Teddy is my latest short story, and I think it’s one of the darkest things I’ve ever written if not the darkest. It’s not particularly gory, but it’s definitely not for everyone and I think it’s quite a sad story. I won’t be offended if you don’t read it. For context I wrote this back in 2021 and I haven’t put it up because I was worried about people’s reactions, but I feel like it’s time to share it. Anyway here it is:
My best pal fell with a slight whine. The day before we were walking through the park, just like any other evening. He let me off the leash for a few minutes and run around the field. It was empty, which was the only time he would let me. I loved every moment, chugging along as fast as my legs would let me. I knew my pal was waiting for me, over at the bench near the bush. I like the bush too, sometimes I can find things in there. Found a dead bird once, but he told me not to touch it. He dragged me back with the lead and led me away. I just wanted to sniff it some more. Figure out how long it had been dead for.
So, we were walking through the park. It was not that late in the evening, maybe just past dinner time. I can not read clocks. We walked past the climbing frames, there was someone there on the tractor climbing frame. I wanted to climb on it, I remember that. It is very cool to be high above the ground and see more around. There was one time when I was let off the lead, and I ran up to the tractor frame and jumped up on the wooden plank. I could see forever as far on until everything becomes blurry. It was so cool. My pal told me to come down though and keep up with him, so I did. He called me good boy. That is the best.
When I finished running around, I returned to him and sat by him while he sat on the bench. He was looking up at the sky and patted me on the head, rubbing my fur. It felt nice. We sat there for a long time. Sometimes we did that. He had been at work all day and it was nice just to sit there, let the breeze cool us. Part of me wanted to go home, though. There would be food not long after getting back, for both of us. He had put some chicken or something in the oven and once that was ready, I would get my bowl. I could not help wagging my tail at the thought of that.
“Come on Teddy,” he said, and I barked in return.
We both stood up and started walking back.
“Tomorrow,” he told me as we were walking back. “I’m going to have to take you out a little later. I know you don’t really understand this, but I’ve got a meeting at work that’s probably going to run late, so I will be home later. Don’t freak out. I’ll be back.”
I did not reply, but I understood. There was something going on at work. It had been happening for a while. I do not know what he does, but it is important. We went home and ate quietly. I think he went to bed early; I am not completely sure. Anyway, I stayed up and just wandered about, chewed my toy for a little while and then went to sleep at the foot of his bed in my little spot.
Then after work the next day, he was not late, he came home, had a shower, and then came and gave me a biscuit. I love biscuits. We were then getting ready for our evening walk and that’s when he fell over. He had my leash in his hand and whined a little. I thought he was playing a game at first, so I climbed on top of him and started licking his face. He moved a little but not a lot. His face did not seem to even notice. I circled him, his hand was tightening and releasing my leash almost on a timer.
I barked loudly at him, hoping that he would stop playing. If this was a game I did not like it at all. He reached his free hand out to me, and I went closer, letting him touch my nose. He looked like he was trying to say something, but I cannot lip read and he was not making much sound, if any at all. I tried pulling on his jacket sleeve, biting down, and pulling him upwards. He did seem to react. When I let go of the sleeve it dropped to floor, bouncing with a thud. He went very still and none of my barking seemed to get a reaction. I tried moving his head with my nose, but it just lolled about. I pulled my leash from his hand, and he let it go without trying to hold on.
I did not understand what happened to him. He seemed to have fallen into a deep sleep with no real chance of waking up. Whatever I did, nothing. When he normally falls asleep, I can wake him, even if I am not supposed to. After a while, I started walking around the house. Most of the doors were shut, like the one to the kitchen, and while I could reach the handle, I never got the hang of opening it. I could walk from the hallway to the sofa room and up the stairs, but the doors up there were closed as well.
I jumped up on the sofa. The picture on the side opposite was staring at me, as it always did. Sometimes he would hold it and cry while looking at the boy in the picture. I have never met the boy and my friend does not talk about him, ever. He misses him though, I understand that much.
At some point I feel asleep. There was not much to do, my toys were in the kitchen. I curled up on the sofa and napped for a while. When I woke up, I stretched outwards and jumped down from the sofa and walked back to the hallway. He was still laying there, unmoved. He was not sleeping. I curled up next to him and started whining. I knew I was sad, but I did not really know why.
Dark came quickly that night. The sun went down, and he stayed lying down. I do not know what happened to him, but I know he is not coming back. My best pal is gone. I want to leave the house to go to the toilet. I did not want to be bad dog, like he used to call me. Even if he could not call me it anymore. I got up and walked over to the kitchen door. If I could get through that one, then there was only one more door to the garden. I scratched at the wood, trying to reach up to the handle. It always seemed just out of reach. My paws scratched at the door, leaving deep marks. I fell down a couple of times and jumped back up to try again.
Finally, I got there and pulled and twisted. It did not open straight away. I fell again a couple of times. It was going to be my last attempt before I gave up and the door opened outwards. I barked and yapped in celebration before remembering my best friend laying on the floor and the reason for opening the door.
The garden door would not budge. I reached the handle easier, but it was not like the other one. It was round and harder to get a grip on. Even when I thought I did, nothing seemed to happen. There is more to this one. At first, I did not quite understand and then I saw the keys hanging from a hook near the door and I remembered that those are needed and gave up. I am not proud, but I made a mess in the corner of the kitchen.
I spent the rest of the night barking at the front door. Maybe someone would come and see what was causing the noise. I cried a little and no one came. I went to sleep next to him, curled up under his arm. He is gone now; I can see it in his eyes. There is nothing there anymore.
By morning I was back in the kitchen hunting for something to drink. I normally had a bowl of water by that time to lap from. There was nothing in the kitchen. I knew he got it from the counter, but I could not find a way up there to get to it. I went upstairs and tried to open the door to the bathroom. It was another room that I was told made me a bad boy. I was not to go in there, but I know there is water in the toiler. I was smacked on the back with a rolled-up magazine last time I drank from it. I needed something to drink.
The bathroom door was harder to open. The handle would not go down, and I ended up taking out large scratches on the wood, underneath the handle. I tried to burrow under it as well, pulling at the carpet. Maybe if I could rip it up, I could get in. But I could not pull the carpet up and I could not get into the door. I scratched more and more, scraping into it with my paws, but still it held out. I tried the handle again and nothing, it would not budge.
I went back downstairs. He was starting to smell, I could smell it upstairs as well, but it was worse downstairs. Somehow the day was continuing, and the sun was shining through the front door window onto him. I could smell rotting food from the kitchen as well, hanging from a little green bag on a door handle. It was a rotting apple and bits of a cheese sandwich he had made himself a day or two ago. I curled back under his arm and whimpered.
A noise brought me back to the world and I jumped up barking loudly. The mail man was here, shoving something through the letter box. I could get him to help. If I barked loudly enough, he would understand. I went to the door and stood on my back legs, balancing against the door, barking as loud as I could. I swiped at the door, trying to catch his attention but he was already leaving, walking away, without looking back. He was soon just a blur like everything else outside and then nothing.
The day seemed to pass by slowly. Nothing happened. The house was quiet, the outside was quiet, everything was silent. I just wanted him to sit up and tell me it was okay. He did not. He just lay there, slowly smelling more and more.
At some point I eventually got the bathroom door open, I pawed at it, bit it and scratched at it and it finally moved a little. After that I just kept on pushing until it opened completely, and I was in. My whole body seemed to move quicker than I could think, and I was slurping water out of the bowl. I drank as much as I could and then I stood up. There was something that made a noise in here and that brought more water. I just needed to figure out what.
I do not want to admit how long that one took to figure out.
I had water, but no food and it was long past lunch at that point. There was only one option really. I went into the kitchen and tried to figure out which door held the treats. I knew it was one of the high ones, but I could not get up there. It was the same as the water, I just could not reach it. I leapt at the counter, jumped at it, scratched at it, swiped. Nothing. There was no way up. I pulled over the stool, knocking it on the ground. That made me jump and bark in shock. That led me to the only option left.
I went over to the hanging green bag and with one swipe, it opened and spilled out onto the floor. The apple, bread, cheese, and something else sat in a small pool of slimy water. I did not want to eat it. I knew it was not good food, but I was so hungry that I dived in and ate it all. It was deliciously disgusting. Later I was sick, and I did not make it to the corner of the kitchen with the mess from earlier. I then ate it.
Somehow a whole day passed, and night-time was coming again. The world outside was getting darker. My bed was upstairs, so I curled up next to him again and whimpered and whined.
The next morning a phone rang, and I jumped up, barking loudly. What was it, what was it, what was it? The noise was coming from somewhere. I ran around making loud noises. It was a long time since I had heard that noise. I remembered that he spoke to people through it. If I could knock it down and make enough noise someone would know something was wrong and try to help. I ran into the living room and at the table near the kitchen door with the phone and notepad. It did not ring for very long. By the time I got there and knocked it over, the ringing was stopped. The phone just made a long low buzzing sound. I do not know if anyone could hear my barking.
I went back to him and curled up. My head was hurting and the world around me seemed to be spinning. I was hungry and needed to eat something. The scraps from the kitchen were not enough. I hadn’t eaten properly in two days. I curled up next to him and made more whimpering sounds.
There was nothing in the kitchen to be found. I made more mess in the corner and considered eating that. That was another thing I used to get shamed for and I did not like it. My pal had taught me to be a good boy for so long and I did not want him to think I had forgotten everything. I loved him and I wanted to be his good boy forever. I was Teddy and that was his name for me.
I did not like seeing him like that, but I didn’t want him to be lonely, so I stayed close by a lot of the time, only leaving for water and to search for other sources of food. There was nothing else. I do not know how much time had passed. Night-time seemed to have come and gone and come again. Maybe it had been longer. My stomach was growling and there was nothing to eat. It was too much, I swear it. He was starting to smell bad, and no one had come to check on him. Not a single person from his work.
I started, just to give me something to chew on and ripped his trouser leg until there was a large hole. It was boredom at first. I just needed something to eat. Please do not hate me. I did not mean to do it out of viciousness. I did not want to take the bite then and now that it has been another day, I still do not want to take the first bite, but I must. There is nothing else to eat. I growl, almost at myself and bite into his leg for the first time. I don’t like the way it tastes, but it’s food. I hope it doesn’t hurt him. I take another bite and chew it down. I eat more and more, and I don’t even realise what I’m doing then I look up at his face and I can see him there. It is empty like before, but I can still see him in it. He was there before. Why isn’t he here now. Why? Is it because I was bad? Is it because I couldn’t stop myself from biting him? Am I a bad boy?
I don’t want to be in the same room as him anymore, so I go to the kitchen and try to find a way to other food. There is no way to get to the higher cupboards. No way at all. I run around. I’ve been bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. I’m going to get hit by the magazine again. I howl out at nothing. No one can hear me because I was bad. Bad. I do not like the house anymore. I want to leave. The backdoor is locked but the bottom of it is glass. I’m not allowed out in the back garden by myself, but I know my pal would understand, if he still could. I run at the glass and bounce of it. My hear hurts but I must continue. I run at it again and it starts to crack. It hurts so much, and I can feel a wetness on my head. I don’t like that. I go back to the hallway. Maybe he’s okay again. But he’s not. Of course he’s not. He’s not here anymore. I’ve taken some of him now, his leg is missing pieces because of me. He’ll never be whole again. Because of me. I go back to the kitchen and jump at the window one last time. It breaks, shatters around me. I can feel the cuts and scrapes all over, but it does not hurt. It is time to escape now. I go back to the hallway and see the mess I made of his leg. It makes me want to cry out louder than I possibly could. I’ll find help. Someone will know what to do. I go back to the kitchen, through the broken window and jump across the low fence. That’s why I’m not allowed out here by myself. The road is just across the way, and I can see a car coming. I’m not supposed to run on the road near them, but how else can I get their attention. I leap out in front of it and start running towards it. I’ll find you help pal, I’ll find the help you need. I run at the car, the person behind the wheel looks like he’s panicking. That’s not good. He swerves, but not soon enough and he hits me. It hurts a lot, but I don’t mind. I feel calm. I’ll be with you again soon friend. We’ll be together again very soon.
Thanks for reading my latest short story. I hope you enjoyed it! If you have any feedback, please let me know in the comments. After I gave it to a few people to read I rewrote the ending to make it less bleak, if that’s possible. It’s still dark, but I think it verges on a happy ending.