Appears in: 365 Tomorrows
Release Date: July 10/2018
Summary: A farmer wakes up to find an elaborate pattern carved into his field. There must be a logical explanation.
Read it online for free at 365 Tomorrows (or read on below).
Under a sweltering summer sun in southeastern Ontario, an aerial camera watched as two boys walked through a wheat field.
Each boy dragged a heavy wooden plank; as they traversed the land, stalks of wheat bent and flattened underneath them. After exactly seven hours of work, they abandoned their tools and trudged across two hundred feet of flattened and un-flattened cropland, emerging on the other side, scratched, sunburned, and surly.
At the edge of the field, a news camera turned to capture their exit, before refocusing on KX604 anchor Hadi Chadha.
Hadi read from a cue card: “Last week, a Mellonville grain farmer was shocked to find portions of his field flattened into an elaborate pattern. KX604 spoke to renowned ufologist Maxwell Salinger, who speculated that these crop circles could have been caused by radiation from alien spacecraft. He even suggested the city send samples of the damaged stalks in for testing.”
“But yesterday, two local teens approached KX604 News with a confession: they were behind the whole thing.”
The camera fixed on the boys as Hadi narrated: “Sixteen-year-olds Josh Drayton and Brady Michaels say that they snuck onto the farm in the dead of night and created the circles themselves, as an elaborate practical joke.” She pivoted to the pranksters. “Mind explaining how you did it?”
Brady shrugged. “We tied some planks of wood to ropes, and just dragged them through the field. Crushed the wheat pretty good.”
“But what about those incredible designs? Surely you didn’t just wing it?”
Brady hesitated; Josh piped up. “No, that was planned out. We visited the field several times, too, to case the route.”
Hadi nodded and returned to the camera. “However, some didn’t believe them. Bill Petrovsky, the farmer whose crops were affected, maintains that it would have been impossible for the boys to level such a large portion of his field without him noticing. So, with Mr. Petrovsky’s consent, Josh and Brady volunteered to replicate their prank – under the watchful eye of a KX604 aerial camera.”
Brady cringed; Josh elbowed him.
“In keeping with the timeframe of the original ‘prank,’ the crop-circlers were given less than seven hours to forge three circles, at 200, 150, and 100 feet in diameter. Let’s see how they did.”
She raised a hand to her earpiece, indicating she was addressing the aerial cameraman. “What do you see, Allan?”
The helicopter doubled back and made another sweep across the field. The camera panned across three freshly-made crop circles, 250, 150, and 100 feet in diameter. They were a bit rougher around the edges than the original three, but the visual was close enough.
The story ran at six o’clock. No one who watched was surprised that Brady and Josh had been behind the crop circles. They all knew the boys were troublemakers.
Of course, no one who watched the broadcast knew why they knew that. Come to think of it, none of the viewers could quite recall where they’d met these boys, or if they knew who their parents were.
Had they thought about the story more deeply, it would have occurred to them that there was no Drayton family in Mellonville, and that the youngest Michaels in town was a 52-year-old spinster.
But they didn’t, and it didn’t.
Similarly, no one thought it odd when they didn’t see the boys around after that. No one wondered where they’d gone, or even remembered they’d ever been there.
However, a stargazer did report a strange set of lights in the sky just a few hours after the broadcast, and two indistinct figures rising into the sky.