Story: Monty Comes To Life

Joe’s mum dragged him moaning into the charity shop. He had had a long day at school, maths and English aplenty, had been tripped up and sent flying into the mud playing football, and now he wanted to collapse in front of the TV with a can of coke. Instead here he was, stamping his foot as his mum looked round agonisingly slowly at the clothes which hung from racks.

“You already have a dress why do you need another one?!” Groaning, he gave in, and kicking the ground with his feet he walked over to the DVD and CD section of the shop. Browsing through with not much interest, he sighed and turned round. Seeing something which caught his eye, he wandered over to the cabinet which contained jewelry and the like. Reaching inside, he picked up a heart shaped box carved out of wood. Inside was a pendant. It was a monkey, beautifully designed; the silver had been perfectly crafted and bright vivid colours had been delicately painted into it to emphasise every detail of the monkey. It hung on a silver chain. Joe looked at the pendant with great curiosity. Who would wear a pendant with a monkey on it? All his sister’s necklaces had flowers or crosses hanging from them.

Picking up the pendant Joe asked the shopkeeper, an elderly gentleman, if he could try it on. The gentleman smiled and nodded. Feeling slightly foolish, as he thought such things were only for girls, Joe put on the pendant. It hung so that the monkey was only centimeters away from where his heart would be if it was brought to the forefront of his body. He felt the strangest sensation. His heart was beating slightly faster, and the pendant, which had been cool in his hand, was warming his skin. Joe got the feeling you get when you’re a bit too close to someone and you feel slightly uncomfortable. He had had similar experiences when girls ran up to him in the playground, but why he should feel that here he did not understand. It was as if the pendant had a soul inside it, a living being.

“All right then let’s go” Joe’s mum said, heading to the door with a sigh, disappointed that she hadn’t found anything to her interest. Joe looked at her, then slowly removed the pendant and went to put it back in the case. But he was reluctant to let it go. Seeing his hesitation, the elderly gentleman looked at Joe with a (slightly patronising) kindly look. “Would you like to buy it?” Joe held the pendant for a moment longer then glanced at his mum who was at the door, tapping her foot impatiently and looking at her watch. Regretfully, he slipped the pendant back into the case and turned to leave, shaking his head to the gentleman. He headed outside to join his mum.

But that night Joe couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned so much that he found himself on the floor of his bedroom, having rolled right off his bed. Sitting up, he ran his fingers through his hair in exasperation. What was so special about a pendant? He could understand a new game for his PlayStation Three, or a new Lego set, but he had never even wanted these precious things as much as he wanted the pendant. Shaking his head, he put on his shoes and coat and headed off into the dark.

Joe knew he shouldn’t be about this late at night, but he was desperate to see the pendant again. It didn’t take him long to reach the little shop. Standing outside he wondered how he would get in. His desire was now so great that he even considered smashing a brick through the window, but he thought better of it and continued staring at the shop, as if this would somehow burn a hole through the glass which he could climb through. Then sighing he approached the door with the piece of wire he had brought. Feeling guilty, stupid, and hopeless at the same time, but nevertheless not being able to stop himself, he eased the wire into the lock, certain that this couldn’t work. And indeed, after what must have been at least half an hour, he was no nearer to getting inside the shop. Sighing, he kicked the door in frustration; to his surprise he saw it budge open. In disbelief Joe cautiously pushed the door, this time with his hand; the door opened. Why hadn’t they locked the door at night? Maybe they thought that no-one was immoral enough to steal from a charity shop. This made Joe feel guilty, but he reminded himself that he wasn’t stealing. He just wanted to look.

Walking in he tried to turn the light on, but to no avail. The central power switch must be off. Feeling with his hands he cautiously moved in the direction of the cabinet, taking time to knock into a vase which lay on the floor. He lifted it up, thankful it hadn’t smashed. After much careful searching he found the cabinet. Opening the door, he reached for the case which the pendant was in, remembering with surprising accuracy exactly where it was, as if some magnetic force drew him towards it. Opening it, he looked at the pendant in shock. It was glowing faintly, and seemed to be trembling like a faint heartbeat. Joe was struck more forcefully with the idea that the pendant was alive now. Picking it up, he wandered around the room slowly looking at it in wonder, using the faint light to make sure he didn’t crash into anything. He found that the pendant shined with a different intensity according to where he took it. Moving in the direction in which the pendant glowed most brightly, he stumbled into a pile of toys on the floor.

Slowly he crouched to his feet, and using the light of the pendant looked through the toys. He found at the bottom of the pile a teddy bear; a monkey teddy bear. The similarity of the teddy to the pendant was extraordinary; it had the same colour fur, a body with the same proportion, the same smile. The only difference was that the teddy was ruffled, perhaps after long happy years being played with by a loving child. Looking the teddy over, he found a zip on the teddy’s stomach and opened it. Inside there was nothing unusual; just the soft material which made the teddy cuddly. But now the pendant was shining with a shocking intensity; it was like a miniature sun, trembling and giving off so much heat that Joe gave a shout and dropped it. Into the monkey teddy it fell. The teddy’s eyes flickered and then closed.
In disbelief, Joe slowly moved his hand back to the zip and closed it. A second passed by. Then Monty’s eyes opened to see Joe staring at him in wonder.