When she woke up, it was morning! She was lying on the sofa in the farmhouse with a blanket over her. “What happened?” she asked. “How did I get here?”
The man-servant looked at her. “Odessa,” he said, “you are a very lucky owl! There was some strange creature in our yard last night, and I suspect that you may have bumped into it on your way in or out of the barn. Perhaps it even attacked you! I went out very late to check on you and Jaxon, and found you lying in the yard! Can you remember what happened?”
Odessa just stared at the man-servant. “Where are Dewey and Jaxon?”
“I have no idea,” said the man-servant. “They went on some adventure together and were out all night. I expect that they’ll be back soon! What can you remember about last night?”
“Not much!” said Odessa. “Not much! I am going back to the barn to rest, as I’m feeling almost normal now. Please, ask Dewey and Jaxon to come and say hi when they return from their adventure.”
“I most certainly will,” said the man-servant.
Later that day, Odessa heard a noise beneath her roof beam and looked down. It was the man-servant.
“How are you feeling, Odessa?” he called up to her.
“Pretty normal, thanks,” said Odessa, and then flew down to the ground.
“That’s nice to hear,” said the man-servant. “Tell me. What do you know about a number of small and badly bruised pumpkins laying in our yard?”
“What pumpkins … and where?” replied Odessa.
“Come outside, and I’ll show you,” said the man-servant. They both went outside, and just outside the barn, was a small, partially squashed pumpkin.
Odessa looked up at the man-servant. “Where about did you find me last night?” she asked.
“Just next to this pumpkin,” said the man-servant. He suddenly looked directly at Odessa. “Perhaps someone was throwing these pumpkins around last night, and you were hit by one! Come with me, Odessa!”
Odessa followed the man-servant as he walked around the yard, looking everywhere for something that might support his theory. Inevitably, they eventually came across the long piece of wood that was lying across the old steel drum. “Now this is interesting,” said the man-servant. “It is a very crude but effective way of propelling something through the air, and the direction it is pointing would suggest that those small pumpkins all came from here! Oh look … here are some pumpkins. This must be the place!”
Odessa just looked at him with her big eyes. “Well, I would not say that it is crude, Man-Servant,” she said. “In fact, it seems to be quite sophisticated to me! Whoever thought of that was quite smart, I would say. Wouldn’t you?”
The man-servant did not reply, as he was looking around for some clues as to who could be responsible. “Hey, Odessa,” he suddenly said. “There are some footprints here that look like cat and rabbit to me. What do you think?”
Just at that moment, they both heard a noise from near the farmhouse. The man-servant was the first to see Dewey and Jaxon in the yard, moving very cautiously. It was as though they were trying to get to the barn without being seen! “I’ve got it,” said the man-servant. “It was those two who were playing with the pumpkins … and I bet their adventure was to get you with them! What do you think, Odessa? Make sense to you? Shall we get them back?”
The man-servant didn’t wait for a reply, but proceeded to pick up two small pumpkins. Then he scraped out all the pulp onto one end of the piece of wood. He then looked along the length of the wood, and turned it slightly. “Okay, Odessa!” he said. “You tell me how accurate I am.” With that comment, he jumped hard onto the other end of the piece of wood, sending pumpkin pulp flying through the air! Odessa gestured slightly to the right, and another load of pumpkin pulp was soon on its way.
Jaxon and Dewey had decided to try to sneak into the barn, because they wanted to avoid the man-servant, as he would probably be angry with them. They also wanted to make sure that Odessa was okay. Just as they were approaching the barn-door opening, they heard something go “splat!” very close by, and saw a pile of pumpkin pulp on the ground. They had barely started to wonder where that had come from when another load of pulp arrived, landing on Jaxon’s head, and splattering all over Dewey! Then they heard the man-servant’s laughter!
Jaxon and Dewey were so relieved that the man-servant was laughing that they both happily agreed to go back into the farmhouse with him. After they had washed off all the pumpkin pulp, they sat around the fireplace, and nibbled away on their own particular favorite snacks, while recounting the various pumpkin surprises.
The man-servant explained how he had got the large pumpkins from another farmer, and hollowed them out deliberately to look scary at night. Once it started to get dark, and while the other three were talking, he had decided to sneak out and place them near the barn, and then light the candles inside them! One of those pumpkins was now inside, and had been placed on the floor near to where the man-servant was sitting.
Jaxon told the story of how afraid he was when he suddenly saw the lit pumpkins near the barn, and how it had been Odessa who checked them out and confirmed that everything was fine! He then explained how he had found the lump in his straw, and that again it was Odessa who came to the rescue and pulled the pumpkin out!
Dewey was smiling as he listened to the events being recounted. “I was a bit concerned,” he said, “when Odessa asked me to meet her at the gate, and then she showed me the device that could apparently shoot pumpkins through the air!”
The man-servant was smiling as they each told their stories, but then he suddenly looked puzzled. “Has anybody seen Odessa?” he asked.
Dewey and Jaxon both looked around the room. “No,” said Jaxon. “I haven’t seen her since we hit her with a pumpkin!”
Dewey was also looking serious. “Me either,” he said, “but when did you last see her, Man-Servant?”
The man-servant was deep in thought. He had a plate of cookies in his hand, which he now held motionless as he recalled the events of that night. “I last saw Odessa when she was flying over the barn, sending me signals so I could aim the pumpkin pulp. I wonder where she went to. I hope that she’s okay!”
Now Jaxon and Dewey were starting to wonder if Odessa was okay. “Perhaps being hit by a small flying pumpkin sent her a little strange,” said Jaxon.
Dewey just looked at him. “How would we know the difference? Odessa has always been a little strange!” he said.
For a brief moment, they were all looking at each other. Then they hard a scuffling noise, and all three of them turned to see what it was. It seemed to be coming from inside the large pumpkin next to the man-servant. At that moment, the top of the pumpkin flew off and Odessa flew out with a really loud squawk! Jaxon fell over backwards. Dewey was frozen on the spot, and the man-servant threw his plate of cookies across the room, where it shattered into a thousand pieces when it hit the floor.
“Happy pumpkin games!” said Odessa, as she landed on the floor. “This was so much fun. Can we can do it again next pumpkin season?”
*** ***** ***
If you enjoyed that story, there are many more in “The Odessa Chronicles”. A perfect Christmas/New Year gift!