Writing Group: Hold My Bear (PRIVATE)

Hello, Toy Owners and Collectors!

Do you have a favourite plush or toy? Was it a gift from someone special, or is it just one you’ve had since you were very young? Perhaps it’s time to look at that inner child we all have, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Hold My Bear

RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

We’ve all had our favourite plushies and toys at one time or another. Some of us even still have them, no matter how old we get. They can be sentimental, or just provide comfort in times of need. Big or small, their sizes have never mattered when it came to filling our hearts with joy.

You could tell us about your particular favourite plush toy, what it meant to you or maybe even what it helped you through. Perhaps you want to tell about the one bear you’ve had for years that you always take with you to the dentist, or maybe the giant bear your mother gave you one Christmas that became your venting bear. The bear big enough for you to hug and squeeze, and bury your face into and cry your heart out when things got tough.

Perhaps you want to explore a parent or older sibling handing off their cherished plush to the youngest member of the family. Maybe it’s a tradition to pass down the toy on a specific birthday, or it could just be in the moment when the elder sees the younger needs something to give them comfort or just a friend. You can even reverse this scenario for an entirely new dynamic; maybe a child sees their older sibling or their parent having a hard, stressful time, and able to empathize with those emotions, they lend their favourite toy to the elder as a gesture of kindness in hopes to make things even a little bit better.

Regardless of which plush’s stories you choose to share with us, we’ll cherish them with all our hearts and keep them close. We’ll take good care of them.

So choose your little— or even big— soft, squishy friend, and share with us what wonderful adventures you two have had together.

—Shawna

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    7. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    7. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    8. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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jesse fisher
jesse fisher
6 months ago

Huggbees
By Jesse Fisher

“So what’s the stuffed animal that Cyan has?” A masked eel naga in a long black robe spoked as she looked at the dragon hybrid. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a creature like that.”

“Well it was a gift from one of my cousins that traveled the multiverse and brought it back once they learned I had a child.” The Metallic sand yellow dragon in a toga explained holding her child. “They said it was a common comfort toy for those that lack a sibling to hug at night.”

Cyan was more or less ignorant of what the adults were saying as they snuggled into their mother’s arm and body as their stuffed companion was held in their arms. The rounded features fascinated them as it reminded them of the other two kids and thought of something.

A quiet pop and the hybrid with a stuffed companion left the warmth of it’s mother. It did not go unnoticed as both the mother and eel naga knew where Cyan was going.

A set of fraternal twins sat in their nursery playing with building blocks as their wolf father sit in the room watching them as they played.

“If my timing is right, Cyan will appear here any moment now.” He said offhandedly as he looked down to the book he was reading. “They normally appear for a play date.”

The pop was a clear sign that he was right, and the twins knew it as well. The wolf just waited because he knew someone would come for Cyan.

The three children meanwhile looked at each other before Cyan held out their stuff companion as if a trade pointing to the two other kids. The twins shrugged and crawled over to the hybrid and when one took the stuffed toy, Cyan hugged the other. The unhugged twin handed the toy to the hugged one and Cyan would swap siblings.

MasaCur
MasaCur
6 months ago

Don’t Hold My Bear
By MasaCur

Gendo marched up to his sister. “You. Me. Training grounds. Now.”

Mafuyu looked up at her twin brother, her expression characteristically blank. “If you insist.” She stood up and adjusted her scarf.

“Don’t take that tone with me!”

“I am taking no tone with you,” Mafuyu said, her voice flat.

Gendo grumbled as he stalked to the sparring grounds.

“Children! Don’t hurt each other! And dinner will be in thirty minutes!” Mizaru called out.

“I promise I will not permanently harm my brother, Mom,” Mafuyu replied.

“And you won’t!” Gendo said, whirling. “Today’s the day I finally beat you.”

Mafuyu shrugged, her expression unchanging.

The two squared off against each other. Gendo made the first move.

“Higuma, come forth!”

A large brown bear materialised in front of him.

“Get her, Higuma!”

Mafuyu placed her hands on her knees and crouched down. Her lips curled up into a rare, almost goofy smile.

“Who’s a good bear! You are! Yes, you are!”

Higuma tilted its head to the side, regarding the teenage girl.

“Come on, Higuma! Take her down!” Gendo urged.

The bear lurched forward, pinning Mafuyu to the ground.

She let out a squeal.

Gendo wondered if he maybe was overdoing it. Although if Mafuyu wanted to be a ninja, she should have some ability to defend herself.

His doubts were suddenly erased when he heard giggling beneath the bear.

“Higuma, what are you doing?” Gendo cried.

The bear rolled onto its back. Mafuyu laid on its belly, laughing.

“Silly bear! You like these scritches, don’t you?” Her fingers kneaded at the bear’s sides.

Higuma let out a content roar.

“Stop that! Higuma is my bear!” Gendo stalked toward his sister.

Mafuyu sat up, her face expressionless once again. She unwound her scarf, then tossed it at Gendo. It magically wrapped around his wrists and ankles, causing him to fall to the ground.

“Let me go!” Gendo yelled.

The scarf wrapped around his mouth, muffling his cries.

“Come on, Higuma,” Mafuyu said. “Dinner will be ready soon.” She picked Gendo up and tossed him on the bear’s back.

WolfsbaneX
WolfsbaneX
6 months ago

“Bear Against Fish”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane

The animals in the market barked, bleated, and clucked as the nine interlopers walked through the town. The tallest among the strangers – a large yokai with a greenish mane on his shoulders and chest, horns protruding from the back of his head, and a mouth twisted into a forced smile – stepped before his fellows and cracked his neck.

A nervous vender, an old blue skinned yokai with floppy ears, a big nose, and a lolling tongue, approached the green yokai. “Pardon me, oh honorable nigawarai. Is there anything I can–”

Before he could finish, the larger yokai took a lumbering step forward and forced his shoulder into the old vender’s face. Blood splattered on the street, and the vender hit the ground hard.

“Listen here, you spineless wimps!” he roared. “Starting today, me and my gang are in charge of all of you! Hand over your money, your goods and whatever else you got!”

The eight yokai behind the nigawarai cackled as they took out large sacks. Livestock brayed, hissed and squeaked in panic. Children embraced their parents and cried. Even adults couldn’t keep the worry off their faces.

As the first ruffian approached a stall, greedy fingers stretched out to take, a streak of green-gray struck the yokai. It rolled back to the group end over end before stopping at the leader’s feet. The nigawarai looked up to see a being in priestly robes. Under his hat, a fish-like head peered out.

“Sirs, I believe you overstep,” the fish priest said, calm and clear as a meditative bell. “You are all rich from your banditry. Leave these people at once.”

The nigawarai guffawed at the little fish man. “Don’t deny me, priest! Might makes right, does it not? The only reason you challenge me is because you have the might to do so.”

“I disagree. Leave. Now.”

The nigawarai’s smile faded. “Very well, then. If you can stop me, we shall leave! And I should warn you, my bear-style techniques are strong!”

The fish priest took a fighting stance. “I accept your challenge.”

The nigawarai smiled genuinely. “Good.”

i-prefer-the-term-antihero
i-prefer-the-term-antihero
6 months ago

[Removed]

Last edited 4 months ago by i-prefer-the-term-antihero
Rattus
Rattus
6 months ago

Pushing the Limit
by Gerrit (Rattus)

The pills were chalky and dry in Belgran’s mouth, the powder working its way into every crevice within his mouth.

“My Lord, are you sure this is a good idea?” General Tahuametl urged concern, but Belgran paid him no mind. What did he know, anyway?

Four pills. That was more than he’d ever risked before. With all the shavings and trimmings condensed into each one, by his reckoning the four combined would be more potent than a vial of blood.

“Your job is not to ask questions, General. Now leave me, and do not unlock that door until you hear the knock we agreed upon.”

General Tahuametl bowed deeply before retreating through the open door, slamming it shut behind him. The sound of the heavy iron crossbar banging down on the other side echoed through the thick door.

Belgran felt warmth spread through his body, as his abilities began to take effect. The hair on his arms grew thicker, his fingernails sharpening almost to claws. The bear’s strength flooded his muscles as his vision clouded around the edges.

He could feel his sanity slipping, as the bear’s will fought to take over. He had ingested more animal essence than ever before, and his humanity struggled to maintain control.

Each exhale was ragged and raspy, almost more of an animalistic growl than a groan. He looked around the room, the feral instincts within him looking for an escape. The only door was the one Tahuametl had locked, and even with his newfound strength he wouldn’t be able to make it budge.

As his Invoking reached its peak, and the bear’s essence reached its fullest, he was relieved to find himself still in control. His sanity was tenuous and required much of his focus, but he was still human.

With a little more practice, he could push it down even further. He’d be able to keep up his humanity without a second thought and reap the benefits of his power.

Then nobody could prevent him from claiming his seat at the top of the world.

Sasha
Sasha
6 months ago

In My Pocket
By Sasha

It was getting difficult to tell where I was bleeding and where my muscles were burning with effort. My vision was starting to get clouded. I couldn’t keep this up for long.

I saw the wizard preparing his black magic again, tensing to jump away, as he launched a beam crackling with energy, a smell of ozone reaching me moments before I dove out of the way.

I struggled to get up, to prepare to dodge again. What else could I do?

Out of habit I reached for my weapon, but I knew it wasn’t there. It was still in the village, mounted on a wall. But I was surprised to find something in the weapon’s place.

The memory flashed before my eyes at the same time as recognition, looking at the small stuffed bear.

“Here, for if you’re cold on your adventure!” The little girl had said, presenting her prized possession to me. I had made a great show of putting the bear on my belt.

Distracted by memories, I almost forgot to dodge the next attack.

I had to do something, I couldn’t keep doing this…

“Hey, you!” I called out, sounding weaker than I’d hoped.

The wizard made no noise, but a low and powerful hum seemed to emanate from him, which I took for a response.

“Hold this!” And I threw the toy, with as much strength as I could spare, at the same time running toward the wizard, hoping he was distracted.

A desperate plan, but it worked.

He was surprised for no longer than a moment, but I was able to tackle him to the ground, punching and hitting whatever I could see, frantically trying to tear apart anything that seemed magical. I would guess I hardly looked like a hero, at that point.

Soon enough, he had taken enough of a beating, or I had taken enough of his protection away, and he passed out. Panting from the effort, holding back tears of relief, I fainted as well.

I’d have to thank the girl for the bear, later.

Glaceon373
Glaceon373
6 months ago

The Figurine
by Carrie (Glaceon373)

I waited at the bus stop, cleaning my sunglasses and adjusting my hat. It was a lovely evening, and I was happy to be alone with my thoughts.

Suddenly, someone skidded to a stop right in front of me, black boots leaving a mark on the sidewalk. “Hey,” she gasped for breath, “you waiting for a bus?”

I paused, then nodded.

“When will it get here?”

I glanced at my watch. “About ten minutes.”

“Lovely. Can you hold onto this for me? I’ll be right back.”

She placed an oddly-cylindrical gray handbag next to me and darted up the street.

I sat there, temporarily frozen, then returned to cleaning my sunglasses.

Almost a minute later, two more people, both dressed like security personnel, abruptly stopped in front of me. “Excuse me,” one of them asked, “have you seen any suspicious characters pass by here?”

I shook my head. They continued running up the street.

Not long after, another pair of people ran up to me and asked the same question. I answered the same way. As I did for the next group. And the next.

After the fourth time, I felt the handbag shake. I’d forgotten it was there, honestly. But now it quivered and wiggled concerningly.

I swallowed the forming lump in my throat and, with care, dragged the zipper of the bag open. I leaned closer to peer inside.

The light of the setting sun caught facets of a carved figurine of a bear, made of some purple-tinted rock. Currently, it wasn’t moving.

I rezipped the bag quickly, remembering something. The advertisement splattered across the bench I was currently sitting on.

A new museum exhibit about ghosts had just entered town, and the picture in the center of the ad was the exact image of the figurine sitting next to me.

My heart thudded in my chest as I pieced it all together.

I put my sunglasses back on, took off my hat, and buttoned up my jacket. When that bus got here, I’d leave the bag behind.

And, hopefully, I’d left no fingerprints on that zipper.

NocteVesania
6 months ago

My Hero (The Iron Rose Collection)
By NocteVesania

Splintering wood and clangs of steel rang out as the two airships clashed. The Caruso, a behemoth of a freighter, had crashed into the Iron Rose, leaving a nasty gash across its hull. Belle and Zeke rallied their ragtag crew of pirates as soldiers of the Imperial Navy, once hidden in the Caruso’s cargo hold, streamed into the battered frigate, determined to end the conflict once and for all.

Backed into a corner, Belle fought fiercely against her foes. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Zeke, blades locked with an enemy officer. Behind him, however, stood another soldier, his blade raised, ready to strike.

“No!” she yelled, throwing her weight towards the soldier, shoving him over the railing. She landed on the hardwood deck with a thud.

Zeke pushed his foe away as he turned around. He called out, “Belle!”

As Belle opened her eyes, she found the enemy captain looking down at her. He gave Belle a sinister smile and, without hesitation, kicked her overboard.

Before she could react, Belle found herself plummeting through the clouds. Hopeless, she closed her eyes, awaiting the embrace of the ground below.

Fwoosh!

What Belle met was not the cold, hard dirt, but something rather soft and fluffy. She opened her eyes to a massive brown bear, with oversized buttons as eyes and fur silken to the touch. She grinned from ear to ear.

“Major Bear-tholomew?!”

“I promised your niece, Erina, I’d keep you safe,” the Major replied with a wink. “You still have a battle to win, so you need to wake up, Belle. Belle. Belle!”

Belle opened her eyes to Zeke, already dressed in his uniform.

“Hey, come on,” Zeke said, “we’re approaching the Caruso.”

“I’ll be out in a sec. Thanks.” She glanced down and found the familiar stuffed bear in her embrace.

Zeke smiled. “I didn’t know you had a cute side.”

“I SAID I’LL BE OUT IN A SEC!”

Zeke chuckled and stepped out.

Sitting up, Belle gently placed the bear on her pillow. “Thanks, Erina,” she whispered, “and I’m counting on you, Major Bear-tholomew.”

Adrian Solorio
Adrian Solorio
6 months ago

Spear and Claw
By Adrian Solorio

Death approached. Anders could feel it. He shivered on his perch, an outcropping hidden above the cave, but otherwise did not move. Spear held tight, he waited. The moon rose and fell, and soon a pink band glowed on the horizon. Then, as if the Gods themselves were warning Anders away, a biting gale, swirling and snow-filled, screamed down the mountain. Death is certain this morning, it screeched—or so it seemed. Whether it was bear or man destined to die mattered not for Anders. His only concern was for the lives of his family.

Four days had passed since he had left the village. By then the plague had killed most everyone. His wife and son had begun showing the first signs of the sickness. Five days. He had five days before death took them. To save them, said the shamans, he would need the mythical pelt of the Great White Bear.

With images of his sick family clouding his mind, Anders’ resolve remained as hard as his spear’s iron tip. He could see them now—in the swirling snow—he could see them. Lying in the hut on the edge of the village, fighting to breathe, fighting to survive.

A long while passed. Anders weakened. His back stiffened, his fingers numbed and grayed, and his eyes strained with weariness. The billowing snow calmed and fell placidly. The sun grew on the skyline chasing the last of the straggling stars which dulled before disappearing. Exhausted, the spear in Anders’ hand grew heavy, his shoulders sagged, and soon, though he fought against it, his eyes closed, and sleep overtook him.

It was the heat of the Great Bear’s breath which startled Anders awake. He opened his eyes to the sight of the black snout inches from his face. His fingers fumbled for the spear, brushed against it, but were too numb to grasp it. When the great bear reared up and swiped down with all its might, Anders did not scream.

He opened his eyes. And smiled. On a grassy field, wife and son, laughing, ran to him.

Last edited 6 months ago by Adrian Solorio
Marx
Marx
6 months ago

I’m Disinclined to Acquiesce to Your Request
By Marx

Drawn outside by the sounds of battle, Matt wasn’t surprised to find Mara as one of the combatants. But what did surprise him was when he realized that Mara was fighting a bear.

There was so much wrong with that visual alone until Matt put together that he recognized the bear his demon familiar was currently grappling with, and a smile crossed his face.

“Hi Artio.”

The bear looked over as she was called, unintentionally giving Mara an opening to pin her down and win the contest. Given that Mara was the size of a human and Artio was… well… a bear, this looked absolutely absurd and Matt couldn’t hold in his laughter.

The absurdity faded at least somewhat when Artio shifted into her human form. While this form still would have towered over Mara, it wasn’t the ridiculous size disparity that tickled Matt initially.

Despite being on the losing side, Artio gleefully giggled and looked over to Matt. “Mara’s so strong! You want to wrestle me next?”

“No… no, I’m good.” Matt chuckled back.

Artio’s face fell into a pout as Mara released her. “Awww, why not? It’s the first day of Spring!”

Mara grinned wickedly and reached up to put her arm around Artio’s shoulder. “Well, you see… when a boy likes a girl and they wrestle in the woods on the first day of Spring, nine months later a stork swoops down and-”

“Mara, behave!” Matt’s eyes narrowed as Mara stifled her own laughter.

“Come on, Matt… Don’t be boring!” Artio puffed out her cheeks. “Play with me!”

“Yeah, Matt. Play with her.” Mara blurted out before quickly covering her mouth at Matt’s renewed glare.

With a roll of his eyes, he sighed in defeat. “How about we play tag?”

Artio’s eyes shot wide in excitement. “Oh! How do we play?”

“You run. I hunt you. Mara already has a head start.” Matt indicated towards the currently empty space next to the bear deity.

“I’ve never been on THIS side of a hunt before!” Artio giggled loudly and vanished into the woods.

Matt sighed and started counting.

Eddy
6 months ago

The Right to Bear Stars
by Alexsander Edwards

“You know,” Dionysus said to Hermes, visibly drunk while looking at his wrist-sundial, “I was supposed to be at a party right now, but hearing the old man squirm about that nymph is so much fun!”

Nearby, Zeus, reeking of cheap deodorant and sweat, defended himself. Or, rather, tried to.

“Why do I have to hold the bear?” he asked.

“Zeus, for the love of Us,” the voice of Artemis cut through her father’s poor attempts at talking his way out. “You can’t just go around doing your… thing and expect us to just wait with our arms crossed!”

The God of Thunder and Lord of the Skies looked around as his cheeks blushed. Around them, other gods watched the commotion – Hera, managing to look angrily remorseful; Ares, entirely bored; and Dionysus, grabbing a bucket of popcorn and holding bets with Hermes.

“I mean, I don’t see why I should take care of someone who can’t deal with shapeshifting,” Zeus continued digging his own hole while trying to defend himself. “Especially when I wasn’t even the one who turned her into a bear!”

Hera’s voice echoed through the halls. “YOU MOTHER-”

“Hah! It’s funny ‘cause it’s true!” Dionysus yelled back.

“Callisto. Was my. Apprentice!” Artemis replied, ignoring the commotion, “AND YOU HAD THE GALL TO MIMIC ME WHEN WOOING HER!”

“Well, she should’ve adapted hers-”

“If you finish that sentence I’mma fucking kill you.”

Zeus blinked in incredulity. Somewhere in the back he could hear Dionysus yelling “A-hah! Told you we’d get Cronus 2.0!” followed by the sounds of obols changing hands and of Ares sharpening a scythe. Shivers went down the Thunder God’s spine.

“And, uh… if I say yes,” he slowly backtracked, “can I just tell Atlas to-”

“No.”

“No, no, hear me out: what about a lovely little constellation?”

Artemis paused, leering her father.

“You know,” Zeus continued, “she’ll be immortalized! And, uh… praised. Forever!”

Artemis sighed. “Okay, fine,” she said after a moment, “but I’ll be watching you.”

“Us damn it!” Dionysus yelled as he stormed off, “I bet all my obols on this crap!”

Last edited 6 months ago by Eddy