Hope is not your average teddy bear. She's tattered at the seams, her right arm lost years ago. It's not as if Chloe meant to steal Hope's arm. After all, Chloe was only five at the time, and Hope was just denim and fur. A stuffed animal who, when Chloe had needed her most, had failed.
A week before Christmas, Chloe's mom was, as per usual, beginning her winter tyranny of "Almost Spring Cleaning." Chloe was hysterical; Hope was among many 'baby toys' Chloe needed to get rid of. Sobbing, snot drizzling from her nose, Chloe had pleaded with her mom, a last-ditch effort to save Hope from the junkyard.
"But...but mommy! She isn't JUST a teddy! Her name is Hope, and she...she TALKS!" Chloe had hauled Hope from the pile on the floor, stuffing trailing from the holes in the bear's ears. "Listen! Hope, please, show her!"
But Hope wasn't supposed to talk to the grown-ups, it was rule number one in the Stuffed Toys' Code of Ethics, so she'd bit her tongue and clenched her jaws. And when Chloe's mom had thrown Hope out that afternoon, just one tattered toy among the trash, the woman hadn't even noticed the newly-missing right arm. Chloe still had the severed limb hidden beneath her pillow, where it would stay for the next seven months, though Hope would never know it.
"If I can't keep you," Chloe had mumbled feebly, scissors glinting silver in her trembling hand, "then I'm at least keeping the part we used to share."