NOVELLA. Maggie Harrison always dreamed of owning her own place, and now those twelve acres of rich Texas soil located just outside the picture-perfect town of Bradbury were hers. Along with her husband Travis, and daughter Maisy, Maggie begins to realise her dream of self-sufficiency, putting the land immediately to work, growing enough to eat, and selling the excess at farmers’ markets. Under the watchful eye of Silas Crutch, a farmer whose land shares a boundary with Harrison’s Patch, Maggie learns the secrets to pumpkin growing, and as their first harvest approaches, the Harrison’s must take on extra help. But when a professor from the local university uncovers evidence of a horrific crime – a crime he believes was perpetrated on their land during the Civil War – the Harrison’s disregard his pleas, and ignore his warnings of a terrible curse. As Halloween approaches; as the pumpkins ripen, and a large oak tree in the centre of the patch begins to spread its boughs, the professor becomes more convinced that the curse is about to be unleashed. Will the residents of Bradbury be forced to atone for the sins of their ancestors? Is there any truth to a condemned man’s curse? And why are the pumpkins – their seeds and their flesh – turning blood red?
Of all Blasdale’s wonderfully-crafted stories, this one remains my favourite.”E B Dallas