I’ve been lost before. This time it was different. The gremlin stole me away in the middle of the night. Its cold slimy hands wrapped around me, the claws punched through my worn hide and abducted me from my warm and cozy spot under the bed. It was the perfect spot. I could whisper sweet dreams to little Joey as he slept. The gremlin didn’t like it when I whispered the good dreams. That’s why it took me.
I was stuffed through the mouse hole in the corner and dragged down between the walls. Nails reached out from the boards to rip at my fur and claim what they could keep of my stuffing as their prize. Not that it bothered me… much. I’ve been treated worse.
Joey did all sorts of terrifying things to me, but I loved him anyway. And I know he loved me too. We played war games mostly, I was Soldier Bear. I’ve been blown up, ran over, shot, mortally wounded, stabbed… on and on within the limitations of a small boys’ imagination. During the process of play warfare I have been ripped and torn… I was even decapitated once! I couldn’t count how many times I’ve been hurled from his second story window with a make-shift parachute made from old sheets which failed more often than not. Once, a limb caught the parachute and wouldn’t let go. I spent an entire summer stuck up in the live oak out in the back yard. Joey took shots at me with his BB gun, but the limb still held on. I still have some of the metal shot inside of me from when his aim was true.
The wind didn’t blow me down until well into winter when the limb had shed it leaves. The squirrels pointed and laughed at me, while I dangled there helpless. How humiliating. When I had finally become free, I spent three weeks captive by their Labrador, Duke, as his chew-toy. I was finally found, slobber soaked and filthy, and haphazardly tossed into the torture device named the washing machine. I pity their garments, drowned, tossed back and forth… and that dreaded spin cycle, oh the horrors! Once was enough for me.
My first owner, Joey’s elder sister Mary, was kind and gentle unlike that rambunctious child Joey. When I was with Mary, I had lots of friends and a warm place to sleep, I was Cuddly Bear then. There were tea parties and wonderful afternoons filled with make-believe time. There were unicorns and heroes (which I got to be sometimes!). Dragons and damsels, oh how I miss those days. If I had tear ducts, I would shed a tear in remembrance of those majestic magic filled days.
But here I am now, between the walls. Down those cruel claws dragged me. Down ever deeper into the darkness I go into the unknown where only the creepy crawlies reside. Tugging and pulling, unseen snags ripping at what little fur I have left, leaving a tuft here and there like the tattletale trail of breadcrumbs that Hansel and Gretel left. Only there is no one to find my trail of breadcrumbs. Will no hero come to save me? To what fate have I been left to? Is there no one come to my rescue? No, I don’t believe anyone will.
Where am I now? It‘s dark, and cold, I’m scared. Click… The sound came from above me. The gremlin dangled from a pull string that turned on the light. Swinging from the suspended light, the evil gremlin laughed as shadows cast by the dim solitary light bulb swirled around me. The creature’s laugh – much like a maniacal villain would in a bad movie, had nothing but evil intentions. It dropped down to stand before me, its slimy snot covered skin glistening in the swirling light. Drool oozed out of its mouth and dripped down from between his jagged teeth to puddle on the floor at my feet. With malicious glee the gremlin stabbed its razor sharp claws into my belly and ripped me open. My fluffy white insides exposed, the monster began to pull out my stuffing by the handfuls. He threw my fluff up into the air still laughing that low rumbling heinous laugh as it fell like snow.
I’m hollow now and alone. The cold concrete floor is littered with the remnants of my soft cuddly guts all around me. This is the end. It has to be, what worse could happen to me? I can feel the dark stillness of death starting to wrap its fingers around me and take its hold.
BAM… The gremlin returns. He slammed a metal bucket down next to my head. The creature examines the contents of the bucket lovingly. What’s in there? It examines me with black vile eyes. Defenseless, open, empty and supine I’m helpless before it. The gremlin plunges headfirst with both of its arms down into the bucket as deep as they will go. From the bucket, it pulls out armfuls of filthy detritus. All manner of foulness collected within the gremlins embrace. It drops the putrid mixture into me. Writing insects with venomous pincers, vermin droppings, rusty nails laced with tetanus, poisonous spiders, disease infested excrement, corroded jagged razorblades and heaven knows what else are stuffed inside the cavity of my body. The gremlin continues to cram me full of the putrid mixture until I’m ready to burst. It stops its incessant giggles for a moment to clear it throat of phlegm and then spews it inside of me, just for good measure. With a dull needle and spider webbing it sews me shut.
I can feel the evil inside of me growing. The creepy crawlies that replaced my insides writhed with cruel intent. The metal bits felt eager to draw blood. I wonder what blood tastes like. What am I thinking? What’s happening to me? Oh please, no… not this.
The gremlin has finished sewing me shut now. It dances around me, kicking at what remained of my fluffy insides scattered about the floor. Did I really have that soft crap inside of me? How pathetic. Roaches and worms, that was the good stuff, they brought life to me. Rotten and vile, but it was life.
Stand up. I tell my legs and they obey. Before I had to be manipulated by that spoiled brat Joey, I hate that kid. I can move on my own now. I will my arms to move. Where are you claws? I flex my paw, rusty nails and jagged bits of metal protrude. My claws, I have claws! Now I feel like a real bear, Nightmare Bear! My creator motions for me to follow him into the vent shaft. I follow. I like the darkness. Climbing, turning, and climbing more vent shafts he leads me to my old home. From behind a vent cover I look down between the grates to see a peaceful sleeping boy lying in bed, Joey. My master nods and smiles at me, showing those jagged fangs between its thin slimy lips. I know what to do, time to go to work.
He lifts the vent grates and I jump down onto Joey’s bed. A couple of stitches pop when I land on the bed and some of the creepy crawlies escape and wriggle away between Joey’s sheets. Slowly, softly I creep up to face him. I don’t want to wake him… not yet. I draw close to his ear and begin to whisper my first nightmare to him.