Illustrator: Cathy Zhang

Illustration by Cathy Zhang

I grew up in the country with my family. I had many brothers and sisters. We lived a simple life, no luxuries but our needs were provided for. We were happy.
That all changed one fall day.
It started slowly at first. My cousin was abducted. Taken by huge, alien figures in the middle of the day. Gone without a single trace. I never saw him again.
Then it started happening more and more frequently. A few weeks after the first abduction more than half of us were gone. We feared for our lives but found that we could do nothing to stop our adversaries.
Then. One day. I was taken.
I was ripped from my family. Torn from my home. Put into a dark container with the others who had been abducted. We travelled for a period of time, in the dark, going to some unknown destination.
Suddenly light flooded in and we found ourselves on an operating table, harsh lights glinting over head, shining silver instruments lined up neatly in a row.
I’ll spare you the gory details and tell you only the result of the procedure: a garish grin, carved into my face. My captors then appeared in terrifying masks and strange costumes and feasted, laughing and screaming. Pleased with their work.
Yet as the light within me slowly dimmed, I felt at peace. I had no regrets. I had led a good life despite my traumatic end.
As a gust of wind extinguished my flame once and for all I knew that this was where I was supposed to be. This was my destiny all along…..

Because I am a pumpkin.