by Rajan Khanna
“Pumpkinhead” first appeared in the anthology, SHADOWS OF THE EMERALD CITY which came out in 2009 and is based on the L. Frank Baum Oz books.
Rajan Khanna is a writer, narrator and blogger. His website is RajanKhanna.com. He has a story in the forthcoming YA dystopian anthology DIVERSE ENERGIES.
Your reader this week is her supreme majesty The Word Whore, whose own podcast is AIR OUT MY SHORTS is a model of hard-working, sultry efficiency.
“Mr. P sat at the table, his sagging head leaning against one gloved hand. It was tilted slightly to the side and he was waving the free fingers of his other hand in the air.
‘Mr. P?’ I said.
He tilted his head toward me. ‘Call me Jack,’ he said, for the hundredth time. But I couldn’t. He was my employer, but more than that, he was a celebrity, and a close personal friend of the queen. In fact, if it weren’t for his imminent need, she would be the one about to carve this pumpkin for him. He was basically part of the royal family.
He held out his hands and I placed the pumpkin into them. His arms, which he kept covered at all times, were little more than wooden sticks, like broom handles, but they were strong and sturdy and he pulled the pumpkin closer, cradling it for a second before placing it on the table in front of him.
Fascinated, I longed to watch as he carved it, to see how it was done, but it was such an intimate act, so very personal, and I couldn’t bear to intrude upon it. As the knife penetrated the rind and into the tender inner flesh, I turned and left the house and returned to the field where I belonged.’