This is a story I wrote a while ago, inspired by the John Barleycorn legend.
Larceny at Lammas
In the Field
The two policemen were standing in a recently cut corn field. Right in the centre of the field was a circular area of uncut stalks about six feet in diameter. In the centre of the stalks was what could be described as a “rustic throne” made of rough, undressed branches, some still bearing leaves. Sitting on the throne was a man, or the remains of a man. He had been tied to the throne, tightly bound from head to foot, and his throat had been cut.
“First things first” said Walton, changing hands. “Get the medical examiner up here pronto, call in SOCO and get on to the duty sergeant, we'll need all hands on deck for a fingertip search. I'll speak to the Super, he'll want us to try to keep the press from nosing around in this for as long as we can. Then I suppose we'd better round up all the usual satanists, pagans and lunatics and see what they have to say for themselves.”
“Righto Sir. Just about everyone in town is likely to be at that harvest festival thing on the seafront. Yesterday the weather was pretty dull but it's a glorious day today, they'll be making the most of it”. “I believe you're right Sergeant, let's find out as much as we can about what we have here before we start broadcasting it about”.
“Who called it in Sir?” "A couple of hikers. Got lost doing the South Downs Way. We've got them down at the station now giving statements. They'll be put up in a hotel for the night and we'll keep an eye on them until we know a bit more about what's been going on here. It's a nasty business. Tell SOCO to go through the victims pockets ASAP. The sooner we know who he was the better. And tell them no sirens Sergeant, it's nice and lonely and quiet out here, pretty with all those poppies, let's try to keep it that way”
The telephone rings.