Lemon Peel’s Halloween Heist

“I SEE YOU, DRAGON,”  the farmer announced. “You stay away from my pumpkin.” So it went every October morning as Lemon Peel, a tiny and absurdly bright yellow dragon, reached out a talon to steal a huge and absurdly orange pumpkin. Every day, the pumpkin grew a bit bigger, and every day, the dragon grew a bit more covetous.

On October 7th, the farmer sprayed a yowling Lemon Peel with a hose, stopping the dragon in mid-chomp.

On the 13th, Lemon Peel snarled in protest as it was carried away by scarecrow guards.

On the 27th, facing a pumpkin nearly the size of a cottage, Lemon Peel flew in from the clouds — and into a wind gust summoned by a witch the farmer hired. “I’m sorry, sugar,” the witch called out as the dragon was harmlessly swept aside. Lemon Peel landed deep in Autumn’s Lost Wood in a crash and heap of whines, grumbles, and complaints. From the underbrush came a small purple rabbit paw.

Opening its eyes, Lemon Peel the Tiny Dragon watched curiously as more and more purple paws poked out, each attached to a marvelously colored rabbit.

The Purple Paw Thievery. Scandalous scoundrel hares, renowned for their purloining prowess.

The 28th of October saw the sun rise, dance across the sky, and set without any mischief. The farmer nodded “goodnight” to his prize pumpkin, set the magical wards, and headed off to bed.

The 29th and even the 30th passed similarly. The farmer began to grow concerned over the quiet — had the dragon been hurt? He didn’t want this, he simply wanted to guard his gourd.

At twilight, alerted by a rustling, the farmer ran into the field. “HA! I knew it! I see you dra—rab-rabbit?”

A lime green rabbit with a purple paw sat on the farmer’s porch, regarding him with intelligence in its black eyes, eating an apple surely stolen from his kitchen. Another rabbit, ruby red and with a similar off-color paw, leapt out of the shadows and regarded the farmer. This one was eating the leftovers of the farmer’s dinner.

Another, another, another.

As one, the rabbits leapt at the farmer, jumping into his hands, onto his shoulders, and wiggling their way into his pockets. Laughing, from tickling whiskers and paws, the farmer giggled and scowled. “Go on! Go! Git outta there! Leave me beeeeee!”

At some unheard signal, the rabbits stopped and hopped into the farmer’s pumpkin patch. “NO!” he shouted, chasing them far too slowly to catch up.

Like a pet-sized, vengeful Halloween god atop atop its pumpkin-temple, Lemon Peel rose from the pumpkin patch and watched the scene. Too late to stop them, the farmer watched a pair of cobalt blue hares chew their way through the last of the gourd’s gigantic vine. With numerous backs fueled with preternatural strength, the entire Purple Paw Thievery lifted the gigantic pumpkin up and began carrying it away. Lemon Peel gave the astonished farmer a solemn salute.

Dumbfounded, and without options, the farmer returned the salute.