The NoSleep Diaries Entry 4: “Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?”
Please welcome guest contributor Lindsay Moore. Lindsay has written for us before, sharing her experience putting together an all women horror anthology. In this series, she'll share her experience writing horror stories that were adapted for the NoSleep Podcast.
“Forgetful Jones” is autobiographical, but “Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?” isn’t. In fact, I went out of my way to make this story as least autobiographical as possible. As a result, it’s often the story that I tend to forget I wrote. If asked to rattle off a list of my NoSleep contributions, this is the one that I inevitably forget about.
A big chunk of this story is an apology to my mother. She hated “Forgetful Jones” so much. I think she’d prefer it if I could just forget about my brother’s terrible treatment of me. Believe me, I wish I could, but certain things tend to stick with you into adulthood, and sometimes you find yourself hunched over a keyboard, angrily writing a story where a fictionalized version of your little brother finally gets what’s coming to him.
But I digress. This entry is about “Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?”, my fourth story to be featured on the NoSleep Podcast and an apology to my mother for “Forgetful Jones.” It’s my way of saying, “I’m sorry I brought up how awful my brother was. I’m sorry I haven’t gotten over it. I’m sorry I don’t have any rosy memories of him growing up. I’m sorry I don’t have a better relationship with him now.”
“Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?” revolves around a man caring for his sister after she’s injured in an accident. The man and his sister have a wonderful relationship, despite being polar opposites. In a lot of ways, their relationship is what I wish my brother and I had had growing up. The man is supportive and protective of his sister. He doesn’t belittle her in front of her peers or spread vicious lies about her. She, in turn, is kind and supportive of him. They help each other. It’s a sweet relationship that I actually had a lot of trouble writing because of how unrealistic I thought it was.
“This isn’t how siblings interact,” I kept thinking, “no brother is that nice to his sister. This is so unrealistic.” The relationship between these two characters -- whether it’s realistic or not -- is the backbone of “Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?”
Another main component of “Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?” is my all-time favorite horror trope, ‘the piece of art that drives the viewer to madness.’ In this case, it’s a children’s picture book called “The Little Red Bear,” which terrifies our main protagonists and drives another to an appalling act of violence. I won’t spoil it, because you can read “Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?” or listen to the podcast’s version of it for free.
I think everyone has a children’s book that scared the everloving crap out of them as a kid. For me, it was a copy of “Little Red Riding Hood.” One page depicted a particularly frightening drawing of the wolf jumping out at Little Red. My mother tells me that I would demand that she read the book to me, but that when we got to the page preceding the scary drawing, I would put my hand on the book to stop her from turning the page. I wouldn’t let her skip the scary page, though, as she often tried to do. I would sit, my hand on the page, staring down at the book, psyching myself up to look at the scary page.
Later, my dad removed the scary page from the book. Though I remember the book very vividly, I don’t remember putting my hand on the page to prevent my mother from turning it. I don’t even really remember the scary page. This book and the fear it sparked in my tiny mind definitely played a part in “Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?”
“Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?” is my first NoSleep story to feature a male narrator. Jesse Cornett joined the NoSleep players back in Season 5. His Southern lilt makes him the ideal candidate for playing the common, everyday man who finds himself in a horrifying situation. The way he tells a story really transports you; even though he’s recounting events that have already come and gone, he gives the story a sense of urgency, forcing the audience to listen to every last detail.
I’ve talked before about Brandon Boone’s music. He’s been doing music for the NoSleep podcast since Season 5, and he’s done some truly beautiful work. He’s released four albums, which you can hear on Spotify. His most recent album, From the Void, features a track from “Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?” (“The Flames,” which plays during the story’s climax). I recognized it immediately and was thrilled to pieces when I heard it on the album. It’s a piece that helps ratchet up the tension and gives the listener a sense of foreboding and dread. I absolutely love it.
All that being said, “Do You Remember the Little Red Bear?” is probably my weakest story. As much as I loved hearing the NoSleep squad tackle it, I needed to write something more authentic.
Classic Jesse Cornett episodes:
“Whistling From the Well” (Season 5, episode 10)
“Voices in the Spirit Box” (Season 5, episode 22)
“A Very Bad Place to Hide” (Season 7, episode 4)
“Feed the Pig” (Season 7, episode 9)
“Crinklebottom” (Season 7, episode 17)
“The Toy Box” (Season 8, episode 5)
“I Live in Her Walls” (Season 9, episode 18)
“Give Me Something Good to Eat” (Season 11, Halloween Bonus Episode)