It was almost sundown and the sky blazed in fiery shades of ochre and golden orange. A large, muscular boy with greased black hair was crouching, sweating in the bushes as if to sneak up on someone. He watched as Patrick Hockstetter sprinted off to Derry’s Dump. Sweat was running off the younger boy’s ghostly face because of the humidity and the skin on the nape of his neck was slick with perspiration. He appeared to be grinning like a Cheshire cat, even from the far distance Henry Bowers was hiding from. Henry shuddered.
‘Too bad it’s that damn curfew soon.’ Henry grumbled under his breath, ‘Now I won’t get a chance to beat the shit outta Hockstetter!’ He waited listening to the cicadas screeching and crying. Two minutes. Five minutes. Good... Patrick will be so busy with that Corgi puppy he had bundled in his arms, that he won’t even notice me.
Hockstetter had barely even reached the gate before he stopped all of a sudden. He just stood there staring up at the piles of junk and squashed cars towering high above his eye-level. Seagulls laughed overhead as the smell of the dump hit him at full blow. Sea salt was mingled in there somewhere and Henry felt nauseous thinking of all the dead fish and abandoned seaweed on the nearby waste land that the locals called the beach.
Henry could tell Patrick was laughing silently. Does he know I’m here?! he panicked, eyes widening as he ducked even further out of sight. Moistening his dry lips, the greaser thought of a plan. If he turns around now and sees me… I’ll kill him. Swear to god I will.
Promptly, Patrick took off again. His hiking boots teared at the blades of grass as he zipped past faster than before. Henry noticed some variety of plasters and bruises scattered across the boy’s milky calves. ‘The stupid kid must trip over a lot, runnin’ like that!’ he snickered, not noticing he was blowing his cover by talking to himself. Henry hardly even knew he was doing it - it just came naturally from his father’s influence.
The only reason I’m here is cuz’ I forgot those fucking summer school books from the other day. Bowers thought, Stupid teacher’s been nagging me all afternoon. If I just wait for him to go, then I can grab my books and get home. To hell with the curfew!
However curiosity over took Henry – and he found himself drawn to follow Patrick from a safe distance. It had always intrigued Henry how the boy was so obviously looney-bin-material, yet didn’t even know it!
Patrick could feel somebody watching him. It was so darn obvious that he couldn’t help but giggle! The Corgi struggled in his grasp (the unfortunate puppy previously called Benji was newly named Mr Chops by the little psychopath carrying him), howling and barking to escape, foaming at the mouth.
‘Shut up, Mr Chops!!’ Patrick squealed giving Mr Chops a soft pinch, ‘You’re gonna be just fine!’ He giggled, giving the puppy his few last cuddles before his inevitable doom. Usually all animals try to escape Patrick’s death bottle. Yet only one or two have actually managed to get away! After the animal’s finally died Patrick hauls the stiff corpses out and into a nearby bush. Flies are drawn to that part of the dump like a moth to a flame. It surprised Patrick that the police hadn’t found the Amana and bush full of stiffs sooner. Sometimes he wondered how long he had left before somebody important came knocking at his front door, demanding to take him away from his mother.
The rusty Amana door creaked open slowly and the sickly sweet smell of death washed over Patrick’s face. The odd boy’s expression crumpled in disgust, his eyes brightening, zany with shock. ‘We really need to clean out here, don’t we, Mr Chops?’ The puppy barked twice in agreement. The smile on Patrick’s face widened to an alarmingly manic grimace. He could hear footsteps now…
‘You’ll be staying here tonight.’ The boy continued, shrilly. He wasn’t going to stop for anybody. ‘Okay?’
‘Have fun in there!’ Henry heard Patrick titter. He glared and pulled a face as he noticed Patrick’s doodles on the floor…One of them was a heart with his initials enclosed within… The rest were of creepy clowns and other disturbing imagery. His doodles were almost like a young child’s but slightly more mature, almost skilled if you were into that kind of sinister art.
‘How fuckin’ creepy!’ Henry remarked, lighting a cigarette with his dad’s lighter. All the cool kids did it nowadays… Patrick hesitated. He knew his friend was there, yet he wanted to keep the pretend game going. It was more fun that way! He was just about to grab a rag from nearby when suddenly he felt a clammy hand on his shoulder. Before the boy could peer cautiously around, he found himself lurching forwards and face-planting the ground.
‘Jerk!’ He yelled, picking himself up. Dust and mud covered his brand new clothes. ‘Simpleton.’ Henry shot back, glaring over at him. The smell of the corpses was unbearable now. Henry actually felt quite sick.
How could Patrick love hanging out here? It’s disgusting! the older boy noted. Derry Dump was actually like a second home to the psychopath - he divided his time between his bedroom at home, summer school and the dump. Not many people go here in the middle of July, so Patrick was quite safe to do what he pleases whenever he pleases.
‘I want to talk to you, Hockstetter. But most of all, I want you to get something for me, got it!?’ Henry decided to take control and break the silence creeping in between them.
The younger boy simply bobbed his head once. His expression was flat and uncaring. Good. Like I care what Patrick feels.
‘I want you to fuck off, Patrick,’ He started, feeling himself getting tense, ‘All this time you’ve been bugging me. Fucking annoying! Why can’t you go all creepy on someone else?!’ The greaser didn’t care that he was sounding childish. Patrick humiliated him in front of his friends so he was gonna have to pay! Anybody else would have been hurt at this cruel rejection. Patrick, however wasn’t. He was a terribly emotionally distant child, so not much can get him all worked up. A smile grew on his face instead of the trembling lower lip Henry was anticipating.
‘Hurt me if you want, Henry. I don’t care…and I… won’t leave you alone!’ His smile was wide and complacent, ‘I’m not scared of you.’
The greaser made as if to hit the boy, but Patrick quickly evaded the punch. ‘What did ya want me to find, anyway, Henry?’
All the fury left Henry’s mind. ‘What’re you goin’ on about, you fucking pansy?’
This could be a good opportunity. I could get him to do whatever I wanted.
Half an hour had passed, in which Henry watched smugly watched Patrick Hockstetter scrabble about in the junk for his text books. It had taken bit of work to find them of course. The boys loved their school work as much as a monkey loves jazz.
Throughout those thirty minutes both boys had each considered murdering each other. It would be so easy, and who would care if mean old Henry Bowers were to disappear?! To the Derry Police he’d have just been one of the missing… Eddie Corcoran, little Georgie Denbrough, Matthew Clements, Veronica Grogan… Does anybody actually know what happened to them, and the morbid fact that they had actually been eaten alive by a clown living in the sewers? Nope, only the Losers Club know about that and they aren’t exactly keen to share.
Patrick and Henry spent another ten minutes listening to the scratching and whining noises coming from the fridge. Slowly the sounds were beginning to fade… Patrick grinned in satisfaction. His work here was done! Without saying a word, Patrick left the older boy to stare after him as he tore off home. Patrick didn’t particularly care for Bowers. Nor did he care to say goodbye to him. To Patrick, social etiquette just didn’t come naturally at all! Not much was said in the time the pair spent together, and Henry came to realise that Patrick was one of the quietest people he knew. Despite being quiet and soft spoken, Patrick had almost no basic understanding of manners. Yet neither did Henry, so he didn’t particularly mind Patrick’s curt demeanour. In fact, the only words that were passed between the boys were an agreement to meet same time tomorrow in an attempt to salvage more text books.
‘Good. You’re finally here, pansy.’ Henry remarked dryly as his younger companion skulked slowly towards him.
Patrick noticed something about his tormentor had changed. Instead of the usual angry blaze in Henry’s eyes, there was nothing but fatigue and defeat. His knees were drawn up to his usually strong chest and he was leaning against Patrick’s beloved fridge in a slump.
‘You’re weak.’ Patrick whispered huskily, standing over Henry in a daze. He didn’t particularly care if his comment sounded rather blunt and unsympathetic, Patrick just wanted to take advantage of the greaser’s weak state of mind.
For once Henry didn’t feel the need to lie. Yes. I am weak. Henry thought dolefully, shuffling further away from the boy. Patrick kept filling all the gaps Henry had put between them. Closer he could see the deep purples and greens Oscar Bowers had left on his son’s face.
‘Yeah? So what!?’ Henry hissed in reply, ‘Now are you going to get my books or just fuckin’ stare at me?’
Patrick slipped out of his day dream and skipped off to search for a text book about the French Revolution. His sometimes-friend watched him sleepily. In front of Patrick, Henry felt like he could relax. Unlike with Victor and Belch he didn’t feel like he had to act big and tough. Closing his eyes, Henry napped lightly for a while. The previous two nights had been hectic with all the visions of monster clowns on the moon. These hallucinations scared Henry witless. Voices whispered to him from all corners of the room, telling him things - things that would drive you to do the craziest of things.
A while passed in which Henry woke to find Patrick huddled to his left. The sun was already down and the sky was strewn with purples and blacks. Soon the moon would arrive to take its place… Terror stabbed at Henry’s heart. The entire colour drained from his face, making him look as pale as a frightened ghost.
‘Hmm~?’ Patrick murmured, peering up at Henry in curiosity. He placed a timid hand on the older boy’s lower arm in comfort. (Patrick had often seen his mom do this to his dad when he comes in from work all stressed out.)
Bowers blinked in surprise. ‘Don’t touch me!’ He snarled, slapping his hand away. ‘Fine.’ Patrick retorted huffily.
The darkness was setting in now – and Henry could see the ghastly moon rising slowly from behind the murky sea. He didn’t want to touch Patrick directly, but he needed just a little bit of reassurance… ‘Shit…’ He muttered and clenched the sleeve of Patrick’s cotton T-shirt with an iron grip. His knuckles had turned to white.
You didn’t need to be able to see perfectly in the dark to know that Patrick Hockstetter was smirking. Repressing a giggle he attempted to get even closer to Henry, who promptly pushed him away with a garbled trail of insults.
‘Not so close, Hockstetter! Fuck off!’ He growled giving Patrick one of his infamous Chinese burns on natural impulse (that practically all the kids at Derry Elementary had experienced!), which just made Patrick burst out spluttering with laughter. This simply made Henry even more enraged.
‘Fuck you, I’m going home.’ Henry hissed, grabbing his text books and rushing through the dumps gates, not even waiting to see Patrick’s response. The darkened sunflowers nodded lazily in the sudden breeze, causing Henry to flinch. Throughout his journey home, the greaser had a strange sensation …… like something was slinking about in the shadows behind him. Creeping up on him - joining into the confused mix of word salad coming from the moon. The boy couldn’t help but to be glad to reach home despite all the hell he goes through in there.