Ever since I could remember, I was never bothered by the cold. Even now, as the wind whistles from the north, I am not cold. My skin is a little wet from the dew last night, but that is it. My brothers and sisters have gotten used to the wind howling its winter plans. If we get too chilled, we simply think of what is going to happen to us in the future. Yes, we are comforted by the chance to be chosen and taken to a better haven. It is considered a peaceful death. After we are picked, we slowly start to die, but it isn’t painful. All of us dream of the day we get chosen. It means we have lived a good life.
Being chosen is a wonderful thing, too. Whoever picks us says we are the best to them. Humans, are what they call themselves. None of us really know why these Humans choose pumpkins, but it is for something good. Some of us never get picked. They are either too ugly or not big enough. I have the advantage. I am a plump, round beauty that has just finished growing. I am at the peak of my color. My brother isn’t so lucky. He is a bumpy, yellow, old thing. We think he is going to get slaughtered. He didn’t live a good life; we all picked on him. He is going to just sit in our patch and rot forever.
Something is happening. My brothers and sisters are getting feisty. I think a Human is coming to pick one of us. We all lie in a random position and look lifeless. We don’t want them to be scared away. I don’t care. It is the peak of my beauty and I need to be chosen. I am ready for this. A tiny Human comes closer. I can feel the shadow of the small thing over me.
“Daddy! Daddy, I want this one!”
“Don’t you usually want the biggest one, sweetie?” The tall Human said.
“No. You get the biggest, and I get the prettiest.”
“If you say so. Pick out one for mommy.”
“I guess I’ll choose this one. It’s the tallest.”
The big human picked up my tallest brother, my biggest brother, and walked towards me. He picked up the brother next to me, ignoring what I could offer. In five minutes, my dreams were a reality and then back to dreams.
“Daddy, that’s the wrong one!”
The small thing came to me and pointed to me. Maybe there is hope. I feel like I am being picked up. I feel like my sorrows are being picked up. I am finally going to the heavens and I am going to die peacefully. I have lived a happy life, and I am going to take the next step. Things are going to be okay. I can’t see or taste anything, so I am relying on my feelings. The bottom of me feels a hard thud, the world darkens. My skin can’t feel the wind, so I must be inside. This is not what the heavens should be like. It should be happy and amazing. Maybe the journey is scary, but the actual heaven is a paradise.
Why wouldn’t they say the journey is frightening? I am being thrown around. My skin is hitting hard surfaces that I can’t name. It feels dark. If I could see, I would probably scream from seeing bruises on my perfectly orange skin. I again feel like I am being picked up. I must be outside, because I feel the texture of the leaves under me. I hear the crackle of my weight pressing the leaves down.
“Honey, go get the tools. They should be inside the shed in the Halloween box.” the big human said.
“Carve out the top for me!” said the little one.
What do they mean by carving out the top? The tall human picked me up, but it hurt this time. I felt a horrible pain from my top, and I felt like my top was going to snap off. My stem is hurting so bad, it would feel better if it was just cut off.
“Daddy, here they are!”
“Before we start, I need to over some safety rules.”
“I promise I’ll be careful!”
“I know, but I worry. These cutting tools are sharp, so be…”
Wait. Did he just say the cutting tools? What are they going to do to me? I can’t believe they lied to me! They promised me it would be painless. They promised me I would be happy being chosen. I was promised that I wouldn’t feel this wet slime around my stem. The slime is going all over my top, skin, and a little bit under me. It is agonizing. It doesn’t tickle; it feels like a bug with cold, wet legs is walking all around me. It feels like I am getting a permanent tattoo that will make me be shamed. At last, the wet thing is away from me, but my skin feels tingly, and I don’t think the feeling will go away anytime soon.
“I drew the outline, so you can start carving.” the big one said.
I hear the tiny cling of metal being picked up. Out of nowhere, I suddenly feel this excruciating pain around my top by what feels like a knife. It stabs me again and again without stopping. I can’t do anything, and I can’t reduce the pain. I want to die. It is hopeless. This is the end. It hurts so much, I am forming sweat beads, but it is probably from the humidity. I want this to stop, but I can’t die on my own. Let it stop, please. Again, the knife is coming out of my skin and alas! The knife is not cutting my skin! “Honey, you missed a couple spots. See, the top is supposed to come off.” The knife is stabbing spots that have already been cut. It is ripping off my skin. It is finally done, but I literally feel like a piece of me is missing. I feel air in my body, which shouldn’t happen. Wait, I have been scalped! I cannot do this anymore. It’s over.