Charlie arrived breathlessly home from school and went to head up to his room.
‘Charlie?’ his mum called from the kitchen.
His foot touched the bottom of the staircase and he almost broke into another run.
The kitchen door squeaked open and his mum appeared in the hallway. She was dressed in her office clothes; a black pencil skirt, white blouse and black jacket.
‘Are you okay?’
He nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
‘Come in the kitchen. I’ll get you a drink,’ she suggested.
Charlie looked longingly up the stairs and almost told her no. It was best just to get it over and done with though. Slowly, he followed her into the kitchen and sat down at the table.
There was a bright orange pumpkin opposite him. It was mostly round, but a bit bumpy. He reached a finger out and poked the soft flesh.
‘Here you go,’ his mum spoke and put a glass of milk before him.
Charlie picked it up, his eyes still drawn to the pumpkin.
‘How was school?’
‘Okay…Can I go now?’ Charlie said in a low voice.
His mum sighed, ‘I suppose. Dinner will be soon.’
Charlie nodded, took a sip of his milk and went upstairs with it. There in his bedroom, he turned his TV and game console on. He loaded his fantasy game and began playing.
‘Charlie!’ his mum called a few minutes.
He rolled his eyes and tutted.
‘I need to nip out. I forgot something. Do you want to come?’
‘No!’ he yelled back.
‘I’ll be back soon then.’
‘Fine!’ Charlie called back then under his breath, ‘I just want to be left alone.’
He heard the front door close and turned his focus back to his game. A boss battle was coming up. He charged head into the fantasy game, forgetting everything else. Until a loud thumping sound came from the kitchen.
Charlie paused, shrugged and carried on playing.
The sound came again as if someone was knocking on the back door.
Charlie finally paused the game and got up. Growling, he went downstairs and into the kitchen. There was no one at the back door, but the pumpkin had gone from the table. Puzzled, he looked around for it and saw a flash of orange on the floor. He looked under the table and saw the pumpkin there against the wall.
He reached out for it. Changed his mind and went back upstairs with a shake of his head. The pumpkin had just rolled off. It hadn’t looked stable anyway. Charlie rushed back upstairs and to his game. Settling down again, he carried on playing.
He just about heard his mum come home and start tea. Later on, She had to call him down for it three times, before he give in and went.
‘What were you doing up there?’ she asked, as he sat down.
‘Playing my game…’ Charlie answered.
‘Did you do your homework?’
‘It’s half term. I got time now,’ he responded.
He ate quickly and before his mum could say anything further, Charlie had gone upstairs again. Loading his game, he fall back into completing his mission to find a magic sword. Sometime later, he heard his dad come home then his parents coming to say good night to him.
Charlie pretended to go to bed, but really he waited till he was sure his parents had fallen sleep and got up again. He went to turn on his TV when a he heard something moving downstairs. He stopped and listened. It sounded like a heavy ball rolling down the hallway.
Frowning, Charlie crept to his door and looked out. The hallway was dark and he couldn’t see. He walked out. Turned on the light and tried to listen for the sound again. He couldn’t hear anything. He made to turn back into his room, but then there was a creak. He went to the edge of the stairs looked down.
The pumpkin was in the hallway.
Frowning and wondering how it got there, Charlie went downstairs. The pumpkin was in the middle of the hallway, on it’s side. He touched it with his barefoot but it didn’t move. Shrugging, he went back upstairs, turning off the light and shutting the door. Charlie went to his TV again and turned it on.
He reached for the button on his game console. A dull thump, stopped his hand. Charlie looked over his shoulder.
‘What’s going on?’ he muttered, ‘Whatever.’
He pressed the button and settled down. As the game loaded, he heard what sounded like someone walking up the stairs. Only it sounded more hollow and with large gaps in between each step. Charlie ignored it and started playing his game. He was in the middle of another quest now.
He heard the loose board on the landing creak.
Charlie stopped his game and turned off the TV. He scrambled into his bed and pulled the duvet over his head. He quieten his breathing and stilled himself. He listened hard. It was just his mum or dad getting up to go the bathroom or something.
There was a knock at his door.
Charlie faked sleep as best as he could.
His door opened, but instead of footsteps the carpet, something very heavy rolled across his floor.
Frowning, under the duvet, he wondered what was going on. He almost pulled the bedding down to see, but nervous had gotten to him. He held his breath and waited.
Something knocked into his bed and he felt vibrations through him.
Taking a deep breath, Charlie threw the duvet back and clicked on the lamp. He looked down and saw the pumpkin at the foot of his bed. A crude mouth and two eyes had been craved in the surface out of which yellow light was coming out. The pumpkin was grinning evil up at him.
A scream ripped out of Charlie’s mouth and echoing in his ears. He tried to get out of the bed, but the bedding was tangled around him. He fell to the floor and the pumpkin rolled towards him. Charlie screamed again and scuttled across the floor to the door. He reached it at the same time his mum appeared in the doorway.
He grabbed her legs and pressed his face against her. He felt her arms around him then heard her scream as she saw the pumpkin.
She pulled Charlie to his feet and they ran into her bedroom. Slamming the door, they both looked at Charlie’s dad getting out of the bed.
‘What is it?’ he asked.
‘The pumpkin….did you do that?’ Charlie’s mother gasped.
‘The pumpkin had a face on it and it was next to Charlie’s bed.’
‘It came into my room by itself!’ Charlie cried.
‘Don’t be silly!’ his dad snapped.
Pushing past them, his dad opened the door and looked out. They looked too and they all saw the pumpkin sat in the hallway. Light from it’s eyes and mouth pooling on the floor and casting an eerie glow around it.
‘Charlie, did you do that?’ his dad asked.
Charlie shook his head and backed away.
‘Why would he?’ his mum shot in, ‘he’s been in his room all day.’
‘Right, well someone’s having a laugh aren’t they?’ his dad said.
He went out into the hallway, picked the pumpkin up and they heard him carry it downstairs.
‘Honestly, Charlie, did you do that?’ his mum asked.
‘No. Why would I?’ Charlie shouted.
Shaking off the last of his fear, he went back to his room and closed his door softly. Charlie turned the TV back on, but before he sat down to play his game again, he went to the window. His bedroom looked over the side of the house. He couldn’t see anything out there other then the glow of a streetlamp and the side of the neighboring house. He went back to his game and after a few moments heard his dad come back in and to bed.
He heard the hush voices of his parents, but couldn’t make their words out. No doubt they were talking about him though. Ignoring all of that, he started to play his game again. However, he couldn’t help but think about what had just happened. Who had done that to the pumpkin and why? It had seemed so real, but of course it couldn’t have been….
Soon tiredness crept on him and Charlie went to bed. Just as he was falling asleep though, he heard something moving in the downstairs hallway. Pulling a face, he listened and tried to decided what that was. Then he heard something rolling up the stairs…
He clutched the duvet then throwing it back, he got out of bed and rushed to his desk. Grabbing his chair, he dragged it to his bedroom door and wedged the top of the chair under the door knob. He stepped back just as something heavy banged into his door. Charlie looked around his room, wondering what else he could do. But there was nothing here that would help.
The bang came against his door again and carried on.
He wanted to scream, but couldn’t.
Then the banging stopped.
He waited for what felt like an age, but was only a few minutes. He took the chair away and opened his door. He turned the hallway light on and saw it was empty. Then he noticed his parents bedroom door was open.
His mum’s scream ripped through the house and Charlie bolted over.
He turned on the light as he entered and his feet stumbled to a stop.
The pumpkin was on the bed eating his dad’ head. There was blood everywhere and his mum was fleeing into a corner. Charlie looked around and spotted a pair of small scissors on top of a cupboard. He grabbed them, charged in and stabbed the pumpkin with them.
The pumpkin turned to him, blood dripping from sharp fang teeth which tried to bite his fingers.
Charlie stabbed down again and again.
The pumpkin tried to move out of the way, but Charlie was faster. He stuck the scissors deep in, grabbed the pumpkin and threw it to the floor.
The pumpkin smashed and the yellow light went out.
Charlie looked at the mess, trying to catch his breath. Behind him, he heard his mum scrambling around on the bed. She was speaking, but he couldn’t hear her. Then her words sunk in and Charlie reached for a mobile phone and called an ambulance.