It was mid-afternoon and Henry Bowers was out at the port with his small gang of close greaser friends. He often used this as an excuse to hide from his deranged father after summer school. Henry’s dark hair was slicked and gelled back into a DA, a style rather popular with the greaser boys this season. Everywhere he went, Henry carried a little tube of Pomade in his jeans pocket - it helped to keep up his appearance. After all, the boy wanted to maintain his reputation as a greaser. His deep brown eyes were squinted against the sun yet you could still see the small glint of mischief in them. His lips were twisted into a boyishly cruel smirk; the expression of a five year old pulling the wings off a fly, or even a sadist taunting their prey. Like his peers, Henry was obsessed with Elvis Presley and tried his best to imitate his leather-clad biker and blue jeans look. Of course, working on a farm wasn’t as glamorous as Henry could have wanted (certainly not like the rock star fantasies he often had) but it gave him a muscular build - he had that to be grateful at least. For a fourteen year-old boy, most of the girls supposed Henry Bowers was handsome. Maybe some of the girls would have a crush on him if he weren’t so intimidating? Either way, Henry wasn’t too bothered about what the girls thought of him - he only cared for what his father would think and would walk on egg shells for the rest of his life just to make his old man happy.
The sun glinted off Henry’s switch-knife, of which he was gazing at dreamily, flicking it open and closed with the press of a button. His two rather odd-looking friends watched worriedly, the tallest ones’ frown deepening, the shorter one casting his eyes anywhere but at Henry, his expression almost pained with anxiety. Both teenage boys stood stock still almost as if they were soldiers waiting for instructions from their Sargent. Both looked although they were dealing with quite a lot of physical pain, hardly daring to move, hardly daring to breathe. Upset Henry and you could never be sure what would happen. He was that unpredictable. So unpredictable in fact, that both his friends were terrified of saying anything a vast majority of the time.
‘Hey, Henry!’ A small, slightly chubby 12 year old boy suddenly popped out of nowhere, making Henry Bowers flinch out of his day dream. Hockstetter. Why would he of all people fucking talk to me?! I thought I told him to keep outta my sight! His voice sounded shockingly peppy and headache-inducing to Henry, who gritted his teeth to stop himself from lashing out already.
Patrick Hockstetter was crazy. That, everybody knew. Even the teachers had to be wary of what they said or did around Patrick - he was just so odd. So confused with little grip on reality. How did his parents keep from sending him away to be inspected? Nobody had a clue, and truth be told, none of his classmates had any idea what Patrick’s home-life was like. His parents must be as mad as he is, Mrs Reichs, their homeroom teacher often mused in between marking Patrick’s extremely muddled test papers. As Patrick had a rather perplexing mindset that he were the only true being in existence, he had a rather narcissistic opinion of himself compared with his greaser acquaintance. The two were constantly clashing, and Henry wondered why he even invited the boy out to play with them in the first place. Pity… That was more than likely the answer. Everything from Patrick’s half-hearted attempt at slicking back his blond hair in greaser style, to his dusty green eyes and his pallid moon-face to his broad, slightly parted livery-lipped smile irritated Henry. And God! Don’t even get him started on Patrick’s eyelashes! Henry was almost certain that Patrick wore his mother’s mascara to school. He was far too feminine to even be a boy in Henry’s opinion - and Henry didn’t hang with girls as much as he could help it.
The boy giggled and came bopping even closer as if he were some sort of cheerful puppy, or one of those little shits from Derry Elementary. A Labrador. Yes, that suits him rather well! I thought I told that flako to keep the fuck outta my sight!
‘Oh look! If it isn’t the sissy boy!’ Henry retorted cattily, causing his cronies to jeer and shriek with malicious laughter. A devilish leer lit up Henry’s slightly messy features, making him look almost handsome.
This didn’t seem to cause any distress to the young boy – he simply smiled in his usual porky vacant manner. He was used to the greaser’s taunting. They had been in each others class for just over a year now when Henry got moved back into 6th grade for misbehaving. In fact, nothing seemed to bother Patrick Hockstetter! When Patrick was only 5 years old he slowly suffocated Avery, his baby brother, out of jealousy because he thought he would be replaced in his parent’s hearts. Age 6 he found the joys of killing insects with his mother’s sewing needles. Currently Patrick has become verging on Psychopathy, torturing stray dogs and cats by locking them up in a rusty old Amana fridge in Derry Dump. Being a mostly emotionless boy, life just goes on for crazy old Patrick.
Fortunately for Patrick, practically nobody knows about his dirty little secret just yet. Apart from just one person. Bowers. I suppose you could say their friendship is a little bit flawed. Mostly based on threats and nothing more.
‘Have you come to finish your job?’ Henry drawled, feeling his cheeks flush a little. More hysterical laughter from Victor and Belch. Those two boys didn’t even understand what Henry meant by ‘job’. They simply laughed because Henry was their leader and they looked up to him and whatever shitty things he does, no matter how sickening or dangerous.
‘… If yoouu want..’ Patrick smiled and did some odd little bounce on the spot, making him look slightly hyperactive. Victor and Belch were shrieking now. Tears threatened to spill from Belch’s eyes as he clutched the edge of the wall for support. Victor was hiding his face in his arms, slumped over in hysterics on the sea wall. Small sobbing noises were made but to Patrick they sounded a little too loud.
‘CUTE! REAL CUTE!!’ Henry ranted down at the younger boy, shoving him into a nearby tree. Patrick’s dusty green eyes flickered up at Henry’s dark ones in surprise. ‘Why does Henry hate me so much?’ Patrick thought drowsily, not quite sure what he did this time. Although, he had to admit the last time he was alone with Henry things got a little too heated a little too soon.
Grabbing Patrick’s upper arm roughly, Henry pinned him up against the tree trunk. Digging his nails into the boy’s flesh, he grinned in satisfaction. Being a sadist he simply loved to bring pain to others. Especially younger children. Slitted moons remained in Patrick’s skin, leaving thin wells of scarlet where his blood came to the surface. When Henry slid his hand away the blood smudged down Patrick’s arm like thin amounts of warpaint. A moment passed with the older boy staring stoically at Patrick, pondering what he should do to hurt him. The thought of killing Patrick thrilled the greaser! ‘I can’t kill him here… It’s too public.’ Henry whispered to himself, mouthing the words under his breath. Patrick looked up at him in confusion. This irritated the greaser to no end. The baby fag has such long eyelashes! Like a girl!
‘If I see you around again I’ll knock your block off! Fuckin’ pansy!’ Henry eventually decided to say and swung his fist around with no warning. It connected with Patrick’s button nose with a dull crunching noise.
The smile faded slowly off the boy’s face and turned into a sick grimace. ‘Doesn’t hurt.’ He mumbled haughtily as the greaser gang disappeared. Probably to find bigger and better people to bully. Like the Losers for example. Henry really hated them.
Leaning on the sea wall Patrick slipped back into his almost permanent state of vacancy. The bright sun reflected off the deep blue of the sea, and straight into his eyes. It would be a perfect summer day if it wasn’t for the blood slowly seeping out of Patrick’s nose. Cursing Henry under his breath, Patrick turned around to see a tiny black kitten staring up at him. Her eyes were wide and green, almost like Patrick’s own but somehow more vibrant.
Patrick doesn’t try to find trouble. No, seemingly trouble seeks him. And this time trouble was in the form of some innocent baby animal. Mewling softly the kitten began to wrap itself around his legs, twisting and turning around in figures of eight. The kitten’s fur was so soft and Patrick wanted to run his hands through it just to test it’s texture. Cats felt different to dogs you see, and Patrick knew right away he was more of a cat lover. Her purring sounded just like Mr Prendergast’s lawn mower to Patrick. He tittered, beginning to imagine what he should do to the poor kitty.
‘C’mere little kitty. I won’t hurt you!’ he leered, pulling out a clammy, pallid hand in greeting. The kitten leapt energetically onto the seawall, and lapped at Patrick’s hand affectionately. A cruel, girlish giggle escaped the boy’s mouth as he played with it, teasing and petting her fur.
I would quite like to have a pet cat, thought Patrick, although I’d probably end up killing it. He cocked his head in the kitten’s direction. Mom wouldn’t be pleased, he added grimly. Suddenly the cat woke him from his thoughts with a sharp nip to the wrist. ‘Hey!’ Patrick exclaimed as she used him as a launch pad and ran off into the trees.
For a second he considered sprinting after her, but all of a sudden it occurred to Patrick that if he kills even one more animal, he’d be in danger of being sent to the state mental asylum - Juniper Hills. Lots of kids in Patrick’s class bullied him, warning him that he’d end up there if he didn’t stop acting so strangely. Patrick didn’t want to go there - he’d miss his mom too much - but he didn’t exactly know how to act ‘normal’, whatever the definition of normal was. His mom just told him to ‘Be yourself!’ and the boy couldn’t help but think that was the most god-damned awful advice he’d ever heard!
‘Henry knows about my secret… I should just go home, forget about it…’ He muttered to himself, eyes glued to the pavement, ‘He’ll tell. And if he does… I’ll tell everybody that he broke Eddie’s arm!’ Being a mostly lonely boy, Patrick often talked to himself. Sometimes in public. It would often get him into trouble at school and sent to his room at home without any dinner.
Students at Derry Elementary have never really seen him with any friends before. Yet just the other day Patrick was hanging out with the infamous Henry Bowers and his cronies! This gave him some odd sort of pride, despite the fact they were almost caught breaking the unfortunate Eddie Kaspbrak’s arm. That had been great fun! Patrick had to admit that at least. It was a cheap thrill that had made the world seem less in black, white and grey. A thrill that had made Patrick realise just how much he liked Henry Bowers; how much he wanted to be his greatest friend or even more. Everything between Henry and Patrick had been going fine (they hardly ever got into any fights… well, any serious fights) until just yesterday.
That day had changed everything for Patrick… For it was the first time he felt sheer panic. Henry knew... Knew about his test animals! If he should ever tell anyone, Patrick would be taken away with all the other mad children to Juniper Hills. And there’s no way in hell Patrick could ever let that happen! He would do whatever it takes to befriend Bowers and keep his secret safe.
Grabbing his leather satchel from a high branch off a tree (Belch Huggins had thrown it up there to add insult to injury) Patrick bounced off home in hopes for iced tea.