People wondered about the woman who lived outside of town.
Her farm was barely a half-acre. They saw her plow the ground, but never plant or water. Instead, the lanky, middle-aged woman spent most of her time doing one of two things: cleaning her various farm equipment or sitting on the porch with rifle in hand.
The woman made short visits to town to chat. Yet her eyes wandered during conversations. Even as she sat on her stool on the porch, she’d rarely take her eyes off of the field.
But she was kind. She gave away her garden’s harvest to those without a job. She happily made baked goods for the yearly school fundraisers. When others tried to pay her back, she’d refuse, whether it be money or food. Then again, no one remembers seeing her eat.
They kept this to themselves. For after she moved in, the disappearances fell from fifty some to barely a handful per year. The poor were better nourished. The kids adored her. So the townspeople watched and wondered.
Each Halloween, the woman would set out her ancient combines and harvesters. Their sharp, metal blades needed no decorations to frighten. A breeze would elicit creaking from the machines. Each year, she put them in different places across the field.
On the night after, they were covered with viscous, red paint and hay bales appeared, glinting red in the sun.