Gummy Pumpkins

They just stuck togeth­er: that was what we noticed first, before any of the real silli­ness start­ed. At no stage in the pump­kin grow­ing process should the shell ever be adhe­sive or even tacky. Yet that is just what these were: the rinds appeared smooth and hard, yet when we stacked them, we found it near­ly impos­si­ble to get them apart again. They didn’t seem to stick to any­thing else – we were able to han­dle them indi­vid­u­al­ly with­out inci­dent – but the adhe­sion of pump­kin to pump­kin was near­ly unbreak­able. Damnedest thing you ever saw.

It was Augie who first noticed the glow­ing. It seemed to be just one or two pump­kins, deep down in the pile. We tried to pry the mound apart to get a bet­ter look at what was going on down there, but we didn’t make much head­way, and we could tell that is was start­ing to spread, what­ev­er it was: the glow­ing was get­ting stronger, and seemed to be com­ing from more and more of the base of the mound. We all found it down­right unset­tling, and most of us had the good sense by this point to just get the hell away from there. Clear­ly things were not right.

But Drew had to keep pok­ing around. Always too curi­ous by far, since we were kids, he found a rake han­dle or some­thing and gave a good pok­ing around in there, as far as he could reach. I know I wasn’t the only one who had a bad feel­ing, but none of us expect­ed the blast. Must thrown me back twen­ty, thir­ty feet, knocked me right out. When I came to, the whole pile was gone, and so was Drew. Noth­ing left but a big patch of ground, melt­ed into glass. Damnedest thing.

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