are part of the WPKFMA (We Protect Kids From Monsters Association) and come to
life when their kid is in danger. It is strictly forbidden to act in front of
adults. Your ‘kid’, who is now 78 years old, still sleeps with you. One night,
you sense a great danger approaching from underneath the bed. You now have to
make a choice: do nothing, or break the #1 rule of the WPKFMA to protect your kid.
Ted is cold. Ted hadn’t been cold for sixty-five years, when The Family went camping down in Frenchs Forrest (tent far too close to the river bank as the rainy season approached. Fucking furrless, honestly) and The Mother threw him over the empty river bed into the thorny bushes, begging to tear any bush walkers’ legs to shreds.
‘He needs to grow up. Just a little,’ the Mother said, confidence cracking under guilt.
‘Baby steps,’ agreed the Father, ‘no more baby toys. Thing always gave me the creeps- I never knew who got Johnny the bear.’
But they didn’t wonder further. The bear was gone.
Ted waited till the parents joined Johnny. The Mother’s snoring carried across the river bed, drilling Ted’s head as thorns tore into his stuffing.
The Stars were hidding that night. Ted threw all one foot six inches of him across the empty river, sensing the rolling mass coursing towards him even before the rain hit.
He didn’t make it before the wall of water hit him. As he floated away, he felt the danger for Johnny fade. Luck tonight was a high, sturdy river bank.
That didn’t make Ted less cold, wet and miserable. It did seem to add to The Parents fear when Johnny bounced out of bed (as children will do) Ted in hand.
The rule was they couldn’t see him move. Ted imagined they could see the vindictive grin in his glassy eyes.
There were no more attempts to seperate bear and boy, even as the boy reached adulthood. The Parents tried not to wonder anymore.
Ted sometimes wondered if the only reason Johnny kept him around was because he’d known, all these years. Maybe not about The Association, or the ghoulies, but most kids, at some stage, believe in the magic of goodnight snuggles and empty-cupped high tea (Ted hated high tea. Cumberbunds did nothing for his figure). They forget, when the teddie no longer rescue, or when the ghoulies find their older bones too tough, eyes too dry. All they remember is enough to pass on to their children, who believe for mere years before teddy is decommissioned and reassigned.
Ted wondered if Johnny had ever seen any of the night ghoulies. He’d never been one to cry of a monster in his closet, despite more than ample reason. He had Ted.
Ted, with his love fuelled magic and glassy black eyes that never gave him away, even in the pitch blackness that can only be found in a young child’s bedroom.
But the room, in Johnny’s house he bought himself (Ted had been so damn proud), decades on from that freezing night and tucked under the covers, Ted was cold. The night wasn’t the pitch black of ghoulies. Ted hadn’t felt the Danger for years. Hadn’t moved of his own accord in years.
Carefully, Ted dragged himself up, it from under the sheets. Careful not to make a noise, he crept over the quilt, jumping to where it pooled on the wooden floor. Bedpost hard and cold against his threadbare back, Ted plucked off his lucky eye; the one that, through all his years, had never been replaced because Johnny had been so guilty after The Ginger Kitten Incident, still hanging by a thread. He rolled it into the shadows under the bed.
With no teeth to bare, Ted scrunched his nose and stepped forward. What he saw made him gasp, drop to his knees.
‘No,’ he whimpered, ‘I know you have to— but oh please, not yet.’
The bed creaked as the spectre stared. At least, Ted thought that’s what it was doing as the figure had no discernible features. He was running on instinctive fear and a child’s imagination.
You’re not supposed to be here it whispered in his head.
‘Ha-ha!’ A voice boomed above, light bleaching Ted’s one remaining eye.
‘I knew it!’ Johnny cried as Ted turned around. The light bleached away his wrinkles, and his missing front tooth almost transported Ted back to sanitary time.
He looked back, but Death had left.
So he smiled.
Thank you for doing this prompt @why-not-jane! Please read this story everyone <3