Monday, October 28, 2013

Night of the Cauldron: Part IV, The Pumpkin Bogey

Night of the Cauldron
Part IV
The Pumpkin Bogey

Alicia paced back and forth through her room as she put on her costume.  Eric had been hiding beneath his sister's bed for at least fifteen minutes waiting for the right moment.  He'd snuck in when she'd gone to the bathroom and slid quietly underneath.  He had to stifle his giggles several times while he waited, holding his hand tightly over his mouth.  He'd put on part of his own costume for the scare, a pair of fur covered latex werewolf claws.  He'd be rinsing the taste out of his mouth all night, but it was worth it.  Finally, Alicia stopped pacing and stood in front of her chest of drawers.

Eric jutted his arm out from under the bed and grabbed Alicia's ankle.  He growled like an angry dog as he did so.  Alicia screamed and leapt onto the bed.  Eric laughed and pushed himself out the opposite side.  He flew out the door before Alicia could catch him.  He was in the kitchen is seconds, Alicia just steps behind him.

"MOM!"  She screamed in a rage.  Eric was laughing so hard his eyes had begun to tear up.  He hid behind their father as Alicia hit him repeatedly with her hairbrush.

"Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!"  He squealed.  Their father smiled and moved to avoid the onslaught.  The doorbell rang.

"Oop - Trick-or-treaters.  I'm out."  He grabbed the bowl of candy from the counter and sped out of the room.  Eric fled through the dining room and back around to his own bedroom.  He slammed the door and locked it.

"JERK!"  Alicia screamed and kicked his door.  Their mother appeared at the end of the hall.

"Alright.  Enough!  Alicia go get ready for the party!  We're already late."  Alicia sighed heavily.  "Go."

Eric heard his mother's knock at his door.  He opened it, smiling sheepishly.

"Enough with the scares."  His mother raised her eyebrows at him and pursed her lips tightly.  He glanced away nervously and put his hands behind his back.

"Yes ma'am."

"Get your mask and your coat and be ready.  We're all leaving in thirty minutes."  She said the last part loudly so that Alicia could hear.

"I was getting ready until some butthole scared me!"  Alicia yelled from her room.

"Language!"  Their mother yelled as she disappeared into kitchen.

Eric pulled his door to.  His mother had not entered his room to give him 'the talk' yet.  That meant he hadn't crossed the line.  He turned off the light and grabbed his werewolf mask.  He moved to the window and gently opened it.  It made a soft hissing noise.  Through the wall he could hear Alicia on the phone with her friend Michelle.  He popped the screen out of his window and slid down to the ground.

He pulled his mask on and moved to the front of the house.  He hid at the corner until the trick-or-treaters left then moved across to the other side, sticking to the shadows where he could.  Halfway across he nearly tripped over the stack of pumpkins and cornstalks his mother had constructed in front of the porch.  He knocked one of the smaller gourds down.  He stopped and gently returned it to position.  If he messed up his mother's decorations he really would get 'the talk' and probably worse.  He gingerly tip toed around and bolted beyond the garage and around.  He squatted as he moved so his shadow wouldn't show on the windows.

Once he passed the kitchen windows, he stood flat against the wall and moved slowly towards his sister's window.  Through the blinds he could see her standing at the far end of the room near her closet.

"I know right -"  She laughed into her phone as she adjusted her boots.  Eric reached up and scratched at the window.  Alicia did not notice.  He scratched again.  Nothing.  He looked around for a stick or rock.

Just then there was a distant thud and it felt as if the whole house shook.  He fell back against the wall.  Turning to face the noise, he saw bright green fireworks going off in the neighborhood down the hill.  It seemed like too many at once, like the end of the show on the Forth of July.

He stepped out into the backyard in mute amazement, watching as the flames and sparks danced through the air.  The column of green twisted and grew.  He could see people stopping on the street below to observe.  One big spark flew out and exploded high overhead, showering their backyard with bits of green.

There was a loud thump behind him.  He jerked around to see Alicia glaring at him from the window.  "MOM!"  She yelled.

He quickly forgot the fireworks and ran back around the house.  He didn't bother to sneak this time, focusing on getting back to his room as quickly as possible.  As he rounded the corner to the front yard, he came to a dead stop.  The pumpkin display was demolished, cornstalks scattered across the yard.  All the pumpkins were gone.  Had someone stolen them?

Deciding to deal with the pumpkins later, he broke into a run.  He had to get back into his room before his mother did.  He quickly rounded the corner and moved up to his window, tossing his werewolf hands and mask in first.  He had just reached up to climb in when something skittered across from the front yard and under one of the bushes nearby.  It looked like a small orange dog.

There was movement again, behind him now.  Something latched onto his leg, sending shooting pain up his thigh and into his belly.  It twisted and thrashed, digging into the flesh of his calf.  He screamed and fell back.  He smacked at the thing on his leg and managed to grab hold of it, throwing it into the neighbors yard.  His pants leg was shredded and glistening red shone through.  His vision blurred with tears, but he could see more movement towards the front of the house.  He tried the window again, but could not raise himself up to climb in.  He stumbled to the back yard.

Eric heard heavy thumps as if someone were running.  He looked up and screamed again as the faceless horror leapt from the roof at him.  He was still screaming as it dug its claws in.

{8x5.33  Sharpie and Uni-ball Vision Elite Pen with color added in Adobe Photoshop}

Enjoy all the stories from Night of the Cauldron


Eddie said...

The artwork here really nails the ending. That's the last thing you want leaping onto you to!

I like this whole story happening in a well-to-do neighborhood (or at least we-to-do enough where everyone is excited for the holiday and is able to afford great costumes). Makes it all the more delicious :>

Jesse Campbell said...

The story for this piece changed four times before finally settling. I had trouble nailing down a main character for this one until the brother sister relationship appeared.

Also, in the original drawing for this piece, the pumpkin was a Jack o Lantern. When I was in Photoshop I decided to see what it looked like without the face and it was much creepier. I will probably share that in a From the Archives Post at some point.

As to the well-to-do neighborhood - I just wanted a place large enough for the cauldron chaos to spread. Subdivisions are ideal for contagion and horror. LOL.

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