by Amy Brennan
You are crying.
Salty tears dripping into my fur and steaming off in the dry heat.
You hug me tightly, I feel your ragged breathing, your shivers as you hold in the sobs that want to be free.
I want to offer more comfort, but what am I? – Just bits of fabric with plush stuffing, a pink button nose and a pair of beaded eyes. I can do no more than be hugged, do no more than silently offer sympathy, wish to the legendary stuffed toys of the past – and to Veleveteen most of all – that I can do more.
There is shouting. There are gun shots and screaming and you flinch but don’t cry out.
Your heart beats like mine would were I were alive.
You are so frightened.
You are so brave.
I wish I could see what you are seeing.
My long fluffy ears drape over your dusty brown skin. My button eyes and pink plastic nose are squashed between my stuffing and your tee-shirt. You stroke my ears for comfort holding me tightly while you shake, while the tears slowly drip… drip… drip into my fur.
The screaming dies down but there is weeping, whimpering. There are still voices – strangers – and the crunch of feet on the dusty ground.
You are dragged from your hiding place, a large hand clamped on your arm.
“I got one!” a masculine voice calls out.
You struggle and squeal.
Let me go. But he won’t.
Clutched in your hand as you struggle, the world swings around me. I see your parents being pulled to a car. The next thing I see are the scrubby bushes that hid you. The world tilts again and I see the man who holds you. Uniformed, in a hat and reflective covers over his eyes, he has a grim look on his face.
You are placed in a car – empty save for you in the back.
“Momia! Papi!” You cry.
He straps you in as you struggle and scream for your parents, then he takes hold of my legs.
“¡No! No tomes conejito!”
Don’t take my bunny. You clutch onto my head with desperate strength.
I feel the stitching in my neck and legs strain as the man pulls. You won’t let go.
A thread pulls apart, the beginning of a broken seam.
“¡No!” you cry again and he sighs, lets go.
“Alright kid. You can keep the bunny.”
You quieten, hugging me close.
The drive is long.
You are alone in this place of concrete and mesh walls and crying children of all ages. You left your friends to go with your family. You have been stripped of your family and protectors. But you are not alone. You would not let them strip you of me.
You are crying.
Salty tears dripping into my fur.
You want your parents.
You want to be safe.
You have only me.
For now, just for now that is enough.
About the Author
Amy is a huge fan of all manner of writing, music, art, basically anything even mildly creative. A geologist by training, holding a masters in Geoscience from Keele University she used to make mud pies for a living. Her current full time day hobby is as a spreadsheet queen extraordinaire with dreams of going full time as a writer. She lives in Cambridgeshire with her partner Ian, bunny floofs Clover and Bramble and Percy their cuddle-beast of a cat.
About the Narrator
About the Artist
Alexis is a multiclass disaster-human living with her husband in Cincinnati. When she isn’t prepping art for Cast of Wonders, designing pins for pin-y.com, or yelling about TV into a mic for Bald Move, she dabbles in a revolving menu of hobbies and art projects. To list them all would be sheer madness. Like any good bisexual, she has a lot of jackets. You can find her on Twitter @alexisonpaper.