A twisted erotic horror tale for Halloween, this story follows a boy who gets just a little too “close” to a gourd. It originally appeared in Grue #19 in 1999. In 2000, it appeared as a reprint in my Delirium story collection Cage of Bones and Other Deadly Obsessions, and then again in Delirium Magazine (along with an interview). It has become one of my most popular stories with readers over the years. In 2006 it was reprinted in the Dark Arts Books collection Candy in the Dumpster.
ack’s hands trembled as he traced a small circle on the slick skin of the pumpkin, using a magic marker and the bottlecap he’d lifted from his mom’s medicine cabinet. It looked to be about the right size.
A gibbous moon shone in garish relief off the night-polished hides of hundreds of orange globes, but Jack’s chosen pumpkin was special. He’d picked it for its size as well as its seclusion. Somehow, this particular vine had crept over the irrigation ditch and nurtured its offspring well away from the others under the shade of a gnarled elm.
The tiny circle drawn, Jack opened his pocketknife and with quick, short thrusts turned his drawing into a hole. His heart began pumping with growing volume as he completed the first stage of his violation.
“You’ve got to try this!” Tom had told him in a whisper the previous week after school. Exhaling a cloud of Marlboro smoke with practiced disdain for anyone who might be staring his way, Tom had laughed. “It’s so twisted, it’s great. You just have to make sure the hole’s not too big, or it won’t work.”
At first, he’d figured Tom had to be making it up. Nobody would try that! Totally gross. But every time he thought about it, he got a funny feeling inside; the idea attracted him. And so tonight, under the chill wind of an October moon, Jack stood holding a pumpkin coring. This was stupid, he thought for the hundredth time. This is warped.
But after taking a furtive glance around the pumpkin patch behind him, silently amazed at the endless rows of orange basketball shapes stretching to the black horizon, Jack unbuckled his belt and dropped his jeans to the ground. A cold knot twisted his stomach at the realization that he was going through with this perversion, and a countering hot stab of anticipation drove through his heart and groin. With a shiver and a shrug, he shoved his underpants past his knees and, goosebumps popping out across his bare lower body, knelt next to the pumpkin.
Gripping the rough, wrinkled skin of the dead vine atop the gourd, Jack guided his straining penis into the newly sawn receptacle. He gasped aloud at its touch. He was afraid at first – would the hole be large enough to receive him? Would he be trapped inside? Would he catch some weird pumpkin disease – orange genital warts?
But none of these concerns stopped him from pressing through the gently resisting cavity. It was cold, sticky. He imagined his favorite pin-up girl lying here in the leaves and brush before him. She’d be warmer, he thought, but sticky too. Would she feel like this? He stifled a moan as he pressed into a new area of slimy seeds and pumpkin hair. Jack moved close to embrace all of the warty hide of the pumpkin as its jellied hairs tickled and caressed his member inside. It felt as if it was moving with him, pulling at him to stay as he arched away. He’d cut the hole just right. It was tight enough to grip him like a woman. Or, as good as he thought a woman might. A woman filled with cold slime and seeds, he laughed, the thought driving him to cleave hard to the lined sides of the gourd. He uttered one more involuntary gasp of pleasure as the tremors of release rocked him and left. And then clammy fear at the extant of his depravity gripped him. What had he done here?
Rolling away from his vegetable mate, he yanked his pants up, not even bothering to wipe off the commingled strands of orange and white mucous. It gelled in the hair on his groin and belly, a sticky accusation of his strange and darkly pleasurable fornication. He tucked two pumpkins under his arms as he stole away from the quiet field on the edge of town.
“Where’d you get those?” he mother yelled as he went dashing through the kitchen with his stolen treasures. “Don’t take them upstairs, they’ll rot! Jack!”
Depositing the pumpkins safely in his room, he returned to the kitchen to assuage his mother. The trick with her was to get things settled before she got talking about it. Then she wouldn’t bother forcing him to change.
“I’m gonna carve them up there,” he announced, staving off her objections. “Halloween’s in a couple days, and they won’t rot before then. If I leave them outside kids’ll kick ‘em through the street.”
She looked uncertain, and he pressed his advantage. “I’ll clean up everything, don’t worry.”
That night, after turning out the light, Jack ran his hands lightly over the smooth, bumpy skins of his pumpkins. Their texture drove a shiver through his bod. His groin jumped. Whitely naked and bent beneath the moonlight glinting through his bedroom window, Jack kissed his pumpkins good night, and then dove guiltily into bed. His saliva glittered in beads on the dark orange skins.
Jack had thought he’d share his experience with Tom if he went through with it – after all, it had been Tom who’d clued him in, right? But when he got to school the next day and saw his friend’s cynical sneer as he joked about getting a piece of Mary Scott, Jack realized that he and his pumpkin queen were a private item.
That night, with the bedroom door locked, he once again traced the bottlecap on a pumpkin and punched through its pale pulpy hymen. His hips moved faster, sliding the pumpkin and himself across the floor as he fought to stay with his new lover. But as he stifled a grunt of orgasmic reaction, it was his first pumpkin that he found himself thinking of.
The next night he found himself fidgeting at the dinner table. Meatloaf and carrots with cauliflower covered his plate. The orange and white of his vegetables lay in front of him, reminding him of his newfound carnal pleasures. And it excited him. He was dying to get away from the table to lock himself away for precious moments with his pumpkin. But when he finally got there, when he’d carved a new hole and sluttishly spent himself, once again he found himself craving the attentions of his first, the monstrous pumpkin queen whose insides had seemed to suck him to ecstasy that first time. Tucking his gluey dick back in his pants, Jack quickly scooped and finished carving his first pumpkin. He had to have some evidence for his rush to get to his room.
“Oh, that’s very, um, niiice, Jack,” his mom said as he showed off his newly carved pumpkin. She looked puzzled. “I thought it was supposed to be scary though, hon.”
“So, this one’s a happy pumpkin,” Jack shrugged and went back upstairs to clean up.
He got two more rides – one after school and one after dinner – out of the next pumpkin before carving it up into a face which his mother, in utter puzzlement, pronounced beautiful. In years past, Jack’s pumpkins had always held a certain demonic terrorism in their fangs and slanted eyes. But these – she stared at the two demure smiles on the orange globes on the kitchen table – these were … coquettes.
“I’m going trick or treating for awhile,” Jack announced, letting the door slam behind him before there could be protest. She thought he was too old to go, but why should the little runts get all the free candy? He’d borrowed Tom’s football jersey and helmet and set off. It was a windy Halloween, and an earlier rain had set a bone-slathering chill in the air. Leaves rustled and dropped wetly all around him as he worked his way block by block to the end of town. The moon was small and piercingly white by the time he admitted where he’d been edging his way to. At last he called off the charade. Breaking into a run, Jack sprinted with a shopping bag full of candy the remaining four blocks to the pumpkin field. He’d thought about her – his first, his pumpkin queen – all through school. The gourds he’d brought home simply hadn’t fulfilled him like her. He prayed she was still there. He prayed she hadn’t rotted from the hole he’d gored into her side.
The pumpkin field was a dismal sight on Halloween night. Only the rejects were left here now: the misshapen, rotted, too-small pumpkins littered the field, seemingly in large numbers; but the deep dark depressions where their brethren had but recently rested betrayed the extent of their abandonment. Jack loped through the field, heading toward the back ditch, anxious to reach the shelter of that crooked elm.
But she wasn’t there. At first he thought he had the wrong tree, but then he saw the telltale deep depression she’d left, and his own rutted kneeprints beside it. Who would have taken a pumpkin with a hole right in the middle of her best side? he wondered, and sank to the ground. How, HOW, had he become such a perve that he was lusting after a pumpkin? But, she’d been right here, so cool, so … good!
“Looking for someone?”
The voice at his back startled him to his feet.
“No no,” he stammered, as he stared at the girl before him. She was naked, entwined in a vine that stretched from her belly to the ground beside him. She stepped closer, and his breath caught. She was orange. The deep, mottled orange of ripe pumpkin. She exuded a musky vegetable odor as she stepped closer and ran a warted finger up his face to poke into his open mouth.
“There was a pumpkin here,” he said, pulling away and pointing to the hollow on the ground. The hollow near where her vine was embedded in earth.
“Yes,” she answered, her voice a husky rustle of summer and seed. She touched him again, and he saw then that her skin, though smooth, was marred occasionally by dark warts and dimples. Wet-looking translucent strands of hair hung from her head and her crotch. He guessed that hair would be cool and sticky. As she wrapped her arms around him in askance, he found that he’d guessed correctly
“You were looking for my mother,” she whispered like the wind in his ear. Her tongue, cool and wet, traced designs on his neck before she said, “That means you are the man who raped her. You are my father.”
At that, she dropped to his waist and began tugging at his belt. “I will be the woman my mother could never have been for you,” she promised, and slowly, he began to aid her in releasing his clothes. Common sense told him this was not what it seemed; pumpkins did not have human, albeit orange and warty, children. Girls did not give blowjobs to strange boys in fields. But here she was, and her cool touch was driving him to fever. He let her crawl across his skin. Her slimy kisses stuck to his skin like fruit pulp. His cock was so erect it was painful. He’d never been so aroused. Her breasts were hard, tipped by dark brown warts. And her hair was entangling itself on his body, ripping loose from her in sticky heaps. He felt it on his crotch from the pressure of her own, it was hidden in the crease of his neck like chilled sauerkraut.
And then she pulled back. Stretching out across the dirt where just days before he’d had her mother, she showed him the oval valley between her smooth, lightly creased legs. “You can have this,” she promised. “I’ll be better than my mother. But first, you’ll have to cut my cord. She held the browning vine up from her belly, and with squeamish understanding, he dug through his discarded clothes for his pocketknife. Flipping open the blade, he held it as close as he could to her belly, and began sawing. She stiffened as he did, but said nothing. A clear, sticky fluid flowed across his knife and onto his hands, and it was over.
“Now,” she said, her voice a rasp of longing. “Seed me, fertilize me, water me.” In her tone, those words sounded like the dirtiest night talk Jack had ever heard. Without pausing to close his knife, he tossed it away and pressed his legs to hers.
This was like the first time, he thought as he bucked on top of the cool pumpkin girl. Her eyes glittered blackly in the moonlight beneath him as he kissed her hard lips, ran his tongue along the pulp ridge of her teeth. She sucked his heat into her, her natural frigidity only driving him to a hot wash of orgasm.
“Yes,” she wheezed as he came at last, panting and flopping atop her like an epileptic. And then, as Jack looked to see if his lover’s eyes were as satisfied as his own, he saw that her hunger had only just begun. “We will fertilize hundreds of seeds together, my love” she promised, encircling him in a grip of orange rind as solid as wood. He struggled, kicked, screamed. But there was no escaping the grasp of the pumpkin queen as in a flash, her arms and legs sealed around him and they began to roll as one downhill.
And who paid attention to muffled screams in the depth of night on Halloween?
They found his clothes eventually, underneath an old gnarled elm behind an empty pumpkin field. They were lying on bare earth; nearby a knife was stabbed crookedly in the dirt. As the farmer led police to the spot to search for further clues of the missing boy, he spied a huge orange pumpkin peeking through the weeds at the bottom of the hill. He shook his head at having missed such a prize pumpkin the week before.
It would have brought a good price.
Inside that “prize” gourd, a white-slimed shape contorted at the sound of voices. Kneading hands of pumpkin hair kept him in near-constant orgasm, and handful by handful, deposited orange-slick, newly formed white seeds into pockets on his flesh.
“We will fertilize hundreds of seeds together,” she whispered, in words only he could hear.