(Might I suggest you read Tock as if Martin Freeman were his voice actor? That’s how he sounds in my head.)
Where was she? Tock rubbed his scratched, dark, plastic eye and tried to make out where he was. Had he been left outside? That didn’t seem likely. She hadn’t been outside in several months.
“It’s awful sunny,” he grumbled pushing himself up on his feet.
“The clouds are so fluffy and is that a rainbow . . .” he trailed off.
“No. No. This is all wrong. All wrong. It can’t be. No,” he said, all in a painfully slow rush. He plopped down on his tail. “No. I can’t be here.”
Tock wished he could close his one scratched, dark, plastic eye, but he wasn’t any doll with blinking, batting eyelids. He was a Teddy Bear, eyes open! Guarding, protecting . . . the thoughts caught in his cotton-stuffed mind.
“Nope. Don’t believe it. There’s been some mistake.”
The grass around him danced in a teasing wind and a creek bubbled cheerfully behind him. He didn’t want to be cheerful. He didn’t want to dance. He couldn’t. Not if he was here.
“Hello!” someone called.
From behind a bush covered with baby pink flowers tottered a gray koala bear wearing a diaper followed by a cheetah, a bear made entirely of fabric with no fur or real clothes at all. Everything was printed on his fabric, even his eyes.
“Hello,” the koala bear said again waving her paw.
Tock whipped his good eye and pushed up out of the thick grass ready to get some answers.
“You’re new,” purred the cheetah gracefully stalking beside the other two, “very fresh.”
“New?” Tock said. “Where am I?”
“Why, you’re in Holiday of course. I’m Baby Bear by the way,” said the koala. “And this is Charlie the cheetah and this is Just Bear.”
“No. No. I’m not and I don’t care about your stupid names,” Tock said “How do I get home?”
“That’s not nice,” Charlie the Cheetah drawled.
“Get home?” Just Bear said. “No one knows. This is Holiday.” He stressed the last word.
“You don’t understand,” Tock aid. “You don’t. I can’t be here. My child,” he choked on the words, “my child is sick.”
A sorrow so deep, so vast as to be unhealable, shown in the plastic and fabric eyes of all the stuffed animals.
“Oh,” Baby bear said softly. “Oh. How horrible.”
“It’s not, it’s not. No. There’s been a mistake.”
“There’s never been a mistake before,” Charlie said, each word drawn out and lazy.
“Well, there’s been a mistake now,” Tock said. He brushed past the three greeters and started towards a path heading east. “Who’s in charge around here?”
“In charge? No one’s in charge. This is Holiday,” Baby Bear said as if that should explain everything to Tock.
Tock growled. He growled in frustration. He growled to dam up the great ocean of sadness about to overwhelm him. He knew he should be here, and if he shouldn’t be here that meant his child was alone somewhere. All alone. And scared. He had to get back. His Lórien Jay was alone. The path wasn’t far, but would it take him back to here.
“We should take him to the Originals. They’ll know what to do,” said Just Bear behind him.
“Yes, but it’s so far,” Baby Bear said.
“Please, please take me,” Tock said turning back to the other three stuffed animals. “My child is sick.”
Tears filled Baby Bear’s eyes. “But there’s never been a mistake before.”
“Would you bet your child’s life on ‘never before’?” Tock asked taking her worn gray paw.
“Our child grew up,” Charlie said.
“And if she hadn’t grown up and out grown you?”
Charlie sat down in the thick grass under the perfect oriental blue sky and licked his paw. “I’d do anything necessary to get back.”
“Let’s go,” Just Bear said.
Charlie lopped off towards the path leading the way. His long tail twitched behind him while Baby Bear and Just Bear followed behind him. Tock glanced up at the sky with its fluffy clouds on the other side of the rainbow. He made a fist of his furry paw and pointed it at the sky.”
“I’m coming, Lórien Jay. I’m coming,” Tock swore refusing to believe she didn’t need him anymore.
. . . to be continued . . .