A headline from the Finnish news: Finlandia Junior -ehdokkaissa esillä kuolema, mielikuvitusystävät ja pehmolelut (link), or “Finlandia Junior-children’s literature prize nominees feature death, imaginary friends and stuffed toys”.
Man, would I win something if I could fit all three into the same story?
* * *
“You’re not real!” Jimmy cried.
“Nonsense”, the Terror Bear chuckled, its voice as harsh as the grumble of shifting gravel under Jimmy’s bare, running feet. “You see me, don’t you?”
“Nobody else—” Jimmy started, then slipped, fell, screaming, sliding down the incline, gravel and sand and stones digging into his side, tearing his nightshirt, scratching like tiny teeth. He came to a rest in a sobbing heap at the bottom of the hill, bleeding and shaking; and still the inky black shadow of the abominable stuffed bear with its human eyes and bloody cheeks hovered over him.
“You can hear me too, Jimmy”, it said. “And I’m saying you must kill your parents. I need their eyes.”
“No”, Jimmy sobbed, “never. Please.”
* * *
No, wait. That went wrong.
Let me see if the article gives any more pointers.
“The nominees process life’s great mystery, i.e. death, criticize lax parenting, and ponder how it is like to live in a modern city environment.”
So okay, death again; also lax parenting and a modern city.
* * *
It was a Friday before Jimmy opened his dad’s door and peeked inside; mainly because he was hungry.
The smell that came to meet him told him more than the words “fatal heart attack late Tuesday night” would ever have.
* * *
Hell, no. This is more difficult than I expected.
“Also included are the imaginary friend Mr. Penttinen, the stuffed toy Jellona (“Liony”), and what happens when robbers steal not candy, but by accident instead a kid.”
Imaginary friend, stuffed toy, and bumbling criminals. This is not going to end well.
* * *
“—so shut up, kid, or your dumb lion toy gets it!” the more red-faced robber raged.
“Please don’t!” Jimmy cried. “Mr. Liony is terrible when he is angry!”
“This?” the robber snorted, pig-ignorantly. “A misshapen lump of black, yellow and brown cloth the size of my fist is going to get angry at me, and I should be scared?”
“Well no, not really”, Jimmy mumbled.
Neither he nor the robber noticed the crunching sound from outside the hut; and neither did they notice the second robber had not come back yet.
“So why shouldn’t I”, the robber said, lifting the knife, “not take your stupid little toy”, he said lifting that, “you abominably sniffling misbehaving boy”, who trembled and sniffled, “and cut the silly thing open from neck to groin and wear it like a floppy hat!”
Which was a curiouser choice of words, given that that moment Jimmy’s daddy’s imaginary friend, Mr. Blood-Cthulhu, crashed in through the wall in an eruption of plaster and seething razor-bladed tentacle vortices and acid effluvia and robbery brain-matter, its vast coiled bulk flexing and heaving nauseatingly, rhythmically, its thousand bifid mouthparts piping keening wailing scream-dirges of some hell’s nethermost sphere of millennial pain, its vast central eye-thing blinking and staring, blinking and staring, blinking and staring and staring — and it, Mr. Blood-Cthulhu, jollily doing in a dizzying instant of unspeakable tearing violence to the naughty robber just that.
“Uk. Gluu.” the robber-hat said, and then spoke no more.
“I AM TOO LATE AM I NOT”, Mr. Cthulhu ululated, blood and ichor, only some of it its own, flowing down its unspeakable gnarly mess of a so-called face, “I AM TOO LATE! BOY HOW BADLY DID THEE HURT YE? IS THE POOL THAT SPREADETH NEATH THEE THINE LIVING-ICHOR OR BLOOD OR… OH CRAP.”
There was a brief silence; the sound of some blue-grey viscera sliding down the Elder God’s cheeks and erupting against the floor, in the process covering Mr. Liony in a rather indelible stain; also, a further sound of liquid expulsion.
Then a crescendo of piping, and in answer a rift in the dimensions’ darksome, unwholesome wall: “DIAPER GNOME!”
* * *
If only there was a way to make a seemingly authentic “children’s book” which took a turn like this and then to smuggle it into a library… oh wait, Lulu.
“Daddy daddy, I wantf to eat menftrual blood. I readf it makef you ftrong.“