I hope you enjoy this short story I wrote.

The Teddy Bear

By Youspeh Tanha

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Martha and James Brighten where perusing the newly built Sears, Roebuck & Company that had opened up nearby. The department store had been open for just over a month now, but it was the first time the old married couple had gone inside. It was all so new to them as the quietly walked around on the white tile floor, exploring.

The store had a little bit of everything, all of it new and all of it exciting to look at. Everything had it’s own section in the store. Clothing, Kitchenware, Lawn and Garden, and Appliances.

Both James and Martha stopped first in the appliances section where they inspected the washer and dryers. The salesman in that department spent a good half hour with james, answering every single question he had. Then he spent another twenty minutes with him talking about refrigerators.

Eventually the old couple made their way through the whole store, stopping in every department along the way. From Appliances they strolled over to Lawn and Garden, from Lawn and Garden they walked through Clothing, and from Clothing, they made their way through Kitchenware.

Just as they were turning out of kitchenware to head out through the exit, Martha saw something out of the corner of her eye and she stopped. Her arm had been looped around James’ and he was forced to stopped too as he felt a pull. James turned and saw that his wife’s gaze was fixed on a small toy section that he didn’t recall seeing earlier.

“Do you see it, James?”

“What? Toys?”

“Yeah, but do you see it?” She ask, patting his arm.

“Well, I guess I don’t, Martha.”

Martha let her arm fall from James’ and walked over to the toy section like someone in a trance. James followed behind letting his wife guide the way. Martha walked right up to a been filled with stuffed animals. She extended her arms out and plucked a small light brown bear from the very top.

The face of the stuffed animal gave it away as a bear, but there was something almost human about it. He was posed sitting upright, his paws and snout were a lighter color brown than the rest of his body. On his face he had two brown glass eyes with black centers and a black glass nose which was a rounded triangular shape.

James walked up behind Martha and placed his hand on her back.

“Oh James, isn’t he lovely?” She smiled.

“He looks like quite the proud bear.” James said. “But I don’t understand why you think we need a stuffed bear.”

“It’s not for us, James.” she said looking up at her husband. “ It’s for our Emily, for our granddaughter.” she smiled, turning her attention back to the bear.

“Oooh.” he said, with a sound of realization.

“I think he will do a wonderful job keeping her safe.” She said.

James looked at Martha, then over to the bear, then across to the bin. It was filled will all manner of stuffed animals from cats to giraffes. No two were alike and James was somewhat impressed that Martha had pulled this particular bear from the bin. It was, he thought, one of the better looking stuff animal of the bunch. Finally, after thinking it over for a moment inside himself, he said, “He’s a fine looking bear, Martha.”

“He is, isn’t He.” She said again, still smiling.

And with a silent agreement made, the old couple found a clerk and payed for the stuffed bear before exiting the department store and driving away.

A few days later while James and Martha were visiting their granddaughter, Martha gave her the bear, placing him next to her inside the crib. Emily, who was not yet old enough to crawl, hugged the stuffed bear as if to say thank you, I have been looking all over for him. Martha and James smiled and  kissed their granddaughter’s brow before leaving.

For the first year of little Emily’s life the crib where she slept with her teddy bear was located in her parents bedroom. Once Emily started sleeping the whole night through without waking up or needing to be fed, her parents moved her crib into her own room.

It was only then that little Emily’s teddy bear learned that he would have to start protecting her. That very first night that the two of them were alone in Emily’s dark bedroom, Teddy awoke to strange noises. Noises that were coming from the closet on the far end of the room. As the seconds ticked past, the noises became louder. They sounded like heavy breathing and snorting, even clawing and scratching could be heard from beyond the closet doors. Teddy could have sworn that he even saw the closet doors shake and rattle in the darkness.

The stuffed bear shook as he nervously clutched onto the blanket that he and Emily shared in the crib. This eyes widened as he watched a black hand, seemingly made of smoke, wrap itself around the end of the closet door and slowly start to part it open. Teddy instinctively pulled the blanket over his and Emily’s head. Shaking with fear, the bear scooched in close to Emily who sleepily wrapped her arms around her teddy and squeezed him tight before relaxing again. Teddy listen nervously as whatever manner of beast emerged from the closet, now stalked around the room making a thumping noise on the floor with each step it took. He could hear the monster sniff in the air, looking, hunting, but not once in the course of the entire night did the monstrous black smoky beast remove the blankets covering Emily and teddy.

As morning approached, before sunlight filled the room, Emily’s parents entered and all noises from the beast ceased. Was he gone? Did he disappear? Did Emily’s parents scare it off? The bear wondered.

“Look.” Said, Emily’s mother in a hushed whisper. “She pulled the blanket over her head.”

“Hmm. Maybe she got too cold last night.” Emily’s father said. “I’ll turn up the heat a little bit tonight for her.”

Emily’s mother walked over to her bed and pulled the blankets down revealing Emily still holding her teddy bear. She smiled and Teddy felt a sense of relief. Whatever the monster from the closet was, the blanket protected them the whole night through like some kind of shield.

The sun was starting to break up over the horizon and slowly light was pouring into emily’s room through the pane glass window.

“Come on.” Said Emily’s father. Lets go make breakfast. She will be up soon enough.

As the room grew brighter from the sunlight outside, Teddy knew Emily would be safe now. At least until tonight, when the night monster would return.

Teddy held his plastic board sword up above his head to block the downward strike of the closet monster. The strike was so strong it knocked him back down onto the flat of his back.  Teddy shook his head and picked himself up. Standing there on the end of the bed his mind raced for a way to end the battle with this faceless beast. He needed a light source. That would for sure scare the shadowy monster back from whence it came.

Teddy blocked two more advances from the monster. His sword was starting to bend, weekend from the repeated blows he had blocked with it. Teddy got some better footing and returned the monster’s advances, thrusting his weapon into the middle of the beast. He weakened it.

Seeing an opportunity, teddy ran and leapt from the corner of the bed. As he came down he tucked his head into his chest, and rolled when he hit the floor. He came to a stop next to the dresser and looked up seeing the thing he desired most. He reached for the red plastic flashlight and while pointing it at the shadowy beast, pushed up on the white switch. It clicked, but no light came out from the other end. He quickly flicked the switch off and on again and again. The shadowy beast laughed a dark gravely laugh as it loomed ever closer over Teddy. Frantic, Teddy shook the flashlight.

“Its over, bear” said the shadowy beast, bearing his dark smokey teeth. “The girl will be mine just as soon as I deal with you.”

The beast lifted his sword to strike just as Teddy hit the butt of the flashlight on the floor causing it to flicker on. It’s bright light cutting through the darkness of the shadowy monster like a knife through butter. The monster fell to the floor, his form changing from that of a monstrous beast to a black smoke that retreated into the closet.

Teddy panted as he got to his feet. He shone the flashlight all around the room and then back to the girl fastly sleeping in her bed. Emily was safe for another night. Teddy had valiantly protected her once again from the nightmares that live in the corners and the showy places of her room. Teddy walked over to the foot of the bed, flashlight in hand and sat down on the floor. He watched over the girl till the sun started to come up filling the room with its protective light. The sound of birds twittering outside wrapped him in such a warm and safe feeling that he allowed himself to nodded off.

“There you are!” Emily said, picking up the small teddy bear into her arms. “I have been looking all over for you.” she exaggerated. “I know I was holding you when I fell asleep last night. So, how did you get down here?” Emily paused to think before a smile crossed her face. “You were up all night saving me from evil monsters again weren’t you, Sir. Teddy?” She laughed, holding the bear close to her chest as she twirled around her room. Then she held the bear out in front of her with both arms. “Then I thank you for your bravery good knight.” and while still holding the bear out with her left arm she brought her right arm down to her side and curtsied.

“Emily, time for breakfast.” her mother called from the kitchen.

Emily walked over and set the bear back in bed next to her pillow, giving him a kiss on the forehead before turning on her heals and skipping out of the room. Sir. Teddy blinked back to life. The sun was full and shining into the room now. All would be safe for a while. He pulled a corner of the blanket over his body and fell back asleep.

Emily returned home late Saturday night from her first date with a boy. Teddy could hear her talking with her mother about it out in the living room and he smiled a happy, tired smile. She eventually came to her room, changed into her pajamas and crawled into bed with a book. She leaned over to turn on the bed light that sat on her nightstand where Sir. Teddy was resting.

After a while she put the book down next to Sir. Teddy, turned off the lamp and went to sleep. With the room now dark and Emily breathing the way a sleeping child breaths, Sir. Teddy started to hear the familiar clawing and snorting coming from beyond the closet doors. The beast was ready for it’s evening hunt. Hoping, perhaps that tonight he would finally slay the child he has been stalking for the last 17 years.

He emerged from the closet and teddy looked onto him as he had many times before. But on this night, Sir. Teddy was not feeling scared. He was not feeling brave, or protective. He was not feeling concern or frightened. No, on this night, Sir Teddy felt relief for the first time in a very long time.

As the shadowy beast slowly emerged from the closet, he began to look more like a shadow then a black, smokey monster. With each step closer he made toward Emily, he beast became harder to see as he slowly started to disappear into the darkness around him. Angry, the monster let out a gravelly growl and leapt towards the bed and in the process vanished into nothingness.

Sir. Teddy, now old and tired, no longer had to worry for Emily’s safety. The girl had grown up. She was becoming quite the young lady in his eyes. She no longer believed in monsters, or ghosts, or the silly things that keep children up at night. No Sir. Teddy thought to himself. Now Emily is no longer in danger. No longer in need of protection.

Sir. Teddy watched as the sun rose over the land and filled the room with its warming light just as it had every morning before. He knew the young girl was old enough now to watch over herself, to keep safe and protected during the night.

The sunlight crept across the room and started to warm Sir. Teddy as it washed over his legs and head. He closed his eyes and let out one last breath.

Youseph

The host of the YOSHICAST and TRANSMISSIONS Podcast. Transformers enthusiast and comic book collector.

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