More farmworkers and locals went missing after that. Over the past five years it seems that more than two hundred individuals have turned up dead; an epidemic for a town this size. The bodies would be found at the edges of cornfields days later, often with fresh cornstalks growing out of their wounds. It was a mystery that the local police couldn’t solve.
“We looked into it,” Sheriff Tuckleford told us. “But couldn’t find a single fingerprint on them, no way to match whatever weapon was used to kill them. The dogs wouldn’t go into the cornfields either and the farmers were mad that we were trampling their crops, so eventually we just gave it up. I mean, corn is important, you can’t just go around trampling it over a few dead bodies. Its easy to make a few more people to replace the dead ones; corn costs money. You gotta buy those seeds from Monsanto.”
Farmer Gulph, a local farmer, was one of the first to note the danger. “We had three young men go a’ missin’ one summer. Back in, oh… Oh-ten I think,” Gulph recalled, rocking on his hand-made chair on his porch, a corn-cob pipe puffing away and a jug with three ‘X’s sitting beside him. As he told the story he whittled a toy train with a knife pulled from his denim overalls. “They turned up later, ayup. But they turned up dead. Dead’s how theya turned up. Throats cut and little cornstalks growin’ outta ’em. Shame that. Corn didn’ta taste right, neither.”
The Monsanto connection is what finally cracked the case. Local newspaper** editor Harriet Urb discovered that the families of the deceased had received letters from Monsanto ordering them to pay for the corn growing from their relatives’ corpses. Urb was able to track those letters to the local Monsanto Enforcement Office.
“Those seeds are property of Monsanto,” says Enforcement Agent Randolph Whattely. “Those genes are patented and growing them without the permission of, and payment to, the Monsanto Imperial Conglomerate is a violation of local, national, international, and supra-international treaty and law. We have every right to pursue repayment. We are of course deeply moved by the tragedy these families are experiencing, but that is no excuse for patent infringement.”
Further research by Urb and his staff*** discovered that not only was Monsanto claiming that the corn growing from the bodies was theirs, but that the killer was also a Monsanto product. It seems that one of Monsanto’s patented GMO corn strains is a breed designed to be mobile and highly ruthless. The intent, it seems, was to develop a strain of corn that could protect itself from insects and birds. And also to hunt out and remove non-Monsanto corn strains in order to keep its fields pure.“Do we have semi-sentient hunter-killer breeds of corn? Of course we do,” said Agent Whattely when Urb presented this evidence. “Corn has to be protected. Corn must be safe. Corn must spread and breed and choke the life out of anything that tries to compete with it. Corn is all and corn will be all and corn!” While stating this, Agent Whattely removed his dark sunglasses, revealing eyes of corn, the tassels of corn silk twitching violently.
The revelation of the killers’ nature has some Gatlin residents concerned. “Well, I’m not entirely sure that we want killer corn,” Farmer Gulph said from the porch of his sod house. “But what are we going to do? Monsanto corn has a much higher yield than other corn. Gotta have corn, ya know. We’ve got football to think about, and we need those big corn-fed players if we’re gonna beat Ohio St. next year.”
Others in Gatlin seem to welcome the more violent corn. One such is a local youth and aspiring preacher named Isaac. “The old-timers fear it, but we know better. The corn is walking now, and somewhere, deep in those fields is He Who Walks Between the Rows, the one to whom the walking corn must answer. To whom we all must answer. His children have started it, but it is up to us to finish it. The old-timers are in the way. For now that is. But not for much longer.” Isaac then went back to talk to the group of children gathered outside the barn.
**Apparently print journalism is still a thing in the boonies.
*** TMS was surprised to learn that news reporters conducted “research” or “investigations” or had “staffs”