When Tony was a young boy, he used to have nightmares about a man sneaking into his room and taking his toys away. He had made sure to always go to bed hugging his favorite teddy bear, but in the dream, the teddy bear was always on the floor on the other side of the room. He’d cry and scream, and beg the man not to take his teddy bear away. But the man would never listen. He’d always make sure to grab the soft toy before exiting the room.
However, there was one night the dream didn’t play out as usual. This time, the teddy bear was still in Tony’s clutches. Thinking that the mysterious man would give up if he didn’t find the bear, Tony hid it under his blanket, away from the man. After silently combing the rest of the room and not finding the bear, instead of walking out of the room, the man looked at Tony and stepped towards him. It was as though he could sense the bear under the sheets.
“Go away!” Tony yelled at the man as he gripped the bear even tighter. He wasn’t going to lose the toy again. Not this time.
The man wordlessly continued towards the boy. And for the first time, Tony saw the face of the man, revealed by the moonlight shining through the windows of the room. Expecting the face of an adult man, Tony was horrified by what he saw – the man had the face of a cat. The fact that it wasn’t disfigured or grotesque made it much worse for Tony. He let out a scream and woke up crying. He had never felt a greater fear before in his life.
Since that nightmare, Tony decided to get rid of his teddy bear, thinking that it was a magnet for the mysterious cat-faced man. While the dreams stopped, his fear of cats and anything feline-like remained. He never looked at them the same way again.
Writing Prompt from Reddit: Wednesday Writer’s Workshop: “Thought” Verb Exercise