Tiki

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It was almost Halloween and typical autumn night, the rain pelting down and the wind at gale force. The clock ticked to 3 AM. In the haze of sleep, a voice was calling me and something was touching my arm. I woke, confused and fuzzy.

‘Mummy? The ghosts have been talking to me again,’ a voice whispered.

I clicked on the lamp and looked down at my five year old son, Bailey. He was clutching an action figure of Iron Man and looking as tired as I was feeling.

‘You said I had to tell,’ Bailey spoke louder.

I yawed and mumbled something that was meant to be I know. I rubbed my face and got up.

‘What did they say?’ I asked.

‘The ghosts say we have to get rid of the tiki head.’

‘Again?’ I moaned, ‘are you sure that’s not just you, Bailey?’

He shook his head, soft blonde hair floating about.

‘What’s matter?’ my husband, Tom asked from the other side of the bed.

‘It’s nothing,’ I replied.

Getting out of the bed, I took Bailey’s hand and lead him back to his bedroom. The night light was on, casting an calming orange glow and also creating more shadows. I thought I saw shapes moving by the wardrobe but it was just my tired eyes and lack of light.

‘Where did you see the ghosts, Bailey?’ I questioned.

He let go of my hand and said, ‘all round.’

‘And they look like…?’

‘Like they normally do!’ he snapped, ‘see-through, floating and like people.’

‘Okay,’ I muttered.

I put him back to bed, not impressed. Ever since Bailey had started talking, he had spoke of the ghosts most nights. Which was weird because my husband and I had never told him anything about ghosts or the supernatural. I tried to keep him away from that stuff, believing that it could effect him somehow.

I tucked him back in and sat on the edge of the bed, ‘tell me what they said, again,’ I asked.

‘The tiki head is evil. We have to get rid of it,’ Bailey replied.

I knew of course what he was talking about, he had been going on about it for weeks. Tom and I had a wooden tiki head which we had gotten from Easter Island where we had gone on our honeymoon. I wasn’t that keen on the ugly face and had half hidden it on the corner bookcase in the living room. I don’t remember telling Bailey about it but maybe Tom had done?

‘Why is it evil?’ I questioned.

‘A bad spirit,’ he said.

I rubbed my face again, not sure what to do.

‘Okay. Go back to sleep.’

I kissed him, patted the duvet down and went back to my own bed. Tom was snoring again and everything looked normal. I wondered as I got back into bed and turned out the light what was going on with Bailey.

Waiting to fall asleep again, I listen to the heavy rain and decided in the morning, without saying anything, I would take the tiki head and hide it somewhere. Then Bailey would stop talking about it and the ghosts.

In the morning, before Tom and Bailey were awake, I went downstairs and took the tiki head from the shelf. It felt rough and cold in my hand, the features of the bold face leering at me in a shocking grimace. I remembered Tom picking it, making a joke that it remind him of my mother, whom he didn’t get on with.

In the hallway, I opened the under stairs cupboard which we used to store unwanted things. I tucked the tiki head in between a horrible brown glazed vase and a stack of old books. Closing the door, I dusted my hands in a there that’s dealt with motion and went to have a shower.

I shouldn’t have believed that a simple act like that would solve the problems. That night I put Bailey to bed and told him, ‘I got rid of the tiki head. You should sleep better now.’

‘Thanks, Mummy,’ he said sleepy.

I tugged him in, kissed him goodnight and left his room.

In the morning though when I woke him up and took him into the bathroom, Bailey announced, ‘the ghosts say you didn’t get rid of the tiki head.’

‘What? Here, brush your teeth,’ I said.

‘Mummy, you said you was getting rid of it but you didn’t.’

‘I did,’ I countered back.

Bailey shook his head, ‘you hid it.’

I put my hands on my hips and told him firmly to brush his teeth. I got him dressed and wished, as I imagined other parents often did, that I was taking him to school. It was half term though and so today, I would have to entertain my son.

We went downstairs and at the cupboard underneath, Bailey stopped and went to the door.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked.

He opened the door and went in before I could stop him. He picked up the tiki head and handed it to me. There was a such a serious adult look on his face, that for a few seconds I didn’t recognise my little boy.

‘You lied,’ he said.

‘How did you know?’ I whispered.

‘The ghosts told me.’

‘Fine,’ I snapped.

I took the tiki head into the kitchen and placed it into the bin.

‘It’s gone now,’ I declared and Bailey seemed satisfied again.

The tiki head wasn’t though.

Two days later was the eve of Halloween and we were watching a movie on the sofa. There was a knocking at the door. Confused, I stepped into the hallway to answer it and heard that the knocking was coming from the back door and not the front. Kids playing jokes? A neighbor wanting to point something out?

I turned on the kitchen light, the knocking stopped and so did I.

Sitting on the sink draining board was the tiki head.

‘Tom?’ I called.

‘Yeah?’

I backed out of the kitchen and hurried into the living room.

‘The tiki head. Did you take it out of the bin?’ I asked.

‘What? I didn’t move anything,’ he replied.

‘Bailey?’

He shook his head and turned back to the movie again.

‘Right.’

I walked back into the kitchen and turned on the light again. The tiki head was gone.

I walked in, over to the sink and ran my hand across the slight wet surface. Nothing. I went to the bin and looked inside, I could just make out the tiki head from underneath other rubbish. I grabbed the bag and took it outside.

The air smelt like burning wood and leaves, damp earth and fireworks. The sky was a dull black and the half moon stark. Rain began to fall and I heard the wind playing. I dropped the bag into the waster bin and went back in.

Back in the living room, on the sofa, the soft glow of the TV and Bailey laughing, I didn’t say anything to them. I told myself I had imagined things.

That night, I lay in bed unable to sleep. I could hear this plastic rattling and something tapping. The wind and rain had died down now and I couldn’t tell what was making the noise or where it was coming from. I must have fallen asleep at some point because I had a weird dream that the tiki head kept appearing all around the house and I was chasing after it.

In the morning, I got up and searched the whole house but there wasn’t anything. I went to the outside bin and looked in, the bag with the tiki head was on top and the knot I had tied was still there.

I felt uneasy all day. Bailey was happily doing some Halloween craft activities and later we decorated the house. He didn’t say anything about ghosts or the tiki head. When Tom came home, we carved pumpkins together and get ready for the trick or treaters to call.

The first knock came at the door and I hurried to answer it.

There was no one there, just the grinning pumpkins flickering with light and the fake cobwebs pulling in the breeze. I looked further out, there was no way I could have missed anybody. In the distance, came the faint voices, knocking and doorbells. Something on the path moved. A leaf?

I walked out and towards it. My feet hit something and I looked down. The leering face of the tiki head stared up at me. I picked it up, the wood was icy cold and wet.

‘This has to be a joke!’ I snapped.

I looked round and saw no movement. I went back inside with the tiki head and placed it on the hallway table. I grabbed my coat and car keys.

‘Tom?’ I called.

‘Yes, Katie?’ he shouted back.

‘I’ve to go out. I forgot something.’

‘Now?’

‘I won’t be long!’

Snatching the Tiki head up, I went to my car. Not sure where to go, I drove around until I reached the park. There was a pond there and if I dropped the tiki head in it would be gone forever.

I got out of the car and smelt the deep autumn air. There were some people dressed up and wondering about. The park was light with some street lamps and the glow of the houses around. I hurried along the pathways to the pond.

The black water rippled against the stone wall, looking dangerous. A firework crackled into the sky, startling me. I saw the bobbing of a cyclist’s headlight and heard laughter.

Looking down at the tiki head, I tossed it in the water. The splash was loud and small waves rushed towards me.

‘So long,’ I said.

I went back home and enjoyed Halloween with my family. I felt like a weight had been lifted. However, as I went to bed that night I heard a dripping sound. Thinking someone had left a tap on I went first to the bathroom then the kitchen.

Turning on the light, I saw the back door open and the tiki head laying in a pool of water.

I screamed.

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A Bad Choice

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Halloween was ten days away and Jay was running out of time.

Passing the Warringtons’ house, he saw it was surrounded by pumpkins.

Jay pulled his car over, saw no one was about then darted out to take a huge pumpkin.

Shoving it into the back of the car, he drove off again.

First place in the pumpkin carving contest here I come, Jay thought.

A black cat shot out on to the road, Jay swerved to avoid it but hit a lamp post instead.

Jay never made it to the pumpkin carving contest after all.

Post It Note Short #51

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Remember to be the biggest pumpkin possible for the party this year. Small ones just won’t be scary enough.

Haunted Pumpkin

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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.

‘What the….?’

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.

‘What?’

‘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.

Halloween

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Upon this night, the veil between this world and the next thins allowing the passage between two places. The dead in all forms comes back to walk the earth once more. Spirits visit family and friends, guided by the candle light inside pumpkins left at front doors. Whilst the scary Jack O’ Lantern faces keep evil away.

Ghosts drifted through the streets, their tethers to places broken for this single night. They moan through the trees, rattling the bare branches, haunting everything they can. The more powerful ghosts move heavy objects, scream against the wind and make their presences felt.

All the other supernatural beings move through the cities under the disguises of real people. They mingle with crowds of children and adults, dressed up in bright or dark clothes going door to door. The old chant of trick or treat rings out, filling the night along the laughter and small screams.

In the shadows, demons and witches wait to snatch any wandering child away, but they are out of luck tonight. What with everyone child safely protected by the costumes they wear. It’s hard to tell if that is a human child or a fairy laughing under a tree. Best to leave it alone and lay in wait once more.

Vampires move from their crypts, rising as they have time after time. They seek out the only thing that can keep them going, but there is too much choice tonight. They prowl about, killers hiding in the darkness.

Clouds pass the almost full moon that hangs down in a ink blot sky and the clocks begin counting down to the midnight hour. Soon it will be over and this one night will be gone for another year.

Toffee Apples

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As the crunch echoed in her ears, she felt like autumn had really arrived. The sweet, crisp taste of apple and hard toffee mixed on her tongue and filled her with a bliss that seemed unbeatable. She swallowed and had to hold back her moan of pleasure. This was almost as good as pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice latte. It was the essence of autumn wrapped up.

Strawberries

Strawberries, Fruit, Red, Sweet, Fruits, Market

Nothing said summer like a bowl full of strawberries and cream. The same way nothing said autumn like pumpkin pie. Genie sighed at that thought and began thinking about a world that was trapped in just one season. What would she choose?

Halloween

Halloween rolled in on a bank of endless fog. Beth watched it from her bedroom window as she listened to the church bells tolling the midnight hour. Sleepily, she saw the fog reaching out and cloaking cars, lampposts and the whole street in a thick white blanket. Beth rubbed her eyes and wondered if the weather forecast had said anything about fog. She couldn’t remember.

Settling back on the duck feather pillow, she sighed and thought about reading some more of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, but it wasn’t gripping her enough. How about the TV? Maybe there’d be a horror movie or some ghost haunting show on. She couldn’t be bothered moving and remind fixed on watching the fog clouds rolling by. Slowly, her eyes closed and she thought about all the things she had to do tomorrow.

Celebrating Halloween alone again, she thought and sighed deeply, if I’d know my wild uni nights were going to turn into boring adult times I’d have found a way to stay longer.

In a flash, she saw the party from third year and smiled into her pillow. Her memory replayed disjointed scenes; the childish Halloween style games, all the food, the carved pumpkins on the staircase and that kiss from Blake. A wobble of pain and sadness shook her stomach and she banished that thought away.

She pulled the curtains and rolled over. Settling into a light doze and imaging herself in an empty white room. Sleep whispered to her then carried her off as the fog pressed heavier against the window. A wisp snuck through the not quite closed window and reached down towards her. Beth sighed in her sleep and didn’t feel the fog wisp brushing against her cheek.

The fog was still thick when Beth’s alarm clock drilled her awake. Switching it off, she rolled over and opened her curtains. A fog cloud waved at her then drifted away. Frowning, Beth looked harder outside, she could just make out her small car and that of her neighbours’ across the way. She got up, went through her morning routine before going downstairs in her slippers. She put on a jacket at the front door then went outside.

The fog hugged her and she felt an icy chill on her skin. Peering out, she couldn’t see much further then she had been able to upstairs. Going in again, she went to her computer and looked up the weather forecast. There was still nothing about fog. Deciding to just go with it, she had breakfast and looked over her to do list. Normally her handwritten list was short on Saturdays, but today she had added a couple of things.

Starting at the top, she worked her way through things and soon found herself sorting out the Halloween sweets for tonight. Over the last few weeks, she had been gathering packets to make up goodie bags and now her coffee table was full of stuff. Digging out the party bags, she began filling them with gummy eyeball sweets, lollypops, chews, other gummies and chocolate. Humming along with some Halloween themed music, the task was overall too soon.

Putting the bags into a large green bowl and on to the window sill near the door, Beth went back and crossed it off her list. Next she got on with the pumpkin and when that was down placed it outside and sorted the inners into a two bowls – on for pumpkin pie and the other for pumpkin soup. She checked her list again and got the last few things done quickly, so she could watch a program about Halloween on TV.

The first knock on the front door of the evening made her jump. Beth had been dozing on the sofa in the darkening living room, feeling overcome by her burst of business. Shaking herself, she got up and answered it, preparing herself to see children dressed up in costumes. Instead there was an old woman in large coat.

‘Hello?’ Beth said slowly.

‘Hi, sorry, but I couldn’t help myself. I hope you don’t mind, but I noticed you hadn’t lit your pumpkin,’ the old lady pointed out, ‘I did it for you. I had a spare candle. It’s fine.’

Beth peered out and looked at the pumpkin she had balanced on top of a large empty tree plant pot next to her front door. A soft light was flicking from inside the orange ball and bring the scary face Beth had carefully carved to life.

‘Thanks. I’d forgotten about it,’ Beth explained.

‘Yes, dear and I’m sure you’d want to keep the spirits away tonight,’ the old woman said.

Beth frowned at the hint of mystery in her voice then put it to one side, ‘yes of course. Thanks again.’

The old lady smiled and left with a little wave.

Beth closed the door, shaking her head as she went back to the TV. Flopping onto the sofa, she looked through the channels and found a scary movie to watch. Just as the first lot of adverts came on, the door was knocked on again. Beth got up and answered it to a single trick or treater dressed as a headless horseman.

Smiling, Beth offered the newly turned teenage boy one of the party bags and watched him run back to his father. Closing the door, Beth knew that was the official start and for the rest of the night, she felt herself yo-yoing to and from the door. Finally as the church bells chimed in ten o’clock she said goodnight to the last group of trick or treaters.

Picking through the remaining goodie bags, she selected a new movie to watch and stayed up to see the witching hour come in. Finally at half past midnight as the movie credits rolled, she turned the TV off and stepped outside to blow the pumpkin’s candle out. Noticing it had already gone out, Beth locked the front door and went to bed.

Settling in for a better night’s sleep, she thought that this Halloween had gone well, but next year she was so finding a party to go to.

Pumpkin Farm

The pumpkins grew in the field like full orange moons. Dark green leaves and twisting veins sprouted alongside them, trailing on the plough lines. A scarecrow stood over them all, failing in his job to scare the birds away. A cloudy night rolled in, a storm threatening.