's 2018 Horror Write-off:

The house across the street still has their pumpkins out

Submitted by A. J Bevan

The house across the road from us still has their pumpkins out, lying all floppy and damp on the porch- their eye sockets have begun to sag and their mouths pucker and wrinkle, soft hair growing atop their ever decaying forms.
They looked fine at first, plump and cheery fellows who seemed to almost greet those who walked past with a hearty grin full of halloween spirit, but their time is long passed and their humour faded.
What were once wide smiles now feel forced, slowly turning downward as bright and happy cartoon faces begin to take an air of sadness- their very visage morphing anew.

I quicken my pace as i walk by that porch, not wanting to catch the eye of a decaying gourd's pitiful look- as if they feel sorrow, pain even for their life coming to an end.
Gutted and carved, mutilated into false cartoonified expressions and left to rot- their shrivelled heads seem almost aware of it all.
Why have they not thrown them out, discarded them atop the compost or in a bin?
Surely they no longer wish for such decrepid things to disgrace their door?
Yet every night, without fail those pitiful gourds light up with dim, flickering candlelight- a sign they are not all forgotten, for someone must be setting their tealights ablaze.
My mind begins to wander late at night, looking out between the blinds to see those rotted carcasses gazing back- morbid curiosities take my fancy and i imagine the endless world of mystery and fantasy, pondering over haunted gourds and every foul reason a pumpkin might sit on that porch.

They are barely more than mounds of mush now, yet i still see their eyes stare mournfully up at me- as if begging to be released of their ever decaying physical forms in which they are trapped, asking a task of me i know not how to complete.
The bugs have taken residence between cracked pumpkin lips and they crawl upon and through that wrinkly squash skin, devouring what goodness they can find as they squirm and swarm in their masses- is this a higher cause, a jack o' lanturn's purpose perhaps?
To start life as a simple gourd, be carved and broken into a twisted visage; and then decay back to the earth where you belonged.
I bid the bugs a good and bountiful day and thank them for helping the pumpkins along, walking homewards i feel a gaze upon my back- even as i return to my room i still feel as though those rotten things can see me, watch me through the window.

The weather grows ever colder and yet, night after night, those pumpkins still glow- it's inconcievable that one could even manage to light a candle inside something so wet and slimy and yet somehow they must, for i see it flickering in the dark.
Will they glow on through the winter snow, covered over all but the shrunken eye sockets that still stare upwards?
I've taken to closing the blinds, to block out their unblinking stare- but it is to no avail, be it light or dark, inside or out i still feel them watching.
When i walk the cold wind bites at me now, my lips crack and pucker- still i won't meet the gaze of those globulous mounds as they stink and rot, festering more than even the bugs can stand.
The nauseous stench is unbeareable, i start to to reroute my walk to avoid the putrid pumpkins- no more shall they assault my senses with their unwantedness, but i cannot shake them from my mind completely.
In the darkest night i dream of them, coming to me and whispering dark secrets i was never meant to know- foul smelling tears trickling down their rotten faces as they surround me, my body paralysed by sleep.

The house across the road from us still has their pumpkins out, barely recognisable now as the yellow police tape flutters from its position on the porch, the wind catching its trails and letting them flow mournfully.
The investigators have long since left now, but the neighbourhood is full of whispers and chatter- as dark and unwanted as the pumpkins putrid words, i try to hide away from it.
I don't want to know how long they lay there, eye sockets beginning to sag and mouths puckered and wrinkling- soft hair growing atop their decaying forms.