The Teddy Bear Stories - Teddy Bear Discriminationby Tom Germann / Fantasy
br /> The Teddy Bear Stories
Teddy Bear Discrimination
Copyright © 2015 Tom Germann
All rights reserved.
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Table of Contents
The Teddy Bear Stories
My work would never be finished if I did not have assistance from others. Sometimes it is a kick in the rear, sometimes it is a kind word.
Thank you to Robin Schroffel for editing this work and those kind words.
Thanks to Shawna Smoke for the cover art (nice job!) and to Angie Zambrano that created the front cover - keep up the good work!
To Jenn, my wife, who was not in love with my writing this but who nevertheless left me to work in the dark hours when everyone else was sleeping so that I could get this out of my head.
Thank you all.
The Teddy Bear Stories
Teddy Bear Discrimination
SEVERAL YEARS AGO:
I was young and had no scars. My cub was very gentle and a true hugger. I was heavily stained with drool and wore those stains with great honor. The time of change was almost upon us and I, along with so many of my brothers, had been called back to Picnic Land for training to deal with what would soon come to us.
Though I was nervous coming in for this training, it was not nervous at being surrounded by other Guardians. The crowd around me was hundreds strong, but that was nothing. I could still feel the glow from Steve's cuddles and was fired up with passion to protect him as I had for the last human year. My nerves were for what I would face in the future. The old days were gone, and while the old ones talked about them wistfully I must look to the coming days and be ready for the challenges they would bring.
My armor and weapons were in the "under bed" and gleamed, ready as always for action. Would it be enough? Would I be enough? We had all seen what happened when we failed in protecting our cubs. Enough. I would learn, adapt and be ready for when the changes came. Even if cable TV sent every bad thing in existence against me, I would protect my Steve no matter what the cost.
The trumpets blared and the doors opened into the huge auditorium that was located in Training Central. Walking forward we did not even begin to fill the room as it was so large. The floor was soft and the walls were covered in plush velvet that was a deep, rich red. The lighting was still bright and there were no shadows. There are no shadows at all in Picnic Land, even under the trees. We had grown as a species and things were different from the old days. The threats were greater today and so we now had more formalized training.
We seemed to barely fill the hall and I wondered why with so many small cubs in the world today, were there so few of us? I pondered while looking around and thinking back to the old stories.
In the old days we were in small training fields. Now, today in the age of computers and smart phones with international threats, all of us from around the world came here for primary intake for the newbie's during what was now Phase 2 training. In a few years I would be heading off for Phase 3, and just thinking about that was terrifying given how much more was waiting.
One of the Great Masters came out and moved to the front of the stage. He was huge and had many honorable scars. The rumor was that he had guarded no less than three generations of cubs and the dark would not move against him unless they sent the truly terrifying monsters.
He raised a mighty paw for silence, which fell quickly. "Good day, trainees. It is our pleasure to have you all here for training on how to deal with the next level in Phantasm, Boogeyman, Snarlpike and JugJug. You will also during an intensive training cycle learn about the new monsters that need to be dealt with, as these can strike at any time. By that I mean the Scary Family, the Bully, Bad Movie, and of course, THE THREAT. These are becoming more prevalent every day in our cubs' society. Things that would not have been a real concern until they were almost past their need for us are now around them just as they learn to crawl. You need to be aware of them and how to deal with them to keep your cub safe. The strongest bond is the hug bond, and we must protect those whose hugs are the strongest bonds while they are so weak the cubs are unable to defend themselves." I felt pride surging within me. The Master was right, we bears, all of us, were meant to protect our loving, defenseless cubs.
The Great Master looked around at all of us standing there watching him. It felt like he was taking the measure of every one of us. I felt the weight of his gaze. "YOU are still the first and best line of defense. While you are here pay attention to your instructors and learn as much as you can as your time is so limited. Every instructor is an experienced veteran that has mastered these enemies and more. The scars they have are marks of respect for you as you train under them. Show them the respect they deserve and learn what they have to teach you. Ask those questions that you have. No question is wrong and may bring something to light that no one else has thought of. Every cub protected is a reward."
As the Great Master spoke it was impossible not to listen and believe what he said. He had such presence that I ached to be guarding and cuddling my Stevey now. "The bond we share is a bond from the very beginning of our memories. We have always been there and they have always needed us. The blessed cubs will love you like no other can. The hugs and drools will charge you during your dark times and remind you why we do what we do. Bath time and feeding times for them will be training time for you."
"Learn well and protect better. You may be all that stands between that loving cub and the horrors that will scar them forever if you fail." I knew that I could protect and guard my Stevey. I just hoped that I would be good enough given what was sure to come.
"Trainees, I want you to move through the doors to the side and break up into groups of no more than ten. You must begin training NOW, before our time is over. Do not falter, and may the Great Spirit watch over you in all of your duties." He threw his great head back and let loose a great howling roar which we all reacted to. None of us were as loud or as powerful as him.
We all turned and walked out the door and started breaking into smaller groups. Thankfully our time away from the cubs was much greater for us than for them so that we had the time to do this. I ended up in a group with eight others. Some were the standard brown fur. We also had a polka dot one with a big bowtie, an astronaut with his own jetpack and a rock n' roll bear with a guitar slung on his back and an amazing cowlick on his head.
Every type of teddy bear was represented, but no others animals. We were just finishing greetings when another bear joined us. He had a scar on his face and his eyes were mismatched.
"Greetings I am Fugwhump. I have been training newbie's for years now. My little ones are not so little anymore and only need me at night. The night terrors are larger and scarier but the times have changed. They do not feel or fear the little fears anymore, so I have more time to train you so that you too can defend your cubs. They will need it as they are so small and defenseless."
"There are things you need to do when you come here for training. Talk amongst yourselves. You all come from different areas of the world. You will all have different approaches and fighting styles. Share your knowledge and let all grow strong from this, as there are fewer of us than there once was so we must all fight better and harder. Not all use the roar and strike; learn different techniques from your brothers and keep the enemy guessing."
"Now, before we start your first lessons are there any questions from any of you here? The Master says there are no wrong questions. You must ask if you do not know."
I put my paw up hesitantly. Fugwhump immediately nodded at me and I nodded back. "Master, when we went into the auditorium I saw that there were so few of us. With all the cubs in the world should there not be more of us to protect them? Where are the rest?"
Fugwhump nodded gravely and looked around at the rest of the group. "He speaks well and thinks. The world is different now than it was just a few years ago. There are fewer bears and more of the other animals. Parents have lost touch with their old ways and ignore what they knew when they were young. Now they bring mice, ducks, rabbits and every other creature in to comfort the cubs and in doing so they have weakened the defenses against what wait's below. Because of this we must fight harder and stronger than ever before." He shook his head. "I talk too much. Now, we must begin training. Are there any more questions?"
Again I put my paw up and Fugwhump again nodded at me.