I wrote this gem my senior year of high school in a creative writing class. I remember thinking I was so clever because I used “Tail” instead of “Tale” in the title. I’ve never considered myself to be the most creative individual, but this story always makes me smile and reminds me of something I would have read as part of the Goosebumps series by R.L.Stine when I was a kid. I think I may some day eventually expand/edit this a bit so reads better and is a little less abrupt. Even still, I think it’s worth sharing with all of you as is, unedited, in all of its glory.
The Tail of Mr. Fuzzy
Kristen woke with a start. That had been some dream! She hardly ever had nightmares (her little brother was a different story), but the last few nights had been terrible. A monster of some sort was chasing her up the stairs and following her to her room. This time it had nearly gotten her, but that’s when she woke up. There was no way she was going to find out how that dream ended! She laid in bed for few minutes and let her mind wander to a couple weeks before…
“….This product can be yours for only three easy payments of $19.99! And, if you call now you will receive a Comfortex® pillow, a $30 value, absolutely free to make your night as comfortable as possible. To order the Comfortex® Dream Machine, call 1-800-COMFORT. Your best dreams are sure to come true with this fantastic new product. Once again, that number is 1-800-266-3678. Sorry, no C.O….”
The t.v. suddenly went black. Kristin looked up with astonishment to meet her mother’s eyes.
“Kristen, what have I told you about watching that channel? You’re not getting one of those stupid contraptions.”
“But mom! Everybody is getting one, even Jenny has one! Besides, my birthday is coming up in a couple weeks. Please?”
“I’ll talk to your father when he gets home, but you know how he feels about wasting money on that nonsense.”
Kristen nodded and went up to her room. Her dad was away on business and wouldn’t be home until tomorrow at the earliest.
Kristen snapped out of it. That had been two weeks ago and even though her dad had returned the next afternoon, her parents still had not said anything more about the machine, but a feeling of hope suddenly returned. Maybe she would get one after all.
She jumped out of bed, quickly slid into a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, pulled a brush through her hair, and went downstairs. Kristen took a moment to smile at the fact that her brother Tommy would be gone for the day and was spending the night at his friends’ house. It was one less thing to worry about. Tonight was the big birthday bash and there was still lots to do.
Just when her last bit of hope was about to leave, her dad brought an extra box into the room and handed it to her.
“Happy birthday, honey!”
Could it be? Kristen opened it up and saw on the front of the box “Comfortex® Dream Machine.” The price had been scratched out with a black marker like all the other gifts, but she didn’t need to see it to know. She had seen that commercial at least fifty times!
She quickly scarfed down a piece of cake, thanked everyone for coming and told her parents goodnight. Then, she was off to bed to try her new present.
But, to her surprise, nothing happened! She read the instructions over and over, but still nothing happened. She closed her eyes and started to dream about being rich and when she awoke, nothing. She dreamed about having a new cat, but when she awoke, nothing.
“Piece of junk,” she quietly muttered to herself. There was no need to let her parents know it didn’t work. They would only rub it in her face and declare that they were right yet again. She put it under her bed and quickly went back to sleep.
Weeks went by and Kristen had forgotten about the machine when one night she awoke with a startling surprise.
What was that stench? It was the worst putridness she had ever smelled and knew it was going to hang around long after its source was found. She heard a screech from down the hall. It was from Tommy’s bedroom. What a night for her parents to decide to leave for their annual vacation! Her brother was probably just having another one of his nightmares.
She scrambled out of bed and headed for her brother’s room. That stench was awful and was only growing stronger as she neared the door. She knocked on the door softly.
“Tommy?” she barely squeaked out. What was she afraid of? She had been grown up long enough not to believe in monsters so why did her tongue feel so large and her mouth so dry?
“Tommy!” she repeated. This time she opened the door. Her eyes adjusted to the darkness and she could see a large hump on her brother’s bed. She could tell it was just Tommy hiding under the covers, but she couldn’t figure out what from. Surely it wasn’t the stench; the thin blanket couldn’t be blocking much of that smell out.
Something suddenly caught Kristen’s eye in the corner of the room. She had finally found the owner of the stench. There, in the corner, was a monstrous creature of some sort which was housed in a six-foot tall mainframe that was covered in a thick coat of orange fur and caked with slime and grime that was all slowly oozing onto the floor. It had huge scratchy claws and large purple eyes that glowed menacingly at Kristen.
“Hello there little girl,” it said in a scratchy voice.
Kristen screamed and ran down the stairs. She turned just in time to see it exit Tommy’s bedroom and head for the stairs after her. She screamed again and it seemed only to make the hideous creature move faster. She could only run for so long before it would catch up with her.
She had to get back upstairs and make sure Tommy was okay, but how could the monster be stalled long enough to check on him? She quickly snatched a can of air freshener from the hall closet and turned around. She sprayed the furry monster right in the eyes. That did it. He would be slowed down for the next ten minutes!
She suddenly recognized the beast as her nightmare, only, how had it come true?
She ran upstairs and took another quick glance at the hump which was her brother and saw the dream machine sitting next to it. It figures that he was the one who got the thing to work. Kristen grabbed the machine and ran for her room. She could hear the patter of the monster’s feet right behind her.
Her nightmare had returned for the umpteenth time, only this time she actually was going to have to find out how it ended. The end was now in her hands. She could either be eaten alive or think of some other way to get rid of the beast that was following her down the hall. She looked at the machine in hope, as she had the first zillion times she had tried it, but this time, to her astonishment, she saw something new. For once, the machine was actually working to her advantage. She pushed the tiny button that had just appeared and turned around just in time to see the horrible thing reaching for her. The hand was just about to her face when it suddenly disappeared. The giant purple eyes lit up in shock and looked at her with a questioning look. Then, it simply vanished, scratchy claws, slimy fur, and all.
Tommy finally mustered up enough courage to find out what was going on.
“Kristen!” he screamed. “Where are you?!”
“I’m right here,” she replied in a calm voice.
“Where’s Mr. Fuzzy?”
“Is that what you’re calling him? He’s gone for good!”
“I simply used the machine the way it’s supposed to work. I had a quick day dream that a bright orange reverse button was included with the contraption and when I looked down again, there was!”
“Mr. Fuzzy” and the other potential terrible things were gone for good.
Kristen gave one last look at the machine before throwing it into the garbage. She had finally realized that dreams really can come true, but she would just have to work for hers like everybody else. From that day on, she slept soundly and never had a nightmare again.
“Hello, Kitty,” a cold raspy voice coughed.
The cat had simply been looking for food like any regular Tabby does. He had had a rough landing when he fell into the can and something small poked him in the side. To his disadvantage, he couldn’t read the words “REVERSE” spelled out in bright orange, but Tabby cats cannot read, nor would they wish to learn if it were possible, but now is too late for thoughts of the sort.
The cat hunched back as far as he could in the small enclosure. The stench was awful!
“Hello,” the voice repeated with a hair-raising chortle. “Where is your home?”
LMG — May 2003