Stuffed Monster, A Short Story | © 2012 Dan Absalonson
I was the ugliest, weirdest stuffed animal in the claw machine, but that didn't matter to Zack. He picked me out on purpose. You see it sometimes, where you can tell a person is trying to win a certain stuffed animal, but they end up getting a different one. Not Zack, he chose me.
I am a monster. Most of my cell mates were dolls, farm animals, and Teddy bears - cute little snuggly things. None of them expected me to be chosen, and here I was, riding in the backseat of a minivan next to my new human Zack. He had a little army man he pretended was a knight and we had an epic battle on the ride to his home. When we arrived I got to sit next to him for a while and watch TV. He picked a movie with monsters in it. He wasn't like most kids though, who are scared of monsters. When the big yellow thing came out of the swamp and chased kids away Zach said, "awesome." Then we went to his room.
There were all kinds of other cool stuffed animal monsters. Some of them were even cute, not scary like me. Others were from Zach's favorite movies. I got to know them once Zack left for dinner. A few of them even came from claw machines like me. I finally fit in.
That night I got to sleep next to Zach, and the one stuffed animal who wasn't a monster, his teddy bear Brownie. Brownie was used to having monsters around and he was really nice to me. He made me feel at home, all of them did. It was perfect. Everything was going great until the next day when Zack left the door open on his way to dinner. That’s when I met the cat.
We were all just hanging out around Zack's pillow talking about the different games he had played with us when the cat sauntered in with his tail swaying around in lazy arcs.
"Quick, under the pillow!" Brownie said.
I just caught a glimpse of the cat's mean yellow eyes before I was buried under the pillow. Then I felt the thump of the cat landing on the bed next to Brownie.
"You stay away Thompson! Chew! Get out of here!"
I heard Brownie cry out in pain, which made me feel bad, so I came out from under the pillow. This cat might not be scared of Brownie but he should be scared of me. I am a monster after all, and I'm pretty big for a stuffed animal. It was a big mistake. While I do have long claws and pointy teeth, they are all made of soft fabric. The cat’s claws were the real deal.
"Get away from him!" I screamed.
I came at him with my arms raised and my teeth bared. He scratched me, ripping a large gash into my side and pulling out some of my stuffing as he tore his claw away. As my world exploded in pain and I grabbed my side to hold the stuffing in, he snatched me up into his mouth and carried me away.
We raced through the door, down the hall, and past more rooms and through a tiny door until we came into a cold dark place. It was the first room I had seen where they kept the van we rode home in. Thompson took me up into his little house. It was high above the floor, and he jumped from one platform to another until we reached the top. Up there he spat me out and played with me like a ball for a long time. I screamed for him to stop but he just kept pawing at me, smacking me from one side to the other. Then Zack’s mom opened the door.
“Thompson. Come get your dinner kitty cat.”
He gave me one last look and then leapt down and walked out the door. Zack’s mom closed it behind him and left me in there alone. I knew I had to get out of there right away if I wanted to remain in one piece. I crawled towards the edge and looked down. It would have taken me awhile to reach the floor by jumping from one platform to another so I just jumped all the way to the floor. Us soft guys can do that without getting hurt. I lost a little bit of stuffing from my biggest tear, but I shoved it back in and started looking for a way out.