A Daughter of SamhainbyJames Cody©
My obsession started in 1978 when I first saw Linus waiting in a patch on TV. The local CBS station,WCAX, had been airing the Peanuts special since 1966, but '78 was the year it caught my attention and I became obsessed with pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns.
That year I must have carved a dozen lanterns, with faces ranging from a simple smiley to an elaborate, demonic grin to chill a child's bones. My parents, however, weren't so pleased when I informed them that I wanted to be a pumpkin grower when I grew up.
"Sure ... you wouldn't rather be gay, would you?" my father asked after I made the announcement. Odd question to ask a 7 year-old. My mother just drank her scotch.
I never followed my father's suggestion, finishing school with a degree in agriculture and a pronounced taste for scotch -- I took after my mother's side of the family. I was still carving jack-o-lanterns, establishing a rather large collection of pumpkin seeds and a following as a maître couteau (master knife) of the pumpkin carving arts. I even made a business of selling pumpkin seeds that had marinated three weeks in single malt scotch before being roasted.
With all those little sidelines, as well as a humble inheritance after my parents' demise, I was able to purchase a small, failing pumpkin patch and turn Caleb's Pumpkin Paradise into an almost profitable business. I was the king of the local pumpkin economy and this Halloween, like every other, I was going to hold the annual outdoor viewing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
The first outdoor airing of that classic Peanuts special took place in 1999. I had spent thousands of dollars to set up a P.A. system that was plugged into a a large, projector style TV and a top of the line Sony VCR to play the unfortunately grainy VHS tape I'd recorded years before.
I was setting up rows of folding lawn chairs in an semi-circle in a cleared area in the approximate center of the main pumpkin patch as children and their parents, dressed all in costumes ranging from pirates to power rangers to ninjas, roamed about the tables covered in all forms of pumpkin themed snacks I'd set out. I thrived to make this day a family affair.
It was then that I noticed a young woman perusing some of the darker jack-o-lanterns I'd carved -- a half dozen grinning grimaces that I'd set up with fake entrails in their mouths and blood flowing from their eyes. Some rested at the top of dessicated bodies, looming and ready to snatch the unwary. The young lady was about a head shorter than my 6 foot frame and her hair was jet black. From behind, her loose fitting white blouse and long, flowing green skirt hinted at the sensual lines of her hips and the gentle slope of her shoulders and neck. She must have felt me watching her because she glanced straight at me from over her shoulder while flicking her dark hair behind her ear. Her skin was pale and she had lite freckles across her button nose. Her lips were full and inviting and her eyes sparkled, amazingly, with flecks of orange. Watching her painfully reminded me that my last relationship ended over a year ago. Damn, she was beautiful.
"Hi!" I hollered as I set the final seat in place and joined her by the display. I felt her eyes on me, examining every little detail of body. As I walked towards her, it was like time fell still -- everyone froze in place and the only two people alive were me and this mysterious beauty. "Hello," she said, her voice mellifluous. Her delicate hands continued to hover over the jack-o-lanterns. "Some of these seem truly inspired."
"Thank you," I smiled as I tossed the rag I had over my shoulder onto the display table. The rag bounced off a young boy who was skipping by before hitting the table. I noticed he wasn't touching the ground.
"They seem to be born from beautiful nightmares," she said as I found her standing next to me, examining my hands, tracing her fingers across the lines in my palms.
"I'm actually inspired by dreams -- not nightmares." I caressed her thumb.
"Hummm. I like the callous of your hands. It makes them honest."
"My name's Caleb Dufresne," I offered.
"I know, I've been watching you."
"Well," I said, feigning offense. "What have I done to deserve such scrutiny?"
"These," she said, pointing out the carved jack-o-lanterns. "And your hands. I like your honesty ... your sincerity."
I chuckled. "Isn't that what the Great Pumpkin's looking for? Sincerity?"
"Ah," she said, lightly pursing her lips. "Your ritual. Very amusing."
"I love that show. And I want to share." I realized I was somewhat defensive.
"Schulz wasn't to far from the truth," she said. "And yet the truth is totally different than whatever he conjured."
"I thought it was just a cartoon..." I pondered, looking once again at the stilled life of the people around us. My gaze shifted back to her and she was removing her clothes. I was shocked by how pale her skin was, almost translucent. After all her clothing was removed, an odd shadow blanketed everything and we were the only people visible. I was hypnotized by the curve of her hips and the weight of her breast. Her nipples were pink and long and her belly was flat and the triangle of her pubic hair was like a piece of night speckled with glittering specks of orange stars.
"You look at me Caleb, and remember. The next time we meet you may not recognize me, but you'll remember me."
The shadow suddenly shattered and I was standing in the middle of a growing crowd as people bumped into me on their way to their seats. I apologized to some and made my way through the others to reach the control panel of the VCR while I pondered the haunting encounter I'd just had.
Was it an hallucination? An encounter with a ghost?
"Let's get this show on the road!" I said as I hit PLAY.
The stage was set: a 56 inch plasma screen TV hooked up to a blu-ray player and a special edition disc of the Great Pumpkin ready to blast through a 1000 watt theater system. About 30 chairs were placed in a more traditional audience layout and we were only minutes away from sundown and from the start of the show.
Like that evening in 1999, there were tables set with all things edible of pumpkin set between those jack-o-lanterns I spent 2 weeks to carve, ensuring they were as chilling as I could make them. I smiled at a collections of ghouls, goblins and assorted costume clichés. I was dressed in black pants, shoes, shirt and black tweed jacket. Not very festive ... unless I told you I wanted to merge with the shadows.
I jumped off the small makeshift stage I built a few years back and walked over to the staging area where I kept the remote for the blu-ray player and a microphone.
"Hey everybody!" I bellowed. "Thanks for coming to Caleb's Pumpkin Paradise's twelfth anniversary showing of It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." There was around of applause and catcalls. "Now, most of you, and your kids and other assorted drunken relatives, know how much I love this TV show and how much I love sharing it with all of you.
"That being said, I'm happy I do it on Halloween -- when I don't have to look at all your miserable faces." The small crowd, kids included, made some rather randy remarks. "Thanks for all the offers, ladies and gents -- although I love you all, I'll have to pass." There was another round of rowdy applause. "All right -- without further ado ... The Great Pumpkin!"
I hit PLAY. The crowd grew silent when that unmistakable theme music hit the speakers. I walked over to one of the display tables covered with my dark jack-o-lanterns and I laid my hands upon some of them. I watched the light of screen illuminate the smiling faces of those new to the show and those who've enjoyed it year after year. I leaned back, reached for handful of scotch soaked seeds and let the show do its magic.
It started with the scene when Snoopy rose from the patch, much to Linus's hope that the dog was the great Pumpkin -- I heard a rustling sound amidst the vines that connected the various pumpkins in the patch. There was the creaking of branches; there was the popping of roots from the ground; there was a crack of thunder as lightning streaked the sky. I then felt an odd tingling across my skin as I saw shadows moving just beyond the glow cast by the giant screen TV. Those shadows looked like snakes foraging through the pumpkin patch. The lightning grew closer and I watched the shadows form a circle around me and the audience
I thought I was hallucinating but I was really witnessing the pumpkin patch come to life. The largest of the orange squashes were being lifted of the ground as the vines that connected them all swirled madly and started to coagulate into human like figures. Some of the audience members had started to notice the rustling sounds but it crystallized for all of them when the first scream drowned out the the end credit music. I was frozen when a long tangle of vines, moving like a tentacle, reached down and snatched a woman dressed in a nurse's uniform.
"Everybody move!" I found myself screaming as I flew over the display table, knocking some carved jack-o-lanterns to the ground; I reached the flailing nurse -- I knew her as Henriette Patters -- and jumped upwards and grabbed onto her knees. I yanked with all my might but the tensile strength of the pumpkin was too great -- it lifted Henriette into air and shook her like a doll, sending my flying back towards the display table I'd just jumped over. I watched, helpless, as Henriette was dragged into the patch and all I could hear were her screams as I saw darkly stained, tattered ribbons of her costume come flying out of the patch.
It was chaos! Others were being snatched while I scrambled to my feet and tried to corral those who hadn't been grabbed yet towards the path that led out of the patch. Throughout the calamity, I noticed the the irony that all hell was breaking loose in Caleb's Pumpkin Paradise.
I felt like my obsession with pumpkins had come back to bite me in the ass, and it was dead set on taking a bite out of all those who'd joined me tonight. I was bleeding from a dozen cuts and sweating profusely as I'd done battle against what I could only call a horde of pumpkin monsters -- I was wildly swinging a shovel, warding off the living vines reaching from the patch while people dashed beneath them and down the path leading away from where I stood my ground.
I was totally ignoring the madness that was happening around me -- pumpkins don't come back to life and go on a killing spree.
A sudden flash of lightning struck something on the outskirts of the patch and ignited an abrupt fire which spread quickly around the clearing I'd made years ago. Time seemed to slow down and I scanned the flickering flames, the crackling somehow drowning the cries and screams of the crowd. I swung around and witnessed another feat of madness: the jack-o-lanterns I'd carved once so lovingly somehow found themselves in the places of the heads of two men dressed in long, black robes. Their features were shadowed by the flickering flames and they stood impossibly tall, silhouetted before the wall of fire. The smiles I'd carved into the orange flesh contorted into hideous sneers when they realized I was watching them. I backed away but one was already behind me and I was heaved off the ground -- they carried my struggling 200 lbs like I was a rag doll.
Chairs were strewn everywhere and the screen was tipped onto its side and smoking. The pumpkin-monks dragged me to the center of the clearing and forced me down onto my knees. I realized tears flowed from my eyes as I watched my dream -- my life -- become some warped nightmare.
Three women were strung up, their limbs entwined within pumpkin vines. I recognized all three of them: Liza Gaudreault -- a lovely blond that had been dressed like Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jinny; Danah Cobb -- she was a redhead dressed like a slightly less voluptuous Jessica Rabbit; and finally, Henriette Patters -- the first woman I saw be poached from the audience and I thought a goner for sure. She was a nurse outside of Halloween with short, dark hair and sparkling green eyes. I tried to look away but one of the jack-o-lantern monks wrapped an inhumanely bony hand around my head and twisted it so I was forced to face the women.
Small pumpkins, riding spindly vines and moving with the eerie agility and focus of spiders, somehow managed to strip the women of the remainders of their tattered costumes. My two wardens lifted me off the ground and I gave no resistance as I felt their cold, bony fingers tug at my dirty clothes and tore them off. They dropped me unceremoniously to the ground -- when I looked up at the fire that stayed in a circle around our little parlé, I saw the vines holding the three women begin to twist and bend, placing their unconscious bodies in a series of lascivious poses, displaying all their intimate charms in the most explicit ways. I could hear faint voices beyond the flames -- people I knew were wondering what was happening to Caleb's Pumpkin Paradise. What was happening beyond the flames.
The worst thing was that I had dated the three women being displayed before me and by god, I was aroused despite the madness. Or maybe it was because I was embracing the madness. I stood, a slave to more primitive impulses expressed by my engorged cock. It stood like and obscene idol before the women held by the vines. The vines of my pumpkin patch.
There was a humming that slowly rose from the dancing flames and all the faceless pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns turned towards me.
"Choose," a chorus of voices echoed.
"No," I whispered. Naked as I was and posed the way the women were, I understood the beasts wanted me to fuck these women.
"Choose," they repeated. "It is the rule."
"If I don't? If I choose wrong? What am I choosing?!"
"Life and death."
With that, the vines lowered Liza Gaudreault to the ground a few paces in front of me. She was tall and slim, with small breasts and slightly evasive curves shaping her hips. Her blond hair was disheveled and hung down past her shoulders. I noticed streams of blood flowing down her legs -- I followed them and saw a series of bloodied markings carved into her skin. The only word I could use to describe the markings was runic. My cock bobbed as I took a step towards her, my arm outstretched to touch her symbols when my pumpkin wardens grabbed me and immobilized me. I stared numbly as one of them used a long, sharp, graying nail to carve a series of symbols into my flesh. I had the faraway sensation of my skin splitting and blood flowing warm rivers across my skin. I looked down dumbly and saw the bleeding symbols it'd carved into me. Symbols similar to Liza's.
"Help me," she whispered.
Danah Cobb was presented to me. She was petite but had large breasts and a rounded, bubbly ass. Her gray eyes were open but streak with bloodied veins. She was staring straight ahead, but unseeing what was happening around her. Her thick, red lips were trembling. I wanted to kiss her and wipe the blood trickling from her nose and cradle her in my arms and take her away. The symbols she bore were like words written in an ancient language. I couldn't read the words, but I knew each one was the iteration of the sentiment it triggered when I scanned it Loss. Anger. Fear. Rebirth. Love. Courage
Finally, the pumpkins presented Henriette to me. Her hair was jet black and cut short like Liza Minnelli's circa Cabaret. She also had Minnelli's hour glass figure with lovely, pointy breasts. I bit my lower lip as I watched her. Amazingly, she smiled -- but it was a mad grin and from her eyes, her grip on sanity was waning. So was mine. She was scarred, like the others, but her markings were more precise. The lines reminded of the methods I used when carving jack-o-lanterns. Since she was the first woman to have been taken, her blood had begun to form a dark crust within the wounds, giving them an almost artificial look.
In another world, the presence of these three women would have been a dream come true -- but in this fiery nightmare, it was a cruel joke. I'd be laughing at my arousal is I weren't crying.
"Choose!" the choir of flame and pumpkins cried.
I looked at my dream come madness and gazed at the women. I approached each one, my state of arousal in a conflict with my desire to get the fuck out of there. I gave each a hug, looking at how my cuts and theirs matched.
The vines laid her down before me in the middle of the circle formed by the fire. The pumpkins and the two gargantuan jack-o-lantern guards and the vines moved away from us -- I noticed the other two women had disappeared back into the patch and into the flames and I had for them only a passing concern.
I had chosen Danah. Her reddish hair was close in hue to the pumpkins I'd obsessed over while I found her voluptuous figure hearkened back to the swells of a pumpkin's sides. When I'd taken her into my arms during the choosing process, her long, pink nipples seemed to reach for me and her red lips parted like they were ready to kiss. But it was when I touched her, the blood flowing from the wounds and mixing with the blood in my fresh wounds, that I noticed how hers complemented mine. The lines in her skin lead into mine and formed lines reminiscent of the jack-o-lanterns I carved when I was younger. There was also something familiar about her that went beyond the casual dating we did a few years back.
Now, she laid on her back and was looking up towards the moonless sky, oblivious to my presence but there was something stirring beyond her eyes. I felt other eyes on us -- other pumpkins had morphed into jack-o-lanterns and were peering down at us in expectant judgment. I kneeled by her side, taking her hand in mine and gently kissing it. Danah turned towards me, and a renewed awareness crowded her eyes.
"I'm sorry," I whispered as I gingerly pushed her hand aside and took one of her nipples into my mouth. As I brushed it with my tongue, it reactively grew thick and long and I heard a shift in Danah's breathing. I reached over and tugged and pinched her other nipple while I was still kissing the first one -- she arched her back slightly and forced more of her tit into my mouth. I tempted fate and slid my hand down her belly till I crossed her unbelievably soft tuft of reddish -- almost orange -- pubic hair and found her puffy pussy lips. I parted those lips and looked into her eyes -- they fluttered and she parted the lips of her mouth. I let my eyes stray from hers an realized we were both smeared in each others blood. But that didn't matter when Danah reached down and took my cock and stroked it gently. I put my lips to hers despite our scarlet masks and our tongues darted about and met and danced like snakes in Eden.
My fingers pressed more deeply beyond her folds and found the pliable walls of her warm pussy. Danah wrapped her arms around my neck when I found her clit with my thumb and made "come hither" motions with two of my fingers around where her G-spot should be. Danah's body was rocked by waves of pleasure as I played her flesh. From far away, I heard a rustling thought the vines of the pumpkin patch that echoed us.
"Caleb!" Danah suddenly gasped as she clung to me while my fingers and thumb moved faster within her pussy. With her orgasm, her eyes cleared and she saw me.
"Danah," I mustered, tears swelling my eyes as I stared down at her ravaged flesh. There was a pool of blood forming beneath us as we moved to the rhythm of passion despite my head screaming to run away. "I don't ..."
"It's okay," Danah whispered, pulling me close. "I told you you wouldn't recognize me."
She kissed me again, violently and passionately while she maneuvered herself beneath me and guided my rippling cock to her moist entrance. I pressed and entered her silky folds -- her pussy molded itself to my pulsing cock. I took a slow rhythm and hooked her knees and pushed her thighs towards her shoulders. That's when Danah fell apart.