I really don’t know where to begin. I seem to remember a cartoon on VHS I had when I was really little and as soon as I learned how to work the VCR I would watch it all the time. I’m really foggy on the specifics of the cartoon, I hardly remember any of it at all. There was a bunny character, I don’t even remember his name, hopping around and interacting with all of these toy characters. I recall a scene where the bunny character was laying on a big race car bed. He had a thermometer in his mouth and a couple of the toy characters were talking. One of them was a toy soldier.
“What should we do?” The toy soldier squawked.
To which, the bunny looked up at him and replied with a cough, “I’ll be laying in this bed forever!”
There really wasn’t much to say other than that but I was four years old and I loved that cartoon. I don’t think I ever knew what the cartoon was called, but the VHS tape was blandly labeled, “Happy Toys.” I couldn’t find any information about the tape online, and my parents don’t seem to remember ever owning anything like it.
The last memory I had of that tape was on my sixth birthday. I didn’t make many friends growing up so me and my parents just had our own little party with cake and presents. At some point, I popped that old tape into the VCR and wanted to watch that bunny character. But something about it had drastically changed. It scared me out of my wits and I ran from the TV and found my mother so I could cry in her arms.
I guess I repressed a lot of those memories growing up because the tape didn’t have much influence on me. I might have had one nightmare after the incident, but that was basically the end of it.
It’s been about fifteen years since then. I was packing boxes, getting ready for college. My whole life was about to start, and I was nervous as hell. I was in the attic finding boxes and I think you know where this is leading.
In a dusty old box was that old tape. “Happy Toys” still written on the side. If there was anything to calm me down, it was the nostalgic bliss of when growing up seemed so far away. I was surprised to see that the tape was working okay and in good condition. For a moment, I was barely a toddler. For a moment, everything was all right with the world. Inevitably, I noticed that this was not the tape I had when I was four.
The cartoon opened with the stupid bunny character bouncing on top of a colorful hill. He seemed gleeful enough, until all positive emotion seemed to have sucked away from his face. His adorable cartoon face turned into a face of despair and agony as he fell to the ground. He held his stomach and started moaning, clearly in pain. He started gagging, which quickly turned into a choking like sound. He coughed up a tooth, and suddenly his mouth was bleeding profusely. The poor creature kept screaming and pleading for help from his friends.
At this point, the tape seemed to be malfunctioning. The screen became static, two scenes seemed to have melted together and the colors started to inverse. And then the noise, oh god the awful noise. First it had a long beep that was interrupted by a screeching, loud buzz-like noise. I was about to mute the TV when the tape started working again. Then I saw the scene that I remembered most.
The bunny in his race car bed, and all of his toy friends standing around him. The colors looked dull, and it seemed like some of the picture, mainly the background, had melted with ink running down the screen. All of the toys had angry faces, not disturbed or nightmarish faces, just angry faces.
“What should we do?” the familiar line was spoken by the toy soldier.
At this point, the audio seemed muffled a bit but I could clearly make out the bunny’s answer.
“Have you suffered enough?” he said, straight-faced and serious.
The toys didn’t seem to answer. As a group, they all began leaving the bunny to his fate, whatever it may be. But the bunny wouldn’t have this. He begged, sobbing and weeping, for his once good friends to stay.
“Don’t leave me! Please don’t leave me!” the little bunny pleaded as he was abandoned. Again, blood started pouring down his mouth like a faucet. Chunks of flesh came with it, which he disgustingly had to vomit out. All the while crying and pleading.
A few minutes after the toys had left and the poor bunny was left vomiting and bleeding, a beast walked in. It was large, and hairy. Greasy, disgusting hair from what looked like its head, but the rest was a cold, moist flesh. The bunny began to shake, staring up at this hideous creature.
“Why did you make me sick?!” the bunny cried to the beast.
What followed next is something I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forget. The hulking monster stood over the bunny and began, quite literally, sexually assaulting the bunny. There didn’t seem to be any genitalia on the beast or the bunny, but from the way the monster’s body was moving and how the bunny tried to fight back, something clearly sexual and invasive was happening. The bunny couldn’t resist for long, because he began spilling blood out of his mouth again.
When the creature seemed to be finished with that, it proceeded to pick up the bunny’s arm and snap it like a twig. The bunny was of course in great pain, but was unable to scream due to his blood vomiting. The creature did this to the poor bunny’s other arm and legs as well, leaving him trapped on the bed to this creature’s will.
The creature then pulled out a long, thin sort of drill from behind him. At this point, the bunny was drowning in his own blood which had turned a reddish, brownish color by now. The beast took the drill onto the bunny’s stomach, and very slowly began pushing it downward. It broke into the bunny’s stomach, and began spinning with a motor sound running.
The bunny had an overwhelmed look on his face, as if he needed to scream but did not have the ability to. Eventually, his body went limp, and I assumed that the bunny was dead.
At this point, the VHS tape began malfunctioning again. It began clicking and stuttering like crazy. It began screeching, which slowly started sounding like screaming. A blurry close-up of the monster’s face was all that remained of the tape, the colors inverted again. The very last frame had text written in bold, white letters across the beast’s face. “BEGIN” is what it said.
Every time I close my eyes, I can see that monster’s face haunting me, just as it did on my sixth birthday. Judging. Waiting. I’ll never know what it means. All I will remember is that face, and that horrible screaming. Dear god, the screaming.