My mom had always been the one in my way-artistic, way loaded family who was crazy for Halloween, psychotic pumpkins, and geeky witch costumes. But, yet somehow, it had always fallen to me to go around my family's massive property, loading up a few dozen pumpkins in my seven-year-old sister Alena's wagon, and going out to the back to dump them all in forest at the back of the land. This year, I was midway between the forest and the house, and I was just grinding my teeth, listening to my favorite songs on my pink and black MP3 player, when something broke into One Song-Glory.
Impossible. It just couldn't be coming from where I thought it was.
But it was.
It was coming from the wagon.
I drop the headphones into my pocket, and bend down in front of the pumpkins. Flinching, I start moving the pumpkins, my mind recoiling when I realize that they are oddly--warm. Far too warm for pumpkins that still retain the heat of the day as it wanes into late twilight.
I spread the 60 pumpkins (it's a very, very big wagon, and my family has far more time on our hands than is healthy) out on the ground, taking care to look into the well-carved 'faces' of each one to make sure none of them look back at me.
I'm not exactly sure whether or not I'm surprised when I get to the last pumpkin, and it's Andrei's. Technically, though, I'm not sure it can be called a pumpkin anymore; it is, in fact, a pumpkin creation made out of ten separate pumpkins all joined together with pumpkin guts to form tendons and muscles, with one pumpkin for the head, another for the torso, and one for each leg, arm, hand, and foot to form a sort of humanoid pumpkin person. It looks up at me with what should have been vacant eyes. Those eyes had somehow been filled with fire, red light glimmering in their depths. They peered out from underneath thin eyebrows woven of
leaf stems, and above toothy lips that formed into a rather ghastly smile.
Now, if you were to look into my emotions right now, and eye everything I'm feeling and everything I have ever felt, you'll think I'm psycho. Because, right now, Alexis Roseweed, the emotional/out there Roseweed, is exceptionally calm. In fact, I think I have reached a state which my family calls scary calm, where you feel nothing. Nothing affects you, and in fact, you are actually ten seconds from screaming out loud and strangling people. I take a deep breath, fighting the impulses to scream, strangle, flee, or wet my pants while my mind works its idle way through the status of scary calmness.
Instead of doing any of those above options, I elect to just say hi. "Hello. Um, my name's Alexis. Is there anything I can do to help you?" I ask, fidgeting with my fiery red hair.
"Yes. My name is Seeder, King of the People of the Vines, and I would like your assistance, oh kind Protector of Man, in protecting my people from the ravages of the wild, and also your help in giving my family life. Would you give me this honor, Scribbler of the Roseweeds, or would you leave me and my people to rot in this pitiless world?" he says up at me, his deep, gravely voice betraying his gender, and a massive tone of nobility.
I swallow, looking away. My voice trembles as I ask, "I'll help you. But on one condition: You must tell me what you mean by Scribbler."
He gives a laugh, and I glance back at him while he replies: "It's what you are, isn't it, Alexis Roseweed? You are the only writer in your family, and your brother, Andrei, is my creator. But you are the one who will give the rest of us life."
"What? How am I supposed to do that?"
"You and your family are very special people. When you create, power flows through you and into your creations. Everything you have ever written and dreamed has lived; and now, I need you to do that for my people."
I glance away. "I can't, alright? I'm not a good writer; I'm not good at my talent like the rest of the family. You might as well be asking an illiterate to give you life; I'll just fail you."
The creature stands, and I watch with fascination as its muscles flex, bringing it to its feet. Seeder steps out of the wagon, and without realizing it, I back away, my hands raising as if to ward off a blow. Kindly, the thing raises its hands, smiling, brows pursing together. "Alexis, what is it you have to be ashamed of? All I need from you is to write me a city, and my people life. Your brother's talent brought me to life, and now what I need from you is to do the same with your writing for my people. You and your family are the best of the best at what you do; there is nothing that can be wrong with what you do. Will you do this for us?"
I clench my eyes tightly shut, and give a nod.
And, just like that, I've set out on my brand new journey.
I run off to grab my laptop.
I jog up the small pathway. Soon, I was sprinting and leaping over roots, bushes, and the occasional branch or tree stump on the ground. When I reach the house, it's a quick run up the steps to my room at the top, and in I run, closing the door behind me. I look with prideful satisfaction at the bookshelves all around, the stuffed animals scattered across the casually rumpled quilt, the pillows scattered across it. I go to my roll top desk, and grab my laptop. I slip it into its case by the dresser, and out I go, down the steps and outside again, slinging the bag over my shoulders as I go.
When I get back, Seeder is walking lovingly among the pumpkins scattered all around, his hands wandering from pumpkin face to pumpkin face. He glances up when he sees me, a look of happiness overwhelming his small face. His three-foot-tall body lowers itself in a cross-legged position to the ground, and waits patiently, his hand on his knees.
I sit down across from him, open up my laptop, and, setting my mind and fingers to their task, start to type.
Muscles, tendons, and pumpkins start to appear out of nowhere, connecting themselves to each other, gaining life. The creatures, all sixty of them, blink in the harsh light of their first sunset, and stare up at me with wonder. Flags and city walls rise in the distant forest, and buildings appear out of nowhere, a regular city. Gardens, fields, and hunting ranges form out of the forest itself, along with every tool and every luxury they could ever want, including spices and a massive library. The pumpkin people watch with awe as I construct them a church, and give them the knowledge needed to come up with their own religion.
And, then, it is done.
I close my laptop, my heart in my throat. Had it been enough? Had what I had just done actually been the right thing to do? But I guess now wasn't the time to get the answer.
The pumpkin people give me one last look, before they disappear into the bushes all around, heading for their new home.