Yearly Tradition

by Connor Rohan '24 on October 6, 2022
Portfolio Staff


a pumpkin scarecrow
photo creds: pixabay

My favorite time of the year is coming up. Finally, a chance for me to express myself and be who I want to be! The world is so beautiful around this time as well! The leaves change from green to red and orange, like the trees captured sunset in their leaves. People bundle up and decorate the world with scary things. I’m especially excited this year, since I was chosen by the great ones. I’ve always dreamed of being picked. Jealous, I’ve watched friends and family be chosen. Able to serve their purpose. Taken from our home and given a new one full of love and joy. They must love their homes so much because none that have been picked have ever come back. And why would you want to? It’s an honor to even exist around them. I can’t believe they finally chose me. I’m on my way to my new home now. When I get there, they show me around a giant room, which I soon learn is something called a kitchen. I love how gentle they are with me. It makes me feel incredibly special. I know things are going to be perfect. After a while, they leave me by myself. Probably didn’t want to overwhelm me since this is all new to me. I am tired though, so I find myself nodding off, in my new house. It is warm, full of light, and much nicer than my previous home. I wish things would stay this way.

I don’t know how long I was asleep, but I eventually woke up to the feeling of a sharp pain near the top of my head. Startled and groggy, I have no idea what is going on. I can’t see anything; it is much darker than before. I have been moved from my spot in the kitchen and now reside on some paper on the floor. I am confused and the pain won’t go away. I start to panic. I want to call for help but I don’t know if anyone can hear. That’s when I feel them…hands on my body, holding me down as the pain spreads in a circle around the top of my head. I scream in agony, but my screams fall on deaf ears. I can feel hands removing the top of my head…reaching inside me and removing my insides. Ripping out my guts and casting them aside…I am helpless as they hollow me out, each scoop causing searing agony that I can do nothing to lessen or prevent. Then the pain returns. This time on my body…They carve triangles onto me. Each movement erupts in ceaseless agony across my entire body.

Why are you doing this? What did I do wrong? Is this a punishment? I thought I was good! Please stop! PLEASE!

This is what I try to scream. I want to beg for them to stop, beg for this nightmare to be over, but my pleas are only met with the sounds of joy and laughter. The carving stops and I can feel empty spaces where my body used to be. I’m not whole anymore…Perhaps the punishment is done…but then comes the worst part: the fire. They put it inside me, resting the fire on where my insides used to be. My body burns. The pain is unbearable, it takes all I have to not pass out from it. But I am terrified that if I fall asleep again I will wake up to something even worse. I can’t take it. The pain from the fire spreads throughout my body, entering the empty spaces that are carved away, causing searing agony. It is too much, and I find myself going unconscious once again. I don’t know how long I am out this time, I want to wake up. I am having a nightmare.

That’s it! This isn’t real! I’ll open my eyes and everything will be okay!

And that’s when I feel it. Cold. Biting at the holes and the flame inside my body. Freezing the exterior of my body. I shiver and open my eyes. They cast me out of my new home. I am forced to sit at the doorway of warmth without being able to feel it. I desperately want to be back inside. I am even willing to forgive them for what they have done to me.

I’ll apologize for being bad. Please just let me back in. I forgive you for punishing me!

But they ignore me, my pleas not even reaching them. They keep me there, outside in the cold, for days…weeks…I lose track of time. As time passes, I can feel myself getting weaker. My once-hard exterior is now soft and weak. I have lost my natural color, becoming a sickly greenish brown. The searing pain I felt the first day I was chosen is long gone and replaced by emptiness. I long for the days I had the fire inside me. As much as it hurt it kept me warm.

And that’s when it happens: one of the great ones picks me up. Finally! My punishment is over! I am being allowed back inside the warmth and safety of my new home! Yet we aren’t going towards the doors to the home, but to the woods. Suddenly I feel myself being lifted into the air…then I am flying. As I fall towards the ground, I see the broken and rotten bodies of those I was jealous of previously scattered across the forest floor…I’m not jealous anymore.