We rooted through the old bins of stuff that we had procured from those old restaurants, trying to find something that was still somewhat presentable, or at least something that we could end up working into our place. They brought in a huge bin filled with stuff they had scrapped from their biggest location. It was hard to find anything good in there; old empty shells, a hand, a hook, a paper-plate doll. We weren’t having much luck.
Jim, our intern, started asking us questions. Ha, poor guy doesn’t even know what we’re doing. Makes sense though. He’s too young to remember anything about that place anyway. He only signed up because he said he was a lover of horror – and thus working at a haunted house was the perfect job for him – but he didn’t know the story behind our attraction.
“So what can you tell me about it?” he asked. “All I know is you’re recreating some terrifying thing about Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. I don’t know about you, but to me a place called Freddy Fazbear’s doesn’t sound all that scary.”
Vince and I looked at each other, silently deciding who was going to tell the story. I spoke up first. “What do you know about Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, Jim?”
“It was a family pizzeria with games and animatronics designed to entertain children,” he said with a shrug. “Beyond that, I don’t know anything about it.”
“Ah, I see.” I stopped rooting through the bins and stood up, pacing slowly around the room. “What do you think, Vince? Should we tell him the terrifying tale of that cursed place?”
“Cursed?” Jim raised an eyebrow, looking skeptical.
“Yeah, cursed,” Vince said, a grin on his face. “But, I mean, we wouldn’t want to scare you, so-”
“Don’t patronize me,” Jim said with a frown. “Go on, tell me everything. If I’m going to work in this place I should know the whole story.”
“Well that’s the thing,” I said, sitting down on a crate and crossing my arms. “No one really does know the whole story. Most of it is just rumor and speculation. The old owners of the place refuse to tell us what really happened, and we’re not sure if they even knew themselves. But that doesn’t really matter to us. The rumors that flew around that place are enough for our business to thrive, especially now with how much people love horror stories like this.”
“So what are the rumors?” Jim asked.
“Well, see, there have been three Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzas, and before that it was a small business called FredBear’s Family Diner. That’s where things all started, according to the rumors. The owners of FredBear’s just suddenly put the place up for sale and sold it off to a bigger company. They say the reason was because something happened there that gave them such a bad reputation they didn’t want to have anything to do with the place anymore.”
Jim blinked. “What happened?”
“The leading rumor,” Vince said, “is that there was a kid who was killed there. Some people say it was outside the place, but some people say it was inside. Not only that, they say it was someone dressed up as the mascot of the place, dressed up as FredBear. That one sounds more plausible. If their own mascot was responsible for the death, after all, I don’t think anyone would want to go back there, would you?”
“Eh, yeah, I suppose.” Jim rubbed the back of his head, looking a bit uncomfortable. Vince and I exchanged another look, wondering whether we should go on. Vince took up the story again.
“So the new company that bought the place, Fazbear Entertainment, changed the whole thing up. They got a new mascot, along with several other characters, making them animtronic characters that sung on stage. Everyone loved the place, loved the pizza, but most of all they loved those characters. But then something else happened. Five children went missing. They caught a suspect in the morning, but the kids’ bodies were never found. They thought they might have to close down, but nothing happened, at least for a while. It wasn’t until parents started complaining about the animatronic characters that they were closed down.”
Jim narrowed his eyes. “Complained about what, exactly?”
“They said there was a rancid odor around the animatronics,” I replied. “Like a decaying body. They also said they saw blood and mucus seeping out around the eyes and mouths of the animatronics. They likened them to reanimated corpses. So finally the place got shut down on health and sanitation code violations. Most people agree, they think the missing children were killed and stuffed inside the animatronics. That rumor was never confirmed or denied.”
Now Jim was starting to look nervous and uncomfortable. “So… what happened then?”
“In nineteen eighty-seven, they reopened with a brand new location. It was bigger and better than ever before. They had new animatronics, too. They redesigned the old ones to be more ‘kid friendly’, and they also had two new ones. For the short time that the place was open, everyone loved it. Well, almost everyone. There were rumors flying around the place to the point of getting a police investigation. From what we heard from the company itself, it was just paranoid people trying to get them closed down because they couldn’t get over what had happened at the previous location.”
“But then something else happened,” Vince said, taking over. “It was a problem with the animatronics. See, the new ones had been fitted with this facial recognition software that was tied into this criminal database. They wanted to make sure they didn’t have an incident like last time, so all of the animatronics were essentially high-grade security equipment. But they seemed to be malfunctioning. There were reports that, while they interacted with children just fine, every time they would encounter an adult they would just stare.”
Jim gazed at the two of us and it was clear that this story was starting to get to him. “Stare? Like… like they thought any adult could be a criminal?”
“Quite possibly,” Vince said with a nod. “Then they closed down for a couple of days due to the investigation, but also they reported that the animatronics weren’t acting right. Worse yet, there had been a costume in the back room that somebody stole. They said after it was stolen, none of them were acting right. They had to shut off some of their functions to keep them safer. Apparently they had been able to walk around on their own before, but they turned that function off. Too bad it didn’t help.”
“What do you mean?” Jim asked, leaning forward.
“There was an incident,” I said. “On the last day they were opened, they had a birthday party scheduled. They were planning on closing down right after that, but after the incident, they were shut down nearly for good.”
“We don’t know for sure how it happened, or which one did it, but one of the animatronics… bit someone. Tore off their entire frontal lobe, in fact. That incident has been called the ‘Bite of ’87’ ever since. Oh, don’t worry, though, the bite victim actually survived. Sure it did a lot of brain damage, though.”
Jim had pressed his hands to his head, looking significantly shaken. “How could… how could they have reopened after something like that?” he asked, a tremor in his voice.
“It was years after the incident. They got a new location and it was much smaller even than the first location. They scrapped the newer animatronics and used the old characters again, though they had been modified to try and keep things safer. I don’t think anyone quite trusted the place much anymore, though. The location kind of faded into nothingness. People forgot about it, stopped coming. They quietly closed their doors for good. We did hear a rumor, though, that they still had a security guard watching over the place at night. Makes you wonder what they need one, for. Also, someone who had been working there as a security guard mysteriously disappeared.”
I saw a little bit of sweat forming on Jim’s forehead. “What… what do you think happened to him?”
“We have no idea,” Vince said as he got to his feet. “None at all. But anyway, now you understand why people say this place was cursed. Why so many stories sprang up around it, and why it’s the perfection location for our business. Oh, what’s the matter, Jim? You scared?”
Jim shook his head, pushing himself to his feet. “No, not at all. It’s just a story, I know you guys are just trying to scare me. Besides, it’s all in the past. It doesn’t mean anything.”
I chuckled and nodded, patting Jim on the shoulder. “I like this kid. He’s going to make a great addition. Oh, hey Vince, was this everything from the back room?”
“I think so,” he said, stretching his arms over his head. “I could go and check to make sure there’s nothing left if ya want.”
“Do that, we want everything we can find.”
Vince nodded and strolled out into the hall, leaving Jim and I to look through the bins of old animatronic pieces ourselves. “Hey,” he asked me, “did you ever go there when you were younger?”
“I did,” I said with a nod and a small smile on my face. “I loved that place and those characters. Foxy the Pirate was always my favorite. Ah, he was everyone’s favorite. It’s a shame all that stuff happened there. It was the best place ever back when I was a kid. It’d probably still be big today, could’ve been a whole huge chain.”
“Sheryl,” my radio buzzed. I picked it up as Vince continued talking. “You’re not going to believe this. I found something else back here. It’s… whole.”
I glanced at Jim who had a look of apprehension on his face, then spoke into the radio. “What do you mean, Vince?”
“I don’t know… you’ll just have to come see for yourself.”
“All right, we’re on our way.” I turned to Jim and motioned for him to follow me. We set out down the long hallway toward the parts and service room. We found Vince standing just inside the doorway, shining a flashlight in the far corner.
“Look at that,” he said breathlessly.
My mouth fell opened and my heart skipped a beat. “Oh my God…”