"No, she doesn't", replied Annie's mother, an edge of frustration in her voice. "We can't get her to let go of the damn thing. It's probably the only friend the little snot has..."
Annie sat quietly in the corner, seemingly unaffected by the insults. She rarely ever spoke anyway. She was content to nibble at her meal and stare deeply into Snuggles's eyes, as if they were mentally having a very important conversation with one another.
Snuggles wasn't much to look at. By many little girls' standards, he would be considered ugly. He was old and rather dingy. He had a crooked smile and was covered haphazardly in stitching from the many times he had ripped. Annie took good care of Snuggles, but sometimes her mother, when she was drunk, would try to take her bear from her, which almost always ended in a tug-of-war between the two of them. Annie always won because her mother was a clumsy drunk and Annie was exceptionally strong for a little girl, but Snuggles did not always escape injury. Of course her mother did not care enough to try and mend the teddy bear for her, so Annie always had to do it herself after her mother had passed out for the night.
"Well, can't you make her?", said Ted, his voice laden with contempt. "Little girls should do as they're told. If she were my kid I'd make her." He got up out of his chair, knocking it over in the process. Annie did not react as it clattered to the floor. She did not even look up. She just kept staring into Snuggles's deep black eyes.
Ted stumbles over towards her, the contents of the bottle he was holding splashing all over the floor along the way. "Hey, you stupid little girl! Fucking look at me when I talk to you! Are you deaf or something!?" He pulled his foot back to kick her, but at that moment, Annie looked up. She met his gaze unflinchingly, her steely blue eyes burning into his dull, watery browns. Ted froze, transfixed.
"What is it, Ted!? Did that little bitch hurt you? Why are you just standing there like that?", shouted Annie's mother.
Ted couldn't move. His brain was screaming at his foot to continue forward, but nothing happened. Was he having a seizure or something? He didn't understand. He started to panic, his alcohol-inhibited mind struggling to come up with an answer.
And then he realized. It was Annie. With a mere glance, she had paralyzed him. She had resumed staring at Snuggles now, but Ted still couldn't move. His panic was quickly replaced by a wave of utter terror. And then the pain came. His whole body felt like it was on fire, as if his muscles were being torn apart.
"Please, help me! She's killing me!" As he lost his voice, his screams slowly turned into sobs. "Oh God...I'm sorry...I'm sorry..."
Annie's mother, dazed and confused, finally jumped into action. She grabbed a knife off the counter and started running toward Annie.
Annie looked up again, but this time, she smiled. "Can Snuggles come out to play?", she whispered.
The teddy bear in her hand emitted a pulse of blinding light that filled the room, and when it faded, the teddy bear was no longer there.
Before Annie stood the real Snuggles. He was massive, his head nearly touching the ceiling, but there was no mistaking him. He still had the same scars, the same crooked smile, and the same dark black eyes. Annie let out a shriek of sheer girlish delight as she scrambled onto his shoulder. Snuggles growled in approval.
Together, they turned their gaze toward Ted and Annie's mother. Annie's mother dropped the knife she had still been holding, cowering back into the corner with Ted. "Please...please no....", she whimpered, as Annie and Snuggles slowly moved toward her with ground-shaking steps.
The sound of dying screams rent the night as they mixed with Annie's high pitched laughter.