's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" Vacky Vacuum "

Submitted by Anonymous

I lie awake in my bed, as I do almost every night.

I have always been fascinated by the sort of children's stories, especially cartoons, that relish in punishing their "villains" in horrible ways. Those who are supposed to be the "heroes" get to be sadistic, even downright monstrous - after all, being "evil" towards "evil people" doesn't really count. "Bad guys" will be turned into stone, frozen, dissolved by acid, burned, baked, steamrolled into a pancake, swallowed whole... you know how it goes.

Even as a little child, I both heavily empathized with the villains and found the brutality of the "good guys" strangely... delicious. The idea that someone could destroy you out of a position of absolute righteousness, all the while satisfying a terrible.... HUNGER within themselves - or the equivalent of a terrible urge to go to the bathroom. All of this is made all the more appealing and abhorrent to me the more "innocent" the show in question pretended to be.

Take 'Vacky Vaccum', for instance. One of these anime exported to Europe in the late eighties, early nineties of the last century, in the style of 'Bumpety Boo' and 'Maya The Bee'.

Had you asked me back then, I would have told you that it was an awful show, that I was horrified by it, that it felt... not right. But you better believe I watched every single epsiode I could possibly watch. Watched them with wide open, terrified eyes and a tickle in my groin that I wouldn't be able to identify until a few years later.

The show was named after a living, sentient vaccum cleaner, Vacky Vaccum, and its multiethnic group of human friends. It had the sort of design I loved in a cartoon vaccum cleaner - a long "neck", a plump "torso", four wheels arranged like the legs of a quadruped, big googly eyes above a goofy "snout". Basically a cross between a turtle, a goose and a car.

Vacky and its friends would travel the land and unravel mysteries, usually crossing the evil scheme of some 'villain of the week'. They were your usual carefree, curious, overall "relatable" youngsters. I don't even remember the names of the human kids.

The main event in every episode was of course the punishment of the villain. Be it a gangster, a vampire, a school bully, a wicked witch, a corrupt mayor, a litterer, people who wouldn't visit their grandparents often enough - they would all inevitably be sucked in by Vacky Vaccum. Once they were completely exposed and vulnerable, Vacky would chase them all over the place and suck with all its might. No matter how they screamed and wriggled, no matter how fast they ran or where they tried to hide, Vacky would get hold of one of their legs, then the other, and while they tried to dig their fingers into the ground, they would be swallowed whole, never to be seen again, a final, fading scream being heard from a comical bulge that slided into Vacky's belly through its artificial throat. The children would cheer Vacky on, they would laugh and clap their hands and make corny puns. Gloat at the villain's foolish cries for help and pleas for mercy, their drawn-out, but ultimately futile struggle for survival. Damn, this show was good with the cries - though I hear the japanese original is even better. Anyway, when the deed was done, the gang would move on to find a new adventure.

It was never specified what happened to the villains once Vacky swallowed them. I guess it was based on the simple observation by young children that things sucked up by a vaccum cleaner were "gone", moved out of their realm of experience. Where there any adults who would change Vacky's dust bag filled with condensed, suffocated bad guys? Did Vacky digest its victims? Was Vacky's belly a portal to a dungeon dimension of eternal darkness? Or where they quite literally "gone", erased from existence? The point is, while the show's good guys could just shrug and move on, the bad guys had no choice but to ponder this particular mystery as their hour of judgement drew near.

Just as I'm pondering these things right now.

Let's put it this way. I wouldn't call myself a "good person", not categorically. In my life, I have made people angry. I made some people cry. I always tried to do what is right, except when I cheated or lied or mocked others or scared them... or when I didn't even notice I had wronged someone at all.

Now lets say someone among these people had found something like Vacky Vaccum. Something to make it all go away, to clear the world for happy, righteous, immaculate people that would feel a tickle in their nether regions as they watched me disappear from their sight forever, as they flushed me, slurped me out of their world.

They would have minds able to truly ENJOY what they were doing. Consuming minds.

I ponder this as I lie awake in my bed, hearing an all too familiar roar rise inside my own home. Feeling a strange, tingling sensation between my legs.