The Night Harvest was a horror showcase for writers and illustrators done by Pen and Muse. All through the month of October they will be posting stories and works of art around the theme of a Night Harvest. Check out the blog to see what’s been going on so far! And there’s also a giveaway.
I was super excited to be apart of this, it was my first time writing something scary. Which was a challenge, but also a lot of fun. I like pushing myself and trying new things. But without further ado, here’s my story titled “Pumpkin Patch”
Pumpkin lanterns swing in the light Oregon breeze, and the air around the festival smells like baked bread, pies of every variety, and the crispness of apples just picked off the tree.
“Come on! I’ll race you to the pumpkin patch.” Moriah is off in a flash of autumn colored hair and white lace dress. She turns to laugh at my dumbstruck face calling, “Come on! I’ll beat you!”
I bolt after her, my sneakers sinking into the mud made by last night’s rain. Sprinting I catch up to her and grab her around the waist.
“Got you.” I say and she giggles, turning to tickle me.
I smile and just grab her hands, “Sorry, Moriah, I’m not ticklish.”
She pouts and sits down on a golden pumpkin, “That’s really not fair, Jenna.”
I stand, awkward, not knowing what to do with myself. Moriah looks like a princess, the sunset making a halo with her hair, mud now clinging to the hem of her white dress, and a spot of mud sticking to her lower lip. Still, I think she looks perfect.
I clear my throat, stuffing my hands into my jeans. “I said I was sorry.”
Her blue eyes twinkle with mischief and a hint of something else. “You’ll have to make it up to me.”
She moves over and pats the spot next to her. “Sit.”
Slowly I sit down next to her, our knees touching, and I can smell cinnamon in her hair.
“How are you going to make it up to me Jenna?” She says, her face just centimeters from my face.
Without thinking I reach over and rub away the dirt from her lip. She backs away, confused.
“It was just some dirt,” I say, looking at the ground embarrassed.
“There’s no one here,” She says, her voice slightly deeper than normal and more forceful.
In a second I’m kissing her, and to my surprise she’s kissing me back, tangling her fingers in my short thick hair.
She pulls away and whispers, “I like you, Jenna dear.”
I smile hesitantly. “Really? I mean…Uh, I think I like you too.”
Moriah sighs, “You think?”
I hurry to rectify my earlier words, “No…No, I do. I like you.”
Moriah smiles and tosses her hair. “Good.”
The thought of Moriah liking me makes my head spin. I mean I’m nothing special. Just your average high schooler struggling to wake up in the morning and get through school. But Moriah, she’s something different, she dances where others walk, she seems to float above everything with grace and poise. Moriah’s not exactly the most popular girl at my high school, but everyone at least knows her name, and Moriah knows everyone, having a smile for us all.
Moriah gets up, taking my hand. “Come on, let’s go somewhere more private.”
I follow her deeper into the pumpkin patch, and it’s strangely quiet except for the mud sloshing rhythmically under our feet. The noise of our town’s Harvest Festival is fading as other people begin to leave.
I check my phone for the time, 9:30. My mom has texted me: We’re leaving. Moriah’s mom has offered you a ride home.
I smile. I seem to be having an unusually lucky day. I text back: Can I spend the night at her house?
I look up and see that we’re now walking to a corn field. It seems to be slightly drier here and the sky’s light is fading quickly. I’ve always been slightly afraid of the dark, but the excitement of being alone with Moriah is alluring, and my heart beats faster.
I’m not a rebellious kid. I don’t do drugs, or drink — sometimes I’ll have the occasional cigarette — and I’ve never had sex. Though the reasons for that are many, I’m mostly just too scared to come out of the closet at school.
My phone buzzes, and I pull it out to see that mom’s said: Yes.
Moriah and I have stopped now. She turns to me, but I can only see the outline of face,
“Are you bored? Do you want to go back?” She sounds disappointed.
“No!” I say a little too loudly.
She giggles and pulls me close. “Not so loud. You don’t want anyone to hear us.”
Moriah kisses me again, her tongue leaving a sweet taste in my mouth. “Come on, let’s go further!” She says, pulling away.
At first all I can think about is the fact that we’re holding hands and stumbling into the dark. Then I turn back and realize we’re lost. “Moriah, hold on. Isn’t this far enough?”
She shushes me, “You don’t want anyone to hear us, do you?”
I don’t say anything, but it’s obvious that no one could hear us right now. The sounds of the festival are so distant that even if everyone else was quiet, they still couldn’t hear us.
“Come on Moriah. Let’s stop here.” I stop walking. She turns to look at me, and for a minute I think she looks angry, but I decide it’s the shadows on her face.
Suddenly the world goes black, as if I’ve lost my sight. “What the hell?” I feel the earth crumbling beneath me, my stomach flops, I scream, and then I hit my head.
I hear my heartbeat first. Bump, bump, bump, bump. I take a shaky breath: was everything with Moriah just a dream? I hear someone groan, and I open my eyes. It’s dark. I take a deep breath. The smells of must and mold rush into my nostrils, and I choke. My head feels like it’s swelled to twice its normal size, and every move I make sends waves of pain through my body.
“Jenna? Jenna are you there?”
It’s Moriah speaking, and she sounds scared.
“Where are you?” I ask, my voice squeaky.
“Are you real?” She asks.
“Of course I’m real,” I say.
“That’s what it said.” She starts to cry.
I can’t see anything, so I move on my hands and knees towards the sound of Moriah. “What do you mean, it?” I ask, trying to get her to talk, but instead she only cries harder. “Moriah? It’s okay. I’m trying to find you,” I say. I’m still crawling, and putting one hand out I touch something, and Moriah squeaks.
“No, no it’s okay! It’s just me.” I scoot closer and grab her hands. “See?”
It takes awhile, but I’m able to calm her down eventually. Her head is resting on my shoulder, quiet save a hiccup once in awhile. Our clothes are damp, and the wall at our backs feels like a rock. I don’t know where we are, and I feel a sense of panic rising in my chest.
I take a deep breath, trying not lose control. Where are we? How long have we been here? I dig into my pocket and take out my phone. The light of the screen burns my eyes, but I feel a wave of relief knowing that I can see. The time reads midnight.
“Damnit. There’s no signal!” My heart sinks as my hope of calling for help slips away, and I feel my hands shaking. In the light of the phone, I can see Moriah is tired, and her dress is stained in mud and some sort of green slime.
She looks up, touching my face, “You are real! I thought…” She shudders, “I thought it might not be you.”
I hold her in close, “Why wouldn’t it be me?”
The light app on my phone dims and she squeaks, so I hastily turn it back on. My battery is at nine percent power: “Fuck.” My mind screams that we’re in trouble, but I know that both of us panicking is the last thing we need, so I try to keep Moriah talking. “Go on Moriah, you can talk to me. Was there someone else in here with us?”
She nods against my shoulder. “I don’t know what it was. First it sounded like you. Then it sounded like a child, then it was…” She trails off covering her ears and shuddering in horror.
I use my phone to look around us. We seem to be underground, but how I don’t understand. There is no way out that I can see. It’s like the earth swallowed us and then closed back again.
“How is this possible?” I ask, my voice trembling. How much oxygen do we have left? What are we going to do when my battery dies? I can’t think. We’re lost. We can’t get out.
“I just told you that something was in here with us and you’re wondering how we got here?!” Moriah screams into my face.
“Moriah, we’re underground somewhere! I don’t have signal! No one can find us! How the hell can they? We’re under the fucking earth!” My breathing gets heavy, and the space feels smaller by the minute, my head getting dizzy. My mind transports me back to middle school. I’m locked in my locker, it’s dark, and the smell of my sweat is overwhelming. No one is listening to my screams — but I can hear them laughing outside.
I try to focus on Moriah’s fear and say, “I don’t see anything now. Maybe you were just imagining it.”
She sits up, her eyes flashing with anger. “I know I wasn’t! I touched it. It was slimy and horrible.”
“Okay. Okay. I believe you.”
“No, you don’t,” she says, her lower lip trembling. “You’re just trying to calm me down.”
“We need to get out of here.” I say, “I’m thinking, but I can’t see a way out.” I let go of her and start to crawl around the cave, “Maybe something — shit!” My hand slips on a sharp rock, cutting it open, causing me to drop my phone on the rocks. There’s a small crash, and I get a sickening feeling. I pick up my phone and try to turn it on but the screen is completely shattered.
Neither of us say anything, I just cradle my phone.
“We’re going to die down here,” Moriah says.
“No…” I try to say, “We won’t…we can’t.” But it’s feeble, and she knows it.
I try to crawl back to her, feeling the damp walls to my side and moving along them, blood dripping from my palm. Moriah’s been quiet for several long seconds, and I should have found her by now.
“Moriah?” I call out, wondering if she’s fallen asleep or something. She doesn’t answer. I wave my hand in front of my body but I can’t find her. I edge forward, trying to be careful of my hand. I feel something warm and wet on the ground. “What the hell is going on?”
Suddenly I see eyes. Large, green, glowing eyes in front of me, with pupils like a cat.
“What the fuck?” I scramble backwards.
The thing hisses at me, it’s eyes roving back and forth. I feel something soft against my back and my hand is on something that feels like… I move my hand up and realize it’s a body: Moriah’s body.
I want to scream but I can’t get anything out.
“What’s wrong?” A thin reedy voice asks.
I scream. I crouch against the wall, wishing I could melt through it as the eyes get closer and closer. I can feel its warm breath in my face, smelling like vinegar and rotten eggs. “Help me!” I scream again.
A slimy hand touches my shoulder.
“Moriah’s not here anymore. Just me.”
As always thanks for reading guys, let me know if I did a good job. And let me know if you check out the Pen and Muse blog, isn’t it fabulous? 🙂