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Pumpkin Patch is a short story written for Sr.Wario's Spooky Scary Writing Competition, written by TheFoxyRiolu. The story stars Axel Hallon, a modern-day grave robber who is taken and killed by spirits of another world for his crimes; here, he is tasked with working alongside other spirits to protect the kingdom of Pumpkin Spirits from an army of evil creatures known as bogeymen.
The story began production on October 3rd, 2016.
- Axel Hallon - The main protagonist of the story, a 29 year-old grave robber from New York City who, after interfering with a specific tomb in a graveyard in Brooklyn, is taken to an alternate dimension where the spirits of deceased people are reborn as "Pumpkin Spirits"; here, he dies, is reborn as a "Pumpkin Spirit" in this, and is tried by the court and is forced to help protect the Pumpkin Kingdom from an evil force to repent for his real-world crimes.
- Zucca - A bubbly Pumpkin Spirit who Axel is forced to work with after being tried by the court. He's an optimistic Spirit who tries to see the best in Axel, despite his disgruntled personality. He was supposedly framed for the crime he was arrested for.
- Bita - Another Pumpkin Spirit who Axel is forced to work with after being tried by the court. She seems innocent and kind, but, in the Pumpkin Court, she was a #1 criminal for quite some time, the crime of which is never gone into detail.
- Piki - A larger Pumpkin Spirit who Axel works with after being arrested; Piki's quiet and somewhat intimidating, but he is skillful in magic and battle. He was arrested for unknown reasons.
- Fwagan - The main antagonist of the series, a "bogeyman" who has the power to possess a Pumpkin Spirit and destroy it from the inside. He leads an army of bogeymen, and he wishes to conquer the entire Pumpkin Kingdom.
- Taunh - Fwagan's squire, a meek bogeyman who works against his will.
- Jack - The prince of the Pumpkin Kingdom. He makes the decision to assign a mission to Axel, Zucca, Bita, and Piki. He is the only Pumpkin Spirit that is able to negotiate with Fwagan, but it doesn't seem to be working this time around.
- Wollow - An elderly Pumpkin Spirit, and supposedly an important one; his grave is tampered with by Axel in the real world, and he appears in the Hallow Court when Axel is taken to the Pumpkin Kingdom as the defendant.
- David Abarella - Axel's temporary "partner-in-crime" during a job back when he was alive; David found Axel's body when he was killed.
- Marie Jackson - A clairvoyant woman. Her role in the story is unknown as of now.
Chapter 1: Grave Robbery
Monday, October 30, 2017. 11:41 p.m. Green-Wood Cemetery, New York City.
On the late evening that preceded Halloween, the Green-Wood Cemetery was empty and quiet.
The Green-Wood Cemetery, built in 1838, is a graveyard located somewhere in Brooklyn, a peaceful place where people came to lay other deceased relatives or friends to rest. The entire area is exactly 478 acres long, and tombstones and trees are scattered along the area. The chapel located in the cemetery in particular is known as a New York City landmark. And, usually, it's empty this late at night. People don't tend to visit past 9:00 pm, so you wouldn't usually see anyone at Green-Wood past then.
But, on October 30, 2017, just a few minutes before Halloween began, a man walked across the cemetery as quietly as possible, carrying a flashlight and a pair of pliers, his mind set on digging up a person's grave.
The man's name was Axel Hallon. He was a Hispanic man with shortbrown hair that was surprisingly clean, and his hazel eyes pierced the object or person they looked at like a knife. He was 29 years old. Born in a low-income family, he pursued a career in law just a few years ago. And, if you didn't already guess, that didn't go so well. So, he dropped all contact with his family and went to another method of obtaining money; grave robbery.
The act of grave robbing is to find a person's tomb and steal artifacts or possessions, or sometimes even the body, of that person's said tomb. In Brooklyn, an underground black market ran involving the trade of artifacts and possessions retrieved from a man or woman's tomb, though it disbanded in 2018. This, of course, happened before the black market ended, which was why Mr. Hallon was in the Greenwood Cemetery late at night, with nothing but a pair of steel pliers, a battery-powered flashlight, a large sack, and his phone.
Axel paused, turning slightly to make sure no one was watching him; he hadn't been caught after 2 years of this job, and he didn't plan on stopping — unless he wanted to starve. And he didn't plan on starving any time soon, either.
When he made sure no one was watching him, he pulled out his phone, activated it with his password, and went into his messages. He had a new message from someone; specifically, the man he was working with for this latest heist. Just a few minutes ago, he had texted asking why he was told to go to Greenwood, and it sparked the new job.
David Abarella was 31 years old at this time, and an old friend of Axel from law school. He has a wife and two kids, and here, he was in a tight spot; having been fired from a formerly high-paying law job and needing money. And so, while his wife was away for work for the week and the kids stayed with a babysitter for the night, he had gone to the black market looking for a job. This, plus Axel's advice, led to David working in grave robbery; this was his second mission, though he knew he could only do it while his wife was away, so it was a short-term investment. David was laid-back and calm, and he was a bit casual with the job, even if it was serious. At the very least, he was capable of joking around every now and then.
Axel had the details of their job written down on a piece of paper, in the case that one of them forgot. The tombstone was of Matthew Donelan, 1791-1881, located in the Green-Wood Cemetery (which he was in), and the grave, locked with iron bolts, contained a ring; the ring was supposedly very valuable. The ring was to be taken off of the body, and, when the tomb was re-sealed and re-buried, Axel and David had to bring the ring to the man that gave them the job that very night. The two would split the $100000 reward between themselves.
Axel strolled casually around the big chapel, and scanned the graves around him. The only detail they got in where the grave was was that it was under a sassafras tree; unfortunately, there are many sassafras trees in Green-Wood, so he had to get looking.
Strangely, though, it didn't take long. Axel, having studied what a sassafras tree looks like, turned on his flashlight, and caught sight of one just outside the chapel; sure enough, there was the grave. Matthew Jameson Donelan, aged 90. Born in 1791, died in 1881.
Axel went to go dig up the grave, but he immediately realized something; David wasn't there yet.
It was strange, because Axel had been informed that David was already there. Somewhat perplexed, Axel turned the flashlight off (in case it drew anyone's attention) and pulled out his phone again. He texted David, who replied just a minute later. The conversation that ensued was even more perplexing.
Axel sighed in frustration. Of course, David had somehow found a different Matthew Donelan. Axel knew his was correct, considering it had the same date that the man they talked to described it as.
David texted Axel again.
Now this was something truly odd. Two tombstones of two men that had the same exact name, men that were born in the same year and men that died at the same year? Axel knew this wasn't a coincidence, but ignored it; if David couldn't get the right one, then Axel would. He'd still give David his half of the reward money anyways.
Axel pocketed his phone and turned his flashlight back on, reading the tombstone again. Matthew Jameson Donelan. 1791-1881.
The flashlight flickered. Axel decided to put it away and pocket it to save battery; he had forgotten to replace them before he went out.
Of course, he couldn't get to work without a shovel. So, he looked inside the chapel; sure enough, on the main floor, there was an old rusty shovel in the corner. It still worked well enough for the job.
Axel went outside, and began to dig.
For a good 15 minutes, Axel dug into the earth, the occasional sweat droplet streaking down the side of his clean-cut hair, his arms and legs sore. How deep could the tomb be?
Just as he thought this to himself, thunk. His shovel hit something hard. Grinning, he dug around the object he hit and took his flashlight out. He had hit the tomb.
With great effort, he pulled the tomb out on his own, a feat that would've been easier if David was with him. Nonetheless, panting with exhaustion, Axel examined the opening of the tomb; it was sealed shut by an iron bolt. This is where the pliers came in; holding the flashlight with his teeth, Axel cut the bolts to the lock of the tomb with the pliers, and the tomb swung open.
The rotting corpse of Matthew Donelan lay in the tomb. It was still wearing dirty clothes, but one thing caught Axel's mind and brought it away from the putrid odor; the ring.
Stuck on Donelan's ring finger on his left hand, it was likely a wedding ring. It was a golden ring, almost shiny despite the late night, and it had a small jewel on top. It definitely looked like it was expensive.
And, so, Hallon pulled out a pair of surgical gloves and pulled them on. He jumped into the tomb, trying not to touch the corpse more than he needed to, as he raised the right hand of the corpse, trying to pull the ring off. But it wouldn't budge.
Axel sighed. He figured it would come to this if he couldn't get it off by hand. He climbed out briefly, grabbed his iron pliers, and went to work at the ring.
He took the ring with the pliers, tightly clenched them, and pulled. It slipped off abruptly, sending Axel flying back in surprise.
Axel pulled himself up, examining the ring. He had completed his mission. Now to cover up.
However, as he closed the tomb again and pulled himself from the grave to re-bury it, he heard a noise. A footstep. Crunch.
Axel immediately turned around, but there was no one in sight.
"David?" Axel whispered into the night cautiously. He wasn't ready to speak up, in case a police officer was approaching and not his partner-in-crime. However, he heard no reply.
Another footstep. Crunch.
"David, if this is some kind of sick joke, I swear, you're joining Donelan down here in his tomb."
Still no reply.
Axel's heartbeat began to pound a bit faster. Who was out there?
He slowly reached downwards to pick up the rusty shovel. He held it in his sweaty hands at the ready.
Another footstep. This time, it stepped on a branch. Snap.
"David." Axel mumbled, his voice trembling.
"David, what the hell."
Axel wheeled around looking for the source of the noise, but he couldn't see anyone—or anything—that could be making those noises.
And then, he turned around and gasped.
He was facing a tall figure, far from human; it had a distorted orange face, with glowing yellow eyes that made his eyes water, and a jagged, wicked smile carved into the face like a pumpkin. In fact, the creature's face almost looked like a jack-o-lantern, but the rest of the body was far more threatening. It wore a long, dull-colored cloak, with long orange claws and jagged legs. It's piercing eyes stared at Axel with anger.
And the last thing Axel Hallon remembered was the apparition grabbing him by the head and smashing it into the tombstone behind him. Everything else was black.
The next morning, at 12:56 am, on Tuesday, October 31st, a 31 year-old man named David James Abarella, claiming to be taking a stroll through the area in the middle of the night, made a 911 call from Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, and reported finding the body of a colleague of his outside the Green-Wood Chapel, 29 year-old Axel Javier Hallon, who, after his body was examined, was observed to have received several traumatic blows to the head. It was inferred that his head was taken, and smashed against a nearby tombstone, breaking his neck and causing the traumatic cranial injuries, but no fingerprints of anyone could be found. Hallon had his phone and wallet still with him when he was killed, and a pair of pliers, a flashlight, and a rusty shovel — which was found to be property of one of the Green-Wood Chapel's burial workers — was found at the scene; all of which was used by Hallon himself, as no other fingerprints were found. Hallon was supposedly on a grave robbery job, as the corpse under the tombstone Hallon's body was found by was missing a valuable ring, which happened to be pocketed by Hallon as well; it also explained the objects found at the crime scene.
After a few weeks, the case went cold; every possible suspect had an alibi, and there were no other leads as to who may have murdered Hallon. His family was contacted, and they held a funeral service for him just a few days after his murder in Green-Wood. The tombstone that Hallon was beaten with, that of a Matthew Jameson Donelan (1791-1881, a grave known in Brooklyn for having an identical copy in that same graveyard, with the same name and lifespan) was replaced, due to the stone being stained with Hallon's blood that night.
To be continued...
- Zucca, Bita, and Piki's names are all the word "pumpkin" in different languages; Italian, Swedish, and Samoan, respectively.
- Also, Fwagan's name is derived from fwgan, the Welsh word for bogeyman.