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There’s Something You Need to Know About That Night

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

You’re searching through your closet and find an old stuffed animal or doll from your childhood. It starts to bring back a warm memory of a specific night that’s near and dear to your heart. Suddenly, your stuffed companion begins to talk and says, “There’s something you need to know about that night.” Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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126 Responses to There’s Something You Need to Know About That Night

  1. Otra says:

    Galoshes, no.
    Ballet trophy; that’s not it either.
    Several old skirts too small for me to wear; they might fit Lyddie in a few years’ time though—still no.
    Countless boots and shoes with varying degrees of muddiness and holeyness. They aren’t what I’m seeking either.

    Sitting back on my haunches I twist out a lock of hair and grit my teeth in frustration–I just KNOW that old album is in here somewhere, but where?!

    Suddenly at the back of the closet I spot an old battered cardboard box, covered with a creased lid. It’s heavy for its size, and thick with dust that makes me cough. Inside, wrapped in tissue paper are all of Mom’s mementos from my childhood—kindergarten finger-paintings, my baby book, my middle-school graduation certificate…
    And then I reach in, and lift out an old stuffed dog, fuzzy and white with brown ears. Her bright merry eyes had earned her the nickname Buttons; and Daddy had won her for me at the county fair on my eleventh birthday.

    I was so excited to be going to a real fair; we lived in the suburbs so there wasn’t even one in our area. Daddy drove us two hours out into the country; he and Mom sang along to the twangy country on the radio as I eagerly sketched the sunflowers and horses we drove past. We prowled the midway together, all three of us, Daddy boldly stepping right up to any and every game, win or lose. We saw a livestock show were ponies of every color pranced and showed off for ribbons, and had hot buttered corn and frybread for lunch. We rode the Ferris wheel, Mom squeezing my hands tight because she didn’t like heights, even as Daddy laughed at her. As dusk was gathering and it was getting time to leave, my Daddy stepped up to one last booth—the milk-bottle game–and won Buttons for me as a present.

    ‘Happy birthday, pumpkin,’ he said to me as he handed her over, her blue neck-ribbon sparkly with newness. I hugged her all the way home, and every night after that she slept on my pillow with me. Right up until I left for college, and Mom packed up my old things to make me room more ‘grown up’. Daddy was gone by then, the tumors eating him away into a lifeless husk. I hadn’t even thought of my old friend since then; it was good to see her again.

    “There’s something you need to know about that night.”

    Startled, I turned towards the door—the voice that just spoke sounded like a little girl, but my daughter was at school; it couldn’t be–

    Buttons wriggled in my arms, her button-eyes blinking.

    “Your daddy wanted you and your mom to have a good Last Night with him. He’d just got his diagnosis; on the way home he was going to pull off at a gas station and shoot you both, then turn the gun on himself. But when he saw you curled up on the backseat like a baby, cuddling me, he just couldn’t. He decided to take his chances instead.”

    I’m still holding her when Lyddie gets home, and she’s alarmed to see me crying. My tears dry quickly, though, as I hand my old friend over to her, and begin to tell her about her grandfather.

  2. JoyHolliday says:

    Standing at the airport, fiddling with the edges of my new white dress I awaited the arrival of my Daddy. Glancing anxiously at the terminal as the planes flew in. I couldn’t wait to see Daddy. I looked up at Mommy to see if her expression mirrored mine, but she neither seemed anxious or excited. As I looked back at the terminal, I finally saw that familiar face approaching. I wasn’t the type to run and jump in my Daddy’s arms, I was always a bit shy. He came to us and I smiled shyly up at him, he smiled widely back with the most beautiful dimples embedded in his cheeks. The same ones I would stick my fingers in when playing with his face. The same dimples that I inherited from him. He gave me a big hug and kiss, as well as handed me a small white box. I tenderly retrieved the box and slid the lid off to reveal the sweetest teddy bear staring back at me. The brown bear wore red and white striped pajamas with a matching cap and bunny slippers. I loved him instantly. I named him Thomas, Thomas T. Bear. I don’t remember much else from that day. I don’t even recall if what I just wrote actually occurred, all I do know is that day I met Thomas.

    Today, I was cleaning my daughters room and as I folded her shirts to place them in her drawers, I heard a faint voice drift from the shelf in her closet. I stood aback and a bit frightened. Thomas sat upon the shelf with a glazed look upon his articical face. Nose no longer black, but worn pink from the many nights snuggled beneath the covers. I loved that teddy bear but in this moment, fear gripped me.
    “Hello, my love”, he repeated.
    I stared at him in disbelief, but before I could catch the words they escaped my mouth in a breathy, “Hello Thomas”.
    “I want you to know something, I don’t think you knew about your daddy,”Thomas told me. “Ok, what would that be?”
    My mother and father divorced shortly after I received Thomas and our family was never the same. I had not spoken to my father in a year and had not seen him in over ten.
    Thomas leaned in sympathetically, “he loved you little one, with all of his heart, but he didn’t love himself enough to show you.”
    Anger flashed behind my eyes and Thomas leaned back. “I’m sorry,” Thomas whispered in a way a small stuffed bear could. I closed my eyes to fight the stinging tears. The tears that melted into my broken heart. I had loved my daddy, but he didn’t stay. He was gone. Now I knew the truth. He couldn’t love himself enough to love me properly, so he left. He just left.

  3. YoungLove says:

    “Are you sure about this baby?”
    “Yeah, let’s sell the house,” she said.

    So we put the house on the market. And then, the very next day, some old lady comes knocking on our door. “I saw the ‘for sale’ sign in your yard.”
    “That was the goal. Are you interested in buying the house?”
    “No.”
    “Then why are you here?”
    “Because I wanted to tell you a story.”
    “Look, lady, I don’t have time for this.” As I’m about to shut the door, my wife comes over. Once she sees the lady, she tells me to open the door.
    “Why are you here?” She asks. She’s always eager for a story.
    “Well, I’m glad that someone’s interested in hearing my story.”

    And this is how I learned the story of little Natalie. A girl who lived in the house that my wife and I recently sold. She told us about the days when she used to sell lemonade in the street, how she would hide in the attic when her daddy got mad, how she would have sleepovers with all her friends from school. And then she told us why she came to talk to us.

    “Twenty-two years ago, I was in an accident that caused me to lose all of my memory. I had been searching ever since to find something that would make me remember. And then I saw your sign in the yard, and I remembered. I remembered everything. I remembered the young lady in the car. I remembered how she suffered a far worse fate than I did. I remembered the house. I remembered how I gave her this house the day she turned eighteen, because I was so proud of her getting into college. The first one in our family, can you believe that? I remembered her little baby boy, the one that would never know his mother. The one that was only two months old when she passed.”

    “Look, I don’t know who you are, but this house was passed down to me by my father. He died two years ago. He had cancer.”

    “Yes, I remember him as well. I never liked the fellow, but he treated my daughter well.”

    “What are you saying?”

    “Well, I’m your grandmother.”

    • YoungLove says:

      Hey, sorry, but I accidentally put this on the wrong prompt…. It was supposed to go under the selling your house one, not quite sure how that happened…. I can’t figure out how to delete it though…..

  4. YoungLove says:

    This is just great. Once I finally get settled down, they think that it would be a good idea to just move again. I guess I should be used to it by now. I finally make a good friend, one of those friends with crazy hair that she dies a different color every month, and who will cry with you during your worst times, who sneaks out with you to go to a wild party even though she knows she’d probably get in trouble just because you want to, someone who will take all of your secrets to her grave. Or when I finally start dating some this guy, one of those really cute jock with a six-pack, a tight butt and a good tan (he spends more time in the tanning salon than I do) and is just about the only incredibly attractive guy on earth that isn’t just trying to get into your pants. This is what they’re taking away from me. And as I pack, it feels like I’m packing away not just memories, smiles and laugh. I’m packing away the happiness of the life that I could have lived here.

    Something made me stop when I saw my favorite teddy bear. It was one of those little tiny ones that you can get for a couple bucks at CVS or Rite Aid. My parents don’t know about it, but one of my babysitters in elementary school gave it me. Maybe the boredom was getting to my head, but I swear the teddy bear started talking to me.

    “There’s something you need to know about that night.” And before I could say anything, I was flying back through my memories.

    Past all the people I’ve met, everyone I’ve known. I stopped at the night when the babysitter gave me that teddy bear, the one that I was still holding in my hands. “Hold on to this forever, never lose it, and, most importantly, don’t let anyone know you have it or that I gave it to you.” I didn’t understand it, but I promised him that I would , I promise that I am still keeping.

    We keep going, to a place that I don’t recognize. It’s dark, and I the only face that I can see is that of my old babysitter. He’s coming closer, this creepy smile on his, and I’m begging him to stop. Before I can see anymore, I’m snapped back to the present by the sound of a rock hitting my window. I peer out, and see a face that I never thought that I would see again.

    Now I know why we move around so often. I never knew what had happened that night until now. He did things that no one should ever do to a little girl. I blocked those memories out, because they were too hard for me to relive. Once he got out of jail, he’s followed us, my parents moving every time he finds us, but never telling me, hoping that I won’t find out. If only they’d told me. If only I knew sooner what he did, maybe it wouldn’t be happening again.

  5. Kerry Charlton says:

    NO BETTER MOTHER

    Winter rain beat against the hospital windows as Jonathan O’Conner leaned over his Mother’s bed, placing his right ear to her lips while she lay in ICU at Philadelphia General.
    “Jon Boy, I left a small box for you in my bedroom closet.”
    “Mother, please rest and save your strength. I won’t leave you.”
    “No one could have asked for a better son.”
    The shrill of the ICU alarm, pierced Jon’s grief. He knew his Mother had gone.
    Dawn melted the mist as Jonathan’s cab pulled up his Mother’s two story, stone cottage in Upper Darby. Memories flooded his thoughts, pushing his sorrow aside. He had grown up as an only child in a fatherless house. The father he never knew had been killed in an air force mission before his birth, but his Mother’s love had been encompassing.
    A small white box tied with a twist of twine lay on his Mother’s closet shelf. He slipped off the lid, revealing a small, stuffed black lamb. He remembered a stormy night as a small child, falling out of bed, crying for his Mother. She had rushed to his side to comfort him with the black lamb she had saved for his Easter present. She had held him through the night, dabbing his tears away.
    No fonder memory had he. Why had he forgotten? He placed the small lamb back on the shelf and fell to his knees in remorse.
    “No need for grief,” Jonathan heard. ‘Where had the voice come from,’ he thought? Yet it continued,
    “Your Mother wanted you to know how much she loved you.”
    Jonathan felt his grief desending into madness. His lamb had talked to him. A fifty year old stuffed animal; impossible, he thought. The lamb spoke again,
    “The Philadelphia Inquirer, April twenty fourth, nineteen sixty.”
    Jonathan hurtled down the stairs, out the door and stood in the drizzle. ‘Had Mother spoken to me,’ he wondered?
    Searching the newspaper archives, the April twenty fourth headlines schorched the front page.”Society Murder Suicide Stuns Upper Darby.” Photos of Maureen and Jonathan O’Conner Sr. glared from the page. A note had been found from Maureen accusing her sister Jennifer, of carrying on an affair with Maureen’s husband. The article continued.
    Maureen’s sister Jennifer had spent the night at her sister’s house. Upon hearing the shouting and gunfire, she had rushed to her nephew’s bedroom fearing for his life. Gathering him in her arms, she had bolted down the stairs to the neighbors for help.
    Contained in the article, were references to Maureen’s battle with mental illness. Jonathan’s tears blurred the computer screen. ‘I can’t take any more’, he thought and hurried out of the Inquirer.
    Soaring through the clouds the following week on his way back to Dallas, Jonathan’s mind recalled the truth that night. He remembered the shouting, gunfire and his aunt carrying him to safety. He knew as he always knew, no one had a better Mother than he.

    • swatchcat says:

      Kerry, the story is very good. You’ve written of the sadness in an effective way. Mostly, structure will be critiqued on this forum. You should considered separating your paragraph’s with a space, generally give quotes ownership ie. he said/she said but don’t get adverb happy. Other’s may correct me on this but dates don’t get spelled out “April 24, 1960″ and “mother” within a sentence does not get capitalized unless you specify in the story somehow that for example: “the farmer and his wife address each other lovingly as Mother and Father.” I hope to see more of your writing. Welcome

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        I appreciate your taking yout time to help. Stories are stacked up and ready to be told. Structure critique will help me more than you know. I started writing five years ago and I have seventy years of experiences to pull from. These prompts are the best thing for me since sliced bread.

        Thank you.

  6. 680aevans says:

    It had been years since I had been up in the attic of my childhood home. I don’t know what it was that drew me there that weekend.

    When I went into the garage, the little string attached to the overhead staircase was hanging down. It always seemed like such an adventure when Daddy pulled on it, and like magic the narrow staircase unfolded down. Before I knew what I was doing, my hand was reaching for it, my fingers grasping it, and I was pulling. Down came the magical staircase, just like when I was a child. I began to climb.

    The space was surprisingly like I had remembered. As I swept my eyes across the boxes and bags, a stuffed paw caught my eye. I recognized that particular paw. It belonged to Perdie, a treasured dog. She was the Queen and Ruler of Animal Land from as far back as I could remember. All our stuffed animals had loved and respected her, and she had been a long-time and favorite companion of my childhood.
    I carefully made my way over to the bag and pulled her out.

    As I touched her, a sudden memory came to me. My sister and I were up late one night. We were going on vacation in the morning, and for some reason we decided to do a “Night Watch.” We huddled in the walk-in closet of my room, trying to evade the notice of our parents. We were determined to stay up all night, “keeping watch” for our special departure. We were going to take turns sleeping. During our time awake, we planned to listen to a sing-along dinosaur cassette. Perdie kept us company for the whole hour we managed to stay awake.

    I smiled, and suddenly, to my amazement, Perdie began to speak!

    I almost dropped her in shock, but another part of me was not surprised. Mine was not a dull childhood full of plastic lifeless toys. It was magical and alive, and my companions seemed to speak all the time. Was this really so strange?

    “What?” I gasped. I’d been so flustered I hadn’t grasped her first words.

    “I said there’s something you need to know about that night.”

    “Yes?”

    “Do you remember how you watched and waited and dreamed, giggling? Do you remember how you broke the rules a bit, because you felt too alive not to? How the world was full of possibilities and you simply lived in life, not in your head?”

    I nodded.

    “Where did that life go? It didn’t have to fade away. You need to know that it’s not too late.”

    Suddenly my head jerked and my eyes flew open. Had it all been a dream?

    When she got home, I pulled Mama aside.

    “Do you know what happened to Perdie? “

    “Oh, baby, I don’t. I haven’t thought of that thing in ages.”

    “I think I’ll go look for her later.”

    And I did. And I found a paw, peeking out of a box. And I pulled on it, and out came Perdie. She came all the way down the magic ladder with me and found her way into my suitcase, and she sits now in my room. But she hasn’t talked. She hasn’t said a word.

    I guess she figures she’s already said all that mattered.

    • MidnightDreamer says:

      I loved reading your story, it whispers about the magic of childhood and our imagination that as a youngster can take us to many places and bringing our most favoured teddy’s with us. I thought it was lovely, it all just went full circle especially the memories and feelings connecting with the attic stairs.
      Keep up the good work.

  7. mfdavis says:

    Losing both my parents within the past year has taken a toll on me. Oh how tired and drained I feel. I buried my mom a week ago and I still can’t get myself together. Here I stand in the middle of the living room where I have so many memories of them both. I really don’t want to lose this house too. But there’s no way I c an make the mortgage payments. Mom and I struggled to keep this house after dad died. Once it’s sold I’ll have nothing and no one.

    I really need to pack up this stuff and get out of this house so that I can get on with my life. But just look at all these photos, furniture, clothing, and knick-knack; she didn’t throw out or give away anything. I think I’ll go upstairs to my room and take a nap first.

    I remember when we moved into this house and how afraid I was to spend my first night in here alone. Daddy went out and brought me a yellow teddy bear with wire rim glasses and a special heat. That was over 15 years ago. Daddy said the teddy bear was a very wise friend and knew secrets that could keep me safe. I remember pretending Fefe would tell me her secrets and I would tell her mine. Where is that bear? I could really use a friend now.

    Aaah, there she is way up there on the top shelf of my closet where daddy put her the night he had the heart attack. Mom rushed him to the hospital and he never came home again. Because I used to call him to take everything down from that shelf, nothing has moved from there since his death. I’ll have to get the step stool to get Fefe down.

    Little wise teddy bear I wish you could really keep me safe. Can you watch over me while I take a nap? Well Fefe, I guess you’re not all daddy said you were. I’ve being laying here for an hour without a wink of sleep. So I’ll just toss you over there in the chair while I pack some boxes.

    Hey, the way Fefe’s little hat if flipped over on her head looks odd. That’s the way it looked that night Daddy put her on the self. I rememer, at the hospital Daddy tried to tell me something. He said something like “bear knows”.

    “Yes, I know”, said Fefe. “There’s something you need to know about that night.”
    That bear can’t speak. It doesn’t have a string or an on botton. I sat straight up in my bed, heart pounding. I was wide awake now. I remember now, Daddy also said to check the hat of the bear. Here’s a safe deposit box key and a note that said pay off the mortgage.

  8. BingoBill says:

    The heat was on low, enough to keep the pipes from bursting.
    Grey dust frosted the boxes. It rose as a cloud with each step.
    The rear of the attic was a Nederland of forgotten toys and broken, too-small furniture; cribs, my mother’s rocking chair. Atop a rainbow painted dresser was a round cardboard box, a hatbox from my mother’s mother’s generation once red but now faded to dirty pink beneath the grey.
    Nested in faded newspaper lay Dapper Dan, the once proud warrior and Kemosabe from nap time adventures. One eyed, torn at the groin (ouch, winced the adult me) he slumbered in this For Sale House.
    Pods storage sat in the driveway.
    Dapper Dan moved in my grasp, “took you long enough to come back.”
    “I had things to do…” my feeble excuse.
    “How did the circus work out?” it was code for running away.
    “I enlisted, instead.” Short hair and a thin muscular build contrasted with the pimply shy bookworm of youth.
    “Got any kids? Looking for something special for Christmas?”
    I thought of the girls and their collection of Bratz dolls and Disney dvd’s.
    “No. No kids.” I lied, guiltily. “We have a dog, Gerry.”
    Dapper Dan laughed a bronchial wheeze at the name. Gerald was my father so naming a mutt after him would have appealed to the younger me. It was amazing how easy I could lie even now to my best buddy.
    I wanted to cry.
    “You didn’t come to take me with you.” The accusation stung.
    No. I had not.
    “What then? The Amvets? Salvation Army? Where do I go? I don’t suppose you planned this out very well, did ya?”
    “I have no plan for you.”
    “Fuck you,” he said. Dan sat perfectly still. He was the repositiry of my childhood fears and confidant of hatreds and unfulfilled dreams of revenge. I could take him with me, but that would mean a continuation of all that was wrong with my youth.

    The dumpster was overflowing by the time I finished emptying the last of my parents’ worldly history, the rest set aside for a Salvation Army pickup later that afternoon.
    Dan sat in his red coffin on the side of the bin, a tight knot holding the box closed. I really did not think he would get up and walk out; the conversations were no more real now than during the turbulent years of my scarred childhood.
    But I could not keep him. I did not want to remember.

  9. bhakti108 says:

    My husband said I have a writing assignment in St.Paul why don’t you come. I had no work that month so I grabbed an opportunity to do anything. You grew up in St. Paul near an aunt didn’t you. Yeah I said with limited enthusiasm she wasn’t very nice to me. We lived above my grandmother for a time when my father was out of work. She would come over and yell at me to be cleaner and quieter. I’m not saying she didn’t have her reasons she was very worried about her mother, my grandmother. She made me so fearful at the age of five I was afraid to go to the bathroom thinking that witches would come out of the toilet.
    I quickly forgot about the incident and focused on getting ready for our trip. We arrived in St. Paul late Thursday night. I was enjoying being with my husband and site seeing. To my surprise, I received a call from my Aunt, my sister had informed her we were in Minnesota, she was very sweet and invited me and my husband over for dinner. I accepted the invitation and realized she was a lot nicer than my childhood memories of her. On Saturday evening we arrived at her house which was my grandmothers old house, she was a great hostess and had a fabulous dinner for us. My husband and her were absorbed in a after dinner conversation, I asked her if I could go upstairs and see the rooms I stayed in as a child. She nodded her head and said sure. I walked up the stairs feeling as if I was being pulled by a magnetic force. As I went to my room that I stayed in as a child, I noticed many of my childhood toys were on the shelf in the closet. My favorite stuffed monkey,Hanuman was on the top shelf looking at me as if he wanted to tell me something. I put my hand around his cuddly stomach and pulled him towards me. I remember what a great friend he had been my whole childhood. I thought I heard him say something, then realizing how foolish that is I looked around the room to see if anyone came in. Strange I thought no one was there. Then I heard the same thing again, he was talking to me. His mouth had the cutest smile, and he said remember April 15th when your mother was stuck downtown till very late and your aunt was anger that you were making too much noise, she chastised you, and sent you to bed without supper. You ran upstairs and curled up in the big armchair determined to bury your head in your blanket for the rest of your life. As you were sobbing I snuck you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag of cookies,then I sat down beside you. You stopped sobbing, hugged me and ate your sandwich and cookies saying Jaya Hanuman, Jaya Hanuman. I looked at my stuffed monkey kissed him and said I will never leave you again, you will always sleep beside me. I wasn’t sure if I had lost my mind and dreamed it all up but I always enjoy having my lost monkey at my bed ,

  10. kiss_of_revenge says:

    Claire had woken from her dreamy haze slowly this morning. With a slight chill in the air, she indulged in the warmth of the blanket surrounding her. The rising sun, melting through the window, recharged her body through closed eyelids, pulling her away from blurred dreams of tossing and flipping. With enough wakefulness for thoughts to start churning, she was struck by the urge to find something. Unsure of what, she just knew it needed to be found.
    Foregoing breakfast, Claire decided to begin the search. Abandoning her cocoon, she crossed the room and opened her small closet. She dove in; mechanically removing a blanket and the rattling box underneath. Behind these, sitting on it’s side was a shoebox. Claire knew instantly her search was over.
    Pulling the box out gingerly, running her fingers down the sides of the nondescript box, she knew the contents were important to her, but couldn’t quite remember what was inside. Sliding the lid off, her gaze met the piercing black eyes of a stuffed rabbit. Removing it from it’s cage, Claire held it out to examine. The long ears flopped forward over a faded white and tan body. There were two places where the seams had been resewn, with purple thread, and only a few strands of fur where a once fluffy tail had been. Claire’s mouth curved into a large grin as she recognized it.
    “Mr. Rabbit!”
    “Hello, Claire. How are you?” The unblinking rabbit asked.
    Hugging him to her fiercely, she replied, “I’m good. Did you sleep well?”
    Releasing her grip, Mr. Rabbit hopped to the floor, sat on his haunches and began grooming his ears. “Just fine, Claire. Although,” he said, pulling one ear over his face. “my ears do get a little stiff in there.” Finished grooming he looked up at her. “Shall we get started?” Claire nodded.
    The two friends spent the day blissfully playing their favorite games. After dressing up in their finest, they had tea with carrot cake. Then, Mr. Rabbit fought off a ferocious dragon to save Princess Claire. They played hide and seek, which Mr. Rabbit was exceptionally good at, and they even dug in the garden to find carrots. Finally, they read Claire’s favorite book, ‘Are You My Mother?’
    Claire sat with Mr. Rabbit in her lap, massaging his fuzzy ears. “Mother said tomorrow we’re going to the fair. Wont that be fun!?” she asked her friend.
    “Claire, I have to tell you something about that night.” Mr. Rabbit paused, fiddling with a string hanging from one of his seams. “Your mother, she–”
    “I want to ride the Ferris wheel first! Then, I want cotton candy and a hotdog!” Claire rambled on, not hearing her small friend.
    “Please, don’t go, Claire.”
    Peering through the small window on the door, the woman in white jotted down notes. Hearing footsteps behind her, she turned. A bearded man glanced through the window.
    “How is she today?”
    “No change, Doctor. Still reliving the day before the wreck.”

  11. Egg says:

    I don’t know why Mom kept Rubber Ducky, but the grunge and slime of age cannot blanket the memory of the day she gave it to me. Was I four or five? Too old for a rubber ducky in any case, but that simple gift turned bath-times into a passion.

    The funeral was bearable, but packing up the house claws at my heart. Her photo albums filled with the lonely times of a boy and his mother, the resentment I harbored for her driving my father away captured forever in my eyes, huddle in the trunk of my car, awaiting… what? A place in my home? The bitter flames of a backyard fire?

    I remember her crying. “It must have washed down the plug hole.”

    “LIAR,” screamed my father. “WHO IS HE?”

    “I swear, I’m not cheating on you, Phil.” Her eyes were dark from lack of sleep.

    She had misplaced her wedding ring. I checked the drain of the bath, and dad was right, there was no way the ring could have fit through the grate over the plug hole without the tools of a jeweler.

    “Who’ve you been sneaking off to see?” he yelled. “WHO IS HE?”

    My mother crumbled to the kitchen floor and wept. I still remember the heart-shaped bruise on her wrist from when she fell.

    I never saw my father again. I learned of his death eight years later, through an article in the newspaper reporting the fatalities of a car crash.

    Rubber Ducky grins up at me, his orange bill ringed with black. He squeaks pathetically when I squeeze.

    “I took her ring.” The words are tired and wheezy, and I drop Rubber Ducky, stumble over the bathroom detritus I have piled on the tiles, and crash onto my elbow, releasing an expletive Mom would scold me for.

    “It was the right thing to do.”

    I scuttle backwards like a roach, clutching my elbow, and scoot my eyes around the bathroom. Rubber Ducky is staring at me through grimy orange eyes.

    “I had to chew it up a bit, but I finally got it down the plug hole.”

    The rubber lips continue to smirk without moving.

    “My father didn’t want to know me,” I whisper. “My life was hell.”

    “She used to sneak off to see Dr. Peters.”

    “Dr. Peters is a woman. She was Mom’s best friend.”

    Rubber Ducky squeaks at my ignorance. “Your father hated her.”

    “So you stole Mom’s wedding ring?”

    “It wasn’t easy. Hard as hell to chew with a rubber beak.”

    “You left Mom without a husband. You left me without a father.”

    “But I saved her life. And I saved yours.”

    “What are you talking about?”

    “He used to beat the crap out her, Tom.”

    The black eyes I mistook for tiredness. The heart-shaped bruise I believed she inflicted upon herself on that fateful day.

    I carried Rubber Ducky to the car, and threw him in the trunk next to photos of an angry boy, trapped forever in a broken man.

  12. JudithG says:

    ” RAGGEDY ANN
    “Raggedy!” There she was, a bit faded, some of her orange yarn hair unraveling, and with smudges of dirt and water color paint on her apron. My Raggedy Ann doll. ID known by the embroidered “I love you” heart on her chest that she was a symbol of love. But somehow there had always been in an aura of sadness in her spirit. I often cuddled her when I was sad. The love within her always comforted me.
    When I discovered her in my mother’s attic after all these years I was nearly overcome by those same emotions that surrounded me the night she was given to me. All my mother’s family had gathered at Grandma’s house that evening. I remember a heavy feeling in the air although I was only four years old. But I was elated with the gift of this doll I had read about in my storybooks. Everyone was hugging each other and Grandma had made her signature spice cake. While the family visited quietly in the living room, I happily sat on the rug playing with Raggedy Ann. How strange it was to feel those emotions again as I fondled her.
    “”Feeling sad, are you?”
    “Raggedy? Did you speak to me?” I held her at arm’s length.
    “Yes.” The voice came from her, but the smiling mouth did not move. “Do you remember the evening I was given to you?”
    “Yes it was at Grandma’s. And it wasn’t even a special day.”
    “I’d like to tell you why.”
    “Yes, please.”
    “You had an uncle.”
    “Yes, I barely knew him. He died in the war.”
    “I was given to you to divert your attention from what was really happening that evening. You see, your family had just learned that your uncle was missing in action.”
    I sat back in the old chair hugging my precious doll. I was reminded my tendency for depression and struggles to find inner peace. I had often failed to appreciate good fortune when it happened in my life. Raggedy Ann had been exposed only to sadness…and love. I sat there for a long time, pondering the richness of my life I’d failed to appreciate, Just as this doll had hardly ever witnessed the many wonderful events.
    “So, you absorbed all of it for me. The overpowering sadness, and the unbounded love that my family shares. No wonder you have always been a comfort to me. Raggedy Ann, I won’t ever pack you up in a box again. There are so many more experiences that I want to share with you. There’s happiness, and peace. There are many other kinds of love and indescribable impulses that we feel every day. You should not be burdened with only the difficult parts of our lives. Yes, you’ll no longer be only my comforter. You will be my confidant. And we will face life together with a smile in our hearts.”
    I’d swear her stitched smile grew an inch on each side.

    • Egg says:

      The detail of the spice cake placed me in the room, and I like your ending.

    • kiss_of_revenge says:

      I like the direction your story is going, but i’m a bit confused by the last part. You say “Raggedy Ann had been exposed only to sadness…and love.” That there is much more for the doll to experience–happiness and peace and love. You make it sound like the doll has only experienced sadness and the ugly parts of life, yet you plainly state it has experienced “unbounded love” from the family. Then you say the doll should not be burdened with only the difficult parts of our lives. So i’m a bit confused as to what you are trying to convey for the doll. If I missed something I apologize, but just trying to give feedback.

  13. devsmess says:

    Are there any rules or basic guidelines for these prompts? I tried searching for some but couldn’t find any.

    Thanks!
    -devsmess

    • slayerdan says:

      500 words or less, although thats not hard and fast—if you do 523 itll go unnoticed. If you do 750, someone will call you on it. The goal is to try and use that 500 to tell your story. The prompt is but a diving board—how you dive, flip in the air, hit the water, and exit the pool is up to you. Language–keep in mind some teens do write here. I use whatever words fit, but I wouldnt do sex scenes. Otherwise—enjoy.

  14. devsmess says:

    With my fingers tangled through the soft, curly fur of Mister Loopy, I closed my eyes to let the nostalgia wash over me.
    The last time I’d held him, my mother had been nagging at me to ‘choose wisely’ and yelling just loud enough so that all the neighbors knew I still needed an oversized teddy bear to doze off.
    I complied with a solemn sweep of stuffed animals off my bed and placed them one-by-one into the black garbage bag.
    Truthfully, it felt more like murder than safekeeping.
    “It totally felt like murder! I thought the same thing! The same thing! Of course, I didn’t say it, though. You were fuckin’ twelve, I mean right? That would’ve been creepy.”
    It took me more than the normal allotted time to open my eyes and realize Mister Loopy had a fully functional set of vocal chords before I jerked back and threw him across the room.
    He landed back in the closet on top of the black body bag and got up slowly.
    The teddy bear let out a full groan.
    “Alright, that was cool and all when you were a peapod, but I’m older, too, now, remember?” he spoke.
    “You- you can’t talk.”
    “I can talk. I’m talking.”
    “You… you can’t-“
    “Listen! Hey-oh! Talking! Check me out! Jesus Christ, didn’t you go to college?”
    I used my palms to inch backward across the floor as Loopy inched closer to me. The taste of skin in my mouth started to become overwhelming.
    “Okay, okay. I just have to tell you something before you completely shit your pants, ‘cause quite frankly, I’ve seen enough of that shit,” Loopy said.
    I wanted to protest, but words wouldn’t come. In an odd twist of fate, he was now the only one with the vocal chords.
    “There’s something you need to know about that night.”
    My subtle backward movements had come to halt as I moved up against the bedroom wall.
    He kept approaching.
    “That night you got rid of us? Yeah, well we weren’t as ‘gone’ as you thought we were. Your mom is a lazy son of a bitch, you know that? What does a bag of stuffing weigh? Like, five pounds? Holy shit, I could lift that. But then again we’re like ants, you know. I could pick up your bed if I wanted to,” he said with a chuckle. “But that’s another story.”
    As he came into reaching distance, I snapped my leg out to kick him.
    He foiled my move with a swift dodge.
    “Hey! Storytelling! Storytelling!” he repeated. “Your favorite fucking thing! Listen to me! Stories! I’m a teddy bear telling stories! It doesn’t get any better than this, Nicky!”
    With wide eyes, I retracted both of my knees to my chest and momentarily resigned, hoping that after finishing the story he’d hop back into the black bag and sleep until I died.
    “Okay… well, that night, since your mom was too much of an oink-oink to carry us up to the attic, we came into your room after dark and…” he trailed off.
    A wave of giggles echoed from the closet as the black bag began to shift and move.
    One by one, my old, cherished friends emerged from the bag with smiles on their faces.
    “Are you ready, guys? Just like we planned it, okay? There’s no re-do’s on this. It’s gotta be good,” Loopy said over his shoulder.
    Then, all together, the furry army yelled across the room to my shaking, petrified face.
    “We saw you masturbate!”

    This is the first time I’ve ever posted any of my work online for someone to read. It’s a bit over word count. (By 91 words I think. Is that legal?) I woke up early today and started my goinswriter.com challenge.
    Jeff Goins, Day 3 – Initiative! I was told to do something that scared me.
    Hope it was worth your read.

    Sincerely,
    Steph

  15. handyman43127 says:

    A FIRST KISS

    Rifling through my closet in an attempt to find the missing disk to repair my printer I find instead a long forgotten friend from the past. A small and well warn Teddy bear with the words I Love You written in red marker across his tiny chest.

    Forgetting why I had begun my search I sit inside the closet and rest my back against the wall. What a wonderful find I think to myself. “I have not seen you in forever” I speak out loud.

    Remembering why we had become best buddies brings a much needed smile to my face and reminds me of the days when he was new.

    I was the new kid on the block, moving from another state to Ohio. Having not made any friends yet I spent my days bouncing my baseball off the brick wall beside our house, playing catch with myself, I was five.

    One day while playing catch a girl named Laura stopped to say hello, she was seven and very pretty. We talked and laughed and After some time she left to go home and eat but promised to come again tomorrow. Quickly she kissed me on the cheek and ran off giggling for as far as I could hear her.

    My first kiss,I will never forget it, and as she promised she came knocking on my door the next morning carrying a small brown paper sack. Inside was the bear I have kept all these years. With a smile on her face and red on her cheeks she asked if we could be girlfriend and boyfriend and gave me the bear to prove her affection to me.

    The summer passed quickly and so did our puppy love but I kept my little furry friend to preserve the memory of my first kiss and the little girl that gave it to me.

    “Hey” I hear.

    I look from within the closet but find the room vacant.

    “Here, me the bear, Listen I have something I need to tell you”

    “You the stuffed animal have something to tell me?” I reply while examining him for signs of tampering.

    “Yea and cut that out, that tickles and is a little weird if you get my drift.”

    “Well I’m waiting” I answered back.

    “I hate to burst your sweet story, you know first kiss and all but you were not my first.”

    “What? I asked.
    “Yea she tried to give me to someone else a week before you came along and he turned me down, he was always a little shit in my opinion anyway.”

    “You thought it was important to tell me this now, Why?” I asked.

    “Well you just stuffed me away in this closet and forgot about me, I figured this could be my last chance to tell you, so I did.”

    “Yes I think you could be right about your last chance,” I answered back. “Come with me I have someone I want you to meet, his name is Ricky he’s my pet Doberman!

  16. casmick72 says:

    Throwing various articles of clothing and boxes of books out of my closet into my room, I shovel my way to the back looking for my lost kitten heel. Crawling on hands and knees I find a box of old stuffed animals under a stack of extra blankets. I spot the head and neck of my stuffed giraffe, Bo Bo. Pulling him tenderly out of his cardboard zoo I recall that night so long ago. My heart stutters in my chest and my stomach clenches into a knot as I flash back 20 years. My earliest memory is of my father taking me to the hospital after I had been having severe stomach pains for hours.
    The doctors diagnosed a cancerous mass had shut down my kidneys and recommended emergency surgery. I woke up hours later with a stuffed giraffe with a get well balloon tied to his long neck on the bed side table. Bo Bo was my constant companion from that day on as I suffered through months of chemo.
    Hugging Bo Bo to my chest I hear a cottony whez. Looking around the room, I see that I am alone. I hear “Excuse me” coming from Bo Bo. I glance down to see Bo Bo staring at me with his black plastic button eyes. His mouth is not moving but a voice is absolutely coming from him.
    Turning Bo Bo around to see if there are any speakers or wires attached, he says “Excuse me” again. I right him to listen to the rest of what he has to say. “There is something you should know about that night you were sick.”
    Amazed that Bo Bo is talking and he knows about my illness I ask him “What do I need to know?” In a way I can’t explain, Bo Bo looks very sad as his fuzzy eyebrows draw together and he continues with his story “That night you needed a kidney transplant, but there were no donors that matched. Your parents were too big for your small kidneys so your dad asked your brother to be a donor.”
    Perplexed I say to Bo Bo “But I don’t have a brother.” Bo Bo explains “You have a half-brother you never knew existed. Your father had a boy to another woman before your parents met. Your brother lived with his mom in another state after the divorce.” Anger rises in my throat as this deception starts to take hold in my mind. With choking emotion I ask “Why didn’t they ever tell me about him and what he did for me?” His voice fading till I could barely hear him, Bo Bo finishes “He died from complications of the surgery. You were so fragile that they did not want to upset you for fear of losing you too.” The revelation stuns me as I mourn the loss of a brother I never knew and the precious gift of life he gave to me.

    • Egg says:

      You fit a lot of detail and a lot of plot into so few words. Well done.

      I am far from a punctuation expert, but perhaps when you read, look at how other writers use commas, or better yet, look for the natural pauses in your own work. E.g., Perplexed, I say to Bo Bo, “But I don’t have a brother.” I hope this helps, but it’s a dicey art, so I won’t be upset if you ignore me.

    • kiss_of_revenge says:

      nice twist ending

  17. JNewcomer says:

    Madonna. Mother and child. The relationship of the Christ child with his mother fascinates people. Even while hanging in his agony, Jesus looked down and asked his friend John to take care of his mother. And though I could not claim to achieve that relationship with my mother, I am no less fascinated by my memories of her. After all, she is mine.

    My earliest memories began about age 4, I think. Most of them of the orphanage I grew up in. “Car accident,” I’m told, is what brought me to the orphanage. The orphanage is an austere place to grow up. There is nothing that you can truly call your own. I’m told Rabbit was the only possession I had with me on my arrival. I rarely played with him because if I brought him out of hiding he might have been stolen. I don’t think I even had a name for him, just Rabbit. He was not very soft. He was not very handsome. He was a rather long and skinny Rabbit. But what I liked where his eyes and nose. They were kind and playful.

    And I also have a very fond memory of my mother. She was beautiful. In the evenings, I could not wait to hear the shower turned off. I would grab Rabbit, race out of my bedroom, through the kitchen, round the corner into the living room, and slide on my knees to the couch. There I would wait till she came out. My mother would have on her light green, satin-soft nightgown covered with a soft pink bathrobe tied at the waist and her hair wrapped in a tall towel on her head. I would wait impatiently while she sat on the end of the couch, picked up a storybook, and motioned for me to come to her. I stretched out on the couch, nestled my head in the crease of her lap and snuggled tight till the soft knot of her bathrobe nuzzled my right cheek and nose. I would hold Rabbit on my chest and caress his eyes and nose while mother read a story about a famous Bible hero.

    But my favorite part was when the story ended. She would reach up and remove the towel covering her hair. Her long black tresses would fall, dangling just inches from my face. She would brush her hair, still damp, and the misty droplets would fall on my face. They still had the faint scent of her shampoo. I absolutely loved it.

    I’m 45 years old now. The gray hair is coming on fast. My closet organization for this year is done. I placed Rabbit back into the worn shoebox ready for another year on the shelf.

    I froze with the breath tightening, heart pounding, ears ringing kind of fear. “There is something you should know about that memory,” said Rabbit. “Your mother died giving birth to you.”

  18. KrisCross says:

    I looked down at the dragon in my lap; my hard won prize at a carnival when I was six. I chose it over the large princess tiara much to the dismay of the boy who had been kind enough to let me pick my prize first. The patterned soft red velvet still had its luster, the little plastic pieces serving as claws, spikes and horns were all still intact. The gold colored beads with slit pupils that were its eyes looked up at me as it said, “There’s something you need to know about that night.” I don’t know what’s beyond dumbfounded I was already that when it simply flexed its leathery red wings. My mind grasped for a logical explanation; I might be hallucinating or this was some elaborate joke. Yes a joke I had some friends that could pull something like this off but I had never told them about the toy and my family had no history of mental illness. Suddenly Dragon reared up and put its small face right in front of mine. “Pay attention this is important!” It stated in a more commanding voice. I managed to regain enough control to talk again, “How are you talking? You never talked before!” “I always talked you just stopped listening. Well granted the medium is different but that’s unimportant right now. You have to know what happened the night you won me at the carnival.”
    “What happened?” I asked. The memory was distant but I could clearly recall I had a good time especially after I won Dragon. “The tiara the boy got instead of me he gave it to his sister.” He said.
    “Well that was nice of him.”
    “Yes but the tiara has a magic stone that grants wishes and the girl is misusing it. She used it first to win all the prizes at the carnival don’t you remember?”
    I recalled when leaving the carnival at the end of the night with my parents another family struggling to pack their station wagon with stuff. The slight nod I gave sufficed and the dragon sat down on my lap again. “Fortunately the stone only grants one wish a year and the usual rules apply but her greed knows no limits.”
    “So we should steal the tiara?” “Yes and use it to set things right but first we need to go to the lair its dangerous here.”
    The lair another place in my childhood I hadn’t been in the longest time. “How is it dangerous here?”
    “One of her wishes was to know the identity of whoever would stand in her way her minions…”
    There was a loud crash as I heard the door downstairs being kicked in. “Out the window quick!” Dragon stated leaping onto the windowsill. I scrambled out the window like a thief to the roof. “Hurry up we have a world to save!” Dragon stated perched on a tree branch nearby. I took a breath and leapt for the tree branch.

  19. NellTrees says:

    I dropped the stuffed bear immediately looking out into my old room hoping nothing else was there to talk to me. I looked back down at the bear and he continued.
    “You know Tara when you left this house vowing never to return because you were left by the man you thought you would spend the rest of your life with it wasn’t over. He did come back here looking for you. I heard the conversation with your parents downstairs. Tom was on a murdercase and was badly wounded in pursuit of the killer, nearly killed himself. Now 10 years later you have nothing but a cardboard career and paper mache’ friends. Your parents are gone and the only thing you can do is search around this old house for momentos of a happier times because you are miserable now.”
    This onsided conversation was so unbelievable that I was unable to respond. I kept hearing a buzzing in the background that kept getting louder and louder. Wait a minute I was starring at the ceiling of my old room I rolled over in my old bed and turned off the alarm clock. Getting up with a jolt I ran to the closet to find that old bear in my dream the one I had as far back as I could remember and spoke to me in my dream, or was it a dream?
    I turned and went to my purse and pulled out my cell. An old phone book was on the table where I had left it. My aunt had left everything in this house as it was the day my folks were killed in the car accident. She knew I would eventually get around to doing something with it.
    After locating the police department number and dialed it rang just a few times.
    A deep voice answered ” Huntdale Police Department Captain Tom Bledsoe speaking.”
    Stunned at the sound of that wonderful voice I replied. ” H-H-Hello. I stuttered, Tom this is Lisa Madison I know it has been a long time. I am here back in Huntdale at my folks house would you care to come over?
    “Lisa? Lisa uh yes. When? I am about to get off duty how about now.?”
    ” That will be fine. I will see you then.”
    “Give me about 30 minutes and I will be right over. It is good to hear your voice.” His voice was almost trembling at this point almost like he was crying.
    I was suprised at the conversation how we both quickly moved to the point of meeting. Then there was a door bell ringing and as I rushed down the steps to the door opened and there he was strong, good looking. His dark brown hair was being replaced with salt and pepper shades. He had a big smile.
    We just wound up in each others arms. I felt like I did years ago before that night when we were lovers.
    “Will you forgive me for running out?”
    “What do you think Lisa does this moment seem like I am angry. I am so glad to see you, to hold you. Welcome back I hope it is for good.”
    Pulling apart i lead him to the kitchen where we sat and talked, drank coffee and put pieces of our lives together that would mold into a lasting bond.

  20. Betty says:

    As I gazed into the big, black button eyes of my overstuffed childhood friend, a long-closed door opened and memories rushed in. “I miss you, Poppa,” I whispered. Holding the bear at arm’s length, I picked at a loose thread near it’s right ear. When a voice spoke, I jerked so hard, the bear went flying.
    “There’s something you need to know about that night.”
    Was I hallucinating? I could swear the thing’s mouth moved. I used to pretend he could speak. I glanced over my shoulder. The room was empty. Someone was playing a joke.
    “Pick me up and I’ll finish what I was meant to tell you.”
    The thing had spoken again. I reached for the bear. “OK, I’ll play along.” I picked it up and turned it over. “Ricky? Tommy? Which one of you is doing this?”
    “Have you forgotten my name?”
    “Of course not. What do you want from me, Pookie?”
    “I want nothing from you. You need to hear what I have to say.”
    I gazed into the buttons.
    “Remember that night Poppa brought me to you? It was your fifth birthday and you thought he’d forgotten.”
    I nodded. “I remember.”
    “He went outside. It was snowing. When he came back in, he had me in his arms.”
    “You had a big red bow around your neck.”
    “Exactly. You do remember.”
    I plopped down on the floor, cradling Pookie in my arms.
    “It was late. There were no stores open. He didn’t know what to do. Then he remembered me.”
    I set Pookie on the floor with his back to the wall, so I could watch him. His mouth really was moving. I’d never known him to do that before.
    “I was right where he left me, in the trunk of his car. He picked me up and looked me in the eye. ‘I need you, kid,’ he said. ‘But you can never tell. You must never say a word.’” Pookie pinched his lips together. “So I never did. I never spoke, no matter how many times you talked to me. All those long nights, listening to you snore, I never complained.” He gave his head a shake. “But that’s not what I need to tell you.”
    “What? What else could you possibly need to say to me?”
    He drew a shuddering breath.
    I scratched my head. “Wait. Why were you in the trunk of Poppa’s car?”
    “It was an accident. He didn’t mean to do it.”
    “An accident? Putting you in the trunk was an accident?”
    Pookie’s head pivoted from side to side. “Turning me into a danged stuffed bear.”

  21. igonzales81 says:

    Eddie had to admit that a part of him felt good to be back in his old room. Unfortunately, everything came with a price, and his parents had only agreed to put him up if he agreed to clean out all of his old things.

    Sighing over the clinical procedure of cataloging every reminder of his early life, Eddie dug into yet another bag. Pulling open the dusty plastic, he found himself face to face with his collection of stuffed animals, a compilation including everything from the ubiquitous teddy bears to representations of his favorite Disney characters.

    Now he pulled them out one by one, letting the memories they evoked replay themselves. His hands fastened on the soft form of a toy dog, a favorite of his named Duke, which he had been given on his fourth birthday. Smiling, he tossed the stuffed animal into a box, followed swiftly by a much larger bear. Eddie turned back to the back, eager to see what he would find next.

    “Get this thing off me.”

    The muffled voice came from the box. Eddie turned around, staring at the container. He reached out carefully and lifted the large bear, expecting to find that it was some sort of talking toy.

    Beneath it, however, he saw the small dog right itself, give a little shake, and then turn its plastic eyes towards him.

    “Whew,” Prince muttered. “That was an unpleasant way to spend the last few years.”

    Eddie sat down, abruptly. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. A stuffed animal was talking to him.

    Duke seemed to sense his discomfiture. “Hey, hey; calm down. This isn’t what it looks like.”

    “A stuffed animal is talking to me,” Eddie said. This wasn’t real, this wasn’t happening. But he hadn’t hit his head, and he wasn’t on drugs.

    “Okay,” the toy said. “Maybe it’s partly what it looks like. But we need to talk, now. It’s important.”

    “Right,” Eddie replied. It might be some weird form of possession. He’d heard about that. “Talk.”

    “Yeah, about a certain night, roughly twenty years ago, when there were a lot of bright lights in the sky. I know you were a little kid, and your parents told you it was just firecrackers. But it wasn’t; it was me, arriving.”

    “So you’re some kind of…alien?” He would keep it distracted, try to get his phone out.

    “Bingo. I’ve spent the last two decades loafing around in your bedroom. It was the last place I’d thought they’d look, and I really needed to get away. You can’t imagine what they would’ve done to me if they’d caught me.”

    “So now you’re a fugitive alien?”

    “Hey, you’re keeping up. That’s good. Sadly, since I’m a fugitive, and you’ve kept me here all this time, that makes you an accessory.”

    Eddie, hand on his phone, paused before dialing 911. “I am? Interesting. And why tell me this now?”

    Duke sighed. “Because they’ve found me. And they’re coming for us.”

  22. Bumblebee83959 says:

    Flinging the closet doors back, I threw myself onto my hands and knees and began rummaging through the boxes that cluttered the ground, throwing the lids away and dumping the contents onto the ground. “C’mon, c’mon. It’s got to be here somewhere…” I muttered, fingers shaking as I rummaged through the dumped piles before shoving the contents back into the box and finding a new box. For what seemed like ages, I repeated the routine over and over until I came upon the last box, wedged far off into the corner, lost and forgotten. Like all of the other boxes, I opened the lid and dumped the contents onto the hardwood floor in front of me. To my shock, a familiar stuffed animal rolled out of the box and landed with a plush thud on the ground.

    It was Mr. Fluffy.

    He looked as worn as I last remembered, his white fur now a dull gray and his long ears hanging limp at his side. His black bow-tie was crooked and it looked as if a hamster had nibbled away at it. Wide brown eyes stared back at me, a dull glow reflecting off of the glassy surface. I picked up the stuffed rabbit and looked it over, warmth spreading through my body. Yes, I remembered this toy. If I just closed my eyes, I could float back in time to the day I got him on my fifth birthday with my father before he left… the memory brought a wave of tears that wracked through my body. I shook the feeling away and stared at Mr. Fluffy before hugging him close to my chest. He was the only thing I had left of my father, the only light on my lonely days. Instead of sobbing, I found myself drifting off into the memory, the warmth returning.

    At the time, I hadn’t truly understood why he’d left. Mother said it was for a business trip, but as I grew older and I began to understand what “business trip” really meant. He’d left the family, never bothering to say why. He hadn’t even said good-bye: just up and left the following morning, not a trace of him left. I closed my eyes and sighed into Mr. Fluffy’s fur.

    “There’s something you need to know about that night.”

    I pried my eyes open, looking down at Mr. Fluffy. I blinked in shock as his mouth began to move and words echoed from deep within. He sounded just like my father, deep yet comforting.

    “That was his way of saying good-bye.”

    A/N: I couldn’t really think of something that would be scandalous about that night, and it was supposed to be a warm memory so I went with something kind of nice… and it’s only 429 words. Hooray!

  23. slayerdan says:

    To newer writers or those with less experience. Read my submission this month. Also read that of Icabu. No, I am not pandering for comments lol. See how I took the prompt and wholeheartedly stuck to the FEEL of the prompt but made it my own. There was no compulsion to explain what there was the toy “needed to tell you about that night”. I built the story to lead up to that. When you get an idea, think on it for a few before you write it out—how can you make it your own, not just another “let me explain the prompt” story. I am not saying my story is great–I do think its a good take, but it is definitely MY take. I leave some of it up to you as a reader–and that makes a writer great–well at least good. If you write for sh*ts and giggles, cool. If you have any semblance of seriousness, do at some point learn grammar, syntax, and the mechanics of writing. You can have the next greatest novel in the world and if you cannot articulate it by the accepted rules, it will never get read. I still have my first submission, 20+ years ago. Returned with a form letter and the handwritten comments “learn how to punctuate”. Keep writing. :)

    • handyman43127 says:

      Dan

      I need a nap, but what you wrote hits home, making the story your own and all. I remember once, yea only once! A women, we’ll call her Ren’ee, don’t know where I came up with that name but, anyway I took the story and stuck to the feel, if you know what I’m saying? I tried to make it my own and she said something about a toy, Still scratching my head over that one, but let me tell you about that night. I had an idea and thought about it for several hours. I wondered how I could make her my own? I thought by just being myself, after-all I felt no compulsion to explain why I felt the way I did, she would realize she wasn’t just another story. Let me tell you, I’m not say-n My story is all that, great, or huge or long for that matter, but I felt no compulsion to use a toy. She explained to me “let me explain the story”, making love is like writing a good story, proper grammar, “you have to be serious”, in your mechanics. How will you ever be great?, if you can’t “articulate your point?” Articulate my what!? Listen I remember my first submission some twenty years ago and I did not need any toys to get there, and it was not handwritten!!! Hav-in fun Dan……

    • penney says:

      Would what you just said be considered a little snarkie? (no wait this is, warning snarkie loaded comment)..I guess I’ll just use the preloaded general comments found on my cell phone: Nice job! Great story line…(no wait) Wow that just turned me on, so amazing you have a novel here, or: your really good. (what was another nonproductive input comment?) GREAT JOB! I like this.

      Snarkie aka sarcastic, negative valued comment, insulting, mean natured, pissed of at people or giving the impression of it due to stupidity by another person. Exasperated tone of voice when dealing with repetitive uselessness. Ex: What is your major mall function numb nuts, you have exactly three seconds to unfuck yourself or I will unscrew your head and shit down your neck!(Courtesy of Drill Sergeant Hartman).

      I’m sure there is more. And no, we just don’t get snow in the Pacific Northwest just ice and rain. I’m perfectly fine but can slip into snarkiness if don’t watch it. Husband says I’m good at but don’t realize when doing it. Never mean to be. I will watch it. Have a nice day

    • MAX POWER says:

      Slayerdan- Try not to hurt your arm patting yourself on the back. Encouraging new writers is great, inspiring them is another. Try for both.

      Penny- Your comments are usually thoughtless and offensive, so the site editor had to weigh in on them. What does that tell you about your writing ability? Your submission this week is good but gets derailed by the lame humor at the end.

      Handyman- Your stories are fine. I don’t think anyone bothers to read past the first sentence because your grammar is awful. You have no respect for the reader.

      New writers pay attention! Contribute fully! Without feedback from everyone, Slayerdan, Penny, and Handyman will be the only three people left at this once enjoyable site.

      (oh no he didn’t)

      • penney says:

        Oh my goodness. There is so much I would like to comment about what you said but I am sorry to say that I will be terribly misinterpreted. I am really a nice person, so I’m told by many. I have enjoyed being a part of this website for a little over a year. I have learn a bit by a lot of writers and grateful. This site will never be overrun or dwindled down to the people you have listed. There is some banter that has gotten out of hand and I guess I must grovel for forgiveness. I have read over numerous entries I have done and not all have a whimsical/snarkie/twisted ending. I’m sorry my Raggedy Andy doll who has been naked in a plastic bag for 41 years and all of a sudden can speak would not want some clothes on. Maybe the word “damned” ruined it for you. I would hope that you would be someone that could help explain where another writer may improve such lines. As for Thoughtless, how dare you, I sit and read all these stories, reread and think about what is written. I most of the time leave alone many because I am concerned I can’t word it correctly the question I may have. I try to word most everything in a question form as to try not to offend but to see if I have misread an intent by the writer. I think about everything here and try my hardest to improve. If that includes finding out if someone meant for instance to not capitalize all their “I’s” then I am sorry it hurt their feelings. I grovel to you sir or mame your forgiveness at wanting to learn. The editor I don’t believe said I was thoughtless or offensive just snarkie. I he had a problem with a years worth of traditional writing or commenting from me personally I am sure he would have called me on it long ago. Once again I am sorry apparently to you and who ever else that feels the same as you. I will not stop writing, just because feelings are hurt.
        Sidenote: Is it offensive to use Joyce, Faulker, or Hemmingway as literary examples
        to try to explain that writing well starts with writing properly? To the editor: as I said before to you sir, I am sorry for my abrupt snarkiness these week and possibly a week or so ago, I grovel to you kind sir, I mean no harm, I am yet a nobody writer dreaming to write, do not remove my honored place on your site over this horrible mayhem. I feel I have allowed myself to be bullied into a corner by anonymous cyber beings.

        • Amy says:

          This has been a little bit humorous to read all of your comments this week, I must say. As a “newbie” to the site, I will try not to stick my toes too far into what is taking place here. I just wanted to say that, although it is kind of terrifying to click that post button on your very first submission here, for fear of what others will think, as I did just last week, that is essentially what we are all here for, is it not? To hear others weigh in on our abilities and see if we really do have any talent whatsoever? Granted, I have only been reading this site for a short time and do not yet know the character of each contributor, but I have yet to read a comment that is purposely nasty or degrading. I would be more than happy to receive criticism, as long as it is constructive in nature, because I know that it will allow me to see my writing from a different point of view. There, I’ve said my peace. Thank you all for commenting on others’ stories and not just posting your own. It is appreciated!

          • penney says:

            Welcome Amy. Your stories will be a pleasure to read I’m sure.

          • handyman43127 says:

            Have no fear Amy, post away. I don’t believe anyone here is trying to be degrading to another contributor. I myself have no higher education or paper hanging on the wall to prove it. All I have is a desire to push a pencil and to much time on my hands. I think Maxpower does not understand a little friendly poke in the ribs between contributors. I understand that I am under qualified to pursue a writing career so personal attacks have very little effect, if any on my participation. I myself vary rarely critique others writing because I again don’t feel qualified to do so. I do though read them. Take care.

        • handyman43127 says:

          I’m so sorry for my awful grammar MaxPower, I wish I would have had a good teacher like you when the time came to learn. I hope it is not to late for me!

        • slayerdan says:

          Penney—its all good. Be yourself. Ive read your stuff and comments for over a year now and never been offended. I am sorry you got caught up in me and Handy having some fun…I forget sometimes my offbeat and caustic humor sometimes doesnt translate well when all that can be used to evaluate it is the word itself and not knowing ME to understand its all in fun. I love this site and the prompts and props to Brian for keeping them coming. I will limit myself in the future though to submissions and comments only, and not comment on comments unless asked a question. I do hope the site retains its glory of a year ago. And I still maintain that people need to learn the basics, and pointing that out IS constructive. Peace and long life. Lets be careful out there. Live long and prosper. Nanu nanu. Your mama. And so on and so forth.

      • slayerdan says:

        No pat was intended Max…..trying to be supportive here. last year this time, these boards were alive w submissions and some great stories. Some prompts rotuinely brought 300+ submissions/comments.Now we barely scrape 100. Encouragement is all I offer. Sound advice to learn the basics so someone can share their ideas is my direction. As far as inspiration–that responsibility lies not with me here, I have enough in real life. As such, I will stick to what I do. Your two sided comments are fine with me–if they inspire you to feel as though youve accomplished something, then the world is a better place.

  24. handyman43127 says:

    Hey Penny

    We love you, Smile…!!!

    • slayerdan says:

      I hope that comment was not made with an air of snarkiness.:) And I see you did work it in—well done. Love does make the world go round though. And vodka makes the room go round. I need a happy medium of the two,.

      • handyman43127 says:

        Yes, yes Dan it was and I love vodka and anything else that makes the room go round. Yea you thought those bottles in the closet was just a story, LOL!

    • penney says:

      Love you guys too. Totally do, really, like accessing this area. Will try to be generic and nice, didn’t mean to come across anything but productive and nice. I just once in a while would like to be called on some serious useful comments to progress writing skills. But all this everybody is a winner and deserves a trophy gets old (oops did I do it again). Enjoy and thank you. Oh and I am sorry for my snarkiness.

  25. handyman43127 says:

    SPRING CLEANING

    William Canterbury Jr.

    Empty bottle’s, there is no other hatred that consumes my soul more than this! Un-less it is the faded, broken-stitched pain in the ass’ed snarkiness bear that lives within the confines of my closet.

    Neighbor’s at work, kid’s at school, the old lady’s at bingo, the sun finally decided to shine, who know’s why I opened the closet door?

    I do, they were away. Plastic trash bag’s in hand I seek to hide the hidden treasure from within.

    Locked away from the eye’s of my family, I keep my stash. I wonder if they realize, realize why I hide these secrets from them?

    The clatter of bottle’s against bottle’s within the plastic had no effect, only the Bear that hid behind them did, in the corner, watching, looking, waiting for the opportunity to speak, to remind me why I buried my treasure from my family.

    Year’s and memory’s, remembering and forgetting, forgiveness and not, this is the bear that inhabited my closet.

    Only words does he speak, but not a hand does he offer. I wonder why have I kept him so long? The pelt that covers his body is worn, years of use have taken its tole on him, but he finds no remorse in this, only strength.

    Deeper and deeper I travel, travel into the depth of the closet and the bear that reminds me, reminds me of the distance I must go, and the load that has been left behind.

    I wonder what gave me the strength today?

    The strength to continue?

    Will I empty my closet of the empty bottles left behind, the ones that continue to speak to me like the bear in the corner, or will I find, find this November a new one, a new one with a heart pasted on it?

  26. slayerdan says:

    Since I have linked prompts in the past, thought I would try to do so again. The first story is from 4/2012 and was about a toy from the past also. I post it first so that it can be read and then you guys can transition into this weeks prompt, following right after. Thanks.

    To:Mr. Danny Wallace
    From:Rich Pennybags for Joseph Wallace/aka GI JOE
    Mr. Wallace,
    I am banker and attorney Rich Pennybags, representing Joseph Wallace, a.k.a. “ Kung Fu Grip GI Joe”. Joseph has retained my services to pursue a breach of promise suit against you based on multiple oral commitments you made in 1978 and 1979. Below is a list of promises that my client contends you did not fulfill and wishes compensation for. Also sought are the fees for searching for you 29 years, since 1983 when my client was released from the ownership of an Eric Smith upon Mr. Smith reaching his 14 th birthday.

    My client maintains the following obligations were not fulfilled as agreed upon when purchased:
    1. You did not love and always care for him forever.
    2. You did not make him the lasting team leader, instead relegating him to guarding some night stand.
    3. Multiple times my client was left without proper attire, suffering humiliation from a large portion of your sisters toys, as well as the family dog.
    4. My client was left without his signature hand in July 1979, during a firecracker incident.
    5. Violating the oral trade clause, giving my client to the aforementioned Eric Smith in exchange for a bag of Dungeons and Dragons dice, a Rubiks cube, and some gum.
    6. The abuse suffered at the hands of Eric Smith, a known toy torturer.

    My client has 33 years of pain, suffering, and humiliation as a result of the above actions and non actions. It took 29 years to find you, finally cross referencing information found on Facebook to locate you.

    At this time, my client requests that you make good on ALL promises made. He wishes restoration of his hand, suitable GI Joe attire, a place among other collectibles that you surely have amassed since 1979, and to address the “To Hell With Barbie, Where’s Ken?” that was Sharpied on to his chest by Eric Smith. Lastly, he wishes that you fulfill your promise of caring and loving him forever.

    If the above conditions can be agreed upon and satisfied, my client has agreed to waive any financial settlement. I however will require payment for my services, to avoid a separate suit. I can be paid in 100s or 50s or if you can successfully sign the leases to me for park Place and Boardwalk. I will leave that matter for a later date, but please do not allow it to lapse from your memory as you did my long suffering, forgiving client.

    Please reply within 10 business days to avoid suit.

    Sincerely,
    Rich Pennybags, J.D. Esq,
    2206 Marvin Gardens Plaza
    New York, New York
    _________________________________________________________________________________________
    (this weeks prompt)

    It had been close to a year. A year since I received the letter that brought my old G.I.Joe back into my life. Possibly the longest year of my life.

    How many toys does a child get? The fortunate ones, like me, get several. Each a stepping stone that adds a smile to our youth. They mark progression. Advancement. Maturity. It seems to me though, toys for the most part, are like clothes. We outgrow them. We wear them out. We move on. It is just the way it is.

    Is’nt it?

    Toys are fated to be memories. Some for whatever cultural reason, become collectible. They sit on display shelves or for sale on Ebay. The people that seek them out do so to relive those memories, snapshots of a simpler time.

    In my case, I made a bigger impact on G.I.Joe than he ever made on me.

    I was certain that letter was a joke. It did make me laugh and hooked me enough to mail a handful of Monopoly money to the address it gave. I laughed again when two weeks later the package showed up and inside was a G.I.Joe doll. A Joe missing a hand and sporting those Sharpied words on his chest. Well played, I had thought to myself. This was an excellent prank and would be hard to top.

    Then the damned thing hopped out of the box. “ Greetings, it has been a long time my friend,” it uttered as I dropped the box and took a half dozen steps back. Even the dog up and left the room as this Hasbro automaton spoke and offered its’ one good hand to shake. It stared at me and waited until I found the nerve to actually walk back and offer a pinky in return.

    It was days later before it fully hit me that the damned thing talked but didn’t breathe. The eyes didn’t move, but it could see. It addressed me as ‘friend’ but it was a damned plastic toy.

    The next few days it shared the horrors and tribulations of experiences after I traded it. I admit, sanity in question, that the stories intrigued me and held my attention. Had it been a person, the stories of loneliness, abandonment, and torture would seem to have been too much to bear.

    ‘Had it been a person’ echoed through my head daily ever since.

    I managed to find some Joe clothes online and purchased them, madness nipping at me as I waited for people in white coats to show up in their stead. The hand is an issue I have yet to address.

    It sits now on a shelf in my room, standing watch as I had asked it to do some 30 years ago, speaking to me at times but never to others. I stare at it as much as it stares at me, at least that’s the feeling I get.

    “I remember when my dad bought you for me,” I said one night as we discussed hand options. Its head turned and the unmoving eyes stared at me.

    “There’s something you need to know about that night,” he said, uneasy feelings claiming my thoughts.

    Note that the entire story he refers to the doll as “it”. Yet the last line as “he”. This was on purpose and I am highlighting only so ppl dont post that I messed up. I am sure you guys would have caught it anyway…:)

  27. aliza93 says:

    ‘Phew!’ I put the box down. ‘That’s the last one.’ I said facing Allison.
    ‘That’s incredible!’ Allison said excitedly. ‘I cant wait to see the look on these children’s faces when we give them all these gifts. Doesn’t it feel amazing that these children wont be spending a miserable Christmas! I can already see their tiny…..’
    I had shut her voice out. Allison is very sweet and its obvious she loves to help the unfortunate and needy, but I am really tired! And I had been hoping to catch up with Mom and go shopping with her to get a dress for the party on Boxer’s Day that’s the day after tomorrow. But as luck may have it. Here I am, with Allison, lifting stuff into all these rooms and working my butt off. Ugh! Now I feel guilty.
    Its for a good cause though. Those children will have a reason to smile tomorrow and well, that’s good enough for me. I realized Allison was still talking.
    ‘ Lets start unpacking all these boxes. You take care of the toys and place them neatly around that tree! I’ll go into the kitchen and place all the food in the cabinets.’
    ‘Sure, you go ahead.’ With that, Allison left the room.
    I came and sat on my knees and opened the first box closest to the Christmas tree. The box was filled with all sorts of toys and games for the children to play with. There were action figures for the boys and dolls for the girls, racing cars, puzzles, chess, cards and there was my doll house as well.
    Mom and dad had gifted me this doll house on my 7th birthday. I remember saying to them that I couldn’t play with a doll house now that I was seven. But inside I had burst with joy! Little old me had always dreamed of a doll house. However, as I grew I lost touch with all my toys and they all spent a good five years in our attic. My mom had asked me to give it away and the day I went to get it out of the attic, the doll house almost freaked me out.
    In the midst of all the dust-ridden items there, it sat absolutely neat and clean. Not a speck of dust. And all those dolls; one standing at the stove, one watching TV and the other two sleeping was very weird as well. No one in my family is fond of going up to the attic much, so what surprised me was who had the time to dust my doll house when I hadn’t bothered in so may years.
    I still feel very foolish. What had gotten into me that day that my thoughts had turned so paranoid. I looked at the doll house and arranged it next to the tree, placed the racing car in-front of it and the other toys around it.
    ‘There’s something you need to now about that night.’
    ‘Huh?’ I turned towards the door. No one. I peeked in the corridor. Empty. ‘Very funny!’ I said to myself and turned back.
    ‘There’s something you need to now about that night.’
    I darted to the corridor. Nobody! That’s odd. Allison cant be that quick.
    I was still standing against the door when I heard it again.
    ‘There’s something you need to now about that night.’
    I slowly realize that the voice was coming from within the room. Shit. I must have pressed a buttopn on some toy. I look around in the boxes for the source of the sound. There was the voice again. I looked at the toys I had placed next to the tree. I stared at those toys.
    And when the voice came next my heart had no longer remembered how to beat. The doll in my doll house was looking up at me with her arms behind her back, a sly look on her face. I covered my face with my hands, hoping she would be standing next to the stove once again. But now she just seemed annoyed.
    ‘This is the last time I’m going to stay this’. The words that were escaping were coming from her mouth! The dolls mouth! ‘There’s something you need to now about that night. The night Mr. Ludwig came over to your home and asked us to give this house to his daughters. You almost did remember? But something got over you at the last minute and you said no. Well …. ‘
    I put my hands over my ears and ran out of the room. And stopped outside some room. I was extremely fustrated. ‘I’m definitely losing it.’

  28. Cecilia Kioa says:

    The dusty, faded teddy bear sat in the darkest corner of my closet and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, it was the last thing I had to pack. Today, we were moving to New York, fun and fast and fantastic New York, New York. But, as I stared at this worn-out bear, memories of the little boy that gave it to me flooded my thoughts. My best friend, the boy I knew since his first word, left this on my front porch the day he and his family completely disappeared. It was my fourteenth birthday. All of our laughs, our sleepovers, our summers – all of our memories were intertwined with the night I answered the door to nothing but a teddy bear, with a note attached to its hand. The note had a single word scrawled in my best friend’s handwriting, good-bye. And as I cradled the bear in my arms, just as I did all those years ago, the corners of its little mouth turned up. This inanimate, stuffed bear turned its head and said to me, “There’s something you need to know about that night.”

    My jaw hit the ground and I pinched myself in a feeble attempt to wake myself up from this wicked dream, but I never did. It breathed a small chuckle. “Am I crazy?”

    “No, look, I know you’re scared, but I don’t have much time. I need to tell you about the night he gave me to you.” I gave a slow, small nod, asking him to continue. “He cared about you much more than you think, the only reason he didn’t say good-bye because he couldn’t face you. You meant the world to him and leaving you was the hardest thing that boy ever had to do.” A boulder sized lump formed in my throat as I choked back the tears welling in my eyes. “You see, he had a rare form of cancer. This middle-of-nowhere town didn’t have the type of medical help he needed, so his parents moved him. That fourteen year old boy bawled like a baby for weeks because he couldn’t stand the thought of leaving you.”

    By then, tears were streaming freely down my face and I made no move to hide it. I hated him for everything, I hated him for leaving me without so much as a simple good-bye. But I cried myself to sleep with the bear he left me every night for the next year and a half.

    “Where is he?” My voice was rough and unfamiliar, but the bear grinned and gave me a quick wink.

    “New York, New York.”

    Then, that amazing little bear went back to being that bear that my best friend left on my porch all those years ago.

  29. Cecilia Kioa says:

    The dusty, faded teddy bear sat in the darkest corner of my closet and I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, it was the last thing I had to pack. Today, we were moving to New York, fun and fast and fantastic New York, New York. But, as I stared at this worn-out bear, memories of the little boy that gave it to me flooded my thoughts. My best friend, the boy I knew since his first word, left this on my front porch the day he and his family completely disappeared.

    It was my fourteenth birthday. All of our laughs, our sleepovers, our summers – all of our memories were intertwined with the night I answered the door to nothing but a teddy bear, with a note attached to its hand. The note had a single word scrawled in my best friend’s handwriting, good-bye. And as I cradled the bear in my arms, just as I did all those years ago, the corners of its little mouth turned up. This inanimate, stuffed bear turned its head and said to me, “There’s something you need to know about that night.” My jaw hit the ground and I pinched myself in a feeble attempt to wake myself up from this wicked dream, but I never did. It breathed a small chuckle.

    “Am I crazy?”

    “No, look, I know you’re scared, but I don’t have much time. I need to tell you about the night he gave me to you.” I gave a slow, small nod, asking him to continue. “He cared about you much more than you think, the only reason he didn’t say good-bye because he couldn’t face you. You meant the world to him and leaving you was the hardest thing that boy ever had to do.” A boulder sized lump formed in my throat as I choked back the tears welling in my eyes. “You see, he had a rare form of cancer. This middle-of-nowhere town didn’t have the type of medical help he needed, so his parents moved him. That fourteen year old boy bawled like a baby for weeks because he couldn’t stand the thought of leaving you.”

    By then, tears were streaming freely down my face and I made no move to hide it. I hated him for everything, I hated him for leaving me without so much as a simple good-bye. But I cried myself to sleep with the bear he left me every night for the next year and a half. He’d always be my best friend.

    “Where is he?” My voice was rough and unfamiliar, but the bear grinned and gave me a quick wink.

    “New York, New York.”

    Then, that amazing little bear went back to being that bear that my best friend left on my porch all those years ago.

  30. penney says:

    Penelope and Andy

    We moved into a hundred year old house that needs loads of help. Everything that I have done to make this house look, and feel like a home is pure lipstick and rouge. With that said one of my challenge was to purge some of the stuff I’ve been carry from place to place for the last forty years.

    I opened the closet where I hid twenty, eighteen gallon containers. Yearbooks, my retainer and headgear, every Fischer Price toy and Weeble Wobble you could imagine. Saved were concert t-shirts, my grandmothers special pillow and little calendar books that had the names of every guy I dated. Finally, I lifted a lid to find my old Raggedy Andy.

    Placed carefully in plastic to keep his stuffing from being lost, I pulled him out. His outfit lost decades ago made no matter. I held him up, not helping but to smile when I saw the little printed heart on his chest that said, “I love you.”

    The memories burst into light. Andy was my first doll. I don’t remember when I actually got him because I was a baby but, certain memories are very clear no matter what. When I was three, Andy was as tall as me. He was my playmate. I carried him everywhere I could. The biggest memory I have is flying from Tarahon U.S. Air force Base, outside Madrid, Spain to spend Christmas with my grandmother in North Carolina. My family flew on a B-52 Bomber across the Atlantic. Andy was my choice of travel companion. So, it was devastating when we were on the plane, on our way home and, I realized he wasn’t there. My best friend was lost forever.

    The best day was two weeks later while my mom was running errands on Base. After going to the commissary we went to the post office to pick up a package. It was for me. A large box was brought out, larger then me. Mom helped open it. At the bottom was Andy. My friend was back.

    As I sat in my closet holding Andy and remembering, Andy spoke to me once more. “Hi Penelope. There is something I have to tell you.” I held him and focused on the I love you at his heart.

    He continued, “That night when we reunited, was the happiest moment I have ever experienced. When I saw you from that box, I knew you and I would never be parted.” I listened as he went on. “I would go over oceans and fly the skies, travel in any manner to get to my girl. Thank you for loving and keeping me but, could you do me a favor?”

    I was confused but shook my head in unquestionable agreement. “Anything.”

    He said,” Would you please put some damned clothes on me, it’s darn cold in this case. Oh, and maybe could I come out for a while? I think I’ve been in solitary confinement long enough.”

    I still have him.

    • Icabu says:

      Torrejòn Air Base was my first stop from the sands of the Middle East. ‘Welcome To the Jungle’ by Guns N Roses was playing in the waiting area after we deplaned from the C-141 Starlifter and the terraced hills outside the base were like a jungle after months in the dunes. Unfortunately, the base closed in 1992 at the insistence of the Spanish government. It is a looong trip from there back to the US – our big cargo plane had to refuel at Lajes Field in the Azores before hopping across the Atlantic.

      Always enjoy an AF read.

      • penney says:

        Thanks, sorry for the spelling. Was there 69′-74′. We lived off base in downtown Madrid. Dad was AFB Police that worked a lot our of uniform with Spanish police. When not he was on base and guarding planes and everything else. Has lots of stories that I’m trying to collect for a type of anthology, always scared wont do it justice but someone needs to hear them, they are awesome. A bygone era.

  31. Icabu says:

    ** Includes references to my response to the 4/3/12 prompt ‘A Letter From Your Favorite Childhood Toy’ **

    Shelly entered the bedroom on the second floor of the orphanage that she now managed and had once been a resident. A strange quirk of fate had her abandoning a flourishing executive accounting career to return to her past and help those as unfortunate as she’d been when a fire took her family and home. The orphanage had sheltered her, cold and uncaring, until a family warmly welcomed her into their lives. Her desire now was to take the cold out of the orphanage and warm it with caring.

    With the room’s young resident bunking with another, Shelly began to transform the dingy, dull room into a bright and cheerful child’s room. When finished, it would be a room no different from any other child’s room. She was determined to erase any hint that the child sleeping, studying or playing here had no family but those within this building. It hadn’t taken her long to consider all of the kids here as family and, slowly, they were beginning to show signs of feeling the same towards her and the hand-picked assistants she’d brought aboard – most previous residents volunteering their time.

    Sneakers squeaking on the freshly sanded and sealed wood floor and the scent of drying rainbow painted walls greeted Shelly as she crossed the refurbished room to tackle the small, but packed closet. Shock nearly toppled her from the step-stool as she pulled an item from the back of the closet’s top shelf.

    Holding the stuffed rabbit again, Shelly remembered how it had calmed her the night of the fire. A policeman had given it to her and told her that Bobo the rabbit needed her. She and Bobo were inseparable until she had to go to school, then she would run back to her room at the orphanage – this very room, and tell him all about her day. As she grew, she’d needed Bobo less and less, finally tucking him away in the closet.

    Setting Bobo on the bright white rocking chair, Shelly turned to continue her task.

    “There’s something you need to know about that night.”

    The familiar voice froze Shelly. She’d invented that voice for Bobo’s side of their childhood conversations. Certainly her subconscious was playing tricks on her since stuffed rabbits couldn’t really speak. But she couldn’t turn around to face it.

    “The fire was no accident.”

    Primal fear fueling her legs, Shelly ran from the room, not daring to look, or think, back.

    • mgd says:

      Although your piece doesn’t run in the direction prompted (“a warm memory of a specific night that’s near and dear to your heart“) by talking about the fire, you’ve gone for a rather dark take on the story. It’s neat, and I think it works. It’s rather well written. Good job!

    • slayerdan says:

      Icabu–as always enjoyable. I appreciate that you do as I usually try to do—stay on the fringes of the prompt, yet nail it 100%. Purposeful or just a product of a different way of thinking, well done.

  32. jaymoonwrite says:

    Here we go again with this mess once again. We got to move from another place. I got another job in another city. So that means I got to move my family and I to a brand new city. As I go through my closet I discovered a box labeled ‘keep out’ which I don’t remember why I wrote it on there. I pull out the box to see what’s in there. Soon as I open it right on top was my favorite childhood toy, Paddington Bear. ‘Oh my god I haven’t seen you in years’, I say to it and it was laying on top of a picture frame of my sixth birthday party when I got him. ‘Wow I was so happy that day,’ I say remembering that day.
    ‘Excuse me sir,’ this British voice says.
    ‘Yes,’ I say dumbfounded as I see that it was Paddington talking.
    ‘Sir, it wasn’t all smiles and happiness that day.’
    ‘Huh, what do you mean,’ I say seriously having a conversation with a stuffed animal.
    ‘There’s something you need to know about that party.’
    ‘Like what.’
    ‘Sir, well don’t you remember. First thing you remember your goldfish…’ he says before I cut him off.
    ‘Goldie, well what about him.’
    ‘Well he died I overheard your parents talking about it when they were setting up for your party. One wanted to tell you and the other didn’t,’ he says shaking his head.
    ‘Wow, I always wondered what happened to him. Dad always told me that Goldie went to live with a family upstate at some farm.’
    ‘Yeah, so now you know sir.’
    ‘Yeah kinda wish I hadn’t asked now,’ I say shaking my head.
    ‘Sir, things come and things go.’
    ‘Your right is there anything else your supposed to tell me.’
    ‘Yes and the other thing is that your grandmum bought me and not your parents.’
    ‘I knew it, I knew it,’ I say.
    ‘Honey, can you help me get these boxes from the basement,’ my wife yells upstairs.
    ‘Looks like I gotta go help out the little woman out,’ I say as I chuckle.
    ‘Indeed sir.’
    ‘Well, I guess I’ll talk to you later then huh.’
    ‘Probably not, sir,’ he says as I put away the picture and place him on top. ‘And sir, happy birthday,’ he adds.
    ‘Thank you at alest someone remembered,’ I say as I close it and put it back in the closet.
    ‘Honey…’ I say as I go downstairs before hearing. ‘Surprise!’

    • penney says:

      This is alright. Your story gets across but it needs a little work. A few grammar issues and flow is choppy. I found myself rereading the same sentences over again to see if I was reading it correctly. The basis is good, keep writing.

  33. balearstar says:

    There is just such a ton of stuff under the window seat up here, all my old Barbie dolls and their paraphernalia. I am not that sentimental, just superficial, and so I am wondering if this stuff is worth anything on eBay. My Barbie was an original, 1960 I suppose, but she had seen a lot of service. Now as I handle her, she shows a split neck and ruined hairdo. I had so many of her outfits, the Roman vacation clothes, her stewardess uniform, her black nightclub dress with the microphone for jazz singing. My friends and I spent hours in the summers outside on the blanket with our Barbies and Kens. Many late summer evenings, I sat upstairs on evenings like now, especially in the twilight and would play with Barbie. Sometimes I sat with her on the window sill, looking outside into the purple light, pretending this was a Paris evening. I am reminded of that now, but especially I remember an evening when I was about 11. I sensed even then, that this was one of the last times Barbie and I would spend together. I didn’t know if it was me or her who was pulling away. As I look down at her now, the actual Barbie says “There’s something you need to know about that night.” Barbie continued on. “Helen, she said, I was going to be a beautiful bride, Ken had asked me to marry him. I wore one last bridal outfit, probably my most famous, and then I gave up my various careers. My 1967 version came out, but she was never the same. And you were about to grow up and didn’t need me anymore, so it was the best for both of us”.

    • penney says:

      I respect Barbie as I still have all mine. The story is good but I feel you somehow have left out structure in your story. Where are the paragraph breaks, separate parts for quotes etc. It makes for better reading when there is better care taken. Question: the night Barbie is talking about, is it one of the nights in the window? I am lost where the warm happy memory night is that Barbie would be referring to because you seem to pull away from that point to others that make it not make sense. You need to direct the reader better.

  34. Novic says:

    I rummaged hastily through the contents,rimissly flunging aside all those i hadn’t targeted.my memory was not on the fritz,so yes,i answered the doubting voice from within.Yes five years ago i wedged my fave book,ANIMAL FARM,inside this very closet. I groped around the dingy closet,my hand trod on a velvity thick spongey material.I gave it numerous squeezes conservetively.Then effortlesly, pulled it up and negligectly hurled it over the shoulder and it crashed over the thick crimson carpet.Without interest,i turned around to see what it was,Gosh! It was my friend of old.The once immaculate teddy bear my late mother used to tuck me in bed with. Somehow feeling a flare of guilt,i briskly rescued it up and i gently lay it atop the neatly made up bed.My eyes hadn’t beheld it for 18 years,i calculated inward,in ecstacy.A potent sonorous voice limply said, ‘no your calculation is off-beam’.It seemed it came from the teddy.I could,from the outside,hear my thudding heart bashing perpetually into the ribs.Slowly,i cringed,circumspectly minding my trembly steps.The cream white teddy, which by now had positioned itself to its satisfaction,went on,’bloody humans! You critters are afraid of everything’ it accused irritably.The sky-blue wall trammelled my movement so i was on a halt,leaning timidly against it.After a swallow of thick saliva,i querried in a voice cracked with apprension’Y-you can talk?’i finished the question triumphantly ‘Damn!’,it began, ‘of course i can talk’ it answered in a hair raising offended roar. It somehow found my querry derisory so it released a couple giggles,then,’look man i’m not here to harm you or anything if that’s what you think.’It paused,then continued ‘oh and your calculation like i’ve already said was off-beam’. By this time my instincts had advised this way-out teddy was actually affable.I’d taken a grip on myself so i joined in on the already sparked up confabulation ‘How did you know i was calculating?’ I paused,then, ‘because i thought i had been doing it inward’. I added as an after-thought.It yielded a vaguely stretched devilish grin then said, ‘Us teddies,we’re concious of everything prevailling in a human mind and even what you guys dream about,we know of it all’.It said in a superior manner.Noting that i was unlikely to say anything,it proceeded,’it has actually been nineteen years to be precise,thought it best to rectify there.’ ‘what ever’ i replied coolly,secretly feeling demeaned.After a short lived pose,i took over. ‘Because you happen to know everything-’ ‘could i by any chance know where your fave book is?’. it finished the sentence for me. ‘hey!’ i attacted,’that was what i was going to say’.Shunning my protest,it answered, ‘yes i do know where your mother stored it,before’, it continued,’you humans savagely ditched her in a six feet pit’.Incoherent with anger and disgust,words failed me.’You see’, it went on, ‘humans jump into conclusions.Your mother went to bed on the night of eleven August 1993,the following morning she wasn’t breathing and her heart had decided to take a breather,what do you humans do?You declare her dead and then a week later you ditch her in a pit.’ There was silence,i was dump-founded,the teddy waited a while for its ungovernable manacing anger to simmer down.Then after a moment’s silence,it broke in levelly ‘Your mother wasn’t-is not dead!’.My jaw dropped,i could feel a flux of acidic volcanic lava spreading to every corner of my body.’It takes’,it elucidated,’three months for a human being to recuperate from pneumonoltramicr-..’ ‘Whoa!’,i cut in.’Layman’s terms please!’,i begged before the teddy could even finish the infinite,i speculated,term beyond human comprehension.After a moment’s reflection,it said,’This thing is like sleep,except in this sleep,all the body functions shut down.Many humans awake in their graves after three months but soon die of suffocation.’ It dragged a brisk weary sigh,studied my baffled face and then, ‘Look man there’s something you need to know about the night of your mother’s burial day’.This time i had noticed the ruefulness in its,teddy, tone.I stiffened.Braced myself and then i said,’yeah?’ ‘That night when everyone had vacated the graveyard,a group of teddies,at my behest,dug your mother out.She’s alive man.All the while we had kept her at………’

    • penney says:

      Structure, structure. I’m confused, we can’t get away with writing an alright story with trying to write it well. Granted Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce and a few others got away with it but they had to write great pieces for a while in order to be forgiven this great writers no-no. Capitalize, Paragraph, punctuate all spell all these things are important to a writers integrity. I was pulled into your story but after forcing myself through the mistakes I gave up. If you want people to read, and critique we need to make them want to read. It looks okay but too many problems. Sorry.

      • penney says:

        See, even with my good intention, my own typos on spelling have made my comments questioned. How can I make a valid point if I can’t even catch my own spelling flaws.
        First line: without-not-with. Forth line: and-not-all.

      • Novic says:

        Thanx very much for your comments,very obliging..what cannot be resolved though is the structural aspect as i’m using a phone.but thanx anyway!:-)

  35. CodyMac says:

    The shock of the stuffed rabbit talking to me had finally worn off. I had been holding it remembering the night my dad had come home from work carrying it in his hand, I was only five. It had come alive bringing me back to reality. I had thrown it across the room in surprise and crawled backwards to the door. I would have gone further but it was shut. The rabbit had stood up dusting itself off and walked towards me speaking urgently ‘We don’t have a lot of time. There is something you need to know about the night I came to you’. Now it was standing on my lap waving its paw in my face to get my attention.
    “Now listen carefully. Your father was a practitioner of the Old Path, I was his Familiar and now I’m yours.” He was speaking in a matter-of-fact tone.
    The shock of the talking stuffed animal was the only thing that overrode the confusion of what I was hearing. “What’s…what’s a familiar?”
    “No questions. You’re one of the cunning folk, or will be, a wizard.” He said that last part rolling his eyes like he disdained the word using it only because my face was glazing confusion. “You say that and people think of wands and pretty castles. Bah!”
    I was amazed, I heard the things that I was being told but my mind was telling me it was impossible. The conflict was coming with the proof that was in front of my eyes. Seeing was believing they say but right now it was threatening to short my circuits. My breathing was getting shallow and pulse was quickening, fight or flight was setting in. The rabbit slapped me across the face, the pain was minor it was the shock that it could hurt not that it did hurt that brought me back to his senses.
    “Stay with me. Your old man was one of the folk too, a potent man. You’re going to take his place, if you survive. You have to survive; others are coming for you and for me. You have to pass the Rite and then I have to start teaching you, time is of the essence.” He was stern, almost chastising, just like a teacher.
    “Time to grow up, that Old Hag will only give you as much time as it takes her to catch up. She was after him that night, when he gave me to you. Passing the mantle.” The rabbit looked around the room scratching his chin. He was muttering to himself, eyes darting from one object to the next. “Your dad had a grimoire around here somewhere.”
    He walked out of the room with haste leaving me behind in the floor. So many things were going through my mind. One thing I couldn’t deny was the exposed, vulnerable feeling that everything I knew in life was about to change.

  36. SmithT17 says:

    My son wanted to play one of my old board games with his friends. I had about six of them, and I’ve had
    Them since I was twelve. The same day I got them, something happened. Something wonderful. If only it came back to memory. I open my closet door and there are stacks of boxes everywhere. Because of me and my son’s fond for board games, I kept the box with them on top. I lift the lightweight box and set it behind me, but something steals my attention away. A fluffy, brown teddy bear that I also got the same day as the games. That day was also the last time I touched him. Bally was his name. Bally Onders. In my imagination back then, he was a super cool government agent. His nickname was…Fish. That’s right, face the irony.
    As my fingers ran through his fur, memories of that night began to ring in my head. My lips curve into a smile, remembering a joke that was told that night. Fish is covered in dirt. Cuts and scar splatter his stuff body, and he’s missing an eye. Maybe my son found him and found ‘hardcore’ fun with him.
    “That last night I’ve seen you buddy was the best.” I say to him. “We should do that–”
    “There’s something you need to know…about that night.” he says weakly. I fall back against the box of games and drop him.
    “You can talk?!” I ask in awe. Fish crawls toward me, and I crawl backward. But the box is in the way, and Fish finds his way on my chest. He reaches out to my face with his torn hand.
    “There’s …” he’s interrupted by cough that causes him to spit out dust and cotton fibers. “There’s no time.”
    Because I have just woken up only an hour ago, I know that there’s no way I’m dreaming. I’ve been sober for my whole entire life, and the president of a national anti drug program, so I know I’m not on anything.
    I grab Fish gently by the waist, close the closet door and take a seat on the edge of the bed
    “What do you mean there’s no time?” I ask. Seeing his dying face brought up the memories I had with him that one day. I was a happy child with him. He went with me everywhere I went. Everything I did. I can’t believe I gave up on him when my dad bought me that new Xbox.
    “Your son…Must die.” he says.
    “What?!” There’s no way in hell!”
    “That night, the government sent one thousand HLT bears to this house,” he says, “to infect you with a virus that would not affect you, but your offspring.”
    “Like how?” I ask.
    “It would give them symptoms that would spread aerially, fast, and severely.”
    “Well, how come the symptoms haven’t shown yet?”
    “They…don’t” he says, shocking me breathless. My heart skipped three beats, and fear filled me.
    “What?!” I shout. “What happens to the people who get infected by him?” Fish looks out the window and holds a smile for a couple of seconds, bringing me back a face melancholy.
    “Nothing.” he says.
    “What? What do you mean nothing?”
    “I needed to get your emotions up, so that my organization can track you. It’s how they find their targets.”
    “What Organization? What targets?”
    “Well first of all,” he says. “When I heard that your father was passing on his presidency for the organization to you, we had to wait.”
    “Wait for what?”
    “For you…to…get older.”
    “Why?”
    He begins to fade away from his ironic life. He trembles a pointing paw at the window.
    “I’m sorry buddy.” He says. “I’m…so…sorry.” His body ragdolls on my lap. A small tear runs down my cheek. I turn my head toward the window.
    “BUT YOU’VE JUST BEEN FISH’D!!” he shouts, abruptly coming back to life. My head instantly snaps back, and I see fishing dancing. “Fish’d” was a game I played with him, on that night. Of course back then, I had no idea he’d talk. But I told him that I was going to throw him away and burn his body. I left the room and when I came back, I jumped through the doorway and shouted, “You’ve just been fished!”
    A large smile occupies my face as I wipe all the dirt and make up he’s applied to himself behind my back.
    I stand and leave my room carrying him in my arms, headed for the stairs I look to him.
    “Let’s go meet my son.” I tell him.

    MEANWHILE – IN HIS ROOM
    Abandoned, and left for dead, there’s a teddy bear ripped, torn, unloved. He’s the same color as Fish, but the only difference, he has his name written on his foot, “Fish” it reads. Jeffrey wrote his name on every toy he owned. The other Fish, however, did not have a single piece of writing on him.
    The teddy bear, who was desperately crying for help but his weak body, only allows him to be quieter than a whisper.
    “That’s the wrong Fish!” he whispers. “Everything he said is true!”

  37. CodyMac says:

    The shock of the stuffed rabbit talking to me had finally worn off. I had been holding it remembering the night my dad had come home from work carrying it in his hand, I was only five. It had come alive bringing me back to reality. I had thrown it across the room in surprise and crawled backwards to the door. I would have gone further but it was shut. The rabbit had stood up dusting itself off and walked towards me speaking urgently ‘We don’t have a lot of time. There is something you need to know about the night I came to you’. Now it was standing on my lap waving its paw in my face to get my attention.
    “Now listen carefully. Your father was a practitioner of the Old Path, I was his Familiar and now I’m yours.” He was speaking in a matter-of-fact tone.
    The shock of the talking stuffed animal was the only thing that overrode the confusion of what I was hearing. “What’s…what’s a familiar?”
    “No questions. You’re one of the cunning folk, or will be, a wizard.” He said that last part rolling his eyes like he disdained the word using it only because my face was glazing confusion. “You say that and people think of wands and pretty castles. Bah!”
    I was amazed, I heard the things that I was being told but my mind was telling me it was impossible. The conflict was coming with the proof that was in front of my eyes. Seeing was believing they say but right now it was threatening to short my circuits. My breathing was getting shallow and pulse was quickening, fight or flight was setting in. The rabbit slapped me across the face, the pain was minor it was the shock that it could hurt not that it did hurt that brought me back to his senses.
    “Stay with me. Your old man was one of the folk too, a potent man. You’re going to take his place, if you survive. You have to survive; others are coming for you and for me. You have to pass the Rite and then I have to start teaching you, time is of the essence.” He was stern, almost chastising, just like a teacher.
    “Time to grow up, that Old Hag will only give you as much time as it takes her to catch up. She was after him that night, when he gave me to you. Passing the mantle.” The rabbit looked around the room scratching his chin. He was muttering to himself, eyes darting from one object to the next. “Your dad had a grimoire around here somewhere.”
    He walked out of the room with haste leaving me behind in the floor. So many things were going through my mind. One thing I couldn’t deny was the exposed, vulnerable feeling that everything I knew in life was about to change.

  38. acromantulus says:

    The power was out at my father’s house. There was no need to keep the power on at a dead man’s house. My brother and I were going to go through our stuff before sending our wives to clean the place up. We hoped the house would bring a hundred-thousand, but in today’s market who’s to say? I got there before my brother, though it was still well past dark when I got there. I had to use a flashlight to make my way through the clutter in the living room. Ever since the death of my mother when I was a child my father hadn’t been the best housekeeper.
    I managed to make it to my old room without breaking my neck. The room was more or less the way I left it. My father hadn’t turned it into a game room or a store room, in fact it was still just as neat as the last time I was here. My old bed was still made, all the pictures of my friends and I still sat on the dresser. Even the posters I had taken out of all the video game magazines still hung on the wall. If it wasn’t for the missing clothes and empty drawers, you’d think someone still lived in this room.
    The things I was really after were in my closet. Things I’m glad my brother wasn’t here to see me look through. My stuffed animals. I had a vacuum cleaner box full of them. I used my flashlight and found the box instantly. I stepped into the closet and opened the box and pulled out the first one. It was a stuffed dog I had named Dale. I set Dale on the floor and reached into to pull out a clown. His red shirt was still silky to the touch and his face still creeps me out as much as ever. I reached in again and pulled out my favorite, a pink creature with a white belly, white mouth, white tufts of hair coming off it’s head, a button nose, and plastic eyes. I called him George, and I talked to him, played video games with him, we even watched movies together. I remember getting him, I think when I was eight years old. Yeah, I was 8 because I got him from a girl in a white gown at the hospital, the night my mother died.
    “There’s something you need to know about that night.” George’s plastic eyes blinked. They were just painted plastic, but they blinked. His stitched mouth moved too, revealing a crocheted cavity with a little red tongue. I nearly dropped George, but managed to hold on to him.

  39. MCKEVIN says:

    I pulled a box of yellow pencils off the closet storage shelf. Peedee, a paper Mache toy I made years ago, fell and almost hit me. I laughed at his huge sombrero, Aztec print poncho and the black knickers I’d dressed him in. I remembered winning the first place trophy for him because of details, right down to his mustache. Age caused him to crumble in places and the loose powder made my hands tingle much like it did when I made him. My family celebrated the free dinner prize at Ponderosa’s. Our waitress took Peedee and showed him off to everyone in the restaurant. I was so proud you could’ve bought me for a dime. I packed Peedee away in a heavy plastic bag for protection.

    “There’s something you need to know about that night.”

    I don’t drink or smoke but I heard Peedee speak. I sat on the couch, placed the pencils and Peedee on my glass coffee table. He looked at me like a child who’d broken something.
    “It wasn’t supposed to happen like this?” He said.
    “What?”
    “This!”
    I looked around the room for something verifying I wasn’t crazy. My eyes found a wall calendar, college degrees in wooden frames and my big picture window where life happened as I knew it.
    “How’d you do that?”
    “What?”
    “Talk.”
    “All dust fairies talk. You didn’t know?”
    “No. I thought you were a paper Mache-.”
    “That’s lame! You think I’m dried flour and water, no?”
    “You are!”
    Peedee paced around as white dust dropped from him, and his reflection searched the glass tabletop for the right words.
    “But you didn’t make the paste, no?”
    “No. My art teach-“
    “She no art teacher. She’s a Steerer, a dealer.”
    “What! No way!”
    “My dust, does it tingle your fingers, no?”
    “Well yeah. But-“
    “The waitress that night, took me out of your sight, no?”
    “Yes but she was showing you arou-“
    “No, she was delivering product. That’s why I’m crumbling.”
    “I have to be losing my-“
    “Everybody in the restaurant was happy that night, no?”
    “My family was happy I’d won the trophy.”
    “But everyone else was happy because they were getting high.”
    “Get out of here! How? When? You weren’t gone a min-.”
    “It takes less than a minute to get high.”
    I pinched myself making sure I was awake. I was.
    “You’re saying, my teach…”
    “Her name is CaTeal and she switched cocaine for the flour in your paper Mache mix.”
    “You’re crazy! No I’m crazy!”
    “You dipped newspaper strips in the mixture of cocaine and water and made me. Customers at the restaurant cracked, crumbled and sniffed me to get buzzed. The waitress worked for CaTeal and everyone there was waiting for you to deliver her product.
    “But how-“
    “They just sniffed me.”
    “I don’t believe-!”
    “You wanna sniff me, no?”
    “No!
    I’d heard enough. I picked Peedee up, placed him in the microwave, nuked and then flushed him.

    Dialing immediately after…

    “Hello! 911? I need help!”

  40. wheatfree says:

    “Yes, officer, I have been drinking, but you have to understand, it talks.” I blinked hard against the flashing red lights and aimed a non-too-steady finger at the front seat of my car.

    “I’m getting ready to move, you see? I had to clean out the attic, and that’s how I found it. I was just sitting there with it in my lap, thinking about the last time I’d seen it, and it spoke to me. It told me there was something about that night I needed to know, but it wouldn’t tell me what it was. I asked; I did. I figured Mom might know, but she wasn’t answering the phone, so I was just going to drive over there and ask her.”

    Maybe it was the alcohol, but I didn’t realize what was going on until I felt the cuffs snap on my wrists.

    “You don’t understand. This is important. It talks.”

    The cop led me to his car and pushed my head down as me maneuvered me into the back seat. “It’s a Teddy Ruxpin, Ma’am. They do things like that.”

    • penney says:

      Is this it? No warm moment, no gotcha?

      • Hey Penney,

        I appreciate your participation, but could you ease on the snarkiness of your comments? (Though I did laugh when you attacked yourself over the grammar flubs in your attack on grammar flubs.)

        Feel free to critique, but ease on the delivery of the critique.

        Thanks,
        Brian
        Online Editor

        • handyman43127 says:

          God I love this word, snarkiness, if I ever get off of may lazy ass and respond to this prompt I’m gonna use it, I don’t care if I don’t know what it means! Help Slayerdan, I know you know.

          • handyman43127 says:

            Hey Brian

            First, thanks for your comment’s, it sure is comforting to know that up-stair’s in the front office someone is watching! Second, I would not worry about Penny, she has probably been out on the porch again, after-all it did snow,and, well those damn dogs. If I ever get published the first thing I”m gonna buy is a trainer to teach her dogs to shake!!!!

          • slayerdan says:

            LOl…..I do indeed. Have been trying to curtail my own snarkiness…:)

        • Birdee0809 says:

          I’ve visited other writing websites where reviewers viciously rip a writer into little bloody pieces for the smallest infractions in their story, be it grammar, spelling or merely the fact the reviewer didn’t like the theme or subject of the story. For the most part, these malicious reviews were to a relative newcomer, whether new to writing or the website in question who (and I hope to which we can all relate) took the scary plunge and hit the submit button to put their precious story out there for public viewing and perhaps, public ridicule.

          There were a couple instances where a reviewer offered excellent, practical and honest advice that was helpful to the writer. Oddly enough, on this particular website, these were from only one person who didn’t mind going against the grain. He was also jumped on for his reviews with comments like ‘how could you possibly like this trash’ and ‘it’s obvious this writer couldn’t write himself out of a paper bag’ and much, much worse.

          After reading these hateful and sometimes completely untrue reviews, I imagined a heartbreaking scene where the writer turned off their computer in abject disappointment and a much diminished motivation to continue writing. In my effort to learn, and partly so I could avoid these types of crushing reviews for my stories, I continued reading until I realized the reviewers were a small group of people who merely didn’t want anybody else to be a part of their group. They would trash any stories from those other than the people in their group and continue to do so until those writers went away.

          For those of you who are curious, the stories I read ran (in my humble opinion) from great to not-so-great with varying levels of mistakes but these writers didn’t deserve to be treated with that level of unkindness and insensitivity nor did they deserve to be alienated from participating.

          In my experience, writers are a sensitive bunch. We have to be in order to write with an open heart and create characters of depth that we must be place in a variety of circumstances in order to serve the story. It always stings to hear criticism but I know it’s necessary if I’m to grow. There may be some ribbing between the writers here but it’s done openly and honestly with both parties listening to the other and ultimately coming to some kind of agreement, or the agreement to disagree. In my opinion, it’s not done viciously and it’s not off-putting.

          We have a variety of writers here who are at different levels as far as writing knowledge, experience and ability to craft a story (“talent” if you will but I believe talent is relative to experience) but, without exception, anybody is welcome to submit stories. I’m very thankful for the writers with more experience and know-how who help elevate and teach those with less experience. I want to know what isn’t working whether it be in my story or someone else’s. I don’t want to only hear what’s good but I also know that nobody will be annihilated for putting a comma in the wrong place. The wayward comma might be pointed out but the person won’t be destroyed because of it.

          I don’t believe I’ve had, or read, any review here at Writers Digest that I thought was bad and absolutely none that I thought was snarky. This was one of the first websites that very obviously welcomed all writers.

          These honest reviews I’ve received and read have made me work harder. They keep me from getting lazy and may point out a bad habit I’m starting to develop or one I may already have. I believe we all review with kindness and a genuine desire to help each other. But if we become super sensitive to the language we choose to use when giving a review, I believe we run the risk of becoming one of those unconstructive groups of people who are only able to stroke each other’s egos in order to avoid churning up any hurt feelings or suggest that the story being reviewed is anything but outstanding and exemplary. I don’t need that. I get plenty of that from my family and people who love me and tell me I’m the best writer in the world even though I know for certain I am not.

          Penney, please keep writing reviews. You have a charmingly playful nature and helpful, gentle and honest way of reviewing and I really appreciate it, and I really need it too.

    • Egg says:

      wheatfree: Clean and simple with a cheeky punchline. You got a smile out of me.

  41. Roshambo7 says:

    I was finally no longer a kid. I was moving out and going to college in New York and I was finally leaving the small town I felt that I had wasted the better part of my life in. I’ll be the first to admit I was a geek and did not fit in that well in High School and everyone made fun of me for my G.I Joe collection, which in hindsight made sense since I had over 50 of them plus vehicles and weapons. I was cleaning out my room for and taking most of my old junk and toys to the landfill before leaving on Saturday for New York When it happened. I had just cleaning out under my bed and was half done with the closet when I heard a commotion from my old toy chest. But as soon as I noticed it, it seemed to fade. I shrugged it off as nothing and went back to loading boxes and singing fragments Aerosmith’s Young Lust. Then I heard a rough voice beside me, “What the hell kind of candy ass shit are you singing soldier?” I froze with a box of old matchbox cars in my hand, “Well,” the voice said sternly, “Answer me soldier!” I slowly turned and set the box of cars down and saw one of G.I Joe’s standing beside me in full combat gear with an M16 with a Bowie knife in a sheath on his right boot and a .45 pistol strapped to his thigh. “What the fuck!” I wanted to scream but could only manage a whisper.
    “Oh, I didn’t know it was you General my apologies sir.”
    “What the hell is going on? You guys can’t talk!” my voice was surprisingly controlled despite talking to a 12’’ plastic toy.
    “Ah General Sir, you must have had a little too much to drink at the Officer’s Club last night.” His response held a lot of respect and seemed not to notice I was roughly six times his size “I am sorry to say Sir but we have a serious threat to deal with, you must come with me to the Command Center.” He said this with the utmost seriousness as if it were real. And he proceeded to walk behind the toy chest and motioned for me to follow. I knew there was no way I could have fit behind that thing the space was like five inches wide! But with my childhood memories whirling like a hurricane in my head I crawled over. Much to my amazement I did fit and was also now the same height as my old toy. I was now in the Command Center I had always imagined, with men posted at consoles and computer screens, a bulletin board with terrorist looking characters on it, and in the middle of the room was a table with an interactive hologram map of a Middle East type country. I looked down and saw I was wearing Class A Brigadier General’s outfit. The soldier who originally led me down there was telling me that Alpha Team was on the ground and moving. All my childhood dreams were right here in front of me, I responded to him, “Brief me on this operation lieutnenant.”

  42. dabbins says:

    The events that took place proceeding cleaning out my childhood closet weren’t bittersweet. The sting of my mom’s frigid frustration over scheduling my wedding on a day that was “inconvenient for her” hung in the air. She wasn’t even paying for it. She couldn’t just tell me “You know, Jeremy, this is going to be your big day and I’ll make sure we’re there.”
    I kicked the still broken closet door that I fell into before I went away to college what seems like eons ago. It still wouldn’t willingly open. Damn thing.
    After a bit of wrestling, the door just came off the rail and I folded it up and leaned it against the wall. At least this was one place all of those cats couldn’t spray. Living in my moms basement with little-to-no-privacy, on top of being an awkward teenager, was a pain. I still don’t relish those days.
    Of course the bulb was burnt out, so I took out my cell phone to light the closet as I batted aside the unwanted khakis and button-down shirts of yore. I pulled out a box full of comics and old video game magazines. Luckily I’ve never paid for porn a day in my life. I dragged the box aside and when I returned to pull out the next box, what did I see, but the small shiny eyes of my first stuffed animal, at least the first one I remember.
    It was a Pound Puppy, one of the big ones. It was white except for a brown spot on its back and big flapping brown ears. I sat on the corner of the plastic cover bed holding it and feeling an odd calming sensation. I think I was even smiling.
    I flipped the dog doll onto its back and ran my fingers over the stomach-seem where it was a little thicker. I had torn the inanimate dog dolls belly in my sleep. I remember, I was crying and ran to my mom with the torn toy. She reassured me, pulled out a needle and thread and sewed up his belly.
    Pulling me out of my nostalgic haze, I felt squirming in my hand as I ran my finger over the seem. The Pound Puppy was laughing as I was apparently tickling it. I stared bewildered for a few minutes until what I thought was just a toy threatened to pee on me in a voice not too different from Scruff McGruff’s. I was still awestruck, so instead of freaking out and dropping it, I put it respectively on the plastic covering the bed and stared.
    The Pound Puppy sat just as a dog would and stared right back at me. “What?” he finally asked. I shook my head, took off my glasses and rubbed my eyes. It couldn’t have been real, it shouldn’t have been.
    “Ah,” the doll said, “You don’t have to worry none. It’s just that I’ve been waiting for so long for you to come back because there’s something I need to tell you. It’s important that you hear me. There’s not much time left.”
    I nodded, feeling my dry mouth and my mind trying to wrap itself around such an uncanny phenomenon. The doll seemed to give me an unsure look, so I managed to vocalize my consent in a raspy voice.
    “Remember that night your mom stuffed my innards back in and stitched me back up?” Pound Puppy asked. I nodded. “There’s,” he hesitated, “something you need to know about that night. I don’t know if you remember, but your mom cried at seeing you all happy that I was all fixed. That’s when she knew that she was happy to be your mother. That love she felt and moment of certainty is what gave me the magic to wait for this moment to tell you. Your mom loves you.”
    With that, the dog doll from my early childhood slid onto its belly, that manufactured smile returning. I knew my mom loved me. It wasn’t easy for her, just like it wasn’t for me. In a way, I’ve always known it and I knew she’d be there at my wedding watching me marry the love of my life.
    I decided to not pack away the Pound Puppy again and put him in my passenger car seat while the rest of what I wanted to salvage went in the back seat. It was a longer drive back to the apartment that day, but I was smiling the whole way with tears in my eyes.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Aw… that was precious. It had a really sentimental feel about it. I like that. I’ll have to watch for more of your stuff in the future. Have a good day.

  43. douglangille says:

    ** still chaining story prompts together **

    STORMY NIGHT – PART FIVE

    How the hell did that get there?

    There I was, strapped to a crazy dental chair being tilted back. The nurse covered up the splash of beautiful candy-apple red that with a surgical mask. I could no longer see if she was smiling. I’m not sure she ever was. Why the hell did it matter?

    She addressed me by name and I met her gaze. She told me to relax and that it’d be over soon.

    Her soothing words had no effect. The world (this world anyway) had gone ultra-bright. The nurse’s white uniform glowed. The stainless steel tools glinted menacingly and the doctor’s eyes kept their dead black sheen.

    Everything was stark visceral shades of blacks, whites and grays…

    …And the bright vibrant green of new-growth grass.

    Where did that come from?

    “Over here”, said no one at all. My tormentors worked silently and with practiced efficiency. Nonetheless, I heard someone/something speak.

    A fresh batch of chemical restraints were coursing though my veins. I could feel the fog flowing to my fingertips and sparking from digit-point to digit-point. Oh, how I just wanted to look at them!

    I don’t know why these crazy bastards didn’t just knock me out. It’s like they wanted me to bear witness to my transformation.

    “Over here, jackass”.

    The flash of emerald crossed my view again. My addled yet hyper-aware mind sought the source. There was a mirror above me, displaying the whole sordid theatre in my own personal exposition of the pain I expected to come. I was the star of the show and the honored guest!

    At the very corner of my field of view was a plain hospital cart. On it were my neatly-folded missing pants (one mystery solved), my phone, wallet, and a couple crumpled bills. Lying beside these was the sodden napkin with the name and number of my drunken angel from the party that sparked my current misadventure.

    I wondered then what happened to her. I never thought to ask the right questions — of her or of them.

    “Jack-ass. Jack-wagon. Jack-ur-gunna-b-dead-soon!”

    On top of my phone, straining to catch my attention, was the absurd green army man I stuffed in my pocket. You know the kind: molded plastic on a flat plastic base, the two halves – front and back – frayed with a poor polishing job and the abuse of a child. The rifle muzzle was chewed a bit from the idiot family cat that dad had called Spot. He thought he was clever naming a stripped orange tabby so arbitrarily.

    Why the hell did I put that in my pocket? I was in the attic going through the old boxes my folks had bequeathed me. I was looking for my old yearbook to prompt me for some names as I greeted the older faces of my grad class.

    My hand touched the forgotten toy soldier and instantly remembered. I curled him in my fist like I was five again. I was feeling wound and anxious about the reunion and my plastic friend made me feel centered and whole. He had no name. He had no voice.

    Until now.

    “Never mind traipsing to yester-frickin-year, ya whimpering’ brat! You’re in trouble here. Just like last time, I’m gonna save your miserable pansy-arse.”

    I felt a mixture of shame, relief and fear as the restraints took hold.

    I was out.

  44. DRoberts says:

    Hi Brian,

    This prompt has appeared before. Just an FYI. :)

    • Oh no. That’s a real problem because I just wrote this one yesterday morning! Can you point me to which other one it resembles? Apparently I’ve been doing this so long I’m starting to repeat myself. ;-)

      Thanks,
      Brian
      Online Editor

      • slayerdan says:

        Not in the last year and a half. There was a previous idea about a toy from your childhood showing up, but the focus of the idea was different–about a year ago or so maybe. Ill look to see when.

        • slayerdan says:

          OK–not quite a year–always been bad w time–but this one from 4/2012 is close–but still different.A Letter From Your Favorite Childhood Toy
          April 3, 2012 | Brian A. Klems | Comments: 227You open the mail and receive a letter from one of your favorite childhood toys, explaining what the toy has been up to all these years since you have moved on. Some of it comes as a shock to you. What’s even more shocking is the reason the toy is contacting you. Read more

      • DRoberts says:

        Hi Brian,

        Slayerdan is right. My apologies.

        • No worries. Some will probably be similar, considering I’ve been writing these for so long. In fact, if you have some ideas for potential prompt feel free to send them my way:

          brian.klems AT fwmedia DOT com

          Brian
          Online Editor

          • DRoberts says:

            Thanks Brian.

          • penney says:

            It’s nice to hear from the editor on occasion. That was an idea I had about two weeks ago. If anyone has an idea for a prompt send it to you or post it for others to decide if they’d like a hand at it. It would work for the old style forums before the revamping of the side of the website. It’s all good though. Thank you for what you have done to help writers.

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