's 2014 Horror Write-off:

"Peanut Gallery"

Submitted by Stickydot

Back in the 70s, I was backpacking across the states, and, as far as I could tell, I was somewhere in Arkansas when I saw the sign. "WORLD'S LARGEST PEANUT 2 MILES AHEAD!" "YOU'D BE A NUT TO MISS THIS!" it read, and, seeing as I had nothing better to do, I decided that that tourist trap would be my next destination.

Much to my surprise, when I got to the place, there were already other people lined up to go in a big circus tent and see it. This was an out of the way area, I saw maybe four cars drive by in five hours, and I had to reckon that half of them went here. In the line was a guy who looked to be in his forties, which I thought was old as dirt at the time, and a woman with a young boy and girl hopping around excitedly. I was kinda looking forward to seeing the big ol' legume myself, but these kids were acting like it was the most exciting thing in the world. And I guess a giant peanut must be pretty exciting after driving through several hours of trees.

I bought my ticket from an old woman, she had more limbs than teeth, and I'm pretty sure she had a false eye as well. It cost only two dollars to get in and see the peanut, but it'd cost an extra dollar to take a picture with it. I paid my two dollars and stood in line with the rest, waiting for some fella to open the tent up to us and let us in. A few minutes after I got in line, probably when they realized we were the only people coming today, we were let in.

The signs didn't lie, this was a large peanut, it probably was the largest peanut at the time. It certainly was huge, almost touching the top of the tent it was in, and probably weighed at least a ton. Other than its size, it looked just like a regular peanut, shaped like a giant eight and covered in those weird, wavy squares they always seem to have.

"That sure is a large peanut." I said, and the guy next to me nodded.

"Mommy, pick me up for the picture! I wanna be close to the peanut!" the little girl yelled, I doubt she had any other volume to speak at, kids rarely go below a scream when they're talking. The mother picked the girl up and held her in her arms, while the boy, who seemed to have a bit more respect for his mother and her no doubt future back pain, stood beside them for the photo. Just as the flash went off, the little girl smashed her hand into the peanut as hard as she could, knocking her mother backwards and on to her knees. The girl fell close to the peanut, which began to crack all up and down it's shell. Then it began to leak.

What leaked out looked exactly like peanut butter, which probably woulda made me laugh if I wasn't so stunned. I didn't know what to do, except watch as the shell started to fall to the ground, and the globs of peanut butter inside were shaken off by what had to be the two biggest baby birds I ever saw.

Knowing more about birds now than I did then, I can say that they looked a lot like little brown buzzards, and I guess that's what they must have been. They made squawking noises, and looked around confused. They must've been in the peanut-egg a long time, because they seemed almost like they were close to getting rid of their baby bird fuzz, and because they were hungrier than anything else I had ever seen.

The little girl, I guess she was in that phase where baby animals are the cutest thing in the world, ran up to pet one. Her mother, who was still on the ground, tried to grab her daughter and pull her back, but the kid was fast, and she started petting one of the birds like little kids do, as hard as she could.

The bird she wasn't petting looked at that little girl like it was seeing an alien, which she must've been to them, and it got closer. I'm an occasional optimist and thought it was gonna let her pet it too, but it didn't. The peanut bird grabbed that little girl with it's beak and ate her in one gulp.

The girl's mother and brother screamed, while me and the other fella were still just kinda stunned. The birds looked at all of us, and started to waddle over with their long legs. One, the one that had just eaten the little girl, grabbed the mother by her leg and pulled her closer before it started pecking at her as hard as it could. That was when I ran out of the tent, when I saw her eyeball pop out.

I ran with my twenty-pound backpack as far as I could go, and didn't stop looking back in fear until I reached a town. I stayed in that town for four days, trying to tell people what I saw, but no one believed me, the sheriff wouldn't even go take a look at the place, said it wasn't his problem if I was seeing magical nut birds.

I've spent the rest of my life as far away from Arkansas as I can be while still being in the states, and I know this is silly, but I haven't eaten a peanut since.