8.12: Part Two
Any normal person would have run
– but MacGyver was far from ordinary. This was a
puzzle, and solving it would lead to the capture of a
cold blooded killer. So, instead of turning tail, Mac
decided a full on sprint after the scarecrow was the only
way to get his answers.
shouted after the thing, and it twitched as if startled
by his full-frontal approach.
For a moment, the scarecrow seemed
to pause for thought, and then it spun around, making
a dash for the edge of the campus.
MacGyver gave chase, bounding over
a wall and two short fences before realizing that somehow,
the scarecrow had vanished into thin air.
It was as if the mist swirling
at his feet had swallowed the farmyard creature up.
stopped and caught his breath, realizing that his opponent
was not only extremely ugly, but also extremely lithe.
You’re getting old if you can’t keep up
with something made of straw! He half-joked to himself.
of course, the scarecrow wasn’t really straw, it
was human, and that meant it had returned to the scene
of the crime, like so many other killers before it. I
need to call the police, it could still be hanging around,
and there are plenty of kids it could attack next…
why the heck am I calling it an “it” when
I know dang well it has to be a person?
MacGyver sucked down another breath
and then began to jog back to the nearest building. He’d
gotten half way when a familiar face appeared.
brow furrowed in surprise. “What are you doing out
Webber managed to shrug despite
the sling on her arm. “I got out of the hospital
an hour or so ago and called Neil. He was feeling pretty
bad for driving off and forgetting you had no transport,
so I said I’d come over and see if you needed a
MacGyver smiled wanly. “I
am kinda sick of grabbing cabs already, but that’s
the least of my worries.” He grew more serious.
“I just saw your scarecrow and it was carrying the
turnip knife again. What if its here for another kid?”
Steffi’s mood seemed to instantly
darken and the spark of amusement in her eyes from moments
earlier vanished. “I’ll call in and get some
uniforms out here. I’m not officially on the case
anymore because of my arm, but I guess they can’t
They headed for the main building
together and Steffi made the call. About twenty minutes
later, the campus was awash with uniforms and lots of
worried students, but there was no sign of the scarecrow.
must have scared the guy off,” Steffi mused as she
guided MacGyver to her Volkswagen Beetle.
shook his head as he grabbed the chromed door handle and
climbed inside the ancient motor. “I have a feeling
the person we’re dealing with doesn’t scare
at all.” He waited for Steffi to drop behind
the wheel and then looked at her with a frown. “Just
how are you going to drive with that arm?”
Webber popped her arm from the
sling, flexed her fingers, and then grimaced. “With
great difficulty,” she admitted. “But I’d
rather suffer than walk.”
could drive?” Mac was about to climb back out and
swap places, but Steffi put a hand on his arm.
can manage,” Steffi’s tone said there would
be no negotiation. “All I need to know now is where
the heck to? I’m not ready to go home and sleep
looked at her intently and decided he was dealing with
one stubborn lady. He didn’t, however, plan or arguing
that point with her. Women invariably beat him at that
“I was thinking maybe we
should pay Billy Young a visit. Apparently he’s
quite famous for making a really good scarecrow costume.”
Steffi nodded, turning the ignition
key and letting the engine turn over and over before it
finally caught. “Sounds like a plan,” she
agreed, wincing as she tugged at the huge steering wheel.
“And the good news is he only lives two blocks from
* * *
True to Steffi’s word, Billy
Young only lived five minutes from the high school. Not
only that, but his parents owned a rather large house,
that reminded MacGyver of Lisa Woodman’s home. In
other words, they were pretty wealthy.
That fact had also led to Billy
being one very cocky young teenager, despite his gangly
frame and spotty façade.
“Would you mind us seeing
your costume?” Steffi appeared to be trying to be
polite, even though Billy hadn’t stopped scowling
since his mother had let Mac and the injured cop in.
“Give me one good reason
why I should?” Billy shot back the retort as he
slumped down on a chair, one leg dangling over the arm.
“You’re not on duty, and I don’t see
any kinda search warrant?”
Mac tried his hand. “Look,
Billy, people are dying, people you know and go to school
“People who I don’t
like and generally don’t like me,” Billy spat
as he scooped up the T.V. remote and started fiddling.
“But then I guess that’s why you’re
Steffi put her good hand on her
hip in obvious frustration. “We know you do have
a costume, and you just admitted your own motive.”
Billy’s jaw seemed to set
and then he suddenly grinned until it looked like his
spectacles would pop off. “Yeah, but I also have
an alibi. I was home at the time those goofballs bought
it, and my mom can confirm it.” He focused on the
television, turning the sound up as far as it would apparently
go to signal the conversation was over.
Steffi stared at him, her eyes
popping with anger and MacGyver was forced to grab her
good arm and steer her out into the gargantuan hallway.
“He’s one cocky teenager, but I don’t
think he would have the actual guts to hurt anyone.”
“You read people that well?”
Steffi demanded as the Young’s maid showed them
back out of the entrance.
Mac smiled. “Oh, I’ve
been known to on occasion.” He jogged down the steps
back to Steffi’s Beetle and opened the door for
her. “Besides, his costume was hanging in the study
and it didn’t look anything like the one I saw earlier.”
Webber gaped. “You saw in
the study? How’d I miss that?”
“Because you let your anger
take control,” MacGyver pointed out. “That’s
how you can miss things. And…”
“And,” Mac chuckled
as he dropped into the Volkswagen. “I asked the
maid where it was while you were grilling the kid when
we first arrived.”
Steffi swatted him with her good
hand and then guided the Beetle out back onto the main
road. “You know his mom could be covering for him?
I’ve known parents take a murder rap for their kids
Mac shook his head. “I don’t
buy it. There’s something much deeper going on here.”
He glanced over at the Beetle’s clock. It was almost
a quarter past eleven, but he didn’t feel one bit
like sleeping. “How about we call at the field where
those kids did the ritual? Maybe we can find something?”
nodded and tried to make fourth gear with her injured
arm. She almost missed and a horrid crunching sound came
from the car’s gearbox. She winced. “Okay…but
it might take awhile,” she smiled apologetically,
and Mac couldn’t help but smile back.
* * *
Irwin’s Fruit Farm
Near Mayo Lake
MacGyver trudged across the fruit
field using just the moonlight to navigate. Without his
Jeep he had no flashlights or other tools to hand save
his knife and a few oddments in his pockets, and he felt
Eventually, even without a light,
he spotted what he was looking for – a dark black
patch of ground where the high school kids had lit their
fire and performed their joke ritual.
It looked innocent enough, just
a scorched piece of earth and a few discarded beer bottles.
Mac kneeled and ran his fingers
through the charred remnants of grass and soil and wondered
if this could really be the motive for the killings.
Behind him, he heard Steffi’s
slow approach. Even though she’d denied it emphatically,
he knew she was getting tired, and he could sense her
arm was hurting more than she was willing to admit.
Mac felt her legs brush past him,
and then heard a small gasp that made him straighten up
and instinctively grab the injured cop like a guardian
angel. “What’s wrong?” he asked in all-but
Steffi swallowed and pointed, and
her expression said she was momentarily terrified. “It’s
there, watching us!”
MacGyver followed her gaze to see
a scarecrow watching over them. He blinked, but it didn’t
move, it didn’t crook its neck, and it definitely
didn’t have a turnip knife in its right hand.
He tried to stifle a small chuckle
and failed. “It’s just an ordinary scarecrow,”
he explained, spinning Steffi around to face him. “It
can’t hurt us,” he assured, squeezing her
Steffi smiled wanly, but then a
metallic click behind them melted away any further mirth.
It was the sound of someone cocking a shotgun.
Mac turned first, followed swiftly
Facing them was an old man with
short grey stubble and a frown that surpassed anything
Harry Jackson could have mustered.
MacGyver tried to calm the situation. “We’re
not here for any trouble…”
right you ain’t,” the old timer spat back.
“I’m done playing with you dang Halloween
freaks messing in my fields. You can come back to my place
and explain yourselves to the cops.” He eyed them
warily, as if he expected them to run.
stepped forwards, her good hand held out in front of her.
“We are the local cops. Well, at least
I am,” she said haughtily. “And if you’ll
let me reach into my jacket I can show you some I.D.”
The old man nodded, but kept his
finger firmly on the Browning’s trigger.
Steffi slid a hand inside her jacket
and pulled out her badge.
MacGyver followed by offering up
his Phoenix credentials. “Now would you mind lowering
the twelve gauge?”
“Sorry, but I’m fed
up of those kids hanging around making fires and such.”
He lowered the gun and offered his hand. “Name’s
Herb Irwin. I own this farm, have done some twenty years
Mac took Herb’s hand and
shook it, making sure his grip was firm and reassuring.
“We’re here about the kids that got murdered,”
he clarified. “I don’t suppose you saw anything
that might help?”
Herb huffed. “Ain’t
seen nothing, but after the way they was carrying on I
wouldn’t be surprised if it ain’t the ghost
of old Mr. Richardson himself that done got ‘em.”
“Who?” Both Mac and
Steffi chimed simultaneously.
Irwin smirked and than spat something
onto the ground Mac could only imagine was chewing tobacco.
“I guess neither of you two are from around these
parts then, huh?”
Mac shrugged. “I’m
a Mission City kid.”
“I moved here from Bristol
County about ten years ago,” Steffi also confessed.
Herb nodded knowingly. “What
I’m talkin’ about was some twenty-six years
ago now, just before I bought this place. Old Mr. Richardson
was out Halloween night of ’67 in this very field,
working on some piece of machinery. The story goes that
some high school kids came here and played a prank, just
like the ones now who are being killed.”
“And something bad happened?”
“Yeah, back in ’67
the fire they started spread to the machine Richardson
was working on, went right on to the fuel tank. It exploded,
turning the whole field into one huge fireball. Poor old
Richardson was seen screaming as he burned trying to escape
the flames. Some folks said he looked like a human scarecrow
as he flayed around. They also say it took him two weeks
to die of his injuries. Horrific, painful injuries…”
Herb let the words trail to seemingly add more effect,
and Mac pondered that the man could go into narrating
horror stories if the fruit business ever gave out.
“That’s pretty gruesome,”
Steffi conceded, “but I doubt Richardson’s
the one we’re after. I’m inclined to look
for a more earthly answer.”
Irwin scratched absently at the
end of his nose. “Suit yourself, ma’am. I’m
off to check my other fields.” He tipped his head,
holding the tip of his grimy cap for a second before ambling
“Quite a character,”
Mac observed as they picked their way back to the Beetle.
“But I doubt Richardson is our motive. Surely the
murderer would realize the kids they’re killing
aren’t the ones from ’67?”
Steffi stopped and looked across
the darkness. Her eyes were glazed, as if her mind was
elsewhere. Eventually, she looked back straight at MacGyver.
“Well, a human killer would know…”
For a moment, Mac was stunned the
cop would even consider a supernatural option, even if
the scarecrow had taken two slugs to the head. He wanted
to tell Webber that, but some inner part of him was also
yelling that he should keep an open mind.
“What say we meet up at the
local library tomorrow and do some more digging?”
Was all he could eventually think to say.
nodded, but from the way she was biting into her bottom
lip, Mac knew her thoughts were still firmly with the
* * *
Pequot Lakes Community Library
31069 County Rd. 112
30th October 1993
MacGyver walked into the library
to see Steffi already sitting at a table, engrossed in
a pile of old newspapers. He waved at her as she heard
his soft footfalls from across the room and looked up.
“Hey,” she mouthed,
attempting to obey the “Please be Quiet” sign
that adorned every library across the land.
Mac nodded and slid into a seat
The journey here had thankfully
been taxi free, as Neil Ryder had finally gotten MacGyver’s
Jeep sent over from Mission City, so Mac had made good
time from his motel and was feeling ready for a challenge.
“Find anything without me?”
Mac asked, his eyes searching the top newspaper on the
Steffi pulled out the center of
the paper and pointed to a small article. “There’s
not as much on this as I expected, but yeah, I think it’s
a start.” She tapped with her finger and Mac began
to read out loud, albeit somewhat mutedly.
“…Richardson is survived
by one daughter, fifteen-year-old Teresa. Local authorities
have been unable to find any living relative in the immediate
area, and Miss Richardson is to now live with her Aunt
in Chicago once the final court hearing has taken place…”
“There’s another item
from a later date saying Teresa showed signs of mental
instability after the hearing and would require counseling
after what she’d witnessed.” Steffi raised
a brow. “This sounds like a motive to me, and if
Teresa was unstable…”
“Then maybe she might kill
today, for something that happened all those years ago,”
MacGyver agreed. “But none of this tells us where
to find her now,” he pointed out with a sigh.
Steffi chewed on her bottom lip.
“I can probably find her. I’ll make a call
to Briscoe, he’s a friend, and he just got put on
this case in my absence.” She pushed up from her
seat and sauntered over to the librarian’s counter
at the far end of the room. After a brief conversation,
the librarian passed Steffi a phone and she dialed out.
Two minutes later, she was back
at the table where Mac had found her, and she was grinning.
“I take it Briscoe is on
the case as we speak to find Teresa Richardson?”
MacGyver exited his chair as he spoke.
Steffi nodded. “Uh huh, so
now all we have to do is wait. I know a great coffee shop
just around the corner from here. I told him to call us
there. C’mon, I’ll buy you a drink and we
Mac didn’t know why, but
he liked that idea. “A tea would be wonderful,”
he conceded. “And the chat sounds even better.”
* * *
The coffee shop was much smaller
than MacGyver had imagined, but what it lacked for in
size, it oozed in personality. Lanterns and all kinds
of Halloween décor filled the tiny seated area,
and a special seasonal menu was on offer with some ghoulish
Mac opted to stick to his tea,
but Steffi couldn’t apparently resist a slice of
“Nice town you have here,”
Mac offered as Steffi ate. “Kinda reminds me of
Mission City a lot.”
Steffi swallowed then looked around
as if she was suddenly looking at Pequot Lakes through
new eyes. “I guess…I suppose they’ll
cancel the party now, though, seeing as we have a killer
on the loose.”
MacGyver fiddled with the fine
porcelain cup he’d been given. “Party?”
we have a big Halloween bash every year. It was supposed
to have been on the Lakes Nature Reserve tomorrow night.
The whole town has decked the place out, everyone would
have been there – the kids from the high school,
parents, shop owners – everyone.”
Webber abruptly turned glum. “I even had a fancy
dress outfit all ready to go, my pumpkin was carved and
I was locked and loaded to trick or treat! You know we
even had a band to play out by the lake?”
MacGyver smiled. “Sounds
like you’d have had fun. I’m not really into
parties myself…” His thoughts turned to the
birthday party Pete had once organized back at Phoenix.
It hadn’t been so bad, really, but they just weren’t
Steffi’s expression turned
from confused to disappointed. “That’s a real
shame…” She put her free hand on top of Mac’s
where it had settled by his tea cup, and MacGyver realized
if the party wasn’t cancelled, he’d probably
have been getting an invite.
that wouldn’t be such a bad thing…
“Excuse me, are you Sgt Stephanie
Webber?” The little old lady who had originally
served them was back in front of their table, and Mac
hadn’t even seen her approach. She was stealthier
than a ninja.
Steffi admitted. “How can I help?”
The old lady pulled a scrawled
note from her apron that had apple pie smudged on the
corner. She handed it to Steffi, and then skittered off
without saying another word.
Steffi read it with a frown. “It’s
from Briscoe. It says Teresa Richardson married a few
years ago and her name is now Wilson. And get this, she
teaches out at the high school! Briscoe spoke to her on
the phone and she has no alibi for the nights of the murders.
He’s going to take her in for questioning as soon
as he gets the go ahead from the officer in charge of
met her!” Mac’s mind flashed back to the school
campus. “She was right there when I saw the scarecrow.
In fact, right before I saw the scarecrow.”
He pondered the details for a moment. “What I don’t
get is why she didn’t attack me with the turnip
knife instead of just running?”
Steffi shrugged. “Maybe we’ll
find out once Briscoe takes her in and starts asking questions.”
Her face abruptly changed back into a smile. “And
maybe, just maybe then the town can still have its Halloween
Mac smiled back, even if he really
had no intention of going to the party if it happened.
“Well, I guess you don’t need my help anymore.
I don’t think you and Neil ever did.” He pushed
up from his chair. “I’m gonna head back to
my motel. Promise me one thing, though? If Wilson ever
tells how she got around being shot in the head, I’d
love to know? It’s the one thing I’ve encountered
that’s really got me stumped,” he admitted.
nodded, her face wearing a very odd expression even Mac
couldn’t fathom. “Trust me,” she pledged,
“you’ll be the first to know…”
* * *
All Tucked Inn
30th October 1993
MacGyver ran until his lungs decided
they didn’t want to work anymore. The exercise did
much for his body, but little for his beleaguered mind.
Running usually cleared Mac’s head and helped him
think more productively, but tonight, it seemed to only
make things worse.
He slowed, coming to a halt outside
his motel room and stretching. Something was gnawing at
him, but it wasn’t his aching muscles. Maybe he
could mull it all over one more time as he packed to leave?
Mac reached to slip the key into
his room’s lock when a tired voice made him pause.
“Um, Mr. MacGyver?”
Mac looked up to see the elderly
motel owner looking at him strangely. “How can I
The man’s hand quivered slightly
as he offered up a note. Was he scared of MacGyver, or
just unsure what to make of him? “This is from the
duty sergeant over at Mission City P.D.”
took the message and the old-timer vanished into the evening
like a wraith. Sheesh, talk about Norman Bates…
Mac read the note and all his previous
mirth was consumed by something he didn’t even know
how to describe. Was it fear?
The note was from Neil, but what
it asked was wrong on so many levels MacGyver had to stand
and close his eyes to compose himself before he could
even consider it.
me at the hideaway as soon as you can, its really important.
Mac took a calming breath and finally
allowed his subconscious back into that dark place. “The
Hideaway” had been the name he and his friends had
given to an old mine shaft they’d once used as a
Like the gun that had eventually
killed Jesse, they’d all known the mine was a “No
Go Area,” but kids being kids, they’d gone
MacGyver and the others had never
been back there since Jesse’s death, and right now,
he was having a hard time imagining why Neil would be
asking him to reopen old wounds.
He closed his eyes again as images
filtered into his brain – images of Jesse, and Neil
with old blankets and food, trying to make the place their
own. And there he was, fashioning things with his penknife
oblivious of what their future would soon hold.
MacGyver could smell the dank,
musty aroma of wet timbers and mold, he could see the
shadows and silhouettes the candles they’d used
had made dance in the cool evening air.
And Mac could see Jesse, alive,
happy, and playful.
Mac’s eyes snapped back open
and he jogged over to his Jeep without even changing out
of his t-shirt and sweat pants.
Heading back out onto the highway,
it didn’t take long to reach the sign for Mission
City, and from there it was only minutes to the dirt track
that eventually led to the mine.
The turn off came to an end in
front of a recently erected metal gate, and MacGyver was
forced to exit the Jeep and walk the rest of the way into
the woods until he found the ancient warning sign.
It was just as he’d remembered
it, the once vibrant red paint now faded, and in places
worn away altogether. He ignored the portent of doom and
walked up to the boarded mine entrance.
It was like the maw of a mythical
being, and it seemed to want to consume his soul –
or at least, that was how it felt.
MacGyver pushed away the feelings
of dread erupting in his mind, and in his stomach, and
fished out a small flashlight he’d brought along
from the pocket of his pants.
Flicking on the light, Mac washed
it over the boards, remembering the gaps he and the other
kids had sneaked through many moons ago.
The holes were still present, and
just wide enough for him to still push his way through
– if he dared.
Mac swallowed, and in the back
of his subconscious he heard the others goading him to
go inside, but this wasn’t ghostly voices he was
hearing, it was a memory from his childhood.
MacGyver fought the recollection
and began to squeeze through the boarding. The nearest
plank was so rotten it gave with a snap, giving him free
access to inside the mine.
Mac shone the beam of his light
around in an arc, but as he as he’d expected, there
was no sign of Neil Ryder. The light began to quiver and
he realized his hand was trembling just a touch.
Mac, you weren’t scared of a knife wielding scarecrow,
but you’re afraid of an old den?
He moved his feet, forcing them
to trudge just a tad deeper into the shaft. And there,
right in the center, just as he remembered it, was the
tiny wooden table they’d played on.
Cobwebs and dust adorned the table’s
surface, but there were items on it that didn’t
belong. A pumpkin leered at him, the candle inside flickering
and bobbing in the dim light casting bizarre shadows MacGyver
would rather not have seen.
wouldn’t do this…
yet someone had been in the mine.
Morbid curiosity pushed him on,
and MacGyver couldn’t help but walk up to the table.
As his eyes finally met the other
item that had been placed for him, his stomach lurched.
It was the time capsule he and
the other boys had buried, and more recently as adults,
dug up. It was open, but instead of the things they’d
put in it all those years ago, there was a gun.
But not any gun – this was
the weapon that had killed Jesse.
can’t be, it’s still in police evidence!
And yet MacGyver knew what he was looking at. Its evil
form was etched into his psyche forever.
A scratching sound from the mine
entrance caught his attention and he spun around, glad
not to have to look at the gun a second longer.
Standing by the boarding he had
entered through, was the scarecrow.
It was watching him again, those
huge red orbs dazzlingly bright in the darkness. As before,
its head was cocked, but it didn’t attack.
guess we were wrong about Teresa Wilson then, Mac admitted
to himself. She must be in custody by now…
The scarecrow seemed to sense his
thoughts and dived through the wooden laths to the outside,
shattering the decayed timbers with the weight of its
kicked into a sprint, intent on catching up with his farmyard
nemesis. It had just made things personal on a level even
he couldn’t ignore. How did it/he get the gun?
But there would be no answers tonight.
As Mac neared the shattered entrance
he heard an all-too familiar click – in his haste
to catch the killer, he’d missed one vital part
of his surroundings – a concealed trigger.
he could react, the explosion engulfed the mouth of the
shaft, bringing down the support beams, and several tones
of soil with it.