Holiday Horrors: Triangle Eyes1 min read


Chris Clemens
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We’ve never done the carvings alone before.

When Mama wrote to say she was stuck in Boston, that she couldn’t be home by Halloween, her last line was, “Remember, Junie: If you don’t give them faces, they’ll choose their own.”

So here I am with the kitchen knife, giving each pumpkin a face. Rachel’s too small to use the knife so she’s carrying them in from outside, rolling them if they’re heavy. The mouths I cut are smiling, laughing, confused. Some are cringing, terrified. The eyes are always triangles because I don’t have much time left; the sun is setting.

I keep carving faces, faster and faster, cruel wedged mouths and triangular eyes. My fingers bleed as I pull stringy guts from the pumpkins and throw them on the floor. Mama once told me how she’d found Papa: a chewed-up mess of meat and bone, red and orange shreds scattered halfway back from the barn. They chose their own faces that night, she said. With horrible sharp teeth.

Rachel lights the candles. The knife flickers and flashes. Eye, eye, mouth, done. Again. Finally, there are two pumpkins left, then one, and I collapse exhausted on the floor, covered in slimy seeds.

“But what about those ones?” Rachel asks, brow furrowed, and my eyes follow her finger out to the fields.

“We got them all.”

“But I hear something out there.”

I hear it, too: a rustling off in the darkness. I stand in the doorway with my knife, uncertain.


  • Chris Clemens

    Chris Clemens teaches at Humber College in Toronto, where he lives with his wonderful family. “Triangle Eyes” is his first published story.

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