Day of the Barney

Mrs. Thompson kissed her two children, Jenny and Robby, and sat them before the
television set.  Their eyes widened and gleamed as the picture faded in,
revealing the one who had become a dear and cherished friend over the last few
months.  Mrs. Thompson smiled at their captivated wonder, and went to the
kitchen to prepare dinner.  As she readied the vegetables for stir-fry, she
peered into the living room and watched the blubbery, purple dinosaur prance
and roll across the screen.

"Silly fat reptile," she muttered, and went back to her preparations.

If Jenny and Robby were annoyed by her remark, they made no sign of it.
Instead, they listened and watched in rapt attention to Barney the Dinosaur,
who was being broadcast live from the nation's capitol.  The plaza was filled
with thousands of wide-eyed youths, who wriggled and squirmed for a closer look
at the Purple One.  Off to the wings, the green dinosaur known as Baby Bop
giggled and preened, occasionally blowing a kiss to the children in the crowd.
Finally, following a light song and dance about sharing, Barney sauntered up to

the podium and spoke:

"Hello, all my friends out there! I'm so happy you could make it to my special
concert.  Have I told you lately how much I love you?"

Children world-wide simultaneously burst, "I love you too, Barney!"

The Purple One giggled and for a moment appeared to blush.  "Love is such a
wonderful thing.  Especially the love you and I share for each other.  I also
want you to know how much of a special friend you are to me.  Are you my friend

The response was thunderous, rising from the kids in the plaza, across the
living rooms scattered across the nation.


"Well, that's wonderful!" reeled Barney.  "But do you know what, kids?  I have
something really, really sad to tell you."  He sighed, letting his immense,
dead eyes roll to the floor. "Not everyone is Barney's friend....some people
don't even want you to be my friend."

Protests and cries began to rise collectively within the entranced mass.  The
Beast of Purple quieted them with a raise of his hand.  He continued:

"There are people who don't want me to love you, and want to take you away from
me.  These people are very bad, and want to hurt your loving friend Barney.
Some of them  may be people who are very close to you.  But do you know what?"

The audience of children silently yet anxiously awaited the answer.  An unholy
stillness had fallen upon the crowd.  Many of the adults began to feel
isolated, targeted.....unwelcome.

"None of them, not a single one, loves you as much as I do.  I'm your only real
friend in the world.  I really love you, I do!  But these bad people don't.
Some of them may be your neighbors.  Some of them may be your teachers. And
some of them....."

"Who, Barney, who?!?" shrieked a young girl from a barricade.

"...some of them may be _your_ parents!"

Children began screaming and crying instantaneously, their teeth and fists
clenched in rage.  Security guards who had been trying to keep the children
back behind the lines began to fidget uneasily, as the sea of wide-eyed,
growling, gurgling children began rising against them.  Some guards broke from
the line and ran down the street, screaming frantically.  Others tried to push
the youngsters back but were pulled in by grasping, clawing hands.

The cries were horrible.

One guard, as he was being simultaneously crushed and pulled apart by the
mindless horde, looked back upon the stage.  The Purple One and his green
sidekick were laughing and dancing demonically about the platform, which was
now spattered with blood and torn clothing.  Next moment the world went dark
and the guard was lost forever amidst the torrent of violence and unholy

 I love you, you love me.....let me have your family.....with
 a quick stab or kick, we'll set the children free....don't you
 know you were meant for me.....

Mrs. Thompson finished washing the vegetables and figured either Jenny or Robby
could take out the trash.  She walked out into the living room only to notice
the children were gone and the TV station was giving a dull, whining tone and a
test pattern.

"Jenny?  Robby?  Are you here anywhere?"

Perhaps they've gone outside, she thought.  She returned to the kitchen and
looked upon the counter.  Her tinsel-steel paring and slicing knives were gone.

but they were there just a moment ago, she thought.  Then, just as a flash of
steel slashed across her legs and another just above her waist, she heard a
muffled giggle and caught a glimpse of purple and green out the corner of her
eye.  She collapsed into a pile of her own entrails and blood, her life seeping

into the tile.  As the world faded to a lifeless grey, she heard a familiar
tune sung by two familiar voices...

 "I love you, you love me, let us join with Lord Barney...with
 a great big kiss and hug, from me to you....let's purge the
 world of adults too...."

Mrs. Thompson stopped breathing.

"He's NOT a silly fat reptile!"

The moral of this story?  Stop Barney before it's too late.

Date: 07-21-93 (09:07)              Number: 17 of 102 (Refer# NONE)
  To: ALL
Subj: Day of the Barney II: Horror continues
Read: (N/A)                         Status: PUBLIC MESSAGE
Conf: (3194)       Read Type: GENERAL (+)

Message-ID: <>
Organization: Macalester College

NOTE: This is the second time I've posted this, I don't think it made it past
the newsfeeder the first time.  Sorry if it did.  Anyway, enjoy! --BCB


Chapter One: Thirteen

Jeremy Phillips awoke to the sound of rumbling thunder, and for a moment,
reeled in fright.  The sky above was a turbulent black mass, occasionally lit
by a silver flash of lightning.  His fear quickly abated when he
remembered his Barney doll lying beside his pillow.  He firmly tucked it under
his chin, rolled back under his dingy green blanket, and slept on the cave
floor with several hundred other children in the cavern.

As he snuggled close to his purple plush companion, he began to think back how
he came to know Barney.  It all began so many years ago, in a time completely
unlike the one he lived in now.  He remembered the television show, the
feature-length movies and videos, the merchandise, and the ever-assuring
presence of the best friend a kid could ever hope for.  Most of this happened
before the Great Act of Love.

The Great Act of Love was defined by some as a cataclysm, though these were the
skeptics.  Jeremy had actually heard an adult call it a holocaust, though he
never understood what the word exactly meant.  All he remembered was one
weekend afternoon, and a call to duty that raised the voices and arms of
thousands of children to purge the world of a menace that threatened the peace
and love between Barney and the children.

They killed every adult they could find that day.

Barney had planned it well.  He knew for a long time how all the adults of the
world were trying to keep him and the children apart.  Instead of giving in,
the Purple One arranged a live, satellite-broadcast concert presented from the
nation's capitol.  The turnout was enormous, as Jeremy remembered it.  Across
the country, wide-eyed children gaped at the screen in awe and joy at the
antics of the fat purple dinosaur and his companion, Baby Bop.  Then, in a wise
and calculated fashion, the one known as Barney unleashed his will upon the
world, calling attention to those who opposed him.  Every child carried out the
Great Act of Love, as it would soon be called, without hesitation or remorse.
The night turned blood red, broken by the screams of adults.  By dawn however,
a blissful serenity had settled upon the carnage.

Jeremy wasn't sure what happened next.  That was all six years ago.  Or was it
seven?  He was so much younger then.  He did know that Barney and Baby Bop came
again to unite all the children, and took them under his care and guidance.
They told stories and played games with the children, and gave each and every
child a Barney doll and blanket.  The videos were shown every day, and though
the children were left to forage for their own food, it was plentiful because
of the vast fields of grain Barney raised with the help of his nameless
faceless servants, known as the Loved Ones.

Jeremy had never known of or seen a Loved One until well after the Great Act of
Love.  They were mysterious creatures, who spoke no language and communicated
in curious grunts and coos.  They were squat, bulky creatures donned in purple
and green robes.  They frequented the caverns and tunnels that laced the
landscape.  Jeremy often saw them scampering about with their wooden torches,
often carrying odd bundles up to the lair of Barney and Baby Bop.  They weren't
as loving or caring as Barney.  As a matter of fact, they practically avoided
all interaction with the children.

The other group Jeremy knew of were the Bad Ones.  The Bad Ones were simply
adults who had survived the initial slaughter stemming from the Great Act of
Love.  No one was sure how many had survived, but Barney and Baby Bop assured
everyone that they were evil, and would come in the night and put poisonous
spiders under your pillow if you so much as looked at one.  This frightened the
children immensely, and Jeremy hoped to God (Barney?) that he never met any.

But despite all the talk of Loved Ones and Bad Ones, Jeremy cared most for his
group, known as the Special Friends.  The Special Friends was an inclusive
group, for any young child could be a Special Friend.  Barney had deemed this
early on, and it was a title every child of the caverns carried with true

Jeremy was especially proud this evening.  This was the last day he would be
twelve-years-old.  Tomorrow, he would be thirteen.  Actually, so would his twin
sister Fran, and his best friend since second grade, Cameron.  It was well
known that it was a very special day indeed when a Special Friend turned
thirteen.  The three of them were to see Barney tomorrow night, for a "special
gift".  What it would be, no one knew.  No one ever came back to tell anyone

    * * * * * * * *

"What do you think we'll get?" asked Fran, as they walked up the glistening
cold steps.

"I don't know," replied Jeremy.  "Maybe we'll get a life-size Barney doll!"

"No, it's got to be better than that," said Cameron, adjusting his thick
glasses and lanky red hair.  "If no one comes back, it means maybe we're going
on a vacation, maybe to Hawaii or China!"

The three of them hoped that the Loved One clambering ahead of them would say
something, but it simply gurgled and kept climbing up the crude rock stairwell.

It clutched its torch with a thick, leathery glove.

"I'll bet it is a vacation!" squealed Fran, the excitement rising in her voice.

"I hope we get to choose, I want to go to Europe, that's where mom always-"

Fran caught herself.  Ever since the Great Act of Love, no child was to ever
mention their parents.  While it made Fran sad, she wouldn't want to hurt
Barney's feelings.  He loved her just as much as her mom and dad ever did.
Even more, he said.

The three children talked excitedly among themselves as they climbed the
immense stairwell.  Finally, they came upon a landing which opened out to a
great open plain.  Jeremy was the first to notice the bizarre sight ahead.  He
let out a short gasp, which drew the attention of Fran and Cameron.

Across the wide plain stood an ornate building, many stories high, and shrouded
in thick ivy.  It was apparent that this building was once white, but had been
sloppily repainted in varying shades of purple and green.  Great flocks of
birds flew amidst the rubble, and scores of autombiles littered the landscape,
rusting and shattered.

Cameron was the first to identify the structure.  It was the nation's capitol.

   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Hello, all my friends!  Happy thirteenth birthday to you!"

The fat purple dinosaur giggled and wobbled over to the three children.  He
gave each one a warm, enveloping hug.  The children reacted joyfully, and
cried, "We love you Barney!"

"And I love you too.  I'm so happy to be with my Special Friends.  Especially
on such an important day!  Let's sing a song!"

The children and Barney sang "Happy Birthday" several times, and danced around
the room that was once called the Oval Office.  From a darkened corner, a small
ensemble of Loved Ones played the music, on poorly tuned and rusty instruments.

The children didn't mind.  They were here with their very best friend, Barney.
And who could forget....

"Baby Bop!  There you are!"

The green, baby-eyed dinosaur scampered into the room, holding three-small
birthday cakes.  "I'm here. Oooohhh, I just _Loovveeee_ parties!"  She
proceeded to hug the children and incited them to blow out the candles on their
cake.  When they did, she ecstatically jumped for joy and squealed with

Children's enthusiasm has no limit.  It came to no one's surprise when the
children asked about their Special Gift.  Barney and Baby Bop both laughed

"But of course you'll get your Special Gift!  How could we forget that?" said
Barney, folding his arms over his immense abdomen.  "Baby Bop, how about taking
Fran to see her surprise?"

"Gladly!" squealed Baby Bop.  "Come with me, Fran, you're just gonna love this
one.  It's every young girl's dream come true!"  And with that, she took Fran
by the hand and led her hurriedly out of the room.  Fran could barely get a
chance to look back at the two boys and wave goodbye.  The next moment she and
the bubbly green dinosaur were gone.

The two boys were puzzled, but excited.  "Barney, you mean Fran gets a
different Special Gift than us boys?" asked Jeremy.

"Why yes she does, Jeremy.  But don't worry, your gift is just as special.  All
I want you to do right now is hold very still."  The next moment Barney took a
thick slab of charcoal and wrote "13" on the boys' foreheads.  He then nodded
the Loved Ones in the corner, and they left the room with their instruments.
Only one Loved One remained, and he brought a cloth-wrapped bundle to the
Purple One.  "Okay, Jeremy and Cameron, I want you to kneel on the floor and
close your eyes.  Then I'll give you your Special Gift!"

The two boys looked at each other, but both believed in Barney.  Why would he
do something bad to them?  They kneeled on the floor and closed their eyes.
Both began wondering what they would be getting.  A ticket for a jet ride?  An
envelope filled with money?  The possibilities were staggering to a young
child's mind.

From behind them, the boys heard Barney unwrap the bundle.  A moment later,
there came a curious sound, the sound of metal chafing against leather.

Jeremy flung himself forward, just as a swishing noise came down upon him.  He
hit the floor hard, and he heard Cameron hit the floor alongside him.  He
opened his eyes and stared at Cameron.  His head was chopped off.

Jeremy screamed in terror, and in his fright rose to his feet and ran straight
into a wall.  He hit with tremendous force and he felt the wind knocked out of
him.  He fell back on the floor, and stared into the severed head of his best
friend since second grade.  He screamed again, and looked up at Barney,
wielding an immense, blood-stained machete.  The fat squalid reptile looked
back with a puzzled look.

"Why Jeremy, you weren't supposed to peek!  When you play a game, you should
always play by the rules.  Rules are what makes a game work."  Barney giggled
and motioned with his arm.  "Now come back here and close your eyes.  It'll be

" killed..C-C-Cameron!" cried Jeremy, tears running down his face.
"You-you're gonna kill me too!"

"Why Jeremy, why would I do that?  Cameron's not dead, he's just playing a
pretend game!  If you had played the game right as he had, you'd be having fun
pretending like he is!"

Jeremy stared back at the lifeless head of Cameron.  A small trickle of blood
flowed out of his nose, and his thick glasses were shattered.  Smeared around
the dead boy's mouth was pink frosting.  Sensing Jeremy's fear, the Purple one
returned the machete to its sheath and gave it back to the Loved One.

"There, Jeremy.  I've put the scary knife away.  I'm sorry I scared you.  I'm
sure Cameron is sorry too.  Now come on back here.  I'm not going to hurt you,
Jeremy.  Don't you know how much I love you?"

"I...I....I love you too...Barney" muttered Jeremy, his eyes still locked upon
the battered head on the floor.  He slowly rose up, and began walking
towards the bloated purple dinosaur.

"There, there, Jeremy, we'll still have fun," said Barney in a motherly tone.
He extended his chubby arms towards the child.  "I'm not going to hurt
you...I'm not going to hurt you...."

Jeremy walked between Barney's arms and rested against his fat belly.  The
Purple One wrapped firmly behind the boy, gently stroking his sandy hair.

"...I'm going to kill you!"

The next instant the arms locked onto the boy's neck, plump purple talons
digging into his throat.  Jeremy tried to scream, but the air was cut off and
he could only thrash about wildly.  Barney began giggling again, and as he
proceeded to strangle the child, sang a lullaby:

 I love you, you love me....let me kill you another
 moment you'll be gone....then my power will continue on....

Jeremy's tongue and eyes bulged tremendously, his feet kicking sporadically.
Lights flashed before his eyes, and all he could see in between was the wide,
moronic grin and lifeless eyes of the gigantic purple beast choking him.  His
lungs were bursting, and a roaring sound rushed through his ears...

The next thing he knew, he was on the floor, gasping for air.  He looked up and
saw the fat bloated beast curled next to him, moaning in pain.  He must've
kicked Barney in a good spot, to have rendered him powerless.  Jeremy began to
crawl away, when he noticed the Loved One unsheathing the machete and
scampering towards him.

Jeremy quickly picked himself up and ran out the door.  The Loved One paused, then dropped the 
machete and tended to Barney, who was still writhing on the floor in pain.  Another time, perhaps.

    * * * * * * *

Jeremy ran blindly through the hallway, he'd been here a long time ago when
adults still occupied the building.  He and his parents had been here on a
tour, and true to a child's memory, he could remember a back entrance that
would take him to safety, hopefully.  Behind him he heard the muffled cries of
Loved Ones, who were obviously chasing him.  He knew immediately that he could
outrun them all.

When he tried the back lock, Jeremy found it to be open.  He flung the door and
ran out onto a back terrace.  Through the darkness, he ran across an odd, lumpy
surface.  It was almost like running on a field covered with cantalopes.  It
wasn't until he got on the far edge of the surface that he began to realize
what the surface was.

They were heads.

Jeremy had never seen a more unholy, dark sight.  In the silver rays of the
moon above, Jeremy looked upon the hundreds of skulls that littered the terrace
area.  He gaped, dumbfounded at the scene, and kept running and running until
he had cleared the last head by a wide distance.

He was now in the ruins of a city, empty and quiet like a tomb.  Jeremy looked
back at the sinister silhouette of the capitol building and wondered how soon
Barney and the Loved Ones would be out, searching for him.  He began to fear
for his sister Fran, and wondered what "Special Gift" she had been given by
Baby Bop.  All the time, his mind raced back to what he had seen crudely
scrawled onto each head, and of his own age, the age of impending adulthood:


Chapter Three: Redemption

The last rays of sun crept under the horizon, immersing the devastated skyline
in sullen darkness.  A small figure clad in a purple and green cloak warily
made it way towards the caverns, just below the main plaza of a structure once
known as the Capitol Building.  The cloak covered the figure very loosely, and
several times the being had to stop and readjust the garment.

If one were to inspect the figure closer, they would realize the cloak had a
huge gaping hole through the back of it, and the wearer was a child barely in
his teens.  Were one to look beyond this, they would see the child brandished
several broad hunting knives, a semi-automatic pistol, and sawed-off shotgun.
Jeremy Phillips had come to settle a score with a certain purple behemoth named

Jeremy had trouble moving for several reasons; the cloak kept sagging and
slipping, threatening to either trip him or reveal him to be what he truly was
and not a Loved One; the weight of his munitions and armanent grew increasingly
heavier with each passing moment, causing the youth to pause for breath every
few hundred yards; and the utter fear and apprehension of facing Barney and his
evil minions was wreaking its toll on the boy.

Jeremy felt he had no choice.  It would either be him or countless other
children before him, suffering the same fate Cameron had, or the unknown
circumstance that Fran was now in.  Jeremy felt ready as he could, he had fired
a gun for the first time yesterday, killing a Loved One in the process.

He could see the squalid beast now, foraging in the city ruins, looking for
him.  He had woken to its gurgling noise, and crawled out of hiding for a
closer look.  The Loved One was alone, and appeared lost or confused.
Certainly it must be a trap, thought Jeremy.  No Loved One had ever travelled
through the city alone before.  But as time passed and he continued to watch
it, he realized that it was indeed by itself.  And by the time he realized
this, the Loved One sniffed the air, turned around, and saw Jeremy staring at
it from the street.  It gave an ungodly cry, pulled out a short, spiked club,
and ran towards Jeremy.

The next moment, Jeremy stood amidst a cloud of smoke and stinging vapor.  His
ears were ringing, and he felt the heavy weight of the pistol in his hand.  His
arm felt numb, and he began to realize just what had happened.  He looked upon
the ground and saw the twitching, corpulent body of the Loved One.  A moment
later, its eyes sunk back into their sockets, and its entire body slumped.
Jeremy had killed.

Jeremy could not understand why he felt no remorse.  He remembered how he cried
when his cat, Snooper, was euthanized at the veterinarian.  How he cried when
his parents left for vacation.  How he cried when he couldn't play with his
friends because it was past his bedtime.  Those times were long ago, but Jeremy
remembered them well.  And he felt great sadness.  Yet he felt no sadness for
this wretched creature that lay still and oozing pasty pink blood out of its
wound.  Perhaps it was a good thing, if Jeremy meant to do what he planned that

Presently, Jeremy neared the Capitol Building.  He had kept careful track of
the days and time, he knew that it was time for the Imagination Game.  Just
before bedtime, Barney would entertain the children by singing and playing, and
the Imagination Game highlighted the entire evening.  All of the children would
be there.  So would all the Loved Ones, to monitor the children and play the
music.  There was no better time to return.

The first thing Jeremy had to do was find his twin sister, Fran.  After so many
weeks, he was curious to know what Baby Bop had done to her.  As he once again
crossed the wide field of skulls, he feared the worst.  He dared not look at
the decapitated heads for too long, lest he see Cameron's lying there, with his
shattered glasses and frosting-smeared mouth.

Off in the distance, Jeremy could hear the faint strains of music and laughter.

The nighttime games and songs had begun.  He climbed the back steps of the
building and gently pried open one of the cold metal doors.  He gazed down the
dim, carpeted hall and walked in.  He adjusted his cloak over his head, so if
seen, he'd stand to be mistaken for a Loved One.  As expected though, he saw no

Jeremy remembered that at the thirteenth birthday celebration, Baby Bop had
taken Fran outside the party room and down the hall somewhere.  He figured that
if it was a common route, maybe there would be more impressions marking the
path.  He eventually came to a well-worn, dirtied trail of carpet, and cocking
his pistol, followed it down a corridor and around a passage that led to the
cellar.  He was surprised at what he saw.

It was a paved, insulated cavern with smooth walls and brightly lit hallways.
Flanking each hallway were sets of thick metal doors with wide, square windows.

Jeremy sat silently and listened.  From behind many of the doors were odd,
gurgling noises.  Some were shrill cries, other were soft murmurs.
Occasionally, the clanging of metal tools could be heard, and Jeremy observed a
row of long tables on the far end of the hall, covered with bottles, linen, and


Jeremy was in a nursery.

He cautiously made his way to one of the doors and peered in the window.  He
saw a young girl sleeping on a metal bed, surrounded by flowers and Barney
dolls.  Her stomach was enormously swollen, and Jeremy noticed movement within
her abdomen.  Something about the scene made him uncomfortably ill.  He ran
down the hall, peering in each door as he passed along them.  Many of the rooms
were the same.  Young teenage girls in varying degrees of pregnancy, yet with
stomachs unnaturally huge for any normal child.  Jeremy remembered his aunt who
visited him at his house one day, she was almost ready to give birth.  But her
stomach was never as large as the girls he had seen in the basement.  What were
these people giving birth to?

Jeremy saw tags on the doors, crudely written in crayon. Names of the expectant
mothers.  Jennifer.  Molly.  Susan.  Linda.  Victoria.  Talia.  Beth.  Brenda.
Gretchen.  Prudence.  Sarah.

Where was Fran?

Jeremy ran down an adjoining corridor, one that had a metallic tinge in its
smell and color.  At the middle junction, he saw a brightly lit room, visible
from a huge sheet of reinforced glass.  Jeremy neared closer, and peered in.
The sight within made him shiver.

Arranged in neat rows of clear acrylic cribs were newborn children.  But they
weren't any children as Jeremy knew.  They were large, fat, gelatinous
creatures with puggish snouts and large, sedated eyes.  Their skin hung in
great reddish folds, covered with green and brown spots in random patterns.
From under thier immense, pale bellys hung thick, scaly tails that whipped
around clumsily.  Most of the infants had already begun teething.  Their teeth
were smooth, creamy white, and perfectly cropped.  The horrid mass fumbled
in their cribs, chittering and gurgling, staring stupidly back at the terrified

Now Jeremy knew who the Loved Ones really were and where they came from.  He
supressed the desire to scream in terror, and scampered down the hall, hoping
to find Fran.  He wasn't quite sure where one particular corridor would lead,
but he followed it in the vain hope of finding his sister.  At the end of it,
he saw a door with a sign on it.  The word on the sign was unknown to Jeremy,
and it was scrawled clumsily with a red crayon: MORGUE.

The smell was overpowering as Jeremy walked in.  The room was enormous, and
painted in an institutional grey-blue.  Only a few of the room's fluorescent
overhead lights were on, and they flickered sporadically.  Arranged in straight
columns were gurneys with sheet-covered lumps upon them.

Summoning up his courage, Jeremy lifted one of the sheets.

Whoever it was, she had been dead for sometime.  The skin was a marbled white,
and the eyes were glazed and dilated.  She had long brown hair and faint red
freckles dotting her cheeks.  As Jeremy looked further, he noticed a great
recession in her stomach, and lifted the nightgown.  What he saw made him
violently ill.  She had no stomach left, and there were signs that indicated
something had burrowed its way out from within the cavity.  This young woman
had been the unfortunate mother of a Loved One, like many others laid upon the
cold steel gurneys of the morgue.

Jeremy ran frantically down the corridor, forgetting that someone could hear
him.  He ran down another brightly lit hall, past another nursery.  From behind
the glass, Jeremy could hear the evil spawn gurgling and crying.  His only
wish was to escape from this unimaginable horror.  He looked about the
corridors in a complete state of dread and confusion.

"Jeremy! Is that you?"

Jeremy froze.  Slowly he turned around.  It was Fran.

She stood outside her door, clad in purple and green pajamas.  She looked well
kept and groomed.  She smiled and ran towards him.  "Oh Jeremy, I've missed
you so much!"

Jeremy ran towards his sister and the two embraced. He was amazed at how well
she looked.  She stood back and stared at the guns and knives he carried.

"Jeremy, what is all that?  Why are you back from China so soon?"

"China? You mean they told you I went to China?  Don't you know what happened
to me?  To Cameron?"

"Barney told me you went away to China, and that you would be back real soon,"
she replied.  "But look at me.  Baby Bop and the Loved Ones have been giving me
so much love and attention since my birthday.  I feel just like a queen."

Jeremy looked at his sister.  She looked far more cleaner and healthier than he
did.  He remembered the last words he heard Baby Bop tell Fran before leading
her out of the Oval Office:  "It's every girls' dream come true!"

Jeremy swallowed hard and asked his sister, "Fran, what was your 'Special

"Barney and Baby Bop are going to make me a mother!" Fran joyfully replied.
Her eyes sparkled with excitment and her whole body cringed with excitment.
"Barney says it won't be much longer until I'm ready, then they're gonna put a
specially created baby inside my body, isn't that wonderful?"

"Oh no...." said Jeremy, his voice getting strained.  "No, Fran, don't do it!
Look, let me tell you what happens to those who bear children for Barney.
They're dead.  And their children, they aren't normal.  They're monsters!
We've got to get you out of here Fran, you'll die if you stay.  Barney killed
Cameron and he tried to kill me.  He doesn't love you, he'll let you die!"

"No!" shrieked Fran, covering her ears.  "Don't tell me such things.  Barney
loves me, and I'm going to be a happy mother!  A happy mother, Jeremy!"

Jeremy reached for his sister.  As he did though, a green scaly arm grabbed his
shoulder.  He was pulled behind and looked into the baby-like eyes of Barney's
sinister companion, Baby Bop.

"For shame, Jeremy, making your sister cwy like that!  Don't you know it's not
nice to lie?  Shame, shame, shame, naughty Jeremy!"

Jeremy thrashed and hollered, but the green and pink dinosaur held on with
uncanny strength.  Baby Bop motioned Fran to return to her room but the girl
only wandered back halfway.  Baby Bop latched both hands onto Jeremy's
shoulders and shook him violently.

"Bad, bad, Jeremy-boy!  No manners for sister!  Wait'll I get Barney down here,
he'll teach you to be so bad!  Do you know what happens to bad, bad boys?  Do

Jeremy stared in stunned horror at the squeaky-voiced reptile.  He could only
shake his head.

"They get the blade, they do!  Bad boys get cut!  Deep, deep, deep cut!"  And
with a motion smooth and silent as the wind, Baby Bop pulled a thin, tapering
dagger from under her blanket.  She thrust it toward Jeremy's wrist.

Jeremy caught her by the hand, and the two fell upon the floor, struggling.
She began giggling demonically, prying the dagger closer to Jeremy's tender
young skin.  From behind, Jeremy could hear his sister screaming.  The next
moment he pulled his other arm free and unstrapped his Bowie knife.  He thrust
it upward, meeting soft green flesh.

Baby Bop gave a shrill cry, and staggered back.  The knife had lodged deep into
her shoulder.  She desperately tried to pull it out, screaming profanities and
inaudible curses.  Jeremy leveled his pistol at her and fired.

The impact of the shot flung the green and pink dinosaur several feet
backwards.  The recoil knocked Jeremy flat against his back.

When Jeremy recovered, Fran was kneeling over him.  "Jeremy!  Jeremy! Are you

Jeremy slowly rose and stood, rubbing his arm.  He looked down the hall at Baby
Bop.  The giggly dinosaur lay flat in a puddle of pinkish ooze, motionless.

"Jeremy, killed Baby Bop!"

Jeremy put his arm gently on Fran's shoulder.  "Sis, you need to see

The two of them hurriedly dashed past Baby Bop's body, and over to the morgue
and nurseries.  Putting it mildly, Fran was mortified at what she saw.
"I can't believe it, " she muttered.  "I was going to have one of those?  And
die from it?"

"That's not even half of it," said Jeremy, reloading the pistol.  He dumped the
empty cartridges upon the floor and snapped the chamber back into place.
"Barney and Baby Bop have been killing older children for years.  Their heads
are in the back plaza.  He must not want any of us growing into adults."

Fran and Jeremy quickly made their way out of the cellar.  At the foot of the
stairs, Jeremy carefully aimed his gun at a set of pipes and cords lacing the
ceiling.  He fired several shots into them, causing steam and sparks to spray
everywhere.  The lights began to flicker madly, and the two children ran up the
stairwell.  Once at the main doorway, Jeremy and Fran pushed furniture and
other heavy items against the metal doors.  Smoke and steam began seeping from
the cracks.  Beyond the door, the children heard bestial screaming and clawing
noises at the barricade.  They hurried outside.

Jeremy and Fran caught their breath upon exiting the building.  He could tell
his sister was shaken and scared.  He put the gun back under his shirt and
talked to her.

"It's gonna be okay, Sis, it's gonna be okay".

"I want my parents back," she said.  Her voice lacked emotion, she had been
through enough.  "What do we do now?"

Jeremy looked at his sister, then back at the Capitol building.  Great plumes
of flame poured from the building.  The entire scene was bathed in a hellish
glow of gold and fiery red.  He remembered his shotgun and slid it out of his
coat pocket.

"I need to see Barney", he said.  Off in the distance he could hear the singing
of children.

Fourth Chapter: Pendulum

Barney the Dinosaur appeared especially merry that evening, his dance carried a
heavier step and bounce than usual, and his singing more jubilant than
before.  Were he to realize that Jeremy Phillips was back that night, he may
have been less exuberant.  In fact, were he to know of the destruction of his
secret nursery, the mass extermination of the Loved One infants, and especially
the death of Baby Bop, Barney would not be happy at all.  One would suspect he
could fly into a murderous rage, though the very thought seemed absurd....

But for the moment, Barney reigned triumphant.  Hundreds of children danced in
mindless abandon around the flanks of the fat purple reptile, while the cloaked
musicians huddled in the center of the cavern, playing flighty melodies on
rusted instruments.  The whole scene was a chaotic sea of purple and green, and
the air resounded laughter and singing.  Were anyone to venture back out into
the outer plaza above the cavern lair, they would be astounded to see the
former Capitol Building shrouded in flame and smoke.

"Hey kids, isn't this some fun?" giggled Barney.  "Playtime is always a good
time.  It's like having a circus in your very own home!"  

Acknowledging the cue, the Loved Ones in the band picked up their instruments
and began playing "A Circus In My Home", while Barney donned a ringmaster's hat 
and coat.  The children watched in amazement as the dinosaur began juggling and
singing of the wonders under the Big Top.

Outside the cavern entrance, Jeremy Phillips rechecked the shotgun and adjusted
the sheath containing a serated hunting knife.  He pulled the ragged purple and
green cloak over his head and hands, then began making his way down the
stairwell.  His pistol lay with Fran, who he had instructed to stay behind
outside the main Capitol plaza.  While she did not care for the heavy firearm,
they both agreed she may need protection...

Jeremy ran a few movie scenes through his head, movies that featured a lone
warrior against an overwhelming foe.  He had particularly liked the Rambo
movies, though his mother lectured him heavily about the needlessness of
violence.  His uncle showed him the entire series when he spent a weekend at
his apartment once.  Jeremy knew he was nowhere close to Rambo, and he wondered
what the stoic war-veteran would've done against a fat purple dinosaur who
smiled a lot.  

The cavern echoed with the chanting of children, and the torch-lit shadows
covered the walls with eerie figures and shapes.  In the middle of this pranced
the Purple One himself; inciter of riots, killer of children, father of
monsters, maker of a world marked by terror and insanity.  

Jeremy had feared that the closer he got to Barney, the weaker he would become. 
But as the weeks had progressed, he felt stronger than he ever had before.  It
was the lack of Barney-videos, the absence of his plush purple doll and
blanket, and the time spent away from the Purple One's songs and false displays
of affection that brought the boy to his senses.  But maybe it was more than
that;  what if Barney's power only extended to young children?  What if
impending adulthood, with its major physical and mental changes challenged the
control he wielded over the minds of the young?  It would certainly explain the
need to kill children on the brink of adulthood.  Was it this that impelled
Barney to kill Cameron and almost Jeremy on their thirteenth birthday?  Could
Barney simply be afraid of a childs' change of life?

Jeremy had little time to ponder these questions, for as he cleared the landing,
he came across a Loved One.  The creature paused for a moment, confused. 
Jeremy, hoping his human features were not visible to the bloated, dwarfed
monster, bowed his head and froze.  The Loved One responded by gurgling out a
few inaudible commands, and notioned Jeremy to follow.  The two of them cleared
another landing, and entered the circle of musicians playing for the children. 
Jeremy sat at the edge of the circle, terrified.  What did they want him to do?

The Loved One who led Jeremy to the circle lifted the lid to a rotting old
trunk and produced a flat, tightly-bound drum.  He gave it to the boy and
notioned for him to sit down.  Jeremy sat between two Loved Ones playing the
banjo and lute, and began to pound in rhythm with the music.  It was a song
about eating a balanced diet, and its hypnotic monotony began to entrance
Jeremy.  He managed to shake it off, though, for he kept thinking about Cameron
and what lay in store for the rest of the children.

The folds of the cloak hid Jeremy's hands completely, though he knew that he
looked extremely undernourished compared to the plump, blubbery creatures
around him.  On occasion, he caught the Loved One across from him staring, as
if it was suspicious.  But as long as he kept still and kept playing, Jeremy
knew he'd be okay.  He began to notice an odd texture about the drum, and upon
closer inspection, saw several fine hairs protruding along the surface.  In the
upper corner of the instrument was a navel.  The disguised boy swallowed hard,
and kept promising himself he'd be alright.

Jeremy lost his self-assurance when he saw Fran making her way down the

She was still clad in her purple and green pajamas, and had wrapped herself in
a Barney blanket.  Jeremy could not believe it.  Was she reverting back to her
unquestioning devotion to the Purple One?  Hadn't she believed what he had
shown her in the cellar?

"Why, look everyone, it's Fran!" Barney hollered.

Jeremy felt the world falling apart.  His sister ran down the stairs and into
the crowd of children. "Oh Barney, I've missed you so! "

"Why I've missed you too, Fran.  Say 'hello' to Fran, everyone!" said Barney,
who cradled the young girl between his fat, stocky arms.  The mass of children
all waved, and smiled.  The young girl hugged the purple dinosaur, a tear
rolling down her cheek.

"Barney, are you really doing these terrible things to us?  Why must so many of
us die?"

The bloated reptile paused for a moment.  In the somber lighting of the cavern,
one would be uncertain whether the dinosaur's coloration changed to a vibrant
shade of scarlet or not.  He relaxed his grip on Fran.

"Why Fran, I have no idea what you're talking about.  I bet you just had a bad
dream is all.  Don't you know how much I love you?  I wouldn't hurt a hair on
your head or anyone else's?  I think you better get back to sleep, you need
your rest!"

Fran stepped back from Barney.  "Jeremy never went to China.  He said you
killed Cameron and tried to kill him.  Only because they turned thirteen.  Then
I saw those things in the nursery, the Loved Ones, and then I saw the girls who
were made to bear your-"

"Get this kid to bed!" stammered the dinosaur, his head twitching nervously. 
"She's obviously had a real bad dream, and that gives me a great idea for a
song!  Off to bed, Fran, goodnight!"

Jeremy watched as a Loved One rose from the ensemble, it was the one who had
been staring at him since he joined the circle.  It pulled a set of chains from
under its cloak, an iron muzzle hanging from the end.  It was going to take
Fran back upstairs, back to the Capitol cellar, where it would see the fire and
the dead charred bodies of its kin and suspect that perhaps it was her doing
and maybe-

Jeremy stood up and blocked the Loved One's path.  It halted, then Jeremy flung
back his cloak, revealing his human features.  It was long enough to surprise
the creature while Jeremy slid out the shotgun and fired.

The explosion blossomed into the darkness, splattering the Loved One's ochre
against the rest of the musicians.  It happened so suddenly that it never
issued a scream.  It merely flung backwards upon the cave floor, and twitched
for another moment.  The rest of the Loved Ones in the ensemble scrambled away
into the crowd of children, who screamed in terror and surprise.  Taking
advantage of the moment, Jeremy slid another cartridge into the smoking chamber
and reclipped the shotgun.

Unfortunately, Barney had seized the moment as well.  When Jeremy turned back
to face the Beast of Purple, the reptile had seized Fran and clamped his talons
along the base of her fragile neck.

"Why Jeremy, what a wonderful surprise!  I think you know everyone here, why
did you shoot my friend, the Loved One?  Don't you know that guns are
dangerous?  Put it away, Jeremy, and Fran won't be hurt."

"No," replied the boy.  "You let her go first.  I don't want to kill you
Barney, but I'll shoot if I have to.  You aren't going to kill anymore of us."

Barney giggled.  "Look here, everyone.  Jeremy is threatening me, your old pal
Barney.  I've done nothing wrong or bad.  It's him, shooting my friends and
he'll probably kill us if we're not careful!"  It was noticeable that the
dinosaurs voice was strained and quivering.

"Let her go!"  yelled Jeremy.  He looked at the mass of children, huddled in
fear on the cavern floor.  Many clutched their Barney dolls and looked at him
with pleading wide eyes.  Jeremy hesitated for a moment, then recollected
himself as he pictured their delicate skulls littering the back plaza of the
Capitol outside.

Fran struggled, but Barney had a firm grip upon her throat.  "I have an idea!"
said the plump lizard, "let's sing a song we all know and love.  Maybe that
will make you feel better, Jeremy."  He motioned for the cloaked musicians to
come back, and they slowly picked up their instruments and began playing an
all-too familiar melody....

It was the Barney love song.

"Stop it!" cried Jeremy.

Barney had chosen the song for several reasons.  Mainly, it was the most
recognized and entrancing songs he could arrange.  But it was also sufficient
to distract Jeremy while a Loved One who was previously guarding the back
entrance came around from behind the boy.

	I love love me...we're a happy family........

The entire crowd of children joined in, while Barney swayed in rhythm, his
hands still clasping Fran's neck.  Jeremy was completely disoriented.  As he
listened to the music, he wished to liberate his sister and the rest of the
children, but at the same time, he wanted to join in and sing a chorus himself. 
Harsh reality awakened the boy when the Loved One grabbed him from behind and
clutched for the shotgun.

"Yes, yes, get the gun away from the boy!" commanded the chubby reptile.  In
his excitement he released his grip from Fran, who ran over to the aid of her
brother.  The three struggled for control of the weapon, while Barney conducted
the body of youngsters who were entirely hypnotized by the music and the
dinosaur's swaying.

Fingers clutched for the trigger, while the barrel rocked crazily in many
directions.  The Loved One kept hitting away at the two children, who were
steadily wrenching the gun out of its grasp.

	With a great big hug and kiss, from me to you...won't you say-

In a desperate attempt to reclaim the shotgun, the Loved One yanked hard, the
trigger meeting flesh and slamming the hammer.  The three fell backwards, as
Barney's right arm exploded at the elbow.

As Fran pinned the Loved One against the floor, Jeremy pulled out the serated
hunting knife and slid it firmly under the Loved One's chin.  It cleared it's
oral cavity and the blade tapped the inner surface of the creature's brainpan.
The half/human-half/reptile creature gurgled and died immediately.

The multitude of children screamed as Barney slouched forward, clutching his
shattered limb, which was spraying pink blood violently upon the floor and
himself.  The creature fell to his knees, reeled back, and let loose an
unearthly howl that echoed frightenly against the ceiling of the cavern.  It
saw the childrens' fear and realized that his power was endangered.  With great
effort, Barney collected his composure and desperately pleaded with them.

"Children!  Please, don't be afraid!  It's still me, your old friend Barney! 
Don't cower away, don't you know I love you? " He paused and grimaced in agony,
then stood up.  "Why, I'll take myself to a doctor, and fix me up...remember
our songs about doctors, kids?  They're our I'm your
friend...."  The children cowered even further when he leaned toward them, his
hand clumsily clenching the broken, bleeding end of his forearm.  "Dammit, you
worthless little bastards, come back to me!  Come back to me!"  The creature
hissed and growled at the children in frustration, then shifted his gaze upon
Jeremy and Fran, who were watching in horrified astonishment.

"You sniveling little brat-bastard!  It's your fault!  You came to rob me of my
precious children, and murdered my spawn!  I'll kill you and your slut-sister!"

Jeremy gaped in terror as he looked at the squalid purple creature, gasping in
pain and hate.  Barney's eyes had taken on an evil, reptilian look and his
teeth, once clean and smooth-edged, were now jagged and yellowish.  The
creature rose on its haunches and plodded towards the boy.  Jeremy
instinctively raised the shotgun, leveled it at Barney's face, and pulled the

The round sputtered and smoked.  The cartridge was a dud.

The next moment the purple monster lunged upon Jeremy, his thick talons sinking
into the boy's chest and legs.  Jeremy screamed and thrashed wildly, trying to
keep the dinosaur's teeth away from his soft stomach.  The creature cursed and
began muttering guttural phrases and sounds.  The boy franitcally hit at
Barney's eyes and snout, while the reptile thrashed away at his clothing,
tearing away the cloak and dousing the child in pink, pasty blood.

"I'm going to rip every ounce of flesh from your bones, boy!  I'm going to
break your spine and eat you alive, I'm going to take your lungs and wrap them
around my-"

The next instant, a clap of thunder broke through the frenzy.  The fat
dinosaur's body shuddered and froze.  It rolled off of Jeremy and fell upon its
back.  A thin trickle of blood seeped from its nostrils and its entire body
slumped.  Jeremy staggered back upon his feet and saw his sister
standing before him, clutching the pistol he had given her earlier outside the
Capitol building.  Thin blue smoke rolled lazily out of the barrel.

"I shot Barney, Jeremy," said Fran.  "......I shot Barney".

Jeremy put his arms around her and gave her a firm hug.  They stood there for a
moment in silence.  Then they both turned and cautiously made their way over to
the fat, blubbery body of Barney.  

The creature's breathing was faint and raspy.  Tears flowed from the corners of
his eyes.  Blood seeped from underneath him, and his body was getting cool and
wet.  It cocked its head towards the children, fixing its gaze upon the two,
and muttered sadly, "Why won't you love me anymore?"  The next instant it was

Fran dropped the gun to the floor, and leaned against the cavern wall.  "I want
to go home".

Jeremy examined his wounds and looked back upon the crowd of children, who
stood in silence.  "We'll go home", he said.  He motioned the rest of the
children to follow him and his sister up the rocky stairwell.

As dawn broke over the desolate horizon, Jeremy led the children outside of the
caverns.  The children huddled in awe and amazement.  Many hadn't seen the
light of day for years.



It was five years ago that Jeremy and his sister Fran killed the Purple One. 
Barney, propagator of lies and false love, had met his fate at the hands of two
children on the verge of adulthood.  Now the world was returning to normal.

Jeremy sat at the window of the coffee shop, sipping hot chocolate and watching
the cars drive by.  In the distance he saw the familiar silhouette of the
Capitol building, which was now restored to its pristine white and cleared of
the horrors that lay within its cellar.

The waitress came by with the check, he placed a couple of dollars upon the
table and left, waving to her and smiling.  Though he had not learned her name,
she and her husband had been among the first of adults they had met when the
children left the caverns.  It had been an awkward encounter, it seemed that
the adults were as fearful of the children as they had been of them.  But as
time passed on, life resumed its rightful path and many families were reunited. 
While many adults had been killed during the Great Act of Love, many more had
escaped the onslaught by prowess, chance, or in many cases, mercy.  Barney's
influence had destroyed many adults, but several had seen the evil early and
prepared for the holocaust.

As Jeremy walked down the sidewalk, he was greeted warmly by many of the
shopkeepers and businesspeople, it was widely acknowledged that he had played a
major part in the Purple One's downfall.  His sister Fran had her share of
admirers too, in fact she still received invitations to this function and that,
along with the occasional wedding proposal from men she had never even met.

While Jeremy and Fran had yet to discover what had happened to their parents
during the Great Act of Love, they remained hopeful that one day they would be
reunited.  But for now, the two lived together in a comfortable duplex on the
east side of town.  Checking his watch, Jeremy waited at the corner and boarded
the bus a few minutes later that would take him home.  The bus was filled with
adults, and he took comfort in that.

Were it not for some of the rubble and missing adults, it would almost appear
that Barney never even existed.  Then again, city ordinance made every step to
make it appear so.  Once the government was refounded, it was unanimously
decided that all Barney and Baby Bop paraphernelia was to be promptly and
completely destroyed.  The color purple would never be quite a popular color
again, unless it was a distinct shade different from that of Barney's.  

Then there was the question of the Loved Ones.  It was hoped that many were
killed during the destruction of the nursery.  It was also hoped that most were
in the caverns at the time it was sealed off by carefully arranged explosions
last summer.  A bounty was placed for any Loved One captured, dead or alive.  A
few had been taken in, but they were always dead and cold by the time they were
brought in. Most hunters couldn't take the sight of the creatures, and
destroyed them out of a sense of loathing.  It was also reported that some
parents were telling their children that Loved Ones still survived in the city
sewers, and if they were bad, the creatures would come at night and take them
away.  Jeremy didn't know what to make of that.

The bus arrived at a cool, shady intersection and stopped.  Jeremy stepped out
and made his way home.

Upon unlocking his door, Jeremy was met by an unusual sight: two birthday cakes
sitting on the table, their candles lit and shining bright.  On the other end
of the table sat Fran, smiling.

"Happy Birthday, Jeremy".

He laughed.  "It's not our birthday, what are you-"  He paused.  There were
thirteen candles on the cake.  

"I though it was time for a real celebration.  Then maybe we can plan to send
you to China for real", she said, pushing the cake towards him.

Jeremy sat in silence.  Words escaped him.  He looked back at her, made his
wish, and blew out the candles.  A moment later, she did the same.  The two
siblings looked at each other, and laughed.

"Thirteen," she said.

"Thirteen," he answered.