The wheelbarrow approached him at an angle, almost as though it wished to disguise its lack of any apparent propelling force: certainly no ruddy-faced farmer nor lightly-muscled adolescent grasped its handles.
There was no human nor animal pulling, pushing or even trying to keep it in a straight path. It trundled itself up to him and stopped, settling back on its legs.
“Eh?” he said, looking at it more closely. He walked around it slowly, scratching his head, perplexed.
As he came around to the front of it yet again, the wheelbarrow lifted its legs and handles, balancing on its wheel. Then it dexterously scooped him into its cradle-like tray and started rolling down the road at a furious pace.
“’Ere now!” he cried, and tried to clamber out, but the wheelbarrow increased its speed, and he was forced to cling to its sides. Admittedly his grasp was not as firm as he would have liked, for a supernaturally-propelled gardening aid kidnapping him, as it were, was not an ordinary occurrence. In short, his big calloused hands actually trembled a bit as he clung to its sides, fearful of being flung headfirst from his vehicle should it strike a large rock. This continued for some minutes, until he started trying to formulate a plan of escape. Perhaps reasoning with his sturdy beast of transportation would work?
“O wheelbarrow,” he began, though his voice lacked its usual timbre. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Excuse me, but perhaps you’ve mistaken me for someone else? Someone who was expecting you to – ah – pick him up?”
The impromptu conveyance slowed a bit. Ah, he thought, it does respond to a respectfully-voiced query.
“Aren’t I a bit heavy for you? Surely you would prefer I walk beside you?”
It slowed yet again.
He sat up straighter. “May I alight from your tray?”
Gradually it slowed to a stop, resting once more on its legs and single wheel.
“Thank you,” he said, with sincere gratitude, and clumsily climbed out.
“Good journey to you,” he nodded, and carefully stepped away from the wheelbarrow, walking calmly at first, then more rapidly, then – yes, he was running, and running all-out.
He glanced over his shoulder as he neared the beginning incline of a hill. The wheelbarrow still sat where he had left it, in the center of the deserted country road.
Good. It wasn’t going to pursue him. Gasping a little as he surmounted the hill, he stumbled and nearly fell as he looked ahead on the dusty road.
A larger wheelbarrow was tilting its tray toward him, anticipating his arrival.