A nice little pumpkin sat in a patch, eagerly waiting for a up-walker to pass him. Buster's bright green stem and almost neon orange body were hard to miss in the late evening rays of sun.
He always dreamed of a friend who would always be there for him. He always dreamed of adventure which he knew would happen somehow, even if he was only a lonely little pumpkin waiting eagerly for a friend.
To either side of him were the shriveled vines of his friends that had been picked what seemed months ago. There were four other pumpkins in the patch. Nick was second closest, but couldn't stop talking about baseball. Aiden could not keep track of his stuff. Tawny couldn't stop roaming her eyes around.(Which were only curves.) Buster's only friend was Ryan, who was perfect. But the day before Buster got picked Ryan got sick!
Buster was about to fall asleep when he heard a girl's voice. "Mummy I want that one." He opened his curved marks for eyes to see a young girl standing right in front of him!
"All right, Katie, how much is it?"
"He is not an it, Mummy, his name is Buster!"
He was stunned to find out that Katie (1) chose him out, and (2) that she named him his real name, and that she took such respect for him already.
Katie's bright blue eyes sparkled in the sunset. Her green shirt was the same color green as his stem. Her dirty blue jeans were exactly his style. Her Mummy had her same blond hair and blue eyes. Mummy wore a t-shirt and dirty blue jeans like her daughter.
Chapter 2: Friends Forever
The fresh smell of [something] wavered up his curve of a nose. At first he didn't remember anything about earlier that night or why he was in a sweet little kitchen instead of his home, the pumpkin patch.
All of a sudden Buster remembered that he had been bought by his soon to be friend, Katie.
Meanwhile, back at the pumpkin patch ... Poppy was going straight from work to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin. Poppy was searching through all three of the remaining pumpkins in the very same pumpkin patch. He was looking for the brightest pumpkin of them all.
He came across Ryan (who was now feeling better) and he thought, "What a lovely gift that this pumpkin will make. I hope she likes it."
"Mummy, Mummy, Poppy's home!"
"Hi Starling! I have a surprise for you! I went to this really great pumpkin patch, and got a pumpkin for nearly free!"
"Great! Now Buster won't be so lonely!"
"Who's Buster?" Poppy asked.
Mummy said, "Now we have a surprise for you. Isn't that right, Katie? Why don't you tell Poppy what we did today."
"We got a pumpkin, and I named him Buster! Buster's the greatest pumpkin in the whole wide world. And now he will be kept company by this other pumpkin. I'm going to name him Ryan"
Ryan's head was zooming as he thought, "I never thought I'd see Buster again in my whole life. I wonder what this Katie character will be like. And her Mummy and Poppy, I hope they're nice, too."
"All right, Katie, let's put Buster and Ryan out on the front porch, so they can watch the Moon rise and all the stars."
"All right, Mummy!"
When Buster and Ryan were finally alone, they both said at the same time, "Oh my gosh, I never thought that I would see you again."
"So, how was life in the Pumpkin patch while I was gone?" Buster asked.
"It was terrible! I ended up being so bored, I just closed my ears and hung out with Nick for a whole day!" Ryan exclaimed.
It was good to have his old friend back. All of his old childhood memories seemed to flood back into him. He remembered the day all of his friends were picked almost all at the same time and only him, Nick, Aiden, Tawney and Ryan were left.
"You know Tawny is not such a bad pumpkin when you get to know her. She is just roaming her eyes around looking for a possible friend." Ryan said.
CHAPTER 3 - Up-Walker
Tawny had been lonely ever since her two friends, Ryan and Buster had left. She hoped that she wouldn't be left to rot with the other two pumpkins, Aiden and Nick. Her dreams were the same as Buster's, only one more thing: she always wanted an up-walker. She had watched almost every pumpkin in that patch get picked by an up-walker. She wondered as the early rays of dawn shone over her if she would ever have an upper-walker to call her own. Tawny could not help but wonder what her bother Ryan was doing now. They came from the seed, were gown at the same time, they even had the same friend - Buster.
She looked at the far corner but to see a rather large pumpkin she had never seen before. She wondered if she could draw his or her attention. She didn't want to get Aiden and Nick's attention, which was hard because they were closer than the mysterious new pumpkin was. She was curious why she had never seen that pumpkin before. Maybe the shadows had been waiting, lurking, for the right moment, to gulp the new pumpkin down in one bite.
Right before she was able to get the new pumpkin's attention, she was picked up by huge hands.
"This one will do," the up-walker's voice said. He said, "What do you think, Carley?"
"I think she's perfect, Daddy, but I want to get another one."
"How about that one over in the far corner?"
"Yes, that's the perfect one!"
"Do you want to name them, sweety?"
"Sure," Carley answered. "I'll name this one Tawny and the other one Scourge."
The next morning, Tawny woke up to find herself sitting next to the new pumpkin, whose name was Scourge. Or that's what Carley had named him.
She wondered what this up-walker family was like. Were they kind? Were they strict? Did they have rules you had to abide to or you'd be tossed in the garbage?
Carley made a loud entrance coming down the hall to where they were. "Hi, Tawny! Hi, Scourge!" she called.
At the voice of Carley, Scourge woke with a start.
"Let me introduce you to my family, you guys. I'm the oldest of all my brothers and sisters. The rest are all young. One of their names is Frank, one is Cassie, one is Jack, one is Ethan, and then my mother just had twins, and their names are Tommy and Joey. We have three cats, five fish, two ferrets, and a dog that spends all of its time in the basement.
"Both of our grandparents live with us. We call one of them Granma and Grampa. So we don't get them confused, we call the other ones Granny and Grampy.
"I'll show you guys my room, and you can sleep there. I have two whole beds made up for you."
CHAPTER 4 - THE DREAM
Ryan is hopping through the forest, as fast as his body can take him. He is being chased by a fierce predator, a fox.
Just ahead he sees a wide river, that if he can put enough weight he can almost root himself in the middle of the river so he would be safe.
All of a sudden, the sense changes and he's in a barren desert and he's freezing inside out. Around him he can see glaciers, and he can also make out the outlines of other pumpkins -- Buster, and Tawny was there, too. And another pumpkin he didn't recognize. He wondered what was going on.
Just as it did before, the scene changed again, only to find himself hopping up a mountainous mountain. He can see the same pumpkins, but there are others this time -- ones he had seen before but he didn't recognize completely.
He thought about the dream all day. He wondered -- he was trying to remember the names of the two pumpkins from the last scene. He wondered if he should tell Buster about this dream.
When Katie had finally stopped talking about what was going on in her life, and had to have dinner, Ryan thought that was the perfect spot for him to tell Buster about his dream.
Before he could say anything, Buster spoke first. He said that he had this dream that he, Tawny, a strange pumpkin, and Ryan were going through three different scenes. Number one, a forest, being chased by a fox. Two, a frosty wasteland. And the last scene was him hopping mountain after mountain.
This astonished Ryan.
Buster asked Ryan, "Do you know what it means?"
Ryan shook his head. But he told Buster, "I had the very same dream, and in the last scene I saw two other pumpkins I knew I had seen before, but I couldn't remember their names."
CHAPTER 5 - SCOURGE
Tawny was pondering most of the day about a dream she had. It was about her traveling through a forest, when she was alone; then one place she thought was the polar ice caps, where she was with Scourge, Buster, and Ryan; and then the last scene, it was her, Nick, Scourge, Ryan, Buster and Aiden.
She wondered about Scourge. There was so much she wanted to know about him.
The reason she hadn't talked to him yet was because Carley was going on and on about her family, how her mother and father both had to work all the time, and even sometimes on weekends. Her brothers and sisters were driving her nuts because her parents asked her to take care of them while she was on school break. Normally their grandma and gramdpa or granny and grampy would have because they took turns.
"But Granny and Grampy are on vacation, and Grandma is sick and Grampa is pretty much out as well, so I'm in charge of everybody, so except for today I get a little hour break, because they're watching TV -- a two hour break because I have them watching a movie. They've all got their snacks, they all have warm towels, so they won't even call me if it means missing a minute of it, so I get a little break. It's hard to find something that both the boys and the girls all like. But I managed to get them set up on a movie that's completely not scary -- the parts wouldn't even scare a baby but it's enough to satisfy the boys, and the girls are satisfied, too, on this one.
It seemed like Carley went on and on forever about how it stinks being the oldest and all that stuff.
When Carley finally stopped talking, she said, "You guys should take a nap, so you guys will have all the strength you need to play with me in the afternoon."
"That's a great idea," mumbled Scourge.
When Carley finally left, Tawny turned to Scourge and said. "Okay, so, first off, I have three major questions. One, what's your real name? Two, why haven't I seen you in the patch before? And three, do you want to be friends?"
"My real name is Scourge. The reason you probably never saw me is my name used to be Tiny. My fire was so tiny, I nearly didn't survive. And, three, sure, since we're going to be stuck in this up-walker place for a while." His voice was low and deep. It reminded her of the deep, low mumble of the creatures that the up-walkers rode in.
"Okay, Scourge. I have one more question. Can you help me interpret this dream? Okay, I'm hopping through the forest being chased by a fox, and I see a river, and I jump in, and weight myself down. Then the scene changes, and I'm in what I think is the Arctic." Tawny noticed Scourge's eyes widened, but they showed no feeling.
"And there are you and two other pumpkins from the pumpkin patch -- my friend Buster, and my brother Ryan. And then the scene changes again, and I'm hopping up a mountain, and you and this time three other pumpkins from the patch are with us: Buster, Ryan, and Nick."
When Tawny was done telling Scourge about her dream, Scourge said, "Funny, that's the same dream I had. I was waiting to tell you about it, but with Carley talking about how bad her life is and all that, I couldn't tell you"
"I think I know what it means, because in my final scene I saw my mother. She said - four will become one. You must meet at the pumpkin patch on a full moon. There you will meet Kucina." Scourge continued.
"Funny I had the same thing, only it was my sister Blossom. Do you think we should go to the pumpkin patch at the full moon?"
CHAPTER 6 - MIDNIGHT
Ryan found himself waking up, not in the Up-walker place where he had fallen asleep, but in his old home, the pumpkin patch. He saw the other pumpkins, that he had seen in his dream the night before.
Yet something was different. They were all waiting for him to speak up and lead them someplace, somehow it almost seemed.
Then, suddenly, a fight broke out between two of the pumpkins. It was Scourge and Nick. They were almost in a big, giant quarrel -- and the thing was, it was almost Midnight. He had a feeling it could only lead to disaster.
When the fight ended, it was five past Midnight. They had missed their only chance to find out what they were supposed to learn at Midnight. But something told him that he would find a way.
He woke up, shivering, cold, in the Up-walker place.
Buster lay next to him, snoring away like a pig.
He woke Buster up with a quick nudge in the side. When Buster woke up, he said, "Wha --? Ryan, what are you doing up so early?"
"Wake up, Buster! I have something important to tell you about the dream."
At the word "dream," Buster almost flew out of his spot. "What? What happened? Tell me! Please!"
"I think it means that we need to go to the pumpkin patch, and meet four other pumpkins there."
"Really? But how do we know the exact date? I mean, is it on the full moon, the blue moon, what?"
"I don't know. But did you have any strange dreams?"
"Yeah -- actually, I had this one where I was rooted up looking at the full moon. Wait, that's it! It must mean we have to go to the pumpkin patch at the full moon. I hope the other pumpkins figured that out. And there we wait for it to be midnight."
It was a cold, dark night when Scourge and Tawny were headed for the pumpkin patch. The light from the full moon was just enough for them to remain hidden but see any dangers and cross to the pumpkin patch safely.
"Are you sure we''re doign the right thing? Our Up-walkers will be mighty afraid if they wake up in the morning and find us not there," Tawny said.
"Hey, I'm fine. Just leaving that place is a dream, and leaving Chrissy is just a dream. And now it's true," Scourge said.
"I just hope the other four pumpkins got the message," said Tawny.
When Scourge and Tawny go there, they only saw Nick in the patch. "We'd better make sure he knows about the dream," Tawny said. "Because he was one of the pumpkins in the dream, remember?"
"Yeah, yeah, I still don't think we need that good-for-nothing blabber-mouth."
Right when Tawny and Scourge were finished telling Nick about how they had a dream and he had told them, "Funny, that's the same thing," and right when they were about to get to the end, Buster and Ryan came hopping out of the forest and through the fence.
"You guys made it!" Tawny yelled. "Scourge, this is my brother, Ryan, and my best friend, Buster."
"Yeah, yeah, nice to meet you," mumbled Scourge.
"So, I guess we have to wait here until it's Midnight," Ryan said.
Right before it was Midnight, just like in Ryan's dream, a quarrel broke out between Scourge and Buster.
Scourge had mumbled something in Tawny's ear, and Buster just heard, "Man, that's some annoying guy to be friends with." That really set Buster off, and he started hopping over to Scourge, and butted him with his stem.
Scourge fell the ground, but that didn't stop him. He started rollign on his side and hit buster so hard, at such a tremendous speed, that nearly knocked the seeds right into him.
How it stopped was when Nick barged into the middle of them and said, "That's enough! We need to wait for Midnight, not be fighting amongst ourselves."
"Well, it's too late for that now," Tawny sighed. "It's seven past Midnight."
CHAPTER 7. FOX DOUG
Scourge was limping badly by the time they reached the Up-walker nest. "Man, I'm so bummed out. "
"Why did you have to say that?" said Tawny. "He's just a friend. Just because he's my friend doesn't mean he has to be your friend. Still, don't say mean things about him."
"Well, not my fault he can't be quiet for a minute."
"Oh, come on, Scourge. Stop being like that. He's my brother's best friend, but you're my best friend."
"So, what do you think will happen now that we missed Midnight?"
"I don't know, Scourge. But I know that we're going to be going further than any pumpkin has gone before. I just know it."
By the time Scourge and Tawny got home, it was almost dawn. "We'd better hurry and and get back to our spots before the male Up-walker finds us not here," said Tawny.
By the time Chrissie woke up, Tawny and Scourge were having a hard time not falling asleep. Tawny and Scourge were having a hard time keeping their eyes open, and Chrissie kept talking and talking to them, which didn't make it any better.
When Chrissie was almost done talking, she was interrupted by a half-minute long earthquake. She seemed pretty cool about it, but for Scourge and Tawny it was a disaster-scene movie.
"Whoa, get me out of this place!" Scourge yelled in his deep voice.
The rumble kept on and on, it seemed, forever, for the two pumpkins, until it stopped. When it finally did, they were too stunned to speak.
But Chrissie wasn't. She explained the whole concept of earthquakes to the round, orange creatures.
That very night, Ryan dreamed that he was drowning in a puddle of sand. All he saw around him were giant rocks that looked like teeth. The sand, he thought, it's pulling me under. I'm not going to make it!
Suddenly, he felt a tug at his stem, and he suddenly awoke. The taste of sand still hung in his mouth.
"What are you doing?" Buster whispered. "Making so much noise that any pumpkin could hear it from here to the pumpkin patch."
"Sorry," Ryan mumbled. "I just had a bad dream about -- I think it was about midnight."
"Really? What is it?"
"Well, I'm there, and sand is pouring over me." As Ryan told his dream to his best friend, he wondered what it meant -- if he had to go someplace, if they had to go someplace ...
"Fox Doug to all of this insanity," screamed Scourge when Ryan told him about the dream.
"How are we going to leave without our Up-walkiers noticing?" Tawny asked.
"Yeah, they're sure to be really upset when they find out that we're not in our places," Scourge agreed.
"Well, I think the thing is, we need to go there."
"Well, where is there," Scourge said.
"I have an idea. I saw a setting sun where I was. I think we need to head there."
"That's the most mouse-brained idea I've ever heard," Scourge yelled. "I'm going back. I'd rather listen to Chrissie the rest of my life than go on this so-called adventure."
"We need to meet back here tomorrow right before dusk to head out," said Nick.
"Okay, I'll try, if Chrissy ever stops yammering," Scourge mumbled. "Come on, Tawny, let's go."
"I think if there was a list of the weirdest ideas I've been a part of, guess what, this one would be at the top," Scourge told Tawny as they made their way to the pumpkin patch.
When they got to the pumpkin patch, the found they were first ones there. "Gee, I wonder if the Fox from the dream got them."
"What's with you?" Tawny nearly screamed. "Why do you hate him so much? He's just my brother. It's not like it's the end of the world if his best friend leads us to this place my brother saw." She was so frustrated she felt like she was going to blow.
Scourge nearly shrugged as if she were talking to him in her normal voice.
When Ryan and Buster finally arrived, they were all beaten, scratched and bruised.
"Oh my gosh, what happened to you?" said Tawny.
"Did the fox get you?" Scourge smirked.
Tawny shot him a warning glance.
"No, it wasn't a fox," Ryan panted, taking big, deep breaths. He told them how when they were trying to leave at dusk, there was this big party that their Up-walkers were having. "And we nearly got trampled by all of them."
"But how did you get the scratches?"
"One of them brought dogs," Buster nearly yelled. "It tried to bite my stem off." He showed Scourge and Tawny the bite mark right on his stem. "And these weren't the little tiny ones we saw them holding before we got sold. These were the huge ones that are so big they're as big as Chrissy or Katie, as Katie was nearly as big as us to them."
"Well, you guys ready to head off to the sand rock place?"
"And when we do get there, we have to be ready to meet the fox," Scourge added.
"Don't be ridiculous -- foxes don't live at the beach," Ryan said.
Much time had passed since they left their recent two homes behind and were on their way. They needed to find a place to rest for the night. Tawny kept on saying that they needed to stop and rest for the night almost everywhere. She said that Buster and Ryan were overdoing it with all the scratches they had.
But Ryan kept on saying, "We need a place with water, food, and shelter."
They had just passed a field, when Buster said, "This the perfect place." It was an old house that was in ruins. There was a puddle of water that they could drink out of, and there was plenty of leaves for them to chew.
After they had eaten a nice dinner, Buster said, "We should rest. We need our sleep for the morning."
While the others had finally fallen asleep smoothly, Ryan found it quite hard to sleep. He kept on imagining the fox or another creature just coming out and start running about and eating the pumpkins and smashing them, with no river to go to.
The puddle would be no help. It would just pounce on them right in the middle.
When sleep finally overtook him, he went into it restlessly. He tossed and turned. When dawn rose, he and Buster nudged the others awake.
"Wake up, Nick. It's time to go."
"Nick, I know you were following us last name."
"Well, what choice did I have, after you guys told me about how all of you had the dream, and about me being part of it? I couldn't just leave you guys alone to do the journey. I felt like we had to do something."
"Well, no use arguing now," Buster said. "Come on. We'd better get on with today. The early bird catches the worm, you know."
"Can't we get something to eat first?" Nick complained.
"Well, okay, I guess we need our strength."
When they finally got moving, the road looked no better. They kept on having to go through field after field. It was a maze.
When they finally got out, they found themselves facing the two biggest dogs they had ever seen.
They ran and they ran. Every pumpkin knew if they met two dogs, it would mean disaster in the wild. When they scurried up a tree, they found they were not the only ones there. There were two gleaming cat eyes looking at them.
Ryan thought, "We're not going to make it -- we can't go down, and if we do we're dog food, but if we stay up here, w'll get cut into smithereens."
When the cat came into view, Scourge said, "Purdy! Guys, this is Purdy. He helped me when I was tiny."
"How you doing, Scourge?"
"We need a little help, Purdy. We need to go to the place where the sun sets and there are beaches all around."
"Well -- I think I can help you there. Lots of people come by here from all different areas, not just cats. I'd be happy to help an old friend."
"Thank you, Purdy. We need to find a place to rest first. Those dogs are going to be out here all night searching for us."
"Let's just climb over this fence. They won't be able to reach us there."
"Okay, Purdy," Tawny said. "We have to give it a try, you guys, okay?"