The peak of a child's unquenchable curiosity is usually connected with the neglect of their parents. There is no better time for a child to explore unknown fields than the time alone. This thirst for exploration mixed with a child's imagination may lead them to new experiences that are good for them, but most of the time this inevitable mixture leads to- to put it lightly- "incidents". Now, when these "incidents" occur, it is easy to point fingers at the preoccupied nature of adults, saying how they should have cared for the child better; that if they were a better father or mother, the "incident" would have never happened. The problem is that parents cannot be expected to watch their children all the time; it's impossible to do so. Humans need to work, sleep, and continue to have their own lives outside of their children. However, one would think parents would grow a bit more attentive when these "incidents" begin to happen more often. This is none the more prevalent than when the world faced a peculiar case known as the "Missing Children of Mulligan, Georgia." It is known as one of the state's strangest and most infamous "incidents".
When you watch a clock, it begins to feel as though it goes slower, as if you have some magic power of slowing down time by staring at one. This thought lingers in the mind of Billy Dundfield, a five-year-old kindergartner who is impatiently watching the digital clock in the corner of his room beside his window, waiting for it to hit 3:00 A.M. This was the latest Billy has ever stayed up as far as he could remember, and he hates every second of it. Billy attempted various time to close his eyes and lay his head on his pillow, hoping that it would make the clock go faster. All of his attempts were futile. So, here Billy was, staring at the clock, counting in his head to sixty the best he could, but never getting it right as he would count too fast. The wait was painfully long and boring, but Billy knew it was worth it.
The clock finally reaches 2:58 A.M., prompting Billy to ecstatically hop out of his bed and turn on his small old television on top of the dresser in his room. He sits down on his carpet floor, leaning his back on to the front of the bed, having to look up to view the television. The only thing illuminated in the bedroom is Billy's eager face as the walls were engrossed by the prodigious darkness of the night.
The television is on some channel playing late night sitcoms. Billy grabs his television remote and proceeds to quickly type in the numbers '9-0-5'. The screen changes to another channel, which is just heavy static. The small black pixels move about the screen like an army of squirming ants. Billy waits for it to come on, the feeling of anticipation pulling and pushing him back and forth. The clock hits 3:00 A.M. exactly, and the screen goes completely black, having a sharp high-pitched noise radiating from the television as the only sound filling the room. A couple of moments later, the image on the television begins to fidget and twitch, like it is sporadically moving up and down, trying to get its bearings. The picture comes into focus, revealing a title card for a show named "Lizzie & Friends".
A piano begins to play the show's happy theme song as the title stays on the television, making Billy happy that it is finally time for his favorite show. The video suddenly flicks to a different panel, as if it were using a view-master to show the images. Two circles appear on a pink background as a little cartoon character pops out of one of the circles, as if to say, 'Hello.'
The cartoon character is a small girl in a big red dress, like how a doll would look. The huge cartoonish eyes take up most of her head along with an innocent smile drawn with one line; her nose being completely missing to make more room for the eyes. She has big orange hair with a red floppy hat straight out of the Victorian age on top of it. A large white flower accompanies her hat. She waves to the camera, having only two frames drawn. The animation looks cheaply made and rushed. A choir of kids say in unison, "Lizzie!" as the name appears in the other circle. The look of the show appears old-fashioned, resembling cartoons from the 1960s- such as the Hanna Barbera cartoons- having the characters move choppy and made of ridiculously simple shapes.
The screen once again flips to black and back to show another cartoon character, this time it being a clown. His whole body cannot be seen in the circle, implying he is bigger than 'Lizzie'. He has a hobo get-up on, with a boiler hat and a ragged jacket with patches stitched all over. An oversized yellow bow-tie matches his long yellow pants. The strangest part about him was his face though; His skin was blue, with over half of his head being taken up by a large smile surrounded by red clown makeup, going from cheek-to-cheek and almost touching the bottom of his chin, making his face look misshapen. His eyes were eerily small; his red nose was bigger than both of his eyes. The character gave a quick thumbs up as the kids happily say, "Bundy!" He was Billy's favorite.
The television screen flips one last time to the cheapest looking character out of the three: A puppet with a vertical rectangular head. His upper body was just simple shapes, making him look as though he was pieces of wood glued together. The only clothing he had on were big baggy pants held up by suspenders with red and white stripes. His arms were a bit too long, definitely not proportionate to a normal person. Straight down, his arms could reach his knees. The character did nothing but smile as the kids say, "Robert!" along with his name popping up in the circle beside him.
The intro ends with a wide shot of the three characters standing beside each other with a red and white lighthouse behind them, looking like a giant candy cane. Bundy, the smiling clown character, is noticeably taller than the other two as Lizzie stands between them, waving to the camera once again. The choir of kids say, "Lizzie and Friends!" Before the theme song ends abruptly as the episode begins. 'Playing At The Playground' flashes at the bottom of the video as Lizzie, the title character, appears.
"Hello there friends," Lizzie apparently has a British accent, and her voice sounds like it is coming from a small child, "And welcome to our special show! Yaay~! It is so nice to see that you all actually showed up." Lizzie turns her head to the side, looking off-screen.
The lip syncing is terrible, only having the mouth move up and down. "Say, friends, want to go on an adventure with me?" Lizzie waits, giving the viewer time to respond. Billy does not saying anything, scared he might wake up his mother.
"...Well? Do ya'?" Lizzie asks once more, her head slightly tilting like a confused puppy. Billy looks to where his door usually is, but cannot see it due to the darkness. He turns back to the television.
"Perfect!" Lizzie shouts out of nowhere, "Come on, let's all go to the playground!" Lizzie darts off-screen, quickly disappearing.
A wipe transition flies across the screen, revealing a wide shot of Lizzie at a poorly drawn playground. She walks over to the slides where we see the puppet from the intro, Robert, going down a red slide with a small child, looking like he was around the age of ten. Robert is taller than the kid; he is about the height of a Christmas tree. Robert high-fives the kid with his slender hand. The two laugh as Lizzie appears.
"Hello there, Robert the Puppet. Who is your new friend?" Lizzie asks.
Robert, just now noticing Lizzie, bends down beside the kid, "This is Jeremy. He is a basketball player." Robert's voice sounds like it is coming from an adult; again, his mouth does not line up with the words.
"Hi Lizzie," Jeremy greets, waving to the small doll character. Jeremy has blonde hair and a blue shirt on, his face much more detailed than the other two. It sounds like an actual kid, as if the people who made the show let their son voice the character. Lizzie puts on a smile as she stares at Jeremy.
"So you like basketball, huh Jeremy?" Lizzie asks. Jeremy nods back, "Well, Jeremy, lucky for you, Bundy the Smiling Clown has a ball that we can play with. Do you want to play some ball?"
"That would be fun," the kid agrees.
Lizzie starts walking past the two, "Come on, Jeremy," Lizzie motions with her hand to follow her, "Let's go find Bundy the Smiling Clown." The three begin to walk down a sidewalk, Robert's arms almost dragging behind him with how long they are. The walk-cycle continues for a while, the music being the only noise. The background soon begins to loop, as if they legitimately walked past the slides a second time.
Finally, the three walk up to a bench, where a large figure is asleep, his head covered by a newspaper. A bindle rests on the grass beside the bench, the small pouch-and-stick hobo's carry in media depictions. "There he is," Lizzie points at Bundy, "Oh, but he's asleep again. Looks like we'll have to wake Bundy the Smiling Clown up. On three, I want everyone to yell 'Wake up Bundy.' Ready?"
Robert and Jeremy nod as Lizzie counts, "One. Two. Three! Wake up, Bundy!" the three yell rather loudly. Billy, instead of saying it along with them, grabs his television remote and quickly turns down the volume.
Lizzie stares at Bundy, who is still asleep, "... I don't think everyone did it. Come on everybody, on three. One. Two. Three! Wake up, Bundy!"
The three yell once more, somehow louder than the last time. Billy frantically turns the volume all the way down. He turns to where the door is and looks to see if it woke up his mother. Fortunately, the house is still eerily quiet. Billy turns back to the show, leaving the volume off. What Billy has not noticed since he turned off the volume was that Lizzie has turned away from Bundy, and was now staring at the screen.
Subtitles begin to appear on-screen. Billy did not have subtitles on before. The subtitles read, "ON THREE, I WANT EVERYONE TO YELL 'WAKE UP, BUNDY.' READY?" Lizzie moves her mouth up and down, still looking directly at Billy.
"ONE..." Billy looks behind him to the door. The darkness grows as Billy's eyesight is weak from the light coming from the television.
"TWO..." He turns the volume up slightly, only a few taps. One would not be able to hear the cartoon unless you were as close as Billy was to the screen.
Billy reluctantly says quietly, "Wake up Bu-"
"WAKE UP, BUNDY!!!" Out of nowhere, the three cartoon characters scream at the top of their lungs, sending Billy backwards. It was so loud that the kid's ears started ringing. The child quickly gets on his feet and runs to the door and peers out. His mother did not wake up, surprisingly. Billy takes a slow breath and closes his door quietly, locking it this time. The walls of the room returns to black as Billy sits back down. As he sits down, Bundy just now flies up in the air in shock, even though they yelled a couple of seconds ago. Billy turns the volume back up as Bundy lands on his head comically, making Billy giggle.
"Hey, I'm readin' here!" the blue clown hobo character yells sitting on the ground in a low, goofy voice.
"You were asleep, Bundy." Lizzie places her hands on her sides.
"No, I was readin' the paper. I just got to my favorite section," Bundy replies.
"The nap section." All the characters laugh, including Billy. Bundy has a large smile that does not seem to disappear. In fact, his lips do not move when he talks; instead, his teeth go up and down.
"This is our new friend, Jeremy. Jeremy, meet Bundy the Smiling Clown," Lizzie tells the cartoon kid. Bundy stands up, shadowing all the other characters by how massive he is.
"Hi Bundy." Jeremy waves. He still sounds like a normal kid and not a voice actor.
"Well, howdy, Mr. Jeremy." Bundy reaches to give Jeremy a handshake when he slips and falls thanks to his giant red clown shoes. This earns him a big laugh from everyone.
Robert, the puppet character, speaks up and says, "Bundy, do you have your yellow ball we can play with? Jeremy is a basketball player."
"I sure do!" Bundy tells them as he grabs his bindle. He pulls out a yellow ball from the pouch and prepares to throw it, "Go long, hehe~"
Jeremy runs backwards as Bundy tosses the yellow ball towards him. Jeremy catches it and laughs, throwing it back to Bundy. He catches it and throws it to Robert, who throws it to Jeremy, who throws it to Lizzie, and so on and so forth. The four continue to throw the ball to each other, laughing for a long time as the theme song begins to play again.
Unknown to Billy, the time was now 4:58 A.M. Time flew by drastically; it only felt like a couple of minutes to the child. Billy's eyes were bloodshot beyond comprehension as he continues to stare at the television screen, not even blinking, watching the four pass the ball around. Billy smiles all the way through it.
Lizzie throws the yellow ball to Jeremy, but instead of catching it, he instead drops and misses it. "Oh no!" Lizzie yells as the ball rolls down the sidewalk. The music cuts off completely, the only sound being the high-pitch screeching of the television. No one runs after the yellow ball as they watch it roll.
The ball slowly comes to a stop in the middle of the road.
The four cartoon characters walk towards the side of the road, all staring at the ball confused; puzzled. Lizzie suddenly speaks up in a demanding way, "Jeremy, can you please go grab the ball for us?"
Jeremy just stands there, baring a look of distress. Lizzie slowly turns her head to Jeremy, every frame being drawn separately. She does not look directly at the kid, almost like she is looking past him at something. Her eyes seem to have no life in them as she repeats her command, "Jeremy... can you please go grab the ball for us?"
Robert and Bundy blankly stare at the yellow ball in the middle of the road as Jeremy finally says, "... O-Ok."
Jeremy starts to walk to the road when his wrist is suddenly grabbed by Lizzie. The little girl is not looking at him, but still looking off into the distance, "Wait, Jeremy. You can't just go walking on to a road like that. What is the one rule for crossing the road?"
Jeremy brings his hand up and scratches his head, thinking. Jeremy suddenly gets an idea, "Look both ways before crossing?"
Lizzie lets her grip go as a smile appears on her face. Jeremy walks to the side of the road. Bundy and Robert remain idle as the kid looks from side to side, checking for traffic, before hopping on to the road.
He walks slowly towards the yellow ball. Jeremy is now standing above it, and he bends down to grab it, his legs unmoving as his upper body goes completely ninety-degrees. Jeremy places both hands on the ball and raises it up.
"I got it-"
A transfer truck slams into Jeremy at high-speed, making the child crash head first into the windshield before flying back on to the road. The transfer truck speeds away as a bloody corpse replaces what was once Jeremy. Unsettling noises of a child coughing and screaming fills the television's speakers as the three cartoon characters stare at the body of Jeremy. The screaming does not sound like the rest of the audio thus far in the show; it sounded like it came from a poor recording.
Broken glass covers Jeremy's body throughout, with his left arm bending the wrong way. He has a large open gash on his side, making a pool of his blood spill out on to the road. His jaw is completely disfigured, having his bottom lip going past his right cheek. The body is heavily detailed, seemingly traced.
The screen fixates on the body for a long time with no music; just the sounds of coughing and screaming. Lizzie, off-screen, politely says, "Oh, I'm sorry, Jeremy, but that wasn't the rule. Remember kids, if you ever want to cross the road, you have to do it as fast as you can! Otherwise, you'll end up like our friend, Jeremy. Ehehe~" Lizzie ends her advice with a giggle. "Bundy, why don't you go grab your ball so we can keep on playing?"
Bundy silently walks towards Jeremy's mangled body, his large uncanny smile never-ceasing. The screen turns into a first-person view as Bundy stares at the corpse. He eventually bends down and grabs the ball with his giant blue hands. The ball has streaks of blood all over it.
The camera then switches to another first-person view, this time being Jeremy on the ground, looking up at the giant clown looming above him. The sun blinds half of the screen as Bundy admires the ball. The screaming turns into a gurgling noise, implying that blood is exiting through the mouth.
"Here, let me help you out, pal." Bundy's dead beady eyes stare directly at the screen as he bends down above Jeremy's body. Bundy's head covers the sun, replacing the light with his abnormally misshapen head. Bundy reaches towards the camera.
The view switches back to Bundy's as it shows his large hands being placed on top of Jeremy's head and chin. The screaming has now turned into crying as Jeremy is powerless in the situation.
Bundy quickly snaps Jeremy's neck. The picture immediately goes static as the theme song begins to play once more. The song is somewhat more aggressive, as if someone is banging their hands on a piano as they play. Images begin to pop up suddenly, only appearing for a couple of frames. Most of the images fly by far too fast to comprehend what they are, but some of the images included the lighthouse from the intro, the blue clown smiling directly at the screen, and the real-life counterpart of the bloody corpse of Jeremy with his neck broken.
The music screeches to a halt, the only sound being the high-pitched noise. Lizzie appears on-screen, staring at the camera like she was at the beginning of the episode. Her lifeless eyes look on with a small smile underneath them. She is looking directly at Billy.
The picture then flips to another setting. It is still Lizzie, but this time she is looking out a window from inside the lighthouse; the same one from the intro. "Thank you so much for watching our special show. We hope you visit again soon. And remember kids, you're perfect the way you are. Buh-Bye! Ehehe~" Lizzie giggles as she closes the window's door, prompting the entire screen to go black, signaling the end of the episode, as usual.
Billy is grinning happily; he loves that show. The small child gets on to his knees and is about to turn the television off when an image pops up.
'SPECIAL GUEST TIME', it reads on the screen. The same piano theme plays as small chibi-like versions of the three characters- Lizzie, Bundy, and Robert- bounce up and down at the bottom of the television. Billy quickly sits back down and continues to watch.
Lizzie's voiceover comes out of the television's speakers, "Alright kids, this week we have a special guest on our special show! Everyone, please give it up for our guest, Billy Dundfield!" An artificial applause begins to play as the name pops up on-screen. An obscure picture of Billy appears on the television. It looks as though he is walking out of school and getting into his mother's car. There is a strange shape covering half of the picture, like the photographer was hiding behind something.
Billy looks at the television, bloodshot and confused, when the picture suddenly turns into a video recording. The camera shakes, like someone is holding it with their hands, as the rustling of leaves are heard. The video then shows the backside of a house in the middle of the night. It's Billy's house.
Lizzie's voice appears once again. "Alright, Billy, you've won a prize! Do you want your prize, Billy? Wave outside your window for all the kids to see to get your prize!" Billy, happily, stands up and walks to the window beside his clock, which now reads 6:36 A.M. He cannot see anything through the darkness of the outside, so Billy begins to wave his hands frantically.
"Oh, Billy, we can't see you," Lizzie says from the television, "Why don't you turn on your light so that all your friends can see you better?"
Billy quickly follows her orders and hops on to his bed. He reaches up to his ceiling fan and pulls a chord down, turning the light on. On the television, one of the windows suddenly light up in the house.
"There you are," the voice of Lizzie quietly says as the video recording starts walking towards Billy's bedroom window. "Now, make sure to start waving. Say, 'Hi'!"
On the television, the silhouette of Billy waving his arms is seen on the other side the window. The video recording slowly zooms in on Billy.
A hand begins to creep up into frame, about to reach for the window. The hand is blue.
Lizzie is still talking from the television, "Now, Billy, how can we give you your prize if you don't open up your window?"
From the view of the video recording, Billy steps back as whatever the figure is gets up to the window. Billy begins to slowly smile, as the grotesque hand places its palm on to the glass. Billy runs forward, opening up the window as fast as he can, and then raising it up.
"Good, good." Lizzie's voice begins to tremble as Billy smiles for the camera. The blue hand begins to slightly shake as it reaches inside the house. The arm of the hand looks like the sleeve of some ragged jacket. The hand places itself on top of Billy's head and starts caressing his hair. The hand is massive. The camera begins to also shake as the hand slowly moves down Billy's face and stops at his cheek.
"Yes, yes, yes." The voice of Lizzie gets even more unstable, beginning to breathe rapidly through the speakers of the television. Billy, still staring at the camera, continues to smile as the blue hand moves down to the kid's neck.
The camera drops to the ground and the signal from the broadcast cuts off.
From another house nearby, a redhead girl, around the age of twelve, turns her television off after watching another installment her favorite show. She quickly climbs into her bed as footsteps from the stairs outside her bedroom come towards her. Her mother walks in with her school clothes.
"Come on, Sarah, time for school," her mother cheerfully exclaims.
Sarah pretends to wake up, "... H-Huh? Just, just another... hour..."
Her mom walks over to the bed, "Wake up, sleepyhead." She then proceeds to throw Sarah her clothes and shuts the door behind her to go back downstairs.
Sarah, fully aware, shoots up, and gets off of her bed with energy. She grabs her clothes and walks towards the door, when she suddenly turns to the television. A funny thought comes to her.
Sarah giggles, "Wake up, Bundy."
Written by EdTheOrangeBlob