My mom said that if I miss you so badly I should probrably send you a letter. I’m not very good at wryting or spelling, so just bair with. I hope you’ll like to read it anyway. I would ask mom to spell chek it but that would be embarasing. She’s already so disapointted in me anyways.. I wanted to ask, how are you? I miss you so much and it’s very boring without you.
Well, I guess I should tell you about Vermont. For one, it’s very boring. Secondly, I hate it. I want to be back in Derry and this is another reson I don’t want mom to chek it. She’d just cry. She’s so upset with me but I can’t figure out why. Enuf about that though, I’ll tell you about school. It’s awful and I hate everybody there. They all tese me and point and laff. It’s like they think I’m stupid but I now I’m better than them. I miss you so much. I hope you miss me too, otherwise I might just cry like mom. Dad’s acting all funny to. It’s because of this picture I drew of you, but that’s a secret! I’m not tellin the deatails, but it made dad cry to as well as mom! I would have found it verry funny if it ain’t for they sending me to the docters. Basicly they think I want to die but actually it’s you, isn’t it? I don’t want you to die though so don’t.
Love from Patrick Hockstetter xxx”
Henry didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Man, Patrick was bad at writing letters! It was almost hilarious the way he ended the letter too - ‘I don’t want you to die though so don’t.’ Henry read that line aloud from his hospital bed and chuckled to himself sleepily. Jennifer had handed him the letter earlier this morning and he spent his time reading and reading it over and over to himself. It was just too funny! Many patients gave him odd looks as he laughed, some smiling slightly, some annoyed at all the noises he was making so early in the morning. Henry didn’t care, instead he asked Jennifer if he could borrow a pen and piece of paper to write a reply. Jennifer reluctantly gave him a heavily blunted pencil and two sides of lined paper to write on. Nibbling on the edge of his pencil, Henry wondered just what to say in reply to Patrick’s rather odd and jumbled letter.
Poising his pencil above paper, he sighed and began:
Thanks for the letter. It really made me laugh in an odd way. You really need to get better at spelling though. I mean, come on! Even I’m better than that! I miss ya too though, Patrick. I’m actually really bored without you too. I’ve been in hospital for just over a week now. It’s horrible and I have no home left and I’m not quite sure why. The doctor and nurses said I tried to burn it down but I have no memory of doing so. Dr Annie was disappointed I think. They think I also tried to kill myself. No idea why but dad’s dead too. Why did you send me a letter ending it with something about me dying? That’s just weird.
I’m sorry that you hate school so badly. That sucks, man. And your parents are really fussy. It’s actually quite annoying but I used to like your mom. She was nice before she went all funny. No offence.
Henry supposed the way he finished his letter wasn’t any better, but still a whole lot more adequate than Patrick’s version. Jennifer offered to send it for him as soon as her shift ends.
Henry hoped Patrick would write back soon as he was getting rather restless being stuck in hospital.
I’m sorry for being so bad at spelling. I’m just not verry good at writing, okay? So sorry. I am happy that you miss me too. I always thought you hated me. But I didn’t hate you. You were my best frend. You said I would make lots of new frends but I didn’t. Were you lyeing? I have none. You are luky to have Victor and Belch with you.
You’re in hospital! I had no idea! I wish me and mom could visit you. I told you you shuldn’t kill yourself! Why did you! You’re sell fish. Don’t you know it would make me sad if you died. Good that your dad died though. He was a good for nothing mean man. And I told you I am no good at wryting. That’s why. I cudn’t think of a good ending for it.
Mom is weird. She homeschools me now. I don’t go to the stupid pryvat school any more. I didn’t lyke it.
Love from Patrick xxx”
You’re right. You are pretty lousy at writing but I don’t care. I just like still speaking to you. I haven’t seen anybody in ages. Guess what? I’m still in hospital. They won’t let me out and I can tell the cops are gonna get involved soon. With my house and dad, I mean. I don’t know what happened to Rena, but I haven’t heard from her at all. Lazy bitch! She can go fuck herself I don’t care about her anyway.
Why would I hate you? Even if you were annoying as fuck… That’s too bad. You’re better off without those stupid rich kids anyway. They’d only turn you into a snob and make you even more of a pansy. I don’t want you thinking they’re better than me cos they’re not. Vic and Belch aren’t here anymore. I think something horrible happened to them and I can’t get in touch with them. I had a horrible dream every night and they don’t pick up their house phone or visit me in hospital like a real friend would. It’s scaring me something awful. I don’t know what to do.
Don’t talk shit about my old man. Only I can do that. He was a messed up guy though.
Homeschooling should be fun. You don’t get any homework because you are at home all the time!
You’re the only one I really write too. Apart from Grandma, but that’s not as much fun because she’s an old grandma haha. I hope they let you out soon. It sounds like it really sucks. The food in hospital is reall gross to. And the cops! Wow! That’s cool! Will it be like a shootout! I hope so. That would be fun. Like in the movies with cowboys and Indians. Rena was horrible. I don’t like her at all. She’s mean. Did she run away?
Nobody could be better than you Henry. You are the coolest guy I know. What! I can’t believe Vic and Belch could do that to you! Maybe they got into accident or busy at school. September’s always the busy month of Junior High. Sad that you so lonely in hospital though. Mom says she hopes you get better soon. I hope that too.
Love Patrick xxx”
Maybe you’re right about Vic and Belch. They-
Henry was halfway through writing his sentence before his drip started playing up again.
‘Ugh! You stupid thing!’ He complained, feeling the familiar stinging sensation going into the back of his hand. It felt although it were lemon juice on a paper cut, it was that stingy. He didn’t even know what was inside that drip - Certainly did nothing for his energy. It made him want to sleep a lot of the time but luckily that pain in his neck had long gone.
A young man came jogging into the ward, his white coat flapping out behind him. Henry guessed he was another nurse and tried to catch his eye. The man was short and scrawny with blond flyaway hair and whenever he spoke, he spoke with a lisp. A tag on his jacket identified him as ‘Huck’. As soon as Huck approached his hospital bed, Henry felt himself grow relaxed and leaned back into his pillows, holding his drip hand in the air for him to inspect. Without looking into the man’s face, Henry had no idea what he was in store for. He felt sharp teeth dig into his hand and his eyes flew open with mixed pain and astonishment. The man’s face was in fact, not a man’s but a clown’s face in it’s place! Henry let out a startled cry - ‘Pennywise!!’- his voice coming out feeble and girly. His hand was still clenched between the clown man’s crooked, yellowing teeth. He could hear the sounds of his own bones cracking easier than matchsticks. Each tooth was about two inches long and reminded Henry amazingly of a tiger he once saw at the circus. Blood dripped down between the teeth and made red blossom across Henry’s bed sheets like large flowers. His eyes were wide with pure, numbing terror. Only just distantly figuring that the blood was his own, Henry let out a louder, more shrilly scream and leapt out of bed, his face wild, his drip hand still in the clown’s mouth. Other patients stared; just wondering what all the fuss was about - but they couldn’t see the clown-man now could they? Henry and Henry alone was the only one who could see the terrible monster biting into his flesh. The drip exploded sending the clear fluid everywhere and giving Henry an odd salty taste in his mouth. Unfortunately, Henry found himself slipping on the drip-fluid, and slid to the ground, his pyjamas soaked. A little girl pointed and laughed before being removed from the scene by her concerned mother. Some patients shook their heads, most thinking he was a mad boy. Not Henry though. Henry knew everything he was seeing was so awfully real. He let out more screams, trying his hardest to escape the clown despite having his right hand still attached to the empty drip. He found he couldn’t leave as the tube attached to his hand was also strongly attached to the drip-stand. If he dared to rip his hand away, the needle would tear right through his skin. He was completely and utterly stuck. Henry puked, feeling although his world was spinning in the urgency of the situation. Before his eyes, the clown-man switched back to Huck.
‘Hey! What’s going on, kid? You okay? Calm down!’
Henry cowered back in fear, still covered in blood, whatever was in the drip and his own vomit and tears.
Now everybody had their eyes on Henry. Henry gasped, his voice shuddery and frightened. He sat down tearfully on his bed as the nurse put his hand to his forehead and brushed his hair back. ‘You’ve had quite a scare, hmm?’
Henry was unable to speak; still paralysed with fear, instead, only tearful gasps and shudders would come out. The man took his hand away and determined that Henry had a fever. He handed Henry some Paracetamol and put a glass of water to his trembling lips. The boy glanced fearfully up at the nurse before taking the pills and clasping the cool glass in his shaky hands. For a minute Huck ducked his head out the ward and whispered something to another nurse who nodded her head in agreement. The female nurse hurried back with a syringe filled with yet more clear liquid. Obviously this time it had something different in it as when they injected the boy, he immediately felt himself calming down and feeling a lot happier.
Henry dozed off despite being soaking wet, only half under the bedsheets and covered in his own body fluids. The nurses both tried to make him comfier but failed as his dead weight was just too much to take. Somewhat, they felt sorry for the poor boy. He was tangled in his wet, bloodied sheets, his borrowed pyjamas covered with antibiotic fluid and vomit; and yet, despite all that he had such a peaceful, sweet smile whilst he was sleeping. Huck half wanted to change his clothes and bedsheets whilst he slept but didn’t want to wake the boy and cause another panicky episode. Instead, he pressed the buttons on the drip stand to silence the constant beeping that nurses just seem to grow immune to after a while. As the previous drip had burst during Henry’s panic, he quickly went down the corridor for a new bag and intravenous kit; dislodged the old needle from the boy’s hand, applied yet another butterfly-needle into his wrist this time and hooked him back up to the machine. Slowly, slowly he watched as the liquid jittered through the tube and travelled to the young boy’s bloodstream. He glanced at Henry a second, sympathetic, before he heard the noises of somebody coughing and retching loudly from another room. Raking a hand through his messy hair, the nurse left to take care of another patient.
Henry awoke to see three people gathered around his bed; Dr Annie, Jennifer and an official-looking man who Henry had never seen in his life were all looking gravely serious.
‘Wha?’ He slurred, his brain only half registering where he was and what he was doing from the tranquilisers they gave him.
‘Wha?’ He slurred, his brain only half registering where he was and what he was doing from the tranquilisers they gave him.
‘Hello, Henry,’ Dr Annie said un-smilingly. ‘We need to talk to you formally if you don’t mind.’ That was more of an order than a request. Henry did as he was told and sat up in bed, his hair standing up on end.
The official-looking man had something bulging out his side pocket. Henry guessed it was either a gun or a taser and laughed quietly to himself. He had his arms folded tightly across his strong chest and stood powerfully, his legs apart although to appear dangerous. He never smiled. Ever. Not once.
Annie sat down on the corner of his bed while Jennifer took up the guest chair (despite being there for two weeks Henry had not one guest). For a while the two looked at each other before Annie sighed dolefully and began; ‘Henry, I’m sorry but through police investigations, it seems that you were the one who killed your father and burnt down the house. Um, I don’t really know what to say from here on, but they think it was an attempted murder-suicide and arson. The police, they want to take you away for further questioning and some more tests. I’m very sad about this… I thought you were getting better, Henry. I’m a failure as a psychotherapist! I’m so sorry,’ she added before almost bursting into tears (she would have if it weren’t for the desperate urge to remain professional).
Jennifer, who Henry had grown quite fond of in the two weeks he spent in the children’s hospital, lowered her eyes to her silky stockings in her urge not to feel bad for the boy being accused of murder. Sure he was lovely and charming when he wanted to be, but Henry Bowers was a murderer, so why did she feel that tightness in her chest?
Henry simply nodded his head. He felt numb as it all came flooding back. He had stabbed his father in the neck fourteen times with his switchblade in the living room where he sat watching cartoons, found his lighter, threw apart the garage looking for the gasoline, then spread it across the kitchen and living room floors and watched as the fire spread across the ground, roaring with intense heat and power. The light had filled the entire household, Henry remembered. The smoke had made him sick but he supposed it didn’t really matter as he tied the rope around his neck and jumped off the dining room chair. That stupid Rena had ran in at that point and he could only just hear her scream over the roaring of the flames and crackling of the wood. The coward-woman ran straight back out again - not even registering what was going on as she saw her boyfriend dying on the couch, her home in flames and her boyfriend’s son hanging from the ceiling by a length of rope. It just wouldn’t compute. Not for her, not for anybody.
Henry could foresee this event the moment he woke from unconsciousness in the static-y hospital bed. He was going to Juniper Hills... The dreaded Juniper Hills that everybody would talk about in hushed voices either at school or out and about. It was a jinx word that hardly anybody longed to mention. How ironic; the kids at school had always poked fun at Henry Bowers and his unlikely companion, Patrick Hockstetter, telling them they would wind up there if they carry on the way they were going. Henry never in a million years expected their prediction to come true. Okay, with Patrick, Henry had a sneaking suspicion from the start that Patrick was Juniper Hill material, but himself!? Back then, Henry would swear hands down that he was the sanest boy in Derry. Oh how times change… Henry wished his life could be like an endless summer holiday just like the one he’d spent with his friends. After all, it was just a summer of being lost in the Funhouse with Patrick Hockstetter.