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Read an Excerpt
The Pumpkin Man
By Michael S. Bearre
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Michael S. Bearre
All right reserved.
A bone-chilling breeze sweeps through a quaint little town known as Hallowseve. For centuries, it's been the tiny city delivering a terrifying Halloween experience for every child and senior to see. Few have tried to tell the tale of the Pumpkin Man; however, there has yet to be a living soul who believes in this haunting legend.
On a cold dark night, the streetlights brightly shine as a gentle wind blows golden brittle leaves across an empty barren street. Descending from their haven of the towering trees surrounding Hallowseve, the leaves gently scrape and dance across the pavement from each gust of wind that blows them. In a relentless fleet the golden leaves flee the mangy snarls of dogs who see them as nothing more than toys as they playfully chase each descending leaf.
As the moon arises in the latest hours of the ghostly night, they grow fearful and retreat for they know of the terrors which reside within this deceitful forest. The dogs find their salvation resting upon old, cracked, wooden doors to their modern homes.
All other creatures of this cold night cannot find such an easy shelter and have no choice but to retreat to the unforgiving forest surrounding Hallowseve. The very forest confiding in so much it has to hide yet reflects no remorse for those who have lost their way and forever walk astray in this haunting woodland of this forsaken island.
In the center of the sea of towering trees is the heart of Hallowseve, and the heart of this little city is a dreary old Pumpkin Patch and its daunting skeletal tree. Since the Pumpkin Patch came into existence, it's been the iconic symbol of Hallowseve for nearly three hundred years. It's been the number one spot to get your pumpkin for Halloween. Not because it's the only place you can get such a divine pumpkin, but because of the simple fact that each pumpkin from this patch is perfect in every way. No one insists on taking care of their beloved Pumpkin Patch. Not that anyone needs to, the pumpkins eerily grow themselves. No one can explain how they grow on their own, but on this night, a young beautiful woman twists and turns in her bed from her terrifying nightmare.
In the early of morning, two kids have snuck out to play. Skipping hand in hand to the Pumpkin Patch, they sing the melody that curses this fair city.
"Let's head back into the Pumpkin Patch, the Pumpkin Patch, the Pumpkin Patch!" As brother and sister, they skip through the forest on a dirt trail to their town's Pumpkin Patch.
A thickening wall of trees surrounds them, leaving them with no option for escape. They've been to this Pumpkin Patch hundreds of times without the slightest shred of fear.
Her blond hair dances in the wind, reflecting the light given from the sunrise surfacing in the horizon. No older than the age of seven, the young boy looks at his twin sister and can't help but notice a haunting fear reflecting from her ice blue eyes when they arrive at the Pumpkin Patch.
Littering the leafy grass as mere symbols of all that will lead to their apocalyptic self-destruction, skulls rest peacefully emitting a purple glow from the gaping sockets of their eyeless skulls. Blindly walking upon a trail many have done so before, the shadows of a decaying tree meet her due to the nature of the telltale sun.
It's just dream; none of this is real, is it? Evelyn begs to know as she digs her teeth deep into her lips shuddering at the taste of her own blood. The lack of pain makes her feel somewhat safe knowing this all just a dream. Standing aimlessly in the ghostly Pumpkin Patch, they intently stand beneath the legendary tree gazing in aw at the branches stretching out, inviting them for a deathly embrace; the intimidating tree ignites Evelyn with terror. She would not dare to touch the skin of the tree, the very bark itself bleeding from the creases of valleys as if it's made of blackened and burnt human skin.
Throwing herself to her brother's mercy, her breaking voice musters a cowering fear that she can no longer hide.
"Julian let's go back home. Please!" She pleads of her careless brother as cool winds freeze the rising hairs standing in fear amongst her sweat beaded neck. Fear has always been the one thing to stop her where she stands, and in this moment when the forest breathes heavy winds of a mysterious wonder, a single question bombards her once playful thoughts.
"Evelyn, you've always been a scardie cat." Julian teases as he grabs her hand and pulls her deeper into the fearsome forest gripping her worrisome heart.
Trembling with fear, her hands don't shake because of the cold or because of the terrifying tree. No, She's seen someone or something slyly move out of the corner of her eyes walk past the trees, ever so slowly. Beyond their line of sight, it keeps walking, stalking its inevitable victims.
"Evelyn, you're cold? Haha!" Julian mocks her as she shivers becoming numb to the cold biting at her every limb.
Who am I kidding? Julian doesn't and never has cared for what I want. She thinks as the forest stands around her scarring what little confidence stirs within her beating heart. Oblivious to the danger looming behind them, he mocks her fear and insecurity.
"Let's go home! Something is out here!" Evelyn begs of him, but her request becomes denied with the slightest bit of ease.
"Let's head back into the Pumpkin Patch, the Pumpkin Patch, the Pumpkin Patch!" Julian begins to sing, dance and play failing to realize the leaves being blown around them from the so-called 'gentle breeze'. Creeping in closer, Evelyn watches the creature emerging from the deep forest. However it fails to meet Julian's ignorant eyes. Mere snickers and chuckles from Julian make it difficult to think, never the less prepare for what is coming. If they could run now, they might survive.
"Julian, it's right there! We need to go now!" Her cowardly voice beckons, but he doesn't show any sign of concern as he idiotically dances around her. The footsteps become louder as she watches the black eyes come closer. No sort of body takes place before her, just eyes as black as night. Listening to the dreadful sound come closer and closer, she throws herself into her brother's arms, fighting off the paralyzing fear.
It's coming! We are going to die! She screams in her head and only in her head.
"Fine, we'll go back home you big baby!" Struggling to fight his sister out of his arms, she refuses to let go as they slowly walk away from the Pumpkin Patch as the fear weakens its grasp on her heart as each step gets them closer to the exit of the Pumpkin Patch. Words have never really fazed this girl but in this one slow second, a man's voice gives her spine a goulish chill.
"Let's head back into ..." A raspy voice says from behind the two children. Biting their tongues until they bleed, their minds become blank, as their fear grows larger. Hesitantly turning around to see what it could possibly be, the only form of comfort comes from the grip of each other's hands squeezing tighter with each passing heartbeat.
"The Pumpkin Patch!" A towering disfigured man leans forward, extending his lengthy, boney hand as he finishes his long, drowned out sentence. Disgusted by the decaying flesh dangling from his hands, Julian and Evelyn cannot find the strength to run away and remain paralyzed with fear. They have never seen something so terrifying, something that would only exist in nightmares.
Cloaked in shadowy black leather and a black leather trench coat, the man looks deep into Evelyn's eyes. Pieces of flesh dangle from the man's cheekbones as his blackened teeth peer beyond the fleshy skin that fails to hide them. No lips, nose, or lower jaw is something to feed any sort of nightmare, at least Evelyn's nightmare on this cold night. The black eyes only a few feet away, but slowly they come closer sending Evelyn's fear struck heart into a downward spiral of doubt and refuses to believe what she can clearly see. Maggots swarming within the black eyes of this man leave her with nothing to think, nothing to do and nothing to say. She's never seen something so terrifying in her life.
Greasy black hair dangles in front of his face and slowly he raises his hand to Evelyn, welcoming her to walk with him, to go with him to an unimaginable place. The True Pumpkin Patch, a place they know nothing about, never the less heard of. Behind the man, she can hear the souls of his fallen victims screaming for an escape, reaching from the gaping hole in the tree, begging to become free from the dreadful Hallows Curse that ensnared every living soul. Slowly stepping away with her brother hand in hand, the monster slightly cocks his head to left and exhales a hot breath as it watches her become afraid.
"The Pumpkin Man! Evelyn run!" Julian screams bringing his dear sister out of the trance the monster has put her in. Their feet trample the golden leaves as they run down the trail of the Pumpkin Patch. Aisles of thin, white trees decorate with slight patches of black bark pass them by.
I just can't run fast enough, I just can't, Her thoughts scream as her ribs become weak; her lungs become exhausted and thirsty for air. With every glance Evelyn takes, all she can see is the man wielding his legendary hand scythe at Julian. Quickly, the trees pass them by as they run from the Pumpkin Patch in a desperate effort to escape the legendary Pumpkin Man. The exit is in clear sight; however, it's not nearly fast enough when one fatal swing takes the life of Julian. Catching his head before it can fall to the ground laughing in mockery of his new victim and fixates all his undead attention upon the paralyzed eyes of Evelyn. His maggot-consumed eyes grasping everything she can see. It was all the Pumpkin Man would let her see.
Screaming as she jumps awake in her bed, Evelyn looks around to see it was only a nightmare. She knew it was a nightmare and hopes that's all it will ever be.
Maybe it was a side effect of the fajita's Dad made last night. She used as an excuse to dismiss the warning as the treacherous lightning strikes and rain violently beats against the window she blankly looks out of-if only it was that easy. She has had nightmares of giant balls of cheese seeking revenge for unknown reason and even dreamt of her own Father strangling her, but why the Pumpkin Man? Why?
What the hell? She thinks and erratically gets out of her warm bed. Slowly dragging her limp feet across the floor and into her bathroom, the cold splash of water and bright white lights reassure her, it was only a dream. Frantically wiping off the beads of sweat which stream down her cold face, she looks into the mirror as lightning clashes behind her. At the ripe age of eighteen, she refuses to believe she would have such a horrifying dream, but those thoughts are forgotten as she rushes into Julian's bedroom right next door. Still sound asleep; she cannot recall a time she's been so happy to hear him snoring. Relieved, yet still frightened, she finds her comfort in her bed as she retreats to her room and beneath her heavy blanket and her head down to think.
Not a vision, not a memory, not even a fantasy, it was just a dream ... Wasn't it? She asks herself. Evelyn likes to keep things to herself, which explains why she'll lock this dream up and bottle it deep inside. Try to forget it, because after all, it is just a dream. Or was it a vision of something much worse-A question that will not soon have an answer.
Soundless snores of a night spent tossing and turning an abrupt buzz of her alarm screams into the early of morning piercing the silence with its vile, annoying sound.
Glaring at her noisome alarm clock that loves to awaken in the best parts of a dream, a slight slap is such an awesome revenge as her clammy hand quickly quiets the loud buzzing.
"Ouch ... You fucking bastard!" She mumbles as she shakes the numbing pain from her hands and walks into Julian's room to awake him. Legs weakened from the lack of sleep, the walls catch her like friends as she mindlessly stumbles.
Pictures of class photos and flowers mar the beauty of this crème colored wall. Her father is a collector, pack rat, holds onto everything that is useless-useless to everyone but him. Still sound asleep on his belly, Evelyn gently pushes into his exposed ribs. Julian doesn't eat much, go out much, or even have many friends. His life revolves around one person, his dear girlfriend Sundra. Fighting her off with wimpy slaps and whimpers, he begs her to go away as he rolls his jutting face deeper into his pillow, ignoring his sister's concern, something that is quite common.
"You can't make me get up! Get out of my room damn it!" He begins to yell, but Evelyn has done this for far too long and ignores him as she gets herself ready for school, thinking of the dream as she ties her thin blond hair into a tight ponytail.
Looking into her own ice blue eyes, her skinny figure is what all the boys are after. However, since her Mother's abandonment, she wouldn't dare to find the courage to embrace a real relationship. How could she? Someone who said she'd always be there is gone. Someone who promised to wipe every tear from her face. All gone. Her faith in humanity, gone, besides, it is so much more fun when they're chasing her. Sliding on a black hoodie and pacing into Julian's room once more, a slight glance is all that's needed to see Julian's still asleep. The boy has it rough, he has to wake up, go to school, come home, and go to bed. That kind of life must be exhausting and unbearable. Laziness is a disease and this disease is known as the Teen Years.
"I tried to get you up and now you're going to be late." She says as she throws her leathery book bag over her shoulder and approaches the bus stop. Things haven't been the same since their Mother left. She shudders when she hears the name Chris, the very name of their vile mom.
Patiently waiting outside for the bus to come, she watches her cold breath float through the air. The piercing sun stabs through the open sky as a cool wind ruffles her hair as she stands at her bus stop shivering underneath her hoodie. Gazing at the Emerald Drive sign that suspends right below the Bus Stop sign, the green fluorescent glitter reminds her how small this town really is. One road in and only one road out, that road is known as Emerald Drive, the very street that will lead a visitor directly to the trail of the Pumpkin Patch and to the only exit off this island. A termite-infested bridge constructed hundreds of years ago, a bridge that only a fool would cross.
Marring the beauty of Hallowseve, the tree is as daunting as it is ugly. The refusal to use such a bridge makes it all too easy to stay. As if they ever really needed to leave, all they need is all they have. Beefkake's Meats feed all the carnivores of Hallowseve and Ray's Grocery supplies everything else. Why would someone want to leave their perfect city? There is no need to leave, no need at all.
Looking down Emerald Drive, all she can see is Halloween décor on the footsteps of every house. Massive inflatable pumpkins in every yard, and black and orange tinsel in the trees. Even on both of the sides of the street as if it were a mirror.
Off in the clouded distance a yellow bus emerges from the foggy and dreary road. Coming to a long screeching halt, she steps back as the rickety doors open for her.
"Julian's late again?" Asks the humble driver, flaunting her cold sore smile plastered across her chubby face.
"Like always." Evelyn replies and turns around to see her brother throwing his book bag over his shoulder and trying to run up to the bus faster than he actually can. Tripping over his own feet and slightly falling over, he barely makes it on. Tucking his long blond bangs behind his pronounced cheekbones, a mere smile is all he gives the bus driver. Julian's always late, late for everything. He would show up to his own funeral late.
Excerpted from The Pumpkin Man by Michael S. Bearre Copyright © 2011 by Michael S. Bearre. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
best book i ever read
very good book. some errors but nothing to worry about. wanted to turn the page everytime! loved reading it and will read it again. can't wait to read other books you write!