Creative Juices: Sweet Dreams

Lynn Jonason, Junior English major

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The quiet mewing startled her as she walked down the street on a dreary October morning. She looked up and down, trying to spot the source of the sound, even though her mother motioned for her to hurry along.

But the little girl wouldn’t budge. She knew something needed her help.

Her mother yanked her arm. “Come, Megan.”

“No, Momma,” Megan pleaded. “Gotta find the kitty.”

Once again, a faint meow resounded from an adjacent alleyway. Megan’s eyes lit up as she spotted its source. She pointed, jumping up and down excitedly.  “There! There!” she gestured happily.

A round, grey kitten, discarded like a child’s neglected stuffed toy, lay curled up near trash cans that lay askew, their lids several feet away. Its yellow eyes locked with Megan’s blue ones. It mewed again, painfully.

Megan bounced up and down on the balls of her feet. She looked up at her mother pleadingly. “Oh, Momma, can we take him? Please?”

Her mother sighed. Megan always seemed to ask for too much, and she misbehaved more than the average seven-year-old. Lately, she had been hounding her for a pet. Maybe this would finally shut her up. She smiled. “All right, we’ll take him.”

“Yay! Thank you, Momma!” She took the security blanket she was holding and wrapped the small kitten inside. She held him against her chest, his purr reverberating as loud as a microwave.

“What are you going to name him, honey?” her mother asked as she wrapped an arm around Megan’s shoulders and led her toward their car.

She was silent for a bit. “I think…I’ll call him Teddy Bear, or Teddy for short.” She smiled up at her mother proudly, revealing a gap-toothed grin. “He can sleep with me every night, like my other teddy bears!”

***

Megan snuggled under the covers that night as her mother tucked her in, Teddy resting at her feet. She kissed the top of Megan’s head softly, brushing the bangs back from her face. “Sweet dreams,” she whispered. “I love you.”

Megan stifled a yawn. “Love you too, Momma.” Her mother smiled as she turned the light off, triggering Megan’s nightlight. She shut the door quietly behind her.

Megan closed her eyes and began drifting off to sleep. A shift at the foot of the bed roused her. Opening her eyes, it was completely dark. Megan rubbed her eyes and looked around the room, trembling in the pitch darkness.

She noticed a glow from across the room, bright and yellow. Two little lights. A hissing came from the same direction, growing increasingly louder. Megan blinked, and the lights appeared closer. Blink. Closer still. “Teddy?” One more blink, and they were practically on top of her.

She tried to scream, but was muffled and found she couldn’t breathe. All the air whooshed from her lungs as she felt a tremendous pressure on her chest.

The hissing sound arrived at her ear. She felt a nibbling on her earlobe. Claws dug into her chest as the tension on her ear increased. She reached up to grab at the pressure, but felt nothing.

Megan whimpered as the claws intensified the encumbrance. She was paralyzed with fear. She tried to scream again, but the only sound which escaped was her chest being ripped apart. Megan looked down to see her bare heart beating. Teeth sank into her neck, ripping it open with a sickening crunch. Blood splattered onto the off-white bedroom walls like a finger painting.

The life drained from the little girl’s body as the feast continued on her internal organs until every last one was consumed. She lay there, lifeless, eye sockets empty, her body void.

Megan’s mother barged into her bedroom. Her piercing scream sliced through the air as she noticed her daughter lying there, her chest a barren wasteland. The relentless plop-plop onto the floor invited itself into her head as the stale smell of the room snuggled into her nostrils. As she approached the bed, hypnotized, blood-red fangs smiled up at her before lunging for her face.

***

“Look, Mommy, look at the cute little kitty!” The little boy pointed at the small, round kitten, who mewed softly.