THE SEASONS

THE SEASONS
by Kaylyn Weddle

Summer, fall, winter, spring,
Joy and sorrow these seasons do bring.
Hot and cold, warm and cool:
God’s great gift and a wonderful jewel.

Summer is the time for beaches and sun,
Barbeque, playing, and just having fun.
Being with friends and family too,
But most of all people who truly love you.

Fall is the time right before winter
And if you’re not careful you might get a splinter,
Raking the leaves with an old wooden rake,
Stopping occasionally for a lemonade break.

Winter is the time in which everything is cold;
Hot chocolate is made and blankets unfold.
The time when snow falls to the cold barren ground
And pesky insects are nowhere to be found.

Spring time is here! let us all rejoice
Of Mother Nature’s arrival and her beautiful voice.
The sound of birds chirping and bees humming away
Signifies that spring has brought a new day.

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall:
If you’ve seen them once you’ve seen them all.
The coming and going of seasons far and near –
I can’t wait to see them again next year.

THE DEATH DEALER

THE DEATH DEALER
By Zia Goli

Our job was to collect space pods or eggs on the edge of the M64 Galaxy to research when they will hatch and hopefully what is inside of them. For nearly 48 years we stayed for our job. We were safe to live our lives on our own with no casualties: none. But then, on the eve of the 48th year our ship – our home – began to shut down. It started with the anti-gravity feature in the ship shutting off and on randomly, until it wouldn’t come back on again. We thought maybe, after all these years, it’s finally malfunctioning, since nothing lasts forever.  Even the best man made machines, may they be guaranteed to last for 100 years, will start to go haywire eventually, especially if they are used all day every day. But the anti-gravity was just the first to go; the lights went second. Our portable lights didn’t have many battery cells to begin with. Never really needed them till now. Needless to say, we were starting to lose our minds.  The dark does something weird to a person, no matter how sane they may be in the beginning.

About a week later, someone on the maintenance crew was able to turn on the emergency lights – finally. But unfortunately, the emergency lights took up much of the little power our vessel had left, and then the electromagnetic shields failed, leaving us without a care. They were supposed to protect us in case we came a little too close to any suns or space debris. Right after the shields left, so did the engines. We were just floating around in space for months, no longer on the edge of the M64 Galaxy but somewhere else.

We were lucky no one had died yet and that we hadn’t been pulled into a planet. The fear of possibly falling into a planet and dying on impact, or our oxygen being used up, were fears that didn’t go unnoticed. Everyone had them, and if you didn’t you eventually fell into them. Luckily for us, our oxygen tanks were part of their own separate machinery. Those things wouldn’t go out for years. They were a different type of technology: new and not really understood except by those who installed and created them.

But there was no escape for us. We were stuck in fear, in space. The captains of the ship stayed near the radar, watching it day and night in hopes it might turn back on. For six months we were able to stay clear of any and all space debris, planets, suns, black holes, and any undocumented things that could be out there. At the end of the six months, we ventured into a solar system that was unknown and not named. At first everyone thought we were home again – but no, that was not the case. Slowly we passed planet after planet. From the outside they looked dead. Not just dead without life, but dead without movement. They had no pull, not like the planet that was slowly dragging us to its side. These planets were huge: one wrong move and we would join this grave yard.

Six days after venturing into the unknown solar system – which we had all been calling “mortem mango” (The Death Dealer) – we saw it, the mother of all planets. This thing was terrifying! It was so big it looked as if it was breathing! It became clear after seeing it that it wasn’t gravity pulling us towards it; we were not just falling into the planet, but rather were being lassoed in by the planet itself. Every unnatural breath it took drew us closer and closer. Panic engulfed everyone like wildfire. As far as we knew, there was no hope. Within 38 hours we would be breaking through the planet’s atmosphere and crashing to our death. That is how strong it was.

But fortunately, that wasn’t the case. The captain of the spaceship settled most of us down and told us of two escape pods. Each could hold two hundred people and was in top notch shape. But there was a catch; both had to be “flown” into the planet. They were not meant to be in space for more than 15 minutes – why would anyone continue to use an escape pod that weak? Basically someone had to fly the escape pod after we started to fall. Not the easiest thing in the world and definitely the most heart-wrenching. It was up to two people, who were most likely not skilled in what was being asked, to save 400 individuals.

Within five hours everyone had packed themselves into the escape pods and was buckled. The weight limit was at its max with just the total number of people it could hold. Everything everyone owned was left in the big ship. The only things we could bring were ourselves and the clothes on our backs. It was the hardest and longest 33 hours of our lives. Some were able to sleep but for most, it was impossible to sleep. The last two hours were even worse. The little escape pods had no windows except where the captains were and those were always closed off. Not being able to see how close or how far away we were was hard. Seeing it must have been worse, because the people who had to stare at that planet until time to fly eventually lost their minds. We aren’t exactly sure why.

There was no mistaking when we began to fall. It was probably the worst feeling ever experienced.  It felt as if our chests were being pushed into our throats and our bodies were glued to the seats just as if we were on the gravitron, a space toy people use to ride on at fairs – I think that’s what they called those events. Our Captains couldn’t just sit there and endure it; they had to pull themselves together and get the pods started. Fortunately, the engines in the pods started. We guessed the planet had something to do with it, through an electrical force field possibly. There was a wave of relief when the engine started. The pain of falling became just bearable enough to allow us to breath. The pod may have helped slow the fall, but we would fall and not land.

About two minutes after the pods were released from the spaceship and the fall became more of a glide, we crashed into a body of water. Panic started again and the pods started to separate. People were rushing to get out of the seats, women were screaming for loved ones, nothing made sense, time just seemed to slow down and then everything suddenly began to stop. We thought we were dead; the captains came out of the control room and slowly, in a frame by frame motion, fell face forward into the water.  People who jumped in seemed to sit still. All hope seemed lost, but under the chaos of it all were the sounds of these beautiful voices. We didn’t know where they were coming from but they seemed to surround us. They were singing the strangest of sounds and pitches but it was… peaceful. No one knows how much time went by; our brains seemed to fog over. All I can remember is staring into the planet’s luminescent atmosphere.

The songs began to stop almost as quickly as they appeared, once we hit land. We never met the beings who saved us or found out how they did it. We don’t remember much from that day and we are only beginning to regain our memories of the events and connect the dots, but two things are certain: first, we weren’t alone on Mortem Mango. Also, I somehow have the strangest feeling that the beings who saved us came with us. At one point I thought I saw a strange creature lurking around the corridors of our rescuers’ ship. They told us anything we thought we saw was merely an hallucination from the traumatic event. I don’t believe them. I know these creatures are real and that they saved us, but I don’t know why. They might have also gotten lost on that planet. They must be in search of their home, but it’s unsettling to think they could be here now, watching us. I just want to know what they are doing here and why they haven’t revealed themselves to us. Maybe… they know our kind and, in truth, are fearful of us.

BALANCE IN POETRY

BALANCE IN POETRY
by Kale Weaver

Donned in clothing
Ripped and torn
From fiery pits
We are born
Dark poets call
Nevermore

Dressed in color
Oh so bright
The heavens’ children
Born of light
Sweet poets sing
Sunshine

One of each
Balance is kept
Yin and yang
We must accept
All poets cry
Blessed

LA BÊTE DU GÉVAUDAN

LA BÊTE DU GÉVAUDAN
Ruelle d’Angelle
by Emily E. Allen

Chapter 1

Even a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms
And the autumn moon is bright . . .

The taste of blood and flesh still remained in my mouth. My hands and arms were now stained crimson by the deaths of my victims. Still, in my ears, I can hear screams, such piercing screams that I am afraid both my ears and heart will burst. The agony and guilt tear at my soul as I tore at the still-living bodies of the men, women, and children I slaughtered last night. Outwardly, my body was unwavering, unfatigued by the exercise of the night, but, on the inside, my soul was on fire. Drained of life, I am shocked to find that I am actually awake. My stomach is so full of the flesh of those I dispatched that I want to vomit and expel it from my body. But I cannot. Fearfully, I am learning to curb these feelings of guilt and shame and slowly, my body has begun to crave the flesh of men even more. I now can easily dismiss this remorse and am sure that I will soon feel none. I am sure that I will soon feel only a desire to commit even more atrocities, and not just because of the moon, but because of the blackness that is engulfing my soul.

I find myself in the middle of the forest outside the village, awake in a thicket, not even thirty feet from one of my victims. The shock always hits me very hard when I first awake. A young boy, maybe only eleven, it would seem. I gag slightly at his stomach, ripped open, and the contents strewn across the ground. There is no sign of any other souls about so I crawl over towards his lifeless body. Upon a closer look, I can see now that it is the baker’s son, Antoine, a boy that I have seen play in the streets almost every day. The pain is too severe to keep buried anymore when tears surge from my eyes and I watch as they fall onto my blood-stained hands and arms. Anger. More anger than I have felt in all the months and years of my condition sets a fire into my veins. In a fit of that rage, I rip what few shreds of shirt I still have off my chest and fling them from me. Mice, who have already started to consume Antoine’s body, scatter across the leafy floor, then a flash of orange stings my eyes. The sun. Slowly, in a stupor, I rise from the dirt and leave the dismembered body of the boy to rot; then I stumble my way through the rest of the forest, running past a number of my victims on the way to my home. They are mostly women who were unfortunate enough to be left out on this full moon and a couple of men who were too stupid to think they could survive. My home is but two miles north of my current position and the village is almost a mile south, and my speed increases as I hear distant screaming. It is the screams of the mothers who have now noticed that their sons or their daughters are missing. The front gate to our small home is barred from fear of the Wolf, but it is little deterrent for me as I swing myself over it. My mother is in the window, watching, waiting, for my return. I burst through the back door and she has already descended the stairs to address me.

“How many?” she asks in the same blasé tone as every other time.

“Seven,” I cringe as I rid myself of the tattered and bloody rags that are left on my body so that I stand in my breeches. She takes them from me and tosses them onto the fire.

“Quickly. Upstairs I already have a bath drawn.” Without a second thought, I nod and hurry up the small staircase of our manor to find the bathing bin full of hot water waiting for me in the wash parlor. I gaze down at my hands – the things I used to tear open the bodies of my victims – and the water turns to blood as it leaves my arms. I can see my face in the mirror behind the basin. My black wavy hair is covered in dirt and blood. My olive face and body bear the marks of resistance inflicted upon me. The blue that once inhabited my eyes is slowly coming back and leaving the black of the Beast behind. Disgusted with myself, I plunge my body into the water and shudder. Even if I were to stay under, it would do no good, for nothing can kill me. No suicide works, for my body heals too quickly. My mother bursts into the room to find me in the tub fully now.

“It could have been worse,” she mumbles, grabbing a rag to relieve my back of excess fur, blood, and dirt.

“Really, mother? I thought that the slaughter of seven innocent people was a tragedy. Perhaps I was mistaken,” I growl as I scrub my hands. She grips my shoulders and looks at me through the mirror.

You could have been killed.”

I meet her gaze: “Perhaps I should have been.”

“I never want to hear you speak like that. You are my son, and I would gladly watch the whole village be butchered before you were,” she rinses my back.

“That is already going to happen, whether you want to watch or not. I am on my way to completing that task fully,” I chuckled. She kissed the top of my wet hair and left the room in tears. The whole world may be butchered before I die. At my own hands.

IF I DIE

IF I DIE
by Tony Rafalowski

If I die
In springtime bright
Cover me with
Daffodils.

But if I die
In summer’s heat
Let roses white
Be my bier.

Yet if I die
In winter chilled
Cover me
With evergreen.

And if I be
So fortunate
To die in
Autumn gold

Cover me
Not at all
But let the
Leaves fall o’er.

WHAT TEDDY BEARS ARE FOR

WHAT TEDDY BEARS ARE FOR
by Victoria Gregory

I have been here for a long time. How long I do not know, but I know why I’m here. I’m waiting; I’m just not sure what for. I was not born into this world, but I was made by those who were. I was made for a special purpose, one I do not know. No one told me what it is. When I was made I was put in to a dark place with others like me and sent here, wherever here is.

I and the others like me were picked up and placed on seats facing others like us, but not like us. Here I wait for the day when I can do what I was made to do, even though I haven’t figured it out yet.

Until then, being here isn’t so bad. There are always the big people walking around with shiny wheel things filled with stuff and talking about something called “food.” Sometimes there are other things in the baskets. I cant figure out what any of it is for, including the food. Am I food? Maybe I am a piece of food too. After all, the big people sometimes put one of the others like me (or not like me) in their shiny wheel things too.

I don’t plan on going with them though. I am waiting for my purpose. If one of them takes me I might never figure it out. I won’t go! Uh-uh, nope not me. Oh wait, who is this big person, the one with the long fur. This person is looking at me like she just had an idea. Hey wait! No, no, no, I don’t want to go, put me down! Umff. Uhg. Not in the wheel thingy! Oh no, where are you taking me? Put me back! Ka-fumf. O-o k-kay, th-his i-is a-a st-trange fe-eel-ing. Wh-hy do-oes thi-is wh-heel th-hing-gy g-go ker-plunk, ker-plunk? Oh wait, this table moves and vibrates! It Tickles! Wait, what was that beeping sound? Umph! OK, What is this weird plastic thing around me? Oo-kay n-ow mo-ore ker-plun-nking. Ju-ust gre-eat. Wow, what is this new shiny wheel thing, its huge. Wait, don’t leave me in the dark. Take me back to my seat, I have a purpose to wait for. What if I miss it? Please take me back!

How could things get any worse? I have been taken from my seat, stuffed into a weird plastic thing, tossed about in the back of a humungo shiny wheeled thing. As soon as I think I see the light again I am put into another dark thing that smells like paper, and on top of all that it is real noisy outside and I cant tell what’s going on. I miss my seat.

Oh great, what’s happening now? Ah-ah- ah- st-o-p- sha-ke-in-g-me-e-ee. I’m going to be sick. Well at least they stopped. But now there’s light up there and little hands. Who is it? Are they going to return me to where I belong?

Who… who are you? This person is smaller. A little version of the one who took me from my seat. I shouldn’t like it, but I do like its eyes, they sparkle. Why are you picking me up and why is your mouth open? Were you made that way? Ahhhhh my ears why are you making that painful noise. Wait, what? You love me? Really, really, love me. Aghhhhh! Your choking me, but… I like it! This feels nice. All warm and cozy and even fuzzier than my fur. Yes, I do like this! Can I stay for a while?

Is this what I am supposed to do? Am I to take care of this little person? Is that why the big person called “Momma” gave the little girl to me? Is that my purpose? Yes, it has to be. Alright, I’ll do it! From now on you’re My Little Girl and I will be your best friend. You can always count on me. I love you too!

Every day is a new adventure. We learn about good and bad from our story books. One of my favorites is about a little girl with golden hair and three animals just like me, Bears. That’s right I’m a bear. But I am a special kind of bear called a teddy bear. That’s also the name My Girl gave me, “Teddy.”  I Have short fluffy fur the color of cream, a soft brown nose and small black eyes. Last week My Girl tied a blue ribbon around my neck with flowers on it. I like it.

My Girl takes me everywhere, except for the places that Momma and Daddy say she cant, like this really weird place called ken-dur-gar-den, whatever that is. She started having to go there a few months ago and Momma and Daddy said that I couldn’t go with her. That didn’t stop My Girl. She’s so smart, she snuck me into her back pack. I wish she hadn’t. The other girls and boys wanted to play with me too. Two really mean boys decided to use me as a tug of war rope. They pulled my arms so hard my shoulder ripped. It hurt a lot, but what hurt more was seeing My Girl cry so hard. I wished really hard to be a real bear so I could scare those boys so bad they would never mess with my girl again! Raawwrr!

When Daddy came to pick us up, My Girl told him what happened. He talked to the teacher and came over and asked if he could look at my arm.

“This looks serious,” he said. “I think he’s going to need surgery. Good thing I know a certified stuffed animal doctor.”

“Who?” sniffled My Girl.

“Why, Grandma of course. Didn’t you know that she can make any stuffed animal feel better? She even fixed my boo-boos when I was a kid. We’re going to see her and Grandpa tonight for dinner and I’m sure she can have teddy feeling better in no time,” said Daddy.

After picking up Momma, we headed over to Granma and Grandpa’s house. Grandma greeted us at the door and gave us a big hug. Grandma is really sweet and always smells like flowers from her garden. Her hair is almost as white and fluffy as mine and she likes to smile a lot. After gently hugging Grandma, so that we wouldn’t hurt her back, we ran over to Grandpa who scooped us up and squeezed us so tight I thought my stuffing would fall out. Grandpa doesn’t have any hair, so Grandma teases him that if he goes outside without a hat he will blind people with his shiny head. Unlike Grandma, Grandpa never smells the same way twice. He loves to cook, so he always smells like food.

After setting us down, he gave Momma and Daddy a hug, but not as big as the one he gave us.  Then My Girl took me over to Granma and showed her my shoulder.

“Oh, Poor thing. It must have hurt a lot, but it doesn’t look too bad. I bet I can have Teddy fixed before dinner’s ready,” said Grandma in a voice that made you think that all the problems in the world could be fixed before dinner.

“In the meantime, you want to help me fix dinner?” asked Grandpa who always let my girl help him when he was cooking.

“Yay!”  said My Girl “What are we eating?”

In his silly Italian accent, Grandpa replied “Tonight we are having Spaghetti and Meat Balls with Garlic Bread.”

“Ok, step-ge-te… spe- ge-goty… ugh, Grandpa I cant say it,” said my girl, very annoyed.

“That’s ok sweetheart, that’s a tough one.” Momma said (trying not to giggle).

While Grandpa went to the kitchen with My Girl, Grandma took me to her sewing room. She got out her needle and thread and started working on my arm. While she worked she hummed old songs, the same songs Daddy sang when My Girl had a nightmare. As Grandma worked, I got the feeling that one of her favorite things to do was anything that made My Girl happy.

True to her word, my arm was better than new before dinner. My Girl was so happy when she saw me. She gave Grandma a big hug and helped me give her a big hug too.

Dinner was fun! Grandpa told stories of his adventures as a kid and about the restaurant he used to run. Grandma told about when she was a girl too and about Daddy when he was my girl’s age. Daddy’s face turned red as a crayon when Grandma told those stories and everyone laughed. My Girl told about what she was learning in school about the mean boys who ripped my arm. Momma reminded her that she needed to forgive them and Daddy told a story about forgiveness. Before long it was time to go home.

That night, after My Girl was ready for bed, Daddy came in to talk.

“So, Teddy is all better now, right?” said Daddy.

“Yeah, Grandma said his arm is even stronger now” said My Girl happily.

“True, but you weren’t supposed to take Teddy to school in the first place” said Daddy, with a very serious stare.

My Girl didn’t respond. She just looked down at me.

“Sweetheart,  the real problem is disobedience. I told you not to take him to school and you did.” said Daddy calmly.

All My Girl could say was “I’m sorry Daddy.”

“I know sweetie, but you still disobeyed me. What should we do about that?” asked Daddy.

My Girl thought hard about it for a minute before replying. After all, choosing your own punishment is a hard thing to do.

“No TV for a week?” My Girl asked sadly.

“That sounds Fair” said Daddy.

A few moments of silence passed before Daddy leaned over and gave My Girl a hug and a kiss. Then Momma came in and gave her a hug and a kiss and tucked her into bed.

“Sweet dreams, dear” said Momma.

Daddy turned out the light and Momma closed the door. Before long My Girl fell fast asleep. While she slept I kept a close eye out for monsters in the closet or under the bed. No monster was going to mess with My Girl while I was around. Keeping watch so my girl can have sweet dreams is one of my biggest, most important jobs.

My Girl has grown a lot. Her arms feel bigger when she holds me; when she does hold me that is. Lately she hasn’t been playing with me as much. I still watch over her at night, but she leaves me on her bed most of the day while she plays with friends outside or with other toys. She seems content to just have me sitting on the bed. Why is that? Is there something wrong with me? My fur isn’t as fluffy as it was, but I’m still soft. When are we going to play house again or have a tea party? Please don’t forget me.

Oh, yay, you remembered me. We can play again. I love you so much. You’re My Girl, even if your not little any more.

This is a nice spot, here on the shelf. My Girl put me up here some time ago. I have been watching her grow. She is starting to get really big now and hasn’t been tucked into bed for a long time. She is now what she and her friends used to call a big kid. Momma says she’ll be a teenager soon.

But then something strange happened while My Girl was doing her homework. Momma suddenly burst into the room.

“Get your shoes and a coat on now, we’ve got to go” said Momma franticly.

“Go? Where? What’s wrong? What’s happened? Momma!” called My Girl, but Momma had already gone to put her own shoes and coat on.

My Girl got herself together and rushed out of the room. Soon after I herd their footsteps exiting the house and the sound of the car leaving the driveway.

Something bad had happened, but what? What could cause calm natured Momma to act so hurried. It was out of character, so it had to be important.

It was just before sunrise when My Girl returned. Something was very wrong. She was in a daze, like she was just going through the motions. She took off her coat and shoes and lay on her bed, back facing the door. I don’t know what made her so sad, but I knew that she should be crying. Yet no tears were falling. Why?

A few days later My Girl put on a dark dress that she hardly ever wore and headed out with Momma and Daddy. Hardly any words were spoken in the house when they came back and I didn’t understand, but the silence seemed right somehow.

For the next few days My Girl seemed lost. She looked like she was thinking hard about something she couldn’t understand. Then, one day, she did something I did not expect. She came in and picked me up off my shelf. She just held me in her hands for a moment before walking over with me to her bed. She sat down and just held me.

Then in barely more than a whisper she simply asked.. “Why?”

Why what? What could be so wrong?

“You had so much more to teach me… I was going to become a cook, just like you” My Girl said softly to the air.

A light streak appeared on her face. One streak followed by another and another.

“Why? Why did you have to leave us? Couldn’t you have stayed? Grandpa why? Why did you have to… why did you have to die?”

What had started as a trickle became a flood. I didn’t know what the word die meant, but it sounded like he was going very far away and never coming back. So this was why My Girl was so sad. What could I do to take away her pain? All I was able to do was hold her close and silently listen to her sobbing. Her tears didn’t stop until she fell asleep. When she woke up in the morning I knew that even though she was still hurting, she would be ok. Momma always said, “Crying helps.”

It’s been years since My Girl last picked me up. My fur is covered with dust, like so many other things in her room. She is as big as Momma and very pretty. She wears makeup and spritzy stuff called perfume that makes her smell like flowers and she does beautiful things with her hair. She is excited because she got accepted to this thing called college and has been packing all summer. It must be important. I hope she doesn’t forget to bring me along to make sure there are no monsters in the closets at college.

How long has it been since anyone came in? Where is My Girl? Why hasn’t she come back to pack me up to go to college too? Did… did she leave me behind? Did she forget about me? No. I cant think like that! I have to stay positive. Oh wait, the door is opening. Way to go positive thinking!

Oh, its only Momma. That’s strange, what is she doing? why is she putting My Girl’s stuff in boxes. Wait what are you doing? Put me down!

“Why, hello there teddy, its been awhile. She sure loved you when she was little. I wonder why she didn’t put you in one of the keep sake boxes. I told her I would get rid of anything that wasn’t in a storage box. Maybe she just doesn’t realize how much she will want to have you around later in life. Young people are always in such a hurry. If they don’t stop to remember what was precious to them in the past, how do they expect to understand why something is precious in the future? Oh, listen to me rambling on like an old woman to an old teddy bear. I better put you somewhere safe. I just know she’s going to need you when she’s older,” said Momma before she gently put me in a box and closed the lid, sealing me into a cramped, dark, space to wait once more for My Little Girl.

I have no sense of time in here. I cannot see the sun rise or set and there are no clocks. The only thing I have are the sounds I can sometimes hear coming from somewhere far away, but they are always muffled and distorted. Occasionally the sounds come from right outside my box and I think My Girl is back to get me out, but no. It’s just Momma or Daddy looking for something that is not me. The last few times I ignored it completely. It is not My Girl so why should I care? I do not know how long I have been inside this box. It feels like it has been a long time.

Someone is outside my box again. I hear the voice of a man I don’t know and a woman who sounds familiar. Someone is opening my box. Oh Ow Ow! The light is bright. Who are you? You look like Momma but you’re not. Those eyes, I know those sparkly eyes. Could you be…? Yes you are! You’re My Girl! Where have you been? Oh I missed you so much. You’re picking me up again, finally! Your hands aren’t small any more.

“Hey honey, what’s that?” asked the strange man.

“It’s my favorite stuffed animal from when I was little” said My Big Girl. “I didn’t realize she kept him. I thought he was thrown out after I went to college.”

“I would have been surprised if she had thrown him out. Your mother was a wise woman. She knew how things like this become more important as we age. I’d bet she put that bear in there for that very reason” said the man.

“You’re probably right… it’s just, even after she’s gone… it’s like she is still taking care of me” said my girl with a sad look on her face.

“I know. We all miss her. Hey remember how she showed me her collection of baby items the first time I came over. What did she call it? Her grandmother’s hope chest” said the man with a smile.

“Of course! I didn’t know that your face could turn that red or that, in some ways, my mom was scarier than my dad” laughed My Girl.

“I don’t think she did that just because you brought me home. I think she knew I was going to marry you long before I did. It’s just like how she knew someday you would wish you still had that bear” he said.

“True,” said My Girl. “You know I think she gave him to me in the first place. Anytime he got torn Grandma would repair him and it was Grandpa who gave me the ribbon for his neck. Dad also used teddy to tell bedtime stories. Most of my memories as a child have teddy in them. Gosh, I took this bear with me everywhere, it amazing he’s in as good condition as he is.”

“That makes him a symbol of your childhood and the love of your family. A symbol like this needs to hold a place of honor and I know just the spot.” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

I now sit on another shelf, but this time I’m not waiting. I sit here because I’m so very precious. She is afraid if I’m played with that I could be damaged. She is probably right. So she put me on a really nice shelf under a beautiful glass container to keep the dust off of me. From here, I can see My Girl and her man coming and going and their children playing. That’s right, My Girl is a Momma now. She’s a good Momma because each of her kids belong to a stuffed animal too. I give these animals advice from time to time, before my girl comes and shoos them and their kids away from the glass. I also keep watch at night to make sure no monsters ever enter any of the kids’ bedrooms. I haven’t seen one yet but that doesn’t stop me. There is never a dull moment, in fact, I’m busier than I’ve ever been. Watching out for a whole family is a lot of work, but I love my job. It means that I get to keep fulfilling my purpose; watching over and always loving My Girl. After all, that is what teddy bears are for.