It was Fall again, and there was blood on the pumpkin. Not that there was blood on the pumpkin every Fall, but there was this time. It seemed natural. It seemed like a tractor accident in October was a normal occurrence.  And it was.  But this time, it was a little more normal than usual.  It was an outsider who caused blood on the pumpkin.  Not a member of the family, not a friend who helped with the harvest, but a stranger who had paid an entry fee to visit, with his family, to pick any pumpkin he wished.

He pretended to have experience with tractors. And his demeanor suggested complete comfort with them.  So when he asked to use a tractor with a front-loader so he could select a lot of pumpkins, there were no questions asked. Lindsay insisted the “pumpkin master” sign a waiver of liability, like he would ask anyone to do, but he felt silly doing it.  The guy obviously knew his way around a farm. He knew tractors, he knew crops, he knew refraining for asking for help was appreciated more than the fees collected at entrance.

Lindsay died when the front-loader spun around and clipped him at eye-level. The “pumpkin master” didn’t notice Lindsay standing there.  It wasn’t intentional, but it was permanent.  It was fatal.  Lindsay never knew it was coming.  He never saw it.  His life ended in a fraction of a second.

It was Lindsay’s blood on the pumpkin that Fall morning. The “pumpkin master” offered his apologies and his deep-felt condolences, but something seemed amiss, though nobody noticed until later, after he had gone. A month passed before the sheriff learned that a man matching the description of the “pumpkin master” had been present when spinning tractors took the lives of five people in the surrounding counties.

That was a year ago.  This Fall, just when people had begun to remember the incident and try to push it deep into their subconscious, there was blood on the pumpkin again. And the same guy was here.

I tried to stop him, but there wasn’t time.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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