When I was a kid, I used to love watching Saturday morning cartoons. I lived for them. When the original few Nicktoons started appearing, I quickly fell in love with them, and decided that I someday wanted to work for Nickelodeon. In early 2002, I got my wish. I applied for and got a job there at the studio. As a janitor.
Okay, so it's not quite what I wanted, but I planned to get a more involved job later, and in the meantime I considered it quite a treat just to be there. One day, I was told to replace a dying light in the Vault. This got me extremely fired up. I would finally get a sneak peak at all those unaired shows!
As it turns out, the "vault" was little more than a room with some shelves. More like a walk-in closet. The shelves held rows of film reels, labeled with the names for various shows and movies that for whatever reason, were never aired. Most were unfinished, some weren't considered funny or entertaining enough to be shown.
At the end of the room was a small cardboard box sitting on the floor, containing about 50 flash drives. When I had finished changing the light, I decided to take a look at them. They were all white, and labeled with black Sharpie. I had flipped through about 10, and of those had found two that interested me.
The first was something called "Crybaby Lane". The other was titled "Rugrats-Dil". I had never heard of the first, but I loved the Rugrats, so I slipped it in my pocket and decided to take it home with me that night. I'd return it in the morning, and no one would know.
As soon as I got home, I plugged the drive into a USB port and opened it. As I had expected, it contained an .avi file. I double clicked, and the show began.
Unlike other episodes, it was a cold opening. Surprisingly, it was animated in the same style as the first movie, very high quality for the show. Oddly, the house seemed darker than it should have been. The windows were boarded up, and there seemed to be a layer of dust over everything.
Tommy was sitting in his high-chair, and his head was resting on the tray. He looked up slightly, and his eyes were horribly sunken in. His stomach was swollen, and he was dangerously emaciated. Poor Tommy hadn't eaten in days!
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, the scene switched to the living room. There was a weird looking image displayed just before the switch, which I print-screened. It's attached at the top. Didi was sitting in a rocking chair, cradling a bundle. She seemed to be singing a soft lullaby between sobs.
The camera turned to reveal what she was holding. A shriveled up harlequin fetus, with a white crust around its mouth. Didi was holding an empty bottle to its mouth, and continuing to sing that lullaby. It went to the normal credits at that point, though the text was in Cyrillic, and I couldn't read it. The song was also slowed down a bit.
The next day I took the thing back and never brought it up to any of the staff. However, after work, one of them approached me. He never explained to me how he knew I had taken the drive, but it was obvious that he did. He told me that in the mid 90's, they'd had a female writer known to them only as "Susan".
She'd written a few decent scripts, though most were put away for later in favor of other scripts. She had a very young son, and she'd taken a leave for a second pregnancy. However, it was stillborn. The resulting trauma destroyed her relationship with her husband, who left her.
Weeks later, people had gotten worried, and called the police to go check on her. The officer who arrived at her home found that she had hung towels up over the windows. Investigating the house with a flashlight, he found that Susan was dead in her chair, cradling what remained of the fetus. In the kitchen, the high chair was covered in a mass of flies. It didn't take an expert to know what was under them.
According to my new friend, the episode I saw was the last one she had written before her leave. Apparently she'd stayed up all night doing all the animation herself.
I continued to work there for several years until some new opportunities came along. But until my last day on the job, I never went in the vault again.