Chapter 1 : Elly
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The orange glow of the setting sun outside makes me heart sore with happiness, it was nearly time to go to bed- where I am most likely to get ten lovely hours of hugs and warmth underneath,the pink-flannel duvet. The room falls silent, Snowdrop, a white husky and who is a companion of mine looks up slowly at me, her plastic blue eyes glistening in the light that they catch. I wobble my ears ever so gently and we both know our owner is just outside the door so we fall back into our original positions. I drop back down onto the pillow, while Snowdrop drops her head so that it's tucked between the edge of the bed and the purple wallpaper-covered wall.
I watch, unmoving, as the door swings open, the light outside falling down and onto the violet carpet. She walks in barefooted, carrying the clothes she was previously wearing in her arms and she drops them into a nearby basket, before continuing over to the bed where I am lying.
“Hello, I hope you didn't get too lonely,” she whispers to me, picking me up in her hand and holding me to her chest. I can see the other black beady eyes of surrounding animals stare at me in sadness, wishing that they were in my place. She pulls the duvet up to her chest and settles me down beside her, her warm hand cupping my entire body and these are the moments where I am glad that I am small as her heat touches every part of me.
She pecks a kiss on the top of my head, and I want to hug her, but I know I can't. So I just lay like a stone beside her as she twists onto her side and pulls me against her body, and knowing she can't see, I smile an invisible smile.
But I don't sleep, so I listen as she nods off to the land of faraway dreams, and a minute after her breathing becomes deeper and calmer I hear soft rustling and I watch as the stringy blonde head of a long-forgotten doll crawls out from underneath the bed. She twists around to look at me with her one black eye, before sitting down on the carpet and staring up at her owner- wishing that she would remember her for just a second and take her up into her arms.Then Lily would get her hairbrush and untangle the little strands of hair the doll has left and then put her in a pink dress and pink shoes for their make-believe game that would last only for a little while.
Without knowing what was happening, Lily twists her body in a new direction, her hand letting go of me, and I am shoved aside by her shoulder. My head now dangles over the side of the bed, where the one-eyed doll still stares at me. Suddenly the blanket is pulled and I fall silently to the ground, my heart picks up speed in fright as I stare into the 'The Darkness'. I'm too close for comfort, it was the place the forgotten toys were put, but I knew I was never going to end up there- I was always going to own my place beside my owner on her bed.
While I lie here, in the blackness of the night, just on the edge of going into 'The Darkness' where I can see movement in the shadows- I should tell you who I am.
My name is Elly, I am a small purple stuffed elephant, with rainbow coloured ears and feet. I have a little dicky-bow which has been sown back on a thousand times that it hangs limply by the thin thread that now holds it. I am my owners favourite teddy.
I watch silently as the one-eyed doll crawls miserably back under the bed, and just as her plastic feet disappear I freeze, and little than a second later, there is movement from above me and I watch happily as the tired face peeps over the side of the bed, and Lily smiles.
“Hey Elly, what you doing down there?” she asks in a hoarse voice, and picks me up from the floor. She brushes my fur down with a few swipes of her hand, even though I have nothing on me, and places me down onto the bed, where I belong.
“You don't want to be down there, its cold,” she whispers, but abruptly falls silent as the other bed lets off a low squeak from her sister turning over in her sleep. “I won't let her get you,” she whispers to me and through the crack in the curtains I can see the sun already begin to rise up into the sky...Yes, I was my owners favourite teddy.
Two hours later, I sit inside the pocket of a housecoat, my head popping over the top of it so I am able to watch people walk past me. Lily sits down on the table, before she pulls me out and places me into a sitting position beside her on the chair.
“Why do you still have that?” my owner turns around and I can see her not-so-nice sister walk our way. “I think your a bit old for it now, Lily,” she says making dread fill up inside me like poison. We toys, don't like the thought of getting 'grown-out-of' when she no longer cares and loves us. Her sister smiles gently, as my owner shakes her head.
“No Tunnie. I will still have him when I am old and grey,” she says picking me up and looking at me, her green eyes sparkling in the sunlight as she smiles.
“I'm going to clean my side of the room today,” Petunia replies, before leaving. Now I am confused, there was nothing wrong with the room, especially her side of it, it was as neat as could be, with us toys lined up on the shelves and around the side of the bed. What was she cleaning?
My question was answered twenty minutes later as I sit propped up on Lily's lap, both of us watch as Petunia piles teddies, sketch books, yo-yos, and anything that could be categorized as a 'toy' into brown boxes which have 'Petunia's Stuff' scribbled on them in black pen.
“Don't do that, they won't be able to breath!” Lily screeches as Petunia stuffs a large brown bear on top of the other stuffed animals. Yes, okay I know we don't breath- but it was the thought that counted, and it showed 'Lily's Toys' that Lily still loves us.
Petunia sighs and takes the bear out.
“There, happy?” she asks, a bit annoyed and she tapes the box close. I never ever want to go into a brown box, if I did, it was the end of my playing years and so I had nothing to live for.
When Petunia was half-way through her 'clean-up', which was more like an 'extermination' of her side of the room, Lily stands up from the bed. I don't have a clue where she is going, but as she got to the door, she places me down onto the cupboard.
Petunia starts to hum to herself, and picks up the boxes one at a time into her hands. She passes me twice, and then on her third passing, the old man, who they call 'dad' comes into the room, knocking her slightly off balance.
“Sorry honey,” he says, grabbing Petunia by the shoulder and steadying her on her feet.
“Don't worry about it,” Petunia replies with a smile, and they both look at the number of boxes which still lay on top and beside her bed.
“Cleaning? Do you want some help?”he asks, Petunia nods with a smile before continuing on her way out of the room.
'Dad' starts to pick up the scattered toys that are still on the floor and places them into one of the boxes. He stands up straight and scans the room, there is nothing left on this side, and just as he is about to put the lid onto the 'prison' he is on the verge of making, his blue eyes look up once more and lock onto me.
He roughly picks me up, my precious stuffing squeezes tightly together and to my horror he places me inside the last of the brown boxes, which already holds a red etch-a-sketch, a mini figurine of a ballerina, a stuffed cowgirl and a fluffy brown bear, who all belong to Petunia.
The lid closes and for a second we are all swallowed up in darkness, not able to see a single thing. Then the box shakes and it tilts sideways so that the brown bear slides against me and we all topple.
When we stop moving, everything is silent until a voice rings out in the darkness as the toys find their own space in the box.
“ooh, who do we have here?”
As my eyes adjust to the darkness I see that the cowgirl has made it to her feet and is standing directly in front of me.
“Do you not belong to the other girl?” the bear asks, his voice a low rumble. “eh-eh, your name is Nelly or Elly, isn't it?” he asks.
“Yes, yes. That's me,” I reply, my small voice a mere whisper.
“Awe, sorry darling, but you're in the wrong box,” the ballerina pipes up from her slumped sitting position in the corner.
“Oh stop it! We better start knowing each other and getting along. We're going to be in here for some time,” the cowgirl snaps.
“My name is Stacey, that's Fluffy,” she says indicating to the bear, who nods slightly “that's Bella or Bell,” she says, but the ballerina isn't listening as her eyes glaze over in thought. “em- and that's Sketch,” she says, pointing to the red etch-a-sketch, and as I look at him a little black line shoots across his screen, spinning around in a frenzy. It only takes a few seconds, but when it stops moving there is a picture- a picture of a man hanging from a noose.
Stacey makes a disapproving sound with her throat.
“Don't mind him,” and she slumps down beside where I am sitting. Everyone falls silent.
“Tunnie? Where's Elly!” came the shouts from outside.
“That's me!” I squeal hysterically, breaking the deafening silence. I stand up and try to jump up and down to see through the gaps near the top of the box, my ears flapping wildly.
“Oh come here,” said Fluffy, taking pity on me, and I clamber onto his back. As he stands to his full height with me standing as tall as I could on his shoulder, I was able to see through the gaps made in the box and into the room.
Lily is frantically pulling apart her sister's bed, tossing her blankets and pillows onto the floor. The door to the room swings open and in storms Petunia, her eyes wide in shock.
“Lily, what are you doing?”she asks, her head following as Lily tosses her pink fluffy pillow half-way across the room.
“Elly is missing!” Lily screeches hysterically, her cheeks a bright red.,
Petunia sighs, and places her hands on her hips, even for a eleven-year-old she has a lot of attitude.
“Lily, why would he be on my bed?” Petunia asks, bending down and picking up her pillow.
“Because I left him right there,” Lily says, pointing a finger to the top of the press.
“We'll I haven't seen him. He'll turn up sooner or later,” Petunia replies throwing her pillows back onto her bed as Lily stands back, panick visible across her face.
“Go and check your bed, you probably left him under the blanket or something,” Petunia replies. Lily nods and strolls over to her bed, where she tosses her blanket off, to find the mattress is completely bare of any Elly.
“Where is he?? Elly, where are you??” she asks, talking to herself as she pulls out other teddies in her search.
“It's okay,” I say to Fluffy, my frightened voice just a mumble, and Fluffy gently lowers me from his shoulder and I slump back down into a sitting position, my little purple hands grasping at the bow hanging down from my neck. If I could cry- I would of cried right then and there.
On the first night of being apart from one another I listen as Lily gently cries herself to sleep, hugging a pillow instead of me, because for the first time in her life- she has to sleep without me and I have to sit a whole night without any of her hugs to keep me warm.
The first few days in the box are okay. Sketch tries to keep us occupied by drawing parts of a picture and the rest of us have to guess what it is, but it soon gets old, and we go back sitting silently by ourselves in our own little world of thought. This is when it turns boring.
From outside, I can hear Lily give out and mumble to herself. I can hear my name occasionally come out of her mouth. Petunia constantly reminds her that I will turn up if Lily would just ever stop looking for me, I hear the sounds as Lily storms out of the room.
Then the dreaded day, which they call 'Christmas' arrives and I listen at the happy squeals of delight from the two girls as they come back into the room.
“What did you get?” Petunia asks.
“A new teddy!!” squeals a happy Lily, and I hug myself for comfort. Lily is happy about another teddy that isn't me- I am now one of the forgotten ones. Bella, who could see that I was upset stands up and walks over to me, she wraps me in a hug- but it isn't a Lily hug.
Days turn to years and nothing exciting happens. I just forget about being Lily's favourite and get on with trying to amuse myself inside a dark and small box. At one stage I take it upon myself to count all the hairs Fluffy has- I gave up at three-thousand-and-forty-six.
Then all of a sudden the room outside falls silent, day after day I wait and wait for any sound of a voice, but nothing comes.
“Fluffy?” I ask, the now dust-covered bear mumbles in his sleep.
“I want to see outside,” I whisper, everyone sleepily turn to look at me. It has been ages since I took a peek at the room.
“What? You can't! What if you see something terrible?” asks Bella, stepping towards me, dust falling behind her.
“But I need to know. What's worse? not knowing or knowing?” I ask, looking around at the lot of them, they exchange looks. Sketch draws two closed eyes with 'I can't watch' below them.
“Please,” I plead.
“Fine,” huffs Fluffy, and for the first time in years I clamber back onto Fluffy's shoulder, and stand as high as I can to look through the gap in the cardboard, the scene that greets me isn't pleasant.
The room is still purple, but with not one single bed in sight. The walls are stripped of all posters and pictures, there are no toys left on the shelves.
“There is nobody there,” I whisper.
“What?” they shout up to me in unison.
“They're gone,” I mumble. I now feel empty, as if all my stuffing has been knocked out of me. I climb off Fluffy's shoulder and fall onto the floor. Lily is gone.
“Do you think she'll come back for me?” I whisper, nobody answers for a few nightmarish seconds.
“Of course she'll come back for us.They can't leave a box of toys just sitting here,” replies Bella, and I sure hope she is right.
When you want time to just stop, it still goes by second-by-second, and as usually a day feels like a month as we sit around silently staring at the puddle of sunlight which comes into us from the gaps in the box, nobody ever says much to one another.
Then all of a sudden, as I silently watch the particles of dust drift past the strip of sunlight, the box shakes violently and we all immediately fall over and play dead.
The box wobbles a bit more and then it lands with a soft thump and remains still. The lid is prized open, allowing the sunlight to fill the darkness, and I feel like I am about to burst with joy. Somebody is finally going to take us out, but that somebody I am quick to find out is not my Lily.
There is a few frightened comments from the other toys, and a skinny, bony hand lifts me out of the box. I am turned around so that I stare into the slim face of...Petunia.
“Hello Elly,” she coos, brushing the dust away from my fur and to my utter astonishment I watch as big salty tears run down her hollow cheeks. “I had you all along,” she mumbles, wiping the tears away with the back of her hand. “Do you want to go back to Lily?” she asks, standing up from the bed she was sitting on.
And all I can think of is- I'm finally going to go back to my Lily!
“There you go,” Petunia says, tucking me in between the two icy cold hands, making me shiver and I beg for Petunia to take me up in her warm ones. “You don't have to keep looking for him Lily. I found Elly,” she says, dabbing at her eyes with a white handkerchief. She brushes her thumb gently over my head before walking away and out of view. I can't help myself as I turn my head to look up into the face of the person who is holding me...
It's my Lily...but she isn't smiling. Why isn't she smiling?
In my confusion my eyes drift over her features- her lips are an unnatural pale white, her hands are icy-cold, she's wearing a neat black dress and purple bruises cover her once flawless face. Then I freeze as a lid is slowly placed over us, and just before it closes shut and I am engulfed once more in darkness-
I know I am forever going to be with my Lily...
A/N : ouch!! I wrote this in under three hours and now I have to go and shake my hands out. I hope you enjoyed it!!