“Todd” by June Valley


The chains were clanking against the pear tree like chimes in a storm. It was a sickening melody. I stared out the window just to make sure he wasn’t there and then I padded downstairs for dinner. Mama said he wouldn’t bother me anymore. He was gone for good.

The Maloney’s next door had a pet monkey named Todd. They brought him back from a trip to Central America 2 months ago. I’m not sure where that is and I didn’t know monkeys were allowed in New Jersey. Maybe they weren’t. Todd hated me from the second I met him. He was chained to their pear tree in the backyard but it hung over the fence right above the sandbox pop built for me.

On the first day he came I didn’t know he was there until pears were being belted at my head. As I ran to the back door screaming, Todd kept whipping pears at me and hissing and spitting. He was my size but his teeth were very sharp and dripping with saliva. He didn’t like me and I got the feeling he wanted to rip out my throat. I never went out after that if he was chained up there. Mama was afraid he would get loose and hurt me too.

A few nights ago, Todd escaped. My pop said he probably wriggled his leg out of the chains and snuck into the back of Gary Maloney’s pick-up. Well Todd waited for Gary to go to work the next morning. He rode silently in the backseat as Gary drove to the Coca Cola factory off Route 130. He slipped out and hid in a few boxes until the factory closed and everyone left.

Mama said Todd tripped the security alarms and when the cops got there it was a mess. Apparently, Todd had been pretty angry because he had ripped the back and neck right off of the guard dog Shep. Pieces of him were scattered by the entrance. The cops weren’t too happy about it and Todd kept getting away from them. He was pelting them with the coke bottles and destroying the place. He ran out of the factory at one point with the cops right behind him. They said he ran right onto 130 and was hit by a truck. Poof! Nothing left of him. Just his blood and some hair on the grill of the tractor trailer.

I kept my eyes glued to the pear tree while I was brushing my teeth that night. It made me feel uneasy. I asked Mama where Todd’s body went and she said it was best not to talk about such things. She tucked me into bed and I could still hear the chains blowing against the pear tree.

I woke up early and I rolled on my side to take a look out the window and make sure the chains were still empty. My stomach dropped. There on the windowpane was a small, bloody handprint.


June Valley spends her day as a financial analyst crunching numbers and crushing her soul in a tiny cubicle. By night she dabbles in writing, cooking, and imbibing wines.

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