Boo was never really sure when he became a Zombear; in fact he didn’t remember what he was before that at all – as far as Boo knew, he’d always been a Zombear. All he knew was that he had woken up in a box being bounced around; the noises were strange and peculiar. He also had a strange feeling that he wasn’t alone either – something which he discovered when his box stopped being bounced around and the lid was opened.
“Boo – meet Fang” the Big had said. Boo stared at Fang and Fang stared at Boo. He saw the faintest of twitches in one eye and he managed to respond back. I know we’ll talk later when the Bigs aren’t around he thought to himself. Before they knew what was happening, both Boo and Fang were turned upside down, round a round and stuffed into layers of material. Boo saw himself in a mirror – he looked very smart with a white shirt, waistcoat and cape – and Fang; well, Fang looked lovely in her black dress. One of the Bigs put a pair of dark glasses onto Fang and the other gave Boo a small bear – because, the Big said, everyone needs a bear of their own. The Bigs decided that it should be called Bo, something Boo thought was very apt.
The rest of the day passed nicely enough, with both Fang and Boo sitting on the sofa between the Bigs as they watched moving pictures on the big screen. Eventually though, the Bigs turned off that big screen and carried Fang and Boo up the stairs. They put them on the bed and left the room.
“I’m Boo” said Boo.
“I’m Fang” said Fang, removing her glasses. “These will be great during the daytime, but I won’t need them at night.”
“And you’re going to get us all into trouble if you carry on talking that loudly” said a strange voice. There was a shuffle and a huge bear appeared from the shadows. He was much bigger than either Boo or Fang and his vest said “Tough Ted”. Ted smiled.
“You’re new here aren’t you? So you get to be new recruits on Monster Duties.”
“Monster duties?” asked Fang, her big eyes even wider.
“Yes – you get to protect the Bigs tonight from the Monsters under the bed.”
“What monsters under the bed?”
“Oh, every bed has them” said Ted “But some are bigger than others and some are much scarier.”
“Where do they come from?” asked Boo.
“Well here’s the interesting thing” replied Ted, “They come from the Bigs themselves! Throughout the day they do whatever it is they do, building these monsters in their minds; and then when they sleep the Bigs open their mouths and the monsters come out. Of course, they don’t just leak out, they form, develop and morph into this Black, scary monsters – and that’s where we come in; we then fight the monsters for the Bigs and the monsters go away. Some nights there are no Monsters, but others they can be fierce and terrifying.”
Boo gulped. He did not like the sound of that one bit. “But what about those furry things we saw?” he asked, hopefully. Ted chuckled.
“They call them cats – and they’re like the other furry things, called dogs – first sign of the monster and they’re either out of the door or under the sheets. They try to help by using their purrs to calm the monsters, but it doesn’t really make the monsters go away.”
With that, the first of the two cats jumped onto the bed. Ted looked at the cat. “That’s Roger. He’s friendly enough, but really welcomes our help.” Boo looked at Roger who smiled. “Nice cape” said Roger. “Thank you” replied Boo. Roger then turned round three times and started to lick his fur.
Fang turned to Ted. “So when do the Monsters come out?”
“Good question” replied Ted. “Typically about ten minutes after the Big starts to snore. So, you’ve got about twenty minutes by my reckoning. Tonight – you’re protecting them.”
“But it’s our first night – what happens if we’re not up to the job?” asked Boo.
Ted smiled. “I guess you’ll find out. Have a nice night.” Ted then stepped back into the shadows.
Boo looked at Fang. “I hope we’ll be OK.”
The Bigs returned into the room and Fang was picked up and put onto the dressing table where she could see the bed – and underneath. Boo was put between the pillows. Just as everyone started to settle, the second cat jumped on the bed, and started to make herself comfortable – right on Boo.
“Hey” hissed Boo, “I’m on Monster duty!”
The cat snuggled up to Boo’s head. “I know…“ she then started to purr, a large smile spread across her face. There was a click, and everything went dark.
Boo tried to wriggle out from under the cat, but she just purred louder. Then Boo had an idea. He licked his paw and stuck it in the cat’s ear. She twitched and rolled away. Immediately, Boo got up. He then layed down on top of the cat and whispered in her ear. “Nice try” he said “We’ll be great friends!” Boo then heard a noise. He looked up – straight into the burning red eyes of the Monster.
It was terrifying. A large black and dark grey fog, rising up and forming into a monster – red eyes burning deep into the back of Boo’s head. Boo was sure that he could see a mouth forming, and that it opened in a sneer and silent roar. Boo felt the monster breath – the feelings of insecurity, worry and fear wash over him. Boo stood up and faced the monster, the monster stared back.
“I’m not scared of you” said Boo. “In fact I’m going to ask you to go away.”
The monster smiled, and then breathed in. Boo felt the monster draw the fear from within him – and he knew that the monster would also know how scared Boo was right now. He also watched as the Monster became more solid than ever before – a physical thing at the end of the bed. But Boo also felt something else – as the Monster breathed in his fear, Boo’s fear left him – and he started to feel much braver. All he had to do was act quickly before the Monster breathed out – breathing back all that fear.
“Look, you need to go, or I’m going to attack you with… with my bear. Sorry bear.”
The monster looked quizzically at Boo. Boo held up his bear so that the monster could really see it.
“Oh, this; this is no ordinary bear. This is the anti-monster bear – if I throw this at you it will make you go instantly blind. So you need to go before I throw this at you.”
The monster smiled – and breathed in even deeper.
“You asked for it!”
Boo threw the bear and it bounced off the chest of the monster. But what the monster hadn’t noticed was Fang as she launched herself from the dresser and wrapped her wings around the monsters head, covering his eyes. He thrashed, but Fang held on more tightly and as he thrashed Fang felt the monster get weaker, his own fears of the dark replacing any fears that he had taken from the Bigs, or Boo – he just got weaker, and then fainter, disappearing into the darkness of the night. Eventually, Fang found herself standing on the floor, hugging nothing.
Boo jumped down from the bed and gave Fang a big hug. “Thank you” he said. “No” said Fang, “Thank you – I could see you were trying to be brave and I couldn’t let you do it all alone. But what would you have done if I hadn’t had covered his eyes?”
Boo gestured to the shadows. “I reckon that Tough Ted would have stepped into help – wouldn’t you?”
Ted stepped from the shadows.
“Of course – but you had to think you were on your own, or how else would you have faced those fears?”
Boo looked at his bear. “And thank you Bo for giving me that strength”. His little bear winked back through the button eye.
From then on, Boo, Fang and Ted kept watch over the sleeping Bigs – and everyone slept happily ever after.