Last year at Halloween I did a short story on Twitter using the hashtag #tweetatale. I usually don’t get responses from anything I say on Twitter so surprise surprise when i did the story I got some replies. So I decide to do another story real quick each Halloween, maybe every holiday just to let the creative juices flow. This is such a story and I hope you enjoy 🙂
Many tales are told on this the night of Halloween. Most are lies fabricated from the minds of vindictive big brothers, caffeine fueled pulpits, and mothers who forgot what it was like to be a child. However there is one such tale that everyone knows to be true: The Tale of Pumpkin Jack. Now the origin of the legend of Pumpkin Jack is not known, varying from a curse placed by an evil witch on a child who damaged her home to the very offspring of the fallen angel himself. What is known is that he exists and he is always hungry. Cursed to return to this earthly realm every October 31, seeking another soul to torment.
Most people know the rules, the little to keep the demon at bay. However there are always those who refuse to believe. These people then always add to the tale of Pumpkin Jack to warn others not to be so foolish.
The last Pumpkin Jack attack happened last year on this very day, not too far from where we are now. A town spruced up with decorations of ghouls and ghosts, pumpkins perched in windowsills, and ravens dancing in the sky. Children were dressed in costumes of imagination and whimsy while parents filled bowl after bowl with candy. Indeed it was not unlike any other Halloween night, yet there was one such fella who refused to take part.
To anyone Albert was your average guy, a loving wife and four equally loving children sharing a beautiful home in the midst of a glorious neighborhood. He was friendly most days and would be seen with a smile on even when the weather was dreary. Yet….there was something about Halloween. Something about the little holiday that Albert just couldn’t manage to shake. Perhaps it was the costumes which hid many faces, or maybe it was the burden of supplying candy for every urchin who visits your door or more likely had one of those fabled older brothers who told him a ghost story so frightening he piddled himself in front of the prettiest girl in school. Whatever the case may be Albert Honeybatch refused to celebrate Halloween and forced his family not to do so either.
Every Halloween since becoming a man he turned out the lights, refused to buy a single pumpkin, and actively avoided saying boo! to anyone. It wasn’t right he thought to do such things. And he certainly did not care for ghost stories like Pumpkin Jack. This Halloween would be no different until…
Knock knock knock.
There came a knocking at the door as Albert sent his family to bed. He gritted his teeth rushing to the door. He flung the door open to find….no one there. The door slammed shut as he turned back into the house. Only to be disturbed by a….
Knock knock knock.
This time it was louder than the last. So loud it made the house quake with each thunderous blow. Albert snarled and sprung for the door. This time he found…no one there. He peered around the threshold, among the bushes and lawn under the gaze of the silvery moon. Along the street kids went door to door begging for treats, somewhere down the lane Albert heard what sounded like a Halloween party going on. Still nothing and no one seemed to be paying his home any mind. A crow on the neighbor’s house cawed at him before taking flight into the night. Albert dismissed this all as part of his imagination brought on by this awful holiday.
Once again he closed the door, hoping his mind was done playing tricks. The door barely clicked close when another…
Knock knock knock.
Came at the door. This time Albert felt the force of the knock rattle his bones like the wind through shaking the life from a sickly elm. He opened the door to find….a large person on his doorstep. The person was much bigger than Albert by a few feet, dressed in all black as well. Atop his head he wore a jack o’ lantern with triangle eyes and jagged teeth. Little orange flames danced within the pumpkin’s face. And there was a stench. Oh what a stench, of earth, decay, and burnt pumpkin seeds.
The person sat there breathing, its thin frame rising and falling beneath the black clothes. As it stood there Albert grew enraged. His fist clenching from the sight.
“Get out of here!” he hollered, pointing to the road. “I don’t celebrate this fool holiday you see! Go on and get, there’s nothing for you here!”
But the person with the pumpkin head never moved. It breathed, breathed, breathed instead. Albert was about to shout again when the man said:
“Give me something tasty
A sugar dipped treat
Give me what I lack
Give me something sugary
A little bit to eat
A token of Halloween for dear old Pumpkin Jack.”
Albert smirked at the man’s words. “There is no candy to be had. I don’t believe in Pumpkin Jack. Do you hear? I don’t believe in Pumpkin Jack.”
The smelly man on his porch leaned closer and said:
“You have no offering for dear old me
Not one treats for Pumpkin Jack
Then a trick you shall get
For your sin I’ll take your family
You’ll never get them back
You will be taught a lesson you will never soon forget.”
Albert shouted obscenities very much unlike him, until the pumpkin headed man backed up. The flames in the pumpkin flickered orange and blue and the smell grew stronger than before. But Albert pressed on. “Get off my property and don’t come back. Never let me hear the name of Pumpkin Jack again!”
The man with the pumpkin head shuffled off the porch and onto the grass. He turned around with the flames now a scalding white glow.
“Pumpkin Jack gets what Pumpkin Jack wants
Four children and a wife
To add to my expanding patch
For many a night your sorrow shall haunt
For the rest of your miserable life
The likes of hell could never match.”
Albert shut the door. Immediately all traces of light went out of the house. He called to his family while maneuvering the darkness to where the flashlight was. Albert reached the drawer and found the flashlight. The flashlight flickered to life and pierced the dark. He called to his family again with no response. Again, again, and once more he cried. Only absolute silence responded back to him. He leapt up the stairs reaching his children’s rooms. One by one he opened the doors to find empty beds. The smells of earth, decay, and burnt pumpkin seeds in the air. He called to his wife, hollering as loud as he could.
He went up another flight of steps. The stairs were lined with pumpkin seeds that he squished undertow. Albert stopped when he reached the door of his bedroom, a sudden chill halting his heart. He turned the knob. Moonlight spilled through the windows to reveal an empty bed. At the window however the pumpkin headed man stood with his wife. A black hand was wrapped around her mouth, wet and sticky like rotted pumpkin flesh. And Pumpkin Jack stared at him with white lit eyes moments before he went out the window with Albert’s wife in his arms.
The pumpkin headed body soared through the sky like a dark messenger of the night. Albert ran out of his house chasing it until the sun came up. Pumpkin Jack disappeared. And so did his family. Poor Albert Honeybatch was never able to explain what happened. He was made to look crazy, alone in his empty house with memories and ghosts to haunt his dreams. The very next Halloween Albert looked outside his window and on his front lawn was a family of pumpkins, one large and four small. In the flesh of each the faces of his family was etched. The next day they disappeared, only to return the next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, forever and always on Halloween.
So take heed when your candy runs low, and when your home lacks a bit of spook for you never know when Pumpkin Jack will…
Knock knock knock
On your door.