I still need more pumpkins!Benedict the baker rechecked his stock of pumpkins. He was going to need to order more for all the pies he was going to sell! How great were holidays? He scribbled a note on a piece of paper, folded it up, and handed it to his iron golem, who he had always thought looked like a Ben.
"Bring that to the farmer, then come back here," he told the golem. He had learned the importance of giving specific commands. While Ben walked away to perform his task in his slow, loud, waddle, Benedict rearranged his display. He was moving a fresher loaf of bread closer to the glass when he almost fell over.
"What? Who opened that?" The baker struggled to bend his considerable bulk over to reach down and close an open trap door. It led to the cellar, but he hadn't gone down there in years. He couldn't fit through it. The wood had warped, making the entrance smaller. Yea, that's what it was. He could have had the entrance widened, but he had also, coincidentally, gone off the idea of ladders. Those things were entirely too unsafe. He continued to busy himself around the shop. He poured a mix into a tin and turned to place it in the oven. Before his hand reached the door to open it, he paused. Was that a breeze he had just felt behind him? Couldn't be. He always kept his shop closed up. The baker jumped when the bell on the door rang. He turned quickly to see who had come in..., but there was no one. The door gently glided to a close, but, other than benedict himself, the shop was empty. The bell rang again, as Ben the golem lumbered in.
"Did you see something?" The baker asked nervously. The golem nodded in the affirmative.
"Well of course you'd say that, you can't stop seeing." Benedict muttered under his breath about golems, then put the mix in the oven.
"Take that out when it's done then... I don't know, just be golemy."
He was about to walk out of the shop when he noticed the trap door again. It was open. With a shaking hand, he closed it.
"I'm... I'm going for a walk." Later that night, the baker tossed and turned in his bed. He wasn't far away from that cellar. Try as he might, he couldn't tare his eyes away from his bedroom door. His eyes started to close; slowly. Was that the door knob turning? No. No, but his eyes stayed glued to it anyways. Finally, after several hours, Benedict fell asleep. But a faint sound worked it's way into his dream. Just a little sound. It was muttled at first, but it grew into a creshendo as his brain struggled to recognize it.
He jumped out of bed and threw open the bedroom door. His shop door was gently closing, as it had done before. He ran over and locked it. He had locked it before! He knew he had.
"Did you do that?" He asked the golem wildly. Ben just slowly shook his head no. Benedict felt the blood drain from his face.
"Alright, come with me!" The baker grabbed his pillow and blankets and shoved them into the supply closet. He pulled the golem through the door and sat him down.
"One door, no windows! One way in or out. You sit there until morning and don't let anyone in! You hear me?" He couldn't see the golem nod, but he knew it did. He awoke with a groan, and a popping of joints. His mouth felt like it was full of cotton from sleeping in a room full of flour. His back protested when he tried to get up, so he lay back down for awhile, trying to remember why he was sleeping in the pantry. He grunted as he remembered. Ben stared at him in the blank way of golems while he started laughing,
"How foolish was I last night? Hmm? Haha, sleeping in the pantry." Both golem and baker shuffled out of the storage room, one stiff and unyielding, the other made of metal. But just as the baker was trying to massage the knots out of his shoulder, he saw the open trap door. His hand slowly stopped kneading and he jsut stood there, transfixed.
The bell rang. Benedict almost fell over turning around, and screamed a little when he saw the farmer standing there.
"Oh, sorry to startle you," the farmer said. The baker gave a little laugh.
"I have those pumpkins you wanted."
"Oh good, bring those in here, would you?" He turned back to the open trapdoor.
The farmer plopped down a pumpkin, and came over to see what the baker was staring at.
"You ah... wouldn't want to go down there and take a look for me, would you?" The baker asked.
"Not really," the farmer answered.
"I'll give you a cake," Benedict wheedled.
The farmer thought about that a bit, "sure!" Benedict handed the man a candle while he was on the ladder, and watched him climb down. He reached the bottom and held the candle out before him to look around.
"Wow, doesn't look like anyone's been down 'ere in ages!" The farmer yelled back up. He continued talking as he looked, "huh, this thing is weird, how long have you had it?"
"Had what?" The Baker yelled down.
Before the farmer could answer, he started screaming. Benedict started screaming too as the farmer raced for the ladder. He made it a few rungs up when something grabbed his foot. The farmer dropped the candle and gripped the ladder with both hands as the thing tugged on him. The baker screamed as the ladder rung broke and the farmer was pulled backwards into the darkness. He flung the trapdoor shut and heavily sat on it. There was a scrambling from below and a terrible banging. Benedict almost looked like he was hopping as the thing slammed itself into the cellar door again and again. But in the end, the man was simply too heavy to move. After awhile, the banging stopped. The baker sat there, white as flour and sweating.
"Come sit here, Ben," the baker changed spots with the golem, "Now don't move until I tell you to!"
The baker, wide eyed, led the farmer's mule away. He laughed a bit as he did it. He didn't know why. That final moment when the ladder broke started replaying in his mind. He hurriedly pushed it out of his thoughts. What color had that hand been? Was it black or was it green? No. He hadn't seen the hand. He didn't care about the hand. What hand? Hands didn't matter. He arrived back at his shop a half an hour latter with the mule loaded down with obsidian. He strolled into the shop cheerfully.
"Hey Ben! New counters! Third time this year! But look," he said as he maneuvered the purple-black slab over the trap door, "you can't scratch obsidian! Flour wipes right off! You can't even stick egg to it."
As if the golem had argued, or even cared, he broke an egg over the hard surface and wiped it away. Benedict almost seemed to have forgotten the entire incident when he suddenly stopped dead.
"I still need more pumpkins!" (Story by squeezal, 2nd place in the Halloween Wiki Tales contest 2013)