The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Jack’s Smiling at You
by Melissa R. Mendelson
Lenny just had a small cold, but it was enough for his mother to tell him no trick-or-treating. He had to stay in the house while his siblings ran through the neighborhood, collecting their candy. If they shared their candy, he would not have minded, but he would be lucky, if he got one piece. He tried to sneak out with a white sheet over him, but his mother was waiting, pointing at the stairs for him to go to his room.
Lenny tramped up the stairs. He held the sheet in his hand. He glanced at his mother, giving her a pleading look, but she pointed towards his room. He threw the sheet at her and hurried to his room, slamming the door shut.
“It’s not fair,” Lenny screamed. “So, what if my nose is a little runny?” He opened his bedroom door. “I’m fine!”
“Stay in your room.” His mother stood at the top of the stairs.
“Whatever.” Lenny slammed his door shut. He stormed over to his bedroom window. He looked over at his neighbor’s backyard. Every Halloween, his neighbor burned a jack-o’-lantern in the fire pit. It was such a waste, and the neighbor never even watched it burn. He would just clean up the mess later.
Lenny opened his window. He slid out onto the small roof. He used to sneak out this way until his mother caught him, making him use the front door. Tonight, he didn’t care. He just wanted to know why his neighbor was burning the pumpkin, and an idea dawned on him. He would take the pumpkin from the firepit.
Lenny dropped down onto the lawn. He half expected his mother to be waiting for him, but she was watching a movie with his father. A Horror movie, which was perfect because she wouldn’t worry about him.
There was a loose board in the fence, and it was just the right size for him to sneak through. He was small for his age, and the kids at school never let him forget that. Maybe, he would tell them what he did. Maybe, it would earn him some respect. At least, the bullies could him a short break before beating on him again.
He hurried into his neighbor’s backyard, grabbing the pumpkin from the fire pit. The pumpkin burned his hands. He dropped it to the ground. He looked up to see his neighbor’s mother standing outside in her nightgown. She shook a strange stick at him, and it made a rattling sound.
“You should not have touched that,” she said. “He’ll be coming for you now.”
Lenny ran. He hopped through the hole in the fence and tried to jump up on the small roof. He got hold of the ledge, and his hands burned. He still managed to crawl back up and into his room. He slammed his window shut.
Lenny heard that rattling sound. He glanced into the backyard, but the old woman was gone. The pumpkin was gone, but he still heard it. The sound was everywhere.
Lenny saw something stand up against the wall. It was thin like a twig. It had long arms and legs. The pumpkin was its head, and it stepped out of the wall, moving toward him.
Lenny screamed, but as he did, pumpkin seeds poured out of his mouth. They slipped through the burns in his hands. He cried more seeds. Pulp ran out of his nose. His eyes burned as if lit by small candles, and the pumpkin smiled at him.
Fiction © Copyright Melissa R. Mendelson
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Melissa R. Mendelson:
I got a one-way ticket out of hell. All I need to do is drive across country with a body in the trunk and run miscellaneous errands, but a lot of those errands come with a heavy price. And if I lose the body in the trunk, then I have to go back, and I’ll be damned if I return down there. I will fight to stay here, even if there is no rest for those wicked.