He chose the blue paint. The color reminded him of their trip to the ocean. It wasn’t the vivid blue he expected, certainly not like that in the books he grew up with. But, on the one day of clear weather, the sky was brilliant with shades of blue mixed with whites and greys, contrasting with the dark, sullen sea. The paint brought joy, constantly reminding him of those happy days. Now it served as a reminder of their last happy trip together. Before it all went wrong. To make it worse, the old street light had gone yellow. Maybe the bulb had been changed. It didn’t matter, really, because there was no stopping the dingy light from turning the walls of the room to a noxious green, nauseating to sleep in. The air felt more oppressive since the light became yellow. Just one more thing to add to the misery permeating the house.
The voices in the house grew louder. It was obvious there was a heated argument, but that devolved into shouting. The words weren’t always clear through the walls, but it became apparent they were about him.
“Get out of my house!”
“This is your fault, Marie!”
“You will not take my son!”
Rolling over barely muffled the words. The tears were cool against his face, flush with the heat of panic. Exhaustion caused his eyes to flicker, but he blinked away the moisture and tried to remain awake. Just under the sounds from outside the room were those from the closet. They knew he would sleep soon. They wanted him to know of their approach before his eyes closed. The struggle to keep them open never lasted long. Every day brought more fatigue and they passed the time with incessant murmuring. The words were never clear, almost an echo of what was happening outside the bedroom. It wasn’t an echo. It was the creature, clawing its way into this world. He slept, although the tears continued to stream down his face.
Once the child began to doze, whimpering in his sleep, Montrose came to life. The nauseating stench and smoke were already drifting out through the slats in the closet doors. He had stood watch three days, fighting the monstrosity that came for the boy. He wasn’t sure if the stitches in his fur would hold up for long, but it was the best that could be done after each fight. He wasn’t strong enough to win and was keenly aware of this fact. However, nothing else stood between the closet and bed but him. He would fight until the last wad of stuffing was pulled from his body.
Drawing the slim wooden sword named Whisper, Montrose set himself to challenge the foe. A slight change in the air caught his attention, though. The window was open, letting in the damp night wind. He scanned the room, looking for who or what could have silently opened the creaking, obstinate portal. It seemed as though the night was wearing away before he spotted the shadow on the bed. Starting in alarm, the bear was ready to leap up until a welcome sight stopped his motion. The shadow was carrying a wooden sword. It was larger, heavier than his own, and gripped by a chestnut colored paw. The rest of the figure was obscured by the pattern of shadows in the gloom, but seemed to be wearing a jacket and a flat cap. There were soft sounds drifting down, as though there was a whispered conversation.
Montrose was startled by the volume of sound coming from the closet. He had been watching the bed for so long that the murmering from the closet had become a cacophony. Whirling around and raising his weapon, he watched the doors begin to bend out under the pressure from within. There was no time to wonder about the visitor, and barely enough to prepare for the impending conflict. Unable to resist the pressure, the doors burst. Before he could move, a sound from above stopped him immediately. The figure, now obviously another bear, was hurtling through the air, swinging his sword in a wide arc, screaming as he struck the creature:
“I WILL END YOU!”