*** Published Oct. 31, 2010 in the Bristol Herald Courier. ***
The sun had set. A massive creature hauled itself through the misty briar field. The gates lay ahead. The creature hoped a trespasser would come tonight. It was hungry.
Brian wiped the cold sweat from his forehead. He was shivering, but not from the cold, from fear. He and his friends had been wanting to win the largest Pumpkin Contest at the county fair for ages, but were never able to grow a pumpkin big enough.
This time, however, they had a plan. As long as anyone could remember, a 20-foot stone wall had separated the town from the forest. On the other side of the wall, there was a patch of wild pumpkins that grew to enormous sizes. The forest didn't actually start until a few hundred feet from the wall.
Over time, rumors claiming the pumpkin patch was haunted grew and grew until no one even came to the pumpkin patch anymore. The massive iron gates fell into disrepair, until only thrill-seeking teens even knew it was there.
"Go on, then," said George, one of Brian's friends, "Open the gate, old chap." George's British accent was annoying sometimes, but that was the least of Brian's problems. The boys had decided to have one of them climb the gate and open it from the inside. Then the boys would snatch the largest pumpkin they could find. Brian had to climb the gate, unfortunately.
"Why do I have to climb the gate?" protested Brian. "Because Steve broke his leg, John's afraid of heights and I've got to keep these gloves on at all times," answered George. George was wearing gloves because he was a notorious nail-biter, and the gloves were so slippery he could scarcely hold anything. Sighing hopelessly, Brian clambered over the gate and down the other side. Just as he was about to unlatch the gate, however, something wrapped around his ankle and pulled him into the fog.
Brian was dragged deeper into the pumpkin patch, sliding on his belly, screaming. He lost sight of his friends in the fog just as he was lifted off the ground by the vine wrapped around his ankle. He was paralyzed with fear as he was hoisted up in front of a colossal Jack-o-lantern. The ferocious melon opened its titanic jaws and prepared to fling Brian into its gargantuan maw. Then Brian noticed a knife wedged in the monstrous gourd's pulpy flesh, just above his flaming, tooth-filled mandibles. Brian tore the knife from the terrifying fruit and slashed the vine away just as its frightening mouth slammed shut on the space where he was only a moment before.
He ran and ran until he reached the woods. Dashing between trees, he suddenly came to a clearing. Tombstones protruded from the ground everywhere. "A graveyard!" gasped Brian. All the tombstones were so worn and crumbly that all the names engraved upon them were all but indecipherable...except for the tombstone marking the one open grave. Brian read the tombstone:
Here lies Brian Acres
Who stuck his nose
where it didn't belong.
1996-October 22, 2010
Rest in pieces, Brian!
Curiosity killed the kid!
Brian gasped in fear. That was his own name, and today was the twenty-second! He stumbled backwards, eyes wide. Suddenly, he collided with a robed, skeletal figure. He spun around and found himself face-to-face with a grinning skull. "You have until midnight, and then you shall fill the grave!" the skeleton said to Brian.
Brian ran into the woods. Gradually, the trees began to thin out, and undergrowth covered everything. Eventually, Brian was in a passage made of little more than overgrown hedges. He emerged into a clearing full of statues and paused. The statues were all of people screaming in terror, and live snakes slithered everywhere. A huge snake as thick as a tree and a sickly shade of green slithered up to Brian. "You have until midnight, Brian," hissed the snake.
"Ussssse it well, or ssssoon you ssshhhal perissshhh." The snake suddenly opened its fanged mouth and swallowed Brian in a single gulp. Brian slid down the snake's throat, and then with a tremendous shooshing sound unceremoniously transported to a strange room. The room was a large stone cube, and the only exits were four doors. A huge spider lurked just above the doors. "Choose a door, Brian," said the spider. "One will free you, and the others will trap you." Brian reached out with a shaking hand and pulled open a door, revealing blackness. He stepped inside...
The door closed behind him and the floor collapsed, sending him hurtling through utter blackness. He suddenly landed in a room about the same size as he. A door opened, revealing his bedroom. He was standing in his own closet.