Never Bear

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Never Bear

Post by Guest on Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:44 pm

Mrs. Stanton was sick. She was probably the 12th or maybe third person in the village to get the bug but the Mom was a longtime friend and it warranted an intimate visit to her house. Because somehow seeing people face-to-face when she looked all scraggly and disease-ridden was supposed to make Mrs. Stanton not only feel better but also suddenly make her not contagious and crap. Was Howie the only one worried about the repercussions of entering this toxic environment? He looked up at the Mom from where she walked ahead, a large, steaming basket - with soup and biscuits nestled inside under the cloth - slung over her arm and held steady with the other hand, a righteous and loving smile on her face. Yeah, no, definitely not worried; the woman was on a mission and refused to hear Howie out about the dangers of caring for people infected with unnamed and mysterious illnesses. She'd refused to allow them all to wear masks before leaving the house.

Crazy broad, Howie shook his head and glanced sideways at the Girl who walked beside him. She too carried a basket, this one much smaller and filled with cookies under the cloth. Howie wasn't allowed to touch it because he proved he couldn't be trusted with handling the sweets. Well, sue him for making sure nothing was poison before they started giving stuff away to an already ill person! These people had no practical sense at all! But no, Howie was the only one truly worried about this contamination issue and he sighed heavily before subtly covering his snout with the edge of the grey scarf wrapped around his neck - screw these wackos; he was not going to get sick!

He brought up the rear pulling along a small beat up wagon loaded with an old, junkie Air Stabilizing Unit that they were gonna loan Mrs. Stanton so the old woman could get rid of the musty-ass air in her house which was probably the reason she got sick in the first place - seriously and they were gonna go into this place??? Where was an apothecary when you needed him? The road was choked of moisture, all superfluous dust cleared away and leaving several rocks poking through the ground that jammed the wheels occasionally and rocked the wagon treacherously. It wasn't bad enough that Howie was the shortest, standing at only 3 feet tall, but they had to give him the toughest job too. Not that he'd complain about it too much but still, it was a pain in his fuzzy ass and his paws hurt from stepping on pointy stones.

Oh, did he mention that? Howie was a teddy bear. That's right, one of those fuzzy, vaguely bear looking stuffed animal type things. Yeah. His head was bulbous, connected to a plump body where his stomach, chest and hips all kinda blended into one mass, with stubby, cylinder shaped arms and legs situated in the appropriate places. Small, half-circle ears sat atop his head on either side, his eyes were brown, glassy balls and there was a round snout that stuck out from the rest of his face about an inch or two, mounted by a tiny, smoothly rounded and black upside down triangle. His lips were bisected by a curved fold coming down from his nose and his mouth was just a toothless, fuzzy hole below it.

Yep, a teddy bear. He hadn't always been full of fluff and stuff, though. Once he'd had a heart of blood and muscle just like the Mom and the Girl. It'd been a long time ago and it was a long story but the short version: Howard used to be a guard in the capital city. A noble, honorable man, tall, with broad shoulders, a gut that was totally all muscle, and arms that could wield his massive battleaxe with the ease of a gymnast twirling a girly baton. Except more manly and scary. One day, he got caught up in a bad situation and ended up pissing off the King, Constantine, who just happened to be a wizard and pompous ass, in addition to the royalty thing. Dragged before the King, bound and gagged, Howie had been forced to answer for his crimes and Constantine said, "Howard? You're a really great guy who's put in many years of loyal service to me and my kingdom and for that, I'm not even going to listen to any silly explanations you might have for crossing me in the bizarrely out of character way that you have. I'm just going to transform you into a stuffed animal because I'm a really big dick." He totally said that. No lie.

Anyway, Howie was then sold as a novelty toy, finding his way to this village before eventually regaining the ability to speak and move. Unfortunately... the spell never wore off any further and he'd been stuck as a bear ever since. Not only that but things in his new home were progressively getting worse. Looking around, the sky was in a constant state of threat, overcast and moody but it rarely rained. The economy of the town was going down due to inexplicable bouts of madness in the livestock and insatiable pests eating at the crops. Plus, people kept getting randomly sick for no reason, a sickness that started small and progressively tore the body down before leaving corpses behind. Everyone said the village was cursed but Howie thought someone should explore the "hygiene" option before jumping to ridiculous conclusions. What? A water shortage meant some people weren't taking showers, didn't it?

With his wagon bumping along behind him, Howie noticed an old rickety wood and iron playground they passed and a small smile blossomed on his face. Letting his scarf drop off his nose, he walked a bit closer to the Girl and with a wary eye watching the Mom, he whispered to her, "Okay, here's the plan. As soon as we get there and the She-Devil starts the introductions, while they're distracted, we leave the junk machine and slip away. We'll hide out in that jungle gym over there and enjoy the basket of cookies while we wait for the She-Devil to come by on the way home." Despite his looks, Howie retained the voice he had as a man, deep and slightly graveled. "I call it, 'Operation Snack Time Not Sick Time' or STNST for short."


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