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Jackie O

In its orangish way it wasn’t very evil. I circled it slowly, biting my lip, and fingering my blade. “Eh Jackie boy what’s your game?” Silence from the globe man. Out of the corner of my eye, as I circled, I caught a hint of a sneer. I thought I heard a voice.

“Cut me if you dare, punk,” I jumped a little but my knife was steady. The sharp point sliced into his flesh like hot butter. Carving him up was easier than I thought it would be. Gutting him was tougher. He smelled wild and free and so unlike fresh baked pie. That was what he would wind up as of course. His orange essence grinned and leered at me. His corpse would carry a candle tonight to light the way of souls before being snuffed out and caved in on the road.

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People have been making jack o’lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.
Stingy Jack

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o’lanterns.

Tags

jack, lantern, violence, pumpkin, halloween

Comments

  • joan warburton
    joan warburtonover 5 years ago

    Creepy and very cool!

  • Marty Yokawonis
    Marty Yokawonisover 5 years ago

    Thanks Joan I entered this into a competition called Sugar High

  • Zolton
    Zoltonover 5 years ago

    I love this line He smelled wild and free and so unlike fresh baked pie. Ha ha. Great flash fiction!

  • Marty Yokawonis
    Marty Yokawonisover 5 years ago

    thanks Zolton! 150 words makes you work for your imagery

  • Banalheed
    Banalheedover 5 years ago

    Congratulations on being the Flash Fiction choice for the Halloween Sugar High final!

    You might just want to correct the grammatical errors in ““Eh Jackie boy,” what’s your game? Silence from the globe man but out of the corner of my eye, as I circled, I caught a hint of a sneer. I thought I heard a voic.” before the final voting? Does the dialogue end after “boy” or “game?”?

  • Nancy Ames
    Nancy Amesover 5 years ago

    Nice one, and thanks for the interesting piece of cultural evolutionary history.

  • red addiction
    red addictionover 5 years ago

    great writing! i liked it!

  • Alison Pearce
    Alison Pearceover 5 years ago

    Congrats!!

  • Damian
    Damianover 5 years ago

    Nice work Marty, and I enjoyed your description as well.

  • thanks Damien. I’m trying my hand at the NANOWRIMO this month. I appreciate your input a lot.

    – Marty Yokawonis

  • Miri
    Miriover 5 years ago

    nice description of an integral part of halloween! i like the first sentence!

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