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The Perfect Lawn

Beware of the Mundane

By J. Delaney-HowePublished 8 months ago Updated 8 months ago 7 min read
The Perfect Lawn
Photo by Daniel Helpiansky on Unsplash

“Jessie, are you really going to mow the lawn again? You just did it the other day,” Scoffed Kris.

“That was three days ago, and it rained, followed by two sunny days. It needs it again.” Jessie responded.

“Besides, you’re going to lunch with your mom. I will be finished by the time you get back, and we will have the rest of the day to chill.”

“Fine. Give me a kiss. I’m heading out.” Kris said.

Jessie kissed Kris on the forehead and went to the garage to get the riding mower out. Kris beeped while backing down the driveway. Jessie waved back and started the mower. The property is two and a half acres surrounded on three sides by vast cornfields, and Jessie is proud that she has the mowing time down to an hour and a half, not including weed whacking.

Jessie started the mower and began the usual pattern when mowing. The mower stalled right next to the cornfields as she got to the longest part of their property. As Jessie got off and started to open the cover, she heard a rustling in the corn. It sounded like something substantial in size. The commotion in the field stopped, and Jessie noticed how quiet it was. It was an uncomfortable quiet. An eerie quiet.

She focused their attention on the mower again. Jessie decided to try to start it one more time before she had to push it to the barn. The mower started right up. She continued mowing and finished the whole property without any problems. Later that evening, Jessie told Kris about the incident.

By Jesse Gardner on Unsplash


“It was just strange. The mower has never done that before. The rustling in the cornfield freaked me out. Whatever it was, it was big.” Jessie said.

“You watch too many horror movies; that is why it freaked you out. It was probably a deer.” Kris replied.

Jessie laughed and said, “Yeah, I guess you are right. Too many horror movies.”

“I know a couple of movies we could watch instead,” Kris said as she wrapped her arms around Jessie’s neck.

“That’s a hard pass, love. I just can’t do rom-coms.” Jessie replied.

“Well, we could go to bed and make our own romance movie,” Kris said coyly

“I’m always down for that!” Jessie replied excitedly.


It would be three days until Jessie mowed again. Nothing strange happened this particular time. While Jessie was putting the mower away, Kris built a bonfire and opened a bottle of wine. Jessie joined her by the fire. It was a beautiful, quiet night, except for the crackling fire. Suddenly, a loud, guttural, unnatural scream from a short distance in the cornfields broke the silence.

“What the fuck was that,” Jessie stood up and asked.

“I don’t know. It almost didn’t sound human,” Kris replied.

“I’ll go get a flashlight and check it out,” Jessie said.

Just as she said that they heard the scream again.

“No, babe, let’s just call the cops,” Kris said concerningly.

“Yeah, that is a good idea,” Jessie confirmed.

By Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

It took the police about forty-five minutes to check it out. They had heard no more screams since the initial two. The responding officer requested backup; they were going to check the cornfields.

The officer knocked on the door around two in the morning. He reported that they checked the cornfields and found nothing, and there was no report of any missing persons in the area. He stated it was probably just a screech owl, and they were leaving. The officer told Jessie and Kris to call again if they hear or see anything.

Two days later, Jessie was late getting home from work but wanted to mow before dark. She was starting to become obsessed with keeping the lawn mowed. It irritated Kris, but she went along with it.

As Jessie was on her last pass at the longest side of the property, she thought she saw something ahead. It was dusk and a little hazy, so she squinted her eyes to get a clearer view. It was a human shape she was seeing. She couldn’t make out any features. It was almost shadow-like. She stopped going forward and got off of the mower to get a closer look. Just as she started walking towards the figure, it dissolved into nothing.

Jessie was still trying to process what she saw and decided not to tell Kris. It would just make her upset.

That night, as Kris and Jessie lay in bed sleeping, they were awoken by the same scream they had heard a few days ago. Kris brushed it off as an owl like the policeman had told them. She laid back down and drifted off to sleep. While Kris was sleeping, Jessie was tossing and turning. She felt drawn to the cornfields and could not get the image of the figure she saw out of her head. She eventually slept, though it wasn’t soundly.

The next morning, as Kris was getting ready for the day, Jessie was already out on the mower. She weighed whether or not to say something to Jessie and decided she would. Jessie’s obsession with mowing the lawn had gotten out of control. Kris had a general feeling of uneasiness when she stepped into the backyard. Jessie saw her walking across the yard towards her, and she stopped the mower.

“Jessie, what the hell are you doing? You just freakin’ mowed yesterday.” Kris snapped.

“I know, and it looks great. I want to keep it that way,” Jessie snapped back.

“We are supposed to go to the farmer’s market this morning.”

“We still can. It won’t take me long to finish up.”

“Never mind, I’ll go by myself,” Kris scoffed as she walked away.

Jessie started the mower and went back to mowing.

Kris got in her car and drove away.

By Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Kris returned from the farmer’s market two hours later with her fresh vegetables and flowers. The time away did her well; she wasn’t as upset and annoyed with Jessie and the lawn mowing. She didn’t hear the mower running, so she assumed Jessie was done mowing. She entered the house, calling for Jessie, but there was no response. She went into the backyard and didn’t see her there either. As she made her way around the property, she came upon the lawnmower stopped by the cornfield. Jessie was nowhere to be found.

She yelled out for Jessie and got no response. She yelled that this was a shitty joke and to come out now. Still no response.

She ran back into the house and checked the garage to see if Jessie’s car was still there. It was. She picked up her phone and tried calling Jessie, and heard her phone ringing in the kitchen. Jessie was gone.

After contacting some of Jessie’s family and friends, the house became packed with people wanting to search the cornfields. Kris called the police, and they sent out an officer who told Kris they couldn’t do anything until Jessie had been missing for twenty-four hours. Kris pleaded with the officer not to wait because it was already dark, and Jessie was out there somewhere.

Jessie’s family and friends started searching the cornfields. They looked all night and found nothing.

Jessie had disappeared.



The police became involved with the disappearance three days after Jessie was reported missing. For three days, they searched the cornfields. They brought out search dogs to not only search the cornfield but to search the property as well. One day, they even brought in a helicopter to aid the search. They still found nothing. Kris was identified as a person of interest in the disappearance of her wife. The police insinuated she had a hand in Jessie’s disappearance.

Months passed, and when the corn was harvested, the police returned to search the then-barren cornfields. They again found nothing. They had exhausted everything they could do with no evidence or clues as to what happened.

Kris moved out of the house they shared. It was too painful to stay.

Jessie still remains missing today.

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About the Creator

J. Delaney-Howe

Bipolar poet. Father. Grandfather. Husband. Gay man. I write poetry, prose, some fiction and a good bit about family. Thank you for stopping by.

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Comments (7)

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  • Rick Henry Christopher 8 months ago

    Excellent writing style Jim. The mystery and detail bring the story alive and I'm still wondering what is in that cornfield.

  • D. D. Lee8 months ago

    So good! Now I’m going to be up at night wondering what happened to Jessie.

  • Ahna Lewis8 months ago

    Mysterious ending! I like the detail on how she was never found...keeps the reader guessing and makes the story that much more haunting!

  • Mariann Carroll8 months ago

    Excellent work 🥳

  • Whoaaa, reading this felt like watching a movie in my head! Poor Jessie. I loved your story!

  • This reads like an episode of real ghost stories or disappearances or something. Perfectly clinical in style.

  • Judey Kalchik 8 months ago

    It has a way of making the hairs on the back of my neck rise. Yard work is a killer...

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