Halloween Night

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Everything was set. The pumpkins with their scary faces were outside the doors or in the windows, the glow of candles bring them to life. Fake cobwebs in white, black, green and orange draped over everything, making real spiders jealous. Plastic skeletons, bats and ghosts hung from walls and ledges.

In front gardens were mock graveyards with zombie and skeleton hands and skulls poking out. Lights in so many shapes glowed along fences, gates and windows. The smell of smoke and rotting leaves clogged the coming night air which was also promised a fresh rainfall.

Voices rose and fell, laughter and delighted screams echoed. Children and adults dressed traditional or not, in a range of colours and fabrics toured the streets. Door knocks and bells sounded chimed with the chant of trick or treat!

Halloween had arrived.

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Pumpkins #FFfTPP

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The pumpkin harvest had been great which had left the farm with a surplus, so they got inventive with selling them.

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforthepracticalpractitioner.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/flash-fiction-for-the-purposeful-practitioner-2018-week-37/ with thanks).

 

Post It Note #40

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The leaves were still falling and it was colder outside. Moulding pumpkins sat outside houses and I wondered why.

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.

 

Somewhere In A Farmer’s Field

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Tony walked through the pumpkin field, looking for the perfect one to turn into a prize winning Jack O’ Lantern. However, he couldn’t seem to spot one. All the pumpkins seemed too small and dis-formed. In fact, only a handful were orange colored and the rest were yellow, green, white, brown and black.

He stopped in the middle of the field and looked around. Deep down he knew the perfect pumpkin was out here. He put his hands in his pockets and began walking again. Rain began to fall, softly at first then harder, but he ignored it and fixed his eyes on the pumpkins passing his feet.

In the distance, he could hear a tractor and the sound of cows. For a few madding moments he thought Farmer Jones had taken the perfect pumpkin for himself. Of course everyone wanted to win the Harvest County Fair. Surely, the farmer had better things to put in then a Jack O’Lantern though and hadn’t they always had a good deal with buying products over the years of being neighbors?

Tony shook his head and carried on walking. Out here, somewhere, he knew the perfect pumpkin was just waiting for him to pick it up and carve out his final master piece.

Cooking Up A Storm (Part 3)

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I surveyed the party like an uninvited stranger. Clutching a black plastic cup in my hand and sipping the Witch’s Brew Punch, I wondered from decorated room to room. I did know most of the people, despite the array of costumes and their plus ones. Halloween themed music was blasting out of the living room where most people were dancing. I knew all the songs off by heart having spent most of the past week listening to them.

Upstairs, some kids were tucked away in the bedrooms playing with toys or on game consoles. Most were stuffed from eating sweets and the evidence was clear to see on the floor. A girl dressed as a bat offered me a Chupa Chups lollypop, which I gratefully accepted and popped into my mouth. On the way back down, I walked passed a line of adults. My mind couldn’t help but think it strange to see two Frankenstein’s monsters, Dracula’s bride and Morticia Addams chatting away about a sports celebrity whilst queuing for the bathroom.

Ducking into the dining room and avoiding the drooping cob web cloud, I made a beeline for the only empty chair. Dawn had arranged the room so that the large table was against the wall to the left of the door and the eight matching chairs along the back wall, creating all together an upside d ‘L’. I sank onto the chair, taking in the creepy black netted drapes looping the ceiling above me and the drifting orange and black balloons.

‘This cake is so nice!’

A loud male voice drew my attention. I looked shyly to my left and saw that I had sat down next to a water nymph/ Siren / mermaid looking woman. She was wearing a long pale blue wig and a floaty dusty blue dress that rippled around her. Next to her was a male zombie and he gone to town with the makeup and effects. He almost looked like he had walked off a movie set. He was also stuffing lemon cheesecake into his mouth.

‘You’ve made a mess,’ the water nymph tutted and slide out her napkin from under her plate.

‘No, no, I got it,’ zombie replied and shoving the last bite in, began dapping at his lower face.

I smiled and took a drink of my punch.

‘You should so try it though. It tasted so nice,’ zombie continued in the background.

‘I’m good.’ nymph replied, ‘I might have one of those gingerbread things, later.’

‘Better get one now, looks like they are going fast.’

I stole a glance to see him nodding over to the table before looking over. It was true. Four women – a sexy devil, a pink princess, a gothic vampire and Alice, were piling their plates high with food, including my gingerbreads and cupcakes. Behind them two men, one dressed very minimally as a skeleton and the other wearing a black t-shirt with Error 404 Costume Not Found, were reading the labels attached to the dishes. There were maybe five other people that had walked in a few seconds ago, that were grabbing plates and starting at the buffet.

Nymph and zombie got up and went to the end of the table. I watched them helping themselves to more food, making soft excuses to the other people. I took another drink and turned to look down the line at the other guests in the room. The remaining five chairs were taken up by a family with the three kids dressed as a ghost, Harry Potter and a pumpkin baby. The mum appeared to be a witch in a black and blue cheap satin dress and the dad was a cowboy. The kids were all eating my cupcakes and mum kept wiping their faces whilst the dad, looking a bit tried and withdrawn, was eating my pumpkin pie with a fork.

‘Becks? Becks! Did you have something to eat yet?’

Dawn’s voice cut into my thoughts and I turned to look up at her. She was dressed as a dark angel with a short black tutu dress and black feather wings on her back. She also, for some unknown reason had a golden glittery fairy wand in her left hand.

‘No, I’m not hungry,’ I replied with a weak smile.

‘Don’t lie. You’ve been so busy, I bet you forgot all about it.’

Dawn pulled me to my feet and I just had time to make sure my long black dress didn’t catch on anything. She dragged me over to the table, pressed a black paper plate with a childlike drawing of three ghosts floating out of graves into my hand. She grabbed one for herself, then began selecting food and putting it on both of our plates.

‘Everyone is enjoying your cupcakes and the cheesecake. They keep asking me where I got them from and of course I say your bakery,’ Dawn began reeling off, ‘I’ve given the address to a few people now. One woman was really interested in you making a birthday cake for her daughter. Turns out she’s a huge Goth and loves that Tim Burton movie… you know the one?’

The Nightmare Before Christmas? You know it’s not actually his movie right?’

Dawn shot me a frowning look and put some potato salad on my plate.

‘He just wrote it that’s all. Okay, I get that makes it still his movie, but he didn’t directed it like everyone believes.’

‘Hey, Dawn! How are you! Loving these cookies. Where did you get them from?’

We looked up to see undead Snow White standing next to us with a corpse bride on the other side of her.

‘From this awesome new bakery,’ Dawn responded then began chatting away.

I only half listened, turning my attention to the other food on offer and my almost full plate. Someone knocked into my elbow.

‘Sorry. Sorry. It’s this…thing,’ a rushed male voice sounded in my ear.

I glanced then had to stare at the knight in shining silver. He was tall with blonde hair, a neatly trimmed blond beard, board shoulders and most bluest eyes I had ever seen. The full body armour was cardboard just spray painted and he on a blue pants and a long sleeved t-shirt underneath. From the leather belt around his hips danged a cardboard sheath with a sword handle poking out.

‘That’s been his opening line all night! Leave the ladies alone, Fred!’ said a man dressed in a huge black robe, who stood beside him.

‘It’s okay,’ I mumbled back.

‘I’m really sorry,’ Fred said again.

I shook my head and turned away, trying to fake interest in the dark angel’s, undead Snow White’s and the corpse bride’s conversation about my desserts.

To Be Continued…                    

Cooking Up A Storm (Part 2)

Midnight was meowing behind the front door when I got back. I unlocked and opened it to scoop him up. Burying my face in his warm black fur, I tried to hold my tears in. I closed the door with my foot and sat on the sofa. I rubbed the cat against my cheeks and made soft meowing noises back. Midnight, strangely a big fan of cuddles for a young male cat, demand more.

‘Did you miss me? Yeah, you did. You eat all your food? Good kitty,’ I baby talked.

He gave me a string of meows then fell into purring and curling into ball in my lap. I stroked him and watched him dozing off. The warm and content feelings jostled with my sad ones and I did wipe the corners of my eyes.

‘He just had to bring her up,’ I told Midnight, ‘I know I shouldn’t complain. It’s still important to talk about her, but today? No. I don’t want to think about it.’

My phone ring and I scrambled to find it in my bag whilst trying not to disturb Midnight.

‘Hello?’

‘Becks, hey! Is your car okay? When you coming over?’ Dawn’s excited and rushed voice shouted in my ear.

‘Car’s fine. What time did I say? Five or six?’ I answered.

‘It’s quarter to now,’ Dawn responded then began speaking to someone else in the background.

‘It is? Oh. I still need to ice the gingerbreads. Everything else is ready though. So, six then.’

‘Can’t you come now, please?’

I petted Midnight as a long hum escaped my pursed lips.

‘We need to set up the table then get ready and that’s going to take a while. I need to wash my hair still and Amber just found out she can’t get into her costume.’

‘It’s baby weight!’ Amber’s voice yelled back followed by bursting girly laughter.

‘I can’t,’ Becks pressed, ‘if you want them to look right, I just can’t. And there’s no way I’d want to rush them after all my hard work.’

Dawn signed heavily down the phone then whispered to someone else, ‘she can’t get here for another hour.’

‘Look. I’m about to do them now, so I’ll just set the table when I get there. Okay?’

‘All right, please try to hurry though,’ Dawn said back unable to hide the disappointed tone.

‘I’ll try. Bye.

‘Bye, Becks. She says an hour. I’m going to wash my hair…’

I hung up, then moving Midnight off my lap, went into the kitchen. The heavy smell of ginger, cinnamon and toffee blasted all other smells away. I checked the toffee apples and finding them set, moved them on to the table with the collection of other things. Then I put all the gingerbread shapes on one plate and prepared the icing.

‘It’s too silent, I mumbled.

Finishing off the icing, I went and turned the TV on. Midnight jumped up on the coffee table, tail swinging and watched me channel flicking. There wasn’t much on, so I put the news on and went back to the kitchen. Feeling better, I sorted out the icing for colouring, then got piping the designs on the biscuits.

I didn’t need any inspiration or drawings, I had been making these gingerbreads for the last five weeks. With the news reporters droning on in the background, my hands worked by themselves and I began thinking again. My dad had been right about my mum. Tonight had been her favourite out of the whole year, just like it was mine. She would spend the whole of October planning and preparing. Sometimes, especially as I got older, she’d call me in to help make cakes or muffins or something that involved pumpkins.

I felt my chest get a little tight, but instead of stopping I thought it best just to go on thinking about her. She was never a ‘normal’ mother or wife, being a white witch saw to that and yet, she manged to embrace everything and make it happen. That’s what my dad was talking about before.

Almost an hour later, I was done with the forty gingerbreads. Leaving them to officially set, I wrapped up each toffee apple in black Halloween foil finished with a bit of ribbon and put them in a carry bag. Digging out my notebook, I ticked them and the biscuits off.

‘So, now I get it all into the car, grab my suitcase, put food down for Midnight then it’s party time!’

Midnight meowed at his name, but didn’t appear, which meant something on the TV had his attention. I put some more food in his bowl, topped up his water, then picking up my notebook again, ran through the list once more; ‘pumpkin pie, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, Halloween cookies, lemon cheese cake spider web, Halloween cupcakes, Graveyard mud moose pie, toffee apples and gingerbreads. Yep, all done. Okay, to the car.’

I grabbed a large bag from the table, which had the cookies, cheese cake and muffins carefully boxed up inside and headed to the front door. I got my keys from my handbag on the way and went out to the car. I spent a good few minutes, carrying stuff out and storing it as carefully as possible in the boot and backseat.

Midnight tore himself away from the TV to watch me. Finally sorted, I locked the car and hurried upstairs. Taking my small suitcase -thankful I packed my clothes and personal stuff last night- from the corner and going back down again. I nudged Midnight out the door and hurried to the car. Ignoring his howl of unhappiness, I put my suitcase on the passenger seat.

‘Done. Everything. Good. Front door. Midnight, what are doing? Are you in or out, kitty? Aww, I’m sorry.’

I picked him up and Midnight tried to climb on to my shoulders.

‘I’m sorry you can’t come. Oh! The TV.’

I darted back inside, putting Midnight on the sofa and turned it off. Then remembering, I hadn’t closed any curtains or checked the windows or the back door, ran around the house doing that.

‘I’m good now. Bye, Midnight.’

He gave me a long mournful meow, like a toddler who didn’t want to be left. I waved good bye to him all the same and locked the front door. Getting into Herbs was like stepping back into the kitchen. The car smelt of warm spices, pumpkin and other sweet delights. I checked the time and then my phone. Dawn’s house was half an hour away and it was five past six.

I texted her then drove off, the excitement of the party finally hitting me.

To Be Continued…

Pumpkin Patch

Eight year old, Sasha Bennet stood in the pumpkin field, twisting the new jumper grandma had made around her hands. She disliked pumpkins and hated jack ‘o lanterns even more. She wasn’t sure were the fear came from, but no one had been able to dispel it. There was just something…creepy, she decided, about the bright orange vegetables and what most of them would become.

Letting go of the jumper, she cried a little, no longer caring about being a big girl. She just wanted to get away from the pumpkins and go home, but she wasn’t sure which way that was any more. She wiped her face with a dirty hand and looked around. There seemed to be nothing but pumpkins for miles.

It was growing late, she noticed by the colour changing sky and the fact that it had also gotten colder. Sitting down, she wondered if they’d come and find her soon. Her brother and cousins must have gone back all ready after finishing playing hide and seek. They must have gotten bored of trying to find her. She hadn’t meant to wonder so far, but Troy had been teasing her again and she had wanted to prove she could hide better than any of them.

Wrapping her hands around her knees, she rested her chin on them and stared at the large pumpkin in front of her. Deep lines cut their way down the surface, as if someone had made them. It was too lumpy, she decided and it seemed to be glaring at her too. A part of her wasn’t sure that was possible, but she couldn’t help it. The pumpkins felt like they were closing in, they filled her vision and rustled in her ears.

Sasha closed her eyes and put her hands over her ears. She couldn’t help but think that they were coming for her. They were going to get her and turn her into a pumpkin head scarecrow. Like in that movie she had watched. Tears flood her and she cried hard.

‘I don’t want to be a pumpkin head!’ she shouted.

Something brushed against her and she screamed. Scrambling up, she jumped away and fell over a pumpkin. Pain shot through her arm and leg, causing her to continue crying. A dark shape flickered before her and a soft meowing sound made her pause. Rubbing the film of tears away, she saw a black kitten sat on top of the pumpkin she had fallen over.

‘You scared me, kitty,’ she sniffed.

The kitten meowed again and jumped down into her lap. She stroked the soft fur gently, before hugging him. The kitten touched noses with her and began to purr.

‘Are you lost too? Where’s your home, kitty? Or don’t you know the way, like me?’

The kitten rubbed its head against her cheek and settled into her arms. Sasha stroked the black fur more and felt a lot calmer. She wasn’t alone now and weren’t pumpkins meant to be afraid of cats? She wasn’t too sure about that. What if they were on the same side?

Sasha held the kitten up, ‘Did you come to save me from the pumpkins? Or did they send you to take me to their king?’

The kitten meowed and she wasn’t sure what that meant.

‘If you’re a good cat, you’ll help me find the way home,’ she decided.

Placing the kitten down, she stood up and wrapping her hands up again, she set off walking. The kitten trailed after her, meowing often and at first she changed her direct by that sound. However, she quickly got tired and it was growing darker. She sat down amongst some small pumpkins and hugged the kitten.

‘I think we are more lost then before,’ Sasha spoke, ‘and it’s almost too dark to see now. The pumpkins are going to get us!’

She buried her face in the kitten’s back and felt hot tears tingle her eyes. She sniffed and moaned softly. She could hear the wind picking up around her and rustling the vines and leaves. How soon would they come to get her? She wondered.

A voice shouted something. Sasha shivered and looked around. Did the pumpkins know her name? There was a beam of light in the distance. She shied away from it and lay down; hoping that it pass over her and so would the pumpkin heads. The light and the voice didn’t go away though, they become stronger instead. Until, at last, she recognized the voice of her grandma.

Hurrying up, she shouted, ‘I’m here! Grandma! It’s me!’

Clutching the kitten under her arm, she stumbled towards the nearest light beam, which had now been joined by countless others. Tripping on a vine, she cried out and stumbled into a rough material and legs. Sasha screamed and shoved herself backwards, but strong hands grabbed her. She screamed again and again, as she dropped the kitten and tried to fight off the pumpkin head.

Something else grabbed her and wrapped around her, smoothing her screams and struggles. When she stopped, she realized it was only a blanket and she was actually in her grandma’s arms and not the stick ones of a pumpkin head.