“Pumpkin-Witch” is a spooky little horror story written by small press regular Tim Curran—he is the author of the novels Hive and Dead Sea. It is the story of an abused housewife named Maria, who finds solace, and maybe a little justice, on a chilly Halloween eve. Maria has a penchant for carving pumpkins—lots of pumpkins—and it is a tradition not shared, or understood by her abusive husband. She normally carves her pumpkins with happy poses, until this Halloween, when they seemingly take on a sinister look. And then Maria—or something darker and far more sinister—decides to makes a few changes in her life, in a very supernatural way.
“Pumpkin-Witch” is a quick, fun and very atmospheric horror story. It is written in an eloquent, and very literate style:
October was its own magic, its own spell and whispered conjuration. You could hear it in windy stripped trees and smell it in the aroma of cut pumpkins and feel its ice down in your bones like frost on a windowpane, locking something down, holding it there until the first kiss of spring let it loose.
The plot is smooth and, while I did guess the climax, the journey was anything but dull. “Pumpkin-Witch” made me yearn for autumn winds and Halloween nights—it made me think of the invitingly chilled air, and glowing orange Jack-o-Lantern’s. Not to mention, it gave me a good spook, and more importantly, made me smile.
“Pumpkin-Witch” was published in the Shivers IV anthology edited by Richard Chizmar and published by Cemetery Dance Publications in 2006.