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Rated: E · Short Story · Children's · #2201543
Little Tommy meets his first Grudge on Halloween night.
Writer's Cramp Co-win 9/26/19 prompt: grudge

Little Tommy Bright sat on his bed shivering with fright. Every stuffed animal on his bed crowded around him ready to have their stuffing knocked out of them. Bubba the elephant was the biggest. The packaderm had never lost a battle when Tommy pitted him against monsters hiding under the bed. He scared them away. Tonight Bubba the elephant shivered too.

“What did it say?” asked Tommy from under his covers draped over his head. He clutched his best friend, Lion, to his chest. The stuffed critter always warmed his heart and was the best comfort there ever was.

Lion coughed and growled in frustration, “It said its name is Grudge. Ugly purple thing full of teases and spit falling out of its stitches. Smelly, too, it knows how to make a big stink worse than a skunk when I got up close.”

“But what does it want?” Tommy wanted to know. He hadn’t got any sleep this Halloween night. His stomach growled back at him from eating too much candy. Now, this MIster Grudge was growling threats at him, bouncing his bed up and down, and promising to do nasty things to all the toys living in his bedroom. Tommy had to come to the rescue, but how?

Lion was still talking. “Grudge is lonely. It was passing by your open window. When it heard your tummy-tum-tum growling at you? You made it crack a smile on its ugly face. It came closer to listen and split a gasket laughing at what it heard.”

“That is what woke me up,” Tommy quivered at the memory.

“By the sound of things, the Grudge thought it had found another Grudge. It jumped through your window prepared to fight and duke it out. That’s how Grudges greet each other. When it found you and your tummy making such a noisy racket, it got mad.”

Tommy slipped his covers down to his nose to peer over them at the Grudge. The thing was so ugly it hurt Tommy’s eyes. “Hey, Mister Grudge. It is not my fault. You did this to yourself.”

The Grudge aimed a sneer Tommy’s way. “Now look what you’ve done.”

The Lion hid deeper under the covers as the Grudge growled, “You made me lose my chip on my shoulder. I want it back right now. It is my bad luck piece. I can’t give anything bad luck without it.”

“Why do you blame everything on everyone but yourself?” Tommy was curious in spite of himself. Now the covers had slipped down to his chest. “Is that it hiding behind my Eyeor Donkey?”

Grudge pounced. Its sharp slashing tongue snaped like a whip. Donkey went flying over the edge of Tommy's bed. “Steal my chip off the old block, will you? Come back here and fight like a Grudge.”

Every stuffed animal within reach cowered and shook. Big Bird flew off and landed in Tommy’s toy box to search madly for toy soldiers to come to the rescue. They refused to come out from the bottom of the box.

There was nothing between the Grudge and Tommy except a bit of shining moonlight. Tommy began to fear he would be the next thing to be attacked. Tommy didn’t have stuffing in him which could be put back together. He was made of flesh and blood. What would happen if his mom or dad found him broken open, laying on his bed in the morning? Would they be able to put him back together again? He didn’t think so.

“Nobody likes a Grudge. Not even me,” said the Chip. “That is why I always give bad luck while riding on your shoulder. I aim it at you but you knock it away, fling it every which way with the things that you say and aim at others you meet.”

“What do you expect?” the Grudge’s bushy eyebrows danced and tried to escape off the little monster’s head. Not even they liked living there. The Grudge had to lick spit and stick them back where they were supposed to be. Bushy eyebrows are great at catching cobwebs, don’t you know. Cobwebs are a favorite treat and snack for Grudges.

Tommy’s Tum-tum was grumbling again. “Let me at it. I’ll tear that growly thing apart,” the Grudge leaped up on Tommy’s lap and began bouncing up and down, happy to have found a worthy enemy to fight with.

Tommy’s tummy was too soft to be a Grudge but by the sound of things, it was the next best thing. “Wait,” cried Tommy, pushing the Grudge away.

“Well?” The Grudge said grudgingly. It was so happy to not be alone that its smile cracked in two and would no longer fit on its face. Now the Grudge looked twice as ugly.

“Here. Eat this. It will make your innards inside growl mightier than any Grudge ever heard before.” Tommy handed over his entire sack of Halloween candy as his tummy-tum growled in agreement.

The Grudge watched all sorts of candy treasure spill out and began munching away, stuffing itself until it could no longer move. The Grudge felt too sweet for words.

It was Tommy’s turn to laugh. He picked up the Grudge, carried it by its neck to the open window, and threw the Grudge far outside. The Grudge rolled away with its chip on its shoulder. Its tummy-tum growled a fierce goodbye. The Grudge waved, promising to leave Tommy and his stuffed animals alone for the entire next year.

Tommy went back to bed. He was too tired to plan on what to do about that. Maybe the next night he and his animal pals would begin making plans for when the Grudge would return next Halloween.

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