It felt like he had been walking down the brick road for hours, the sun beating down on his back. Tyke was trotting behind him, his tongue hanging.
“I know, its hot as hell out here.” Nick complained, wiping at the beads of sweat forming on his face. They came to a fork in the road surrounded by cornfields. The road split in three directions, one going into the woods, one straight, and one into the mountains.
“Well…which way do we go now?” Nick asked out loud, looking down at the dog. Tyke looked at him, his head turned sideways and barked.
“You’re a lot of help.” Nick laughed, reaching down to pet him. He stood in the middle of the road, looking at each one and deciding which was the best way, but he had no idea where he was.
“Are you lost?” a voice said out of nowhere. Nick’s head shot up, his eyes wide.
“Who said that?” he asked, but there wasn’t anybody in sight.
Nick heard the corn rustle and looked at the cornfield nearby. There was a tall wooden pole sticking up, and a large black crow sat on top.
“No way.” Nick muttered, walking closer. Tyke barked and ran into the cornfield.
“Get back here you dumb dog!” Nick shouted, running after him. He almost ran straight into the pole.
“Hello…” the voice said again. Nick swore as he stood up, brushing himself off. He looked up to find a scarecrow waving at him from the pole.
“It WAS you. But…scarecrows can’t talk.” Nick whispered.
“Well, I can.” the scarecrow said in a distinct southern drawl. Nick laughed.
“I’m trying to get to Emerald City…” Nick explained. The scarecrow was quiet for a long time. “That way is nice…but you could also go that way…” he said, crossing his arms and pointing.
“Can’t you make up your mind?” Nick said.
“I wish I could….but I don’t have one.” the scarecrow replied. Nick laughed, but felt confused at the same time. This scarecrow was not like any he had ever seen before.
“Doesn’t it hurt being up there all day?” he asked after a minute. The crow perched on top of the pole just sat there, unfazed.
“Kind of….I’m not sure.” the scarecrow replied, shrugging.
“You don’t make any sense.” Nick said. He was getting frustrated but figured it wouldn’t hurt to help the scarecrow down.
“Bend down that nail and I might slip off.” the scarecrow suggested. Nick reached up and pulled down the nail, causing the scarecrow to fall to the ground. Nick helped him up, he had a hard time standing. What surprised him was that he was taller than year scarecrow….it was about a foot shorter than he was.
“Aren’t you a little short to be a scarecrow?” Nick asked, looking down at him.
“The farmer who made me is short….they used his clothes.” the scarecrow explained. The crow from the pole flew down and landed on his head, and he didn’t seem to notice.
“Aren’t you going to scare it away?” Nick asked.
“It hurts their feelings…” the scarecrow whispered, cupping his hand so the crow didn’t hear.
“Now I have seen everything. A scarecrow who is friends with the damn crows.” Nick said, laughing again.
“So why are you going to the city anyway?” the scarecrow asked.
“I am looking for this wizard so I can get back home to Florida. Maybe he can help you too…” Nick said, looking at the giant crow on the scarecrow’s head as it cawed. Getting annoyed, he made a loud noise and scared it away.
“Why did you do that? It wasn’t hurting you.” the scarecrow said in a whisper.
“You’re a scarecrow, that’s your job!”
Nick rolled his eyes…..and people said he was the dumb one.
“Come with me to Emerald City….I could use some company anyway.”
“Okay…but I thought you were lost.” the scarecrow said. Nick just started to walk…the scarecrow and Tyke following him down the path through the woods, Nick mumbling to himself as they went.