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PAST STORIES : 2004

Bad Seed

October 31st 1904

A pale blue moon dimly illuminated the expansive cornfields of Kingsbury Farm as well as the pumpkin patch near the cornfields edge. The day had been Indian Summer warm, but now the air was cooling rapidly and above the pumpkin patch a light mist gently swirled over the ripe pumpkins and the vines surrounding them.  Sandwiched between the edge of the pumpkin patch and a nearby stand of trees was the old family cemetery plot, now overgrown and somewhat neglected. The Cemetery was fenced with wrought iron but weeds and vegetation had now blurred the once distinct boundaries of the plot. No one had seemed to notice, or care, that several of the thick pumpkin vines had, over the summer, worked their roots and tendrils through the fence toward the tombstones. Several pumpkins had already been cut from the vines earlier in the day.  Had anyone been there to notice they would have seen an odd sight. At the cut ends of the vines a viscous pale reddish-brown liquid seemed to slowly seep from the cut ends of the vines and pool on the ground between the rows……………

At one time, back in the 1860’s, Kingsbury Farm was the largest in the area, growing mostly tobacco, and employing several dozen workers. The farm, originally founded by a man named Jonathan Kingsbury; was now owned and run by his grandson Robert. The farm was smaller now than it had been in its heyday, some of the acreage had been sold off to various settlers and the city of Corning was slowly expanding to make room for more businesses and neighborhoods. The farm’s main crop these days was corn, as most tobacco was now farmed down in the southern states.

That same moon to shine down on the cornfields and pumpkin patch also illuminated a large frightening Jack-O-Lantern that sat on the front porch of Kingsbury farmhouse.  The hour was late but a thick candle still guttered and glowed within the pumpkin, making the pumpkin’s rictus of a smile seem to move with a life of its own each time the candle flickered. Jack-O-Lanterns are supposed to scare away evil spirits, and this one definitely seemed to have great potential in that area.

The Jack-O-Lantern had been carved earlier in the day by Robert Kingsbury’s son, William, who now opened the farmhouse door and stepped onto the porch. He let the door close quietly, as he would catch trouble for sure if his parents knew he was out of bed at this hour.  Approaching the pumpkin, William turned it around and smiled to himself, proud of his work. He then removed the lid and extinguished the candle inside. He didn’t want any of the older boys in the area, who may still be out causing Halloween mischief, to do any damage to his fine work of art. With great effort he lifted the pumpkin, carried it inside and set it on the kitchen table where it would be safe.

William awoke the next morning and came down to breakfast expecting to see the pumpkin where he’d left it but it was gone. He asked his mother as to its whereabouts and she informed him that it had already started to rot and had a funny smell so she had put it out in the compost pile behind the shed.

Disappointed at all his hard work carving had gone to the compost heap he grumpily finished his breakfast, dressed and went outside to do his chores. He wandered over to the old potting shed next to the pumpkin patch and cornfield. Behind the shed he found the compost pile full of rotting kitchen scraps and vegetation but no pumpkin. Then looking down between his feet he saw a flash of crimson and realized that he was standing in what appeared to be a small sticky puddle of blood. A puddle which had a neat row of drips that ran across the rough crabgrass and straight down the first row of the cornfield……………………