The Eyes on the Shelf

I didn’t know who he was, but he was not my teddy bear, Mr. Mittens.

That’s right. Mr. Mittens. You’re laughing now, but just you wait.


Does a teddy bear laugh maniacally?

Does a teddy bear scamper across the plush carpet each night wielding a tiny sword?


Does a teddy bear slice off the ends of your hair and then hide the evidence behind your book collection?

He favours Corduroy Bear books. Last night I even heard him whisper, “Bring me a Teddy Ruxpin book, or else.”


Mr. Mittens was soft and cozy. He would nestle in my arms, his thick woolen mitts and toque tickling my nose. How did his toy makers think he’d stay warm without clothes? Poor little nude bear. I fashioned him a quaint blue jacket to match, and he was much happier.

The current Mr. Mittens is not Mr. Mittens. An imposter. An evil troll. A fire-breathing dragon waiting to lure me to my doom. He isn’t soft or cozy. His thick woolen mitts cut my nose. He’s prickly, edgy. A shard of glass. I’ve also found his jacket on the floor. Does he like to run in the nude?


His nose is larger. His eyes are bluer. He almost looks like . . . Nah. Couldn’t be.

The sword is back. I hid it behind my glass figurines. As I return, so does the sword.

Mr. Mittens sits on his shelf, smiling his angelic smile. This time, it is sickening sweet. It oozes candied slime. In his hand, the instrument of destruction. My hand slips as I snatch, fresh cherry droplets splashing across the rug. I hear him laugh. An ominous shiver-causing chuckle.

I slip into bed, heart racing. I clutch the sword in my hand, my only defense from a maniacal teddy bear. My cozy bed comforts me. Tricks me. My eyes droop. Stay awake. Stay awake. Stay–

My dreams are lucid, disturbing. I feel tickles, jabs. Rough grit on my cheek. I hear whispers, shrieks. Swooping swishes.


I wake up, heavy shadows around my face. I scream, fling the mass across the room.

“Ohhhhhhh,” a familiar voice moans. “Look what you’ve done.”

Jackie. My ex-husband.

But he’s dead.

I scramble out of bed, reaching for my baseball bat beside the dresser.

Bright light floods my room. My teddy bear sprawls on the carpet, the sword stuck in his belly. Dark red pools are leaking all around.

I inch closer.

Mr. Mittens — Jackie — looks up at me and smiles sadly. “I guess this is what happens when you make a trade with the devil.”


Copyright © 2015 by Emily Clayton
Originally appeared on Finish That Thought:
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