by Joshua D. Taylor
A hush fell over the crowd as the moon rose above the treeline of hemlock and white oak. The Halloween hawkmoth made its annual emergence from deep within the town’s ancestral pumpkin patch. It flapped its gargantuan orange and black wings in the crisp October air, rising above the eager townsfolk.
Everyone held their pumpkins high above their heads, hoping to be chosen. Sam’s pumpkin was lop-sided with a green tinge but he had a good feeling about it. It had stood out from the rest. He had grown it himself. He had watered and fertilized the vines all year. Pulled out any encroaching weeds, and picked off any bugs that would harm it. In the end, it gave him half a dozen pumpkins just in time for the Halloween coronation.
The moth circled several times over the sea of orange globes. Then hovered for a brief moment before it gracefully descended. Sam trembled with excitement as the moth’s delicate legs settled on his shoulders. The soft breeze from its paper-thin wings smelled of wild spices. He felt a gentle pop as its proboscis punctured his pumpkin’s skin. The Halloween moth drank deeply from the sweet nectar within the pumpkin. The meal it gathered would fuel its mating ritual at dawn.
The crowd cheered, choosing him as the year’s King of Halloween. People danced with brightly colored scarecrows as fermented apple cider was imbibed from hollow gourds. Sam beamed as the ancient wooden crown was placed upon his head.
Joshua D. Taylor is an author who started writing when he realized he was too old to play make-believe. He lives in southeastern Pennsylvania with his wife and a one-eared cat. He enjoys gardening, comic books, ska-punk music, Disney World, and traveling with his wife. Raised during the weirdness that was the late 20th century, Josh’s eclectic interests produce eclectic works. He loves to mix-n-match things from different genres and story elements to achieve a madcap hodgepodge of the truly unexpected.