A Short Story by SamuelSystem

Author: SamuelSystem
Created: December 05, 2011 at 09:13 pm
Upload Type: Short Story, G (All)  
Category: Weird | Humor | General/Other
Upload Stats: 5 Stars by 1 users with 1 comments and 131 views

The Fight for Ed's Pumpkins  

Ed crouched on his haunches inside of a bush near his garden. His D-cell flashlight gripped in one hand and the other rested on the ground. He was staking out his garden to make sure nothing got to his pumpkin. His beautiful pumpkin, two hundred pounds of blue ribbon glory, he would take it to the county fair and finally beat Preskins this year, finally! This stakeout business was hard, though. It was getting late and he was getting tired but so far nothing had come to nibble on his vegetables. He was getting drowsy and his eyes were betraying him by coming oh so close to closing. He woke right up however when he heard a sniffle coming from outside the bush. Rustling accompanied the sniffle and a soft crunching was next.
He had found his prey.
Without hesitation he shot up out of the bush, flipped on his flashlight and shined it where he heard the noise.
A tiny rabbit was caught in the light. Its pupil dilated and its heart was beating so hard and so fast Ed could have sworn he felt it in the earth. It pivoted on its feet and shot off into the night into the field of weeds that separated Ed’s yard from the acreage of tree’s he owned. “And don’t come back!” he screamed at the retreating shadow. Ed chuckled to himself, he was clever, yes he was . . .
He went back into the bushes, newly invigorated by his flushing of the rabbit. He settled back down and it wasn’t too long before he heard more rustling. Although this time it was heavier, the footsteps were louder and the crunching was much louder than the rabbit. Ed thought it might be a deer and got a little worried; he didn’t wasn’t to get in a tussle with one of those things if he startled it into attack mode or something. Ed took a deep breath and, much like he had done with the rabbit, he shot up, flipped the flashlight on and pointed it where he heard the noise coming from.
Ed had the flashlight pointed at chest level which was why he was so surprised when the light displayed a large and very hairy rear end. Ed’s mouth dropped open and the light shook, he moved it up and down, getting a look at whatever was in his garden. It had equally hairy and massive legs, a back like a cement walkway, and a large head; all hairy and all brown. The mass of muscle and hair turned around and Ed saw a face that was oddly human but more ape-like in its appearance. It reached a hand up to its mouth; it was holding a head of lettuce. It opened its mouth and took a huge bite out of it, it had gigantic incisors but altogether it seemed a human looking mouth.
The smell, oh god the smell! Ed couldn’t place but then again he wasn’t sure a junkyard rat could. It was nasty and rotten smelling. Ed slowly reached up a hand and plugged his nose.
The thing swallowed its bite of lettuce and threw the rest behind him. It looked around, unperturbed by Ed and his light, for something else to eat. It looked to its left and made a satisfied grunt.
Ed’s stomach dropped. It was looking at his pumpkin.
The moonlight shone off of the drool on the things lips, it smacked them in anticipation. Ed stated shaking his head and whispering “No,” under his breath again and again. The thing stalked over to the pumpkin it gripped the healthy green vine, thick as a bridge support and ripped it in two without any effort. As if Ed couldn’t be any more shocked the thing lifted all two-hundred pounds of the pumpkin with one hand. One hand! It then turned around and began walking towards the woods beyond the stretch of weeds and wildflowers. It covered the distance in long strides making it to the woods in no time at all.
Ed was dumbfounded, not only had he never seen anything like before in his entire life but it had come up out of nowhere and taken his pumpkin! Well he wasn’t going to let this go, no way. That was his pumpkin, his blue ribbon, his chance to beat Preskins and no overgrown monkey was going to take that from him! He’d give it a name, names were easier to deal with, fighting something nameless just seemed . . . too scary.
Its name would be Hungry and that was what he would put on the plaque when he hung its big hairy head over his fireplace.
Ed adjusted his hat and hitched up his pants. He flipped the flashlight off and started towards the woods arms pumping back and forth, fists clenched and mouth set in a grim line. He had no idea what he would do when he caught up with Hungry but he would look tough doing it.
He entered the woods and looked around, his eyes had not yet adjusted to the darkness but the moon was full and he could see a path through the brush where he thought Hungry might have gone. The trampled plants and fallen trees were a good indication. He set off at first going straight but as he got deeper into the woods the canopy got thicker and less and less moonlight entered the woods so he soon lost the path of destruction. He knew he was lost when he ran into a tree for the third time and his throbbing nose was yelling at him to go home.
“I’m not going home, nose. I’ve got to get my pumpkin back and- AAHHHHHH!” Ed had stepped into a hole and something was tearing at his shoe! Ed felt razor sharp teeth poke through his shoe and scrape against his foot. He screamed in horror and fell down, scrambling to get away. He got his foot loose with a resounding tear and he pulled his legs to his chest.
Red eyes were staring at his from inside the hole which was somewhat dug into a small mound. It growled at him and the sound was like a distant explosion. “Just take it!” he screamed as he tore his shoe off and threw it at the hole, “take it and leave me alone!”
The shoe bounced off of the top of the hole and landed a few feet away from the shadows. A furry claw reached out and grabbed the heel, slowly dragging it in. the laces trailed behind the shoe as if they were hands scrabbling for a hold; they were the last thing Ed ever saw of his shoe.
Ed caught his breath and stood up; he chose a direction at random and started off again. Each step brought an “Ew” or an “Ouch” depending on what he stepped on. He began to worry if he would ever find his way out, let alone his pumpkin.
Time seemed to stretch for Ed, each moment seemed an eternity and with each eternity Ed’s sanity was pushed. He ran into trees, knocked his head on branches and tripped over roots until he thought he would scream. Finally forty-seven minutes after he first entered the woods, (although it felt like so much longer than that), Ed found himself sitting on a stump and chewing on his hat; he was holding his hat in both hands and gnawing on the cap. Small nibbles and giant chomps indicated his anxiousness and he rocked back and forth.
Then it hit him! He figured out how he would find Hungry! Ed would let his nose find him.
He put his hat back on his head and stood up. Leaning his head back and closing his eye’s Ed took a deep breath through his nose . . . and almost vomited.
It seemed Hungry was closer than he had thought and directly behind him. He sniffed tentatively and found he could stand the smell at least for a moment to serve his purposes. Ed walked with his nose in the air and a look of determination on his face yet again; he would find his pumpkin and take it home.
He approached a group of trees that had grown close together and saw a light behind them. Ed walked slowly towards the light and peeked through the trunks. He saw Hungry, sitting on a log in front of a . . . fire? Ok he was done being surprised by this thing. Ed’s pumpkin sat across the fire made even more orange by its dancing light.
Ed considered barging in and telling Hungry what for but he had a better idea. He had a nice .22 in the basement and he thought that might just do the trick. Ed looked back to the little camp but Hungry wasn’t there anymore
Before he could ponder this he was grabbed by the scruff of his neck and lifted into the air. Ed gave a little yelp and tried to squirm his way out but he was given a cuff on the ear which almost knocked him out cold. He wasn’t unconscious but he was slipping in and out of it. He lost a few minutes of time because when he lifted his head he was out near his garden, still being held by Hungry. He walked Ed to the bottom of his deck stairs and dropped him like a sack of potatoes. With a gruff dismissal, Hungry turned and walked away, back to Ed’s garden to pick more groceries it seemed.
Ed stood up, furious. How dare he just drop him here like a lost kitten! Ed brushed himself off and angrily rushed into his house. He limped through the kitchen with his shoeless foot and chewed up hat. He saw his wife, Darm, sitting at the table and she jumped, sorry darling. He stalked down into the basement, grabbed his .22 and went back outside.
He stood at the bottom of his stairs where Hungry had dropped him, his hat askew on his head and his bare foot in a puddle. His pants and shirt were torn up and he was shivering with fear and exposure. He gripped his gun and said, “The hunt is on.”
He forgot ammunition.
Grumbling even more this time, Ed stalked back down to the basement, grabbed his ammo, loaded his rifle and stood again facing the woods. Working up his courage he started off at a jog with the rifle held against his chest. He made it to the woods and closed his eyes, ready to let his nose do the rest. Turns out he didn’t need to. A crash from his right made Ed pivot and raise the gun to his shoulder. Hungry stood behind a fallen tree, a calm look on his face. As if he was waiting for something.
Ed raised his rifle and pointed it at Hungry’s chest but didn’t pull the trigger. Ed didn’t think about Hungry having feelings. As harsh as that sounded it was true. He thought he would be as his name implied; just a mindless driven hunger, out to eat everything he loved. If it ate my pumpkin then what’s next? Darm? He wouldn’t have that and so he thought he would destroy Hungry.
But looking at him now, Ed wasn’t so sure. He saw emotions in Hungry’s eyes; fear, and anger just under the surface of a calm exterior. He was a twig snap away from leaping on Ed, but why? He could run and lose Ed just as easily in these woods as last time and maybe get so far away Ed wouldn’t even be able to smell him.
But then he figured it out; this was his home just as much as it was Ed’s. Hungry lived so deep in the woods that, Ed thought, left to his own devices he would have never found him.He guessed it was chance that made them meet tonight.
Ed put his rifle down and looked into Hungry’s eyes one last time.
“You can keep it,” he said, and walked away.

© SamuelSystem - all rights reserved

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Comments & Reviews

December 05, 2011
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What a beautiful ending!
In Ohio we have had 1500 lb. pumpkins..
They are a symbol to me of the infinite cornucopia ..
.... enough for everyone.
God bless your compassion
a spotlight

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