The Immobile God of Secrets
by Jamie Lackey
Jun slogged through the rice paddy, muddy water swirling around her calves. She glanced behind her, checking again to make sure that Reiko and her cronies hadn’t chased her. The only figure in sight was a lone scarecrow, wearing a pointed straw hat and a tattered blue yukata.
Its face, two wide eyes and a softly smiling line for its mouth, was painted onto a rough woven sack, and its wooden pole tilted slightly to the left. It looked like it could bounce away at any second–Jun couldn’t imagine a single crow braving it.
She bowed. “Thank you for your hospitality.”
“You are welcome anytime.”
Jun started back and almost fell. She looked around again, but saw nothing but green stalks, heavy with yellowing rice, and the occasional glint of water. She walked around the scarecrow. Even the water was still–the only ripples were from her own passing. She remembered her manners and bowed again. “Thank you.”
“If you would stay and keep me company, I will share a secret with you.”