Something of Value

Written in response to: Write a story from the point of view of a non-human character.... view prompt


Crime Drama Fiction

A sense of pride billowed through my fluffy cotton stuffing and excited tingles tickled through my fibers as David carried me up the stairs to the red front door of his wide, cream-colored house. Moments ago, David had rescued me from a pile of one-eyed dolls with choppy haircuts, tattered teddy bears, rusty tricycles, and coffee stained books. He pulled me free of the endless smells of vomit, rotten fruit, and spoiled meat. Then placed me in a cool car with smooth, clean seats and the glorious smell of artificial strawberry air freshener. 

We entered a warm-colored foyer filled with natural light. Everything looked so tidy and smelled of citrus. Today was my lucky day. 

“Honey, what’s that?” A woman in a tight peach-colored dress walked towards us. Diamonds sparkled on her earlobes and peach high heels clacked against the hardwood floors as she moved. There was a sharpness to her features. A bony body of intense angles. 

“A monkey puppet for Jonah.” 

David had soft, rounded features and a soothing voice. The woman could slice right through him. 

“That thing is terrifying. He’ll have nightmares.” 

“No, he’ll love him. Once I clean him up a bit, he’ll be like new.” 

“Toss it in the trash. It looks like that’s where it came from and where it belongs.” 

Sadly, my former handler would agree. He tossed me with such ease. 

“Puppets are fun. I used to love them as a kid. I want to share that with him.” 

“Good luck prying him away from his video games for that nightmarish creature.” She rolled her eyes and clacked away. 

David turned me to face him. “Don’t listen to her. She doesn’t get it.” 

It’s always important to know your foes from your friends. That’s what my former handler used to say. Honestly, he said something more violent, but I think that's what he intended. I’d keep my eyes on the woman. 

David carried me to the kitchen sink. With warm water and soap, he gently bathed me. As the dark dirt swirled down the drain, I noticed my long arms returning to their usual light reddish brown. David was much kinder than my former handler, and I hoped his son would be, too. 

“I can’t believe the things people throw away.” David shook his head and massaged the soap into my fleece fur. “How could they not see your magnificence?” 

The moment called for a smile, but my rubber mouth would not budge. David wrung me out, and placed me by a window so the warm rays of sun and light breeze could dry me. I remained there for a long time, eagerly awaiting my introduction to Jonah. 

“Jonah, I want to show you something cool,” David’s voice said as he grabbed me from the window. With my fleece fluffy and clean, I knew I’d make a great impression. 

The woman’s dark, angry eyes drilled into me. Then I saw the boy. He had dark hair and pale flesh, like his father. The boy was as slender as a skeleton, like his mother.

“What’s that?” His dark eyes looked curious, but not unkind. 

“A puppet!” David held me out to him. 

The boy hesitated. “A puppet?” 

The corners of the woman’s lips curled up slightly. 

“Yeah. I had all kinds of puppets as a kid. I’ll teach you how to make him talk like magic.” 

“Really?” The boy’s eyes widened. 

The woman’s lips dropped. How could anyone frown at a child’s glee? 

Jonah wrapped me in his arms. “Where did he come from? What’s his name?” 

“The dump,” the woman muttered. 

“C’mon, Mandy,” David groaned. Then, in a more cheerful voice added, “name him anything you like.” 

“You got him at the dump?”

I felt a sudden loss of heat as he pulled me from his body. 

“Yeah, there’s lots of cool things there. It’s an area for things people can no longer care for, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad or gross. They’re just waiting for a new person to love them.” 

Jonah pulled me closer again. “He’s a little creepy looking, but I like it. I’ll call him Mr. Bones.” 

“Mr. Bones it is.” David grinned. 

  Mandy left the room. 

“Mom doesn’t seem to like Mr. Bones.” 

“That’s okay. Everyone has different tastes. I’m just glad you do.” David placed a hand reassuringly on the boy’s back and I snuggled into his arms. This is the home I’ve dreamed of. Well, close to it. 

The doorbell rang and Jonah muttered, “ugh, not another stupid party.” 

David rushed towards the door and didn’t hear. 

“Let’s go upstairs Mr. Bones. I’ll show you my room.” 

Sounds of laughter and chatter filled the room, as we walked up the stairs into the quiet darkness. 

Impressive green glowing stars scattered across his ceiling. A variety of animals relaxed in a hammock in the corner. Little silver soldiers protected his desk. Paintings from a talented artist decorated the walls. I sat propped against his pillow with my long arms stretched out beside me, feeling completely at ease. My former handler never let me on the bed. I lived for years in a dark box with the others. 

Jonah played on his computer, but I didn’t mind. I was comfortable sitting for a bit and taking in the surroundings. 

“I have to go to the bathroom, and I need you to protect me, Mr. Bones. The adults can be scary.” He pulled my long arm and dragged me alongside him. 

Why are you scared of the adults, dear boy? Aren’t they supposed to be safe? We looked both ways down the dark hallway. 

“That’s odd,” he said. 

I noticed a light down the hall in the direction he looked, but nothing odd. What was out of order? What did he see? 

He walked towards the lit-up room, then pulled his body close to the wall, and slowly peered around through the door. I’m not sure what he saw, but then we stepped into the room. It was a bedroom. Everything looked very clean and plain, almost like no one actually went in. Nothing about the room excited me. He walked towards the open closet door. Inside was a man that was not David. 

“What are you doing in my mom’s closet?” Jonah asked. 

The man jumped and whirled around towards us. “Oh, Jonah, you startled me. Your mom sent me up here for some … shoes.” 

“In the safe?” 

“You’ll understand when you’re older.” The man laughed, and ruffled Jonah’s hair as he walked past. 

“Why would old people put shoes in a safe? What’s he talking about?” Jonah stared at the locked box. “I think I should tell Mom.”

Tell Dad. 

I knew by his slow steps and rapid heartbeat, venturing downstairs made him nervous. The adults can be scary. What did he mean by that? 

We first went to the dining room. Several smiling adults gathered around a table with David at the head. Bright amber lights helped us see they were playing a board game. Bowls of chips and soda cans covered the table. Nothing scary so far. I wanted him to stay here, and talk to David. 

 Instead he headed into the living room. Electronic music throbbed from the speakers giving the room a pulse. The red lights were dim enough to leave dark shadowy spaces. The adults in this room were more scattered. A couple kissed on the couch with an intensity like they were trying to eat each other’s faces. A handful of people swayed in the center of the room and rolled their heads back with the music. Some people smoked, and one man was taking exaggerated sniffs of the table. What did he smell? It must have been delightful to want such a nostril full of it. Jonah found Mandy and ran to her. I bounced in the air behind him. 

“Mom! Mommy! Mom!” 

“Jonah, what are you doing down here? You’re supposed to be in bed.” 

“I have to tell you something.” 

Mandy put a guiding hand on his back and led him into the kitchen. “What is it sweetie? Do you need some water?” 

“I saw Greg in your bedroom closet. He said he was getting you shoes, but it sounded weird.”

“Bedroom closet? Shoes?” 

I noticed she wore slippers that looked like bunnies. They looked out of her place with her fancy gold dress and perhaps that’s why the man went to get her shoes. She looked fine to me though. 

Mandy looked around the kitchen and then living room and then stepped onto the backyard patio. The man we saw earlier stood out there with a cigarette glowing between his fingers. Jonah stayed behind his mother. 

“Where are my shoes?” Mandy smiled like this was all a joke. 


“I heard you went to get me shoes.” Her voice was sterner this time. She crossed her arms. 

The man’s lips lifted into a smile, but there was a coldness in his eyes. “You should teach your boy not to be such a little snitch.” 

Mandy stood taller and put her hands on her hips. “He’s a little boy. And I hope he always tells the truth. What were you doing in my room?” 

“Look, I left you a surprise. Couldn’t tell the boy what it really was. That’d be inappropriate.” 

She crossed her arms again. “What is it? Why didn’t you just give it to me?” 

“I didn’t think you’d want people to see. I’m being discreet.” 

“Look Greg, I don’t–” 

“Shhh,” he nodded his head towards a small group of people that stood nearby with drinks in their hands and their eyes glued to the commotion. Then he lifted a hand and rubbed the side of her cheek. Mandy smacked his hand away. 

“What’re you doing?” She yelled loudly enough that people inside peered through the door. “Greg, I don’t know what you’re on about, but there’s absolutely no reason for you to be leaving anything secret.” 

Greg laughed. There was a bitterness to it. “Of course. The brilliant actress. Perfect mom. Loyal wife. No one’s buying it, Babe.” 

“Excuse me!” Mandy’s hands went back to her hips. 

The people standing outside whispered amongst each other while watching. Jonah stepped back until he stepped into someone. His body jolted and he whirled around. It was David. David patted the sides of Jonah’s arms and walked to Mandy’s side. 

“What’s going out here? Everything okay?” David asked calmly. 

Greg laughed. “Good thing you have this scrawny nerd to defend you.”

Mandy pulled back her arm, and then punched Greg in the face. The crowd collectively gasped. Greg stumbled back, yowled, and brought his hands to his nose. Blood soaked between his fingers. 

“How dare you come into our home with such disrespect! I think it’s time for you to leave.” Mandy said. 

David glanced back at Jonah with wide eyes, and then rushed over to lead us into the house. 

“Is Mommy okay?” Jonah asked. 

“Oh, I think she’s fine. We should get you back upstairs though. I think that’s best.” David sounded uncertain, but he led the way to the stairs. 

Jonah let out a deep breath at the top of the stairs. “Dad?” 


“That guy said he left something for Mom in her closet. Then she got mad. What if it’s bad?” 


“Mr. Bones and I caught him in Mom’s closet. He told us he was getting her shoes, but told Mom he left her a gift I couldn’t know about.” 

“Okay? Okay. I’ll check it out. Why don’t you pick out a bedtime story? I’ll help Mr. Bones read to you.”

Jonah nodded and hugged me close to his chest. My head felt heavy. It had been a long day for me, and preparing for bed sounded perfect. The way Jonah held me, my eyes faced his bedroom window. I knew we were on the second floor, so I couldn’t figure out why or how I saw a pair of eyes peeking through. Why only eyes? Then I remembered those hat mask things people wear sometimes. My former handler had one. There’s holes just for the eyes so the cheeks and nose stay cozy and warm. The person wore a black one of those. It wasn’t very cold outside though and it seemed silly to watch a young boy through a window in the middle of the night. Perhaps it was a game. Still, I took a small risk and tapped Jonah’s arm. I try to conceal all that I can do from the humans because it scares them. Naturally, Jonah didn’t think I could have tapped his arm, but he looked up and saw the window. Then he screamed so loud and shrill, I’m surprised the glass didn’t shatter. 

Like a superhero, Mandy appeared so quickly I wondered if she teleported. “What’s wrong, sweetie?” 

Jonah dropped me and pointed at the window. The eyes were gone by now. The scream must have startled whoever it was and scared them off. Mandy peered out the window and stumbled back. “Where’s your father?” 

An answer never came. Jonah dropped down, wrapped his arms around his knees and started crying. David appeared in the doorway, but his face didn’t look the same. There was a toughness there now. He dropped a backpack by Jonah’s feet and told him to pack some clothes. 

“What’s happening?” Mandy asked. Now she cried too. 

“I should ask you.” David muttered. “I saw the gift. How could you do this to our family? How could you throw this all away?” 

“No, no, no” Mandy repeated the word several more times. 

“I’m taking him. It’s not safe here. I can’t believe you.” 

“David, no. What about me? I’m not safe either. Don’t you understand.” 

“No, I don’t understand any of this, but you did this to yourself. I saw what you really think of me on that tape.” 

“What tape? What did he put in there?” 

“I guess you’ll have plenty of time to figure that out. Come on, Jonah. Time to go. Pack some stuff.” David opened drawers and pulled out handfuls of clothing. Jonah kept crying and Mandy kept screaming “no.” 

David looped my arms around the backpack now stuffed with clothes and pulled Jonah to his feet. 

“David, please.” 

“Stop. I can’t even look at you right now.” 

“I love you,” Mandy pleaded. 

“Really? Okay, sure. You love me. But you … how did you put it? Just need a big, strong, real man. Well, I always thought a real man was the one working hard to provide for his family, but you have a nice life with the man who has emptied our safe instead. I’ll be busy keeping our child safe.” 

“Oh my god! What’s on that tape?” Mandy shrieked. 

“What’s happening? Mom? We’re we going? What about Mom?” Jonah whined. 

“Your mother will be fine. We’re going to visit Grandma and Grandpa. They’ll be so happy to see you. It’s been a while.” 

“David, stop. Please. It’s all a lie. Whatever he said.” 

“He didn’t say anything, Mandy. It’s what I saw you do. It’s what you said. I won’t let you talk about me like that. Won’t let you treat me like this.” 

“David, no. I …” Her words trailed off into incoherent sobbing. 

David picked Jonah up and swung the backpack over his shoulder, which sent my legs flying out. I grabbed the backpack strap tightly, and struggled with the slippery material. Several adults asked David what was going on, but he didn’t respond to anyone. He kept stroking Jonah’s hair and whispering that it’d all be okay. 

The air outside felt crisp and cool. I felt myself slipping. I fought it, but lost my grip and plummeted to the sidewalk with a painful thud. David headed to the car, not realizing I’d been lost. I watched him buckle in Jonah, while the boy cried and asked millions of questions. Then he flung the bag in the back. I wanted to scream, but a crowd of adults formed near me. There were rules about these things. I needed to stay silent. Then David turned. My cotton ball heart fluttered. He’s eyes locked with mine. He moved towards me, scooped me up and carried me to Jonah’s lap. I sank sleepily into his lap. Thank you, David. Jonah wrapped me in his arms. I cursed my rubber lips for not forming a smile, and wished I could wrap my arms around Jonah too. I was finally too valuable to leave behind.

March 29, 2024 23:42

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Eric D.
01:52 Mar 31, 2024

This was an interesting and uncomfortable story, you created the drama and tension really well, I felt for David and Jonah and the puppet's POV was a nice vehicle to take us through the innocent eyes of Jonah and the more mature themes.


Annalisa D.
02:03 Mar 31, 2024

Thank you! I'm glad to hear that about the drama and tension. Also glad David and Jonah were sympathetic. I liked their characters. It was fun to write.


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