The Cabinet of Curiosities
Jar of eyes

Harvest Day

“Peter? Are you awake?”

“What do you think?”

“Sorry, jeez. Just . . . I can’t sleep.”

“No kidding?”

“I just wanted to talk. Okay? I’m about to go crazy over here.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t feel like talking.”

“Why are you being such a jerk? Peter? Pete, answer me. Are you still there? They haven’t—”

“No. I’m still here. And don’t cry, Adam. Just . . . don’t cry, okay? I can’t take it.”


“So I’m just freaked out, all right? And I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Do you think They’ll take me?”

“You’ve asked me this a million times.”


“My answer’s the same: I don’t know. No one ever knows who They’re going to take.”

“. . . Peter?”


“Are you scared?”

“You’ve asked me this before.”

“I know. I’m running out of thoughts. They’re all turning panicky.”

“Yeah. I don’t know. I’m scared, yeah. But at the same time, I’m so used to being scared about this night that I’m kind of past being scared. I mean, it happens every year, and there’s nothing I can do about it, so why waste time being scared about it? Does that make sense?”

“No. Kind of, I guess.”

“Yeah. Well, that’s how I feel. Until I figure out a way to get out of here, I’m stuck with this night, and I’m stuck with being scared.”



“Do you think our parents knew about what goes on in this place when they moved here?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

“. . . Do you think they’d still have moved here if they did know?”

“What kind of question is that? God!”

“Well, it’s just that . . . it’s so beautiful here. You know? And my dad’s always wanted to live someplace beautiful. Maybe he thought it was worth the risk? I just wonder.”

“Let me tell you something: It isn’t worth it to wonder. You’ll drive yourself crazy. Have you heard the story about that kid Rory?”


“Rory lived over on 10th Street. He was so paranoid when it came to his mom. Like, he thought she was in on the whole thing. That she’d made a deal with Them. Because he and his mom didn’t get along so well. You know? So he started to think she’d moved them out here so she could get rid of him, nice and clean, without anyone knowing, without her ever getting caught.”

“But, I mean . . . he was wrong, right?”

“Who knows? He tried to kill his mom one day. Tried to push her down the stairs. He just knew, you know? He knew she was in on it. He knew she was just waiting on the day They would come and take him.”


“I know.”

“Well, so what happened to him?”

“He vanished after that. His mom was fine, though. She’s that old lady now, who lives on 10th.”

“Ms. Rowengartner?”


“But she’s so . . . sweet.”

“Yeah. They all are, aren’t they? Until they’re not.”


“Peter! Pete, wake up.”

“Huh? What? Adam?”


“I can’t believe I fell asleep.”

“Shut up! Just shut up and listen.”

“To what?”


“Is that . . . ?”

“I think it’s next door.”

“Moira. Oh no. Don’t listen to it.”

“I can hear . . . what is that? Oh God, it’s Them.”

“I said, don’t listen! Plug your ears. Listening to Them is one of the ways They find you.”

“But Moira—”

“What are you gonna do? Save her? It’s too late.”

“Peter, I’m freaking out—”

“I’m right here.”

“They sound like—like animals . . .”

“It’s okay. Plug your ears. Just breathe. Breathe, and don’t listen, and They won’t be able to find you.”

“How do you know?”

“I’ve lived here all my life, and They haven’t taken me yet. So there’s that.”




“Do you think it hurts? When They take you?”

“I don’t know. Probably.”

“I’ve heard people say that when they get inside you, it feels like your skin’s going to split open. I’ve heard stories about people taken by Them who go nuts before they’ve even been dragged out of their house. They go nuts and tear their own skin off because it hurts that bad.”

“I wouldn’t listen to stories, Adam. People will say anything.”

“You mean stories like the one you told me about Rory?”

“Yeah, well, some stories are true. You just have to know who to trust.”

“Who am I supposed to trust, Peter? Who am I supposed to trust when I can’t even trust my own parents?”

“You can trust me. I’m your friend.”

“For now.”

“What the heck, man? What do you mean by that?”

“I mean, what if it came down to a choice between saving me from Them and saving yourself? What would you do?”

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

“Yeah. That’s what I thought.”

“I hope it was quick, for Moira.”

“You’re changing the subject.”

“Yeah, well, you’re being an idiot. I hate hypothetical questions.”

“. . . Do you think that was it, then? Are we safe now? Do you think what we heard was Them taking Moira?”

“Or was it a trick? Is that what you’re getting at?”

“A trick, or maybe Them just having fun. Not taking her, but just . . . messing with her.”

“I don’t know. You never know until the next day, at dawn, when you wake up and realize you’re still safe and in bed. That’s the only way you know for sure that you made it. That They didn’t take you this time.”



“Is that the sun coming up, over there, do you think?”

“Could be.”

“Or maybe it could be Them burning someone’s house down, like last year. Flushing them outside.”

“Maybe. You never know.”

“Yeah. You’re right. You never know until dawn.”


“Peter? Crap! I fell asleep again.”

“Peter? Why is it so cold in here?”

“Peter. Peter, why did you open the window?”

“Peter. Come on, stop trying to scare me. Say something.”

“Peter, you know I’m not going to get out of my bed. My feet aren’t going to touch the freaking floor, not until sunrise.”

“Peter, I’m going to throw this shoe at you. I’m sorry if it hurts, okay? Don’t yell at me for it. I just . . . I have to know. And I’m not getting out of this bed.”

“Peter. God . . . Peter.”

“You’re not there. Are you? Pete?”

“You’re not there. Oh my God, Peter. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I fell asleep!”

“They . . . I don’t believe it. I mean, I know I was asleep, but . . . They must have come in so quietly. I would’ve woken up.”

“Unless you went out on your own. Did you?”

“You wouldn’t be that stupid, would you, Peter? You wouldn’t try something stupid and heroic?”

“I would’ve woken up, if you’d yelled for me. I would’ve woken up. I would’ve helped you.”

“Peter. I’m so sorry.”

“I’m so, so sorry.”

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One Response to “Harvest Day”

  1. mindy says:


    Enjoyed it. Again.

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