The jack-o-lantern originated from an Irish myth called Stingy Jack.
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A Happy Halloween to one and all!
The night darkens as the moon flits behind the clouds and the wind rakes the leaves over the old brick drive when you open the creaking cemetary gate. The wind is colder now as you walk inside. Walking up the deserted lane, the three of look behind one more time. As the thunder begins, you almost turn back. Your flashlight shines on the old stones as the rain smacks upon your heads. Lightning snaps a large, old oak, blocking the road in front of you.
"Well, we'll just have to walk among the stones." You shudder. The others nod and you walk among the stones. This is the oldest part of the cemetary, evidenced by the stones twisted in acute angles. Was this really that good of an idea? And what if the legend really is true. What then? Yes, what then? " Don't worry, we'll be fine." I'd like to believe that but I just don't know. You nearly jump when you hear a grating sound. If your friend hadn't grabbed you a leaf blown across the brick might have made you leave the graveyard. And now you'll never hear the end of it, how you were scared by a leaf. You're mad, good and mad, but you can't let them know it can you. Can't let them know how angry you really are can't wait until they are scared.
But just when is that going to be? When? They're so calm and they believe you're afraid, but you know that their time will come, it just has to.
Your friend leads on. The rain is more intense now. All of you run to the nearest cover you can find, the cemetary caretaker's shed. Perhaps you can't get inside but just to be under the eaves would help. To have a solid building against your back would be calming.
Another flash of lightning. How close is it to midnight? Dare you look at the Ironman Watch? Was that? Don't move, don't look like you're scared, but you are. That was something, someone along the fence by the trees.
Reaching the building helped. The rain has slowed, and now everything has almost a mustiness to it. Far in the woods, an owl or a hawk. Why did I agree to go on this stupid trip to the cemetary? What was I thinking, but if I didn't it would have been worse than being scared back there.
Geez, that tree is spooky looking. Big, it must be a hundred years old, maybe more. I can't wait 'til we leave here. This was stupid. Why couldn't I have been sick tonight. Could have skipped school tomorrow. But no, I had to face this, too. Couldn't look afraid in front of my buddies, could I?
I still don't believe the legend and we've never seen anything about it in the old newspapers. But yet, somehow. I don't know. I'm probably wrong. Now where is this guy buried and how close is it to midnight?
Maybe the rain is clearing off. There seemed to be a stillness now that came just after the rain mellowed. I don't like it. I want out of here. I want out of here. No, I've got to stay. My friend turns on his flashlight again and leads us up the brick road and to the right to the older, more wooded part of the cemetary. Taking a breath, I go too. In fact, I'm right behind our fearless leader. I look at my watch, ten till.
No more rain, we've got that at least, but it's so quiet. No owls, no hawks. As if everything is waiting. Or watching.
I didn't want to go on, but somehow I wanted to. I did, ever slowly as if I were just learning to walk. The others were either pretending pretty well or they were not as afraid as I was. Everything was magnified for me. The wind picked up and I felt colder than I ever had in my life. We would know soon enough. That was for sure. I'd come this far and I had to know. And, I would never hear the end of it from my friends if I turned back. Somewhere, the sound of a coyote nearly makes me turn away. We turn again and here there is no light. The sky can barely be seen from the trees. We are all stopped now and finally we nod and walk slowly on.
It is so quiet now as compared to when we entered the cemetary. I don't like this. The wind has come up and I hear leaves rasping across the concrete. I hear an owl in the woods that nearly curdles my blood. I have nothing to fear but everything. There, over to my left, is a new grave. I'd like to go home, but yet my friends would never let me forget this. The wind is here and is now really blowing the trees. I see the eerie shadows of branches blowing across the lamppost at the entrance. Why did I have to agree to this? Looking up, the clouds are moving rapidly and once in awhile I see the full moon. The sky is red, red like congealed blood.
If I ever get out of here, I'll never watch another one of those late night movies. "How much farther?"
"It shouldn't be much longer."
"You don't know where it is?"
"Generally, I do."
"Great." I noticed I'm not the only one who is pleased by this. I've got to smile at this. Perhaps it means we can get out of here before midnight. You know. I'm overreacting. It's just a legend after all. I can't believe I was so stupid. The watch shows five minutes left. I would give anything to see the moon right now. Far off in the woods, a terrible sound, that stops all of us. It takes all I have not to run. It's what I want to do but I want to see this through, no matter what. I could have been sick tonight. We're moving again and this time we're stopped at another place where we have to pick a direction. Our leader is heading left and we stay as close as we can to one another. I narrowly miss a branch blowing in my face. A leaf scrapes down the lane and most of my heart with it. I wonder if I'll ever get out of here now. I don't feel much hope now. I'm moving as if I've been lost in the desert with no food or water or sleep for many days. I don't know why we let him lead us. If I were leading we'd be home by now. This is enough. We're not even going to find the grave. Didn't he even look for it during the day, or was he too scared as I would be? It isn't even a lane anymore, it's just a path. We've come to the end now. Two minutes on the watch. There is a large monument in front of us. It leans. He motions to us. This is it. Minute and a half. Thunder. More leaves. That noise from the woods again. Is it closer?
He did know where it was after all. Wonderful. Minute ten. Beads of rain fall on us. More thunder. I know little but that I wish to leave, but in front of us is the tombstone and woods. It's as if the woods were a curtain around us and the path a mirage. Our guide points to something with his light. It's a dead opossum. Forty seconds.
The wind's coming at us harder and lightning hits not far from us. We smell it with dread. I just want it to end. I believe the ground is shaking, but I might be wrong. Did the stone move too?
I'm shaking a little now. It's got to be midnight. I just know it. Lightning flashes on the stone. It has moved. There is movement in the trees behind it, a roar and I am grabbed from behind. I am choking. A long Bowie knife attached to a petrified hand. It strikes me. I hear myself cry out as I am dragged away.
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