My story begins driving down a long, straight road. I’m not going to specify where for privacy, but I will say it was in the American Midwest. I was nearing where I was supposed to settle for the night. It was a rest stop, for rig drivers and what not, that I knew I could park at to get some sleep in the cabin of the truck bed. I’m still a few miles out when I come across a car. It’s in the middle of the lane, and it has all its doors open including the trunk. Now, the sun was setting. It wasn’t too dark to see, but as I neared the vehicle I could tell there wasn’t anybody in it. It was a real small car, a Mini Cooper, but it was a new year and looked clean. Pulling over, I got out to take a better look.

As I thought before, nobody was inside. I could still see pretty well into the desert surrounding the road, and I took a big look around. I didn’t see nobody. So who the heck left their car out here? I debated calling the cops, but decided not to, seeing as whoever the driver was must’ve been close by. I was getting back into my pick-up when I first laid eyes on it. It looked like a scarecrow, sorta. It was real tall. Stalky. It had on a round hat with a big brim. And it hung as still as stone, just looking in my direction from maybe two hundred yards off the road. From where I was I could only see the silhouette, but still it made me feel off. I doubted the area I was in ever used to be farm land, so why was a scarecrow out here? Anyway I turned my engine back on, and picked up outta there. Something to note, when I tried making out the scarecrow in my rear view mirror as I pulled away, it almost seemed closer to the road than it was before. Thinking it was just cause of the mirror, I went down the road, not paying it any more attention.

So I rolled into the rest stop around ten o’clock. I parked my truck in the lot. There weren’t many vehicles there. Only one other car, some real old trashy looking sedan. And there were two big rigs. Seeing it was still open, I went into the diner, sitting down at the counter. It was a pretty nice place considering it was in the middle of nowhere. I think I ordered soup and a sandwich, or something like that. I was the only one in the place, and the waitress was making conversation with me. Eventually I mentioned the car I saw a few miles previous that had its hazard lights on. She seemed indifferent at first. I brought up the scarecrow and she focused up, looking me dead in the eye. “A scarecrow, yeah?” She talked quieter than she did before. “What’d it look like?” “Pretty normal. Big ol’ farmer hat,” I replied. She just sorta looked at me after that. Finally she spoke again. “Was it looking at you?” I thought for a moment, remembering how the scarecrow was oriented towards me from where I saw it. “I mean yea, I guess.” She looked at me solemnly, before handing me my food and vanishing into the kitchen.

I won’t lie, I was pretty freaked out by that. I thought about it while I ate. It’s not like a scarecrow coulda been watching me, after all. They’re inanimate. But the more I thought, the more scared I got. From where I saw it the first time, it was maybe an easy twenty five degrees off axis with the road. But when I saw it next, in my truck’s mirror, it was still facing directly towards me, so it must’ve been almost forty five degrees at that point. It seemed impossible. And I couldn’t help but think about the abandoned car too. It was just unsettling. So I had a little trouble getting to sleep that night. It wasn’t noisy, or anything. In fact no other vehicles rolled in at all. Eventually I managed to drift off, sleeping okay for the most part.

I got up around eight in the morning. After doing my minimal morning routine I decided to head into the same diner to grab some breakfast. There was more people in there than there was before. Probably five or six other customers. When I walked in though, it was like I was a pariah. Everyone quieted up, stopping their eating and their conversations to look at me. It was weird as heck. Looking around the room and seeing everyone stare back. Slowly I took a seat at the counter. I was four stools away from the closest guy, but as soon as I sat down he grabbed his paper and headed out the door, leaving his partially eaten food on the table.

A different waitress from last night came up to me, just staring with her notepad in hand. I asked for scrambled eggs, toast, and coffee. She didn’t say anything. Just eyed me weird. I got my food a little while later, and it tasted fine. So I finished up in the awfully quiet diner, leaving a pretty generous tip for the girl considering the service. When I headed out the door though, I freaked. Directly in front of me, but way back on the other side of the big road, was the scarecrow. In the daylight I could make it out well. It was real tall, maybe around six or seven feet. It was made of hay, and draped in a black and grey shirt and dark pants. It’s hat was real strange. It was nice looking, yeah. Obviously expensive. But vintage too, made out of premium leather. I knew it was the same scarecrow from before cause of how big the hat was. I just stared, in awe. How the heck did it get here?

So I was pretty much done at the rest stop. And the scarecrow wasn’t making me want to stick around. Still eyeing it, I hopped in my truck. To my relief the engine turned over, and I pulled out of the place. Getting back onto the road, I came probably twenty feet within the scarecrow. I looked at it, and it just sorta sat there. Unsuspectingly. And down the road I went. Guess what I saw five minutes later, though? Another scarecrow. I took a double take out my window when I saw it coming up. But sure as heck, it was really there. I pulled over, getting out of my truck. Where I was, all that was around us was desert. And the scarecrow stood in the middle of it, a few yards from the road. I looked at it. It was the exact same as the one I saw before. A textured, old leather hat. Dark clothes. And the same awful height, same thin body. I know what you’re thinking; maybe someone used to own a farm here, and used a few of the same looking scarecrows. But it wasn’t like that. From the orientation of hat, and it’s pose, I just KNEW it was the exact same one. It was simply too perfect.

I approached the thing, trying to rationally sort out what was going on. It’s eyes, I could see well. They were these thick black buttons. Like three inches in diameter. Looking at it, though, I began to think how silly it was to be afraid of a scarecrow. It’s not like it could do anything, right? I walked up to it. Kinda kid like. I took off its hat, revealing a pointy straw head. I laughed, again cursing myself for being childish. The hat itself was real nice, actually. It had that feeling of vintage leather. I played with it a bit. On the underside it had a little logo etched into it. “Mr. Watcher” is what it said. Not any brand I ever heard of before. Being satisfied with my dissection of the scarecrow, I went to slap its hat back on. Only, I couldn’t. Cause it was gone. It was just in front of me a minute ago, and now it was missing. “What the heck?” I said aloud. I looked around. My truck was still there. Everything seemed normal, yeah. So where the hell did the scarecrow go? The hat was still in my hands.

After that, I decided I had enough. I packed it back in my truck, dropping the hat in the seat next to me. I didn’t bother trying to explain to myself what happened. I just wanted to leave. About ten minutes of seventy miles per hour later, I was feeling okay again. Until it rolled into view. Another scarecrow, on the same side of the road. Only this time, it wasn’t wearing the hat. I drove past it, barely looking at it, and accelerating a little. I could’ve sworn it turned its head to look at me. A minute later, I saw another. I kept going. Another. And another. Always in the same position, the same clothes, and all without a hat. I just kept driving, yeah, sweating and freaking out. The next one I passed, I watched in the rear view as I sped by. I saw its reflection slowly get more distant, until finally, just when it was almost out of view, it started running. I swear to you. I saw its legs turn, and I watched it sprint back into the desert. Faster than any person or any animal I’d ever seen.

At this point I must’ve been nearing the top speed of my truck. Every minute or so, I saw the same damned scarecrow out of my window. I probably saw it fifty times until I thought I heard it scream. Like, when I pulled past, it yelled. It sounded inhumane, voice stretched and unnatural, like its vocal cords really were made outta straw. Without thinking, I rolled down my window, and tossed the leathery old hat out. Then I prayed, all the while pushing it well over the speed limit. To my surprise though, I didn’t see it anymore. I began to slow down a little. Another ten minutes went by, and I didn’t see no more scarecrow. And I never saw it again afterwards. It just stopped appearing.

To this day I still got no clue how the hell it kept up with me. If I had to guess, it probably did something to the driver of that Mini Cooper, though. And I’ll be honest, I really don’t want to know what. I sure am done with long desert roads. If ya ever see any cars without drivers in the middle of a barren stretch of desert, I reckon you avoid them. Or you might run into Mr. Watcher.
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