The Barn By Owen h.

There is a cornfield in the often forgotten land of Iowa that is now often used for farming purposes in a nice, simple countryside life. The scent of dirt and corn is smelled across the town and across the state. There are now nearby towns and stores that sell almost anything that you can imagine, several times over. But out in the cornfields, life remains the same as it always has, untouched by time. The farmers grow the crops every day, and go back to their homes at sundown on the very same land where they see their family, eat dinner, and go to bed before waking up early and going to work again the very next day.

Doug always knew that he was expected to do this very thing when he grew up. It was the thing that his father and grandfather did almost everyday at the farm that they owned. The very same farm had been owned and ran by his great-grandparents, and even before that, his ancestors were seen all over farms.

Today, though, Doug was focused on baseball. Now, the sun was setting, and the sky was filled with almost any color that you could think of. It was the perfect summer night for baseball.

Doug grabbed his bat and stepped up to home plate. Meanwhile, Gus, one of his best friends was standing on the pitcher’s mound, while another friend, Anthony did his best impersonation of Joe Buck.

“Hello people from all around the country. It's game seven of the World Series. Batting today is Doug Fischer in the bottom of the ninth. Tonight, Gus Ramirez is just one put away from completing a full game to win the World Series. Two outs, man on first, and they are down by one run. Game tying run on first. Winning run at ‘the dish’. This stuff can't be made up, folks!”

Doug was practically glaring at the ball. As Gus got set and went into the stretch, he watched the ball the full way, determined to kill the ball and hit it 500 feet. He loaded his swing and held up on a ball a foot outside and six inches low. Gus was trying to paint the corners.

“There’s ball one,” Anthony declared. “But Gus is still only three strikes away from a World Championship.”

The second strike looked inside. Gus claimed it was a strike. A 1-1 count. Doug looked at the mound, and saw Gus looking in.

Doug watched the ball as it came in to him. Then, just before it came to the plate it slowed down, the perfect changeup. Doug was ready for that, though, and he smacked the ball. Ping.

Anthony made an effort for a good home run announcement. “That ball is back, at the track, at the wall… GONE! A walk-off homerun to win the World Series!”

Doug slowly ran around the bases and then volunteered to get the ball, which appeared to land way off by a rustic barn.

“Be careful out there,” teased Gus. “That ‘barn’ over there is an ancient abandoned slaughterhouse. They say an old man and his scruffy dog used to live there before the guy died. New owners bought it, and only lasted a week until they moved after complaints of hearing sounds of ‘ghost cows.’”

“Quit it,” Doug fired back. “I can obviously fight off some old cows.” He flashed a smile, then tossed his batting gloves at Gus.

Doug climbed over the outfield fence and picked up his bike that he had brought with him, grinning at the pure thought of ‘ghost’ cows. What color would they be? Probably pink with rainbow spots. Ha, he thought, I bet they eat cotton candy, too.

As he reached the dirt path just outside the old barn, he picked up the baseball. He then stick his tongue out towards the barn. “Come at me, ghost cows,” he taunted.

Then, he heard a pained whimper. Looking next to the old wooden door covered in a thick layer of dust, there was an old, dirty, worn-down mutt. Doug approached cautiously.

As soon as he made his first step, the dog, practically leaped up and ran into the barn, whimpering and whining all of the way. Doug quickly followed.

Inside, the wooden roof had several cracks that leaked faint traces of light. Other than that, it was pitch black, and the temperature inside dropped 15 degrees. The dog was nowhere to be seen.

“Hello?” Doug whimpered, shaking as he clutched the baseball as hard as he could.

Out in what seemed to be the far corner of the barn, there was a faint growl. Doug kneeled down shakily to pick a long, thick stick that was laying down on the heavily dusted cold cement floor. He took a baby step forward. The stick in his hands was visibly trembling.

The growl grew louder and louder. Doug got into his batting stance, and was preparing to knock whatever that was through the roof. As a paw grew into view, he took a gigantic load. Then, the growl stopped, and a full dog came into view. It was the same old dog from before, and it looked up to Doug with innocent eyes and pawed him. Then, as he kneeled down cautiously to pet the dog, it lunged. Doug took a weak swing with the stick from his non-dominant hand, but it was enough. The mutt blew up into a frightening pile of dust right in front of his face.

As Doug coughed and spit out all of the dust on his face, he didn't notice that other sounds had appeared. Once he stopped coughing up all of the dust, he could hear loud hooves clapping against the cement. He picked up the stick once again, barely harmed after slicing through the dog. No, Doug shivered. They were right. They’re all ghosts.

Suddenly, a thunderous noise came across the once quiet barn. Doug knew all of the animals were charging him. He braced himself for a large cloud of dust and charging animals.

The first to appear was a charging bull, it’s head knelt down with its horns pointed straight at Doug. A second later, everything blew up into dust.

After that, Doug kept on randomly swinging, knowing that each swing had a good chance of getting something. 5 minutes later, the barn was once again empty, and clouds of dust swarmed the air, and the only thing heard was Doug panting for a breath.

The last thing was the clanking of a pitchfork, and and the sound of an old man cackling. Doug picked up his forgotten baseball, chucked it into the darkness, and sprinted back to the baseball field. Nobody was at the field, and Doug realized it was pouring rain, a heavy downpour.

He hopped onto his bike and quickly pedaled to his house, set it down, and ran inside, barely noticing how soaked he was. Dinner was about to be served, but he didn't care. He slammed his bedroom door shut and plopped down into his bed, collapsed of exhaustion.

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