The Pumpkin Patch*

by

Tey Holden

teyholden@gmail.com

(If you recognize the characters in this story, you must know that I’m writing under a new pen name)

 

“Where were you? What’s all this?” Casey was surprised when she saw Emm carrying a huge box.

“Halloween decorations.”

Casey’s jaw dropped in disbelief. “Casey, why do you look surprised? I thought we agreed to celebrate Halloween every year to commemorate the anniversary of the day we met?” Emm walked passed her and settled the box on the dinning table.

“Yes, babe, but I had something else in mind.”

Emm pursed her lips and turned to face her. “Cas, we can have our intimate celebration later.”

“No, it’s not just that. I was planning to take you somewhere.”

“Where? Don’t tell me you want to go to Dr. Samuel’s Halloween party again?”

“For God’s sake, no! I had enough with last year’s party and the fire.”

“What then? What did you have in mind for tonight?”

Casey smiled shyly. “I was going to take you to a pumpkin patch harvest celebration at the orchard on Grover’s Mountain.”

“Aaw, what a fun idea!” Emm cupped Casey’s face and kissed her. “Let’s do it then. I love when you do that kind of thing. You are romantic, and I love it.” Emm kissed her again and Casey was at her usual melting point. “What about your allergies? Isn’t all that hay and junk in the air up on the mountain going to affect you?” Emm asked in a somewhat sarcastic tone, knowing that Casey was more of a hypochondriac than an allergy sufferer.

“I took my allergy pill this morning and will bring my nasal spray, just in case.”

“Okay, then it’s settled. We are going to hang this stuff, shower and get ready to go. At what time should we leave?”

“Well, it’s at dusk, and it gets dark early. So I figure that if we leave here at four, we could be there by five and stay until seven, then come home and give away candy to whatever kiddo who knocks on our door. Does that sound good to you?”

“Perfect.” Emm kissed her again. “Here, help me hang these lights. We need to put up some nails.”

“Grrrrrr, I don’t know that I’m into all this hanging of stuff.”

“Cass, don’t grumble. You know you are going to do it anyway.”

“We shouldn’t be putting nails in the walls. May I remind you that this is not our place and that we are merely renting? They are going to make us patch up all these holes when we leave here to buy our place, you know?”

“Well, that will take a while because we don’t even have the down payment yet. So don’t worry about that now. All we need to do is to make sure that every year, we put the nails in the same holes.”

“This is crazy.”

“In fact, maybe we should just leave the nails in and use them to hang any decoration throughout the year.” Casey rolled her eyes. “And stop rolling your eyes.”

“How do you know I’m rolling my eyes, if you are not looking at me?” Casey was on a stepladder measuring to set up the nails.

 “Because I know you all too well, my dear.”

“In just one year, you think you know all about me, don’t you?”

Emm smiled. “Yes, every bit of you.” Casey looked back to find Emm’s eyes scrutinizing her and vey much focused on her buttocks.

“If you want these nails up, you better stop looking at my ass because I’m about to come down this ladder and show you that bit of me you want to see.”

Emm laughed. “Later Zorro. I’ll take care of you later. Nails now.”

***

 It was a bit past five when they arrived at Grover’s Mountain. “Oh my God, Cass, this is so beautiful! Look at the color of those leaves.”

“Yeah, yeah. Look at that traffic. Aren’t people supposed to be home preparing to give candy to the kids?”

Emm ignored Casey’s comments in her customary way. “Look at all those people and the pumpkins. Look, there are pumpkins everywhere.”

Casey smiled. She loved it when Emm became excited on account of practically anything. In contrast to her own gloomy vision of life, always looking at the risks and the danger of things, Emm consistently saw good and beauty everywhere. Casey knew that if it weren’t for Emm’s positive view of the world, she would be missing out on a lot of wonderful things.

“Parking is what we need to find. See if you can find a spot.”

“There, there, behind that black truck!”
 
“Okay.” Casey pulled in and Emm was out of the car immediately.

“Come on, Cass. I can’t wait to find us a pumpkin.” Emm grabbed Casey by the hand and pulled her towards the crowd barely allowing Casey the time to press the car lock key.

***

“I’ve never seen so many pumpkins in one place in my life. This has got to be the biggest pumpkin patch ever, and look they also sell apples and look at these yummy breads. Let’s get some.” They filled their bucket with apples, apple donuts, cider, cheese and pumpkin bread and then paid for the items.

“Emm, this stuff is too heavy. Let’s take it to the Jeep before we go into the pumpkin patch.”

“Okay.” As they were returning from the parking area, they saw the hay wagon. “Let’s climb on board.” Emm said with a naughty smile.

“You know that hay is going to make me sneeze.” 

“Use your nasal spray. That ought to do it.” Casey’s nasal spray was nothing more than a saline solution that Emm had prepared for her at work. Emm was a nurse practitioner and knew that Casey’s symptoms were most of the time imaginary or normal. She consistently treated her with placebo, but always made her think that it was genuine medication.

“Okay, give me a minute.” Casey sprayed her nose under Emm’s watchful, smiling eyes.

“Come on. Here it comes.” Emm waved to the wagon and before they knew it, they were on board and heading towards the furthest spot of the pumpkin patch.

“I sure hope that we can get a ride back, or it’s going to be quite a hike coming back.”  Emm didn’t hear her. She was too excited walking ahead of her enjoying the beautiful evening. Time passed as the women walked about the patch looking and discarding every possible pumpkin. “Too ugly,” or “too small,” or  “too big. How are we going to carry this thing all the way back to the car?” Emm remarked.

“I thought we were taking the wagon back?”

“I don’t know about you, hon, but I haven’t seen any wagons for a while.”

Casey, who had apparently lost track of time with Emm’s constant charming remarks, looked about the place to find that they were alone in the area. “Hey, Emm, I think we should head back. Most people are gone. Actually, there’s no one around.”

“Hum, you are right. I wonder where everyone went. Okay, let’s go back. We need to pay for this one.”

“I can’t believe that after all this time, we end up with that puny, tiny pumpkin.”

“Be glad. At least it’s not too heavy to carry back. Geez, where is everyone? It seems as if they’ve disappeared.” Under a litany of complaints from Casey regarding the hike, and how she would have blisters tomorrow, they finally made it to the main section of the orchard. Emm walked towards the area where the cash registers were located. “What the hell! There’s no one at the registers. What do you suppose that means?”

“That means the place closed and everyone’s left. That’s why there’s no one around. Come on, leave the pumpkin and get in the car. It’s already dark. We need to get out of here.”

“I’m not leaving our pumpkin after all the time we spent picking it. I’m just going to leave five dollars here and take the pumpkin with me.”

“Oh God, give me patience.” Casey mumbled as she walked towards the parking area while Emm finished her unilateral business transaction. Emm put the money on the counter and placed a small pumpkin on top to keep the money from flying away. Two minutes later, Casey drove up to where Emm was waiting to be picked up. Once Emm was in the car, Casey made a U-turn and drove towards the gate. 

As they approached the gate, Casey stopped. “I think someone closed the gate. Let me go open it.” She got out of the car and walked up to the gate. When Emm noticed that Casey was taking too long, she opened her car door and stepped outside. “What’s wrong?”

“Those assholes locked the gate. We are locked in!” Casey was frantic.

“Oh.” Emm walked towards Casey to try and calm her down as Casey cursed her life away.

“Honey, calm down. It’s not the worst thing on earth. We have food, we have cider and it’s a beautiful night with a beautiful moon. We’ll just drive back up there and park and enjoy ourselves. I’m sure someone will be here early in the morning to open the orchard.”

“You can’t be serious? I’m not planning to spend my whole night on this mountain! I’m going to walk down and get some help.”

“Cas, you can’t walk down the mountain. Are you forgetting how uphill it was that we didn’t think the Jeep was going to make it? And it was a long hike too, at least two miles, and now it’s dark. I won’t let you do it. You are going to hurt yourself.”

“Emm—”

“No, you are not going, and that is final.”

“It’s our anniversary night, and here we are stuck in a pumpkin patch. I had plans for us.” Casey was devastated.

“Cas, we are not stuck. We are here with each other. The place doesn’t matter. You are here with me, and that is all that matters. This is perfect. Look at that moon! Isn’t it romantic? Let’s eat and then look for a pile of hay where we can roll and have some fun.”

“Are you serious? What if they find us? They’ll think we are trespassing.”

“Trespassing? Are you kidding? If anything they are the ones that are in trouble for locking us in. We can sue the pants off them for their negligence, you know? I think they have the duty and obligation to make sure that all their patrons have cleared the premises before they lock that gate.”

“Well, I guess that’s true.”

“Of course it is!”

“Emm, I think I see people in the distance. I think we better drive back and park in a not so open space. I don’t want to use my gun to scare away anyone.”

Emm rolled her eyes. “Come on, General Custer, let’s hide this car somewhere. I don’t want you getting hurt up here.” Emm got in the car and Casey followed, but her eyes were fixed in the distant figures. As they approached a nearby barn, Casey full attention was not there and she miscalculated and hit several haystacks that immediately fell on top and around the Jeep practically covering most of it.

“Fuck! Are you okay?”

“Yes. How about you?” Emm asked while trying to sound calm.

“Fine. I’m fine.” Casey leaned her head on the wheel. “This is turning into a hell of a night. We are the ones who are going to be sued for damages.”

“Nonsense. We can say there was a lot of wind up here, and that the hay fell on us accidentally. Are you sure you are okay, baby?”

“I don’t know, Emm. I don’t like being locked up here. It’s weird. Spooky.”

“A perfect Halloween night. Let’s try and make the most of it. Okay?”

“Only you can find this perfect. What do you want to do?” Casey asked, resigned to her fate.

“Let’s go check out those people.”

“Are you out of your mind? I thought we were going to remain in hiding? Let’s just eat something, put down the seats of the Jeep and sleep in there. It might get cold overnight and there might even be wild animals around.”

“You can’t be serious? Sleep inside the Jeep, with this gorgeous full moon night? I was serious when I said I wanted to roll in the hay with you, you know? But first we need to do a bit of spy work.”

“Yeah, right and when you feel a little field mouse crawling up the inside of your pants and reaching his newly found burrow, you’ll be screaming like a mad woman.”

Emm smiled. “Not if my burrow is already occupied.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Casey grinned. “I think the occupant of your burrow would feel much safer if we slept inside the car. We can test whether windows do really fog when there’s a lot of sweating inside.”

“Cas! It’s Halloween. I’ve never done it in the hay and this presents the perfect opportunity. Come on, let’s go spy.” Emm pulled her by the hand and Casey followed.

“Trouble, I see trouble coming. We are going to end up in jail, or attacked by wild animals, strangers, or both.”

“Sssh! Look, I see small figures. They are either children or gremlins. What do you think?”

“Gremlins. Time to go.”

 “Oh look!” They are lighting a bonfire.”

“A bonfire? Remember how the last one turned out.”

“Cass, do you like children?”

“What kind of a question is that? Of course I do.”

“Good. I want to have three.”

“Three what?”

“Children.”

Casey became quiet prompting Emm to look for her. “What’s wrong?”

“I hope . . . are you? I don’t think I can have children.”

“Why not? You said you like them.”

“I do, but as long as I don’t have to go through birthing them. I cannot imagine someone moving inside me, or something coming out of me through a certain part.”

Emm laughed. “I wasn’t suggesting you have them. I’ll have them. Would you help me raise them?”

“What? Are you serious? I would be honored. I’d live for those kids. I’d hang Halloween decorations and Thanksgiving and Christmas and anything, baby anything for our kids.”

Emm smiled. “You know? You just made this Halloween very special for me. I think we should quit spying and go roll in that hay.”

“I’m all for that. Come on.”

“Wait what is that noise? Oh shit look!”

The people in the distance got up from their sitting position and began to dance around the fire.

“That’s weird.” Casey observed.

“It looks fun.” Then they saw the lights go up in the air and heard the drums and the screaming.

“What the fuck?”

“Cas! Sssh!”

“Emm, let’s go back to the car. I’m serious. We need to hide. Let’s go. I’m ramming that gate.”

“You can’t do that! You’ll destroy the car, and we may get hurt.” Emm spoke as Casey pulled her.

 “Okay, but at least, we hide. And forget about any hanky panky. I’ll stand guard all night, gun in hand, even if my carpal tunnel acts up. I think those people are doing some kind of satanic ritual.”

“You are ridiculous.” Emm let go of Casey’s hand and ran straight into the group of people to join them in their dance frenzy. Casey first ran after her, but soon realized that there was no point in both of them getting caught. She had to stay behind and be vigilant to rescue Emm. Too bad her gun was in the car. She obviously couldn’t go back and leave her alone. She needed to keep a close eye on Emm to pull her out of her captivity the minute she could.

Casey crouched behind the tall grass and vigilantly waited. “Mother of God, take care of her. Damn, Emmy, you are so crazy sometimes. If I didn’t love you so much, I’d be out of here like the devil is coming at me.”

Casey noticed that as soon as Emm approached the group, the dancing stopped. “Shit! She’s fried. I’m going to have to run in there and start hitting people. But with what?” She looked around her and found a tree limb. “This will do. I’ll whack me a few and then we run to the car and ram the gate.” The minute she saw one of the adult dancers grab Emm by the arm, without any further thought, Casey ran out of the bushes yelling and spinning the tree limb in the air like a mad woman.

When Emm heard the yelling and saw Casey running towards the group and about to hit them, she was horrified. “Stop, Cas, stop!”

“What? Why? Who are these people? What are they doing? Are you okay?”

Emm held Casey by the arms trying to control her. “Cas, this is the Grover family, and this is how they celebrate Halloween every year. They are very nice, hospitable people. Mrs. Grover here was about to get me something to drink. ” Emm smiled at Mrs. Grover, apologetically, and then turn to look at Casey. When she did, she opened her huge brown eyes, a clear signal to Casey that she had to behave. Mrs. Grover went to get the beverages. 

“Okay, I’ll stick around with you but only because I don’t want anything happening to you. But, please, don’t fucking drink anything these people give you. Please!”

“Okay, but I think that you are exaggerating.”

“Indulge me, please.”

Emm growled and gave her the menacing eye. “Okay.” They politely took the drink from Mrs. Grover, but hung on to it without drinking. No one seemed to notice since Mrs. Grover resumed her dancing around the bonfire the moment she handed the drink over to her. Between breaks from the dancing, the Grovers shared some of their past Halloween celebration stories with them and there was talk about different sizes of pumpkins and the year they had their biggest one, or the year they picked the most apples.

Time passed and neither the Grovers, the elderly grandparents or the children gave any indication of being tired or, at the very least, of having the intention to put the kids to bed. It was Casey’s first yawn that indicated to Emm that it was time for them to leave. They said their goodbyes and proceeded to walk back to their car.

“It’s good that you brought your flashlight, Cass. It got pretty dark all of a sudden.”

“Always prepared.”

“Were you ever a girl scout?”

“No, I have an innate tendency for calmness and preparedness, I guess.”

“It’s a good thing you do, because I tend to be spontaneous and wild sometimes.”

Casey chuckled. “Yes, I do know that you are pretty excitable.”

Emm stopped to enjoy the innuendo. Her caramel brown eyes sparkled.

“I like that. I like that you are spontaneous.”

“I know.” Emm reached and kissed her. 

“You spice up my life, Emmy.”  
 
Emm put her arms around her neck. “Zorro, were you really going to whack all those people to save me?”

Casey blushed. “Did I make a fool of myself, Rap Cin?”

“A beautiful, and most wonderful fool.”

Casey sighed. “Come on, Zorro. I have plans for you tonight.”

“Talk, talk, talk. I have yet to see those plans materialize.”
 
 Emm hurried up and walked ahead. Casey followed smiling. It was true that Emm drove her mad sometimes, but she loved her craziness, and all that came with it.

When they reached the area where the Jeep was parked, Casey stopped. “Emm, I know that you would like to sleep in the pile of hay looking at the moon, but considering that we are here alone in the middle of this dark, desolate place, it would mean a lot to me if we slept inside the Jeep. I will pull down the back seats and lay the inflatable camping pads and will throw some hay under the sleeping bags, if that will please you, but please, please, please let’s sleep inside the car. I don’t want to risk another scare.”

Emm smiled. “Okay.”

“Great! Thank you, baby. It means a lot to me. I’m glad we left all the camping gear in the car the last time we went camping.”

Emm watched with loving eyes as Casey prepared their bed. She zippered the two single sleeping bags to form one large one. When Casey grabbed the hay to throw it inside the car, Emm stopped her. “No, the hay is not necessary. I have all I need.” She kissed Casey’s hand. “I have you.”

“I think this night is finally looking better for me.” She brought their intertwined hands up and kissed Emm’s.

“And just think, it’s only just begun. Let’s eat something before turning in”

Casey grinned. “Okay.”

“Um, let’s see what do we have here, apples, apple donuts and apple cider, cheese and pumpkin bread.”

“This is actually a very healthy meal, Emmy.” 

While they ate, they observed the moon. “Gorgeous moon.”

“Yeah, I don’t know when I liked it the most, when it was low, yellowish and bigger, or now that is high and bright.” Emm wondered.

Casey shifted her attention to Emm. “I like them both, but I prefer the glow in your eyes when you look at it.”

Emm smiled sweetly. “Were you looking at me earlier when the moon was low and yellow?”

“Yes. I enjoy things more when I see them through your eyes.”

“Oh, Zorro! That is the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to me.” Emm leaned in and kissed her. “Let’s turn in. I want to show you my plans.” Casey helped Emm put the remains of their food away and they climbed inside the back of the Jeep. “It’s cozy here. I like it.” Emm commented as she cuddled to Casey.

“I like it too. I cracked the back windows a bit to have some ventilation.”

“Aren’t you afraid a field mice might coming in?” Emm asked knowing that her comment would spark immediate action.

“Nope. No room for field mice here. This burrow is taken.”  

“Cas!” Emm exclaimed feeling Casey’s hand on her. “Umm.” Silence followed, until Emm spoke again. “I hope that is you and not a field mouse.”

Casey grinned, but said nothing, as she continued to kiss Emm. “If it’s not you, I’m definitely keeping the mouse.”

Casey chuckled, but proceeded nonstop. “Smartass.” When Emm was satisfied, she held on to Casey, and after a few minutes whispered in her ear. “I hear there’s another burrow in this field.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yes, I think I just found it. Could this be it?”

“Yes, that’s is! Right there, baby. Right there.”

A wile later, exhausted, the women rested in each other’s arms. “Emm, I think we need to open the hatch. This car is so fogged, it might just start to rain in here.” Emm began to laugh the minute Casey finished her statement. Then they heard noises on the roof of the car.

“What’s that, Cas? Real mice?”

“No sounds bigger. Maybe it’s a raccoon.”

“Shit, hurry, roll the windows up. I don’t want to deal with wild animals.”

“A raccoon will not fit through that small crack. But, that means that we can’t open the hatch now.”

“Oh no, what if we need to pee?” Emm asked prompting an immediate look from Casey. “Thinking that I can’t pee makes me want to pee.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes.”

“Dear Lord, let’s see where is the bucket where we had the apples?”

“I can’t pee in a bucket inside the car! There’s hardly any room here. What if I miscalculate and accidentally pee in the car? The car will be ruined. No, no way. I’m not peeing in the car.” Emm sounded resolved.

“You know, I think from now on, I’m going to carry a bag of Depends in the car for situations like this. Emm, this is how we are going to do it.” Casey was about to explain the procedure, when Emm abruptly opened the hatch and stepped outside. Whatever animal had been on the roof of the car fled with all the commotion. 

Emm disappeared, briefly, around the corner while Casey yelled at her. “Are you nuts? That thing could have jumped on you and bit you, and how do you suppose we would get to the hospital when we are locked up in here? Geez!”

Emm came back smiling. “Do you have to go, my little field mouse? See? Nothing happened.” 

Casey was sitting on the edge of the Jeep’s trunk. Her lips pursed trying not to smile. “Might as well. But only because I plan to burrow deep for the rest of the night, no matter what other four or two legged beast lands on top of this car.” Casey went around the corner and came back to find a very smiley Emm. Nothing was said. Casey crawled back into the back of the Jeep and cuddled to Emm who was waiting for her.

“You should know better from me.” Emm whispered. “I’m impulsive.”

“Is that how you call crazy now? And by the way, I know all about you, Ms. Emm. I know that those nose drops you prescribed for me are nothing more than salt water.”

Emm chuckled. “Why do you continue to use them?”

“They work. I never know if you are giving me real medicine or some made up thing, but I trust you and somehow what you give me helps one way or another. I guess you know how to deal with me, and it works for me.”

There was a brief silence. Emm smiled and snuggled to her. “Cas?”

“Yeah?”

 “I couldn’t love you more, you know?”

“I know that too.”

“Zorro, I’m so hot for you right now that this car could go up in flames any minute.”

“Let it burn then.”

***

The sunrays woke Emm up. “Cas, Cas! Look at that beautiful sunrise.”

Casey opened her eyes, and smiled when she met Emm’s. “Come on, get serious. Look.”

Casey looked out the window and tightened her grip on Emm. “Yeah, it’s beautiful, but somehow I feel I have something better right here.” She was about to kiss Emm when they heard the noise of an engine.
 
 Casey sat up. “Shit! It’s a huge truck. Hurry, let’s get decent.” The truck was on the main dirt road of the farm and didn’t notice them. When the truck passed, Casey got out of the car and finished zipping her pants.

“Cas, I can’t find my underwear!” Casey turned around spotted the pink garment and gave it to her.

“Here, hurry!” When they were both dressed they walked towards the truck which was parked in front of the barn where the apples were kept.

“Sorry ma’am. We don’t open until ten.” The truck driver told them.

Casey closed her eyes the minute she heard Emm’s voice. “We know. We were locked up here all night last night. Doesn’t anyone in this business take the time to make sure that all the patrons are out of the premises before you lock up the gate?” Sweet little Emm could sound very menacing when she wanted.

“Oh no, ma’am. I’m so very sorry. Yes, we normally do, but last night was Halloween and everyone wanted to get home for the kids. Can we make it up to you in any way by offering free apples?”

“Maybe.” Emm replied. “If it hadn’t been for the Grover family entertaining us last night, it would have been a very long and lonely night.” Casey smiled. She liked it whenever the mild mannered Emm got into a warpath.

“Who did you say, ma’am?”

“The Grover family.”

“Ma’am, I don’t want to scare you, but the Grovers have been dead for over thirty years. We never say this to customers because we don’t want to scare them, but some local people say that the Grovers’ ghosts still haunt the patch.”

“What?” Emm looked shaken.

Casey stood next to her and placed her hand on Emm’s lower back to support her. “How did they die?” Casey asked out of curiosity.

“They always built a huge bonfire every Halloween to dance around it. Lots of people from town came to celebrate Halloween with them. One year, after all the towns’ people were gone, the wind shifted and their house caught on fire. They had put the children to bed already and the parents and grandparents went inside to rescue the kids. The fire was so intense, they couldn’t get out, and they all burned with the house.”

“Dear God!” Emm exclaimed holding on to Casey’s arm.

Casey desperately thought of someway to comfort Emm who seemed very upset with the news. “Well, you tell people that if the Grovers still haunt the place, it’s only because they are happy celebrating Halloween the way they always did.” 

Emm glanced at Casey, and then she addressed the driver. “Yeah, you tell them just that.”

“Come on, Emmy. Let’s go home.” Casey took her by the arm and led her away to the car.

“Yes, let’s go.” Emm was still shaken and silent.

“Ma’am, you are forgetting the apples.” The driver yelled.

“Don’t worry. You can keep them.” Casey yelled back as they continued to walk to the car.

“Got your seat belt on?” Casey asked just wanting to make conversation.

“Yes, Cas?”

“Thanks. What you said about the Grovers was nice. You always know what to say and do.”

Casey looked at her. “Emmy, I could say a million things right now, but all I really want to do is get as far away from this mountain as I possibly can. I’ve had enough Halloween already to last me a lifetime.” Emm smiled. “And by the way, whatever we do for Halloween in the future, let’s stay away from any fires, okay?”

Emm chuckled. “Agreed. I think next year we’ll stay home, give candy to the kids and play with our field mice.”

“Best idea ever!”

The end.

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