THE PUNKIN KING
One of the spooky stories from FLASHY FICTION
It’s that time of year again. I freakin’ LOVE HALLOWEEN. So to celebrate my mostest favorite time of year, I decided to post one of my stories from FLASHY FICTION VOL 1&2. ENJOY! Or he’ll come for your soul.
“Mom, I like this one!” Jack pointed down at a rather robust looking gourd. His mother walked over to where he stood. She looked down and gasped. The pumpkin prices this year were astounding. The one at her little boy’s feet had to weigh at least twenty-five pounds. She quickly did the math in her head and groaned at the price. Twelve dollars for a pumpkin was just a little more than she was willing to spend.
“Jack, that one’s a little too heavy, baby. Come on. Let’s go find another.”
“No, Mommy. I want this one. It perdy.”
“Jack, I said no. Come on.” She reached down and grabbed his pudgy little hand. She tried to pull him away from the pumpkin, but he stood rooted to the ground. She yanked again but couldn’tbudge him. She looked at his face as he just stared at the pumpkin smiling. “Jack?”
“Come on, sweetie. Let’s go find a prettier pumpkin,” Nancy said nervously.
“No, Mommy. I like this one and it really wants to go home with us.” Jack bent down and picked the pumpkin up off the ground without any trouble at all. Nancy’s mouth opened in shock.
“Okay, baby. We’ll get this one, but let me carry it.” Nancy bent down and touched her hands to the smooth surface of the pumpkin. She hissed in shock as the orange flesh burned her skin. “What the hell?”
“Are you okay, Mommy?”
Nancy looked at her hands. The flesh wasn’t even pink. It showed no signs of burns either. She shook her head and chalked the feeling up to being overtired. “I’m fine, sweetie,” she said and reached down to take the pumpkin again. She noticed Jack’s little smile as he watched her hands. She paused midway. “Are you sure you can carry such a big pumpkin, Jack?”
“I’m sure, Mommy.”
She shrugged her shoulders and led her five year old son to the check out register. It had been set up at the entrance to the tented pumpkin patch. Every year they’d stop at the same place along the old highway that led from Lazy Days Daycare center to their tiny two bedroom house on the outskirts of town.
“That’s a mighty fine pumpkin you got there, son. You picked out a winner,” the old man behind the register said. He reached down with gloved hands and plucked the massive gourd from the hands of Jack and set it on a large silver scale. The red needle swooped from zero to thirty five pounds.
Nancy stared at Jack in shock. “So much for twelve dollars,” she muttered under her breath.
“That will be three dollars, ma’am.”
Nancy stopped digging through her purse for a twenty dollar bill and stared at the man like he had grown an extra head. She opened her mouth to say something but just smiled instead. She pulled out a five and handed it to him. She looked back at the scale. The needle had settled right on the six pound mark. She rubbed her eyes to make sure she’d read it right and then at the large pumpkin on the scale. “No wonder he could carry it,” she whispered and looked down at a smiling Jack.
“Here’s your change, ma’am.” The old man smiled and handed her two dollars. She pocketed the change and picked up the pumpkin to hand to Jack. She nearly dropped it. It weighed more than her son did.
“Careful, ma’am. They can get slippery.”
She turned and nodded wide-eyed at the man. Jack reached up and took the pumpkin like it weighed no more than an inflatable beach ball. She stared at him as he ran toward their green minivan.
They made the trip home in record time. Nancy shut off the radio because she couldn’t find a decent song to save her life. Instead she smiled and listened to Jack as he rambled on like he was having a conversation with the pumpkin strapped into the seat next to him.
By the time they pulled into the driveway she was starting to worry. Jack’s conversation had turned into a full blown, one sided argument. Apparently the pumpkin was winning, too.
“Fine. Be that way,” Jack yelled and slammed the back door shut after he got out, leaving the pumpkin alone in the back seat.
“Are you going to carry your pumpkin inside, Jack?”
“No! He wants you to carry him in,” he said and stormed into the house.
Nancy shrugged and took it from the seat. She strained to get it inside the house, but she finally managed. Jack sat on the couch watching cartoons about undersea creatures with annoying voices. Nancy personally hated the show. “Are you going to help me carve it?”
“The pumpkin. Tomorrow’s Halloween. We won’t have time to carve it after you get home from scho–” The look of horror on Jack’s face stopped Nancy from finishing her sentence.
“Carve it? Carve it? Mommy you can’t kill Necrostophiles,” Jack said slowly, stumbling over the name.
“Stophiles. That’s his name. If you kill him the other punkins will be very mad.”
“Okay, Jack. Why don’t you go get into bed? You’ve got a big day tomorrow. School and then trick or treats.”
Jack nodded and hugged his mother. She helped him get is pajamas on and got him tucked in. “G’night, Mommy.”
“Goodnight, Jackie. Sweet dreams,” she said and flipped the light switch by his door.
She made her way into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of red wine. She managed not to spill the over-full glass as she made her way back to the small living-room. She sighed wearily as she sat down on the couch in the spot Jack had vacated. She took a sip, realized she was watching cartoons, and flipped on the news. Story after story threatened to send her mood spiraling into the abyss. “The crazies are out early this year.”
She flipped off the TV, checked on the sleeping Jack, and made her way back into the kitchen. She drained the rest of her wine and set the empty glass on the kitchenette table holding Necrowhateverhisnamewas. She gave the pumpkin the middle finger and put her hands on her hips. She stared at it for a full minute before deciding she’d had enough. She opened the drawer under the microwave and pulled out a serrated kitchen knife.
She walked over to the pumpkin and put the tip of the knife about three inches from the stem. She smiled as she drove the blade into the pumpkin all the way to the hilt. The pumpkin screamed. Maybe it was her. Either way, she let go of the handle and backed up against the kitchen counter behind her. Blood, as red as the wine that had been in her glass, began pouring freely from the wound in the top of the pumpkin.
A low moaning noise filled her ears as the blood formed a pool on the table and began falling to the floor in a miniature red waterfall. Nancy turned to run and saw Jack standing in the entrance to the kitchen looking very angry.
“Mommy, I told you no!” He ran over to the pumpkin and began rubbing his hand gently over it and whispering to it softly. Nancy screamed and grabbed Jack’s arm. She tried to yank him away, but just like at the pumpkin patch, she couldn’t move him. He looked up at her and a single tear slid down his cheek. “You killed him, Mommy. I asked you not to, but you did it anyway. The others are coming. I won’t stop them either.
“The other punkins. You killed their king.”
Nancy put her hands over her mouth and stifled a scream as the first vine shot through the kitchen window. She ducked as it shot straight for her. She managed to dodge it, but a second, thicker vine managed to wrap itself around her neck. She grasped futilely at it as it kept tightening. Fighting to breathe, she reached into the drawer next to her and grabbed a butcher knife. She slashed at the vine and cut through it with one swing. The vine slipped from her neck. She ran back to Jack to grab him and run. She stopped before she touched him. His skin had turned a dark, brownish-green. His face started turning orange. His eyes glowed like twin candles and his nose sank into his face. He opened his mouth and flames flashed between his shrinking lips as his mouth curled in an insanely large smile that spread from ear to ear. She watched as her tiny son began to grow before her eyes. He towered over her, at least seven feet tall.
She started screaming.
Jack’s skeletal brown hand wrapped around her throat.
“I begged you not to kill him, Mommy,” he said in a demonic voice. “Now I am the Punkin King.”
* * *
Lately, I’ve been having some seriously sleepless nights. I blame it on all the stress on my life. While the lack of sleep isn’t very beneficial to my sanity, it does help me come up with some outrageous stories. I wrote this one around Halloween. I write a lot of horror, but I’ve been focusing a lot more on writing steampunk. I was feeling a little nostalgic for some creepy stories, so I penned The Punkin King. I fell asleep right after with a grin on my face that spread from ear to ear. I do so love Halloween.