The Broken Pumpkin

Dear Dennis,

Last night at dusk I discovered a sizable wound in my largest pumpkin.

I crossed the patch to examine the damage, assuming a groundhog had ignored the ring of cayenne pepper and gunpowder I’d poured around the fruit, and was surprised to find the shell had broken outward, from within.

The pumpkin is approximately 300-lbs. Three shell fragments lay on the ground, leaving a hole in the pumpkin the size of a dinner plate. The fragments’ edges had the raggedness of fractures rather than the telltale smoothness of a knife cut.

No part of the orange exterior was damaged. The fragments’ inner sides, however, appeared to have been beaten and clawed. Knuckle-shaped divots had flattened the stringy pulp, and a deep set of scratch marks had grooved the biggest fragment. One of the marks was bloody.

I plucked what I believed to be a seed out of the flesh. It was a fingernail.

Similar marks are evident inside the pumpkin itself, but a flashlight examination revealed no additional clues, and the surrounding soil betrayed no footprints aside from my own.

I must reiterate: the shell was not cut. It had exploded from within. Six other pumpkins remain. I will monitor the patch.

Look Beyond,
Genna Q_______

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Vanishing Jumper: Part 3

Hey, it’s Claire. I’ve been here all week, waiting for the mysterious bridge jumper. Yesterday I met him.

Recap: Mystery man appears on an abandoned train trestle several times a month, leaps two-hundred feet into a rocky gorge, and promptly vanishes until his next jump. Locals don’t recognize him. I saw him make the jump myself last week.

Continue reading Vanishing Jumper: Part 3

Vanishing Jumper: Part 2

Hey, it’s Claire. I’m in Depressingly-Nowhere County, PA investigating that mysterious bridge jumper Hank emailed me about.

The bridge is a train trestle, built in 1911, that runs a nauseating two hundred feet over a weedy, rocky gorge that’s impossible to easily access unless you’re one of those weirdoes who loves hiking into weedy, rocky gorges full ancient Genesee Cream Ale cans. The trestle’s been closed to all traffic for over a decade. It’s basically the kind of rusty old death structure you’d associate with dangerous teenage dares and mid-Pennsylvania industrial decay.

Continue reading Vanishing Jumper: Part 2

Vanishing Jumper

I’ve received word of a man who leaps to his death from a train trestle in rural New Jersey at least once a month.

The man has been seen taking his suicide dive—a two-hundred-foot drop into a rocky gorge—by more than a dozen witnesses in the last year.

He is currently unidentified. Witnesses describe him as approximately thirty years old and six feet tall. He’s Caucasian with curly black hair that three people have independently referred to as “marvelous”. He wears a gray sweatsuit and blue sneakers.

Continue reading Vanishing Jumper