The Scarecrow and Mrs Hen

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“Come on over to Harry’s Farm,
Yessir, come on down,
For y’all know that we sell,
The best darn eggs in town!’

That’s what Farmer Harry said,
And it was no lie,
The eggs he sold were tasty,
Be they scrambled, boiled or fried,

He had the best eggs,
So nice and finger-lickin’,
And he had the best eggs,
Because he had the best chickens.

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The best egg-layer,
Was called Mrs. Hen,
Thus she got lots of glory,
And she got lots of friends,

One chicken called Bessie,
Was an especially big fan,
Said Hen’s eggs deserved to be
In all frying pans.

One dark, foggy night,
Hen couldn’t sleep,
Because she swore outside,
She could hear someone creep.

So off she went,
Out of the henhouse,
Towards the source of the noise,
It couldn’t be a mouse.

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The farmer’s scarecrow,
In the field of wheat,
Had gotten off its pole,
And now stood on its feet.

It then turned its head,
And walked towards Mrs. Hen,
Our dear chicken fainted,
Because she was so frightened,

When she came to,
It was a bright, sunny day,
And Hen knew that she
Had more eggs to lay.

She was sure she lay eggs,
That she would swear,
Yet when she looked in her spot,
There was nothing there.

She tried and she tried,
But eggs there came none,
‘I’m sure I laid eggs,
Where could they have gone?’

Bessie was shocked,
‘How could this be?
My heroine missing eggs,
Is shocking to me!’

Hen said to herself,
‘Oh, wait, I know,
This must be the work
Of that evil scarecrow!’

That night, Mrs Hen,
Stayed wide awake,
Waiting for the scarecrow,
And the move he would make,

Sure enough, the Scarecrow
Came that night,
And Mrs Hen got ready
To put up a fight.

‘Calm down,’ said the Scarecrow,
‘It’s not me you should be fearing,
For I know why your eggs
Have been disappearing!’

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He lifted up a floorboard,
And there was a machine,
Being operated by
None other than Bessie,

For Bessie was a spy,
Sent from Larry’s Farm,
To her boss’ arch-rival,
She would cause lots of harm,

For the machine teleported,
The eggs Mrs Hen laid,
Over to Larry’s,
So Bess would get paid.

‘Hey, stop that!’
Mrs Hen yelled to Bessie,
Bess’ response was simply,
‘Make me!’

The Scarecrow grabbed Bessie,
Stared at Hen’s biggest fan,
Then opened his mouth,
Revealing rows of sharp fangs.

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Mr. Movie Maker Preview

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Everything that has ever been imagined, every story that has ever been told, every character that has been created exists in another plane of reality. And someone’s about to use this to his advantage.

A world of anthropomorphic wolves is invaded by a horror movie slasher. An aspiring children’s book author sees visions of a world entirely of her own creation. A man with the ability to sense the supernatural is visited by beings from other worlds.

All of this is because of the machinations of the mysterious Mr. Movie Maker, who plans to spread his influence over any worlds he can find. Read how his plans unfurl in this novella set two years after the events of short story collection Barking Benjamin.

 

‘Lorraine, your DVD is here.’

That was all the mail that had come that day. The significant mail, at least – there was an ad for some new chippy as well. Nothing else, no bills, no responses from any magazines or anthologies or publishing houses. No, just Lorraine’s DVD. Her DVD of House Party Horror IV: Laura’s Resurrection.

‘Lorraine!’

There was a remake of the first House Party Horror movie coming out soon, and Lorraine, having been a big fan of the old series, planned to do something special for the occasion. She had her own movie review blog and she was planning to do a retrospective of every House Party Horror movie so far. Harry didn’t know why she was even bothering; from what he saw, all those movies were the same. Masked zombie killer Laura Steele rose from the grave, killed a bunch of teenagers, ended up getting killed herself, the end. Well, if it makes her happy, Harry thought.

‘Lorr…’

Harry sighed, and walked over to his flatmate’s room, holding the DVD in his hand. He knocked on the door – he had a good mind to just barge in, but he knew not to do that with a woman – and called Lorraine’s name again, this time a little louder.

‘Okay, hold your horses,’ said Lorraine, before opening the door. She smiled widely, reminding Harry that they needed more toothpaste, and her eyes bulged behind her coke bottle glasses.

‘Your DVD came,’ said Harry, handing her it.

‘Ta,’ replied Lorraine, taking the DVD and fully opening her door. ‘Anything else come today?’

‘No.’

‘Nothing from those agencies you submitted your novel to?’

Harry cringed. ‘What do you care?’

Lorraine’s smile disappeared, and she groaned in a way that made her sound like a cow. ‘Because I’m your flatmate, stupid. We’ve been living together two years and yet we never talk to each other. You’re welcome to come in here and watch the DVD with me.’

‘Um, no thank you.’

‘Yeah,’ said Lorraine, shrugging, ‘I’m rewatching The Lobo Family at the moment. I don’t think you’d be interested.’ Harry took a quick peek at her laptop screen and saw that it was indeed what she was watching, and it was the bloody episode where little Billy Lobo is made to study for his science test. Lorraine actually credited that episode for helping her pass her GCSEs et al with flying colours. ‘Without it, I wouldn’t have my 2.2,’ she’d say. Yet she didn’t have much to her name except a job at the local pizza restaurant, and some unpublished novels and short stories.

It was the art of writing that had brought them together, after all. They had taken the same creative writing course in University, had shared a house even back then, and both helped each other out…or as Harry remembered it, he helped Lorraine out. Poor woman didn’t know about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or The Yellow Wallpaper until they were given to her to study.

‘Oh, look at you,’ she said, breaking Harry out of his train of thought. ‘I think you really do want to watch The Lobo Family, don’t you?’

‘I’d rather watch a real programme, thank you very much,’ replied Harry.

‘Oh, you’re grumpy because you didn’t get published,’ said Lorraine with a chuckle. ‘Oh, don’t feel bad, you’ll get somewhere eventually.’

‘As you keep saying,’ sighed Harry, ‘I don’t need your encouragement.’

‘Well, if push comes to shove, you can always self-publish…’

With that, Harry closed the door, and walked back to the sofa to watch some TV himself. There would be times when both he and Lorraine would share the sofa, but there were very few shows they both liked. Sometimes they both liked watching Nerdtown, that sitcom about a club of nerds in university, just because they both felt it mirrored their lives in some ways.

But Nerdtown wasn’t on at that moment, and neither was much else for that matter, so Harry just decided to do what Lorraine was doing, and watch a DVD. Unlike her, he’d actually watch something of value, a film with a message more complex than “do your homework”.

Coming soon! Watch this space!