From the very beginning, we were there in the places where they slept, in cribs and cradles, in the small beds, and over time, the hospital units. And sometimes, when we were simply overpowered, too weak to stop the onslaught, they buried us, or abandoned us, or tore us apart.
For eons, we stared into to the glowing, malevolent orbs of the nether world. We saw the claws on long fingers slinking around the corners. We felt on the hairs of our fur the gradual change in temperature, smelled the odors, felt the gathering of dark power, and sometimes discerned the intent, whether warning or slaughter.
From those close to us, we bent inside the suffocating hugs of frightened arms, we endured the clutching nails, the bites that muffled screams and crying. We were soaked with their sweat, deafened by sudden night cries, and became vessels of their channeled restlessness. We took it all. Sometimes the parents would come, and sometimes they wouldn’t, and sometimes, more often than not, were the cause.
The ‘stuffing’ within us, containing countering magic, took all those things and absorbed it for a time, and for a time the monsters were silenced, driven out, and sometimes even killed.
But when they outgrew us, some replaced the monsters we slew with others of their own making, placed us on shelves, in trunks, in boxes in garages, to be forgotten. We were donated, ripped apart, or sealed up in their childish box tombs, buried and abandoned under clubhouse trees. They marked the feeble graves with crosses of popsicle sticks, if they marked them at all.
We were left to heal as their arrogance, pride, denial, and health were buffeted and defeated by the monsters of their own making, and we could no longer help.
The stuffing would yellow from the detritus of life, and grow brittle and knotty, and moths would feed as the fur corrupted.
We are in the landfills, the parks, the streets, the trains and buses, and the side of the road.
The things we shield and block fight to get out, but most we take with us. We expect no thanks, for there is no more belief in the world we battle.
But for as long as we are here, the stuff of nightmares will be spun into clouds of pleasant dreams, and innocence preserved for as long we can keep the darkness at bay.