I was watching my little sister and brother play Candy Land. We lived all alone since my parents were dead or something. I was the oldest, so I put on a mustache and was hired as an alligator wrangler at the local everglades, so don’t think I can’t afford stuff. In my spare times I’m a banana collector and packager.
The things in the Candy Land game were creepy as heck. The king on the box cover looked like he would wake up in bed with me and hand me a hamburger. Not to mention everyone’s humongous, bloated heads and obsession with candy. Well, except the ice princess. She was hot. Still, I’d say it was a dystopian world in which the king was an evil dictator and the board spaces and locations represented the 5 stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance.
But you could say that about a lot of other stories.
You know, that’s the thing about little kid games. They could put anything in them and no adult would find out. I’m pretty much an adult now, so I wouldn’t notice these things either.
I yelled out in glee as I finally passed the last space that represented the king’s castle.
“Woohoo!” I shouted, throwing up my fists.
My three year old brother pulled out a plastic hammer.
“What you say, punk?!”
This is what got me thinking that my little brother and sister were being brainwashed by watching something… eviiiiiiiiilllllll. I left them so I could continue pouring salt on snails outside and do some chants and dances in the basement. It got me thinking: maybe that Bob the Builder guy was building death machines. Or Dora was more like Doreath (DEATH). So, from that day forward, I watched everything with my sisters and brothers with a journal in hand.
I was playing board games with them, I mean I was investigating board games, and my brother brought forward Candy Land. I took careful notes, but nothing suspicious arose. I kept investigating until 1:00 am in the morning before I realized we passed their 8:00 pm bedtime. So we continued another hour before passing out surrounded by empty soda bottles.
That’s when I had... dreams. Bad dreams. Dreams of mutant toothed candies that were taking over everything. I stood on a mountain in Candy Land in disbelief as I watched a flood of caramel rain down. People were screaming and running in horror as Lord Licorice ordered his licorice men into villages to eat humans whole. Tons of ice cream flooded valleys as the evil ice cream lady laughed mercilessly, smothering people and wildlife in sticky, melting, multicolored goop. Worst of all was the aging lady who lived in a peanut butter house, Gramma Nut, who somehow ordered a sentient crunchy peanut butter jar the size of a city to pour itself over everything. I couldn’t believe it—she had seemed so sweet. The last thing I saw was a thick peanut butter landslide covering me.
-- Chapter “DA”
I woke up screaming in a cold sweat. I grabbed the Candy Land board game and angrily threw it in the trash as my sister and brothers began waking up. Good timing, because it was time to drive them to school. I went to put on my fake mustache and grab a big book for a booster seat.
When driving through town, I noticed that a car followed me at all times. I glared at it for a while, thinking about how it thought it was better than my car. I guessed the driver was huge and round.
At work, after wrestling a few alligators, I was called in to see my boss. He worked in a strange shack and had his back turned to me when I entered his office.
“Did you grapple the alligator?” He asked before I opened my mouth. He had a crunchy, slightly sweet voice.
“And did it flop and wop?”
“Good. I like your mustache.”
I was dismissed, and I went to collect and sort bananas at my other job across town. I was already upset as it was from that morning, so I tromped off in a huff. When I was at the top of a banana tree, someone called out to me from below.
“Hey, you got them bananas?” the voice asked.
The person walked off. I was able to spot them through the branches as a hunchbacked figure in a trench coat and old hat.
--- Chapter “DAB”
Later that night at the dinner table, I grew increasingly annoyed at a pair of eyes that kept appearing at the kitchen window every five minutes.
“Can’t a parentless, orphan family eat in peace?!” I shouted desperately.
I heard a “plop” come from the front door. I walked over to it and saw a DVD labeled with a black marker, “GRAMMA NUT GOES BANANAS” lying in front of the mail slot, along with a note.
The note read, “Dear Mr. Norris, we’re pleased to inform you that you’ve been accepted at H-“ “Yeah, yeah,” I mumbled, crumpling the note. I got so many of those notes that they sometimes flew down all my house’s orifices to get at me, with each note competing to get in my attention. I wondered if I should write them back asking them to stop it already. However, I noticed writing on the back of the page. I uncrumpled it the best I could to find what seemed to be a smear of peanut butter and the words, “YOU BUTTER DIE SOON” scrawled across.
My littlest sister told me to call the cops, but I told her she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and that’s just what they wanted. I let her know it was much more practical for us to stay in the basement and take turns staying up and keeping fort. I think they agreed with my logic, so we began to prepare. We brought down a bunch of essentials like blankets, popcorn, board games, and the DVD that was pushed through the mail slot. Hunkering down in the basement wasn’t anything new, since we did the same when the toilet was overflowing.
---- Chapter “DABD”
Later during my turn to stay up and keep watch from 2 to 5 am, I decided to watch that DVD. It was titled Lollipoop something and was about some Candy Land characters tracking down the licorice villain to probably kill him. As the video went on, it went from cute and childish to dark and horrifying. A lollipop girl creature dove in and swam through what looked like blood ice cream. She then continued travelling and talking with her friends like nothing happened. Licorice men got stuck in a lake of what looked like poo and slowly drowned and died. A gingerbread man went running after a couple of licorice men only for his gumdrop buttons to suddenly fall off. That was the last straw for my stomach, and I wretched violently into a sauce pan.
Suddenly, a pounding came at the basement door. It violently caved in as a large mass of peanut butter began rolling downstairs, quickly gaining on the all of us. Behind the door stood a large, round figure.
“EAT IT, PUNKS!!” they shouted.
My siblings all woke up and we gave a panicky run to a storage room that was far from the incoming tide of peanut butter. Only I made it as everyone else got stuck in the knee-deep, viscous matter. I quickly closed the door and began to feel hopeless. I decided that I might as well take a look around for anything helpful. Hanging from the ceiling in the corner were huge bunches of bananas. My only option. I dragged down a couple of them and brought them to the door. I took a deep breath, opened it, and immediately peanut butter filled the storage room. This time I had a banana boat. I sat on the banana bunches and used a nearby broom for propulsion. It was tricky as I avoided the waving arms of my siblings fighting against the sticky currents, but I made it to the base of the stairs. “I’m coming for you!” I shouted, chucking a banana at the shadowy figure.
“Oww!” they yelled, throwing their head back. Their hat fell off, revealing no other than Gramma Nut herself.
I was stunned. Memories immediately came to mind of where I had seen her before. She was everywhere! My boss, the stranger following me, the school janitor, she was even involved in my parents’ tragic peanut-butter swimming accident! She had betrayed me at every turn.
Curse those fake mustaches. If they didn’t exist, we could see people for who they really were.
She cackled viciously. “You were always an annoying one. So how did you think we felt when you began watching us every second, taking notes? We just wanted to play alone with your kids! Like it’s a big deal.”
“But why have you been watching me for such a long time?”
“Because the peanut butter never escapes. It sticks like the strongest glue in history, and only when a man gets down on his hands and knees and limply licks it might it bend.”
“Because shut up.”
The peanut butter was rising to thigh height. It was getting harder for my siblings to stay above the flow. For their sake, I didn’t want to give up.
I waded hard with the broom against the chunky current and pulled along the banister. I reached the top of the stairs, where she tried giving my banana raft a few swift kicks. The bananas broke off one by one.
“No!” I shouted, holding on to the door frame and whacking her with the broom.
This went on for a while, and when I was about ready to give up, I heard the front door dramatically open.
“Halt!” Boomed a voice.
----- Chapter “DABDA” (LOOK LOOK THIS MEANS DENIAL, ANGER, BARGAINING, DEPRESSION, ACCEPTANCE!!!!! IT TOTALLY MEANS IT GWUYSSS!!! I'M SO SMURT)
Heavy footsteps followed, and soon I was in the presence of the king himself! Well, the Candy Land king, anyway, for what that’s worth.
He reached above Gramma Nut and pulled down a giant jar of peanut butter, closing it tightly. Just as quickly, the peanut butter flow stopped.
“No!!” shouted Gramma Nut, glaring at the king.
With a flash, she immediately disappeared, along with all the peanut butter. Even my house began to fade, and in its place was the land I remembered from my dream of Candy Land that morning. I could see the king’s castle, some ice cream hills, little villages, and waterfalls of different types of sauces and ice creams.
“Hey, where am I?” I asked the king, not feeling any fear at this point.
“Well, looks like you made it back. But can you make it ahead?” the king asked.
“What? Who are you?”
“Luke. I… am your father.”
Waking up in a cold sweat, I threw myself up into sitting position on a bed. I seemed to be in a hospital room. What was probably a nurse walked outside a window in the door, unaware of me. I could hear the babble of people talking. I looked around in hurried motions, taking in the area. The sun glimmered through a window, as did a faint memory. It was small at first, growing slowly, before I quickly remembered the truth. I was in a psychiatric hospital.