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It was harvesting season, and a group of farmers went out back behind the farms to harvest the crops. The day in the fields was bright and sunny. I wanted to go out there too, but my father, a ripe old man in his forties, said to me, "Son, if you want to go harvesting, I'll let you go next year. You are only fourteen."
"But Father!" I started, "You said that last year! I've proven myself, I have. Please let me go out there this time!"
"You can wait boy," I heard my uncle say from his usual perch, the recliner, in the corner of the room. I just ignored him, and I locked my gaze upon my father. He met my gaze, and we stood there, transfixed on the spot for a full five minutes, when both him and my uncle sighed.
"Fine," My father sighed, relenting. A smile erupted onto my face, but before I could say anything, he added, "But be careful around the northwest corner of the apple fields." He turned and left the room, leaving me and my uncle alone. I was bouncing on my heels, and I turned to go outside.
My hand just touched the doorknob when I felt something that was slightly heavy hit my back. It wasn't a hard blow, just enough to feel the impact. I turned, and caught a small, bladed weapon my father called a hand scythe. I could see why. The handle was made of oak, and it was only about a foot long. At the end of it, a long, curved, shining metal blade was showing. I knew its edges were razor sharp.
I saw my father at the kitchen door, a smile on his face. "You could've just handed it to me!" I practically yelled, "That could've killed me, you know!"
"But it didn't, did it?" He retaliated, "Go. You are assigned to the apple fields. And watch out for worms."
He closed the kitchen door, and I heard him start talking to someone. My mother probably. With my anger still boiling, I turned and left the house, the hand scythe gripped tightly in my right hand.
Watch out for worms? I thought to myself. Isn't it too dry for the worms? The fields were directly ahead, and I saw the comforting sight of tractors and the farmers I have grown to know and trust. I waved to each as I passed, and after a look of initial confusion, their expression lightened up and they waved back.
One farmer must have already known that I was coming, because he called out from on top of his tractor, "First time out on the fields, lad?"
"Yes, Mr. Lancaster," I replied, coming up to the side of the green machine. His gaze dropped to my right hand, where I was gripping the hand scythe tightly. "My name's Joseph," I continued, extending my left hand in greeting.
"Yes, I know your name," Mr. Lancaster chuckled, "Everyone here does. You're poor old Geoffrey's boy. Fourteen, and not a lick of experience to your name. Where're you off to?"
I thought about what my father said before I left. "The apple fields."
"I'm going to the apple fields."
Mr. Lancaster looked at me, his happy go lucky expression disappearing, instead replaced with one of... what was that? Disappointment? "What is it, sir?"
"Nothing." He waved his hand in the air, then continued. "Go on. Enjoy your first in a long line of days in the fields. But watch out for the northwest corner. And if you see any worms, remember, you gotta run for these here fields. See you later, Joseph."
"You too, Mr. Lancaster," I muttered as he started up his tractor again. I waited until he was a good distance away, and the tractor was making little noise to my ears, before I turned and sprinted for the apple fields. I made sure to head around towards the south east side. I'm not sure what they all meant by Watch out for the northwest corner, but I'm not willing to take any chances.
Two hours later, I had harvested ten whole bucket-fulls of apples, all of them ripe and ready for eating. Father will be proud, I thought. I sliced into another apple with my scythe, and I allowed the juice to run into my open mouth. The blade was clean, so I had no worries.
After I nourished myself, I threw what was left of the apple out to the fields to my left, and I looked to the sky to see what time it was. It looked to be about three. Not a cloud in the sky, and the sun was off to the east. So that means that I am facing south, and I had more work to do.
Apples littered the ground, but that wasn't so surprising. The fruits fall off their trees all the time. Every now and then, I would even watch one fall from the trees. I guessed they were all plenty ripe.
The next time I saw one fall, I walked over and picked it up. It was the perfect shape and color, looking as delicious as if it was begging to be eaten. Licking my lips, I pulled out the hand scythe and cut the apple in half- but I immediately dropped it. Inside the apple, instead of the meat of the apple, were worms. The entire apple was filled with worms.
I with held a gasp of horror. The purple masses wiggled within the halves of the apple, and one by one, they all started spasming, as though it was one long worm that I just cut into many.
Beware the worms.
My father's warning sprung into my head. Is this what he meant? But I was sure that I was in the south of the apple orchard!
I looked to the sky to see where the sun is. But there was no sun- just a gaping black hole where it was supposed to be. What's happening!? I thought, looking back at the two halves of the apple. The mass of worms fell out of each half of the apple, still spasming fiercely, and a low rumbling sound erupted from all around me, like an earthquake or thunderstorm had began.
This went on for five minutes, my hands over my ears the entire time. But suddenly, all noise just stopped. Slowly, I lifted my hands away from my ears, and I looked around. Everything seemed normal. I looked to the sky once again. The sun hung high as usual, casting its warm glow on everything.
Lastly, I looked back to the apple, to those two small halves of a delicious fruit. They were empty. The only thing that remained of the apple was the thin red skin. My fear peaked again, but it quickly diminished as I bolted away from the section of the orchard. I wasn't calm until I reached the edge of the orchard.
"I live!" I yelled. "Yes! Father, I'm alive!"
The open fields ahead looked warm and welcoming, and I took a single step forward. But out of nowhere, a sharp and shrill screech pierced the air, bursting both of my eardrumsand plunging me into blissful silence. I collapsed on the grass, and when my head hit the ground, it was jerked so I was looking into the orchard again.
I felt the left side of my head grow wet, probably with blood, and I could feel myself blacking out. As my vision grew steadily to black, I saw a purplish blob squirming its way towards me. And in my mind, I thought, Worms? What? The blob grew closer and closer, and I blacked out as something slimy grabbed hold of my wrist, as started dragging me closer and closer.