⌗WEP-IWSG, October challenge, Horrible Harvest. TRICK OR TREAT


Welcome to our Horrible Harvest challenge.

Write every two months on a prompt with Write Edit Publish and the Insecure Writers’ Support Group.

If you would like to join us go here.

To read more about the October Challenge here

Thank you to both teams who have worked out the prompt, the rules, created the badges and linkups, and to our judge who will give out the Winner, Runner Up, Encouragement Awards.

Readers will award a special badge for the Best Commentator.

WEP

Denise Covey – Founder/Host

L.G. Keltner – Co Host

Nilanjana Bose – Blurbs/Host

Olga Godim – Badges

******

IWSG

C. Lee McKenzie – liason IWSG/WEP

Pat Hatt – tweets and promo

Elizabeth Seckman – IWSG Newsletter

******

Nick Wilford– Judge


Here goes

Trick or Treat
‘ On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin will rise from the worthiest pumpkin patch’, declared Linus. ‘ Do you think he’ll choose yours this year ?’ asked Charlie Brown.’ I sure hope so.’

‘ Mum, do you think there really is a Great Pumpkin ? ‘ asked Paul, wide-eyed, sliding down under the covers.

‘ It’s just a story darling. Go to sleep now.’

Paul rang the doorbell. ‘ Can Tim come out to play, Mrs Vandhoren ? ‘ ‘ Tim ! Paul’s out front ! ‘ She left the door ajar. Paul edged in and stumbled over the galoshes in the entrance. Tim appeared, hair spiky and tumbled down the stairs while sticking his arms in his jacket. ‘ Want to hang out in my pumpkin garden ? ‘ ‘ OK, have to be back by nightfall though. ‘
 

The autumn breeze ruffled the leathery leaves of the gourds. Terry had joined them earlier. ‘ Still sitting with the pumpkins, I see,’ she had sneered in way of a greeting. ‘ Shut up Teresa. What are you doing here if you’re so high and mighty ? ‘ challenged Tim.
The three of them gazed at the birthing stars. The light was waning. The last fiery clouds were clearing, the phantom sun but a memory. ‘ Have to go home soon or else my mum will yell at me,’ Tim ventured tentatively. ‘ Let’s wait till it’s really dark, only a few more minutes.’
The stars popped up brighter, the heavens a dark blue blanket. ‘ Heh, look.’ ‘ What,Terry.’ ‘ That huge pumpkin by the fence, it’s glowing. Have you already put a candle in it Paul ? ‘ ‘ No.’ ‘ Creepy,’ shuddered Tim.’ ‘ It’s pulsing, like a heartbeat.’

They stepped gingerly over, mesmerised. The orange, bulbous radiance illuminated their spell-bound faces. There was a very faint sound like a high-strung whistle at every pulse. An owl hooted and they snapped out of their trance. ‘ Aaah ! ‘ Tim, Teresa and Paul chorused. Stumbling over roots and squashing lesser pumpkins, they skeedaddled out of there and raced home.

‘ What was that ? ‘ Teresa panicked in front of Tim’s house.

‘ Mum, Mum ! ‘ Mrs Vanhoren who was lurking behind the door, at the ready to hide her late son, threw open the door.

‘ I said sundown. Get in here. ‘

‘ But Mum, you have to come and see. There’s a live pumpkin in Paul’s vegetable garden.’

‘ What are you talking about ? In, now.’

‘ Bye Paul, bye Teresa, see you tomorrow.’

‘ It’s hatched ‘, Teresa was fingering the exploded mulch.

‘ Do you really think something actually came out of that pumpkin and is roaming around somewhere ? You’re crazy Terry.’

‘ Maybe not, ‘ mused Paul.

The last week in October snaked on. At school everyone was comparing costumes, boasting about their decorations. Every single student seemed to have acquired the biggest pumpkin ever.

‘ Ours is huge. It spans from the porch column to the doorknob. We’re going to make a feast of pumpkin soup.’

All over the country, pumpkins were being harvested, shipped to cities, sold on the markets, in garden centres, even on street corners. The fruit seemed to be exceptionally enormous this year. A report came over the radio that a farmer in Ohio had found ten burst, one morning.

‘ As if they were too ripe,’ he had stated.’ Never seen anything like it my entire life.’

Tim glanced sideways at Paul. They were sitting in Teresa’s living-room on the battered old brown couch listening. It was Friday the thirty first, and they hadn’t gone back to the Pumpkin patch since Monday.

‘ You see, I’m not crazy. It’s happened elsewhere. For all we know, it’s happened all over the country, even all over the World.’

‘ They don’t have pumpkins in other countries.’

‘Of course they do. Halloween is an Irish holiday, so they sure celebrate it there, and probably all over Europe and Asia by now too.’

‘ Here are some cookies and milk,’ Robert, Teresa’s dad had just shuffled into the room, wearing a weathered robe and sheepskin loafers.They lived in a shanty house at the end of the dirt track leading to the wood. Teresa’s mother had left when she was two. 

‘ We just heard a guy in Ohio who has ten pumpkins that have hatched.’

‘ Oh, that’s curious. Isn’t that what happened in your garden Paul ?’

‘ Yeah, we’re scared to go back.’

‘ I’ll come with you. we have to get to the bottom of this.’

When they arrived at the patch, they found, amazed, the gutted pumpkins strewn across the leaves and roots. Their edges were chiselled as if something had cut them open from the inside, or bitten their way out.

The bush at the far corner rustled and a shape rushed out towards the meadow.

‘ Let’s follow it,’ ejaculated Robert excitedly.

It sped into the lush grass. They kept up as best they could, trying to soak in the details of this strange being. It was dark blue, shiny, as though star-studded. It raced along on six members, four more beating the air like an eagle’s wings. Its head was a large oval, bizarrely translucent. You could see streaks of silver messages shooting to and from the core.

‘ Keep up or we’ll lose it,’ Robert called breathlessly.

Suddenly it darted into the wood leaving a mist of dust and slashed branches in its wake. They followed the beaten path to a clearing. The full moon spotlighted the scene.

A dozen of these outlandish creatures sat cross-limbed in a star-shaped circle. In the centre, a pulsing, glowing, orange what-looked-like-a boulder. They were chanting.

A faint, unworldly symphony composed of sighs, whistles and furtive bellows rose from their midst.

Paul, Tim, Teresa and Robert were crouched behind a thick-trunked pine peering at the spectacle, their jaws dropped, their eyes popping, speechless.

The melody gained in strength and intensity. Wave upon wave of sound hit the stone, accelerating its pulse.

In a burst of intense light and deafening sound, the rock fissured and freed a shower of tiny fiery pods, the size of peas, bearing a myriad of silver wings. The pods darted to and fro for a second, sped towards each apex of the star circle, paused, received a streak of light, then swelled in unison with the bellows, hovered an instant below the moon.

The newly-born cloud flew out of the clearing, above the pines and disappeared into the night.

Our bewildered onlookers, once their senses recovered, opened their eyes to a deserted, seared patch of grass, and wondered if they were awakening from a dream or a nightmare…

(..to be concluded…in December’s WEP challenge Footprints)

©susanbauryrouchard

1065 words.

FCA Full Critique Acceptable

for details on the critique go here

The Peanuts, Halloween Special

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Theme music. go here

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, animated movie, 1966, extracts

go here
and here
here
and another one
last one
the bedtime story here  (grandma is too young and has a real annoying voice)

spin-off, robot chicken scary movie

Halloween Songs from the 60’s, go here

The Skeleton Dance, go here ,  and here

Muppet Show Halloween, go here and here

Thank you for visited. Please feel free to comment or leave an FCA, that would be so helpful. And I will be sure to reply.

Have an inspiring Halloween.



51 thoughts on “⌗WEP-IWSG, October challenge, Horrible Harvest. TRICK OR TREAT

    1. Thank you Kalpana for your praise. You have made my day. My aim was for the story to be ‘haletant’ as we would say in French. Was worried the beginning was a bit slow. Obviously in regards with all the wonderful comments, I guess not.
      Have an inspiring autumn, see you in December.

      Like

    1. Thank you Patrick. Inspired by Linus and a weird film I saw a long time ago, in black and white about pods shipped across the country and hatching clones of existing humans, replacing them. Kind of robotic beings, devoid of feeling or empathy. It was a mixture of sci-fi, horror and anticipation, 1984 style or Brave New World. Only a handful of people realized what was happening and tried to stop it but nobody believed them or they had already been transformed …Who to trust ? Can’t remember the title but can still replay whole passages in my head. Any clues ?
      I like to think I wrote a more positive twist to the idea 💡 pinched from this film and will be taking it to a whole new level …. in December. Got you hooked ?

      Like

  1. Hi Susan. I’m glad you have more in store for us in December. This was intriguing and I love how you were inspired by other characters and stories. It fitted the October prompt to a T. Yes, it did get off to a slow start but soon picked up the pace. Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Debbie for visiting. A cliffhanger, ooh ! You’ve made my day.
      Yes it is a contraction of Hallows’ Eve, or Hallowes’ Eve, the night before All Saints Day, a very Catholic tradition. Except the Irish made it into their own special holiday with the idea that on Hallow’s Eve you scare the ghosts away, so the Saints can enjoy their day peacefully. The Americans twisted it round by having the ghosts scare us ! However it was the Irish immigrants who brought the party to America, so along the way, communication broke down between grand-father and grandson or they mixed it up with a native tradition to do with harvesting ….. Challenge for you: dig up research on Halloween 🎃 👻 ☘️ and maybe write a post about it for your fellow American bloggers….

      Liked by 2 people

              1. Hahaha! Yeah, being called “American” is kind of a sore point for Canadians. While there are some similarities (like celebrating Halloween – I don’t bother with it), the differences are numerous. 😉 When I lived in Germany, Halloween was unknown, but that was in the 1960s. Much to my surprise, it seems to have caught on in parts of Europe, along with ugly graffiti on public buildings. It’s been said, the influx of MTV and American culture, in general, was to blame for that. According to Wiki, Halloween has been popular in Germany since the 1990s. Is it known in France?

                Liked by 1 person

                1. However. In France, the Irish residents have always made a point of making it known it was NOT an American tradition originally, and the French were very happy to spread the word, as they generally prefer the Irish to the Americans … Ha ! And the Québécois….for that matter.

                  Like

  2. The Great Pumpkin IS Halloween. Can’t wait to see what is going to leave Footprints in December. A Pumpkin Child? I admit that I had to read this carefully due to the layout, yet I was swept into this unusual harvest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Roland. On Blogger, my text was respected. On WordPress it bugged on first paragraphs and did not go to the line for the dialogue, although I set it several times. Glad you enjoyed the story. In France, people know Snoopy and that’s about it Schulz-wise. Have a spooky Halloween.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Invasion of the Body Snatchers – I remember seeing the 1956 version based on a novel. I also saw the remake with Donald Sutherland (1978). I had to research this as it was on the tip of my fingers/tongue/memory.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Susan – it was a fun read … but I found it a little tricky reading around all the ads peppered through the post … Great Pumpkin – yes let’s see what happens in December … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Hilary. I was not aware that there were ads peppered around the post. There is usually just one at the end that WordPress puts. Personally I don’t put any and ure don’t get paid for them. Will have to investigate further. Nobody else seems to have encountered this inconvenience.

      Like

      1. Thanks Susan … they were … not sure why but I think I’ve encountered them before, though I’m sure not worried – because I’ve no wish to comment … if I come across something that ‘helps’ me or you – I’ll let you know … sorry about this … things happen! Cheers Hilary

        Liked by 1 person

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