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I've always been fond of stuffed animals. They're just so soft and cuddly. Or... at least they used to be.

When I was off from college for summer break, I found a small yard sale while driving through a random neighborhood, and, being a collector of antiques, I decided to stop and take a look around. So, I parked the car beside the long driveway and got out. I had to give some effort to make it up the driveway, where there were a couple of long tables with a few items on each one. There wasn't much left by this point: a few cat statues, paintings, clothes, etc. However, there was one item that caught my eye. It was a giant-sized lion plush. I was surprised to see it here, as there wasn't really anything that portrayed that kids lived there. It was an older house, but it was big, two stories, square-shaped. It was built in at least the 70's, probably.

Just as I was examining the house, an old lady came out from the house, hobbling to a chair with a wooden cane. She looked to be in her late 70's, perhaps early 80's. She was small and frail, but she wasn't like the sweet old ladies that go to church every Sunday and have perfect grandchildren. No, this old lady looked decrepit, and she smelled of mildew. I tried not to cringe at the smell in an attempt to be polite. I looked down at that stuffed lion, gazing at it blankly for a moment. What was it doing here?

The old lady gazed at me hopefully, "Ah, I see you're interested in the lion, dear?" she croaked in a low tone. I turned to look at her and smiled politely.

"Yes, ma'am... but... why is it here if you don't mind me asking...?" I asked her softly, furrowing my eyebrows.

"Oh, it was my grandson's, but he's grown up now... so, I decided I should just sell it..." she explained softly.

" much?"

The old lady had to ponder for a moment before a wide grin appeared on her face. "You seem like a nice girl... so you can have it for free," the old lady declared, causing me to smile slightly. I loved animals, so I always tried to collect the more unique pushes whenever I got the chance.

"T-thank you!" I grinned and reached down to pick the old lion plush up. It was much heavier than I expected, but it didn't really bother me. I've carried much heavier items during high school when concert season for the band had started. I always helped the director carry the heavy amps and things. I shoved the lion into the trunk of my car and waved to the old woman. She waved back to me, but she didn't have that kind smile on anymore. It was almost like a smirk, a dark, sinister smirk. However, it was quickly replaced by a thin smile. I politely grinned at her one last time, before disappearing into my car.

It wasn't long before I returned home, after my small adventure at the yard sale. I quickly grabbed the lion from my trunk and made my way to my apartment. When I walked in, my cat was not waiting for me at the front door, as she usually does when I pull-up. I shrugged it off as her simply acting finicky, and continued to my bedroom, to put the lion down. When I dropped it lazily down onto the floor, the large stuffed lion made a loud 'thud' sound, as if the stuffing inside was rock hard. I couldn't help but feel unnerved by that, but I tried to ignore it. So, I sat on my bed, and pulled out my laptop from behind me, turning it on quickly.

After a few hours of surfing the internet, I decided I needed to get some chores done. I hopped off my bed and noticed that stuffed lion once more. I jumped as I saw it there. I had almost forgotten I had bought the thing. I walked past it, and couldn't help but feel watched, as its dark brown eyes stared at me lifelessly. I felt a small shiver run down my spine, but I tried to ignore it. I quickly turned away from it, and walked into the hallway, to the bathroom. When I got into the small bathroom, I quickly grabbed my cleaning supplies and began to clean.

I noticed that an odd stench started to fill the house. It was sour and smelled almost like someone had died, and was rotting somewhere. I grimaced as I caught that particular smell, and went to grab my Febreeze from underneath the sink. I thought nothing of it at the moment, deciding that it could've just been someone's garbage. Eventually, I finished my cleaning and decided to try and find my cat. I looked around for the little black clump of fur. And, after a moment, I found her, cowering in the bathroom, behind the toilet.

It took forever to try and get her to come out. When I tried to grab her, she swatted me angrily with her front paws, but her claws weren't out, thankfully. Delilah never acted like this... not even with a crowd of people around. I pondered for a moment, wondering as to why she would act so strangely. Perhaps, it was the scent of the old woman from the yard sale. Maybe she had a dog, or a lot of cats, that was my best guess. I decided not to let it bother me, as I picked Delilah up, and took into my room. She hissed as she saw that huge stuffed lion.

I gasped and clenched my teeth as Delilah screeched, and scratched at me, incredibly harshly. I threw Delilah onto the ground, crying out of pain, and anger. I screamed at the little black cat, who ran in pure fear under my bed. I looked down at my arms and saw they were red with fresh blood, which poured endlessly from the deep scratch marks. Why would Delilah do that? She never acted like that, not even when she was angry with me. I walked back into the bathroom again to wash my wounds.

Once I finished washing, I walked back into the bedroom. I saw Delilah hissing at the stuffed lion, trying to scratch it. I gingerly picked her up, and placed her on the bed, rubbing her gently. Delilah hissed at me and scurried under the bed in a flash. I furrowed my eyebrows, incredibly confused. Why was Delilah so afraid of that lion? Was it because of the smell of it? Perhaps, it smelled like the old lady, and her assumed pets she apparently had. She must've if it freaked Delilah out that much. I found myself wondering what was so unappealing about that stuffed animal. So, I picked the lion up and carried it into the laundry closet. I shoved it into the washer, and turned it on, shutting the lid. I pulled out my phone and noticed my friend had messaged me. So, I decided to call her.

It must've been an hour we were talking before I brought up the lion plush. I told her about the old lady that I got it from, and also briefly mentioned that awful stench I had smelled earlier after I had taken the lion home with me. My friend took a few moments to reply. But, when she did, she told me the story of an old serial killer from the 70's. She mentioned that they stuffed body parts into huge stuffed animals, to keep them hidden. I was confused and told her that that was insane. She then told to tell me to check the stuffing of the lion. I told her that that was absurd. There was no way that lion was stuffed with body parts. It was too crazy to believe.

But, when I walked back into my room, I noticed that the stuffed lion was not facing the same way that it was before. It was facing the doorway as if it was listening in on the conversation.

I felt an intense feeling of dread grip my stomach, as I stared down at that lion's dark, lifeless brown eyes. I swear, that thing had been facing the other way the entire time, ever since I brought it home. I didn't know what to do now. That story couldn't have possibly been true, could it?

After I managed to calm myself down, I decided that it was probably just my imagination playing tricks on me. After all, ghosts weren't real. At least, that was my excuse. I decided that I just needed some fresh air, I had been in those stuffy college classrooms, full of students, for such a long time. But, as I walked out of my small apartment, I felt eyes on me. I turned, and looked around my house one last time, making sure no one was there. I shrugged the feeling off, and after grabbing my keys, and locking the door, I left.

When I got back, it was near dark. I guess you could say my walk lasted a little longer than I expected. As I walked back into the house and shut the door, I noticed that... something was wrong. It was far too quiet for my house. Usually, my cat would come to greet me, or beg for food, or treats. But... not this time. I walked around the house, trying to find the little black cat, but... nothing came up. She was really gone. I checked my room, the guest room, the closets, the cabinets, the porches, everything.

Defeated, I walked back into my room. To my shock, it didn't smell like it usually did, minty, and clean. Now, it had an awful scent, as if something had died several hours before, and had been rotting in there. I quickly slapped a hand over my mouth and proceeded to grab the Febreeze bottle from the sink cabinet. I must've used at least half of that bottle getting the stench out. I wasn't exactly sure what had happened. Maybe a rodent had died in there, and I just hadn't noticed? I wasn't sure. I didn't want to go back in, but I had to figure out what was causing that awful stench.

Getting up, I decided to pull up my shirt, so it covered my mouth, and my nose. Advancing into my room once more, I notice that the lion plush has moved again, close to the door.

Now, I was starting to wonder if someone was breaking into my house, and moving that damn stuffed lion to scare me after they got down plundering through my house. I noticed that... the closer I got to the lion... the worse the smell became. I grabbed the plush, and walked it into the outside closet, and threw it in. Quickly, I locked the door, and walked away, satisfied.

A few weeks later, I was asleep in my bed, when... something woke me up. Thunder was the first thing I heard, but then, I heard something else. Something quieter. It sounded almost like... clawing... on the outside closet. I dismissed it, thinking it may just be my imagination. However, that thought was quickly abandoned, when I heard a door creak open outside. I shot up in my bed and looked around the room wildly. My heart was beating faster than I think it ever had. I was pretty sure someone had gotten into my apartment and had gone outside to check my outer storage room.

At this point, I began to panic. All of my grandparent's old belongings were in there! I got up swiftly and grabbed my flashlight from my nightstand drawer. Urgently, I cracked my door open but didn't see anyone. I slowly, gingerly put a hand over my mouth, to keep my breathing quiet. Slowly, I inched forward, into the darkness of my apartment. Maybe I was just being silly, and it would actually turn out to be my cat, but that was a risk that I was definitely not willing to take. I decided to keep my flashlight off as I walked through the house, checking all the rooms for any signs of theft or damage.

There wasn't anything I saw. Relieved, I started to walk out onto the back porch, when I started to smell that familiar rotting smell. I gagged and held my breath as I walked to the door of the outside storage. The smell faded slightly as I reached the door, which had me relieved. I opened the door swiftly, fiddling with the flashlight for a moment, trying to turn it on. When I finally shone that flashlight into the darkness of the storage room, my heart sank at what I saw. Or, rather, what I didn't see.

The lion was missing.

Nothing was touched, but that stupid stuffed lion wasn't where I left it. I frantically shut the storage room door and turned back to look into the house. It was pouring down rain hard by this time, so my glasses had little raindrops on them, so my sight wasn't what it could've been. Quickly, I ran back inside, soaking wet. A flash of lightning gave me temporary light in the living room.

There, sitting in the middle of the living room, was the lion.

I felt a shiver run down my spine, and I quickly turned on the lights. My mind was racing, as I went through a list of possibilities in my head. None of them were matching up, though. Why would someone just move the stuffed lion this late at night, and not take anything else? I decided I needed to just call it quits at this point. But, a sick part of me wanted to see what the lion was stuffed with. I knew I probably shouldn't look, that it was probably nothing.

I contemplated my options for a few moments before I made my choice. I was going to cut that lion open, and just see what was in it, just to be sure. The suspicious, paranoid side of me wouldn't take no for an answer. So, I went into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. Then, I walked back into the living room, and slowly cut open the back of the lion.

What I saw next almost made me sick on the spot.

There, inside of that lion, there were dried out, heavily decomposed, bloodied body parts. Animals, humans, even insects. There was a multitude of different body parts, but most were cut up, or small. Hands, feet, legs, arms, eyes, tongues, hooves, tails. Everything.

And atop those body parts... was my cat.

Her body was mangled, and broken. She was bloody, and dried out, just like the rest of the bodies. She was in a horrible state of decomposition, her fur was patchy, and there were spots where she had neither skin nor fur. Just muscle.

I stumbled back, and let out a loud scream as I saw my cat laying there. I dropped the knife next to me and held a hand over my mouth as tears filled my eyes.

I turned that damn lion into the police that same night. I refused to sleep anywhere near that thing, not after what I had seen. I had my friend pick me up, as I was in hysterics, and thus too shaky to drive. When we arrived at the police station, and told our story, at first, the cops didn't believe us. But, when we presented them with the lion, they immediately became serious again. They asked if I knew the woman's address, but I had forgotten it by then.

My friend let me sleep in her house that night, and the next morning, I found that I had gotten the lion back. It was in a box on my friend's doorstep the next morning, with a small note that just read 'YOU' in all capital letters.

I burned that lion this morning, drinking a glass of Fireball as I watched it. I was relieved, now that that lion was gone.

But, lately... I've been noticing that someone's been leaving little stuffed animals on my doorstep lately... along with one-word notes, in all capital letters.

Written by AurasamaKitty
Content is available under CC BY-SA