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Ol' Jack (Unreviewed)[]

They say the only part of him left is his eyes. I’ve seen him, and I know that’s not right. His teeth, they’re still there too, you know. But his eyes.. they’re sure there. Rotting out of the old pumpkin hanging off the vines, stained around the carved out mouth with dark, moldy blood. I think he’s got some skin left in there too, slit through with the crawling vines. Not sure though, he don’t let me get close anymore.

When I was a lad, he’d let me in. I’d come into the woods, all late. ‘Round two was his favorite, and he always wanted me to eat the berries he left by my window before I showed my face around his part of the woods. Finicky guy, that Jack. It didn’t matter to me, though. I’d eat the berries and sprint off into the woods to climb his shoulders and plant those seeds. I watered them, too. He tried to help, but blood doesn’t nourish plants like well water does. That all stopped when I was around 11, and he replaced the nightly berries with a handful of pumpkin seeds and a reminder not to chew. I took them like pills, night after night.

I drank gallons of water, but I was never quenched, not until everything I threw up came out clear. My mama noticed, but I told her it was just the well water, and she believed me. At least, until the vines started growing.

They grew out of my ears first, then out of my belly button until I ran out of room. After that they came through where the hair comes out your head. My mama noticed then, after I ran out of excuses on why brown had turned to green. She told me to shower, and I was happy to, until I came out and the leaves were still there. She tried to pull them out, and I damn near bit her hand off. I ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks, you know. Damn doctors filled me up full of pesticides until I coughed up red where green should have been. Killed all those little baby seeds. Poor things. Jack showed up again tonight, left his handful of seeds splattered in dark blood. Mama died a few years back, and it’s just me out here now. It’d be nice to have a friend around, I miss the nights of planting. Maybe he’ll let me ride on his back again, and I’ll finally touch the top of that old pear tree.

He’s only got one eye, now, my friend Jack.

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Macciata (talk) 17:16, 11 December 2022 (UTC)[]

I like this! Short but effectively evocative. The narrative voice conveys "country kid" right away, so things that would otherwise appear to be errors just make it sound more authentic. There's just enough detail to get across the horror without needing explanation of the how or why.

I combed through and found only one error that isn't dialect: "But his eyes.. They’re sure there" should be "But his eyes... they're sure there". Another thing isn't necessarily an error, but toward the end, "It's nice to have a friend around" might be changed to "It'd" or "It'll", since the friend being around isn't currently present -- but "It's nice" could also be taken to mean a general statement about having a friend being nice.

Other than that, in my opinion this story looks ready to go!

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