The farmer and his family have always loved Autumn, October especially when the time comes for the Fall festival.
A time when the families around them give thanks for the bountiful harvest that will carry them through the winter. However, Crescent Falls hardly has much of a winter these days.
Even up to December, and January, the days are pleasant and the nights crisp but never low in temperature.
Children are even swimming in the river well into the winter months while everyone else is bundling up and drinking heated beverages.
Scientists have come to see what makes the town so pleasant and are always told the same thing, that the altitude and the mountains keep most of the cold at bay.
It's assumed this must be true because no one has ever found a different answer.
Cresant falls is simply a lovely little place to spend the winter, and tourists have helped make the town a thriving success.
Every tourist is welcomed like family, and treated like such, it really is such a lovely place.
It wasn't always such though, I learned that myself when I was 15 and my brother disappeared. He was younger than me, and please excuse my boasting, but was damn near perfect.
At least as far as I was concerned. Then again, being born with a disability like mine can make anyone without it seem perfect, especially in my family.
I don't want your pity, and I don't need it. It may take me longer to get things done, but I can do anything someone without leg braces can do.
I know that the braces make me slower than the others, and that was probably why I didn't see whoever took my little brother.
I heard him screaming from the woods, and ran as fast as I could to get to him,
I'm sure he heard me calling him but it didn't take me long to realize his voice was drifting away so either he was running or someone was carrying him.
He didn't weight much so it would have been easy to carry him if someone was big enough. I just followed his screams until they stopped, and then there was nothing.
My parents never blamed me for losing him, not like I blamed myself. I hadn't been neglegent, I hadn't been careless...I had just been too late.
I thought for the first few months that they would find him, or at least find something to lead the cops in the right direction but nothing ever came of it.
It was like he just disappeared, and in time no one seemed to care he was missing.
I pressed my parents about it, but they seemed resigned to the fact he was gone and would never come back and the more I worked to find him, the more angry they became.
I stopped talking about it eventually, but even trying to find him on my own went nowhere and it was almost like he'd been forgotten by everyone except me.
My parents stopped talking about him, and in time we simply moved on with our lives. When the Fall festival came around, I was excited to go.
The rides, the food, the small booths with people selling their jams and homemade goods, everything about it was fun but the best part was the bonfire at the end of the night.
The farmer and his family were responsible for it, each year they would take the corn husks, and dried hay and make dolls or scenes from stories to decorate the bonfire.
In the middle was always a HUGE scarecrow who was supposed to represent the coming of Autumn and the end of the harvest.
Each family would contribute a pumpkin for each member of the family, their "offerings" to the Pumpkin King as I liked to call him.
And after all the pumpkins were gathered, the hay, the dolls, the pumpkins, everything would be set ablaze as a ritualistic symbol of burning away the bad and starting new.
This year, the farmer had fashioned dolls out of corn husks, and his wife was selling smaller ones that you could buy to throw into the fire as your own "momento" of the occasion.
Few did, at least the kids, but the parents always bought one or two for the flame. I loved watching the fire, it's orange light devouring and making everything clean again.
My parents were busy buying their little dolls and told me to put the pumpkin with the others. I had one large one for the family and three smaller ones for my parents and myself.
I tried not to remember that last year I had carried four.
Placing the pumpkins amid the others, I paused to wipe a tear away when I heard a soft cry. Turning, I tried to see where it was coming from but all I saw were the corn husk dolls.
The farmer must have put so much work into them, they even had facial expressions. About to pass the circle of dolls, I heard the sound again, and turned to see one of the dolls was moving.
I thought there might have been a rat inside the husks so I moved closer to see if I was right.
I didn't see a rat, or anywhere the rat might have gotten in, and was about to move away when I heard the sound again.
Ignoring it this time, I moved away, my leg creaking a little as I got far enough away to avoid getting singed by the fire.
I watched the farmer set the effigy on fire, listened to the claps and watched the fire engulf the corn children and the pumpkins.
The air smelled of roasted pumpkin, something I rather enjoyed and I stepped a little closer to the flames, and that was when I heard the noise again, louder and coming from multiple directions.
It wasn't until I looked past the first row of corn children to the ones on the other side and saw a pair of blue eyes staring back at me that I realized what the noise had been,
seconds before the fire engulfed the next row and the noise grew louder. The corn children were screaming...