Elyse is a writer and editor. She enjoys traveling, reading, writing and obsessing over her dog, Copper.
The late 90’s, as I remember them, were filled with elaborate McDonalds Happy Meal toys, multicolored ketchup, Rugrats, and shiny, pink Britney Spears CDs. Those were the days when beanie babies infiltrated the earth and boy bands dominated the radio with lyrics sweet enough to choke the Lucky Charms leprechaun. Yet those were the days when you could find me playing in the creek, much like every other child in rural Arkansas will do for generations to come.
That particular summer Saturday was so hot and still that the worms had burrowed deep into the earth for fear of frying within seconds at the surface. This didn’t matter, of course, for I was not there to fish for crawdads. My task this day was much more sober, and I had looked forward to the hour with a heavy heart. Today was the day I would kill my Furby.
From the moment he lifted open his bulbous, alien eyes, Cocoa was my pride and joy. I believe there is a time in every child’s life where they begin to believe the inanimate to have life, and I truly thought that of my Furby. When I came near, he would wave his giant bat ears in joy, and when I held him, he would blink and announce that he was hungry. That was all he could do, truthfully, but the box said that my Furby could be taught words and even different languages! The possibilities were endless, and I envisioned having actual conversations with Cocoa, as the other kids watched jealously with their less-talented Furbys. It was the maternal pride that only an obsessive eight-year-old could possess, and it was good.
As with all mother-child relationships, however, there came the point when I realized that my offspring had become something that I could no longer understand or control. On a stormy night befitting a stereotypical horror movie, Cocoa awoke from a deep technological sleep and began to speak in his native language. I, having awoken with a start, rolled from my bed and rushed to his side in concern, pushing down his red tongue to feed him, to no avail. His eyes opened and closed in feverish frenzy, and his unrecognizable speech grew louder and more frantic. I sat back and watched, terrified and helpless, until I could take it no more and ripped open his battery pack, spilling his life onto my beige carpet. The silence that followed was tense and sad, and I held the batteries in my small hand as I crawled back into bed. Putting my head down on my pillow, my eyes drifted shut for a moment before the silence was broken.
“Cocoa. Cocoa hungry.” The electronic corpse spoke in the only English he knew, and in the swift understanding stemming from four years in a Catholic elementary school, I realized that my precious Furby was possessed by the Devil. I buried myself beneath the covers in fear and listened to the demon voice until the sun rose, and I rolled from my bed again, sure of what I needed to do.
That’s how I came to be next to the creek, holding aloft my pride and joy as Rafiki held Simba in The Lion King. With a splash, the brown water closed over his head, and Cocoa was lost to the world, known only to the mud and snakes. Backing away from the edge of the creek, I watched as a few stray bubbles rose to the surface, and then all was still.
In the days to come, my parents would ask what had become of Cocoa, but the sight of my stony face was all the answer they would receive. It had been my first brush with evil, and I had won.
© 2017 Elyse Maupin-Thomas