Do you remember the animated television series Littlest Pet Shop that ran from 2012 to 2016? If so, then you'll know that animated shorts were made for the series between 2014 and 2015.
The short I want to talk about in particular is "Eau de Pepper", released on July 11, 2014, where Pepper Clark, with help from Penny Ling, tries to find and capture her happiest scent.
What you probably don't know is that an alternate version of the short was made in late 2014, and was said to feature a more depressing ending than the original version.
The file circulated on Mediafire for a time before recieving a Content ID claim from DHX Media. The people who viewed the video claim to have experienced severe trauma, and refuse to discuss what happens in the altered version in fear of triggering PTSD.
The altered version was described as having new animation that was "as good as the original", and the voice acting for the additional dialogue was done brilliantly. As a result, fans of the show would easily mistake this for the original version.
To this day, it has never been specified who created this alternate version, but what is apparent is that what happens in this version is certainly not a pleasant sight.
The short begins as it does in the original version. Blythe is preparing the pets for the International Pet Fashion Expo. Pepper is convinced that if they smell "happy", it'll "seep into the subconscious of the judges and make them happy".
This leads to a Frankenstein-esque fantasy where Pepper sticks her tail into a tube to collect her scents, while Penny Ling, playing the part of the mad scientist, operates a machine hooked up to a screen that shows her funny pictures.
Every time Pepper laughs, she produces a fume of different scent and colour. This goes on for a while until Pepper becomes exhausted. Penny Ling is coughing uncontrollably as the lab is filled with fumes.
She warns Pepper that all of her scents are mixing together, and Pepper refuses to stop until she finds her happiest scent, despite her warnings.
Pepper: "Just one more!"
Penny Ling pulls a big double lever, starting a red alert and changing the screen to a picture of Captain Cuddles. Love-struck, Pepper produces a bright pink fume that creates a heart-shaped explosion.
Penny Ling, weakened by the mix of fumes, confirms this as the peppermint-rosy cupcake smell, and Pepper orders her to cap the tube quickly.
Unlike the original version, where Penny Ling trips on another tube and drops it, causing a big explosion, she successfully caps the tube with no problem whatsoever.
Pepper: "Success! I've finally found my happiest scent!"
Penny Ling: (weak; places a hand on her chest) "Good for you."
The camera zooms into Penny Ling's chest and the inside of her body, where we see her heartbeat gradually slowing down until it stops completely.
Penny Ling clutches her chest as she twitches and grunts in pain. An sleep-deprived Pepper turns to face her as she falls to the floor and lets out a gutteral moan.
Pepper's eyes widen in shock and she immediately leaps off the table and rushes over to a coughing and wheezing Penny Ling.
Pepper: "Penny Ling!"
Penny Ling, going into cardiac arrest, slowly turns her head to face Pepper. Her eyes now look baggy and bloodshot as she begins to speak.
Penny Ling: "I... *cough cough* I t-told you it was... t-too... much! *cough cough cough*"
Pepper starts to cry, feeling guilty over what's currently happening.
Pepper: (hyperventilating) "Penny Ling, I'm sorry! I didn't know this would happen! You were right; I was exhausted, and I didn't know what I was—"
Penny Ling puts her left index finger on Pepper's lips, quietly shushing her.
Penny Ling: "I-it's okay, Pepper. *cough cough* I... forgive you."
Penny Ling then pulls Pepper in for a last minute hug as Pepper cries in her arms.
Penny Ling: (cocks her head backwards) "Ack-cckkk...! I see... *cough* the light."
Pepper: "Oh no... Penny Ling, whatever you do, don't go into the light. Stay with me!"
Nearing death, Penny Ling begins singing a rather creepy rendition of "Hush, Little Baby", all the while coughing and wheezing along the way.
Hush, little baby, don't say a word
Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird don't sing
Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring
Taking her last breath, Penny Ling then slumps over as her eyes roll back into her head. Based on the information that has been collected so far, audio clips from episodes where Penny Ling and Pepper communicate with each other start echoing in the background.
Pepper: "Oh, no. No!"
Pepper starts shaking Penny Ling's body in an attempt to wake her up.
Pepper: "Come on, Penny! Speak to me!"
Pepper drops her body and begins performing chest compressions in the hope of restarting her heart — until she eventually gives up.
Pepper: "No... Penny..."
Realising she's dead, Pepper kneels over Penny Ling's body and begins mourning her deceased panda friend. We cut back to reality, where Pepper rolls side to side, moaning and crying as Blythe and the other pets watch her uncomfortably.
Zoe Trent: "Oh, my. What's wrong with Pepper?"
Blythe: "I have no idea. Maybe I should schedule an appointment at the vet for her."
As Blythe gets up and holds a quietly crying Pepper in her arms, Minka walks over to a comatose Penny Ling, who looks as if she has been rendered unconscious as saliva drips down her mouth.
Minka: "Guys... is Penny Ling alright?"
The short ends on the shot of Penny Ling.
Those who have viewed the video started questioning their perspective on the show shortly after watching it.
"Why, just why? Why would such an innocent little show take such a dark turn?"
This version has been discussed on many online forums, and it is believed that DHX Media got wind of the video file, leading to them filing a Content ID claim which lead to the file's removal from Mediafire.
As of right now, the whereabouts of the file is unknown. Rumor has it the file also installs a virus onto the viewer's PC, causing it to disappear immediately after watching it.
Being someone who watched the video and remembers it vaguely, I hope to secure a virus-free copy of the altered version soon.
It's going to be tough, but I know it's out there. I just know it.