Down in the Pumpkin Patch

The mysterious munching hooligan was at it again. Bertie stood in front of his pumpkin plot, ghastly evidence littering the moist, loamy soil. Small tiger-orange autumnal globes, cracked, flesh and seeds spilling fibrous life.

He glanced at his sheepdog, Violet. “Didn’t you see this?”

Violet just cocked her head. This was not her specialty. She knew sheep. Ryeland sheep. What did she know about pumpkins?

For two weeks now, Bertie had tried to catch the culprit. Trip wires. Hidden cameras. Nothing worked. It was like faeries were working in union with this late-night muncher.

Thick parallel gouges bit deep into the rounded shells. Strangely, the vandal always avoided the largest pumpkins.

Bertie wandered down the rows, noting the prints, the shuffling drag. He’d suspected badger, but he knew the prints didn’t fit. The gouge resembled teeth marks, but it wasn’t like any badger bite he’d seen. Badgers often ate acorns. Why didn’t it take the poisoned bait?

He returned that night, 6 p.m. sharp, to a sheltered crevice with Violet. Just downwind of the garden, his torch perched on the damp ground.

Muffled movements. Rapid shuffles.

He waited. Patience was his specialty.


A large, scruffy man wearing a badger suit and fake teeth stared back.


Copyright © 2015 by Emily Clayton
Originally appeared on Flash!Friday:

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