's 2018 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Samuel Peterson (email)

Soft, pink candy.

It's not the sort of thing you'd expect the end the world, huh?

Crackpot theories abound, but nobody actually knows where it came from, or when exactly it hit the shelves. The general consensus is they just appeared one day: bags full of the stuff each labeled "FRooTy tUiTy," about the size of your head, all on sale for "88 CENT" in your nearest supermarket. The candies themselves didn't look any less suspicious; they were each loose and unwrapped, perfectly cylindrical little lumps, no bigger than your pinky, and soft like silly putty.

If you ask me, humanity deserves the hell the candy brought for being stupid enough to eat it. I mean, there's a whole millennia-old book about what happens when two idiots eat something they're not supposed to; you'd think the message would have caught on by now.

Obviously not all the stores that found it in their stock took kindly to it, and some were smart enough to throw it away, even sound out a warning where they could. It quickly became a matter of national security, if I'm not mistaken. Didn't matter though: every night across the world, on the same shelves, racks, or whatever a place had, new bags would come right back. If other things were put there in the meantime, they'd just vanish right before the new bags came in, soundlessly appearing at midnight in the appropriate timezone. You could watch it on camera or in person; the bags didn't care. They'd just pop in, like a shitty video game.

Since it was new and weird, inevitably people wanted to try eating it despite the warnings, despite how the nutritional information on them consisted of a box that just said "yum!" in perfect comic sans. And pretty early on, a forum group figured out you didn't even need to go to the store to get it. If you made a convincing enough imitation of a shop in your own house, even with just cardboard and marker, you'd get a "shipment" of candy at midnight, just like any proper store.

Not gonna lie, it really fucked me up when that worked. It shouldn't have, since I had accepted the store thing, but the more up-close and personal weird bullshit gets, the more upsetting it is to see, you know?

Since I like to think I'm not a complete goddamned idiot, I didn't touch the stuff. I just let it sit on the table where it appeared, especially since I knew if I moved it, another bag might come. I only threw it out once I had destroyed the sign I'd made for it in a fire, and made completely sure the ashes were all burnt out. Fat difference it made, since two new bags appeared the next day anyway, but I tried.

The effects of eating it weren't instant, or at least not every time, but they were always pretty severe. I don't think I saw more than a couple official news reports about it, but plenty of blog posts and videos online talked about and demonstrated it: people's gums were much pinker and softer than they used to be; their hair had fallen out in places and left tender pink flesh behind; a person's foot was easily bent at an impossible angle because it was all pink and soft, and a little bit sticky.

You'd think that would be enough of a deterrent for people to stop putting it in their goddamned mouths, at least among the people who hadn't yet, but no. And that was the other thing: the people who ate it were never bothered by how pink and easily-deformed their bodies became. If they were able, they just talked about how good it tasted, how enjoyable of a chew it was, how they were already thinking about eating more. The worst anyone ever said was that they felt a bit numb wherever they'd turned pink, but everyone already pink agreed: eating more would probably help.

It didn't, obviously. The world wouldn't be ending if it was perfectly fine and normal for everyone to be squishy pink zombies. If it was normal for the president to have disappeared under "personal circumstances," like everyone didn't know what that meant the big idiot in office did.

I got all the information I needed from some nameless schmuck's stream, from the "unboxing" of his bag of candy, to the results over the next few hours of every piece of candy he ate. Gruesome stuff, but even if I wasn't a fan of morbid shit, it pays to be informed.

The streamer got gradually less coherent as he ate more candy, and despite his promises at the start that he wouldn't eat more than one per five minutes, by the end of hour one he was shoving whole fistfuls into his stupid gob. It's worth mentioning that by then, all of his hair and teeth had fallen out, and his eyes were totally glazed over. There wasn't a single spot on him -- shirtless, to capture all the details as they happened -- that wasn't a dull, vibrant pink.

And he pretty much stayed like that. A lot of people in chat thought it was poetic, or even beautiful or some shit, how he'd just calmly keep reaching in the bag, pulling out as many candies as could stick to his hand, and put it all in his mouth. He ate two of his own fingers at one point, but I doubt he noticed. He just wordlessly got up and left when he finally reached down and found no more candy, probably off to find some more.

A couple different unaffected people have documented their interactions with the "pink people," or pinkies, and how unexpectedly docile they are. They don't do anything if you get in their way except peacefully try to move past you, either to the nearest bag of candy, or the nearest store when no candy's in sight. You can poke them, whack them, even reshape them as you see fit, and they won't even acknowledge you're there. They just keep going, so long as they have an arm to drag themselves with, or a round enough body to roll.

Even animals that have eaten it -- the most angry and vicious dog or temperamental and untrusting cat -- if you can convince them to eat just one, they'll eventually slobber down every piece of candy in front of them until they're as pink and lethargic as any pink human. And then they, too, will amble off in search of more.

It's all kinds of fucked up, but in my opinion, the real fucked part is how the pinkies like to stick to each other.

They're sticky to anyone, and supposedly no ill effects have come of just touching one with bare skin (not that I trust it enough to try), but if you let two separate pink boogers get close enough to one another, it marks pretty much the only time they stop trying to find pink candy. Instead they'll pretty much simultaneously hone in on each other, human or dog or bird or whatever, and if nothing stops them they'll just... squish themselves together, usually into a horrible new shape that has no business still moving around, or looking vaguely human while doing it.

Since a lot of pinkies try to find candy at the closest store, there have already been tons of pictures and videos of giant pink blobs writhing around in front of their local supermarket, basically becoming incidental nets for other pinkies as they all converge on the same spot. Depending on how they meet, they might collapse in a giant dog pile, loose legs and arms languidly flailing and trying to ambulate toward the entrance, or in rarer cases, you'll get something that managed to fuse standing up, and basically amounts to a walking lump of playdoh.

You know, if playdoh routinely wound up in shapes with hungry open mouths, dead eyes, and the kind of uneven and wobbly gait that only a drunk horse should have.

If you're wondering, yeah, eating part of a pinkie has the same effect as eating the actual candy. If you're lucky, when you tear into someone you'll even see the gaps between what are supposed to be candy bones, or tendons, or whatever else didn't get squished the moment it turned into sugary paste. Nobody knows why the pinkies don't try to eat each other, but they may as well do it already; even if the candy doesn't make it to their mouth, the pinkies will take any candy-based gain in mass they can get.

You'd think something this passive would be easier to contain, but apparently there's been a lot of moral outrage at some of the proposed solutions, never mind the attempted ones. Even the things people have tried don't do much. You can't shoot them; they'll just squish back together around the bullet or the hole it left. Can't burn them; whatever they're made of, it's not flammable, and it doesn't seem to melt no matter how hot you get it. Can't fence them in; they'll just squeeze through the gaps, and usually become even more unpleasant shapes for it. Even spraying water on them doesn't dissolve them; it just makes them look more rubbery, and get even stickier.

There are only two effective solutions anyone has found: pushing them over and leaving them there, merely warning people as one might direct traffic around an accident, or cutting them up and putting the pieces in boxes. Apparently a lot of people don't like the idea of their former pets, friends, family, or whoever being messed up any more than they already are, but they can't deny the effectiveness of it.

That is, the boxes aren't effective just because a sturdy enough box will prevent the pieces from wriggling out. Nothing so mundane; no, any time you put enough pink flesh in a box and close it up, it'll disappear right in front of you, just like those bags appear.

Nobody knows for sure where the boxes go -- the guy who got a big enough box and closed himself inside with a bunch of pinkies never came back -- but everyone has a pretty good guess where their journey ends.

Maybe it's the hunger talking, as more people crucial to getting real food to the public become candy, or get hindered by those who already are -- as more and more spots on the shelves in stores and the kitchens in houses have their food replaced with candy, including my own -- but I can't help but wonder if the conspiracy theorists are right.

As flattering as it might be to believe, humans probably aren't the only ones getting shipments of pink candy.