Harold sits by the bank of a creek and fishes. His friend Smitty rides by and greets him, joins his friend, and says that he went by Harold's house but saw his brother Billy's car and kept going. Smitty notices that Harold's face is beat up, and figures Billy did it to him. Harold wonders if he should run and points out it didn't do much the last time. They joke about Smitty trying to take on Billy, and Smitty heads back home. Harold assures him that he's good and Smitty tells him that he's around if he needs him.
As Harold fishes, he hears someone walking along the bridge above the creek. Billy tosses Harold's bike down and says that he wasn't through with him. He comes down and shoves Harold down, and Harold breaks free and runs off. He grabs a rock and throws it at Billy, and Billy yells that he's dead.
Harold runs through the forest with Billy coming after him. Night falls, and Harold comes to a gate marked "no trespassing". The boy slips through the gate, walks past a small cemetery with a headstone for Mavis Brenner, and comes to an old scarecrow hanging up on a post. It has animal teeth and a wooden walking stick driven through its chest, and Harold –pulls out the walking stick and keeps running as Billy reaches the gate. The boy comes to an old farmhouse and sees someone moving in the shadows, and goes to the door yelling for help. Harold goes through the front door and closes it behind him, and something pounds on the door.
Whatever is on the other side tries the knob, and Harold sees the scarecrow through the windows. He also sees Billy in the yard looking for him, and the scarecrow post now empty. Roots grow beneath the front door, crawling in, and they turn the knob. The scarecrow lets itself in, and Harold drops the walking stick and runs upstairs. His foot goes through the rotten wood, trapping him, and when the wood breaks entirely Harold falls through to the basement below. Harold sees the scarecrow peering down at him through the hole, and it walks through the house to the cellar door.
Harold finds a desiccated corpse sitting in one corner. There's a note on the floor, and it says that there's no way to explain what's happened. It's written by Mavis' husband, who says that he grew lonely after Mavis died. Brenner took his wife's walking stick back to the house, and soon succumbed to the loneliness of being alone. He decided to create the Companion, building it out of straw and adding animal bones to give it shape. Brenner added a crocheted Valentine heart as the final part and one day, he found it sitting on the porch in Mavis' rocker. When Brenner dropped his coffee cup, the scarecrow grew roots that it used to give the cup back to Brenner.
Brenner worked in the fields with the Companion watching over him. The farmer was happy, but one day a young girl, Susie, came along selling Girl Scout cookies. The Companion killed her and Brenner realized that he had created something abominable. When the Companion went back up on its post, Brenner impaled it through its "heart" with the walking stick. Consumed by guilt, Brenner killed himself.
The Companion breaks into the cellar and Harold grabs Brenner's shotgun as the Companion comes down the stairway. Harold stands up and tries to shoot, but the old shotgun doesn't fire. He hits it with the butt and runs upstairs past it, but the Companion snares his leg with a root and pulls him back. It pins Harold to the floor, but he grabs the discarded walking stick and blocks its deathblow. The Companion backs away and crouches on the floor, and Harold rams the walking stick through its heart.
Later, Harold leaves the farm, goes home, enters Billy's room, and stitches the sleeping Billy into his bedsheets. He wakes Billy up tapping him with the walking stick, and Billy discovers that he's bound to his bed. Harold tells him that he's collecting what he's owed, and reveals the Companion behind him. The boy points at Billy with the walking stick, and the Companion smothers Billy.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 2, 2019