autumn couldn't understand how Daniel could act so selfishly, sacrificing the peaceful lives they desperately sought after. Even after everything, they'd gone through together, how could he be so irresponsible.

The walls and doors of the barn began to pound, trembling from the cannibals demanding entry. Autumn takes out her spiked bat, slamming it against the prodding fingers from underneath the door. A man attempts to crawl through a hole, but Autumn takes out a knife and stabs him in the head.

Adeline cries in the corner, safeguarding her bag while continuing to recite scripture. Autumn asks her for help, sliding a knife towards her. Adeline kicks the knife away, not wanting to let her bag go. It slides far left, hitting a protruding handle. Autumn opens the floor door, revealing a hidden cellar.

The girls climbed down, firmly shutting the door. They wait in fear and panic, hearing the cannibals forcing their way inside. The cannibals begin tearing the barn apart, angrily searching for them. Suddenly a long quiet pause rose, followed by violent screams of struggle. The noise soon died down, and the door flung opened.

Adeline smiles with relief, seeing a blood-soaked Daniel. Autumn emerges out of the cellar, baffled by the carnage she sees. Daniel had gruesomely killed three cannibals, their heads wholly severed. Daniel remained awkwardly silent, holding Adeline with dead eyes.

Autumn notices the lights from the farmhouse, volunteering to distract the cannibals while Daniel and Adeline escape. Autumn loudly screamed, sprinting into the grass. The cannibals see her, chasing her with torches. Autumn runs sporadically and trips, quickly getting up to look for whatever made her fall.

Barely alive and covered in dirt, Daniels calls out to his sister. Autumn emotionally stares at him, overcome with distraught. Daniel apologizes for ruining her life, weakly pleading for her to save "them." He reveals that Adeline is carrying their child, the reason why they had to leave. Autumn promises him, vowing to kill every cannibal. But with the last of his breath, Daniel informs her there's something else on the farm.

Picking up Daniel's machete, Autumn says goodbye to her dead brother. She runs back to the barn, hearing the faint sounds of a baby. Seeing Adeline's bag on the ground, Autumn gently opens it to find it empty. She soon hears the sound of chewing, deciding to follow the dreadful noise. Peeking through the cracks of a divider, she is surprised to see Daniel eating the remains of a dead cannibal.

Autumn falls backward in horror, noticing Adeline hiding beneath a table with her baby. She motions at her to be quiet, mouthing for them to head for the door. But as they steadily approached the exit, they are surprised by the last of the cannibals.

Two cannibals attempt to snatch Adeline's baby, but she does her best to fight back. A cannibal hits her in the face with his torch, causing her to fall and scream in agony. Her baby lay on the ground, crying for its mother. Autumn is held down and stripped, helplessly staring before angrily taking a knife hidden in her boot. She uses it to slit her captures throat, ferally attacking the others.

Autumn suddenly became tired, noticing blood dripping from her head. A cannibal had hit her over the head, causing her to fall and pass out. Slowly regaining consciousness, Autumn awakens to the sound of screaming, hot smoke, and a baby's cries. The barn is on fire, caused by the torch on the ground. Fake Daniel had become aware of the cannibal's presence, transforming into a creature of bones, hay, and dirt.

Using the commotion as a distraction, Autumn picks the baby up and escapes. Running through the thick smoke, she finds the light of the exit. But suddenly falls to the ground, pulled closer to a wounded cannibal. Slowly being dragged, Autumn searches to free herself. Seeing Daniel's machete in the distance, she reaches out to retrieve it. Suddenly the beams of the barn break apart, falling on top of them.

In the early morning, a man stands guard. He keeps a watchful eye, protecting the fenced town of Plainview. In the distance, he sees a young woman limping. Carrying a baby in her arms, she leaves a trail of blood. The guard sternly stares at her, asking if she came from the woods. The woman shakes her head, citing Miller's farm. The guard understandingly nods, shouting for assistance.

An older woman arrives, escorting her inside. The woman asks for her name, and she replies Autumn. The older woman then asks for the baby's name, but Autumn woefully shrugs. As they make their way to town, Autumn hears children singing, "Beware of Miller's farm, a place that's full of harm. A creature stalks at night, and will surely give fright. Many men have gone brave; many men return deprave. So beware of the farm, for it seeks only harm."


About the author

A. W. Knowland

I live in my imagination. I write so you can visit.

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