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.
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