Status: Complete.

Sound Chip

sound chip.

In a townhouse in Bloomsbury, on a particularly cloudless night, two stuffed animals sit wedged in the corner of a windowsill. In the faintly glowing room, a whirring, clicking sound resonates from the head of the teddy.

Something doesn’t feel right, not to the bear’s churning gut, not to the raising of hairs along his entire body, and certainly not to his broken sound chip, nestled underneath layers of cotton, stuffing, and plastic.

A soft tune starts up in his left ear and passes to his right.

Now, now, now.

He looks about him at a broken wooden sword before his dull eyes shift to the torn stuffed rabbit a slinky length away.

“It’s starting again,” rasps the decrepit bunny. A clump of fluff escapes his neck, and his head hangs by a couple yellowing threads.

Faintly, the two can hear a pair of loud voices a floor below them.
The music inside the teddy’s head morphs into something faster and the clink of piano keys quickens; he is sure the same is happening within the rabbit’s.

Go, go, go.

“It’ll get better.” The music fades into background noise. “Michael won’t give up,” he continues, and in a whisper, says, “He won’t let his Tootles and Nibs leave.”

The bunny does not reply as he fights his own sound chip.

The house runs on a dwindling supply of dust, and Tootles truthfully wouldn’t be surprised if their supply were depleted that day.

Violins join the medley of instruments inside his head, and he begins to shake.

Now, now, now.

“If we’re going to leave, it needs to be tonight,” Nibs croaks as Michael and his mother bring their argument upstairs. “She won’t let him keep us after this row.”

Tootles turns his head and watches the bunny’s ears flick.

A snare drum joins the music, and he struggles against the crescendo only he can hear.

Their voices carry clearly through the open door.

“…need to stop it this instance. Make-belief can only go so far, Michael.”

Tootles is aware that Nibs has started to mutter, but the ever-present tune within his furry head overpowers his sight and hearing.

Go now, go now, go now.

He doesn’t want to give up on the child. He and Nibs are the only souvenirs Michael has left of his childhood, but it is an unspoken rule for toys to leave when childhood vanishes.

“Okay,” he finally whispers. “Okay.”

Tootles scoots over to Nibs, and they prepare to take the same route as others before them. It is quick for the rabbit as Tootles rips out the sound chip and tosses it aside.

“Michael, I won’t have you insisting upon…”

He slips a paw into the seam at his neck and closes it around his own chip. A swift tug later, and the music ceases for him, too.

In a townhouse in Bloomsbury, on a particularly cloudless night, two stuffed animals sit wedged in the corner of a windowsill. In the dark room, there is silence.
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Did anyone get the references? Bloomsbury, Tootles, Nibs, Michael. I'll let you pause here to think about it if those names ring a bell.

They're references to Peter Pan, prompted by a line from Hamlet.

This short story is what I imagine Michael (youngest of the Darling children) going through after John and Wendy have grown up and forgotten Neverland. This one-shot is him losing his childhood through his toys' (Tootles and Nibs, named after two of the Lost Boys) eyes.

Comments? I'm rusty with my writing.