She saw the man from a distance, grey and spectral in the thickening evening mist. She paid him little attention. He was still, silent, but not threatening the way people can be when unknown and unnamed. She wandered on slowly, her mind on other things, her eyes down, the better to see the uneven ground on which she walked. The mist enfolded her as it enfolded the figure now only perhaps a hundred paces away. Her thoughts ran over the previous evening, her meeting with... she didn't even know his name. He had been gentle, funny, softly spoken but not soft, good-looking but not stunning. And he had stopped to speak with her.
She looked up briefly. The figure was closer, but still a mere shadow in the late-sun-streaked mist which lay heavy and low across the fields. She stopped, a little puzzled. Why had he not moved? Not spoken?
Last night, he had left her with a smile on her face and a warmth in her heart that she had not experienced for... oh, for too long. He had kissed her hand in a laughing, flamboyant manner which belied the quiet manner which had been his while they spoke together. He left her with her shoe in her hand, the heel broken off by her fall from the kerb. And he left her with a promise that they would meet again soon. How, she could not imagine. They hadn't even said their names. No numbers exchanged. No email or Twitter details. No Facebook. She was as much an unknown to him as he was to her.
She stopped walking, her eyes fixed now on the man in the mist. Still she didn't feel threatened, but gave way nonetheless to a sense of unease. Then, out of the mist, a hat became clear on his head. A hat! HE had been wearing a crazy hat last night, perched foolishly, revealing a zany side to his nature. Her heart quickened. She moved forward uncertainly, her eyes trying to pick out more detail from the vague shape. She arrived at the edge of a swathe of wheat which she supposed swept out across the rest of the field in front of her. An unexpected rustle sounded in the grass behind her, and she spun round in a panic to see a goat bending nonchalantly to chew. She closed her eyes for a second and took a deep breath, and turned back to the man. Closer now, she could make out his head, his body; his legs hidden behind dense stalks heavy with grain. Uncertain about stepping onto the crop, she stopped again. "Hello? Hello? Is that... is that you?", certain now that it was him, yet puzzled as to how he came to be there. Silence. Was he mocking her? Teasing? "Hello?", she tried again. Silence.
She looked about. Nothing stirred in the still evening. The goat watched her now, curious at her invasion of his peace. She peered at the figure in the mist. The space between the two of them seemed to grow. Feeling her heart beat faster still she came to a decision, strode forward, breaking wheat as she went. "Hello? Hello? It IS you, isn't it? Why are you here? Did you... did you come to see me again? How did you know I'd be here?"
And out of the mist, the scarecrow squinted past her with dead eyes.