H. M. L. Swann
Day 19: Fruit
300 Days of Writing
Day 19 Fruit:
Welcome to George’s Gourds, Pumpkin Patch, and Corn Maze the hand-painted sign read. They sat in the bed of a truck, on piles of hay, as George drove them from the parking lot to the farm.
Pumpkins the size of rottweilers were scattered across the fields. Massive orange fruits, nearly ready to be harvested for pies or to be carved into jack-o-lanterns.
Mazie’s wide eyes scoured the farm, attempting to count the pumpkins or to see to the center of the cornfield off in the distance. When they reached the farm, George gave them all hot apple cider. The caramel-colored beverage steamed and fogged Mazie’s glasses. It was a pungent sweet that made her mouth pucker as if she was eating a green apple soaked in cinnamon.
She wanted to pick a pumpkin first, but George tsked disapprovingly. The pumpkin’s the prize. You got to finish the maze first.
Mazie raced ahead of her brothers. If they beat her, she’d be stuck with the worst pumpkin, something small and withered, and that just wouldn’t do.
At the first fork, she took a left, passing a scarecrow as she dove into the labyrinth. The scarecrow had a white gourd for a face, pimpled with black and green growth. She refused to be afraid, shivering despite the warm weather.
Minutes started to feel like hours, and she called for her brothers. Shouting their names. Calling for them to come and find her.
She ran; ran through the maze, searching for a way out.
It was growing darker.
The ground crunched under her feet and tall grass prickled her legs through her tights. Black spiders built traps between the crops, their gossamer webs glinting in the setting sun.
She heard footsteps coming towards her and her heart leapt with relief. Mazie ran towards them and smacked into George’s legs.
His leering grin terrified her. She started to cry and he leaned down, gripping onto her elbow. He pulled her through the crops, the syrupy smell of hay mixed with the heady scent of manure. She scraped at his calloused grip with painted nails, screaming for her brothers to save her.
Then she heard them. Her brothers were laughing at her, sitting around a fire, marshmallows dripping off roasting sticks. A pile of pumpkins was heaped behind them.
The largest pumpkin had her name written on it, a scribble of cursive that matched the hand-painted sign.
They saved the best pick for you. George said, letting her go and handing her the bag of marshmallows.