Laying next to the little girl, she listens to the even breathing. The baby’s face is buried underneath a dingy, pink, heart-covered blanket but she’s not worried. The blanket is thin. The baby has had it since she was two. Her favorite thing since her black monkey was taken from her, swept back into the darkness. The woman imagines the stuffed monkey hanging in the thick darkness of that dungeon from a noose made from strands of string. The thought makes her shiver.
The little girl rarely speaks of that monkey. Sometimes she will grow a little sad when she sees pictures of her and it, images from the past that her young mind does not fully grasp, yet the pictures jog something familiar, as does the dull ache in her heart. But she is content with her heart blanket. It has brought her much comfort over the years. It has dried many of her tears, has made her feel safe when she started kindergarten with a new teacher and all new friends, it helped her to relax through the long drive out of town when she and her family went to a magical place where they saw animals of all sorts. She loves her blanket. It is her favorite thing.
The woman used to think often about asking for the monkey back, calling and asking for an official to accompany her back to the Land of Darkness and wait for her while she battled the dangerous demons that dwell within while she rescues the first precious object her small child ever loved. But the thought of being back in that land terrifies her. She fears that even a brief moment inside will infect her and trap her like she was trapped so many years before.
She has searched high and low for the same monkey, it was just an inexpensive thing from an inexpensive store, but it has been irreplaceable. She wonders if it hurts her little girl’s heart to not have it in her life. It hurts the woman’s heart to think it might. But her fear of the darkness makes her want to forget the monkey.
The blanket came into the Little Girl’s life at exactly the right moment. A moment when she needed the most comfort, when she needed something material, when she needed something consistent. It has seen her through fevers, long car rides, a tooth removal, the first day of kindergarten, scary things for such a small person.
The woman thinks of that monkey often and hopes and prays that it faired better than she did in the Land of Darkness. She prays that it wasn’t tortured like she was, that it wasn’t bruised, maimed, broken, beaten and scarred.
She thinks of that monkey and prays that one day it will be able to escape just as she and her soldiers did. She prays that it will be strong just as she and her soldiers did. She prays that if that monkey has any consciousness that it will remember the Little Girl and somehow find it’s way back to her.
But mostly the woman hopes the demon had mercy on the monkey and cast it out of the Land of Darkness for being a lost soul out in the world would be better than being a condemned one in that evil place.