Okay, so, finally back with challenge number 5 of the 30 writing challenges. Its been a while. Yes, I know. Hush.
Anyway, this challenge states – write a story revolving around an object in the room you are currently in. Well… lots of objects in here, where to begin? Two objects came to mind – both were already here when I moved in. One is a remote control of some sort. It’s not for a TV or DVD player or some such thing. It’s only got 9 buttons, to start with, and none of them are marked. It’s very intriguing, and the story it inspired… well, I think it’s going to be a good one, and it’s for a later date.
The second object is a teddy bear. Light brown, bright black eyes, red scarf. I wanted to do a lighter hearted story than my usual fare, and so I selected him to write a story about. I’ve christened him Franklin, after Franklin D. Roosevelt (Teddy’s 5th cousin). This is the story Franklin inspired. I suspect he may star in many more.
Challenge number 5: Write a story revolving around an object in the room you are currently in.
Bright black eyes watched the man as he ambled about the room, muttering to himself. The eyes didn’t move – they couldn’t, they were made of plastic – but they nevertheless took in everything in their line of sight. The man wandered from one side of the room to the other. He raised a hand to his head, palm sliding over his bald pate, fingers combing imaginary hair.
“Now where the hell could they be? I swear, I must be going senile or something, how could I lose them? I’m sure I had them a few minutes ago.”
To the small ears listening, the man’s voice was deep and booming as he talked to himself. The eyes, being plastic, didn’t have any eyelids to blink with and so observed the action uninterrupted. The man lifted the cushions on the sofa and looked underneath them. He looked under a pile of papers strewn across the coffee table. Obviously not finding what he was looking for, he stood up straight, frowning.
“I was reading in here last night before I went to bed, so stands to reason they must still be in this room, don’t you think?” The man walked over to the large fireplace as he spoke and fixed his eyes on the small, light brown teddy bear sitting on the old oak beam which formed the mantelpiece. “What about you Franklin, do you have any idea where my reading glasses might have got to?”
The bright black eyes gazed unblinking back at the man looming before them. The teddy bear didn’t know why the man called him Franklin, as his name was Furry. His previous owner, a small boy by the name of Lucas, had christened him Furious Fur Ball the Fourth. Or Furry for short. Furry didn’t mind being called Franklin though, it had a mature and grown up sound to it. For his part, Furry knew the man’s name was Alen, as he had heard visitors to the house call him that.
Alen stared at Furry, his brow creased in a frown. Furry stared back, his face looking the way it always looked – furry and cute. At last Alen let out a large sigh and turned away.
“Nope, I can’t think where I’ve put them. Told you Franklin, I’m losing what little mind I have. Senile dementia, that’s my middle name! Christ, I’ll be needing a zimmer frame next.” Alen strode across the room and headed out through the door, speaking over his shoulder as he went. “I’ve got to go out, I’ll have to find them later. Be good while I’m gone Franklin. Ha! Talking to a damned teddy bear! Jesus, I really am los…” The door slammed behind the man as he left, cutting off the rest of his sentence.
Furry sat on the mantelpiece, his legs dangling over the edge, as always. He liked it up here, he had a nice view of everything that went on in this room. And he wasn’t lonely any more; Alen was good, if somewhat eccentric company. Of course, being a teddy bear, Furry was unable to speak and hold a conversation, but he made a good listener, and listened to the man’s ramblings with amusement. Furry liked his new life.
His existence with Lucas had been fine for the most part, but not the best. Lucas was a boy prone to temper tantrums, and Furry inevitably became the release for his anger. The teddy had lost count of the times he had been thrown against a wall, stamped on, thumped, or hung by the red scarf that wound around his neck. Sometimes Lucas squeezed him so hard he feared his seams might split, spilling his stuffing across the bedroom floor. That said, there was still fun to be had. Lucas, and the man and woman who were his parents, made a nice family, and Furry was glad to be a part of it.
Then one day it all came to an end. Lucas and his parents moved away. Furry expected to go with them and was excited to be moving to a new home. But when removal day arrived, and all the furniture and boxes had been packed onto the wagon, Furry wasn’t among them. Lucas picked him up, carried him to the empty room which had been the boy’s bedroom, and placed him on the windowsill.
“You can stay here,” Lucas said, “and guard the house. I’m moving to the city, kids don’t have teddy bears in the city, they’re too grown up for sissy stuff like that.” And with that he left the room, closing the door behind him, shutting the little teddy in all on his own.
Furry slumped forward with sadness, lost his balance and tumbled to the floor. He had no idea how long he stayed in that room with only himself for company. He knew it must have been a long time though, because when Alen first picked him up and set him on the mantelpiece in the lounge, he could see the once pristine house was now covered in a thick layer of dust. The walls and doors were neglected and dilapidated with age, paint peeled from the window frames, the panes grimy with dirt.
Now everything sparkled once more. Alen had worked hard renovating his new home and had managed to recapture a portion of its former glory, even if he did mislay things from time to time. The lost objects – keys, glasses, important letters from important people, whatever the object may be – never stayed lost for long. And today was going to be no exception.
Furry turned himself around and slithered over the side of the old beam. His small paws held him steady while his feet picked out footholds on the large stones which made up the fireplace. Little by little he clambered down from his perch and onto the floor. He was thankful the fire wasn’t lit – he had no wish for a stray spark to land on his fur as he climbed past and turn him into a little teddy fire.
Once he was standing on the hearth, Furry stretched his arms above his head and arched his back. Sitting in one position for so long on the mantelpiece didn’t make him stiff in any way – he was just a teddy bear after all – but he had seen Alen do it quite a few times. The action always seemed to make the man feel better, and so Furry saw no harm in copying.
The stretching over with, Furry scampered across the floor to the coffee table. He looked up and saw a pen jutting out over the edge. He jumped up, small paw reaching for the pen, and missed it. Another, mightier, jump and he managed to dislodge the pen. It dropped to the floor and the teddy bear scooped it up, looking around as he did so.
It wasn’t his intention to write a note – self defence was on his mind. On one of his many excursions down from the mantelpiece Furry had been set upon by a stray cat. Presumably the cat was looking for something to eat after sneaking into the house through a window the man, Alen, had forgotten to close. A teddy bear wouldn’t make much of a meal for a hungry feline, but no doubt it would make an interesting play thing for one. Furry had barely escaped with his fuzzy backside intact.
He took no chances while on his adventures now, and the pen would serve as a good weapon against any attacking stray cats. The pen swished through the air as he brandished it like a sword – Sir Furry the Feline Vanquisher! So armed, Furry made his way over to the large sofa and peered under it. In the dark shadows, near the back, light glinted off bright lenses. The missing reading glasses!
Furry crawled under the couch, batting dust bunnies out of the way with his sword pen. He snagged the spectacles’ frames and backed out slowly, dragging the glasses behind him. He was about to stand up when the sound of the front door opening sent him scurrying back into the shadows. If Furry could breathe he would have held his breath when Alen entered the lounge, his walking boots clomping across the wooden floor.
“Going into town to mail some letters, and I forget to take them with me. Today is not a very clever day for me at all!” Papers rustled as Alen sorted through the pile on the coffee table, looking for the letters he needed. “I tell you Franklin, I think I may just get an early night tonight and rest my brain. I… what the? Franklin? Now where the hell have you disappeared to?”
The man’s boots hurried over to the fireplace. Furry backed further into the dark under the sofa. As much as he liked Alen, he didn’t want to be found under the furniture. The man would never understand, and Furry, being just a teddy bear, would never be able to explain.
“Now this is getting to be silly!” Alen sounded puzzled, and Furry couldn’t blame him. “You were here a minute ago, I know you were. So where are you now? And why am I talking to a teddy? A teddy that isn’t even here?”
The boots turned and took a step. As Furry peered out from under the sofa with his bright plastic eyes the boots hesitated and then continued on towards the door.
“I’ll sort it out later. It’s all too weird right now. Maybe I’m overtired – I should try to get more sleep I suppose.” Alen did indeed sound tired, as well as confused. Furry felt sorry for the man, as he knew the confusion was entirely his fault. A cool draught blew across the floor and then the front door slammed shut once again. Furry squirmed out from his hiding place, the man’s reading glasses held in one hand, his sword pen in the other.
The need to hurry quickened Furry’s movements. He didn’t know when the man would return, and he wanted to be finished with his task and back up on the mantelpiece when he did. He looked up at the coffee table. The glasses and the pen belonged up there, but it was too high for him to reach. He scanned the room with his unblinking black eyes and spied a pile of books in one corner. Perfect!
Although the books were paperbacks, Furry struggled to carry them. For a teddy bear of his small stature they made quite a heavy load, and he had to make several trips to and fro before he was done. Half of the books were now stacked by the small table, and Furry was confident he would be able to clamber up onto its cluttered surface by standing on the pile. Only one way to find out.
The books bright and shiny covers were slippery under his fur covered feet, but after several attempts Furry managed to stand upright on the topmost paperback. The top of the table was now level with his scarf wrapped neck. Furry cheered silently, then scrambled down to retrieve first the glasses, and then again for the pen. With both items now laying on the table’s surface he boosted himself up to join them.
The little teddy bear still felt guilty over confusing Alen, and he’d had an idea while he worked at getting up onto the coffee table. He had spent plenty of time with Lucas while the young boy studied the alphabet and how to arrange the letters into words, and Furry had learned alongside him. He’d never used a pen to write with before, but he was determined to give it a good go. Hopefully his scheme would help Alen understand, otherwise the man was certain to be more confused than ever. In his teddy bear way, Furry decided it was worth the risk.
A while later, with the reading glasses and pen laying on top of the coffee table where they belonged, and the paperbacks returned to where he had borrowed them from, Furry climbed slowly up the stone fireplace. On reaching the oak mantelpiece he sat himself down and made himself comfortable. His legs dangled over the edge as usual as he patiently waited.
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~
Bright black eyes watched the man as he entered the room. It was getting late and the room was gloomy as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. Alen flicked on the light switch and ambled over to the coffee table. He dropped his car keys onto the stack of papers already there, turned away in the act of taking off his coat, and stopped. The eyes watched as the man slowly turned around and looked down at the table. Teddy bear nervousness began to fill Furry with apprehension.
Alen stared at the coffee table. He couldn’t believe his eyes. There, right there, right on top of the pile of papers, the pile of papers he had moved who knew how many times this morning, were his glasses. His missing reading glasses. The reading glasses he had spent a good thirty minutes trying to find before he went out. The glasses that were, without a shadow of a doubt, not on the coffee table when he left.
“Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say.” Alen picked up his glasses and examined them closely, half expecting the metal and glass to vanish in a puff of white smoke. Apparently satisfied they were indeed real, and not an illusion, he put them on and squinted through the lenses. “Yes, definitely mine. No others would have quite so many scratches.”
Alen looked at the coffee table again. “I’m positive that pen wasn’t there earlier either, not on top of the papers like that anyway. And what’s this?” He brushed the pen to one side and picked up the piece of paper it and his glasses had been laying on. Scrawled on the white sheet in a rough, almost childlike script, was a name – Franklin.
“Franklin? Why does it say Franklin? Who wrote…” Alen’s head snapped up, his eyes locking with Furry’s black plastic ones. “You’re back! You were gone… I mean, you were there and then you were gone… but you’re not gone, you’re there, you’re… ohh…” Alen took a few steps backwards. His legs collided with the sofa and he dropped onto the soft cushions. “I think I may have tumbled down the rabbit hole to join Alice in her Wonderland!”
Furry wanted so much to rush over to Alen and explain everything, tell him it was all okay. He stayed where he was though; being just a teddy bear he wouldn’t be able to explain anything. He also suspected if he moved, suddenly sprang to life and rushed towards the man, then that man may just have himself a heart attack. His small unblinking eyes watched, and deep inside he hoped he had done the right thing.
On the sofa Alen took off his glasses and ran a hand over his face. He leaned forward, head bowed, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose as if he had a headache. His shoulders began to shake. At first Furry feared the man was sobbing, that he had been reduced to tears, but then he heard the soft chuckling, getting louder, turning into laughter. He watched as Alen sat back, laughing uncontrollably, one hand holding his aching stomach, the other wiping his streaming eyes. Furry laughed silently along with him.
Alen eventually got himself under control. He stood up, somewhat unsteadily, and used his sleeve to dry his eyes. With Furry’s signed piece of paper in hand he bounded over to the fireplace and smiled at the small, light brown teddy bear sat on the mantelpiece.
“This is… Franklin, this is wonderful!” He waved the sheet of paper in front of Furry’s eyes. “If this means what I think it means then one of two things has happened. Either,” Alen tapped a finger against his forehead, “I’ve lost my tiny little mind. Or! And this is the good one! Or, you put the glasses on the table, and you wrote your name on this here bit of paper with my pen! Either way it’s wonderful and amazing!” He paused and looked solemn for a moment. “Of course, I much prefer the second option!” Alen’s face creased in a large smile and the laughter was back.
“You and me, little buddy, we’ve got so much to discuss. Where, when, why, and most importantly, how? But first, I need a drink! Don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back. Ha! Don’t go anywhere! Of course, if you want to, you can!” Alen left the lounge, heading for the kitchen, his laughter echoing throughout the house.
Furry wriggled in pleasure on the mantelpiece. Signing the piece of paper had been a huge risk on his part, and thankfully it had paid off. Now all he and his new friend Alen had to do was find a way of communicating, and then Furry could tell the man the whole story. It was going to be a long night, Furry knew, but it was definitely going to be worth it.
I hope you enjoyed my take on challenge number 5. Why not give the challenges a go? You never know where they might lead you. If you do, let me know, I love to see what others come up with!
Alen B Curtiss 2013
Curtiss Creations 2013