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(CCHWC)You Never Know What You Got Till Its Taken

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posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 02:57 PM

You Never Know What You Got Till Its Taken

I was seriously perplexed as to what to write for this contest. I could have done a thousand different things but I settled on an old Irish Legend that I had heard of a long time ago. It was the story of how jack o' lanterns became so popular around Halloween.

It was the legend of Stingy Jack. Stingy Jack was a clever old man who tricked the Devil. The Devil had come for his soul and Stingy Jack had tricked him twice. When I looked back into the story it raised a lot of questions for me.

The most profound question in my mind being, "What had become of Stingy Jack then?" You see, the Devil wouldn't accept him into Hell because the Devil had vowed to not take his soul. Heaven would certainly not accept such an unsavory character as Stingy Jack either.

So he didn't have a final resting place. He walked between the worlds of the living and the dead carrying a carved out turnip that held an ember from hell. That is how the legend ends. That is where we get the jack o' lantern. So I started thinking.

Wouldn't such a clever character as this find a way out of his predicament? Wouldn't he be influenced by the ember from Hell that guided his way? Wouldn't it be easier for him to escape his ethereal prison on Halloween? When the lines between the living and the dead are said to be blurred? I believe so. It is this legend that I used to inspire my story.

The link to the legend can be found right here. I suggest that you read the legend first. It is a very short read.

[edit on 17-10-2009 by jackflap]

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 03:03 PM
Part one:Entertaining demons...

Glenn needed a story to tell. He rummaged through the old foot locker that was his grandfather’s ages ago. It was stuffed into a corner of the garage. He had been through the locker before and found nothing of interest. The one thing he did remember though was a small paper back titled “Stingy Jack”. He remembered leafing through it quickly and he could recall it being an old Irish legend about jack o’ lanterns.

He needed that stupid book right now. His two boys had their two friends sleeping over tonight and they were waiting to hear a story. They were outside sitting around a fire ring that Glenn had made for them. They roasted marshmallows already and now they wanted to hear a story.

Glenn sighed and looked at the mess in the old box. He pushed old clothes and worthless papers to the side. He knew that it was in there, he just had to look. “They gotta bust my horns.” Glenn said aloud. He took a long pull from one of the bottles of rum that he had hidden in the garage earlier and continued looking. His drinking time was now confined to times like this when he could hide it. He had promised his family that he would quit drinking eight years ago. No one could ever tell when he snuck a few drinks now and then and he felt as though he had this little binge under control as well.

His wife had gone to sleep hours before because she was not feeling well. So Glenn was left with the kids. “That was just like her, staying true to form.” He said aloud as he began to get more annoyed. Now he was left to entertain these demanding little demons. It was already eleven thirty at night and he wondered how those kids were still going. They didn’t have school the next day and it would be Halloween tomorrow so they were excited. Glenn wished he had half their energy.

Glenn looked at the remaining liquid in the bottle of rum and decided to polish it off. He then continued looking for the story and was rewarded. He held it up and examined it. On the cover it just said “Stingy Jack”. That was the book. He promptly stuffed the empty bottle under the rest of the rubbish in the locker and closed it.

He raised himself up off the floor and swooned. That rum was kicking in alright. He walked over to the shelf and reached over the top toward the back where he retrieved another hidden bottle. He opened that one and took a long pull. “Alright, all I gotta do is read this story and put them to bed. Let’s do this thing.” Glenn said to himself. He stashed his new bottle back where no one could see it and peered out the door at the kids.

They were sitting around the camp fire talking and giggling. When he went out earlier to check on them is when they got him. They asked him to tell them a story. That’s when he remembered that stupid book from the locker. He would let them know that this was the last thing they were going to do and then he would have to extinguish the fire. He would tell them that tomorrow is a big day and that they needed their sleep. He half staggered through the door and approached the children who noticed him coming.

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 03:07 PM
Part two:Resenting good works

“Do you have a story Dad?” His oldest son asked excitedly. He couldn’t wait for his Dad to tell them a nice spooky story around the campfire. The other kids were hoping that it wasn’t too scary and they were all smiling wildly.

“Of course I do. After this story we have to put the fire out and go to bed. We have a big day tomorrow you know. It’s gonna be Halloween!” He said half heartedly, although he slurred a few of the words. His oldest son caught the slurs right away and he noticed how his Dad almost fell into the lawn chair. He was horrified. His Dad promised them that he wouldn’t drink anymore and he suddenly knew that he had been drinking. His mom wasn’t feeling well so there was no way he was going to wake her up. He realized that they were now at the mercy of their intoxicated father. He found himself praying that the night would just end.

His youngest son suddenly protested. “Oh, Dad come on. This is the best night ever. Do we have to put the fire out?” He tucked his feet under himself and waited for his Dad’s response.

“What did I just say?! I said we are gonna read this and go to bed. Right?!” Glenn glared at his youngest son and suddenly his two sons and their two friends realized that something had changed. They felt the atmosphere become hostile very quickly and they all suddenly wished that Dad had just stayed inside. They quieted down instantly and waited for their next instruction.

“I’m sorry Dad.” The youngest offered. Without a word between the youngest and oldest sons they knew what they were dealing with now. They looked at each other nervously.

“Your damn right you’re sorry….You sorry little….” Glenn slurred as he tried to focus on the book’s pages. He squinted at the small lettering and cursed again. The children waited silently. Suddenly the kids yelped. The small stray cat that frequented their yard darted through the group quickly and startled everyone.

When they realized it was just the stray kitten they all laughed. Glenn murmured something under his breathe and continued trying to read the story. They would often leave the kitten a small snack on the back porch but the kitten would never let them catch him. He was very fast and the kids had fun chasing him now and again.

Glenn stood again and swooned. “I’m gonna put one more log on this fire so I could see better boys. Wait here.” He walked across the yard where he had stacked the fire wood.

“Well you didn’t take too much did you? You broke down invalid.” Glenn said to himself. He told his neighbor who was disabled that if he needed some fire wood to come and take it. In his drunken state now, he resented having offered him free run on his fire wood. He seemed to be having to split twice as much wood as before. “Friggin free loading glutton.” Glenn whispered as he glared at his neighbor’s house. He dismissed this and took a smaller log.

On his way back he took a little detour to the inside of the garage and took another long pull from his rum bottle. “That oughta do it.” He said. He staggered back out the door and swerved back toward the camp fire. He placed the log on the fire and fell back into his seat. It was now becoming bright enough to read.

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 03:15 PM
Part three:Can you hear me now?

The fire cast eerie shadows all around the yard and on the kids faces. Unbeknownst to Glenn the smell of alcohol now permeated the area, along with the smell of their burning wood. Glenn laughed out loud as he looked at the children. They seemed horrified already. This was going to be great. He turned the cover over and began to read.

“Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunkard who loved playing tricks on anyone and everyone. He was very crafty this old man. He would cheat an old woman out of her last cent if given the chance. Everyone knew of Stingy Jack and had given up trying to change him years ago.” Glenn cleared his throat and looked at the kids. They were sitting very attentively. Suddenly Glenn thought he heard someone say something.

Glenn is a miserable old drunk who likes to trick people too. He would drink behind the sink and even hide a bottle in an old tennis shoe.

“What?” Glenn questioned the kids. He was sure he had heard something but he wasn’t sure which miserable little wretch said it. “What did you say?” He questioned his oldest son.

“I didn’t say anything Dad. We are listening to the story is all.” His oldest son shifted nervously in his seat. This was getting worse. He hoped it wouldn’t get out of hand.

“Alright. I thought I heard something, that’s all.” Glenn slurred. He turned his attention back to the book. He quickly glanced up to see if they were talking amongst themselves secretly. They weren’t. He turned back to the book.

“One dark, Halloween night, Jack ran into the Devil himself in a local public house. Jack knew that the Devil would be along for him at some point and now was the time. Jack tricked the Devil into having a couple of drinks with him before taking him to hell. The Devil agreed. The Devil had heard of this Stingy Jack and he thought that if anyone deserved to have a drink with the Devil himself, it was Stingy Jack.” Glenn shifted the book so that the light from the campfire illuminated the next few paragraphs. Suddenly he heard that voice again.

Glenn parties with Devil too. When the Devil comes a knockin, Glenn’s world goes a rockin. Glenn can’t help himself; he knows no better, he’s much too dry, let’s make him wetter.

“What the hell did you just say?!” Glenn was pointing at his youngest son now. He was sure that the miserable little punk just said that. He demanded an answer.

“Dad, I didn’t say anything. Really. We’re just listening to the spooky story.” His youngest son was on the verge of tears now. He was scared alright and it had nothing to do with Stingy Jack. His voice quivered.

“Dad, really, no one said anything. Can we just go to bed now?” His oldest son interrupted. He wanted out of this mess. He didn’t want to hear any more about Stingy Jack.

Glenn felt that they were sincere. Maybe he was just hearing things. Maybe that rum got into his ear drums or something. “I’m sorry guys. I just thought I heard something. Here, let’s just finish the story.” Glenn composed himself as best he could and continued to read.

“The Devil finally said that it was time to go. Jack couldn’t help but offer one more trick to the real world. He convinced the Devil that it would be a real hoot if he changed himself into a sixpence to pay for their drinks. Then he said that the devil could just appear outside where Jack would meet him. The Devil liked his style and agreed. That would be funny. So the Devil changed himself into the currency and Jack quickly grabbed the coin and put it in his pocket where he had a sliver cross. The Devil was stuck. He couldn’t change back because of the silver cross.” Glenn began laughing loudly. This book was too funny, and how about that Stingy Jack? He was clever to Glenn alright. Glenn could barely stop laughing and then he heard that voice again.

How about that Stingy Jack Glenn? He’s a real clever cat. I could show you how to do this and that.

Glenn stopped and stared at the children in disbelief. Did they just say that? No way. They were looking at him as though they were looking at the boogeyman. They wouldn’t dare interrupt him while he was having a good laugh. “Did you guys just say something?” Glenn asked nervously this time.

“No Dad, we swear, no one said anything. Can we go to bed now?” His oldest son pleaded. He didn’t want to be embarrassed anymore with his friends here. He hoped his Dad would let them go.

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 03:23 PM
Part four:Invasion

Glenn thought a moment. “Yeah, go ahead. Get to bed now because tomorrow is Halloween. It’s when all the ghosts and goblins roam the earth and we gotta be ready for them. So get to bed now. I’m gonna stay here and put this fire out.” Glenn said intelligibly. The kids were relieved. They jumped out of their chairs and ran inside. Glenn sat by the fire now and studied the cover of the book. He noticed his wristwatch and realized that it was after midnight. So it was Halloween already. He chuckled. Glenn slid down in the lawn chair and closed his eyes. He let the effects of the alcohol consume him as he listened to the strange voices that he had heard before.

Come on Glenn I’ll show you a thing or two. You’re a clever lad and I know you through and through.

“Yeah, alright. Show me then.” Glenn was muttering with his eyes closed. He could feel himself slipping into a deep sleep. He felt he was dreaming. He figured that it was best to ride out his drunkenness right here in front of the fire. There was no work tomorrow and he was sure he would be awake shortly anyway. He just had to close his eyes for a bit.

He could see himself now. He was walking toward an eerie light that was being held by a human figure. The figure was hunched over. It appeared to be an old man. The old man was calling him.

Come on Glenn. Just a bit more. I’ll show you things of Irish lore.

“Yeah, yeah. Right. Here I come.” Glenn said in his half stupor. He was closing the distance between himself and the old man now. It was entertaining to Glenn. He was so tired and this must be some sort of a strange dream. He went with it.

As he was just about to happen upon the old man, the old man darted past him and disappeared into a wall of blackness. Glenn turned to look but the old man was gone. Glenn walked toward where the old man had gone and hit what can only be described as a solid wall of nothingness. Now that was strange. Glenn began feeling all around. He could see his hands sweeping around in front of him and it seemed as though they glowed slightly. This was one strange dream alright.

Suddenly Glenn’s body stood in front of the campfire. His eyes shot open and he declared “Magic Jack! Clever Jack! Stinnnnngy Jack.” Although the voice was far from what Glenn sounded like.

Glenn heard the declaration echo across the astral plane that he was now trapped in and fear suddenly consumed him. He couldn’t wake up. He pounded on the blackness that blocked him with his new spectral hands. He yelled and screamed for someone to help him. For anyone to wake him up.

Stingy Jack could hear Glenn faintly. He wouldn’t be bothering himself with that though. He had work to do and this realm of existence eluded him for far too long. He would show the Devil that he belonged in hell. He would show him now because he had another chance to do just that. Stingy Jack wouldn’t be stuck wondering the astral planes any more. He wanted finality to his existence. Even if it meant that he would be burning in hell. At least he would know his place at long last.

Glenn’s body now walked toward the house. His fist held out in front of him as if carrying something. He walked with a slight hunch now and his strides were much shorter. He stopped by the shelf and grabbed his rum bottle. He made short work of the rest of it. He noticed a coffee can full of corks which Glenn and his son used with his pop gun. They would set up soda cans and shoot the corks across the garage sometimes. Stingy Jack saw all of this in Glenn’s mind. He laughed aloud, but not too loud. He grabbed a pair of pliers first and placed them in Glenn’s back pocket. He then grabbed the coffee can and went inside where he began to rummage through the refrigerator.

Stingy Jack began frying up some bacon. He loved bacon when he was alive and he couldn’t wait for that treat again. After he was done frying the whole pound of bacon he swirled the grease around in the pan. There was plenty of it. He had already broken the corks up into bite size pieces for the little kitten. He poured the grease over the broken up corks and stirred everything together. “There little kitty. Fill your belly up good with this. This should slow you down a bit.” Stingy Jack whispered as he carried the grease soaked cork to the back porch. He set it down on the last step and glared at the disabled neighbor’s house as he munched on crispy bacon strips. Stingy Jack had something for him too.

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 03:30 PM
Part five:Get your costumes on people

He retrieved four of the best pieces of firewood that were in the stack of wood. He went back inside the garage where he looked around. He knew what he was looking for alright. He could see it in Glenn’s mind. There it was. A box of slender butane cans that one would use to refill butane lighters. These were perfect. Glenn used them to refill his long lighters by the fireplace. Stingy Jack used Glenn’s cordless drill to bore the logs out to accommodate the cans. He then used wood filler to seal them inside properly. He placed the logs on the very top of the stack where the neighbor was sure to take from. “That ought to warm you up nice. Come and get it. Free fire wood.” Stingy jack whispered as he peered at the neighbor’s house.

Glenn could hear the whispers. He knew he was in trouble because he couldn’t wake up. He pounded on the blackness that blocked him. He couldn’t yell anymore. He just cried as an ethereal wind blew in the distance. He couldn’t feel the wind but he could hear it. It was fierce sometimes and it scared him even more. He kept thinking in his mind as he sobbed relentlessly, “Help me. Somebody help me.”

Stingy Jack had to get his costume on now. The sunrise was approaching and he still had to decorate the house. He retrieved a fillet knife from the kitchen and walked into the bathroom. He cut Glenn’s shirt down the middle of his chest. The skin, now exposed, revealed a series of messages that manifested themselves in the form of festering wounds. They all said the same thing. “HELP ME…..HELP ME…..HELP ME….”

Stingy Jack laughed quietly. He pushed the hair off of his brow with one hand and with his other hand he dragged the fillet knife across his forehead horizontally. The blood streamed down his face and into his mouth. He let the blood pour down his neck and chest. He dropped the fillet knife and used both of his hands to separate the wound further causing a fresh torrent of blood to bathe his host’s face. He quickly grabbed the pliers from his back pocket and clamped them down on Glenn’s two front teeth. He pushed forward and heard them crack off. They fell into the sink with a small rattle where they were promptly mired in streams of blood.

Stingy Jack then looked in the medicine cabinet where he took a safety pin from a small bowl. He placed it on the edge of the sink and grabbed the knife again. With one hand he stretched Glenn’s right ear away from the side of his head and sawed it off with the knife in his left hand. He then opened the safety pin and pierced the dismembered extremity. He used both hands to poke it through his left earlobe and closed the pin. This was a perfect costume alright. He looked great for Halloween.

Stingy Jack now went back out to the garage where he grabbed a claw hammer from the work bench. He went back through the kitchen and retrieved a large rigid carving knife that Glenn had used on almost every Thanksgiving day to carve the turkey. It was very sharp and very rigid. It was perfect to use for putting on the wife’s and the children’s costumes. Stingy Jack made his way to the stairs.

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 03:33 PM
Part six:Come one come all

In the early hours of the morning Glenn’s neighbor hobbled over to Glenn's yard and grabbed some firewood. He noticed the writhing kitten in the middle of the yard and wondered if he should call animal control. He would do that after he warmed up his house a bit. The explosions came shortly after. The fire department arrived on scene and extracted the wounded neighbor who was suffering from third degree burns. When questioned he told the authorities what he had done and how he took the fire wood from his friendly neighbor’s house.

The authorities arrived at Glenn’s house shortly thereafter. When no one answered the door they were forced to break in. The scene inside the house was one that would stay with those officials for the rest of their lives. Therapy could do little to comfort these men or erase the horrific images from their minds.

When Stingy Jack had finished putting the costumes on the children and the wife he decorated the house with them. Glenn’s wife was hung in the middle of the living room by her neck. The headless children were positioned on the couches around her with their heads fashioned as jack o’ lanterns in their laps.

Stingy Jack had hung himself right next to Glenn’s wife and when Glenn’s body breathed its last a decrepit hollowed out turnip with a hellish glow inside appeared in Glenn’s spectral right hand. He gave up trying to get back from where he came from and looked for another way out. He used the hellish jack o’ lantern to see his way through the never ending blackness that had become his world.

[edit on 17-10-2009 by jackflap]

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 04:46 PM
wow really great story and very scary!!!! Very graphic.... I am a fan!!!! Good luck in the contest, although you don't need it really!!!!!

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 04:47 PM
reply to post by jackflap

jackflap, awesome story and in the spirit of Halloween no less.

Good luck to you with your entry and thank you for the comments on mine as well.

I am probably going to end up writing fiction/science fiction based around all I post on.

Watch out Tom Clancy and John Grisham, here comes jackflap and SKL.

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 04:47 PM
Nice job "Jack"
very King like in it's cadence and revelation
Best story I've read of the contest so far...

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 05:49 PM
sssssomebbbbbody hhhold mmmmeeee...pppplllease....

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 10:19 PM
reply to post by jackflap

Well done sir!!!!

I am humbled. Wonderful story. It kept me riveted.

Thank you.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 12:42 PM
Having read your other stories, my expectation were high.

You didn't disappoint me at all.

Excellent work, Jack -- as usual. Keep writing!

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 12:42 PM
Double post. I definitely need to get a new mouse.

[edit on 18-10-2009 by Axial Leader]

posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 11:20 AM
Thanks for all the replies everyone. I am not sure if I am going to leave this one for the contest though. I have something else I am mulling over and I may change this one. If I get time, I don't know. Thank you again.

posted on Oct, 19 2009 @ 01:01 PM

Originally posted by AccessDenied
sssssomebbbbbody hhhold mmmmeeee...pppplllease....

~snuggles up with AD~

Alright darlin.

Thanks Jack.

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 12:08 PM
reply to post by jackflap

Wow jackflap what a fantastic story! I better ask for your autograph now because one day your books will out sell King and Koontz. Keep up the great work. You only inspire me to try harder.
BE AS ONE, Magantice

posted on Oct, 27 2009 @ 01:10 PM
reply to post by Magantice

Thank you Magantice. I checked out your story as well and loved it. I was in the middle of a move during this story so the pieces fell together little by little and I added a bit more at opportune times. The ending was going to be much more graphic but I relented. I could've done a post or two more for that. Thanks again Magantice.

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 07:56 AM
Halloween writing at it's finest. Your imagination and creativity never cease to delight and suprise.

To come accross something like that in a box? Of your father's things?
Spooky, indeed, and quite unexpected. The monster he became. Tried to blow up his little old neighbor, too.

Fantastic story, and plenty of halloween gruesome-ness.

posted on Oct, 31 2009 @ 08:51 PM
OK this story gave me the shudders and just as I'm getting ready to hit the sack. Well written and emotive.


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