Sunday, 30 October 2016


by TM Upchurch

The pumpkin stares ahead, eyes burning. ‘This is your night,’ I say, ‘so smile.’ There’s a brief flicker. I gave this one a wide mouth.

Pumpkins never last; they’re designed to rot. Tonight the eyes will succumb to the cold. Tomorrow, the skin will crumple and drop; juices will trickle through the cracks and pool where the neck might have been. The cheeks beneath the eyes are already wet and waxen. I scrape them with a knife still sticky from carving, and dry it on my leg.

I lean in, press my skin close, and whisper, ‘Try to stay pretty.’

Author bio: TM Upchurch writes fiction at and tweets as @tmupchurch

Smile is part of 101 Fiction issue 13.

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