Short Story: Jeb and the Barn

I guess I must have a deep fear of barns for some strange reason.  This is my second story featuring a barn.  i’m pretty sure I won’t be owning one of these any time soon!  This story was part of a writing prompt challenge dealing with graduation.  I do hope you enjoy it.  If so, please share the story with others.  Thanks!  Now…on to the story.

Jeb and the Barn

“Pa! Pa! Where ya at?” Jeb called. His dingy white shirt clung to his muscular frame underneath his faded denim overalls. His greasy black hair slicked back from sweat barely covered the large scar that went from his left ear back to the base of his skull, Pa’s reminder to never cross him. “Pa, damn it, where’d ya go?” he yelled out, his hands cupping his mouth to amplify his voice.

Jeb walked down the porch steps to parched earth where grass once grew years ago kicking dust up with each step. His work boots were covered with the stuff and it was hard to tell what color they used to be.

He stood in the dry dirt, hands on his hips, scanning the yard for any sign of Pa. Other than an old Buick off to his right with it’s hood propped open by a couple empty beer bottles, the only other things in the yard were several scrawny coon-hounds, their tails wagging as though it was feeding time. “Git outta here ya damn dawgs!” Jeb snarled. He kicked in their direction, a cloud of dirt wafting in the air. They looked at him with their heads cocked to the side, but didn’t pay Jeb any mind and continued rooting around looking for scraps.

Jeb walked around the house, scanning the treeline looking for any sign of Pa. He walked along looking at the trees before coming to their well. He stepped near the well and looked inside, hoping not to find Pa floating in the dark water. He wiped the sweat off his forehead after concluding Pa wasn’t down in the well and continued walking towards the back of the house.

About fifty yards from the back of the house stood their large grey barn. Pa once told Jeb it was painted a bright red color, but the rain and sun worked it over like a prize-fighter and now it stood as a faded remnant of what it used to be. They didn’t have many animals, and most weren’t in the barn anyway. They used it mostly for storing tools and equipment. Pa sometimes liked to spend his time sharpening tools. Jeb decided to look inside.

He walked to the barn door. One of the coon-hounds ran up to Jeb, his tail wagging, creating a small cloud of dust behind him. Jeb kicked it away, and it yelped loudly as Jeb’s boot caught it in the ribs. “Git outta here ya damn dog!” Jeb yelled. The dog turned away and ran off to the woods. Jeb stopped just short of the barn door and went quiet, listening for Pa and the familiar scrape of file on steel. Surprisingly, he heard nothing.

Reaching for the door handle, Jeb pulled the weathered door. It creaked as he pulled it open.

When he stepped inside, his eyes bulged and he wanted to scream, but the sound wouldn’t leave his throat.

Standing before him were several small green creatures. Jeb thought they looked somewhat human, except they had one large red eye in the center of their foreheads, and it blinked rapidly at him. “What the fu..” he started to say when one of the green creatures raised its hand, showing three thick fingers, silencing Jeb.

The creatures chattered amongst themselves, gesturing towards Jeb and at the back of the barn. Their clicking sounds sent shivers up Jeb’s spine. His feet were frozen in place. His initial state of fear tried to move him out of there, but his feet, like his voice, wouldn’t respond to the direction of his brain.

Suddenly, one of the small green creatures rushed to Jeb’s side. He instantly felt a sharp pain shoot up his leg where the thing grabbed him. A sensation of instant electric agony followed, dropping him to the ground in wild convulsions. The little green creatures surrounded him and with a quick motion, they lifted him off the ground, carrying him like on a stretcher to the farthest wall of the barn where one of the things gestured earlier.

Jeb could still see, though his ability to move or talk was blocked by the touch of the creature. They laid him down in a pool of warm liquid. He tried turning his head but it didn’t move. One of the creatures leaned in and stared directly in Jeb’s eyes. He wanted to scream, but the touch stifled it. Fear raced through him. I don’t wanna die! Pa, help me! Jeb screamed in his head. The creatures lifted him up so he was standing again. The moment they did, he wished they hadn’t.

Laying on the dirt floor in front of him was the spent carcass of Pa. It looked like all the blood had been removed, revealing a heap of skin, bones, and spent muscle. His head was split right down the middle, and his brain was partially removed. He heard the chattering rise up again, but then something changed. They sounded…human.

“Great job Ervina! You did well,” he heard one of the creatures say. “You’ve passed your exam, you brought the human to us, and now you graduate with honors.” A loud cry rose up from the creatures deafening Jeb. They clapped their small stubby-fingered hands. One of the creatures stepped in front of Jeb, his sickly green skin stretched taught over his small frame. Its large black eyes looked up at Jeb, blinking slowly.

“Graduate! Graduate!” it said in clear English.

“Yes Ervina, you graduate. Now…claim your reward.”

The creature in front of Jeb stuck out its finger, piercing Jeb’s side just below his ribs. Blood started oozing out and the creature latched on to the wound with its small mouth. Jeb felt his blood draining from his body.

“Graduate!” he heard again before his world went dark.

2 thoughts on “Short Story: Jeb and the Barn

  1. Well, Jason, thanks for the twitter follow…it’s how I landed here reading your blog this morning. I had to leave a comment on this story, because it could quite eerily be one of the many nightmares I get when overwhelmed with the rigors of graduate school. You had it all summed up here in this story, the desolate landscape, the quest, the discovery, the fear, and the mantra of “graduate” haunting me when feel I can no longer keep up with school and work! Yes, someday I’ll hear, “Yes, you graduate. Now…claim your reward.”…but hopefully to the benefit of my fellow carbon life forms. 😮

    From just another WordPress writer. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I’m glad you enjoyed it and it meant something to you. I appreciate the kind words. Good luck with grad school. I’ve been there, and it’s tough.

      Liked by 1 person

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