grapegarden: Armaldo and Igglybuff from Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky (Treasure Map)
[personal profile] grapegarden
Oops. I never posted this fic to my creative journals, have I? This was written for Yuletide last year. I had always wanted to write what an actual episode of Candle Cove would be like, and this was my opportunity. :D I wanted to be true to old cheesy children's shows as possible, hence the accents and the over-the-top behavior of some of the characters. I'm not sure if it was 70s enough, but eh. Based extremely loosely off of a fake episode synopsis on the Candle Cove wiki.

Title: Crawling Under the Skin
Author: Puri
Fandom: Candle Cove
Genre: Horror
Rating: PG
Warnings: Nightmare fuel and mild violence
Ships/Characters: Janice, the Laughingstock crew, Horace Horrible, and the Skin-Taker
Finished: Yes

Janice opened her eyes in panic, but when she looked around the room, she realized that she hadn't fallen asleep in front of the television again after all. Last week, she had been caught by her mother watching late night cartoons instead of going to bed, and received quite a spanking. She remembered how much it hurt and made her cry, and she wasn't about to be disciplined again. Yet the lure of television was too good to resist, and there were certain shows Mama and Papa wouldn't dare let her watch...

"Goooooooooood morning, Janice! I hope you've had a good night's sleep. It's tiiiiiiiiiime for breakfast!"

So it wasn't a dream, she thought. She really was here, tucked in a bed below the deck of the Laughingstock. Janice yawned and stretched her arms, then called back to the voice that she was coming. She slipped off her night-gown and put on her favorite pink shirt and blue denim dress. She headed upstairs, but not before grabbing her teddy bear.

"Goooooooooood morning, Janice!" The Laughingstock trilled again. "Today is a lovely day!"
"Mornin', lassie." Captain Poppy greeted. "You'll git used to the talkin' ship eventually. Care to have a biscuit?"
“Sure!” Janice beamed.>
“I'll butter it fer ye. Ye bein' a new member of the crew, after all!”
“Thank you!” As Janice munched on her breakfast with her teddy on her lap, she realized just how hungry she was and how long ago it had been since she last ate. Ever since she had been discovered by the Laughingstock, Janice had been tossed into the adventure of a lifetime, and her head was buzzing trying to keep up with it all. First, it was meeting her new friends, like Captain Poppy and the rest of the crew. Then there was the rival ship, the Rubber Fishes, headed by none other than the notorious Horace Horrible. The day she arrived, Janice ended up saving the Laughingstock from being robbed and sunk, and the furious Horace had vowed revenge as he salvaged the remains of his pride. It felt good being a hero, even if it made her tired. And she'd be more than willing to sail the Seven Seas, as long as she could go home whenever she felt like it. Finishing her biscuit, Janice grinned. She wouldn't be going home anytime soon.

She almost spilled her mug when someone screamed across the deck. Poppy merely sighed, putting down his own biscuit and wiping the crumbs off his beard.

“What is it now, Pirate Percy?” he groaned.
“Th-Th-The sky!” Pirate Percy stuttered. “L-L-Look at th-the sky! It's… it's gone g-g-green!” The cowardly pirate's face was paler than usual, and his large eyes seemed ready to bulge out of his head. He couldn't stop shivering, as if he had been tossed overboard and climbed to dry land on an iceberg. Poppy and Janice turned their heads toward the horizon, where indeed, a poisonous green glow spread ominously like the fumes of a nuclear bomb.

“He's… he's c-coming b-back…”
“Who?” Janice asked.
“The Skin-Taker! He'll be the d-d-death to us all!” Percy shrieked. “G-Goodness g-g-gracious! We've g-got to hide!”
“Who is the Skin-Taker?”
“He's Horace's… H-Horrible's… c-c-commander! If you could c-c-call him that… If he c-c-c-catches you, he'll ch-ch-chop you up and w-wear your skin!”

Janice gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. She was reminded of summer camp, where everyone gathered around the fire after dark to tell scary stories. Such stories were all in good fun, and she didn’t believe that any of them were real… But in the short time she had joined the Laughingstock crew, she knew that Pirate Percy would loathe such tales, and telling him to make one up would be like asking a cactus to grow in the ocean. Did the Skin-Taker really exist? It was hard to imagine anyone worse than Horace Horrible, a bully determined to take over the oceans and turn the Laughingstock into a laughingstock. He had even snatched her over his shoulder and tried to kidnap her when they had first met, and was stopped just in time by Captain Poppy and crew. Would she have the courage to challenge him and his boss?

“Don't ye worry, lassie.” Poppy patted Janice on the shoulder. “The Laughing Stock's been facin' off against the Skin-Taker long before ye got here. He'll be dinner fer the sharks before he lays one finger on ye.”
“What does the green stuff in the sky have to do with, uh... the Skin-Taker?”
“The Skin-Taker is a master of the dark arts, usin' his magic to help the Rubber Fishes find lost treasure,” Poppy explained. “Remember what I told ye yesterday about Candle Cove?”
“I guess so. That's where you said the Laughingstock was going.”
“That's right! Anyway, the Rubber Fishes are sailin' there too. The Skin-Taker's been after this enchanted medallion found deep in the cove. If we can get it before he does, it'll set back the Rubber Fishes' plans fer world domination. And we're bound to git rich while we're at it!” Poppy rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Tell ye what, lassie. If we get this treasure and you do a good job, I'll share with ye a quarter of the profits. Sound good to ye?”
“Thanks, Poppy!” Janice smiled, clapping her hands in excitement. “I'll do my very best!”
“Here's to ye, Janice, the new member of the crew! And 'ere's to the glory of the Laffinstock!” The captain and Janice clashed their mugs, and heartily downed their toast.

“Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand hooooooooooooooooo!” A crew member from the crow's nest bellowed. “Candle Cove in sight!”


The island was sparse of trees with no wildlife in sight. As the ship entered the cove, it was like sailing into the mouth of a monster that had rocks for teeth. The cove water was a darker blue, like a navy tongue, and a giant cave ominously waited at the other side. The Laughingstock docked near the sand, and Captain Poppy led the way with Janice and Pirate Percy and the rest of the crew behind him.

“This is it, lassie.” Poppy said, spreading his arm toward the cave. “The legendary Candle Cove! It don't look like much, but nobody e'er came 'ere fer sight-seeing. This cave is the only place to go!”
“D-D-Do we have to g-go in there?” Pirate Percy shuddered. “It's so d-d-dark!”
“What cave isn't, ye landlubber?” Poppy said. “O' course we are! There's treasure to be found!”
“You g-guys g-g-go without me! I'm s-staying here and l-l-looking after the sh-ship!”
“But Percy, we need your help!” Janice cried. “If we don't go, Horace Horrible and the Rubber Fishes will steal the medallion and it'll be too late!”
“I'm not g-going.” Percy furiously shook his head. “Not for all the j-jewels in the w-w-world!”
“Seriously!?” Captain Poppy groaned. “What are ye, a pirate or a guppy? 'Cause even guppies 'ave guts compared to ye!”
“You can't m-make me! I'm n-n-never going in that c-c-cave, and that's f-f-final!”

The Laughingstock shifted, startling Percy and making him spin around. The literal face of the Laughingstock stared the cowardly pirate into the eyes, and her gigantic mouth moved slowly as her words bellowed across the island:


“Aiyeee! Okay okay!” Percy screamed and shook, yanking the ends of his hat and pulling it over his head. “I'll g-go!”
“That's better.” Captain Poppy grinned. “As long as the Laughingstock's got him in check, he fears her more than anything he'll have to poke with that rusty knife of his. Now let's not waste any more time. Let's get that treasure!”
“Let's go, Teddy.” Janice said to her teddy bear, hugging it tight as she followed the crew into the cave.


Everyone carried lanterns in order to see, and it was like walking into the abyss of the earth. The walls were glossy and brown, with rock formations that seemed gooey enough to be molded like clay. The endless clusters of stalactites and stalagmites were like candles dripping wax from one to the other, which had earned the cove its name. Tiny pools of water gleamed in parts unknown, and Janice often found herself stepping on them since they were so well camouflaged. Cautious of slipping, she and the rest of the crew walked slowly, lest they broken a bone or two, or worse yet, have their lanterns doused and be lost inside Candle Cove forever.

“You h-hear that?” Pirate Percy shuddered while the cave moaned.
“Shuddup, Percy, it's just the wind.” Captain Poppy answered. “Perfectly normal fer a cave like this. But ye'd know that if ye were a better pirate. Even Janice is braver than ye!”

While Janice didn't like the captain picking on Percy, she had to smile at his compliment. It certainly helped her feel bolder than she really felt. For a while, the crew ventured on uneventfully. The groaning of the cave was still eerie, but under the glow of the lanterns, they had yet to find anything threatening.

"D-D-Do you th-think there are b-b-bats?" Pirate Percy shuddered.
"Bats? Bats are harmless!" Captain Poppy said. "They're more afraid of us than we are of them. Bats are the least of our problems!"
"Why do you ask, Percy?" Janice asked.
"Y-You d-don't hear the s-s-sound of w-wings b-b-beating?" Percy glanced around the room. "It's getting l-louder and l-l-louder... and it's c-c-coming this way!"

Unfortunately, Percy was right. No sooner than the cowardly pirate had warned the crew that a black cloud of bats swooped over their heads, diving into their faces with agitated squeaks.

"Ow! It bit me!" Percy screamed. "Help! HELP!"
"What sorcery is this!?" Poppy yelled, desperately slashing at the bats with his sword. "This ain't normal bat behavior! They must be enchanted bats sent by the Skin-Taker!"
"There's too m-many of them! I CAN'T SEE!"
"Help! HELP!" Janice cried. She was knocked to the ground into a puddle by the force of the bats, soaking her clothes. She splashed water at them and kicked with all her might, then ducked as she covered her head with her arms. The bats ignored her, but maniacal laughter soon assaulted her senses, and she immediately recognized who it was.

"Horace Horrible!" Captain Poppy shouted. "I knew it had to be ye!"
"Enjoyed that, Laughingstock? That's what you get for trespassing!" The Rubber Fishes captain cackled. He twirled his gigantic mustache and adjusted his monocle, a habit he was prone to doing. His tall, narrow jaw could barely contain his toothy grin. "You're all too late! We got the medallion long before you ever set foot in this cave! But maybe I'll be willing to hand it over for a small exchange! Huwahaha!"
"Is this some kind of trick? Ye ain't foolin' us, Horace! If we're gonna get that medallion from ye, it'll be through force!"
"Not if this little girl wants to see her teddy again!" In one hand, the evil captain displayed the medallion, whose skull-emblazoned design gleamed with the rest of the cave. On the other, he waggled a soaked teddy bear for all of the crew to see.

"Give me my teddy back!" Janice cried, lunging at Horace as he mockingly lifted the bear out of her reach.
"Ah ah ah!" He tutted. "If you want your precious teddy back, you'll have to promise to let us keep the medallion. Try to fight us, and he'll be slashed to ribbons!"

Horrible Horace cackled again at the devastated expression on Janice's face, when there was the sound of glass shattering, and he yowled in pain as he clasped where his monocle used to be. A well-aimed knife was stuck in his socket, and Janice hurriedly grabbed both her bear and the medallion.

"R-Run Janice! Run!" Pirate Percy cried.
"You sniveling little welp!" Horace howled. "That was my best monocle!"

While the evil captain was stunned, Poppy shot Percy a look of astonished thanks before charging at Horace. Frightened for her life, Janice tried to remember the way in which she came. Her lantern did little to light the way, and her other arm was full with both her teddy and the medallion, meaning if she fell, she had no way to stop herself. Before Janice could run far, she heard what sounded like bones crashing. She lifted the lantern and gasped at what she saw: a live skeleton had stealthily descended in front of her, and his bones were crusted with mud and grime. He dressed in a crudely sewn cape that looked like an unfinished leather quilt. His top hat was brown and beaten and just as shoddy. His menacing gaze consisted of eerie bright eyes that looked too large for his own skull, as if they could pop out of their sockets at any second.

"Hello there, Janice." The Skin-Taker greeted. He briefly held his hat to the center of his ribs to take a bow. "Horace Horrible has told me all about you. It's good that I get to see you in person at last. My, my..." He crooned, leaning in to scratch the girl's chin. "What a lovely young lass you are, and such lovely, young skin…"
"Leave me alone." Janice flinched from the gesture, as if a snake had struck her.
"A lovely lass, but oh so rude. Such a shame. But let's keep things civil between us. I'm just getting to know you, after all."
"...Why does your mouth move like that?" As the Skin-Taker talked to her, Janice couldn't help noticing the unusual way that his jaw moved. Instead of up and down, it slid quickly back and forth, grinding with a faint squeal like the wheels of a rusted runaway mine cart.

His eyes gleamed and a maniac expression possessed the Skin-Taker's face, and he stared right through her, as if she was no longer there.


Janice's eyes widened with horror, and she was unable to make a sound. She stared back at him, unable to believe what he had just told her as she glanced between his hat and cape. Are they really made out of...?

"If you could kindly hand over the medallion, I'll hold off on finishing my cape and spare your life. The Laughingstock is no match against me. I could let you join me, and you can have all the riches in the world! All the games, all the toys, all the candy... anything you want. No bedtime, no parents, no spankings! Just me and you and the best pirates of the Seven Seas!"
"...No." Janice replied, backing away. Captain Poppy, Pirate Percy, the Laughingstock, and the rest of the crew were her friends. She wouldn't give them up for all the gold and jewels in the world. Not even chocolate bars or television. If there was one thing sailing on the Laughingstock had taught her, it was that friendship was the most valuable treasure in the world.
"What did you say?"
"I said no!" She yelled, clinging tighter to her possessions. "You're never going to get the medallion! And you're never going to beat my friends!"
"Well, well, well! That's too bad."

Without warning, the Skin-Taker lunged for Janice with his sword. She barely dodged in time, tripping over and scrambling on her feet as she tried to escape. The rest of the pirate crew had caught up with Janice and swarmed around the Skin-Taker, buying her time to get away. Captain Poppy was still embroiled in a duel with Horace, and she had no clue what happened to Percy... hiding, perhaps? Janice huddled behind a pair of stalagmites, trying to hide the lantern flame as she watched the shadows of the pirates clash on the walls. She witnessed the silhouettes of weapons—at least she hoped they were weapons—flying through the air, followed by streams of expletives and choked gasps. She hugged her knees and made herself small, listening to the howls of the defeated echo across the cave.

Among the carnage, the medallion started to glow...


College student Janice Harryhausen moaned as she was gently shaken on the shoulder by her roommate, finding herself lying on the apartment sofa that the two of them shared. The TV was blaring static, and empty soda bottles lain strewn on the table in front of her.

“Ugh… how long was I knocked out?” Janice mumbled.
“Dunno. I just got back. It's three in the morning.” Her roommate shrugged. “You told me to wake you if you got knocked out here again. You watchin' late night cartoons or something?”
“Yeah. Looney Tunes and such. I was actually hoping to catch this really dumb show I liked as a kid. You heard of Candle Cove?”
“Nah. Can't say I have.”
“It's a show about pirates. Really cheesy. Scared the hell out of me for some reason, though.” Janice frowned. “Now that I'm grown up, I wanted to watch it again to see if it would still scare me. Maybe get some laughs out of it and move on. Eh… don't mind me. It's just a stupid show.”
“Better turn that off and go to bed anyway. I've been staying up too late lately. Hope I don't miss any classes tomorrow. Good night.”
“Night…” Once her roommate disappeared, Janice summoned the strength to grab the remote, shut off the television, and drag herself to bed.

What happened to that show? She knew it had to be on that channel, yet every time she got there, all she got was static. She blamed the bad reception; college students weren't known for having high-tech TVs, after all. She went online and met other people who remembered Candle Cove, around her age, and they admitted that they had the same problem as she did. Had someone been messing with their minds? But if it had been only their imagination, why did they remember the same things? The episode Janice recalled most vividly was the one that had scared her most… the episode that had introduced the Skin-Taker. She had described the episode and recalled certain lines as best as her memory could take her, but when she approached the ending, she blanked out and got nothing.

She could only remember the screaming.
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grapegarden: The opening cutscene to the fourth level of Kirby's Adventure, Grape Garden. Poor Kirby just lost all his balloons! :o (Default)

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