Ready or Not

It started with the goldfish. Margaret got home to find them floating at the top of the fishbowl, boated and dead.

“Did you overfeed the fish, Damon,” she asked her son.

“Reddy said they’d sleep happier with a full tummy,” Damon replied.

The cat was found in the garden. It had been drowned. A week later, Margaret removed cat hair from the clogged bathtub drain.

“Reddy told me to clean the cat,” Damon replied.

He always blamed the damned teddy bear!

She drove to the outskirts of town. She started a firepit with dry twigs and cooking oil.

“Reddy says he’ll be back,” pouted her son, “and he’s not going to be happy.”

She threw Reddy into the crackling fire. She hadn’t recalled how Damon came to acquire the worn and ratty toy, but she was happy to be rid of it.

When they were long gone, Reddy crawled out of the dying flames. He shook himself like a small dog, and ash flakes settled at his stuffed feet.

He looked towards the town with melted button eyes.

“Ready or not… here I come…” he whispered.

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