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I know. I’ve heard how delicious it is. Every year, you’re telling me how great pumpkin spice lattes are, and how I’ve just got to try one. And it’s not like you’re the only one—literally everyone tells me this.

It’s not that I haven’t tried it because it doesn’t sound good. It sounds really good! It just also sounds… really spooky???

I knew you’d make that face! Come on, stop! It’s got the word pumpkin in it! That’s an inherent spooky word! It’s all Halloween-y! What if I order a pumpkin spice latte, and when I look up, the cashier who took my order vanished, because she was secretly a ghost?! Or like, when I take the drink from my barista, his hand comes with it, because he’s a zombie?! Or like, what if I go to drink from it… and on the lid, there’s a spider? Don’t act like you wouldn’t be scared. I’ve seen how you get when there’s a spider in your apartment!!!

I know that just because it’s got pumpkin in its name, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be scary. But that movie Pumpkinhead is super scary, and that’s got pumpkin in its name!!! Jack-o-lanterns are pretty scary, with their evil glowing faces!!! Pumpkin pie isn’t that scary, but I do get freaked out because I know how much of it I’m going to eat. And I do get terrified any time someone I’m dating calls me pumpkin, but that’s just my fear of commitment.

I’m not trying to be unreasonable or anything—I want to try it, I really do—but you know how I am with scary things! Do you remember how I reacted to that haunted house we went in last year, with all those terrifying things hanging from the walls?

No, I’m telling you. We did go to a haunted house last year! How do you not remember? There were all those monsters hanging from the walls, and we were all packed in super tight because you said it was super close to Halloween, and then after we left you took that terrifying lizard monster mask home with you after paying for our experience? At that place with the ironically cheery name: “Party City?”

What if, when I go to give my order, I can’t, because I vanish and it turns out I was a ghost? Or the barista recoils when he hands me my drink, because it turns out that I’m a zombie? Or when I look down at the drink, there’s a spider on me?!?! See, now you’re getting scared!!! What if I stare into the hole in the lid and inside is just an infinite inky blackness that sucks me in, and then I’m trapped for eternity in a timeless void full of ancient horrors mankind has forgot? In which I am tortured in a way we have no words, or even concepts for, until I am a vicious husk of twisted hatred and pain, another nameless horror that fills the void?

Or if, like, the Headless Horseman comes in and he’s got a freaky pumpkin head!!! Maybe he’d even put a pumpkin spice latte on top of his neck to replace his head! No, I know that doesn’t sound scary. But I bet you’d be at least a little scared if it happened! It’s the Headless Horseman! He’s scary no matter what he’s putting on top of his neck! If he puts a pumpkin pie up there, I’m triple scared: It’s the Headless Horseman, there’s a pumpkin product, and I know I’m gonna eat way too much of that pie!

Oh, no! Look!!! Over the span of this conversation, they already ran out of pumpkin spice mix and had to switch over to their winter holiday menu! I promise, OK? Next year, I’ll try it. Until then, I guess I’ll get an eggnog latte.

Wait. You don’t think the eggnog is… spider eggs, do you?

Elijah Sloan

Writer of societal manifestos, ransom notes, bomb-making manuals, secession declarations, new constitutions, and children's picture books.

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