It has been an hour since the Wallace Household began to light up with yells of anger, pleading and betrayal. Toby knew the routine of what to do when his parents began fighting: Go to the Closet. He rushed in there with his supplies-Snacks, Laptop and Noise-cancelling headphones. He shut the door and then waited until the final words rang out.
"FINE!" Sam yelled as he grabbed his coat and ripped it out, and slammed the door on the way out.
"Fine…" Charlotte quietly said as she sat on the couch. Tears threatened to spill from her eyes. She didn’t get it. She did what Dr Madden told her to do. But it didn't improve everything between them. Instead, Sam got upset with her and accused her of spying on him. This was the worst fight that they had in weeks, and she thought she had been improving right after the session they went through. She crawled up into a ball and began to cry.
Her eyes opened as he began to hear footsteps coming down the stairs. "Mom?"
She looked up to see Toby coming down the stairs, his eyes filled with worry. "Tobias,” She weakly called out. He ran to his mom and looked all over her pulling up his sleeve, then and looked into her eyes. "is everything all right? He didn't…" she shook her head, "he would never do such a thing. "We just had a bit of a fight and-"
"You don't have to lie about it; I overheard everything."
Charlotte's flinch at that. "Do you hear what happened then, huh?" "It's not very easy to not listen when you can hear what people are saying." Charlotte's looked away from him."Do you think I'm a bad mother?"
Toby looked up quickly, "what?"
Charlotte: Well..., Dr Madden told me that I wasn't a good mother because I haven't worked anything out with your father or been a good enough example for you.
"What are you talking about? Of course, you're a good mom. I mean, you have your flaws but doesn’t everyone?"
Charlotte: “it's just… do you remember my coworker, Ted….?”
Toby grimaced "yep, I remember him, he's an asshole why- "suddenly he stopped himself. He already knew what she knew meant.
Charlotte: "for the past few months, I have been looking for him for ....support."
His eyes flicker away from his mother from the moment; that explains why she has been going out recently. "So why are you telling me this?”
"I've been talking to Dr Madden about it, and she got upset with me. It doesn't help that she goes to the same church as us." Charlotte took a deep breath "... I, or at the very least, my family believes that husband and wife are supposed to support one another that no matter what you're supposed to stay together, I'm worried….." She shut her mouth. "I shouldn't say.."
"Say what?" Toby pushed.
Charlotte lamented sadly, "I'm worried that we might not love each other anymore, But that can't be true; otherwise, We would have separated by now."
"Or he just doesn't want to do it because he wants to preserve his precious reputation," Toby mumbled, much to Charlotte's horror.
"Tobias!!" She gasped, "Don't say such a thing about him."
He groans, "What did you expect?! I mean, you just found out that he was cheating on you, and of course, you got so desperate. A bunch of men only came to you and just took advantage. It isn't your fault, Mum."
There were a few moments of awkward silence before Toby sighs and spoke again.
"Listen, I don't want to talk about the past or what happened a few minutes ago. I just want to check if you're all right. Now, if you and Sam turned out to be separated, well, that sounds great, but it's ok. I'm not going to blame either of you. I just want to make sure that you guys are alright." Charlotte nodded, not willing to argue but doesn't seem to be inclined to believe.
"Listen, if it makes you feel better, I can give you a hug" Toby held his hands out with a slight smile on his face.
Charlotte looks at him before tears begin to come out of her eyes as she lunged at him with a big hug with a great cry.
"Oof, you really needed one, didn’t you, Mom?."
"Thank you. Thank you." Charlotte added, "I don't know what I would do without you."
"It's ok. We'll..." Toby looked around, and his eyes landed on the remote, "Just watch a game show."
For a few minutes, things seemed ok. Sure, things were getting a lot rougher lately, but even just for this moment, she's happy for somebody to be ok.
But then the TV screen changed to static. Charlotte gazed at the screen, confused. "Toby, did you...?" He shook his head. "No, I didn't even touch the remote."
Then there was a loud ticking sound coming out of the TV. Both looked around quickly for the sound. A small pit appeared in their stomachs as the music began to appear along with the ticking. Before either of them could react, The ticking stopped, and the TV showed several people dressed up in green Costumes appearing onstage. They were happily giggling along with a man wearing a sailor's uniform as the music turned joyful and upbeat.
"Ahoy there, boys and girls! The sailor cried out toward the screen as if he were in the same room.
“Hop aboard the SS Wiggle! We're setting sail for giggles!" He playfully smirked as he waved his hands. "Come on, Sniggles!
The "Sniggles" then skipped into the screen "Yeah!" before breaking into a dance. "Hey everybody!" "We're the Sniggles! Don't be scared!" One of them said happily
That's an odd thing to say to someone. Toby thought as the song started up.
"He's a wiggly snig And a sniggly wiggly;
He's a fwendy-wend That makes you giggly,
He's an underwater creature From out of this world."
They spin around happily as they get closer to the soldier, who seems to be the leader as he holds up the doll.
"His name is wiggly,
And he's here to stay
His belly’s squishy
It puts a smile on your face
Just tickle his belly-well,
and he will say.."
The soldier pushes the button on the toy's belly, and it said
“I wuv you!”
Toby smirked a little and rolled his eyes. that was dumb. But something was still off.
“Uncle Wiley? Where do wiggly come from?” One sniggle asked. The Sailor ‘Uncle Wiley’ gave her what Toby could only describe as an attempt at a smile.
"Well, he's deep down in drowsy town. Sleeping the dreamless sleep of the dead!" He answered in a creepy tone,
"Well, how are we gonna wake him up, Uncle Wiley?" Another sniggle asked
"Oh, you'll just have to pick up your own Wiggly this Black Friday! "
Toby looked at his mother, noticing her eyes widened a bit.
"Yeah!" The sniggle cheered as they danced around the set.
"He's all that you wanted.
He’s all that you needed
for this Holiday Season
When Wiggly takes over
Your hearts, and your soul, Girl, boy
The world will be a
Playground full of magic and Sniggle songs"
They sang, their voice going up and down in excitement.
Toby felt a familiar chill up his spine. Something very, very wrong with this song. He's never been the type to overthink lyrics that much, but they don't feel like something you expect in the Christmas commercial. He shifted a bit. "Mom, I think I might have-"
"Toby..." Charlotte whispered, "I just need you to stay here for a moment." She turns toward him. He thought he noticed a bit of green flashed in her eye. "I just need someone right now.”
Toby felt his heart pound a bit before taking a deep breath. Why does he think that way about his mom? She just needs someone to be with after the fight. Despite every bone in his body screaming at him to get up and run or shut off the TV., he sat there and shook his head. It's just a stupid commercial, a stupid childish commercial. I shouldn't be scared of one. It's just a silly commercial, He repeatedly thought. But his Mum placed her arm around him, and he felt a bit better.
He'll snuggle your stocking up.
“-For those days of twelve
This Christmas, wiggle with Wiggly
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle
Wiggle his way to life!”
The commercial suddenly, as it appeared it ended, revealing a game show. Both Toby and Charlotte look at the TV blankly for the moment. Then a sound of laughter begins Echo throughout the room. Charlotte turned around only to see Toby laughing.
“You Like It?”
Toby gave her a weak smile as he shook his head.
"No...I mean, not really..." He doesn't know that best and not so weird way to say, "I'm just happy that goddamn creepy song just ended, and I don't feel like I have a heart attack" He shrugged "it's just the circumstances kind of hilarious, plus the song it's so stupid it's kind of fun."
“Do you want it for Christmas?” Charlotte asked with the green returning in her eyes.
Toby shook his head as he jumped up from the couch. The pit in his belly seemed to grow at the thought of helping that doll in his home.
"No way! No! Please! I don't want it," He nearly shouted, much to her surprise. He took a breath and quietly said, "I'm about 12 years old. I'm way too old for dolls." he looks at the clock upstairs. "plus, I have school in the morning and...." He resisted the need to vomit. "I kinda-do you…. do you feel, ok?"
Charlotte nodded her head, "it's fine. It's fine. It would be best if you went to bed. I just stay in the living room for a little bit, and now I'll go back upstairs."
Toby looks at her and walks toward the stairs. "well, good night, Mom."
"Goodnight, Sweetie", and she watched him going upstairs to bed. As she sat on the couch watching the game show, Charlotte kept thinking about the commercial. Her beautiful son likes the doll. He did deny it but despite that claim...He looked happy. Plus, boys his age acted that way. A small idea began to fester into her mind; it’s weeds all wrapping around it. Charlotte smiles a bit, not knowing her eyes flashed green, nearly consuming them as her smile grew wider; he deserves an early Christmas gift after everything.
Toby was sitting on his bed, staring at his drawings. He looks around the room nervously. Then noticing his door was open. He quickly closes it. He looked back, panicked. He can't let anyone see that page in the sketchbook. He can't bring himself to rip this picture out, but the moment that anyone notices that they're going to send them to the loony bin. He moans and grabs a piece of paper to hide it and place it under his bed.
Ok... I figure it out as long as I can skip that page; no one would know. He thought, but then he coughed and shuddered as he slowly crawled to bed.
He had to go to sleep. He had to. Then he closed his eyes, and He’s in the set of the commercial. The area void of any living soul, He looks around fearfully. Where am I? As his eye adjusted to the dark, he noticed that the set did have something: this time, It was just the Wiggly toy was in the middle of a podium and surrounding the Sniggles grinning at him but...they looked odd... He spins around and looks at each of them.
Are their teeth sharper? Their skin wasn't that green on tv...Why are their eyes glowing....they..look so..happy...Why...DoEs hE wAnt To jOiN ThEm?
Toby stares at one; she seems like Lex for some odd reason and points at the doll. She excitedly nodded and made a bizarre motion with her hand. He doesn't know how, but he knew that she wanted him to walk toward the doll.
So slowly, as if in a trance, he walks with each step he hears the Sniggle happily hum a creepy song.
As he gets closer to the doll, he listens to what it is
" We have teeth, and we have tails, We have tails we have eyes. We were here before you fell. You will be here when we rise "
Their voice becomes higher at each word, making him uncomfortable, but he still wants to see the doll and he...so..close.
He could see the shine on the glass and the fuzzy on the fur. And The Sniggles grinned, excited for him. Then he felt a tug on his shirt and the sniggles fearfully back away, and a familiar voice whispered in his ear, "Not yeah, kid, You should have left Banana alone, Little Tobia. She will be the death of you.”
Then he falls
He gasped and quickly looked around his room. There's no Sniggle, No doll, nothing. He sighed in relief.
What an odd dream. Toby thought as He lay down again. He looked outside, seeing the waning moon as his eyes finally closed. Toby dreamed of a few tv shows and then nothing.