Note: There is a scene in this story which some would consider scary. Please do not read it if you think it might disturb you.
It was over now, tomorrow was the big day. All of the machinery, the land, the house, everything would be up for sale. He was crushed. Farming was all that he knew. Tom and Sara Jackson had spent what seemed like an eternity talking about it, praying about it, and crying, sometimes all in the same conversation. They were also one of the few African American families still farming in Iowa. There was no other choice, they simply could not compete with the huge corporations that owned most of the farmland now, especially the biggest, Conglomerate Industries. They hired people to farm their huge tracts of land (the smallest farm was 2,500 acres) and they drove down the price of the crops, due to the huge quantity they produced.
They used robotics mostly. Farming for them was almost entirely automated. The jobs they offered came at a terrible price. They used a lot of chemical fertilizers, and pesticides, and now everyone was concerned about their drinking water.
Tom lay awake, weeping silently, as he looked up at the ceiling. It was midnight now. His wife lay next to him, snoring softly. It was not easy on her either. Would their daughter, Melissa, be able to go to college? It depended on the prices they received tomorrow. He also wondered if he would have that strange dream again. He wasn’t surprised he had been having the dream, night after night. After all, he had been depressed for weeks.
As he drifted off, he came to that familiar place of shadows, and foreboding. In the dream, it was night and he was out by the barn. There was a single light coming from the barn, and the figure was just out of sight, in the dark waiting for him. The thing was a horrible creature, he could smell it before he saw it. It smelled of death and rotting flesh. It came partially out of the shadows, and pulled it’s sword from the sheath. He couldn’t see the sword at first, but he heard the sound of the blade scraping, as it was pulled.
He grabbed the first thing he could find, a club, a large piece of wood really, from off the ground. The creature said, “I’ll finish you tonight!” Tom responded with, “Never, you are a liar!” The sword flew at him with the speed of light, and Tom used his club to protect himself. Metal struck the hard wood. They fought back and forth, and sometimes Tom was able to take a swing at the creature. At other times it seemed hopeless, and the thing was so close, Tom could smell it’s stinking breath.
He did not give up, he swung his club time and again, even though the thing began laughing at him. Finally the creature knocked the club out of his hand, and Tom prepared to die. Do it and get it over with, he thought. It was always at this point that he woke up in a cold sweat. Sara would always stir, and he would tell her, “Shhh, go back to sleep.” Then he would hear the creature’s voice, even while he was sitting there awake. “I am despair”, it said.
On this night, the night before the farm sale, he decided to get up and go downstairs. He looked at the clock, which said 4:00. He was hungry, and decided on some bacon and eggs. Besides he would need strength for this battle.
Somehow they would get through this. He would fight despair the only way he knew how. He was not a religious man, but he needed better weapons, to fight this thing. After eating, he sat right there at the table, and began to pray. He would fight this thing until the sun came up and beyond. Whatever it took, he would do it. Nothing was going to drag his family down. They would sell the place, move on to the next chapter of their life, and Melissa would go to college, to study engineering. Is that what they meant by having faith?
He prayed for what seemed like a long time. Just before the sun came up, he felt he was ready. He opened the back door, and slipped silently into the darkness. The light was on at the barn. He could sense the creature hiding in the shadows. Tom boldly declared, “I’m not afraid of you anymore!”, and he meant it.
From inside the house he heard Sara come down, into the kitchen, She stood in the doorway. She whispered, “Are you alright?” Tom hesitated, as he looked out at the night beginning to fade. Finally he said, “Yes…… just getting rid…… of a liar……”
Blessings to everyone and PEACE!
Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree
images from google