His fingers wrapped around the stone, hand trembling from adrenaline and uncertainty. He closed his eyes as he hurled the small jagged rock towards the crying boy near the edge of Elk Brook. The crying boy whimpered as the small stone hit him on the right side of his head.
“Please stop! I didn’t do anything to any of you,” protested the boy.
Alan picked up another rock and handed it to Bill. His eyes searching Bill’s for a hint of weakness, a hint of fear.
“It’s your turn now. Hit him as hard as you can. He’s a wimp and a snitch. We don’t like his kind around here Bill,” said Alan.
Bill slowly reached for the rock and took it from Alan. He shifted the stone within his right hand as thoughts raced through his head. This is wrong. We shouldn’t be doing this. How am I supposed to get out of this?
“What’s wrong Billy? Can’t do it?” said Ricky. He was an older boy, about 14-years old, who was the ring leader of this wicked group.
The crying boy, Scott Stern, was around 11-years old, attended the same school as the rest of the boys that had dragged him down to Elk Brook. He was walking home from school when Ricky, Alan, Bill, and Steve had spotted him. Ricky suggested they mess with Scott a little bit since he was always snitching on them at school. He called it a little payback for the rat. Bill was new in town and wasn’t sure of the malicious extent that his new found friends were capable of.
Once the boys had caught up to Scott they grabbed him, slapped him, called him names. Bill hoped his was all in the spirit of young boys being boys and a little roughhousing is where it would end. They boys laughed while Scott pleaded with them to let him go, he promised he wouldn’t tell anyone about it. Ricky shook his head at this point and signaled towards the woods at the edge of the sidewalk where they had originally found Scott.
“Let’s take him for a little swim guys,” said Ricky as he let out a sinister laugh.
By the time the boys had arrived at Elk Brook, Scott had been punched and kicked along the way. Bill protested and wanted to head back to town but the boys had simply laughed and told him to shut up. Bill knew this was wrong but couldn’t bring himself to speak up in fear of retribution.
“Hey! Bill? Snap out of it,” said Ricky as he snapped his fingers in front of Bills’ eyes who was lost in deep thought. “You gonna do this or not?”
Bill looked back down at the rock that he was tightly gripping in his hand and shook his head. “I can’t, this is messed up. Why don’t we just let him go? Look at him, he learned his lesson,” said Bill.
Alan and Steve looked at Bill then over at Ricky who was now staring blankly at Bill. They quickly shook their heads and looked away. They knew what followed next, they both knew better than to try and reason with Ricky. Ricky’s eyes were fixated on Bill, anger starting to blind him. He snatched the rock from Bill’s hand and turned towards Scott. He drew his arm back and flung it with all his might in one fluid motion at the unsuspecting boy. The rock made struck him in his mouth. Scott let out a piercing scream as he raised his hands to cover his mouth. Blood dripped from in between his fingers, tears flowed form his eyes.
“You broke my tooth Ricky! Why?!” screamed Scott as he cried.
Alan and Steve felt the situation was getting out of hand at this point and tried to interject.
“Hey man let’s go before it gets dark out. That little punk won’t tell anyone about this unless he wants something worse to happen to him,” said Steve to Ricky.
“Yeah man, we taught him a lesson he won’t forget Ricky,” said Alan as he laughed nervously.
Ricky remained silent, watching as Scott clutched his mouth. The edges of his lips slightly curling upward into a smile. He was proud of what he had done, happy even, of the damage he had done to Scott. He turned to Bill.
“What do you think Billy? Has he had enough?” said Ricky menacingly.
Bill hesitated before answering. “Yeah, just look at him. He’s bleeding and his tooth is broken and he’s all bruised up. What else can you do at this point? We’re lucky you didn’t kill him with that last rock Ricky. Let’s just all go,” said Bill.
Ricky’s voice trailed off as he whispered, “Kill him…”
“That’s a great idea Bill,” said Ricky as he pushed past Bill and made his way to a large stone that was on the ground behind him. He picked it up with both hand and ran over to Scott.
Alan and Steve both screamed at Ricky to stop as Bill started to run towards him. Bill lunged at Ricky as he held the large stone over his head and commenced to bring it down towards Scott’s shivering, bloodied body.
The sun was beginning to set, rays of sunlight quickly faded through the trees. The sound of the babbling brook was overcome by the screams of young boys lost somewhere within the forest.