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Roderick was the smallest - he knew he’d get the brunt of the annual harvest ritual. He knew the Rogers boys from down the road would eventually corner him. Four boys towering over him by only a few years of time. Eldest, Next, Younger and Junior. Junior was only older than him by a few months. That was all that mattered.

He'd grown up in their shadow. Him being only child, he'd at first felt a little jealous of the Rogers. Then, when he realized that traveled as a pack of bullies, it turned to fear and dislike. If that what was what having 'brothers' was for, he had little use for it.

As long as he stayed out their way - there'd only be the occasional run ins. But, as the skies darkened and halloween was a few weeks behind, he knew the day was coming. They knew he’d try and run - and he knew he wouldn’t escape. The rotting pumpkins had been creating a farm delight for small children since his father’s father was out chucking gourds. The early autumn rains had ensured the patch was full of wet and rotting squash. He'd leave the schoolhouse at a trot, even a run.

Roderick knew he was the runt. He knew he was the target. He knew he had no older brother to protect him, no younger to defer to. He was the runt of their little town. He'd get mashed today, he was sure of it.

So many things all of them knew that day. What Roderick didn’t know? Well, he and the Rogers boys? They all realized it when Roderick swung the pumpkin in self defense - missing his intended target, Next, cleanly - only for his swing to land unexpectedly. They would all recount the unexpected snapping sound Eldest's jaw made when it collided with the unripe, not at all rotten, solid pumpkin.

Instead of the flesh separating in the air like a juicy orange snowball, it fractured the side of Eldest’s face. His teeth cutting into the tongue that was flailing about in a bully’s laugh. Wide eyed and spitting blood, Eldest transformed into a rolling, screaming wounded animal in the mud.