Immortal Alexander here. I actually wanted to have this tale ready for Halloween but life, ah life, how you complicate things. How I envy the dead sometimes. No responsibilities at all. Ms. Andromeda was lovely enough to give me a little extra time. It is finally complete so enjoy this weeks twisted tale…
Jack Malfrat is the terror of the neighborhood. At the ripe age of twelve he had trampled every flower bed, scared old ladies to near death, lit mailboxes on fire, destroyed more than his fair share of windows, tortured every poor little creature that crossed his path, and smashed hundreds of pumpkins. His parents were always out, or working late. They never believed their little angel would do such horrible things. Jack would never be so clumsy as to get caught. The damage would always happen late into the evening when everyone was fast asleep. Some neighbors would even go so far as to install motion sensitive cameras. This didn’t help. Jack would simply take them out with his slingshot first, and he never missed.
On a cool autumn morning Mrs. McGibbins spied Jack inspecting the damage of his latest night of terror from his parents front yard. Jack was standing there in his creepy clown pajamas, and unwashed greasy black hair with his father’s military binoculars. His face is adorned with a smirk that stretched from ear to ear, and Mrs. McGibbins was taking notes of every little detail in her moleskin notebook. She is scratching away feverently with her nearly dry ball point pen while taking great care not to be noticed through the narrow gap between her red velvet curtains. Mrs. McGibbins is ninety two years old but she is still just as sharp as a tack.
The incident this morning involved Mrs. McGibbins neighbors across the street, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson. The Thompson’s nine year old daughter Melissa was crying madly through her perfect blond curls and pointing towards the roof of their home. Her father was frantically attempting to secure a ladder to the side of the house while pacifying his wife and child. On the roof was a small black cat. It was latched onto the crest, it’s back spray painted orange. The sight of this amused Jack to no end. He held back a hearty laugh while slinking back into his home. Mrs. McGibbins was not amused.
It was Halloween eve at around midnight when Mrs. McGibbins heard a loud bang emanating from her front stoop, and subsequent footsteps running off into the night. She arose and quickly threw open the window of her second story bedroom hoping to catch a glimpse of the perpetrator. No such luck. He was long gone, and Mrs. McGibbons had no proof. She slipped on her beige sheer shawl, slipped on her fuzzy slippers, and slowly made her way down the polished mahogany stairs taking great care to make as little noise as possible.
When she reached the bottom she spied a shadow darting past her porch through the frosted glass window on her front door. She paused and listed for any noise to indicate what was there just beyond the threshold of her home. All was quiet. Not a dog, or a cricket, or any sort of creature made a sound. The only noise was from the tick tick ticking of Mrs. McGibbins’s coo coo clock. It is a beautiful German timepiece carved with tiny wooden animals, and intricate painted details. It was passed down to her by her grandfather, and even though she loved it dearly rhythmic ticking gave her no comfort this night.
Mrs. McGibbins gathered all of her courage and began to make her way toward the front door. She slowly reached out and grabbed the handle, un-clicked the locks and latch, and creaked it slowly open. Her right eye peaked through the crack in the door and surveyed the scene. She quickly noticed that her large jack-o-lantern was missing. It was beautiful, a ghastly creature with sharp teeth to scare away the bad spirits, but also to offer respect tradition. She scanned in all directions, then finally down where she saw with great horror the remains of her creation, her offering. Smashed to bits and dripping off of the bottom of the door. “What a mess” she exclaimed! “Oh well, I’ll clean it up in the morning, little hooligan!” She gently closed the door locking it behind her. She was about to make her way back upstairs when something came sailing through the front window, smacked her beloved coo-coo, and sent it tumbling down with a resounding crack! As she stood there mortified a distinct giggle could be heard coming from the front yard.
Mrs. McGibbins ran to the front door, flung it open wide and stomped to the end of the porch glaring in the direction of the evil giggle. Nothing, just blackness. The wind blew gently through the trees for a brief moment. “I’ll catch you Jack Malfrat! If I don’t the spirits truly will you vile little brat!” After gathering her composure Mrs. McGibbins gave a little smile. A idea popped into her mind and she hurried to act. She quickly went inside, locking the door once more. Once inside Mrs. McGibbins grabbed a uncarved pumpkin from her kitchen counter. She had been planning on making a scrumptious pie with it, but this was a special circumstance, and she had a devious plan of her own. For hours Mrs. McGibbins carved fervently. This was to be a masterpiece, a magnificent offering to the spirits of all hallows eve!
When she had finally finished it was near dawn. The sun was starting to make its way over the hilltop of their sleepy little town, and Mrs. McGibbins was exhausted. The final touch came from an old cookie jar deep within her fruit cellar. She took a moment to consider her actions before lifting the lid to the jar. “It has to be done, there is no other way” she exclaimed to herself opening the jar and removed a small bundle wrapped in ancient cloth and tied tight with twine.
The bundle when inside the jack-o-lantern and the top was plugged tight. The pumpkin began to glow a eerie green with the aid of no light or candle. With great haste she removed it from her home and placed it upon her front stoop. Her work accomplished Mrs. McGibbins retired for the day with a smile upon her face. The thoughts of what was to come delighted her to no end.
As dusk fell upon their sleepy town children began to flood the streets dressed as every manner of ghoul, goblin, hero, and princess. Their parents accompanied the little gleeful creatures on their adventures to fill their bags and buckets to bursting with sugary delights.
Jack had no one to accompany him on his night of mischief. All the parents knew better. They had long since abandoned journeying to the Malfrat abode, this night or any other. Since Jack’s parents were never home he would be the one to dole out “treats” to the boys and girls of the neighborhood during the early hours of the evening. Though Jack’s ideas of “treats” usually included mostly rotten food or dead mice delicately wrapped up in old candy wrappers. Every home in the neighborhood had to clean up massive amounts of vomit in their living rooms the one and only year the visited the Malfrat home on Halloween.
This night Jack had big plans of his own. Mrs. McGibbins had been spying on him for quite some time, and he had a particularly nasty trick in mind for her. He had been gathering dead rats for weeks, and he planned to enter her home through the newly broken window. Dead rats in unwelcome places sounded like a real scream to Jack.
Jack’s costume is absolutely ghastly. A undead creature with one eye drooping, an eviscerated abdomen, and bones protruding from where his femur should be. He was particularly proud of his work. Jack loves horror films and getting his neighbors to retch at the mere sight of his outfit would be a crowning achievement.
He had to be particularly sneaky when leaving his home so no one would see him in his grotesque costume. Couldn’t let them know it’s him. Jack’s technique for exiting unnoticed involved crawling out a hatch at the top of his home and crawling from roof to roof descending only when he was much further down the block. Once he arrived at the Sully’s home he carefully made his way down the gutter onto the darkest back corner of the home.
There, across the street, was the enemy. Mrs. McGibbins’s home was completely dark except a odd green light emanating from the freshly carved jack-o-lantern. This made Jack very curious. He proceeded with caution, with purpose. It was almost midnight and all of the other children had long since passed into confectionery induced comas.
Their parents were, busy. Too busy with their own trick and treats to notice Jack. If they did they would be so repulsed they’d shut their doors tight, and never take a second look. Jack approached the bushes near Mrs. McGibbins home and settled down for a bit. Best to be in not too much of a hurry. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
After a bit Jack scurried over the railing, and onto the porch. What luck, the old woman had cleaned up all of the glass on the ground, and in the window frame leaving wide open. She hadn’t even bothered taping it up. “Perfect” he thought to himself. Jack made his way in and began placing rats from his dirty pillowcase into various vases, under couch cushions, and even in her freezer. After emptying half of his collection Jack heard a loud creak coming from upstairs. Jack knew it was better to be safe than sorry. He made his way out the window and back onto the porch, and listened carefully. Silence, Jack was about to stuff the rest of the rats into Mrs. McGibbins’s mailbox to frighten the mailman when he became transfixed with the eerie green glow from the jack-o-lantern. It was way too tempting. There was even a shovel leaning against the railing just waiting to be held. Jack looked around to make sure he wasn’t being watched, grabbed the shovel tight, took aim, and SPLASH!!!! The pumpkin exploded into shards of orange with blinding green light that caused jack to slip on the mess and land on his butt.
When Jack regained his wits he made a run for it. That kind of commotion had to rouse somebody. Jack ran away from the homes and deep into the murky woods. Jack ducked low as soon as we was sure no one was following. Porch light after porch light began illuminating the neighborhood. This was not good. Jack made his way deeper into the woods. After a long walk Jack reached a clearing. He checked his glow in the dark spider-man watch, 11:55pm. “Better hunker down and wait for a bit.”
Jack leaned against an old oak tree and sifted through his pockets for candy to sustain him. As the clock struck twelve a low flog crept in through the field making it’s way in Jack’s direction. He paid it no mind. The woods were Jack’s domain, and he held no fear of fog or the dark.
Something jack hadn’t noticed was a ever growing pumpkin patch that was sprouting beneath the fog. When Jack finally saw a small pumpkin emerging from the fog he stomped it to mush immediately. Before he could expel a breath a long scraggly arm reached up and grasped Jack in his entirety! Vines wrapped together tight forming a large spinal column, and a second large arm erupted from the earth and pressed down hard to uproot the rest of its form. An enormous pumpkin grew and grew, then lifted off the ground with a pre carved face that looked eerily familiar. Jack couldn’t even scream. The fear reverberated through his body in pulses and waves. Then, it spoke!
“You, you have desecrated my offerings!” Jack could not respond, he was petrified. “Will you make amends or shall I extinguish you foul mortal?” Jack began to wet himself. This made the creature laugh heartily. “You amuse me human. Since you are so good a watering I have just the task for you!” Jack’s vision blurred and everything went black.
When he awoke Jack was chained to a post. The field was completely covered with acres of baby pumpkins that screeched writhed. An oversized watering can laid by his side. A booming voice from inside Jack’s head commanded “FEED MY CHILDREN WITH WATER OR I WILL BATHE THEM IN YOUR BLOOD!”
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