Art by Lori Michelle Adams
“Henry? Come on downstairs and finish your breakfast before you’re late!”
shouted Mrs. Hoskins. Henry came rushing down the stairs to the kitchen table
and sat down. “Why are you so late these days?” asked Mrs. Hoskins.
“Sorry,” said Henry. He took a spoonful of cereal and swallowed hard.
Henry didn’t like walking to school. He would always get picked on by two kids
larger than him named Pat and Robert. They don’t like to pick on anyone else
in the school but the new kid, Henry.
Henry took another spoonful while his mother stared at him.
“Why, Henry. Why do you take so long to get dressed?” asked Mrs. Hoskins.
Henry didn’t answer.
“Why, Henry?” she said louder.
“I won’t do it anymore,” said Henry. That was all he could think of to say.
Henry doesn’t talk much.
Henry ate his whole dish and set it on the sink. He grabbed his backpack
and stepped out the front door.
“Henry, you forgot something,” said Mrs. Hoskins.
Henry paused and took slow steps toward the kitchen, where his mom had
his lunch pale. She bent down and grabbed his shoulders.
“Now you be good, do well on your tests.” She gave him a
small peck on his cheek.
Henry slowly nodded and walked out the front door. Henry was on the
driveway of his house. He stared at it. He turned his head and
walked to school.
Henry was near the school building when two kids named Pat and Robert
stepped in front of him. Robert, the tan one, said, “Hello, Henry.”
Henry stepped back and frowned.
“Oooooooh, tuff guy, huh?” Robert and Pat grinned.
“You think you can handle me?” said Pat, giving Henry a shove on
the shoulder. Henry tried to ignore them by walking past, but Robert
grabbed his arm.
“That’s a no-no!” said Robert with a snort. Pat giggled.
“Tough guy, huh? See if you can handle this!” Pat punched Henry in
the stomach. Henry fell to the ground tucking his stomach with his hands.
Robert laughed. “C’mon, you give me your best shot, I’ll give you mine!”
Robert kicked Henry in the chest while he was lying on the floor.
They kept kicking and Henry closed his eyes.
They eventually left with Henry lying on the floor. They both bullied
Henry before class, during lunch, and after school. Henry never got
used to the pain. Henry got up, pulled his backpack out of
the trash can, and entered the building. He got to his classroom and
everyone looked at him. Henry sat down.
That day during lunch, Henry sat at a table alone.
Henry was happy sitting alone; he wanted to keep away from everyone
in the school.
It was all fun until Pat and Robert arrived. They both sat on each
side of Henry. “Hey, dip face. Are you going to eat that?” Robert pointed
to Henry’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Henry nodded.
“Can I have it?” asked Robert. He grabbed the sandwich and
put it out of reach. Henry tried to reach for it, but he wasn’t as
tall as Robert.
“Aw, is it that Henry can’t reach? Oh well. I’ll just
have to lift you up,” Pat grabbed Henry on the waists and
threw him down on the floor. Some of the older kids in a
different class in the cafeteria laughed.
When Henry got up, he saw that Pat smashed all his lunch
with his water bottle. Robert picked up his water bottle and
spilled it all over Henry. He got up and sat on the chair.
Pat and Robert laughed as they left the table.
Henry ate his mushy apple, though he didn’t care.
When Henry waited for his mom to pick him up in front
of the school, he started walking around the school grounds.
Henry came to the back of the school; nobody was there.
Henry wanted to explore that area, since he’s never been there before.
Henry was about to when he felt a hand on his shoulder
and spun around. First thing he saw was a fist to the face.
Henry didn’t know how long he’s been laying there. He ran
back to the area where he would normally wait. His cheek felt numb,
but when he felt it, it started to hurt. He noticed it was sore.
He thought no time had passed because he saw his teacher with
the same kids that were there. Henry saw that his mother was
pulling over in front of the school. Henry ran to the car as
fast as he could. He hopped in and she drove off.
“What happened? Your cheek is so red,” said his mother, Mary Hoskins.
“I-I don’t know. I just fell,” said Henry. His hands were shaking.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Well, okay,” said Mary. “You get a free weekend now.
You’ll feel better tomorrow.”
At home, Henry was in the backyard.
His father, Henry Hoskins, same name as Henry, had died in a
car accident while driving north to visit a friend. Henry was
a pro at not crying. He had cried too much over the past few years,
hoping that his dad would come back to him.
He had dreams every night of his father. Henry would see his
dad on a cloud, high up in the sky. Henry always stuck out his hand,
and his father would say something Henry could not hear. Henry thought
it was a warning. His father fades away like smoke from a fireplace.
That was what Henry was thinking right now. The rubber ball he
was bouncing back and away against the brick walls of his house.
His father comes back, and goes away.
The rubber ball bounced off the wall and Henry didn’t catch. He
got up and walked to the gate where the ball was.
Henry couldn’t find it in the tall grass lining the fence, but
he felt something else. He picked it up for a closer view.
It looked like a necklace with a circle black ball hanging from
a weak rusty chain. Was that the ball that Tom threw?
Henry stared at it with curiousness. He ran inside to show his
mother what he found. “Mom, look,” said Henry.
“Oh? You found a necklace. It looks beautiful!” said Mary. Henry
grabbed it from her hand and tried to put it on. Henry couldn’t find
the end. He struggled. “Let me help you with that,” said Mary.
Henry turned around. “Oh, my. This doesn’t have an end,” said Mary.
The hole in the rope was big, so Henry grabbed it from her hand again
and slipped it on. It fit perfectly around his neck.
Henry felt a sudden feeling, like somehow he had more strength and
energy. It made him gasp wide-eyed.
“What’s happening?” shouted Mary.
“I’m not sure- um, yeah,” murmured Henry. He realized that he started
breathing too hard. His arm skin stretched as if his muscles were expanding.
Henry felt it tingling all over his body.
Mary widened her eyes in fright. “Henry! What’s happening to you?”
A light scream escaped his throat. He looked at his hands, which seemed
to look red and tight. Henry noticed the necklace was getting tighter.
He knew that he wouldn’t be able to take it off anymore. His cloths
stretched on his stomach and legs.
Henry felt strength in his body, but he looked just the same.
Just a little bigger.
“Henry! What happened!” asked his mother.
Henry smiled. “That’s okay. I feel fine,” said Henry. He walked up
to his room. His mom stared at him.
The next day, Henry woke up in pain. His muscles ached as if he
were doing an exercise the day before. He rubbed his neck
as he walked downstairs.
Mary was sitting at the table drinking tea.
Henry sat at the table. He remembered how it was before the necklace
was put on. Henry used to be short enough to only reach the table with
his shoulders. Now the table reached down to his arms. Was it the warning
that his father had been giving him?
Henry ate his breakfast, changed, brushed his teeth, combed his hair,
said goodbye, and took off.
Henry, as always, stared at his house from the driveway. He never thinks
of anything that moment every weekday. He dozed, woke up and started his
path to the two kids that he always expected to jump on him: Robert and Pat.
The necklace still hung on him, dangling from side to side weakly. Henry
never noticed. His strength made him not notice it, like a feather on your palm.
Henry didn’t notice his strength either, until Robert and pat jumped
from both sides of Henry.
Each of them grabbed Henry on the shoulder and tugged hard. This was
an odd moment for Henry. He would feel the pain and close his eyes.
This time, they seemed to be rougher, but Henry felt stronger. Henry
started to push them away.
“Dang!” said Robert.
“What happened to you?” asked Pat.
They both back away from Henry. Henry started to walk forward. Robert
and Pat charged at Henry when he wasn’t looking. Henry felt a slight push
on his back. No big deal to him.
But he didn’t notice that they were both trying to push him down.
Henry turned around and shoved them both to the ground. They both fell
on the cement on they’re knees and elbows.
“Hey!” screamed Robert. Henry turned and walked away, leaving the two
boys sitting there, staring at him.
Henry felt shocked at his sudden pay-back with Pat and Robert. Yet he
was a little happy for teaching those kids a small lesson. Henry knew
that they won’t be bothering him anymore.
That lunch, he ate peacefully.
Someone came and sat at his table. It was a male with skinny arms.
He wore a yellow shirt and blue long pants that reached to the bottom
of the heel of his shoes. “Hey, I saw you knock over those kids today.
How’d you do that?”
“I pushed them down,” said Henry.
“Mmm,” said the kid. “Say, what’s your name?”
“Henry,” said Henry.
“My name’s Paul. Nice to meet you,” said Paul. He stuck his hand out
to shake with Henry. They shook hands. Paul’s hand felt very cold and bony.
“Are you really that strong? Can I arm wrestle you?”
“Yes,” said Henry. They both put their hands together again in arm
“One, two, three!” said Paul. Henry beat Paul in a split second.
“Ooooow, jeez!” shouted Paul. His hand hit the table to hard. It was red.
“You are strong!”
Henry spotted Pat and Robert at another table, poking someone else on
the head and not stopping.
When Henry was going to explore the same area that he had done the day
before, Pat and Robert tried to jump Henry. He backed up making Pat and
Robert hit each other on the stomach. They took a quick look at Henry
and charged side by side.
Henry stuck his hands out and grabbed their shirts. Henry’s knuckles
hit them as he got a grip. Henry eyed them, and threw them onto the floor.
“Aaaaaah!” they screamed. They hit the blacktop as hard as they hit the
cement in the morning. Robert and Pat got up and brush the dirt off
they’re clothes while they ran back in line at the other side of the school.
Henry noticed another feeling. He felt pain, his skin was hanging off of
his arms, and his size was even taller.
Henry explored and ran back to the line. It was a little more boring
then he expected.
Mary pulled over. Henry caught a glimpse of her car and hurried over there.
Henry hopped in after telling his teacher that he was leaving.
Henry felt his cloths getting tighter. He was worried that he might be
growing non-stop. His shoes made his feet ache, his shirt squeezed his neck,
his pants nearly ripped when he bent over, his muscles were to strong, and
he blamed all that on the mysterious jewel he found in his backyard:
the necklace, witch somehow grew with him, at size he can not take off,
because of the metal chain. He knew that the necklace had caused all this,
and he wished that he had never put it on. The heavy golden ball hanging
on the chain felt uncomfortable on him, dangling from side to side like I told you.
At night, he had the strangest dream. He was walking on a cloud that
looked like a road leading miles and miles long. He took slow steps forward,
looking around in curiousness.
Looking forward, he saw an eye fade in front of him. It was beautiful and
as gold and round as the necklace he had. It reflected on the light on its
edges. Henry followed it, but it seemed to him that it kept moving away.
He closer Henry got, the farther it went. Henry started to run. It went as
far as he could see. It looked like a firefly from the distance. Henry
stopped and stared.
He then saw his father walk up to him. This time, Henry heard what he was
saying. His father said, “You have failed your attempt, so you must destroy it.”
His voice was quiet and light. Henry reached out his hand and…
“Wake up, it’s time for school!” said Mary as she walked out of the room
holding a women’s magazine.
Henry had a feeling. The dream. He didn’t expect to see an eye. The eye
looked so familiar to him; he knew that he had just seen it. Did it have to do
with my father’s death? He thought.
When Henry got up, his whole body ached. I’m even taller! He thought. Henry
looked at his hands. As big as an adult. He noticed he was an adult! The necklace,
he thought. He had to get it off.
He snuck down the stairs, and went to the backyard. He put his hands around
the chain of the necklace. Henry paused and took a deep breath, because he knew
this was going to hurt.
Henry tugged it, but it wouldn’t come out. To his surprise, it glowed as he
tugged, revealing the eye. He tugged harder, and it came loose. He heard his
father’s voice, the same in the dreams, saying, “You succeeded. Now flee!”
Henry obeyed and went into the kitchen. Mary was talking on the phone near
the laundry room. Henry crept passed the kitchen to the living room and burst
out the front door. He ran and ran on the street until he figured that he was
lost. He didn’t think of his mother, his school, or anything else but the dream.
He ran and ran again until he appeared at the side of a steep forest. Henry
could feel that he was getting bigger by the second. He got too close to the
forest and tumbled down the hill into the mushy green water.
Henry struggled to get himself out of the weeds underwater. They knotted
around him. He got bigger, and older, until he looked exactly like his father.
He gaped for air as the knots got tighter. Henry swallowed gulps of water
at each time he wanted air.
He got the last of the air before he drowned. Henry floated on the water
a short wile later.
A man found him in the swamp a few days later. He found the black ball
and took it with him, and he soon discovers its deadly power.