When a shattered jack-o-lantern littered the street, strewn about in pieces, he knew it was time to return home again. So, he crossed the hills and vales by night, needing no light to guide him. By habit, he gathered the reins of his steed in one hand, leaving the other free for a purpose it held no longer. A harsh neigh echoed through the air, the horse’s breath clouding in swirling streams up from flared nostrils with every snort and whinny. Hooves struck hard on the frozen ground, the sound carrying on a frigid breeze.
When he reached the place he so longed for, he stepped down from his saddle and approached the ever familiar gates of his garden. White roses, thorned and lovely, crept over the fences and wound high over the arched gateway. As he stepped inside, he snapped a bloom from its vine and tucked it carefully into the lapel of his worn jacket. But beautiful as it was, he had more pressing purposes than merely picking flowers and reveling in the familiarity of a garden clad in twilight’s silver.
In neat rows grew dozens of pumpkins. And as he paced the rows, every step slow and purposeful, his boots rustled amongst the broad leaves. Each fruit, dusted with frost, was inspected, and for all the lovely choices to be had, only one would do. At the last plant, he knelt before his favorite of the patch, a pair of shears in hand. Had he a face, he would have smiled. Instead, he clipped the pumpkin from its vine, carried it to a rusted iron table at the back and got to work.
A knife sunk into orange flesh, carving out a jack-o-lantern fit for a child’s hand. There was little need for more effort than that, as this head would end just like his last, smashed and shattered somewhere in the nooks of Sleepy Hollow. And then he would retreat, just like this very night, back to a garden in the hidden glades, where heads grew on vines and shadows were company enough.