Originally uploaded in 2014, but I've tweaked it to make it better. Follows the book and Henry Bowers never 'confesses' to the deaths of his friends.
My son disappeared in 1958. At the tender age of twelve.
Actually, he was nearing his thirteenth birthday when he disappeared. My son, a teenager!
But, to be honest, he had been acting much older than his years for ages now. He stayed out late most nights and smoked. My son was never good at hiding the cigarette packets that he had clearly stolen off of his father. He was never the perfect child, failing most of his tests, resulting in him having to go to that bloody summer school again. If he had studied, like he was told, he would have passed the tests and been free to help his father out with work around the house. I admit, it is a bit big-headed to feel that if he had knuckled down, then he would have passed those tests, but I still maintain that my son was clever.
Not 'A' material, but he was up there. When he could be bothered, of course.
August 14th 1958. The date he disappeared.
He had gone out with Reginald and the Bowers boy. I wasn't against him being friends with the Bowers boy, not back then, but I had my doubts about Butch Bowers. That man wasn't right in the head, never had been.
It wasn't until a couple of months before my son disappeared, that he began to express his concerns over the sanity of the Bowers boy. This concern quickly changed to fear, and the last day I saw him, he was quiet and withdrawn. Speaking to him was difficult. He didn't seem to hear half of what I said to him, and the times he did respond, he grunted. In the end, I gave up with him, linking his quietness to the terrible occurrences in the town that had sprung up in the winter of the previous year. I'm not surprised he was quiet and withdrawn.
As some of the missing children were his classmates.
August 14th 1958. 11am.
Reginald sauntered up our drive. He and my son had been friends since they were five years old. They bonded over getting into trouble for what the teachers claimed was an 'extreme form of bullying.' Apparently they unleashed an 'unprovoked attack on a smaller younger boy, who had simply been playing with a ball.' It was bullshit. My son was the one who was attacked, the ball was thrown in his face, resulting in him and Reginald teaching the attacker 'a lesson.'
I have been close with Reginald's mother for a number of years now, closer than we were when our children used to play together. When they were safe and well.
We comforted each other, still do, over the loss of our sons.
I didn't know of my son's disappearance until the ten o'clock news, when a close up of the Bowers boy was shown, the boy screaming and thrashing whilst being held by two policemen. The police were there to arrest the Bowers boy initially for the death of his father. Although I was horrified that a twelve year old boy could do such a thing, a part of me had been glad. Butch Bowers deserved it. As that terrible thought had drifted into my mind, the Bowers boy screamed out that he had murdered all of the missing children. The screams were of names of all of the missing.
My son and Reginald were not mentioned.
As I adjusted to the shock, my husband piped up beside me:
"Yes, he did deserve it, didn't he? Oh, but don't worry, Butch Bowers will be alright. He'll just be floating around… You can come and say hello if you want!"
I whipped my head around so sharply to look at my husband that a jarring pain pierced through my neck. Questioning him, I only received a confused look, an unspoken answer etched onto his features;
'What the hell are you on about, woman?!'
I shook my head and mumbled: "Forget it, it's nothing."
My son never returned home, and the end months of 1958 had me on edge. Every time the door opened, I expected to see my son, grinning sheepishly, as he always did when he was in trouble. It was a common expression he greeted me with.
I never once thought that my son was dead. Even when the police gave up searching, I thought that he was still out there. Him and Reginald, together.
My first and only visit to the Bowers boy at Juniper Hill. Since the day my son disappeared, 14th August 1958, Bowers had been incarcerated there. We chatted briefly, but the words he threw at me shocked me to my core. In the end, unable to stand anymore, I fled. I couldn't believe what he told me. Saying that my son was dead! Reginald too!
After hours of contemplating, I decided not believe the Bowers boy. After all, he was the crazy one locked up in a mental asylum.
Reflecting on it now, I think of how stupid I was. Even though I dismissed his claims, my anxiety ballooned.
20th March 1970. 2am.
The night my fears were confirmed.
My husband had passed away three years after our son had disappeared. Unknown reasons was the end result. So I lay awake, alone.
I had been thinking about my son, when I heard the front door bang open. My heart beat furiously as I bolted out of bed, my frazzled mind scrambling to think of how to defend myself against the burglar.
However, I was optimistic as I wrapped my dressing gown around me. What if it was…?
My grip on the recently acquired baseball bat loosened and I rushed forward, descending the stairs in wonder. My son! My twenty four year old son! All grown up and come home!
Not dead, like the Bowers boy had said.
I skidded to a halt when my eyes laid on the horror in front of me.
Screaming, eyes bulging, the baseball bat smacked on the floor. Oh yes, my son was home. But he wasn't twenty four. Hell… He wasn't even alive.
The monster, that was surely once my son, shambled towards me still wearing his favourite t-shirt and the jeans with the garrison belt. The same clothes he had been wearing when I waved him and Reginald off.
14th August 1958.
When I waved them both off to their deaths.
He was headless, blood spouting from his neck. Ripped off! My mind screamed. His hands, claw-like, were stretched out before him, holding his head. My son's head had grinned grotesquely and uttered words that chilled me to the bone.
"Hey Mom, sorry I'm late! See, me and Belch were floating… and we lost track of time. I'm here now! Sorry! I know you've been waiting all these years for me! And don't worry! Everything will be fine and dandy, Mom! Cause Henry will get them… Oh, he will."
My son had cackled, a sound that screeched in my ears. As I fell to my knees, tears streaming down my face, I wept for my son and Reginald. For if my son was dead, Reginald surely was too.
I don't remember the rest of that encounter or the aftermath.
I have been living in this house in New York for fourteen years now. A month after my… that thing resembling my son came home, I left Derry, knowing for a fact that I will never return there.
It is early evening. The pills in my hand are enough to kill a horse.
Swallowing them, my mind floats to thoughts of my son and Reginald.
Whatever killed them deserved to be destroyed. For no human could have ripped off my son's head so brutally. I shudder to think what fate befell Reginald.
Hopefully both boys were… at peace.
As I slipped into unconsciousness, one thought remained.
Why? Why was my son and his friend killed? Did they do something wrong? Did they provoke their killer?
They were only the tender age of twelve for god's sake.
Most people in Derry will regard my son as just one of the hundreds missing, presumed dead, children.
Maybe as one of the ones who weren't as vital to return home.
I hope my son is proud of me. Is looking down on me.
As I take my last breath, I smile. For he will always be: