#StitchedSaturday 2/16/19 – Ruthann Jagge

My special apologies to Ruthann (and anyone else I may have missed last week) for not including her story. I was pretty sick and just couldn’t focus too well. Her’s is deserving of a special, late post. Her stories are a must-read!

The Pumpkin Men

Ruthann Jagge

 

Two years had gone by or rather they had been absorbed like a cheap paper towel trying to soak up a cup of spilled coffee. Some days she just sloshed around uselessly and on others she managed sloppy dribbles of productivity.

They say that time heals even the most gaping of wounds but nothing Dree tried had worked: the loss of her boy was just too raw and still surreal to her.

He would have been eight today but along with three other sweet souls he had fallen victim to a Monster and become the kind of headline news you read then hope like hell is an exaggeration. Dree had learned that even monsters can hire those lawyers in the tallest towers with enough of Daddy’s money at their disposal and that a girl who waited tables at the local diner could be judged as guilty by neglect simply because she was young, single, and lived in the dirty part of town.

The Monster had walked free taking with him the innocent laughter of those boys who had been found mangled and broken and there was nothing she could do…until now.

Dree had come up hard but had been loved, raised by her Gran without a lot of extras unless you consider the value of the things she had taught her not only how to make do but also how to make things happen. She liked to call them The Old Ways.

Hours spent gathering herbs for healing, mushrooms for visions, how to dry the roots and pound the powders. Stories were told, cautionary examples given. Gran had been the one you went to if you had troubles that needed fixing or pains that the medicine couldn’t take away. She never accepted payment per se but you’d know she was owed and the smart ones always made sure to leave a bushel basket of apples in season or firewood cut to an easy size stacked at her door.

She was gone now but some remembered and they would cross to the other side of the street if Dree was noticed while out doing errands in town.

She had learned what to do but more importantly what not to do from her and she had tried to live her life in the light but her pain had become greater that any of Gran’s potions could remedy. On that night when the tears had stopped flowing, she made the decision to claim her revenge. After all her life was pretty much nothing but sadness now and some things were worth the price.

She didn’t own much and the small cabin she had lived in with Gran and then her boy had been her only home.The few things he had loved would be useful now: some little plastic action figures, a cigar box of rocks and shiny bits he had collected, his precious colored pencils, and a few worn comic books that were hidden under his bed to read with a flashlight when he thought she was asleep. He would spend hours drawing the figures in them over and over to perfection and had told her that he wanted to be an artist like in those stories when her grew up. She sifted through the pile of papers and realized that he had given her all she needed, she saw them now copied so carefully with intention and respect,“The Pumpkin Men.”

They would be called: the abominations born from the despair of the desperate and fed with gore.The ones whose damned souls had rotted like the soft flesh of ripe fruit and were lit from within by the rage-fueled vengeance they took upon those they were asked to destroy. Huge and reeking, ancient and wrapped in skins with blazing eyes, their meaty hands swung their deadly weapons with an unholy fury and they would come to do her biding.

The moon would would be full soon and Dree needed to be ready. She struggled to remember some things Gran had told her but also knew that she would not fail or care after the work was done.

Her friends were few, most had started to avoid her after the trial along with the guy she had dated now and then. She met them for coffee at the diner that afternoon and gifted one her small gold locket and the other her silver ring with the green stone telling them she had simply decided to stop wearing jewelry and thought they’d like to have. She also quietly told her boss who was a kind man with sad eyes, that she was leaving town and thanked him for giving her a job. Finally she stopped by the little white church and left a cereal box stuffed with some money she had saved inside the door, she wouldn’t be needing it.

The Monster lived with his family on the other side of town, college had been put on hold until one could be bought in spite of his notoriety. He spent his days golfing and relaxing poolside. Dree had asked one of her friends who worked as a maid at the country club to bring her a towel he had used and tossed onto a lounge chair, she thought it was odd but did it anyway without question hoping it would help give her closure.

At twilight, Dree used her Gran’s hickory walking stick to draw a circle in the dirt around the cabin. She kissed a drawing her boy had done and placed it on the table along with some special herbs and offerings she had prepared and took off her clothes. She neatly folded them on her bed then sat on the floor and began to whisper words The Old Way had forbidden to be said out loud. Very dark words. Holding the towel the Monster had used, Dree told her boy how much she loved him and asked her Gran for forgiveness…she had warned her of the consequences of such things and Dree knew her fate. It was dark now but the moon agreed with her plan, shining brightly to light the way as she dosed the cabin and herself with gasoline and lit the match. When she began to scream, Dree held tight to the towel crying out the name of the Monster begging them to hear her plea and knowing that the “Pumpkin Men” had not been called in vain, she was at peace.

It was another typically dull day in the life of the Monster and he was bored, wondering if he’d be able to find another plaything before they shipped him off again. It was almost too easy and he smirked to himself as he opened the door to the locker room to shower after playing twelve holes. The power must have gone out, it was dark and what the hell was that smell, the toilet had probably backed up and would management ever hear about this! He reached for the switch and saw a flash of light then heard a thump.

His severed hand hit the floor as the Monster’s brain caught up to what had happened while he thrashed and tried to breathe. Another thump as his left arm slid across the tiles and then his leg dropped followed by the rest of his body spraying blood. He could see them now and they were horrible,“The Pumpkin Men” burning bright with the coals of Dree’s soul, stinking of her revenge, their hideous faces grinning maliciously as they raised their huge silver blades dripping with the poison of her hate for him.They continued to slice and hack at his body, oblivious to his begging, laughing at his promises of riches, forcing him to take a final look at what remained intact in the locker room mirror before slowing sawing through his neck…the Monster would simply cease to be. They ate the more tender bits with their jagged teeth leaving behind only the ghost of his worthless life and a drawing done by a small boy with colored pencils on the floor.

 


I’m New York girl married to a Texas rancher, the oldest of eight kids in a crazy Irish-Catholic family. I’m fond of saying, “12 years of Catholic school made me what I am today” because it helps to justify my crazy. My life is big, messy, cool, and complicated. I’m a passionate traveler, craftsperson, can hold my own in the kitchen, lover of both classic rock and country music, Pilates devotee, and a voracious reader. Trying to write a bit myself these days because some who know better say I should. Speed as in driving fast used to be my “drug of choice” but now that I have six grandkids I tend to respect my own mortality more. I live in the middle of nowhere Texas in a 100 year old stone farmhouse on a rural ranch that was once the site of Indian battles. I’m surrounded by cattle, acres of dirt, and plenty of small town judgement so I prefer to spend my time in my studio creating or more recently writing. I don’t always see ghosts and some are here, but when I do I offer them a shot of Jameson and try to make friends while I listen to their stories. Still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up but have always been involved in creative pursuits including coloring outside the lines. The way to my heart is with humor or by a good scare and I appreciate both!

I feel that I’m a the true definition of a Gemini.

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