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There’s something coming for you, and you don’t know what it is. It thinks you can’t see it, but you can. It thinks you know what it is, but you don’t. Have you ever just wanted float away on the clouds? On a bed of stars? Like when you were younger, and a believer in something. Before your eyes got all red and the world turned you heartless? That didn’t happen did it? No, I’m just joking. I had to preface this, because this story isn’t for those who are “faint of heart.” Pun intended. The Care Bears was a classic show about bears who lived in the clouds and spread love to people that stopped caring. That’s what happens when you get older, especially. I found a VHS tape one day while going through my deceased grandfather’s attic. We all remember the care bears. At the time, I was too young to care about writing or plot structure. All I knew was that the care bears cared, and when you’re a little kid, that’s all that matters. Well, the care bears was a strange show. I was rummaging through old boxes when I found a weird floorboard that had a hole in it. It was like one of those circle-cut holes you’d see in cartoon wood planks, but real somehow. Curiosity got the best of me. I used my finger like a hook to pull the plank up with all of my strength. I could see something underneath the dark there. Like something I wasn’t supposed to see. Was it a diamond? A crystal? I wasn’t sure. It glinted silently, as things often glint silently, being incapable of producing sound. Wait a minute. I reached down and winced painfully, reaching upward. It was a knife. Someone had stashed a knife in the attic under a floorboard. Under that was a VHS tape that said Care Bears on the front. The cover was faded. Someone had drawn an “S” on the cover, but not on the front. I was bleeding pretty badly, so I went into the kitchen, washed, bandaged and anaesthetized the wound. I didn’t have a VHS tape player, so I decided I wouldn’t be able to watch the tape. That was until I found another floorboard with a hole in it under a box of old shoes covered in paint stains. I carefully also lifted this floorboard, revealing some more broken glass that I didn’t touch. Putting on a pair of rubber gloves, I sifted through the broken glass and cigarette ashes to find a VHS tape player. It was still in the box. In mint condition. The letter “I” was drawn on the front. This started to shock and confuse me, but nothing had happened to the extent that I could tell someone and they’d care. For I am Pan, the goat god. I hesitantly knew what I had to do. I hooked the VHS tape player up, shocked to find that it worked in pristine quality, well, as much quality as these old tapes could produce. I found it strange that someone had drawn an “L” on the tag attached to the wire that goes into the wall. Confused, I continued hooking the VCR up. The tape started with a bright, beaming sparkly sound that was extremely loud and ringing in my ears. You see a meadow and a bright monochrome but colored rainbow bursting outward. A loud noise is matched by a very huge light that made my older model bubble television set pop and crackle alongside the bizarre VHS scanlines that old tapes had. The tape started in a really weird and confusing way. Now, I myself am a mere weaver and baker of bread, so I don’t know much about this “lost episode” stuff, so forgive me if this makes little sense to me. “There’s a problem.” The blue bear said. “What’s that.” Said the other bear, turned away, facing the clouds, not moving. In fact there was no movement at all. “Someone doesn’t care.” I don’t know who this actor was, but it didn’t sound at all family friendly. “Someone doesn’t care? Who? Who doesn’t care. Who?” A hand moves across the frame, with a weird shadow almost whisper like. The bear is on the floor now, with seams. Like a stuffed doll. Not moving. “No one.” The voice said. “No one cares.” The voice sounds a little more distant and drawn out now. “Ladies and gentleman, gods and dodos, walruses and carpenters, I give you… earth. God’s dead earth.” The care bear has no eyes. Nothing but dead and vacant circles. And then a moderately well drawn shot of a field is shown, followed by streets and parks, but no humans. You hear someone coughing like cigarette smoke is causing it. Then tender heart spoke. “It started gradually. Days turned to months, weeks turned to years, and soon the entire population disappeared. “How?” Another voice said. “When you see it.” “See what?” “It-“ The tape immediately cut off completely and the tape shut off. Confused, I went over to check the wires. I was shocked to find that the VHS tape had been rewinding. I hadn’t hit rewind. As the hand rewound backward I noticed the word “Die” was quickly interlaced. Was it smoke? What was that hand? I thought it was a drawing but now it looked like the director’s shadow, like they had copied the art and left the hand in, but it was partially drawn. I went into the kitchen and used the knife I found in the attic to cut myself a big piece of chocolate cake. Cut myself again by accident. Found some green liquid near the sink in a bottle and poured myself a glass. Tasted foul, but so does liquor. Then a voice wafted in from the living room/den. “There’s something strange comes over me.” I ran into the living room and noticed, quite shocked. That someone had…started the VHS? Or was it playing on its own? My cat, tonsils was there. But tonsils couldn’t press play with his tiny paws. “When I feel the desire to set you free.” A voice said. It was something black and dark and it was the same color of the hand. “But as soon as you hear it, you’re already gone.” Now I realized that this was supposed to be a song. “Because that’s not- my stomach!” A voice yelled. I think it was the character grumpy. “What am I touching?” A voice screamed. “What am I touching?” A high pitched voice that seemed to be fed through an old vocoder but downplayed by turning the pitch way up. It started to speak. “You’re touching feelings, care bear. This is my sadness.” “Let’s get out of here!” Yells another voice, but the screen is still black. “And this…is the underside of a tarantula.” I heard a loud, violent shriek and the tape went dead silent again. The underside of a tarantula? “With our heads-“ one of the actors said. “We cease to be two- but together” A shot of a rainbow is shown, and then something really sinister faded into view. I mean it was an overlay, or maybe a timelapse, but a still image, a dead, distinct smile. It was a tarantula, but instead of eight legs, it had about 30 or so. And instead of eyes, it had all of the care bears’ heads. Cut off. Smiling. Smiling at me. And instead of pincers, it had fingers. And those fingers had spindly hairs and one of them was curled outward in a long line with the letters “D-E-E-L-B.” Then a voice whispered. “Gogurt is delicious.” “Ah yah yah yah!” The lion yelled excitedly. A rainbow of blood was bursting out of his throat. He was holding up a placard with the letter “T” on it. “Ah yah yah yah!” He screamed excitedly. He couldn’t seem to speak clearly because his esophagus was cut open. “Nobody’s ever been this nice to me be-e-fore. You’ve all made me very happy.” “What do you have to cry about, your problems are over.” And then the rainbow of blood is shown. “This is how you know I care!” A voice yelled. “There’s blood in the freezer! Bones in the attic! Son! You’re the goat! You’re the scapegoat!” Then there was a shocking knock at my door. A shocking knock. It was the mailman. Not UPS. Or the postal service. A different mailman in a black coat, but holding a parcel. I peered through the peephole. That was when I finally saw him. The mailman. “Did someone order a box?” He asked me, sternly. “A box?” I said confused. He could hear the gurgling and blood sounds from the VHS tape. “Oh, care bears.” He said. “My son liked that show. We used to watch it together. A lot of people hated it, called it cheesy, but personally, I think it was a quality show that taught real family values. Mind if I watch it with you? We can watch it together and comment and criticize it.” He helped himself in and sat on my couch. “I love the care bears.” He said. He left the package on my table. He shut the VHS tape off and started watching E!. It was like nothing happened. Who was this guy why he was he here. “Who are you?” I asked. “Someone.” He said. “Someone you know.” “Who? I yelled. “Who?” He laughed a hearty laugh. He was starting to look a bit disheveled, like he was lying about his age, job and place of residence. I looked outside. There was no mail truck outside. “Who!” I yelled. He laughed heartily and then laughed even more heartily. “Who who? Are you a fuckin’ owl!” He laughed again. Heartily. I was starting to think this guy was off his knocker, and I’m not talking about doorbells. “It’s in the box.” He said. “You sold it a long time ago. But I have it. And I’m not going to give it back to you, unless you say “Puckerfuckface weinershnitzel” three times fast! He giggled. “You thought you could lose it, just like that. You thought you could just give it away, as if someone could buy it on ebay for a couple bucks, but it’s in there, it’ll never leave.” Huh? “It’ll follow you home through the rain and tell you everything will be ok.” I heard the loud rustling of wind coming out of the television, but still dead blackness. “Well just one second, what’s that I hear? You’re gonna give up now, when you’re getting so near?” I felt a lump building in my throat that was as thick as a baseball. I swallowed. “It’ll make everything ok if you just hold onto it, it’ll call your name at night from the window when you’re asleep, it’ll turn your dreams into golden butter sundaes of endless shimmering stardust light. You can’t break it, crush it, mold it or even touch it, but you know it’s there. There’s something coming for you, and you don’t know what it is. It thinks you can see it, but you can’t. It thinks you know what it is, but you don’t.” What did this strange mailman want from me? I just wanted to be left alone. “But deep down, underneath all that blood and muscle and sinew, inside that cold and dead cavity you used to call your heart, you knew this day was coming.” His laugh was quite hearty now, heartier than usual. As if there was more heart to it. Like a hearty beef stew. He went into the kitchen and cut himself a big old slice of the chocolate cake. He sat down on my couch. “I’m not just a mailman.” He said. “I weekend as a clown.” He took out a big red honking nose and put it on. “But I’m a sad clown, a real real sad, sad clown, ya’ dig ?” What did this have to do with the care bears. “Fam.” He said. Finally I had enough. I couldn’t ask him to leave, he had taken his shoes off and revealed both of his feet were bound with strange gauze. And under that gauze, there were hooves, like in that mythological story you never read. “What is it? What is it?” He yelled excitedly? “Am I your dead grandfather? A mummy? A wearwolf? A vampire? A witch? Who am?!!!! He screamed. “WHAT AM I!?” While he continued his rant I had been quietly calling the dog catchers in the other room. I felt bad but I now this was the only way to make him go away. To just finally leave me alone. I told them “there was a mongrel mutt here and he didn’t have any business to do with me. I didn’t know who dropped him off.” My voice trailed off as I walked into the other room and just left the cord there. “Flea collar. Milk shakes. Butternut pecan squash. What’s that? A VHS?” he muttered, wandered into the other room, carton of milk in hand. My roommate or a distant cousin of him, someone I lent money once, I would have to open the box and find out what’s inside. I knew what it was though. If I opened it, he’d find out what it was, and then this would continue. Care bears. Blue bears. Yellow bears. Dead bears. Bears on sale. A bear on display at a dog and pony show, hell a bear at a morgue. You know what all bears have in common? They’re warm and fuzzy but they’ll claw your fuckin’ throat out. This wasn’t a bear though. It was a lion-no- a tiger. What was that in my kitchen? A shadow? Who was that man? Transformed into a glorious bear and set among the stars! I was watching the car bears drivevroom when the exterminators finally arrived. A big, big van full of pesticides. “Did- someone call a tarantula?” He smiled. He was a tarantula and HE smiled. Now I was a tarantula, and I smiled. I drank mahself a big old milk carton bottle of the old pesta-pesta-pesta-side! Pesta! Pesta! Pesta side! I began to sing it out the windows and god doesn’t care who on this green earth. Just kiddin’! “Hoboken!” he yelled and performed a suplex on me. Dropped the carton of milk and started to drink with me, singing and laughing like they do. Just imagining him now though. He was gone. Good zeus. I scattered some detergent on the floor, picked up a big rope and hung it over the drier, tying it into a loose knot. I backed it way up under that attic staircase like you do. Tenderheart waltzed in, two dimensional but still able to be touched and felt. Gave me a cold paper hug and then a little bit of red liquid began to drip down his chest. He waved, cried a little, said he always loved me and floated into the heavens, attached to string. I had stabbed him in the heart with a silver arrow a long time ago. But the strange part was, nobody else in the room seemed to notice him or care. I was the only one there, but still. There was something else about this. Something incalculable. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I took a deep breath as my chest opened up from the congestion of life. Maybe not one thing specifically, but little pieces of dirt over time. And we all need somebody to blame. There’s something coming for you, and you don’t know what it is. It thinks you can’t see it, but you can. It thinks you know what it is, but you don’t.

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