My NYC Midnight Submission, 2nd Round (Flash Fiction)

Well, a whirlwind weekend with lots of outings and freelance work resulted in me drafting a quick story and editing said story and not liking the story but submitting it anyways. My luck is usually when I feel good about a piece the judges don't give it a good score, but when I dislike it I get a decent score. So we'll see if that trend continues on with this round. Didn't score great on my first round action/adventure entry. So we'll see how the genre of horror fares for me. Genre: Horror. Location: Outdoor music concert. Object: Animal crackers.

I let the animal crackers guide me on this one. I present...

"Jibber Jabbers Live!"

I check my buds to make sure they are stuffed well inside my ears putting as much of a barrier between me and the overly excited mass of kids surrounding me. The toddlers cover up almost every inch of green in this park. Several feet away my parents lift my little sister high in the air as a flag for me to wave at. They’re excited to see me work my first job. But more so they’re excited to see the Jibber Jabbers live.

Kids love the damn Jibber Jabbers. They seem to be the only thing to settle them down. The Jibber Jabbers appeared on TV two years ago and parents couldn’t live without them. I tried watching with my sister once but after a few minutes the noise, well music, made me twitch. Had me rubbing my ear against my shoulder to get rid of a scratch. But my four-year-old sister was stone with a smile on her face. She clapped to the auto tunes and the fuzzy red, yellow, blue and white creatures that looked like a bear with a giraffe’s neck and a cat’s face. It was all pretty disturbing to me but my parents, all parents appreciated the Jibber Jabbers because they provided sixty minutes, without commercials, of child-free time.

I give a limp wave to my parents and sister before adjusting my Jibber Jabbers cap. The wind is non-existent thankfully so the tri-colored tassles don’t fling in my face—hitting me in the eye, nose, making it to my mouth—unless I move my head too fast. I’m wearing a yellow shirt for the Jibber Yowza.

I’m on the outskirts of the crowd surveying to see if there are any spots on the lawn. I’m surrounded by cackling, sniffling, burping, crunching on animal crackers while trying to talk spit and crust flying into the air, hyped up kids ages four and up.

I turn back to my family and see my mom motioning for me to take out my buds. I shake my head. No way I want to hear these kids in stereo. No. Freaking. Way. They encouraged me to take this job. It got them discounted tickets and am also learning responsibility. Yeah great, I say seeing a woman on a blanket near the stage change her child’s diaper…in public.

I inhale big regretting taking this job. Management wanted teens mainly because we have the energy to deal with the kids. That anyone between the ages of fourteen and eighteen (with working papers) can deal with loud noises and children who pee anywhere and everywhere. Hey, we’re young only way to go is up!

A couple of burly, thick guys in black that remind me of secret service on TV are a barrier between the people and the stage. These guys are the only dark spot. Like any kid is getting beyond that wall of black.

The static hum increases. It buzzes in my ear and seems to be sneaking inside, coiling itself past my ear drum into my brain. I stick my finger in my ear like I want to shake it out.

I hear a bleep and the stage lights up even with the sun. I blink rapidly but look away unable to take the sun and the ultraviolet green from the arena. I stare into the audience. My sister’s face is super round and glistening in excitement with mom and dad on either side of her.

Once the announcement starts up the crowd goes crazy. Screams and screeches abound with wild clapping. I stuff my earbuds in more, while the sound isn’t completely cancelled out it is dulled a good amount.

I keep my back to the Jibber Jabbers. There’s another usher near me, Robert, who’s staring at them. He sticks his tongue out while mimicking hanging himself and I laugh. The kids that can walk get to their feet and gyrate to the beat pulsing around me.

Robert bobs his own head and then, suddenly, he’s frozen. I’m about to ask if he’s okay when my eyes dart sideways and notice I’m looking at a sea of little mannequins. The kids are statues. The adults are moving, freaking the hell out in fact. I face the guards to yell at them about the kids, but the men aren’t solid like before. They’re jittery masses with their arms twitching along with their mouths, blood seeps from their noses and veins pulse in their necks like snakes with a big old heartbeat.

My heart pumps hard and fast as I take it all in and see a mother’s eyes bleed, her pupils going black. The child in her lap is motionless and staring ahead at the Jibber Jabbers.

I dart into the audience heading straight for my sister and parents when my dad clutches his neck. I’m too far away, other people shivering and falling around me as I watch my father ooze blood from not just his eyes and mouth but from his skin like he’s sweating the stuff. I fall beside him and mom in her fold out chair. Mom slides off her body limp with my sister in her lap dazed. I look at the stage for the first time not wanting to take in anymore of the bleeding parents young and old. When I see the Jibber Jabbers they’re in a row, fuzzy beings of red, yellow, blue and white. I always thought they were just people in a suit. A hot, big suit but one of them, Jibber Yowza, smiles exposing jaw upon jaw like a shark. Wet, scaly lips close over the teeth. I can’t hear what is said nor do I want to when its large orbs lock on me noticing I’m one of the young people not comatose and not bleeding like the adults. I don’t take out my earbuds. I grab my sister and run like hell, making animal crackers dust under my feet.