Tags

, , ,

I am not sure what I saw. I don’t know if this is what you are looking for but here it goes.

My brother-in-law bought a parcel of farmland, to start an organic farming operation. He had to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops as well as years where he couldn’t claim the organic label.

Finally, he was able to acquire organic status but at this point, he was pretty broke. The whole family pitched in to help which is why I was out in the field, I’m a systems analyst. I have no experience in farming.

My sister and her husband had cauliflower and cabbage that needed to be harvested. He couldn’t afford to hire outside workers. So he asked for help.

I was out, in the field, harvesting some of the crop. I had been at it all day; the sun was starting to go down. I was looking down my row, to see how much more needed to be pulled and I saw a man, just standing in the field. The light wasn’t great, I thought he might have been one of my relatives or one of my brother-in-law’s friends, so I waved. He didn’t wave back, he just stood there, seemed to be staring at me. I called out to him but there was no response. Nothing.

It was pretty creepy; I was by myself in this section. I could see other people, but they were pretty far off. I guess they would have heard me if I yelled loud enough. I called out to the guy again. He just stood there. I was getting suspicious, like maybe he was up to something, maybe stealing some of the crop. I started to walk toward him, figuring he would run off. No. He just stood there and seemed to be staring at me. It was really kind of scary. I thought about turning around and finding someone to help but, there was no one close enough. The guy would have run off, with his haul, by the time I got back.

So, I kept walking toward him. I could see that he was dressed in field clothes, old jeans, and a shirt. The light was really fading but he seemed to have dark hair, not very tall.

Then suddenly, he was gone. I mean, just winked out. Gone. One minute he was there, the next, nothing.

I don’t mind admitting, I was pretty freaked out. I ran up to the spot where he had been standing. I had a hat with those lights on, we would pick until after dark. I flipped the lights on. He was gone, he was not lying on the ground, hiding. He had not run away. He was just gone. I looked down to see where his footprints were leading. There were no footprints. This is farm soil, there should have been footprints. The air turned cold, ice cold. I was suddenly, completely scared. It was in the air. Fear, I was breathing in, fear.

No, that’s not right. I terrified. I thought I had experienced fear before but not like this. My bladder let go. Embarrassing but I was so frightened, so scared, I had no control. Then I heard godawful moaning sounds. That was it, I took off running. Through the crops. I didn’t stop until I hit the area where we had parked our vehicles, earlier; had to have been close to an entire acre away. My brother-in-law was there, he was with a couple of other people, loading the day’s pick into the back of his truck.

I was leaning against my car and started to vomit. I was shaking, I was completely out of breath, my legs were jelly. My brother in law ran up to me, really concerned. I did my best to tell him what happened, in between gasps of air. He called to the guys he had been with, and the three of them, headed out to investigate.

They came back, a short time later, they had not seen a soul, they had found nothing. I wasn’t surprised. I knew no one was there. It was dark now, the sun was gone. Everyone started to come in. There was a lot of conversation about what happened. Some people laughed, said it was too much sun. Some people just looked at me, like I was nuts.

A few months later, my sister and my brother-in-law came to my place for dinner; my brother-in-law drew me aside. Word of what happened to me, spread through his little town. Probably started as a funny story about city folks. Except, turns out, it wasn’t so funny at all.

There was a previous owner of the land I was working, he used to bring in migrant workers. Rumour had it that he did not treat them well. If the day’s quotas were not met, he wouldn’t feed them. They were forced to find shelter in his barn, with his cows. There were no facilities. No showers. If they wanted to bathe, it had to be in the irrigation ditches.

There were darker rumours of physical abuse, beatings and worse, that the workers were chained up at night. One of the workers went missing. Shortly after the talk of the missing man started to spread, the farmer was busted for his treatment of the workers. Not much was done, the workers were sent home, some of them found work on other farms but they insisted one of their number had vanished. The workers report the disappearance, to the authorities – the police, when the farm was raided. From the looks of things, they were ignored.

The man was a migrant, no status and it appears, only his friends, cared. People assumed he had just taken off, to escape the abuse, maybe heading to the city but some of the workers, insisted, described a terrible beating, out in the fields. They reported hearing screams and seeing one of the farmer’s regular hands swinging a shovel, up and down, the sound of that shovel hitting something. The screams, quickly, stopped. They reported, later, the farmer and his farmhand, were seen dragging something toward an outbuilding and the sound of machinery. The migrants claimed the farmer’s employee had killed their friend, beating him to death and that the farmer helped to dispose of the poor migrant’s body, in a woodchipper.

It turns out, that the field, where I had been working, was the spot where the migrant had been murdered. I am not saying I saw his ghost. I don’t know what it was. I will say that I have never gone out in the fields since, I still help but from the safety of the vehicles. Loading produce.