It’s Halloween week and that means SCARY TALES and one of our favorite Halloween traditions started by Neil Gaiman, All Hallow’s Read, where you give the gift of a scary story for Halloween. Since we can’t mail you each a scary book for Halloween (can you IMAGINE the postage?) we will instead give you a scary story each day this week to tantalize and terrify!
And on Halloween day, watch for a very special guest post from our nearly 11 year old daughter, Maddie, who will share her own short horror story. (She turns 11 on Halloween!)
PLUS! We’re doing a giveaway. Leave a comment on these short stories and you’ll be automatically entered to win a signed copy of Seduced: Rose’s Story, the book the Man Candy Radio Show named its ‘spooky, sexy’ book pick for Halloween!
So, to kick things off, here’s a super short flash fiction that Dmytry Karpov wrote a few years ago, but still gives me goosebumps.
The Pumpkin Man
By Dmytry Karpov
“Yeah, sure,” said Tim. “It feels like a lifetime ago.” He smiled at a girl, a witch, as she passed by. Probably sixteen, seventeen. She looked Tim’s age. My age.
I smirked as two kids in ghost costumes knocked on the door across the street. Pumpkins lined that front yard, like orange soldiers with fiery eyes.
“Do you remember the stories?” I asked.
Tim checked his watch and sighed. “Of… what?”
“The Pumpkin Man?”
“Of course I know him.” Tim tapped his foot against the rough sidewalk. He checked his watch again as if minutes had gone by.
“But the stories?” I asked.
“Yeah, I remember them,” said Tim. “Stories.” He chuckled. “Every Halloween the Pumpkin Man claims a new soul. On midnight, he comes for you.”
“He, or his ghosts?”
Tim frowned, flexing his pale fingers. “Yeah, there were many versions.”
The wind howled, twisting pumpkin eyes like tornadoes. Their carved up faces, anxious–hungry even.
The shadows were messing with me again. They were everywhere, even at night.
“It’s funny,” I said. “You grow up believing in these stories. Believing in these…” I pointed at a chubby miniature batman counting his candy, “…traditions. But always, you outgrow these things. You know what I mean?”
Tim nodded. “Everything gets old.”
“Exactly. Before, I might have minded what we’re doing, but not anymore. The feelings… they’ve dried up.”
Tim laughed. “Like candy.”
“Right. Like an old rotten candy. So bad it could kill you, but it has no choice. You’re the one eating it.”
“Yeah.” Tim checked his watch and stood up. “It’s time.”
I got up too. “Who we doing this year?”
Tim walked down the street, cars not slowing down, not seeing him. “The Pumpkin said he wants the Witch.”
I followed. “The girl that walked by?”
“Well, I wouldn’t mind having someone new to talk to.” I reached into my coat and pulled out a knife. Cold steel chilled my hand. “I’ll do it this year.”
“Yeah,” said Tim. “Got to do what the Pumpkin wants.”
“Yeah,” I said. “No choice.”
Tim and I waited until the girl went down an alleyway. We cornered her. The wind picked up.
And the pumpkin faces curved into smiles.