By Brian McDonald

Brian says:  Since retirement I spend my time swimming, watching Manchester City and writing. Teddy Edwards really exists. He currently lives on top of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom. This story is for William who loves monsters.

Four Teddy Edwards does tricks. Sometimes there’s a puff of smoke. Not always. My model soldiers disappear then come back again. A card goes then he uses a knife to cut open an orange and it is in there. We all shout and clap him so he does a big bow then goes all floppy so that we can play with him again but Billy punches him so I hide him behind the chair so he is safe. When the other children have gone and mummy has tucked me in, Teddy comes out again, crawls onto the bed and puts his arm around me. 

Eight Teddy Edwards can sing some nursery rhymes and point at letters in a book and make ah sounds or gr but he doesn’t answer questions except to shake or nod his head. I still talk to him all the time, say hello when I wake up and after school tell him everything that has has happened during the day. If I have got into a fight he doesn’t scream or hit me, just listens to everything, always keeping his big brown eyes on mine. His head might turn if someone else speaks or there is a sudden loud noise but his attention always comes back to me. I have heard all his songs many times over but when I ask him to sing loud to drown out the shouting and banging from downstairs he always does.

Twelve I don’t like him looking at me. Whenever I wake up and find that he’s snuggled up alongside I toss him onto the floor. Eventually he stops getting onto the bed. I check the house cameras that mum had installed after dad left and there he is, standing outside my bedroom door, head slowly turning, scanning the landing like a tiny bouncer. I know that on the panel where the back fur has worn away, the words Guard Mode will be pulsing red. In the morning he tiptoes in, positions himself where he can recharge and then goes to stand-by. It creeps me out. A girl that I like giggles a pitying laugh when she sees him so I start locking my door. Teddy still keeps vigil until one night heading for the bathroom I trip over his body, swear, then kick him into the opposite wall. After that he retreats to the cupboard where we keep all the old toys.

Sixteen It’s dark but I don’t want to switch on the lights. Mum’s in an alcoholic haze so is unlikely to wake up but you never know. She called the Feds on me last time. I’m looking for money preferably. If not, something I can turn into money asap. Jewellery or watches would be good. Short of that, anything portable. With a sinking feeling I realise that everything here is junk. This is the final room and is even worse than the others, full of dusty crap that hasn’t been touched in years. I open the last cupboard and jump back in shock as two shining eyes turn toward me from a moth-eaten, matted face. 


I slam the door shut. I really, really need money. What the fuck am I going to do now?

Twenty Clearing the house is more difficult than I expected. I can’t say it was ever full of happiness. But it was home and every faded photograph under a table, each notch in the woodwork, tugs at my memory. As ever the main purpose is to raise funds. I am trying to filter the contents into two groups: totally worthless, or maybe worth something. If I can find a vintage dealer then perhaps ten per cent of everything here might generate cash. Most of the toys are too damaged to be any use but teddy bears, even old models as battered as this, might hold some value. I stare into his face but there is no response. The sewn-on smile is broken at one side and it’s turned down. He looks as miserable as I feel. I chuck him into the trailer and drive away.

Twenty four I am suddenly awake and scared, holding my breath until I remember that I do have to breathe. There is a plan. Get to the kitchen, through a window then over the fence. But all that assumes prior warning. I had installed security but their software is obviously better than mine because when my eyes adjust they are already stood around my bed. A light clicks on. Four of them in ski masks. The weapons are a giveaway. Baseball bats might have meant broken bones but two machetes, a long knife, a pistol with a silencer – they say that I am dead. I start to open my mouth to plead but then think, What’s the point? A noise from the top of the cupboard makes them all swivel. Something flies through the air, there is a gurgling, tearing sound and I am hit by a spray of warm sticky liquid that leaves the taste of iron in my mouth. 

Ducking under the covers I hear screams, shouting, the thud of the gun firing twice, then silence. I emerge to carnage. Two of my would-be killers have their throats ripped out. One has been shot and the shooter himself has Teddy Edward’s arm stuck through his eye socket up to the elbow. When I turn him over, Teddy has a scorched hole in front and a bigger one in his back. Stuffing and wires trail out into the pool of gore. Somehow the smile has righted itself and both bright pupils follow my movements. One of his paws flutters as if he’s trying to reach towards me. I find myself weeping, out of relief or something else, I don’t know. More men will be coming so I pull myself together, snatch my pre-packed bag and head for the door. Looking back I see the small body lying soaked in blood. I reach down to pick up my only friend in the world and together we run out into the night.