Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
My words are:
furniture ~ super ~ shift ~ eyes ~ purpose
It was submitted by: https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/
Well. i mean, I don't know where this came from, but here we are.
On the flip side, the con side, are those same things to be honest. When I lived alone a dew years ago, if I got lost in a depression slump, I had no motivation to change it. I had no one to talk to. I had no one to tell me it was okay. I retreated from everyone I knew, and there was no one around at home to chase and invade the bubble. And, honestly, there's also no one to help you move the furniture when you come out of the depression slump and need a change either. Some things are better with extra hands.
We do what we have to, but as much as I love solitude, I don't miss living alone. Not that I can anymore. Not after what happened.
I couldn't have a pet in that first shithole apartment, and it WAS a shithole. No pet could have possibly made it worse, but those were the rules, and with my craptastic part-time retail gig and dwindling crochet projects, I couldn't afford anything else. A pet maybe would have given me a reason to want to live on bad days, a reason to get up, a way to connect. It was a time in my life I needed that kind of unconditional love. I didn't quite realize what a void I'd created by moving away from my parents and their cat and dog at least not then even as I spent most of my free time watching other peoples' pets online. I lived vicariously through them and went down youtube blackhole after blackhole of funny/cute/heartwarming pet videos.
Embarrassingly, that's also when the plushie obsession began.
I won a toy from a claw game. Like, I never win anything even now but definitely not then. There were days back then that it felt like the entire universe was against me, so when I won a little black cat around Halloween time out of the claw machine at work, I was ecstatic. I think I took it as some kind of symbol that things were looking up. Plus, the damn thing was so cute. It was so soft with a little pink heart-shaped nose and wide green eyes, and it was wearing a jack o'lantern costume which, of course, went right with my Halloween Everyday aesthetic. I named it Salem. Cliche but perfectly so.
The night I brought him home I posted him on all my regular social profiles--IG, Facebook, Snap--to tons of likes. Everyone loved my new furbaby. I enjoyed the rush of that just as much as I did hugging him every night as I drifted off to sleep, so I kept posting...and I kept adding to the plushie squad. I had a bat, a couple spiders, a baphomet, some Pokemon, a Lionheart Carebear I found at a thrift store, and more. I posted them as much as I saw people posting their real pets and was overjoyed when people started sharing their own collections on my posts. I made good connections. People really understood the struggle of needing but not being able to have a pet in their lives, and it, well, gave me a little bit of purpose.
So I didn't really think much of it when a few folks asked for my address to send more toys to add to the collection. Someone even found a plush angler fish to send. It was amazing honestly. I just felt so less alone in the world.
But then a strange package showed up right outside my apartment door one day.
Most people let me know they were sending me something. They had to ask for my address after all. But this one arrived out of the blue wrapped crisply in black matte paper. My name and address were written in blood red hand lettering. The handwriting was gorgeous, an artistic skill that must have taken hours and hours of practice. But there was nothing else on the paper. No postage, no postal markings that would be there from circulating the u.s.p.s., no return address.
I found it all quite peculiar and went straight to the building super's apartment to ask if he knew where it came from. Most of my packages were kept at his place, and he left a note for me to pick them up, so the thing being right at my door was odd in and of itself, but I figured maybe he had something to take care of and didn't need the added burden of holding my mail for me...
But he didn't know anything about it. He hadn't seen anyone come in with it. It hadn't arrived with the regular mail. He was just as shook as I was about the whole thing, so he offered to open it for me in case something went awry.
And it did. Not then. But it did.
We opened the box carefully, taking our time with the wrapping and tape, but all we found inside was a small plush toy about the size of my hand. Even to this day I can't say exactly what it was. It looked like a creature someone might draw if they'd never seen a cat but had someone describe how they act and move. Alien and a n g e r y but svelte and charming. The ears were cat-like but too large and too pointed. There were no whiskers, and the face was almost flat like a human's but with the barest hint of a snout and button nose. Its fur was a mottled red, and it had goat-like eyes, rectangular and foreign but intriguing. The body itself was squat, chonky with a nub of a tail. The most peculiar part though was the pair of legit-feeling stubby horns perched upon its head. They certainly weren't stuffed and felt all too like the antelope and water buffalo horns my folks gave our dog on Christmas.
I squeaked a sound somewhere between horror and adoration that scared the literal shit out of Dan. Seriously. He shit himself and recoiled from the toy immediately. I couldn't understand his reaction at the time. It was love at first sight for me. I hugged it tight to me while he stared, jaw slack, in abject disbelief then skipped down the hall to my apartment.
Things were great at first. I posted Lovecraft (i know, i know with the cheesy names...) everywhere and got so many mixed reactions. A lot of people fell in love with the weirdness of it, and others stopped following me altogether which they, of course, couldn't do without giving me their opinion on the toy and that I should burn it. If I'm really being honest with myself, though, the contention made me love him that much more.
But then weird shit started happening.
At first, it was just little things being out of place or going missing. No biggie. Nothing too out of the ordinary. I kept trying to chalk it up to my own terrible memory, but it just kept happening. I mean, I can be scatterbrained but not on THAT level, you know? It was daily. Sometimes multiple times in a day. It wasn't that big a deal when it was my deodorant in the freezer, but it was another ball game entirely when i found my hair straightener at the bottom of a half-filled tub.
Shit really got weird when the other plushies started going missing then pieces of them turning back up all over the apartment. I was devastated. I'd worked really hard to get that collection and the following I had. I didn't want to lose any of it, and to add to the stress, I honestly felt like I was losing my mind. There was just no way someone was breaking in to do these things multiple times a day, not leaving a scent or a trace, and locking back up on the way out. But I still didn't connect the things going on at home to the toy. Not until a picture of him stabbing me through the heart was pinned to my pillow with a knife while at was at work...drawn with my fucking lipstick of all things.
So of course when I find the note to the pillow, the bedroom door snaps shut. It's not my toy standing there, though. It looks like my toy on a mega dose of steroids come to life. Or maybe like a supervillian that fell into a vat of toxic waste. Either way, it sure as hell wasn't human, and I have no idea how I didn't simultaneously pee myself, vomit, and die on the spot just looking at the thing.
I kept my calm somehow trying to talk to it like I had in toy form cooing sweet words about his adorableness and how much I loved him, but that only seemed to enrage him. I was trying to buy time to get to the knife. My nerves fucked me though. He saw my eyes shift to it one too many times and figured out my planletting out a scream of rage in the process that literally blew my hair back and rattled the window behind me.
I couldn't give up. I was so not ready to die. Okay, well, I mean I joked about it like everyone else my age, and some days I didn't want to be alive, but that was wholly and completely different than actively plotting my own death, ya dig? I was ready to fight.
I made a beeline for the knife at the same time it rushed me, but I was close enough to grab it just before he powered into me knocking us both to the floor and sending us rolling. It beat me up and stood panting over me in a rage. I grabbed the knife from where it had landed beside me and tried my best to look convincingly deadly as I scooted further away, but it closed the distance in a hurry.
It snatched the knife from me and lifted its arms over its head for a deathly blow letting out what I could only assume was some kind of diabolical laugh in the process when Dan, bless him, kicked in the bedroom door armed with a rifle, aimed, and fired right into the thing's back. Greenish black liquid sprayed out of the exit wound on its chest burning my skin everywhere it touched. It let out another one of those screams, turned towards Dan, and collapsed.
It was over. I didn't even really have a clue what had happened or what the thing was, but the torment was over. The body turned back into its stuffed toy form perfectly healed. The only evidence anything had happened was the singed carpet where the thing had bled out and the burns on my skin.
Dan helped me clean up and dress the burns and attempt to salvage the carpet. I slept on his couch that night, and the next day the two of us took the toy into the alley beside the building and burned it. I moved out soon after and in with a friend from work. I haven't been able to live alone since.
Never got my deposit back on that shithole either, but I did get my husband Dan out of the deal so I guess there's that.
Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:
Baking In A Tornado https://www.bakinginatornado.com/2019/04/wedding-bells-for-all-use-your-words.html
Wandering Web Designer https://wanderingwebdesigner.com/blog
Cognitive Script https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/2019/04/a-bad-day-for-memories-april-uyw.html
The Bergham Chronicles https://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com/2019/04/a-womans-strength-useyourwords.html
On the Border https://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/
Follow Me Home https://followmehome.shellybean.com
The Crazy Mama Llama https://www.thecrazymamallama.com/
Southern Belle Charm https://www.southernbellecharm.com
Bookworm in the Kitchen https://www.bookwormkitchen.com/2019/04/12/more-organized-than-ever/
Stacy Sews and Schools https://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/2019/04/use-your-words-april-2019.html