Seamus Wilder wasn’t the most gifted pumpkin farmer in Baxton, Illinois, but that didn’t stop him from growing loads of pumpkins year after year. He didn’t have the best land to start with. It was sort of a ravine and the run off from the town drained out through it. I’m not sure if it was bad seeds, the way he was tending to them, or something in that run off water, but Seamus’ pumpkins always had a peculiar look about them. They were misshaped and mangled looking fruit with bumps that looked like warts.
Seamus was an odd fellow. He was quiet and had a way about him that made others feel uncomfortable, so he learned to keep to himself for the most part. He lived off his land, as much as he could, and made a modest income off his crops of alfalfa hay which covered the majority of his land.
He took more pride in his pumpkins though. From June to September he would spend nearly every day with them. He’d seed the land, weed, and prune the acre of vines all himself. Most importantly he’d harvest them himself in one night. He did it every year on September 30th. He would start at sunset and have it harvested by sunrise. He had a buyer for most of the pumpkins every year. A man that would take the pumpkins and turn them into puree and sell it in a can, so no one would ever know how ugly the pumpkins were to start with.
Seamus would pick out about fifteen of his pumpkins. They were the ones he thought were the best of the crop. It wasn’t that they were the biggest or the prettiest, but just that Seamus had taken a liking to them over all that time spent with them. He’d set them up on a cart on the side of the highway to sell. Most people would drive on by, and those that did stop would mostly move on after taking one look at those contorted fellas. There was no shortage of pumpkins in the area. There were at least three farms on the same stretch of highway. Seamus would sit there from October 1st to the 31st. Most years he’d sell two or three pumpkins and the rest would rot.
One year, at the end of September, a group of youths came at his crop with axes and destroyed the entire harvest. He’d still go out and walk through the vines every day. I’d say he was in shock. He sat next to his empty pumpkin cart all of October that year holding an axe.
The next year the other pumpkin crops in the area were destroyed by an aggressive powdering mildew that spread from farm to farm. Somehow Seamus’ pumpkins were spared. He sold his fifteen pumpkins on October 1st that year. After selling his last pumpkin, Seamus followed the family home. He watched as they got out of their car, left the pumpkin on the porch, and went inside. He stayed outside for some time. He watched through the windows as they prepared food and ate their supper. When they eventually turned out the lights for the night, Seamus went home.
In the years following, Seamus would walk through the meandering vines when the fruit was still small. He’d do it right after the vines had flowered and the flowers had withered and fallen off to make way for the fruit to grow. He’d choose one pumpkin and stick a sewing pin with a bright red head right up through its base. As the fruit would grow, it grew around it. A bit of the red pin was always visible, though easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. He’d make sure the pumpkin with the red pin was one of the fifteen he’d sell from his cart.
Some years he’d sell more pumpkins than others. It would vary depending on many things, but one thing was certain: buying a pumpkin from Seamus was never anyone’s first choice. If the pumpkin with the red pin was sold, Seamus would follow that person home. He would wait in his truck until it was dark, and they were asleep, and then he’d take his axe and drive it into the poor person’s skull. After that he’d take the red pin pumpkin and leave it on his porch at home until it was rotten and sometimes longer. After five of these killings, Seamus was eventually caught.
Now, I know they’ve got him locked up somewhere and that all of old Seamus’ rows of pumpkin vines have shriveled up long ago, but there has been an oddity of late. This October there’s been a number of murders all around Illinois. They would seem to be unrelated, except for there being red pin pumpkins left behind every time. It’s peculiar really.