DARK WEB: STEVEN HICKEY’S ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CREEPYPASTA – PART 29: I WAS NOT A BAD KID
There are few things as legitimately horrifying as the mistreatment of children. As normal, well-adjusted people we are hard-wired to want to protect the most defenceless, vulnerable members of society. That there are monsters out there who might prey on youngsters is truly disturbing, so it’s probably no surprise to hear that a number of Creepypasta stories deal with precisely this subject matter.
Back in March I covered two of the most infamous of these — 1999 and Where Bad Kids Go. These not only address the abuse of children, but they also feature that always popular Pasta trope ‘the sinister TV show’.
1999 is the more well-known of the two and dates back to 2011 when author Giant Engineer posted the story to the Creepypasta Wikia (http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/1999). It’s the story of a young man named Elliot who, through a series of blog posts, recounts his experiences with a strange TV station, Caledon Local 21, and the shows that it screened including the now infamous Mr Bear’s Cellar.
Where Bad Kids Go is a much shorter pasta about an old Lebanese children’s show that served as a serious warning against misbehaviour. The exact origin of this story remains unknown, but you can read it here: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Where_Bad_Kids_Go
So why am I mentioning them both now?
Well, one of the greatest things about Creepypasta is that it is created for the fans, by the fans. Plagiarism is frowned upon, sure, but the fact is that, for the most part, these stories are given to the community to evolve and adapt as they see fit. ‘Unauthorised’ sequels and spin-offs are common place… but (aside from the obvious and often creatively bankrupt ‘versus’ stories) it’s quite rare to see a writer attempt to merge two separate pastas.
It was this that Redditor Nico Wonderdust recently achieved with the story I Was Not A Bad Kid.
Posted to that bastion of quality spooky stories, r/creepypasta on 4 August, (http://creepypastatoo.wikia.com/wiki/I_Was_Not_A_Bad_Kid) Nico’s story brings together 1999 and Where Bad Kids Go with haunting results.
I don’t want to spoil the plot here, but suffice it to say that the story opens in 1985 in Lebanon when our narrator was just a child and details a terrifying ordeal that he experiences at the hands of a family friend. Lucky to escape with his life, years later he moves to Canada… where his own young son makes a chilling discovery.
I Was Not A Bad Kid isn’t the greatest Creepypasta I’ve ever read, but it is very, very good. When you consider that this is the author’s very first pasta, it’s quite astonishing. The real thing that stands out for me with this story is the seamless manner in which Nico Wonderdust blends two separate, established mythos. It’s a perfect example of what I often call the fluid nature of creepypastas — always changing and evolving as they are adapted and spread by the same fans who consume them. Not only is he an author of Creepypasta, Nico Wonderdust is clearly a fan of web horror as well.
It takes a lot of care and attention, not to mention bravery, to adapt a well-loved property (something film-maker Adam Wingard recently discovered with his sequel Blair Witch), and it is very, very difficult to get it right. I Was Not A Bad Kid is a fine example of how good the result can be when it does. Nico Wonderdust was kind enough to take some time to speak with UK Horror Scene about his story and the creative process through which he created it.
UK HORROR SCENE: Hi Nico, thanks so much for talking to us. In your own words, tell us a little about I Was Not A Bad Kid?
NICO WONDERDUST: I Was Not A Bad Kid is a story joining two otherwise unrelated CreepyPasta that, in my opinion, work really well together if you use a little imagination and do a bit of research. The story revolves around a child (who I mistakenly didn’t give a name) who stays over at their friend’s house and is kidnapped by Mr Bear, then taken to the building from Where Bad Kids Go, in the end he manages to escape from the building, move to Canada, then start a family. Later his son sees Mr Bear on TV, which is where the story ends.
I get asked a lot of questions from readers regarding the story, about things that I thought were obvious, but maybe they’re only obvious to me as I wrote the story and fully understood the idea behind it and what’s really going on the whole time. I’d like to take this opportunity to clear a few things up based on questions I have been asked. Anthony’s father is Mr Bear, this is how the main character was kidnapped so easily, Anthony had also been subjected to the same kind of treatment as the rest of the “bad kids”, however, being Mr Bear’s only son, and the only child who was successfully brainwashed, Anthony was released, he does occasionally slip up, like at the dinner table, but soon “falls in line” with a slight push in the right direction from his father.
When the building was burnt down, this is when Anthony’s father moved to Canada and set up a TV station. Shortly after this is when the unknown person broke into the room when the main character was kept prisoner — this unknown person is actually the journalist from Where Bad Kids Go. The last line of my story is a direct quote from the original 1999 story.
UKHS: What served as your inspiration for the story?
NW: The two original stories themselves were what inspired me to write this story, I’d always wanted to write CreepyPastas but I never knew where to start or what to write about, until I got the idea of somehow tying together two otherwise unrelated CreepyPasta. Believe it or not, this is actually the first CreepyPasta I’ve ever written.
UKHS: Why did you choose to tackle not just one but two of the most popular Creepypastas?
NW: It wasn’t so much about taking on two popular CreepyPastas, but just joining together two CreepyPastas which I felt worked together. If I could find a way to make it work, I could have joined together two CreepyPastas such as Desmond’s Journal and I Met Robin Hood, but that wouldn’t have worked. I felt this did work though, because both of the stories revolve around TV shows aimed at children, from there I did a little research and found the timeline worked very well.
In Where Bad Kids Go the main character talks about “The Big War” ending, which I found to be The Lebanon War, which ended in June 1985, this is when my story starts, just before the end of the war. From then on, my story crosses over with this one, gave 14 years for my character to move to Canada, grow up, start a family and then I Was Not A Bad Kid crosses over with 1999.
UKHS: Were you at all nervous tackling two such beloved pastas?
NW: Sure I was nervous, partly because I was taking on two huge stories that are already well established within the community and I didn’t know how people would feel about me taking what they already know and changing it. I didn’t want them to think I was doing this just to use big named stories in my story. I wrote this purely for the idea behind it, the coming together of two stories that people wouldn’t usually associate with each other, aside from them both containing a TV show. But I was also really nervous because, as I said before, this is the first time I’d written a CreepyPasta, it would have been the first story I’d ever written had I not done the “Escape From Kraznir” assignment in my first year of high school.
I don’t remember much about the assignment other than having to write three parts, each part was set on one day. There was a three-headed dragon-type thing I believe was called a Margatroth, maybe, and the teacher pulled me up about my writing ability, which was literally something along the lines of: “They were stuck on top of a high pillar, a dragon flying around them, and at the bottom of a 100-foot drop was a lake of lava, but one of them had a magic ring and teleported them all to safety”
My teacher wasn’t impressed, and rightly so, I could have written out an epic battle, a near-death scene, I could have done a lot with that kind of situation but I opted for a magic ring? I was so unimaginative at 11 years old!
UKHS: You say you don’t mind talking about Creepypasta? Would you say you’re a fan? If so, what is your favourite Creepypasta by a creator other than yourself?
NW: No, I don’t mind talking about CreepyPasta at all, I could literally sit and talk all day, or night, given that it’s currently 2:14am right now! Yes definitely, I’m a huge fan of CreepyPasta! Now this is a really difficult question, I couldn’t really say which single CreepyPasta is my favourite as there are so many amazing ones out there, but I do have a couple that spring to mind right now.
Dear Abby is one of my favourites not for how well-written it is or anything like that, but this is the first CreepyPasta I ever read. I was streaming on YouNow and was asked to read a CreepyPasta for about the 100th time that week, so I gave in and the user suggested Dear Abby. I started reading and I was so freaked out by the way the letters develop I actually stopped reading mid-stream.
The Russian Sleep Experiment really got me too and I was one of the many people who thought it was a really experiment! I also love a lot of Slimebeast’s work, aside from the obvious, Abandoned by Disney, I really love Afterpeople”and Denialist, Slimebeast is a genius and his stories are so clever and so well-written.
When God Blinks is another new favourite, I thought that was a really clever idea and that got me really thinking.
I also love Waking Up, The Black Pill, Absolute Hell, anything about afterlife experiences gets my heart racing! The Fairdale Kids Stay Inside was great too. There’s far too many to name.
Then there’re less known CreepyPastas such as Desmond’s Journal, I Met Robin Hood and Johnny Really Goes Missing… I’m going to have to stop there, I could go on all night.
UKHS: Why do you think Creepypasta resonates so well with the fandom?
NW: I believe it’s all about love. I believe that for readers, myself included, that love is for the feeling of being lost in a story that really plays with your mind, whether that’s to put the fear of God into you, trip you out or make you think “this could be real”. For writers, I believe it’s the love of writing and the love of causing those feelings for the readers or making them really think.
Because of how passionate the people who read or write CreepyPasta are it has a snowball effect and other people find themselves getting pulled in too, only to share stories, or become a writer themselves and before you know it their friends get pulled in too. At least, that’s what I believe.
UKHS: What do you think the appeal of 1999 is to fans?
NW: I personally think that the story is so well-written and is so realistic that many people have fallen in love with this story. I mean, it’s not very difficult at all to set up a home studio to broadcast on the old analog channels that are no longer used, all you need is the internet and to know what to look for. 1999 is a very simple story, written to the highest of standards and the fact that Giant Engineer took on the role of the character, frequently updating the original story, adding new parts such as messages from Mr Bear since his escape played a big part.
UKHS: And what do you think is the appeal of Where Bad Kids Go?
NW: See now this one is harder to answer, for me personally. I think it still contains some aspects of realism — a lot of messed up TV shows were made in the Seventies and Eighties — and a lot of these TV shows make it into CreepyPastas, such as Candle Cove, so why not this one? I think that any CreepyPasta about a messed up TV show, over time, will do well and appeal to the community.
UKHS: Which writers, horror or otherwise, do you consider yourself a fan of?
NW: Other than CreepyPasta, I don’t actually read various stories by individual authors very much. I love a lot of Stephen King and personally have a couple of his books, Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole stories (well, diaries) were absolutely amazing too. Other than that, I mainly read CreepyPasta. I absolutely love Slimebeast, C.K. Walker’s wrote many great stories, and CreepsMcPasta has written a number of really good stories too. I’m also a huge fan of writers who are not so well known, such as WanderingRiverdog, Pokerf1st and Huck Shuck.
UKHS: What work of your own are you most proud of?
NW: With this being my first CreepyPasta, and seemingly being well received by approximately 90+ percent of people who have read it, I’m very proud of this story. But there’s one other thing, that since starting writing (and relating to) CreepyPasta that I’m very proud of, and that’s a Wiki I set up about a month ago.
The idea behind it is that any writer, no matter how small or how well-known, can come along and post whatever stories they wish, without ridiculously high expectations and unrealistic requirements (at least for new writers). On a certain website, they don’t allow you to write spin-offs, your posts will be deleted because of errors, the staff put writers down — it’s just awful. How is a new writer supposed to flourish with that kind of treatment?
So I set up a Wiki where these writers can post whatever they like, and I have some great moderators who are there to help these writers develop their skills and potentially become amazing at something they love! We also have narrators in our team who are looking for original stories to read instead of the same stories as every other narrator, and because of this, the community just works so well.
We’re currently a very small community, but we’re a community of like-minded people with a passion for CreepyPasta, we’re there to help each other grow and to support each other, we work together as a team and welcome newcomers with open arms, and that is what I’m most proud of.
UKHS: The fans are very passionate about these stories. Are than any examples of fan art for either story that really impresses you?
NW: To be totally honest, I haven’t really seen that much fan art of either story, a couple of cartoons of Mr Bear here and there, I believe I saw him with a gun once? I also saw a short movie of Where The Bad Kids Go, but personally preferred reading the story to seeing it acted out. If anybody’s made a genuinely good movie of 1999 I’d love to see that, however!
UKHS: Will you ever return to the story of I Was Not A Bad Kid in the future? And what else can your fans look forward to from you in the days ahead?
NW: Until you asked that question I actually never intended to return to the story, but after thinking about it, I do believe there are a couple of things could do with it, so who knows? It’s too early to tell just yet, but you’ve certainly planted the seed.
I am actually working on another story right now toying with the idea of alternate dimensions and I’ve got another couple of ideas I’ve been playing around with and making notes, so more stories are definitely on the cards. Aside from that, I’m working on the Wiki daily, getting in touch with new authors to ask permission to post their stories (and for our narrators to read them if they wish), adding help pages here and there and bringing in new writers and narrators.
In the future, I also plan on narrating my own stories too, but I’m going to need a decent amount of stories before that idea takes off.
UKHS: Would you consider adapting any other popular pastas?
NW: One of the ideas I’ve been playing around with recently involved Slenderman, but it would be difficult to write a really good Slenderman CreepyPasta with it being so overdone. I may try my hand at joining two other CreepyPasta at some point in the future too, I had fun writing I Was Not A Bad Kid and would like to do something similar again. I did also want to write The Russian Sleep Experiment 3 (Following CreepsMcPasta’s number 2) but at this minute in time I believe taking on something like that is way out of my league, and if I ever got round to it, there’s a chance it may have already been done by then.
UKHS: Finally, are there any links to which you’d like me to send my readers to see more of your work?
NW: Any stories I post in the future will all be posted on my Wiki which is http://CreepyPastaToo.wikia.com and I encourage everyone of all writing abilities to come along and share their stories too!
And for those who want to keep updated on when I post a story, I’ll put out a message on Facebook and a Tweet via http://facebook.com/NicoWonderdust and @NicoWonderdust . As I said earlier, in the future I do want to narrate, so if anybody wants to hear that just search for “Nico Wonderdust” on Youtube from time to time.
It’s always good to see talented young writers such as Nico emerging in the Creepypasta community, it suggest that the genre is in good hands for the future.
However, next week I’ll be speaking to somebody who can be considered a veteran author as we discuss one of the greatest Creepypastas of all time.
It’s one you won’t want to miss.