Chapter 1

It all happened so quickly for Stanley; one second he was tailing his friends, his flashlight aimed down at the dampness that covered the ground, and then he felt a hand enclose around his wrist, dragging him away, away from his friends and into the darkness that existed out of his flashlight's golden light. He could not scream; as soon as his mouth found the realization to open, a hand, one that smelled of dirt and felt sticky with sweat, closed around his mouth and an alarmingly pleasant voice sounded in his ear.

"Hi, kid. I, uh, guess you're the first."

And audible click could be heard, and as Stanley dared to open his eyes he saw the silvery and ominous glinting of Henry Bowers' knife through the dank and scarce light of the sewer. A sudden stink filled his nostrils as there came the sound of a particularly good burp. Stanley shifted slightly and was unpleasantly surprised to see Belch Huggins grinning at him.

Henry let out a horrible laugh and his eyes grew wide, so wide that Stanley could just see in their glimmering, endless depths a certain trace of something...something...

That's the crazy, he thought wildly, Bill always said that he had cracked his nut, but I had never really thought that it was honest to God true...now I'm going to die...I'm going to--

Henry grabbed his shoulders and gently guided him backward, until his back was against a pipe. Belch held Stanley's arms behind his back tightly as Henry pressed the blade of the knife against Stanley's white shirt. Stanley closed his eyes tightly, expecting to feel a horrible stabbing of pain as Henry's blade ripped through his skin, but instead he heard a distant little plunk and felt Henry flick his wrist.

With each flick of his wrist Stan felt one more of his shirt's buttons fly off, forever lost in the sewers beneath Derry. Then he heard the soft, calculatingly cold voice of Henry speak, his voice echoing throughout the sewer, "Now, before you die, I want you to think about every rock you threw and everything you've said. I want you to think about that before you die."

Stanley's eyes were open now, staring in fear at Henry. He struggled against Belch's grip, panting desperately. I don't want to die, not like this...oh, where are the others? Haven't they noticed that I'm gone by now? Please, God, please don't let me die!

"Well, Rockman, are you thinking? Maybe if you start thinking then I might let you live..."

Though Belch's fingers that were covering his mouth, Stanley still managed to say in a cracked, muffled voice, "Y-Yeah, Henry, I'm thinking, I promise. Please don't--"

Before he could even finish this last thought, Henry had let out a roar of fury and forced the blade into Stanley's chest. At that moment everything seemed to go gray for Stanley, and almost as soon as the blade was retracted from his quivering frame, he felt a huge and gnawing stab of pain. Everything he knew began to fade, and it was at that moment that he lost his grip on reality.

No, he thought as he felt Henry press the blade to his chest for a second time, No, this isn't real...Bill, Richie, Ben, Mike, and Bevvie will be here any second to...to...

Distantly Belch's cry of, "Jeezum-crow, Henry! Whatchu doin'?! I thought we was just messin' around is all!"

There was that pain again, and through Stanley's closing eyes the world gave out one final flash of color, a blinding and heart stopping flash of blood red, before returning to first gray again, and, just as his eyes closed for the final time, black. After about a full and excruciating minute, however, the pain ebbed all together and Stanley was left with an oddly empty feeling.

Henry's voice pierced his brain, annoyingly and surprisingly loud, saying to Belch, "You idiot, did you think that I was joking? Did you think that I followed the pricks down here to give them a friendly warning and that was it?"

"Well I didn't think that you'd kill 'em, Henry. Jeez, I ain't so sure about all this now..."

"You wanna back out now? Fine!" Henry snapped. Stanley could just hear the boy's footsteps as he walked away. There was a moment of silence and Stanley could feel Belch's almost comfortingly warm breath on his cheek before he too rose to his feet and walked off.

Once they had gone Stanley allowed himself to finally let a few tears slip past his closed eyes. He cried, but oddly enough he tears that crept their way down his cheek didn't possess the warm quality that most tears had. They were cold. His whole frame lay there, on the ground of the sewer, quaking and cold.

Stanley let out one last breath of precious air and felt the pain that he thought had left return, this time coursing not just in a few places, but throughout his entire failing body. He felt it most just above his navel and in his right side, somewhere between his ribs he guessed, but Stanley supposed that it really didn't matter much. He supposed that nothing really mattered much in the end.