Day 1: Pumpkin

Sylvester was a backdoor pumpkin, an ugly gourd only fit to guard the back porch. He wasn't always this way. When he was young and still living on the vine, he was the most desirable. Not too big, not too small, and a beautiful shade of orange. Sylvester had always prided himself on his appearance, drawing the eyes of his caretakers since day one.

In fact, he was the first of his brothers to be clipped and chosen. His new caretakers carrying him across the field as he shouted his final farewells to his family and wishing them all a speedy choosing.

His new caretakers were adorable. One was tall with a face full of dark brown fur and the other was considerably smaller, with a long tail of fur sticking out of the back of her head.

The small one had chosen him and given him the name Sylvester. The tall caretaker had chosen Sylvester's sister Leia.

Leia was beautiful, as far as pumpkins go. She wasn't quite as round as Sylvester, but her skin was the perfect orange with veins of green descending from her stem downwards. Many pumpkins would have been embarrassed by green marks, but Leia loved them. She always said they made her look like a beautiful fairy.

Together, they spent the next few days perched on the front porch, occasionally watching the large mechanical beasts zoom past. The crisp air felt nice. Sylvester enjoyed counting the leaves as the floated down from the tops of the trees, their red and orange hues turning the green grass into a wonderful fall mural.

It was everything Sylvester had imagined.

Until one night. One night when the caretakers had returned from their daily outings, they took Sylvest and Leia from their spot outside and sat them on a large, uncomfortable piece of plastic. On the table surrounding them were bowls and sharp objects of various sizes.

Sylvester had never known fear before. There was always the brief panic as a bird or squirrel got a little too close, but it was always a fleeting feeling. Never had he experience the soul-wrenching fear that made his skin crawl, as he did now.

That night passed in a blur of pain and screams. Sylvester didn't remember much of it, beyond the initial stab of the sharp metal digging into the top of his head. He did remember seeing his guts lying in a bowl and his caretaker picking out his seeds from between her fingers. If he hadn't already been emptied, Sylvester would have thrown up.

It wasn't until the knives were put away and his guts thrown into the sink that Sylvester started to come to. He could see Leia sat beside him, her beautiful skin now ripped apart, a candle placed inside illuminating her wounds.

Sylvester could feel the same warm heat inside him, burning and drying out his innards. Across them was a mirror. The reflection staring back at him was enough to make a grown pumpkin sob, which is what he did. His once perfect body was now marred with similar scars, but unlike Leia's obvious caretaker shape, Sylvester had no idea what his marking were supposed to be. Pieces of his flesh had been hacked off and stuck back on with toothpicks. The lines were jagged and his organs hadn't been cleaned out properly, he could still strings of them silhouetted against his internal, dancing flame.

And so, just like that, Sylvester became a backdoor pumpkin. His view reduced to only the fence and surrounding trees. He could see nothing of the world beyond the tiny yard and it seemed even the birds and squirrels avoided it.

He was truly alone.

Or so he thought. There was nothing particularly special about this night. Sylvester was just sitting on the porch wishing for a quicker death when behind him he could hear the shrieks of his caretakers. This wasn't too out of the ordinary, but something about today's screams seemed different. More desperate maybe? Sylvester wished they would fight in the backyard, at least then he could watch.

Surprisingly, he got his wish. The small caretaker raced out of the back door. As she passed Sylvester, something warm and wet hit him in the face, dripping down his wrinkly skin. The caretaker slammed into the fence and she desperately tried to climb it, her feet scraping against the slippery wood.

The large caretaker was soon rushing after her, holding something shiny in his hand. Sylvester felt himself go cold as he recognized the knife that had sliced him open. Flashbacks to that night filled him and he found himself shaking as he watched the scene unfold.

The tall caretaker grabbed the small one by her head tail and yanked her to the ground. The knife slicing through the air and imbedding itself into her chest. Sylvester watched as red liquid poured from the wound and soaked her cottony skin, while the tall caretakers stood over her, panting.

He pulled the blade from her body and stared at her for a long time. He didn't move, he didn't look away. Sylvester wondered if perhaps he had died until the sound of a metallic creature roared in the distance and the caretaker came back to life.

Quickly, he hurried back inside and returned, shortly, with black plastic bags and tape. Sylvester watched curiously as he wrapped the small one in the bag and taped it up, sealing her in. When he was done he heaved her over his shoulder and sat her next to Sylvester.

Sylvester thought that perhaps the gift-wrapped caretaker would seem out of place, but she blended in with the rest of the plastic bones and lights as if it was her destiny to be a decoration.

The tall caretaker went back into the house and it would be many days before he ventured outside again, but Sylvester didn't mind. He had the small caretaker to keep him company, the soft stench growing stronger day by day as they both started to decay.

In death, he was no longer alone.