Hello. I'm not sure why you're in what used to be my house, or why you've decided to wander around long enough to find this, but I have something to confess to you, even if you're the only person who ever hears it.
By the time you finish listening to my memoirs on this tired old radio recorder, I will be dead, rotting under the roots of the terrible things that I have created, and you will hate me more than you have ever hated anything in your entire life. You will hate me so thoroughly that you will dig up my corpse and hack at it with a garden shovel until there's nothing left of my face but shreds of skin and lip.
Death is too good for me. I'm sorry.
Joel Pierce farmed a few miles down the road from me, and when he saw what was growing on my plot, he felt inclined to grab the sledgehammer from my tool shed. He pounded carcass after carcass until there was nothing but fleshy red goo, sinking in to the mud of my fields.
They grew back. He's still dead.
This place is wrong, and it should not exist, but it does. I've made it this way.
You will hate me because I am responsible for everything that's happened to this town, to its people, and to the very spirit of the land itself. In this one hundred mile stretch of nothing but green fields and the summer breeze of the midwest, you will find that I have corrupted and raped mother nature beyond anything that you can possibly comprehend.
Let there be some record of the small amount of goodness that was left within me. I tried to stop halfway through, when the full moon was at its pinnacle and my crops were reaching heavenward for the rays of the sun. I knew I had sown something terrible in the land, but I didn't have the resolve to chop them down.
I let them grow because they were beautiful. That's why the townspeople tried to set my farm ablaze. My perspective of beauty.
Take some measure of advice and try to learn from this. It started with the things that even you might find yourself vulnerable to. Greed. Opportunity. Lack of accountability. They have all contributed equally to those rows of botanic evil.
When my wife passed away three years ago, I felt that I owed the world nothing. I would sit on my plow in the middle of the field, screaming at the sky, mocking the betrayal of my once normal life. No one was around to stop me. My crops withered in the heat of the sun, and I ate once a week. I saw no point in working the fields any longer. Feeding the masses was pointless to me.
Sometimes, it was God's fault. I got worse and worse, until my Saturday night consisted of ripping pages out of the King James version in the middle of five hundred dead corn husks, yelling obscenities at the almighty creator, wiping my ass with scraps of the old testament. Old Joel knew it before anyone else, but he wasn't the only one. The whole lot of them were gossip mongers, through and through.
I'm not apologizing for the faces wrapped in the husks. This town got what was coming to it, and Old Joel was probably due for a heart attack in the next couple years or so, anyway. I did what I set out to do, but the thing I'm sorry for goes beyond a bitter farmer's vendetta against his neighbors. It's sinking in to the earth right now, in this very moment, you see.
I'm not sure what to call it. Wrongness? Death in the ground? A scar on Mother Earth?
It doesn't fucking matter. I destroyed this town's spirit and the people in it, and I used their bodies to do the thing that I've done best since my old man showed me how to till a three foot garden plot when I was three years old. I took over more and more of his work. I know how things grow, what they need, and what they don't need.
I ripped a hole in the goodness of this place and the three hundred years of slow, rural tradition that it was built upon. All the memories, families, and loss have culminated in one field outside my front porch, you see. It wasn't the rot, or the fact that five hundred and seven of these local hicks didn't get a proper burial at that hideous fucking cemetery behind that hideous fucking church over by the river.
It was treachery.
They thought I was full of the goodness that so permeated every little facet of their pretty little lives. I betrayed them, and it messed something up here. Nothing this terrible has ever hit this place. It's very simple, I suppose, and maybe it's completely impossible to wrap your damn head around it at the same time.
Joel knew, you see. He knew when he looked out his upstairs bedroom window at four in the morning during spring tornado season and saw me screaming at the broken, lightning riddled sky, blaspheming the Maker and destroying whatever family heirloom or antique that was left still intact in my house that I could find. The reverend started showing up to my place a couple weeks after that. To "talk."
What he really wanted was for me to gain my god damn sanity back, and that way all his pretty little daughters and sons in his congregation would have sweet corn and fresh parsnips for the summer evangelical picnic. He didn't give one flying fuck about whether or not I was right with Jesus. That's why he was second.
I've mocked something bad and provoked some kind of attack in the soil. It was small, but now too much time has passed, and there are state police and other fellows in fancy suits looking around the ghost town that used to have a pretty good meat-and-three and the best Mormon thrift store for four counties.
This recording is almost over, and I must admit that I feel a small measure of peace, having confessed that I am responsible for the five hundred and seven things that may or may not be growing behind you and this house.
These people needed this, regardless of what you decide to do with them. Know that with certainty. You may be able to stall the omen of death that surrounds this place by setting the field ablaze, but know that they will grow back, and with greater purpose than before. I told you that I can grow anything, and life is persistent. Even seeds that are sown in treachery will grow.
If you burn them, you should run as far away as possible, because I must confess that they remember. There was one late afternoon at dusk when the sun had barely a sliver over the west water tower before my farm was shrouded in twilight. I felt guilt, and I was quickened by the horror of my betrayal. I soaked the fields in gasoline and prayed that the stalks would become ashes and nothing more. They remained that way for one season, but each passing Spring is more dangerous than the last.
I hear the rubbing of plant stalks and the shrieking of dead spirits. I hear their names of their loved ones outside my windows. They recite them by memory, like a list of casualties, because they were once good and perfect, and their families meant more to them than their own lives. They remember, and they protect each other.
Should you flee this place and continue to let them march across the earth in a violent harvest when the husks have yielded to the fruit of black flesh and the blood is dried and caked under the sun, then you have my gratitude. They have repaid me with death, and if you manage to observe them from afar, you may see me. I will surely be number five hundred and eight before the sun sets this eve, but we need to return to my apology. What am I really for?
I've watched them for a long time. This is what happens to you. You can run soon, I promise. Just listen for one more minute.
You see, the only person I'm really sorry for is you. I'm sorry that you've set foot in this place of wrongness, because now it's with you. I don't care where you run, or hide, or attempt to fight. They can feel the others who have been touched by whatever I've destroyed here. Soon, even I will feel you, and no matter how many seasons it takes, I will find you.
You shouldn't have come here. We remember.