- This creepypasta is based off Candle Cove.
"Why didn't you let me sleep longer?" Barney groaned as he stumbled out of Ted's bedroom"We missed you." Ted batted his eyelashes and laughed.
Marshall was sitting on the couch, wearing his nightshirt, steaming cup of cocoa in his hands.
"It's only an hour early. We promised Robin we'd watch her show this time, and we're gonna. And if we've gotta be awake, so do you."
"I wanna sleep." Barney whined as he collapsed onto the couch. "There's a hard day of scoring ahead of me, I need my beauty rest."
"Suck it up Stinson." Ted gave him a mug of cocoa.
Barney sipped it and made a face. "No marshmallows?"
"In the kitchen."
He groaned and hoisted himself off the couch. "I hate you guys."
"Yeah, yeah. Where's the remote?" Marshall asked. "I wanna see what terrible infomercial is on before the show."
"I hope it's the one for the shake-weight." Ted grinned as Barney returned, mug stuffed with marshmallows and a little bit of booze.
A grinning skeleton with a top-hat and cape popped onto the screen. "Welcome to Candle Cove!"
Barney dropped the mug. It shattered, spraying hot cocoa everywhere.
"Barney, what the hell?" Ted jumped off the couch, grabbed a handful of paper towels, and started cleaning.
"Candle…Cove…" Barney fell into the nearest chair.
"Hey, I saw this show when I was a kid!" Marshall took no notice of Barney's pale face, or Ted's frantic efforts to clean. "It's a puppet pirate show."
"Huh?" Ted glanced up. "Hey, yeah! I remember this. Pirate Percy, right?"
"Yeah, and the little girl, Janice."
"And the Skin-Taker." Ted nodded at the skeleton. "That thing was creepy."
"His clothes were made out of skin, of course it was creepy." Marshall laughed. "God, they got away with everything on TV back then!"
"Turn it off." Barney's voice was low, practically a whisper.
"I had a really nightmare about it when I was little, okay?" Barney felt an embarrassed blush color his cheeks. "I used to watch it with James, but it was too scary for me."
"You remember a nightmare after all this time? You must have been, like, four when it was on." Ted finished cleaning and re-joined them.
"I remember this nightmare." Barney laughed bitterly. "I had to watch an episode without James. He made me promise to watch is, because he had football practice. But it wasn't a right episode."
"What do you mean?"
Barney just shook his head.
"C'mon, tell us." Marshall prodded. "Or I won't turn it off."
On screen, the Skin Taker marionette threatened a live-action little girl. "To grind your skin, my dear!"
Barney shuddered. "I dreamed…I dreamed that the whole episode was the puppets all screaming and shaking while the little girl cried, okay? It was freaky as hell. I must have dreamed about it at least once a week for years afterwards."
Neither of the men spoke for a moment.
Ted cleared his throat. "That…that was a real episode."
"No. No way." Barney shook his head. "There's no way that'd get aired!"
"I remember it too." Marshall said softly. "The Skin Taker looked like it was about to break apart. It scared me, but all my brothers played it cool. We didn't watch it again, though."
"I didn't watch it with anyone. Even my parents left the room when it was on." Ted offered. "I didn't want to watch it again after that episode."
On screen, a large puppet of a pirate ship was saying "You must…go…INSIDE!" to a frightened-looking pirate puppet. Wordlessly, Marshall muted the TV.
"Maybe it got canceled because of that?" He offered. "Someone could have been playing a prank."
Barney's eyes were downcast. "Can you please turn if off?"
Marshall wanted to object, but Barney's voice was full of fear. Sitting there, hair mussed from sleep, pajamas askew, he looked young and venerable. And scared.
"Yeah, sure man." He turned the TV off. "Lily should be here any minute, I'm sure she wouldn't want to see it anyway."
They sat quietly for about fifteen minutes before Lily arrived. No one suggested watching anything else.
"Okay, I'm ready to see Robin's show." She plopped herself cheerily into Marshall's lap.
"Well, it's still got about fifteen minutes." Ted said.
"That's cool, there's always an infomercial." She snatched the remote and flipped the TV on to the next episode of Candle Cove.
On screen, the puppets were spastic and flailing. Screams echoed as a frightened child appeared on screen, sobbing.
Barney clenched the arms of the chair and began to shake. Marshall's mouth fell open, but he couldn't say anything. Ted moved quickly to take the remote and turn the TV off.
What Lily said stopped him cold.
"Stupid static. I hope Robin's show is still on later." She shrugged and turned the TV off.
The three men exchanged horrified, wordless glances.
"Yeah…stupid static." Barney whispered