After a few more fields of crops came the forest. The road curved every few minutes, hills everywhere. With every step, Pewdie grew more and more exhausted. Piggeh was as perky as when he started out, or, pumped, as he called it.
“Whew… this wizard is a lot farther than I thought…” Pewdie said, taking a seat on a tree stump to the side of the brick road in order to relax a bit. He set his basket down.
“I’m not sure, but it will probably be dark soon. Do you think you are too tired to go on?” Piggeh said, flopping down in an awkward sitting position next to the stump.
“Yeah, I’m pooped. But where is there to sleep? I don’t see anything around. Just trees, trees, and more trees.” Pewdie said, kicking a leaf around with his foot. Maya, being just as tired as Pewdie, laid herself down on a small mound of leaves next to where Pewdie placed his basket. Nothing was heard except the gentle crunching of leaves. Pewdie savored the air-it seemed cleaner than usual.
It must be this place. No big factories, no pollution. Clean air. Peaceful.
“Do you think the wizard will really care enough to give me a brain?” Piggeh asked, the question out of no where.
“What? Of course he will! If he’s powerful enough to get me back home, he’d certainly be powerful enough to give you some brains.”
“Well, I just thought I would ask. You see, I wasn’t sure. Uncertainty comes with not having a brain, I suppose.” Piggeh stared off into space for a while. Pewdie continued to scuff his feet against the dirt, kicking at more leaves and stones.
Piggeh then started to look at the stump with an interesting expression.
“Say, isn’t it odd?” he started.
“For a stump to be here. It looks clean-cut, not just like a normal fallen tree. And besides that, there is no tree around that could have been from this stump. Or at least, not that I’ve seen.”
“Yeah, it is kinda weird, I guess. What’s your point?” Pewdie was not seeing Piggeh’s line of thinking at all.
“Well, why would there be a stump if there was no one around to make it? I haven’t seen any farm houses around at all, have you? Not to mention, this looks to be the first stump in a line of stumps. See? Over there.” Piggeh clumsily stood and walked over to another stump. He pointed to another one, leading into more forest.
“And over here, there’s another one.” Piggeh said. Pewdie sighed, rising from the stump he was sitting on to follow Piggeh.
“Piggeh, where are you going? What is your point?” Pewdie was really not in the mood for any more walking. He picked up his basket. Maya followed him.
His legs were killing him. Surprisingly, his feet weren’t in as much pain as the rest of him. Pewdie didn’t have the strength to think on how that was, and just tried to follow Piggeh’s twisting trail of tree stumps. He didn’t see why stumps would be weird. It’s a forest, of course there are going to be stumps everywhere! Piggeh’s thinking was not making sense at all. It was all so puzzling.
“Don’t you think, Pewdie, that where there is a stump, there’s going to be a woodsman nearby?” Piggeh said, stopping at an especially large stump to wait for Pewdie to catch up. By now, they were well into the woods.
“Well, yes, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything!”
“Don’t you also think that where there is a woodsman, there is a shack for tools? Or, maybe even a little cottage?” Piggeh again started to follow stumps.
“Yeah, but…” Pewdie stopped to think about it. “Ohhh!” now Pewdie felt like an idiot. Piggeh was trying to find a place for him to rest the night!
“Pewdie, in the distance! I see something!” Piggeh then tripped on a root. Instead of getting up, he just slid a bit before Pewdie caught up with him and helped him.
“See, Pewdie! It’s a little shack!” Piggeh said, very pleased with himself.
“Great work, Piggeh!” Pewdie patted him on the back. This of course was the wrong thing to do, for Piggeh merely fell over again.
“Whoops, sorry bro. I’m gonna go check if it’s locked.” Pewdie went over to the shack. It was larger than a tool shed, but smaller than a cottage. Pewdie could tell the wood was aged, worn from weather. There was a large stack of logs next to the shack. The logs also looked old.
Pewdie tried the handle and sighed. Of course it was locked.
“Well that’s just great. Hey, maybe there’s a key… Under this rock? No… under this rock? Argh! Where is the key?” While Pewdie busied himself looking for the key, Piggeh noticed something shining in the sunlight not too far off. Wanting to be his most helpful self, Piggeh went to pick it up.
It was then that he noticed something else shining. It wasn’t too far away from what he presumed was the key.
Yellow. That was the color’s name, wasn’t it? Like the yellow corn in the field he used to guard. There wasn’t much yellow to be seen, though. Whatever was shining was also covered in vines and leaves, connected to a half-chopped tree.
Piggeh looked back on the ground, remembering his mission. He went to the key and picked it up. It was next to a raggedy old bag that looked worn from weather. He didn’t think much on it, and went back to Pewdie, who was running his hands over the top of the doorframe.
“Um, I’m not sure, but is this it?” Piggeh held up the key.
“Uh…looks like it! Where did you find it?”
“It was in the grass. Next to something… yellow.”
“You mean the road? You had it this whole time? Well, geez.” Pewdie took the key.
“Well, it was more like a statue…” Piggeh’s feeble correction went unnoticed by an excited Pewdie who finally got the door open.
“Yes!” he rejoiced, but soon he was choking on dust. The air inside the shack was musty and stale. Pewdie picked up a moth-bitten blanket and flipped it about, but unfortunately that only made it harder to breathe.
“Whew, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.” Pewdie coughed out, stepping outside of the shack.
“Here, let me do that. I don’t need to breathe anyway.” Piggeh took the blanket out of Pewdie’s hands and went inside.
“I’m so pumped!” Pewdie heard Piggeh shout a few times, watching him flail about. The excited scarecrow came out of the shed and calmed himself a bit.
“We’ll wait out for it. Do you have any blanket of your own that you could use? This one doesn’t look very… pleasant.” Piggeh held up the tattered blanket for Pewdie to see.
“I don’t think I do, no.”
“Do you think you’ll be fine without one, then?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty warm out.”
“Is it? I didn’t notice.”
Pewdie walked into the shed, giving it a real once-over. There was dust everywhere. There was a pile of hay for starting fires, a wooden chair, a wooden table with a halfway melted candle sitting and a golden oil can on top. A few tools hung on the walls. One spot looked like it used to hold an ax, by the fact that there was a lot more dust around it, making the shape of one.
There was one tool that looked especially interesting. It was a medium-sized golden sword. Pewdie of course didn’t think it was real gold, but… with the place he was in now, it might be.
Piggeh was patient, and didn’t notice he was still just standing around waiting for nothing. A scarecrow needed patience. Patience made it easy to do your job as a scarecrow. Patience for watching the grass grow. Or, rather, watching corn grow.
Realizing there was no point to standing around when Pewdie was already inside the shed, Piggeh followed. His eyes immediately drew to the golden oil can on the table. It sparkled, (just a little, for it was also covered in dust) in the small amount of light that was passing through the window above. The sun was setting now.
“Do you think this could come in handy?” Piggeh said, picking it up. It left a clean circle under it, surrounded by dust.
“I dunno. I guess. Just put it in my basket.” Pewdie answered, not taking his eyes off the golden sword.
“It doesn’t seem like anyone else will come for this… this place was abandoned long ago… I’ll just take it. Just in case.” Pewdie picked up the sword. It was heavy. He let it gleam in the light coming from the window.
“That’s shiny.” Piggeh said from behind him.
“Yeah” Pewdie answered absently.
“Do you think that would be useful too?”
Maya found the wooden chair a suitable place to sleep. Soon, Pewdie settled for the pile of straw. Granted, it didn’t smell the greatest, but it provided more comfort than the floor did.
Piggeh, not having a lot of experience with normal people, snuggled up right next to Pewdie. After a while of awkward silence, Pewdie spoke up.
“You’re gonna have to move. Personal space, bro.”
“Nevermind. Just go to sleep… over there.” Pewdie pointed to a spot on the hay farthest from him.
“Okay. Except I don’t sleep.”
“I never get tired.”
There was another long silence. Pewdie thought about his home. The farm. Kansas. His aunt and uncle. So many things so far from his reach.
“I wonder if I’ll ever really get home. It feels like I’ve been out walking here forever.”
“I’m sure the wizard will get you home.”
“But what if he doesn’t? What if he doesn’t care at all? I could be stuck here.” Pewdie sighed, slowly drifting to sleep.
“If you are, then you have a friend.” Piggeh’s comment wasn’t heard, as Pewdie fell asleep. Piggeh smiled. He hoped Pewdie would have sweet dreams.