March of the Straw Men

 

 

I hear the rustle of a thousand footsteps marching through the empty field behind the house.
I know it is the straw men who have come for me again. They said they would be back, though, at the time I didn’t believe them. The sound is getting closer and I look through
the window. Their voices sound like a strong wind blowing through thickets of grass. I hear their tiny yelps and calls.

Clamoring for me.
Calling out to me.

Who are the straw men?
They are men of straw.

Who am I?
I wish I knew.

I hide in my room, scared of something silly and surreal, of a dream come to life. They quickly surround the house and seep in – sliding through every crack, every crevice they can fit their bodies through. They seem to be everywhere now, these straw men, that are afraid of fire and horses and goats. They come like the wind in the night, as I lay in bed, waiting for them.

Maybe they will take me away. Maybe they will build a new house, a house of straw, to protect me from the chill rain and the heat of the sun. Maybe they just want to create a bed for me to rest on. Maybe they will make me join them. My skin, my body, my organs and brain, my heart, all transmuted to straw. Then I would march with my straw brothers proudly.

The straw men speak among themselves as they swarm through my wide open door, as they come for me in my room. I see them scurry towards me, their straw bodies and faces, their movements seem to reveal an almost human-like nature. I want to hold them in my arms and squeeze them because they love me. They flood in like a liquid sea of straw, the horde leaving no space on the floor vacant.

Then a small group bump into my table, knocking a lit candle over from its perch.

Fire erupts and flames are everywhere. The straw men run in panic like ants whose hole had collapsed. They fall as their bodies are consumed and crumble into oblivion. My friends, my enemies, the straw men were burning to ash. The fire spreads quickly. I watch sadly as they drift lazily up to straw man heaven in a cloud of smoke. The fire burns out, along with the last of them.

I watched the straw men march.
I watched the straw men defeated.

The ashes blow away with the wind.
The window is open and I am cold. My blanket does little to keep me warm.

I drift off to sleep now.

Maybe my dreams will be sweet.