The Little White Tiger
If you were to ask me if humans were real, then I would say, "Yes, yes, they are." In fact, I was created by one. My creator was an odd human. He gave me life with words that were as old as time. He kept me on the top shelf of a bookshelf filled with others stuffed creatures. Day after day, I watched him. I learned that my creator was a well-known stuffed toy maker. People with children would come to his door and ask him to create stuffed toys. He would comply and make a stuffed creature.
Oddly, he never gave those stuffed animals life. He would use different fabrics and a different stuffing. I found it strange that he would do that. It made me curious as to why my creator would do such a thing. Among the stuffed animals that were made, only a small amount of us are brought to life.
I had seen him sew together bears and rabbits, and whispering words of life to them. I had seen him switch from stuffing, and sewing stuffed toys together with cloth enchanted with magic, to life sized dolls made from the bones of dead creatures.
His first was a doll that had the size and features of a ten year old boy. The doll had deep green eyes and dark blue hair. I found it odd that my creator would make such a doll and so did the others. But I did not care to question him. Even though I was alive and could move on my own, I never left my place. The teddy bear next to me had also sat next to me, but sadly he didn't come to life. Unlike me, he couldn't accept the ancient magic that my creator had offered. I often asked him what did he think of the new doll, but of course, he never answered. It made me wonder why my creator would create a doll and if he just wanted a son. No one came by asking him to make a human doll.
When the first doll was finished, my creator whispered the same words of life to him. At first the doll don't dare to move. All of us stuffed creatures held our gazes at the doll, wondering if it would move. Hours later, he still didn't move. My creator was about to give up when suddenly, the doll's eyes blinked. I felt my stuffed body stiffen for an unknown reason. My eyes had locked gazes with the doll's deep green eyes.
It was then, when I realized that this doll is real. No, not like me.
I mean, it was like it became a true human. He breathed like one, blinked like one, moved like one, and stared like one. I say this because I saw behind his eyes was an emotion. As a doll that was given life, I know what emotions are. My emotions, however, didn't come until months later.
My creator followed the doll's eyes to me. I sank down to my belly as he stared at me.
"Are you looking at the white little tiger?" my creator asked. The doll nodded and reached toward me. I watched my creator ruffle the doll's hair and walk up to the shelf. He stopped with his hands reaching toward me and gestured me to come to him. I gave him a reluctant look as I readied myself for the small jump. With a strong will, I jumped.
"Good girl, Yume." he said as he caught me under my front legs. He pulled me close and gently handed me over to the doll. The doll took me into his hands and stared at my eyes. His hands were warm and soft, just like my creator. I let out a muffled cry when the doll suddenly hugged me.
"I want her." he said as he looked up to my creator. I turned my head to face my creator. He smiled and patted the doll's head.
"Then you may have her." he said. I looked at the doll with shock. Several of the other stuffed animals gasped in surprise. Our creator never allowed anyone to keep us. It was like an unspoken rule.
"What is her name?" the doll asked. My creator brushed the white and black striped fur behind my ear with an apologetic smile. I knew that he didn't want to hand me over to the doll.
"Her name is Yume. In another language, it means dream. She is very dear to me and was made with the finest fur of two different Critaras. Her eyes were crafted by the finest glass smith with fragments of aquamarine. Her stuffing was the softest cotton that I could find. She is my finest stuffed animal I have created." my creator said. The doll blinked and held me an arms length away.
"Yume...then what's my name?" he asked as he tilted me left and right. I wanted him to let me go, but something was telling me to just allow him to hold me.
"Your name is Mark." my creator said as he placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
After that day, the doll, Mark, always held me. The only times he placed me down is when he was worried that he'll hurt me. I found it odd how he acted like a real child. He knew he was a doll and never seemed to really care. He cared about my well-being, even though I was just a stuffed animal. Sometimes I would walk over to him and play tiny games of tag.
Strangely, I noticed that the doll was more than just a doll. He felt real, warm. Like a real human child. I couldn’t believe that my master’s gift could do such a thing. This doll had officially became a real child.
My creator returned to making stuffed animals for children and allowed Mark to roam around the small toy shop with me in his arms. The seasons changed and soon became winter. I was able to see frost creep at the window of the toy shop and the snow covered streets outside. I watched Mark run out of the store and play in the snow with a wide smile. My creator only watched with a small smile.
“Yume, what do you think of the child?” he asked me one day while Mark was playing in the snow. I looked at him and answered in my special way.
“He’s an odd doll, if that's what you're asking. But...he's an innocent child.” I said as I puffed my chest out. “I want you to answer a couple questions of mine.”
“Well, it depends, my dear.” he said as he leaned on the counter of his shop. I looked over my creator and admired his appearance. His face was young and wise. If I were to say his age, I would say that he was the age of a man in his early twenties. His blonde, messy hair fell slightly past his ears and made him look like a noble. His grey eyes were full of love and care and there was never a time where he showed hatred. In all of my life, I have never seen his calm composure ever fall. He was always smiling gently while he sew together the stuffed animals. But when he was making the doll, Mark, his smile had disappeared. He kept a straight face as he made Mark, and it made me worry.
“What made you create him?” I asked. He looked at me with a smile.
“I was asked to by a good friend. I didn’t like the reason why, but desperate times calls for desperate measures.” he answered. He reached over and petted my head. “Next question?”
“Why did you let him have me? You never allowed anyone to even hold us." I flicked my white and black tail. My creator laughed a bit and shook his head.
“I cannot keep you forever, Yume. And besides, I trust you can handle him. He is still one of my creations. Both of you are practically the same.” he said. His hand froze behind my ears and his eyes widened. I lifted my head to look out the window when I felt my creator’s fear. He suddenly swept me into his arms and carried me outside with him. He didn’t bother to grab his coat as he headed out into the cold, snowy street. “Mark!”
The boy looked up from his small snowman. His cheeks were rosy from the cold weather as he smiled at my creator. “Chaseten! Look what I made!”
I craned my head to look past Mark to see any danger that may have been heading toward us. Down the street were two figures dressed in heavy coats. I was suddenly shoved into Mark’s arms by my creator, Chaseten. I could only watch him with worry when I saw the scared expression that shown on his face.
“Creator?” I asked desperately. He took Mark by the shoulder and held him close.
“Mark,” he began as he watched the two figures come closer. The boy looked up. “Whatever happens, never, ever let that tiger go. As long as you have her, sweet dreams will come to you.”
I watched the two figures stop ten feet away. One was a woman with white hair and purple eyes and had a look of seriousness. The other was a grown man who had the appearance of a grandfather. I felt Mark tightened his grip around me.
“Synthina,” Chaseten begged to the woman, “Please, wait a little longer. I promise that I will join you, but I cannot do that. Not yet. My job is yet to be finished!”
I looked over to the woman and saw her pull out a gun. Mark scooted closer to my creator as he watched her lift the gun toward them.
“I’m sorry, Chaseten,” the woman said, “but your duty as the doll maker is over. You have done it well. I never realized that the boy before us is a doll.”
“Chaseten, who are these people?” Mark asked innocently. My creator smiled at him and ran a hand through his hair.
“They are people doing their jobs, Mark.” he said. His voice shook slightly as he caught my eye.
“Creator, what is going on?” I asked him. He glanced over to the woman and her companion. We all heard a small click. My creator suddenly moved in front of us when a loud bang cut through the crisp, cold, empty air. I felt Mark stiffen when my creator suddenly fell over. I watched in horror when I saw Chaseten’s eyes were closed and a pool of red surrounded him as it stained the pure, white snow.
“Chaseten!” Mark cried out as he fell to his knees in horror, holding me in a death grip. I felt extreme sadness fall upon me when I realized that my creator wouldn’t get up again.
Death. The term that I could never understand until now.
Loud, crunching footsteps approached us and I stared at the woman with fear. She knelt down and smiled sadly. My fur was getting damp from the tears that fell endlessly from Mark’s eyes.
“Don’t cry, Mark,” she soothed. “He’s just sleeping. As a creation of the Toy Maker, you should know as well as I do that he has finished his work.”
She took Mark into her arms and allowed him to weep. As I was mushed in between her and Mark, I saw her companion smile darkly.
If you were to ask me if humans were real, then I would say, “Yes, yes, they are.” Humans are cruel beings who lie, cause each other pain, and kill each other off. But some have a warm heart full of care and love. In fact, my creator was once a human who created a doll and brought things to life. A human who wanted to fulfill his duty as a Toy Maker. A human who gave his life for his creations.
And I, Yume, the little white tiger that had watched my creator live and die, have proved that humans are, in truth, real.