It wasn't often Lenore associated with other…not dead kids. Normally she'd just kill time with Ragamuffin or shoot the breeze with Pooty, or pay a visit to Taxidermy who took her antics with gentlemanly stride. But today some kid named Mickey—wasn't he the little brother of Billy? The kid who lost a whole mouthful of teeth to the tooth fairy and died coincidentally the same night?—came up to her as she was trying out her ballerina costume she hadn't pulled out in awhile, and asked if she wanted to come with him to the pumpkin patch. The woods were kinda boring today since between her and Taxidermy the nearby wildlife was pretty spooked, and there was nobody to see her perform anyway, so she said, "Ok."
Nevermore had quite a reputation as being, well…every bad thing in the book you could think of: vile, repulsive, horrifying, and the pizza was pretty sub-par. It was not 100 years ago people were eaten by vampires in the street, and it was rumored that the pet shop animals had spontaneous, and often messy, instances of dying—originally thought to be the fault of the first shop owner, but when the massacres continued even after his arrest, he was back to his post, if not slightly more…bitter about it. BUT, if there was one place you needed to go to get the ultimate Halloween pumpkin, this was it. Mickey had taken Lenore to a very hilly field where various pumpkins magically grew at this precise time of year, as if by…magic.
This particular patch had a huge sign in front of it, reading "Nevermore Fields: Every Head Leaves Smiling!", on said sign was a large picture of a few kids poking their joyous faces through the leaves of the patch so they collected within the pumpkins. Lenore gazed at the sign a moment, before following Mickey into the patch before he got too far.
"Look at this one!" He exclaimed, pulling out a round, plump one from a large cluster of pumpkins growing in all sizes, colors, and shapes. "It's perfect!"
Lenore couldn't understand what he saw perfect about that one—it was just like all the other pumpkins around here only fatter. She spotted a nice green one on the way here, as well as a tale pale grayish one, with a curly stem. She also liked the bottom-heavy one they'd passed up the hill, like the orange pumpkin he had now only with lots of little bumps, it looked like it had measles. He should've picked that one to take home, she would, and she'd nurse it back to health and maybe get recompense for it.
Lenore put a hand to her chin and hummed in thought. "I kinda like that one over there." She pointed to a half-rotting green one with fuzzy purple mold growing into its cavity. "I bet it's better than this fatty." She scowled at his pumpkin. The boy gave it a strange look.
"It has more friends." A few mice were nibbling at the flesh.
The boy stared. "Ok…wanna help me make a jack-o-lantern?" He said with excitement.
"Jack-o-lantern." He looked at her with befuddlement. "You never made one before?"
His face lit up. "Oh! Well, lemme show-! …Wait, we need a knife for this."
She showed him a large butcher knife that had come from out of nowhere. He took it perplexedly, staring at her a moment, before eventually setting to work.
Lenore observed assiduously.
"First, you put a hole in the top, ya gotta make sure you can put it back on though, 'cause you'll need it. Then—my favorite part—you take all the guts out," He showed her a handful of mushy orange pulp, laden with seeds. "The best part is getting to squish it between your fingers." He smiled, the pulp oozing through his fingers with glee, "and after you get all the guts out, you carve out the eyes, nose and mouth; that part's kinda hard, I always get my mom to do it for me. Then, you put the top back on and at night you put a candle inside! Got it?"
He turned to see the butcher knife in her hands.
Later that day…
Pooty, Taxidermy, and Ragamuffin looked up from their heated card game—Pooty was out 3 hands, Taxidermy had each of them by the throats thanks to one helluva poker face, and Ragamuffin was barely keeping his head afloat.
"And I brought something!"
"I hope its collateral…" Pooty muttered, throwing down his hand the same time Ragamuffin did. Taxidermy chuckled with pride as he brought the chips forward, the bucket-head burying his face in his twiggy hands and the vampire doll crossing his arms irritably.
"Better! It's my first jacky-lantem!"
"Jack-o-Lantern." Ragamuffin corrected as she approached the table. "Well, let's see it." He said, getting general agreement from Pooty and Taxidermy.
At first, Lenore was merely a cute silhouette with an unfamiliar object in her hands as she stood in the doorway, as she drew near and the light was stopped glaring at her back, however…
Ragamuffin's jaw dropped, Pooty's triton clanged to the floor, Taxidermy said nothing.
"We got any candles?" Lenore asked, holding the hollowed-out human skull under her arm; the grotesque, unholy sight of the once human skull beneath her arm. His eyes were vacant, his nose was only she knew where, and his mouth…well, he was sure to have felt similar pain when Billy got that visit from the "tooth fairy."
"…Isn't that the other kid from next door?" Ragamuffin asked.
Pooty cringed, "It's even worse when it's somebody you know."
"Not really; I think he used to walk his dog on our lawn."
"I gotta keep 'im outside, or else he'll rot faster." The cheerful dead girl stated. "So outta my way, he's already leakin' pretty badly!" There was blood dripping onto her dress, it made Ragamuffin kinda hungry. She pushed past them to get to the table, ignoring the cards.
"Mickey, smile." She commanded as she pushed the corners of his mouth upward, they kept sagging. "C'mon, smile. The sign said you're supposed to smile!" She poked him impatiently. The three behind her just exchanged glances. Finally Lenore gave up and let out an annoyed sigh.
"I'm gonna need some candles! Mickey said Jack-o-Lantern's go on the porch after dark, so I'll set him here 'til then."
Then humming quite elatedly, the cute little dead girl marched into the kitchen, leaving Pooty, Ragamuffin, and Taxidermy to stare at her…creation.
So there it was, the dead neighbor kid's husk of a cranium sitting on their poker table, getting the cards very well soaked in what was "leaking" from his neck at the bottom.
"…Maybe if we put a candle inside it would help." Pooty suggested. Ragamuffin palmed his face.
"I give up."