TITLE: I Was Made to Love You

AUTHOR: Sanguinary

COPYRIGHT: November 7, 2001


SPOILERS: Invincible Fiend

DISCLAIMER: BWoC and it’s characters do not belong to me. Anna, Emily, Danny and Jeff do though.

FEEDBACK: Sanguinary_515@hotmail.com

SUMMARY: Classic love story. Boy creates friend. Boy locks friend away in trunk for ten years. Friend comes back and tries to kill boy and boy’s new friend. But what happened to make all of this happen?


You are the reason

I was born

To be with you though all seasons

I’ll always hear you when you call

-Good Boat Sunday by Supertramp


Merton, age five, watched his Mommy as she walked around the kitchen. She had a phone nestled in between her shoulder and her head. Mommy was talking to Aunty Jane about coming to see her on the weekend. Merton didn’t like Aunty Jane. She was old and grumpy.

“No. No. Yes. Sure I’ll bring bean dip.” Mommy turned to look a Merton, “Merton just can’t wait.”

Merton, knowing what Mommy wanted him to do, nodded. Mommy smiled. Maybe he would get a cookie later.

After Mommy hung up the phone, Merton walked over to her and tugged on her pant leg.

“Mommy,” Merton asked, “May I have a cookie.”

“Not right now Merton.” Mommy pushed him towards the door. “Why don’t you go outside and play?”


“Mommy’s busy.” She opened the door and set him on their small porch. “Go on Merton.”

And, before Merton could say any more, Mommy shut the door behind him.

It was bright outside and Merton looked around his backyard, thinking about what to do.

The backyard was large to a child as small as Merton. In the left corner of the yard were a sandbox and a swing-set. But, in the right corner of the yard was a large bush with plenty of places for a kid to hide. Not sure of which one to pick, Merton remembered a way of choosing that his cousin Mary had taught him. He closed his eyes and spun around, right arm outstretched. He kept twirling until he fell down.

Quickly, he opened his eyes to see which way he was pointing. His arm was pointing towards the bushes. Merton stood and brushed the dirt off of him as he walked towards the bushes. He liked it underneath the bushes. It was dark and when he was inside of it, no one could find him.

Merton dropped to his hands and knees. Quickly, he crawled under the leafy bottom of the bush and wiggles his way into the center. He was almost completely inside when…

“Ow!” Merton drew his hand back quickly. He had accidentally cut it on a pointy branch. Merton snapped the branch off of the bush and tossed it away. He scrabbled deeper into the bush and, when he found a little clearing, he sat down and looked at his hand.

It wasn’t a serious cut and it didn’t hurt much. Merton couldn’t help but stare at the red blood slowly trickling down his palm. Knowing that if he wiped the blood on his clothes he would be in trouble, he looked around for something to wipe it on. He saw a piece of paper trapped in between two branches. Merton grabbed the paper and wiped his hand on it. The blood smeared across the yellowed paper.

After his hand was clean, Merton took a closer look at the paper in his hand. It was covered with words, some that Merton knew and some that he didn’t.

“This sp-ell. Spell. Will gr-ant. Grant. The wishes of the be-hold-er. Beholder. To act-ta-vate. Activate. You must press the b-loo-d. Blood. Sta-in-ed. Stained. Hand of a child and then make a wish.” Merton, though unsure of some of the word’s meaning, was sure that the paper wanted him to make a wish. “I wish that I could have a… a…” He stopped for a moment.

He could have anything he wanted. But what did he want most.

“Over here!”

“No! Over here!”

“I got it! I got it!”

Merton heard the voice of his neighbor Jeremy and his friends Tommy and Carl as they played. He had tried to play with them a few times but none of them seemed to like Merton. Suddenly, he knew what to wish for.

“I wish that I could have a friend.” He closed his eyes and waited.


Merton opened his eyes, just a crack. Nothing had happened. Sighing sadly, Merton stuck the paper back in the branches where it had been before and lay down on his back. He yawned once and, before he knew if, he was asleep.


Tommy Dawkins watched with dread as the football went over the fence and into the Dingle’s yard.

Jeremy looked at Tommy and said, “It’s your turn Tommy.”

“It can’t be.”

“It is.” Carl agreed. “I went last time and Jeremy went before.”


“No buts.” Jeremy pointed at the Dingle’s yard. “Go.”Tommy pouted as he walked along the white picket fence separating the two yards. He paused at the edge of the fence, looking into the yard to make sure that no one was around. Then, quickly as he could go, he ran into the yard.

Looking around, he couldn’t see where the ball had landed. Then he noticed a brown splotch inside the bush in the corner of the yard. Tommy scurried along the fence line until he reached the bush. Then he dropped to his knees and crawled into the bush.

He saw the football lying beside the Dingle kid. Tommy couldn’t remember if his name was Marvin or Morton. He suddenly felt the urge to wake the kid up and ask him if he wanted to play too.

Tommy crawled towards the kid and was about to wake him up when…

“Ahh!” He seized his knee in pain as he knelt on the end of a sharp stick. It pierced his jeans and went into his skin.

“What’s wrong Tommy?” Carl called from over the fence, “Did you see something scary?”

“Yeah, like Mrs. Dingle’s underwear?” Tommy could hear Carl and Jeremy laughing.

Tommy’s knee ached and he could feel tears running down his face. He didn’t want Carl or Jeremy to see him crying. Looking around, he saw a piece of scrap paper nearby him. He grabbed it and wiped his face clean. Then he grabbed the football and crawled out of the bush, pain shooting though his knee the entire way.

“Stupid Dingle,” He muttered as he limped out of the yard, “Probably left that stick there on purpose.”


The paper fluttered in the bush. The tears, mixed with sweat, ran down the page. As it flowed over the blood, it began to change. The paper dissolved into a golden glow, creating thousands of little sparkles. The sparkles spread thought the bush and settled over top of Merton’s body.

} Wish I had a friend {

They became liquid, covering Merton in a golden skin.

Then as quickly as it formed, it unformed and oozed onto the ground, forming a human shape.


IT wasn’t.

IT was.

That was all IT knew when IT opened IT’s eyes. IT looked around and IT changed colour, becoming green. IT looked at the thing walking away from the bush and IT became larger. IT breathed in the air and IT became real.

A noise came from behind IT. IT slowly turned around and saw…

The Creator. IT reached out and touched the face of The Creator, feeling it’s smooth cheeks. IT felt something for this child, something IT had never known. Gently IT shook The Creator.

“Wakey, wakey.” IT said.

The Creator blinked sleepily. “Hello.” The Creator said.

“Hello.” IT said back.

“What are you doing here?”

“You made me,” IT said, “You asked for a friend.

The Creator blinked with surprised. “I made you?”

IT nodded. “Yes.”

“You’re mine?”

“Yours and yours alone.” It felt good for IT to belong to The Creator.

The Creator smiled making IT feel that unnamable feeling again.

“Do you have a name?” The Creator asked.

IT shook IT’s head.

“Then I’ll give you one.” The Creator thought for a moment and then said, “Mr. Invincible. Vince for short.”

Vince smiled. “What’s your name?”

The Creator smiled, “Merton. And you’re really my friend?”

“Yes,” Vince couldn’t help but grin, “Vince is your friend and it’s p-p-p-p-playtime!” Vince tickled Merton’s side and felt something swell within Vince’s chest as Merton giggled. This was Vince’s child, Vince’s friend, Vince’s Creator. He belonged to Vince, now and forever.


 “Professor Plum in the study with the… the…” Merton looked around the room and then smiled, “With the toilet-plunger!”

Vince shook his head, “Nope!”

Merton sighed. “Then who?”

“Mrs. White in the Study with the electrical wire.” Vince handed Merton the homemade cards that he and Merton had made to make the game more ‘Interesting’.

“I was so close!” Merton pouted. “Lets play one more game. Please?”

Vince smiled. “Ok. But this time, Vince is Mr. Green.”

“You’re always Mr. Green.” Merton smiled, his gappy-toothed grin making Vince’s heart flip-flop.

“That’s because Vince is Mr. Green.” Vince pointed to his bright-green hair.

“Well,” Merton sighed in defeat, “Fine. But next round I get to be Mr. Green and you have to be… um…” Merton rooted though the clue box until he found what he was looking for, “Miss Scarlet.”

Vince pretended to be angry but inside he was smiling. Merton knew that Vince wasn’t really angry so he started to shuffle the cards.


Merton stood in front of the school and swallowed. His Mommy gave him a little push towards the building.

“Go on honey,” She said, “I bet you’ll have lots of fun in school. You’ll meet new people and have lots of friends.”

Merton turned to look at Vince. Vince held out his hand and Merton took it. “Vince bets that we’ll find other people who like Clue like we do.” He smiled and pointed to some other kids. “And if any of them make fun of Merton, Vince will hurt them.” Merton smiled at this and they walked into the school together, Merton’s mom waving at her son.

It was huge inside the school, the light way about even Vince’s head. All around him were other boys and girls. Panic struck Merton for a moment but a reassuring squeeze from Vince’s hand made him feel better. They made their way into the kindergarten room and found a seat at one of the tables near the front. Vince sat in the chair beside Merton. Another little boy tried to sit where Vince was but Vince tripped him and the little boy ran away, crying.

This did not surprise Merton. Around a year ago, Merton had discovered that no one else could see Vince because they didn’t believe in Vince. Instead of being sad, Merton had been happy. If no one else could see Vince that meant that he could have Vince do things for Merton so Merton wouldn’t get in trouble. Since then, Vince had done stuff that was kind of mean but since people were already mean to Merton, Vince didn’t see anything wrong with making other people feel the way Merton did.

Merton had learned to not tell anyone about his friend. People acted weird around Merton when they found out about Vince and they would talk quietly about Merton being ‘a little old for DELUSIONS’. Merton wasn’t sure what DELUSIONS meant but he thought that it might get him TAKEN AWAY to the CRAZY HOUSE. These were words that he had heard whispered between his parents when he played with Vince in front of them. Merton didn’t like the sound of the CRAZY HOUSE so he stopped talking about Vince in front of his parents.

Vince reached over and tapped Merton on the shoulder. Merton looked up and saw an adult entering the room. She was as tall as his mommy and had really red hair. She was really pretty and Merton could smell Ivory Soap.

“Hello class,” Her voice was sweet and she smiled, “My name is Miss Lisa and I’ll be your teacher.”

Most of the kids went quiet and looked at her. Well, almost all of the kids. Two large boys ran in the classroom shrieking.

“Tim, Travis.” Miss Lisa scolded them, “Sit down and behave.”

The two boys sat at the same table as Merton and Vince.

“Hey,” One of they said. “Look at the little baby.”

“Baby!” The other laughed, “Let’s make the baby cry.”

Merton went to call the teacher to help him but Miss Lisa was on the other side of the room. “Y…you better leave me alone.” Merton tried to sound brave but he was shaking like a leaf.

“Or what?” The one boy said, “You’ll tattle?”

“Or Vince will hurt you!” Vince stood up and grabbed the two boys by the scruff of their necks. He then threw them away from the table. Tim and Travis hit the bookshelf, causing the books and toys on the shelf to fall down on them. They both began to cry and ran to the teacher.

“Miss Lisa!” They yelled, “The mean kid over there hurt us!”

“Uh oh,” Merton whispered to Vince as Miss Lisa came near. “We’re in trouble.”


“…And if I ever hear anything like this from your teachers ever again I’ll take away your toys for a week.” Merton’s mother yelled at Merton while Vince waited upstairs.

“Yes mommy.” Merton sounded so sad. It was hard for Vince not to run down the stairs and stop the yelling but Merton had told Vince to say put.

“Now go to your room and think about what you did.” The talking was finally over and Vince could hear Merton climbing the stairs. Vince quietly waited on Merton’s bed, trying not to fidget too much.

The door opened and Merton walked in, his head hung low.

“Merton?” Vince said quietly. Merton looked up at Vince with fresh tears in his eyes.

“You can’t come to school with me anyone.” Merton said sadly.

Vince felt an empty space grow inside of Vince. “Vince understands.” Vince said sadly.

Vince would obey Merton.

Vince loved Merton.


The clock ticked slowly.






Vince stared at the clock, waiting for it to change. Vince had been waiting since 8:30 that morning when Merton first left. Vince knew that Merton wouldn’t want him to just sit here but Vince couldn’t help it.

The day was boring without Merton to play with.




Time went by slowly, dragging like the arms of a giant gorilla. Vince waited, not shifting, not moving an inch.




One less minute till Merton was home. And then, it would be playtime.





“What’s grey, has four legs and carries a trunk?” Merton looked up from his joke-book, a smile on his small face.

“An elephant!” Vince said, pleased that he knew the answer.

“No,” Merton’s smile grew bigger, “A mouse on vacation!” Vince laughed along with Merton. Though Vince didn’t really get the joke, Vince knew that Merton would want him to laugh.

“Tell me another one Merton!” Vince said eagerly, “Please?”

“Alright,” The smile on Merton’s face made Vince fell all tingly inside. “When crazy people walk though the forest, which path to they take?”

Vince smiled, “The psycho-path!”


“What do you know?” The Daddy was yelling at The Mommy again.

“More than you!” A lamp smashed up against the wall. Merton covered his ears with his hands, hoping to block out the sound of his parents fighting downstairs. Tears ran down his cheeks, leaving shinning trails that glowed in the soft light of his nightlight. Merton whimpered quietly and snuggled deeper under his blanket.

All of this Vince saw from the closet where he slept.

Vince did not sleep in the same bed as Merton. Vince had once slept beside Merton’s bed but The Mommy had tripped over Vince, causing her to panic and wonder what had caused the trip. Since then, Vince had slept in the closet where Vince would not get in The Mommy’s way.

But now… now Merton needed Vince.

Vince slowly opened the closet door, checking to make sure that The Mommy and The Daddy were still downstairs. Then, creeping quietly across the floor, Vince made his way over to Merton’s bed. Vince sat on the edge of Merton’s bed and placed one hand on Merton’s shoulder. Merton took his hands off of his ears and looked at Vince.

“Hey there little buddy,” Vince wiped the tears off of Merton’s face, “No worries. Vince will protect you. Vince won’t let anyone hurt his friend.”

Another smash came from downstairs. Merton scrambled into Vince’s lap and wrapped his arms around him. Vince was surprised. Merton had never hugged Vince before. Held Vince’s hand, yes but hug Vince? Never. The feel of Merton in Vince’s arms was… right. Vince wrapped his arms around Merton’s small frame. Slowly, Vince rocked back and forth and began to sing gently.

“Vince loves you forever. Vince loves you for always. As long as you’re living, Vince’s Merton you’ll be.” Over and over Vince sang the simple words, keeping rhythm and time together. Merton began to relax, the tension flowing out of his shoulders.

Moving gently, Vince shifted onto the bed and lay down, Merton still clutched in his arms. Merton, almost asleep, snuggled closer into Vince’s chest and sighed happily.

“I love you…” Merton whispered as the darkness overtook him.

“Vince loves you too.” Vince kissed Merton on the forehead and then followed Merton into the black void of sleep, completely content.


“…then you put the macaroni on the jar!” Merton pasted the last piece into place on the baby-food jar. “And now, we ask Mom for some paint so it’s all shiny.”

Vince looked at the jar Vince had decorated. It wasn’t anything like the jar that was in Merton’s hand. The macaroni was falling off of the side and Vince suspected that Vince had put too much glue on it. Merton didn’t seem to notice though. He was too excited, inspecting his jar for imperfections.

“I’ll be right back,” He said, setting the jar gently on the table where they were working. “Make sure that Becky doesn’t touch my jar.” Merton hopped out of his chair and walked out of the kitchen, leaving Vince alone.

But not for long.

“Merton!” Becky’s shrill voice filled the small kitchen. “Merton! Where’s my Barbie?”

Becky walked into the kitchen, her brown hair pulled out of her face with three pink barrettes. She was wearing a pale pink dress and had on her mother’s pink slippers. Seeing Vince at the table, she frowned.

“You again?” Becky pouted, “Where’s Merton?”

“Merton is getting paint.” Vince glared at Becky, “Vince was told to stay here. Go away Becky, Vince doesn’t like you.”

“You’re a stupid poopy-head!” Becky shouted at him.

Becky was mad at Vince because Vince was the reason Merton wouldn’t play with her. Vince didn’t like Becky because she was mean to Merton and made him do stuff for her.

“You’re a brat!” Vince stuck Vince’s tongue out at her.

“I hate you!” Becky stormed over to the table and sat in Merton’s chair. “You get to do everything with him and I don’t ever get to do anything!”

“Merton wants to play with Vince because Vince treats Merton nice.” Vince picked up Merton’s jar and brought it beside Vince’s jar. “You treat Merton bad.”

“He’s my brother!” Becky said, “I’m allowed to treat him that way. You’re just a freak that Mommy can’t see.”

“The Mom does not see Vince because The Mom does not believe in Vince.”

“Fine then,” Becky jumped off of Merton’s chair. “I don’t believe in you. And you talk funny.”

“Fine.” Vince said and unbecame.

Becky stared in surprise as Vince disappeared. “Vince? Vince?” She waved her arms around, trying to feel where he was. Vince, now invisible to Becky, nimbly stepped out of her way each time she came near Vince. Her face became redder and redder as she became angrier.

“Fine!” She rushed over to the table. Vince realized what Becky was about to do to late. She seized Merton’s glass jar in her hands and held it in the air. “If you don’t appear I’ll smash it!”

Vince became. Becky gasped in delight as Vince sparkled into existence.

“Set down the jar.” Vince said.

“No,” Becky gripped it tighter, “You’ll disappear if I do.”

“Vince will disappear if you don’t.” Vince took a step closer, “And maybe Vince will stay disappeared forever.”

Suddenly Becky smiled and Vince realized that that was exactly what she wanted. “Well then, if you promise…” And she threw the jar, just as Merton walked into the kitchen with The Mom following him. Vince reached out to grab the jar but he was too slow.

It smashed into a thousand sharp pieces against the wall. Macaroni and glue flew everywhere. Merton looked at Becky, turned to his jar, looked up at Vince, and burst into tears.

“Merton!” Vince shouted as Merton ran up the stairs. The Mom was in Vince’s way, blocking the kitchen’s only exit.

“Becky!” The Mom sounded surprised, “What did you do that for?”

Becky pointed towards Vince and said, “He made me do it Mommy. Vince told me to!”

“Stop that right now!” The Mom was angry now, “Go to your room right now! Your father and I will have a talk about this when he gets home!”



Becky burst into tears as well and went running by The Mom. The Mom sighed and began to clean up the kitchen. As soon as she moved, Vince slipped by The Mom and ran upstairs.


Merton was lying on his bed, his face pressed into his pillow, muffling his cries. Vince approached the bed, uncertain of what Vince should do. Vince wanted to pick up Merton and tell him that everything would be ok…but Vince didn’t think that Merton would want to be held.

Gently, Vince placed Vince’s hand on Merton’s back and rubbed.

“Vince is sorry,” Vince said, “Vince should have done something more to stop Becky. Vince will go away if Merton wants Vince to.”

Merton turned his head to face Vince.

“No!” Merton sobbed, “Don’t leave! Promise me you won’t leave!” Merton sat up and flung his arms around Vince.

“Vince promises not to leave.” Vince wrapped his arms around Merton, “Vince will always be with Merton. Forever and ever.”

They sat there for a while, Merton’s tears slowly drying. Finally, Merton looked up at Vince and asked, “What do you think Mom will do when Dad gets home?”

“Vince doesn’t know,” Vince said slowly, “But Vince will be there no matter what.”

“No.” Merton shook his head, “You shouldn’t come. Just in case.”

“Vince doesn’t think that that’s a good idea.”

“Please.” Merton was serious now.

“Fine.” Vince agreed unhappily, “Vince will stay put.”

“Thank you.” Merton cuddled back into Vince’s chest but Vince no longer felt that good feeling inside Vince’s chest.


Vince waited upstairs. Vince couldn’t hear a thing that Merton’s parents were saying to him this time and Vince didn’t like it. Not one bit.

It was getting harder and harder to just wait upstairs. Finally, Vince stood up and walked out of Merton’s room.

Quietly he crept down the stairs, keeping an eye out for Becky and Merton. As he reached the bottom, he was finally able to hear Merton’s father.

And what he heard made Vince sick.

“What kind of stories have you been telling your sister?” The Dad said, “Now she thinks that you’re ‘imaginary friend’ is real as well! And she’s using it to justify whatever she does wrong! Just like you did!”

“But Dad…” Merton tried to speak but The Dad interrupted him.

“No buts!” The Dad sounded angry now, “I know that you’re not stupid but you sure seem that way most of the time! You blame everything you do on your ‘friend’ and you don’t take any responsibility for anything! You’re worthless Merton, absolutely worthless.”

Tears started to fall down Merton’s cheeks. “I…”

“Stop crying!” The Dad shouted, “I raised you to be stronger than that! You make me ashamed to be your father! Now stop those tears and go to your room! And I better not hear you talking you your ‘friend’ ever again! Do you understand?”

“Yes…” Merton’s voice was low and tight. Vince quickly went back upstairs before Merton could come out and catch him.

Vince waited for what seemed to be an eternity before Merton entered the room.

“Little buddy?” Vince walked towards Merton, “What happened?”

Merton looked at Vince, tears in his eyes. “I just want to make him proud…” Merton whispered, his voice cracking, “I just want him to love me.”

Vince picked Merton up and rocked him in Vince’s arms. Merton wrapped his arms around Vince’s neck and started sobbing quietly. Vince gently patted him on the back with Vince’s other hand. “Shhhhh,” Vince said, “It’s ok. Vince loves you. Vince will always love you. No matter what.”


It was two hours since Merton fell asleep in Vince’s arms. Three since Merton had come back from The Dad’s lecture. There was only one thing on Vince’s mind. And that was payback.

Vince waited outside of The Dad and The Mom’s bedroom. Knowing what Vince needed to do, Vince moved quickly and as fast as Vince could.

Vince would revenge Merton.

Because Vince loved Merton.


The sound of knocking on the door work Mr. Dingle. He stretched and got out of bed, pulling on his bathrobe. Ted Dingle thought about putting on his slippers for a moment but decided against it.

Ted opened the door to his bedroom and walked out into the hallway. The sound of knocking came again from downstairs.

“I’m coming!” He called, his voice still filled with sleep. He stepped onto the first step of the stair and almost fell down. It was coated with something wet and slippery but he couldn’t see what it was. Ted leached out and grabbed the banister, stopping his fall. He was almost upright when he heard a voice come from behind him.

“No you don’t.” It said. “You don’t escape this easily.” Two large hands shoved against his back, sending Ted down the staircase, screaming.


Vince watched at The Dad tumbled down the stairs. There was the sound of breaking bones and the scent of fresh blood. Vince, stepping over the puddle of dish soap, skipped down the stairs.

The Dad was lying in a bloody heap at the bottom of the stairs. It looked like The Dad’s legs were broken and that he was bleeding from the mouth. But The Dad was still alive. Vince placed Vince’s foot on top of The Dad’s head and thought about killing The Dad. Vince changed his mind at the last moment and removed it instead.

“Honey?” The Mom’s voice cried out, a mixture of surprise and fear. “Are you ok?”

Vince ran back up the stairs and looked at the dish soap. Pointing Vince’s finger at the puddle, Vince created a plasma bolt and shot it. The bolt hit the puddle and turned it into smoke but didn’t damage the carpet. Then, Vince slipped back into Merton’s room, just before The Mom exited her room.

As The Mom discovered The Dad, Vince crept to Merton’s bed and lay down beside Merton. Gently, Vince wrapped his arm around the sleeping Merton.

“Everything will be ok now,” Vince whispered, even as The Mom began to scream, “Just you and me, little buddy.”





“Ready or not,” Vince called out, “Here I come!”

Vince raised his head out of the corner where Vince had hid Vince’s head. A quick look around the room revealed Merton nowhere in sight.

Which didn’t surprise Vince.

Vince closed Vince’s eyes and used Vince’s mind to search for Merton’s mind. Vince located Merton, hiding somewhere below Vince’s feet. Most likely in the basement.

Vince exited Merton’s room and walked down the stairs, skipping the top step. It had been covered with a new slip-proof covering that squeaked when Vince walked on it. Since Vince didn’t want to be found out by Merton’s parents, Vince made sure not to step on it.

Skipping downstairs, Vince spotted Becky playing with her Barbie in the living room. He walked up to her and poked her in the side.

“Hey!” Becky yelled while looking around, “Who did that? Merton?”

Ever since Vince had disappeared from Becky’s sight around four months ago, Becky had slowly been forgetting Vince. Now Becky didn’t even remember that Vince was real. She thought that Vince was still just an imaginary friend. Snickering, Vince walked out of the living room and down the stairs to the basement.

As Vince walked into the cold basement, Vince could feel Merton close by. In the last few weeks, Vince had begun to discover that Vince had new powers, including the ability to find Merton using only Vince’s mind.

Vince quickly tracked down Merton down. Merton was hiding between the washer and a big chest. Vince could hear Merton trying not to giggle. Quietly, Vince snuck up behind Merton. Just when Merton had peeked his head out to see where Vince was, Vince grabbed Merton from behind and lifted him, screaming, into the air.

“Vince!!!” Merton screamed, partly with surprise, partly with joy, “Let me down!”

“Not yet little buddy!” Vince grabbed Merton by his arms, “It’s time for an airplane ride!”


Vince paced across the kitchen for the hundredth time that afternoon. Glancing over at the clock, Vince saw that it was almost 6:15.

Merton should have been back two hours ago.

Today had been the field trip for Merton’s class. Vince had wanted to come along but Merton made Vince stay at home, just in case. But time had gone by slowly and Vince had spent most of the day staring at the clock. But now Merton was late but no one had phoned the house.

Vince heard the sound of The Mom’s car pulling into the driveway. Quickly, Vince ran to the door and looked outside.

The Mom must have just finished work. She was still wearing her Work Clothes and she had a purse swung over her shoulder. But Vince could see panic in her eyes. The Mom ran up the path to the house and unlocked the door.

“Merton!” She called out, “Merton? Please be here, Merton!”

Vince felt a hole empty out Vince’s insides. Merton was missing.

As The Mom ran upstairs to look for Merton, Vince sent out Vince’s mind to search for Merton. Vince felt Merton’s presence, faintly, but Vince felt it.

“Don’t worry,” Vince murmured as Vince ran out of the house and towards the presence, “Vince will find you. Vince will take you home.”


“Mommy?” Merton called, trying not to cry, “Mommy? Vince? Somebody?”

It was getting dark and the forest was scaring Merton. Merton shivered and wished that he had brought a sweater. Remembering what Ranger John had said to the class before they went hiking, Merton sat down by an oak tree.

‘If you are lost,’ Ranger John had said, ‘Stay where you are. If you keep on moving, it will be harder for us to find you.’

Merton had been waiting in the same space for over an hour now and he was worried. He pulled his knees up to his chest and rocked back and forth with his arms wrapped around his knees.

“Vince will find me,” Merton whispered, “Vince will find me.”


Vince ran though the forest.

Though Vince didn’t need to breath, Vince’s breathing was faster than it had ever been. Vince leaped over rocks and logs lying on the forest ground and ducked underneath tree branches. Vince ran faster than any deer, moved quicker than any normal, living thing should be able to do.

And, the whole time, Vince’s mind was focused on the presence of Merton’s mind, slowly growing closer.

Vince would find Merton.

Vince always found Merton.


Somewhere nearby a wolf howled.

Merton whimpered and curled up even tighter.

He was shivering from the cold and his voice was growing hoarse. But Merton kept saying, “Vince will find me.” It had become like a mantra to him, even though Merton didn’t understand what a mantra was.

The silence of the forest was oppressing and it weighed heavily on Merton. Merton, who was seven years, eight months and ten days old, began to cry.

Began to doubt that Vince would find him.


Vince ran.

Branches reached out to clutch at Vince but Vince eluded them, leaving them to tear at Vince’s face and clothing. Blood ran down Vince’s face like tears but Vince didn’t seem to notice.

Vince was fixed on one thing and one thing only.

Finding Merton.

Off in the distance, wolves watched Vince move though the forest. They howled uneasily at Vince. Vince had no scent, no pulse, nothing natural about Vince. All the creatures in the forest could sense this and they gave Vince a very wide berth.

Vince felt Merton’s mind closer than before yet still just out of reach, causing Vince to speed up even more. Now, there was no way of mistaking Vince for anything normal.

Vince was a blur as he speed though the forest, moving faster than the human eye could see. A green flash of light was what Vince had become but Vince didn’t seem to notice this. The expression on Vince’s face didn’t change, not even as Vince came within a few feet of a pack of wolves.

Vince was only thinking of Merton.


A low snarl woke Merton up.

Sleepily, Merton rubbed his eyes and looked around. The only light was from the crescent moon above the forest.

And from the two yellow eyes staring at Merton from across the clearing.

Merton froze, his breath coming in and out in sharp gasps. His heart sped up and his mouth ran dry as the wolf walked closer. It didn’t seem threatening… just curious. It was a large wolf with shaggy light-grey fur. Merton started into its yellow eyes and began to calm down. Then Merton giggled.

The wolf looked just like a big dog. Merton knew that it wasn’t, knew that the wolf could kill Merton if it wanted to. But the wolf showed no signs of anger or hunger. It sniffed Merton and licked Merton’s hand. Then, before Merton could do anything else, it trotted away and out of Merton’s sight. Merton watched it go and was tempted to follow it.

But then he heard another sound.

Something was moving towards him, something fast. Branches cracked and broke. Merton’s fear, which had disappeared, now came swelling up to the front again. Knowing that there was nothing that he could do, Merton closed his eyes and prayed for it to be over soon.

Tears ran down Merton’s face. “Vince,” He whispered, “Vince. Save me…”

Suddenly, two large arms wrapped around Merton. Merton opened his eyes and saw Vince staring down at

Merton burst into tears and buried his head in Vince’s chest. “I was lost,” He wailed, “It was dark and I was lost and I couldn’t find you!”

“Don’t worry,” Vince said softly, “Vince will always find you. Vince will never lose Merton.” He set Merton on his shoulders, “Hold on tight,” Vince said, “Vince will take you back home.”


“I like that old time rock and roll!” Merton shouted as he jumped off of his bed, “The kind that just sooths your soul!”

Vince caught Merton and twirled him around in a circle. Vince sang along with Merton, though Vince’s voice was way off key.

Somewhere nearby, a dog began to howl along with Merton and Vince. Merton giggled and switched songs.

“We’re here for a good time!” Merton shrieked.

“Not a long time!” Vince joined it, “So have a good time!”

“The sun can’t shine everyday!” They sang together as Vince tossed Merton in the air. Merton giggled in delight as Vince spun around and caught Merton just in time.

“Again!” Merton cried out, his black hair sticking out in every direction, “Let’s do it again Vince!”

“Merton!” The Mom shouted from downstairs, “Keep it down! I’m on the phone with Ms. Lisa!”

“Yes mom!” Merton yelled back before his dissolved into giggles. Vince fell backwards onto the bed and lay down with Merton sitting on his chest. “We’ve got to quiet now Vince.”

Vince nodded and pushed Merton’s hair out of his face. “Vince wants to play Clue!”

“Clue!” Merton smiled, “I’m Professor Plum!”

“Vince is Mr. Green!”

“You’re always Mr. Green.”


“Put those toys away or else I’ll throw them out.”

Merton stared at his mom in shock as she walked out of his room. “But!”

“No buts!” His mom called back, “Just do it.” Her tone of voice made it clear to Merton that there was no room for discussion.

Merton turned around and looked at the chest that he had been given. He kicked it and, though it made his foot hurt, it made him feel better. “Stupid chest,” He whispered, “Just cause mom thinks I’m too old for toys.”

He sighed and walked over to the pile of toys that his mother had placed in the middle of the floor. Merton began to put them in the box. His fire-truck, Mr. Wigglemapuss the stuffed hippo, his plastic ball and the t-ball stand all went in first. These he had no trouble putting away. But when he came to the Skeletor Chrisman album, he had to force himself to put it in there.

But as hard as that was, it was no match for what was to come next.

Merton glanced at Clue. The box with it’s slightly ripped lid lay on the floor, surrounded by toys that meant almost nothing to Merton. With a heavy heart, he picked it up and ran his fingers over it, remembering all the good times that he and Vince had had when they played. The cards they had created, the new pieces, the violent endings. His heart tightened and he gently placed it in the chest.

Then, with anger, he threw the rest of the toys on top of the Clue box, covering most of it. Merton stood up and wiped away his tears, then turned and walked out of his room.


“Little buddy?” Vince peeked Vince’s head into Merton’s room. When The Mom had walked in the room to talk to Merton, Vince had quickly left. Now, Vince walked in the room and saw the chest, filled with toys. “What is this?” Vince asked, even though there was no one to hear Vince’s question.

Then Vince saw the Clue box, mostly buried by the toys. “Merton!” Vince called out but when Vince got no answer, Vince got in the chest and began to dig the box out. Vince had got most of it uncovered and was too busy to notice Merton walk into the room.

Merton, eyes still blurry with tears, didn’t see Vince. And, as Merton reached the chest, he put his hand on the lid and slammed it shut.

The lid hit Vince on the head and knocked Vince out. Not realizing what he had done, Merton pulled the truck out of his room and left it at the door leading to the attic. Merton walked away, leaving Vince, still unconscious, locked in the trunk.


Vince woke up to darkness. Vince reached out Vince’s hand and felt around Vince. There was walls on all sides of Vince and Vince was covered in toys.

“Merton?” Vince called out, “Merton? Where are you?”

Vince felt himself begin to panic and Vince began to bang on the chest. “Merton! Merton! Let me out! Merton! MERTON!! MERTON!!! HELP ME MERTON!! MERTON! MERTON! MERTON!”

Vince began to scream.


“Vince?” Merton peeked his head under his bed. “Vince are you here?”

It was nearly bedtime now and Vince still hadn’t shown up. Merton had looked everywhere for Vince but he still hadn’t found him.

“Merton?” His mom stood in the door, “Merton what are you doing?”

“Mom,” Merton was trying not to burst into tears, “I can’t find Vince. I’ve looked everywhere but I can’t find him.”

“It’s ok,” Mom walked over and put a hand on his shoulder, “Maybe Vince knew that it was time to go.”

“Go?” Merton wiped away some of the tears in his eyes, “Go where?”

“Merton,” His mom sighed, “You’re almost eight now. And it’s time for you to start to grow up. Vince must have known that and decided to make it easier for you by leaving.”

“But he promised!” Merton wailed, tears flowing freely down his face, “He promised that he would always find me and that he’d never leave me alone!”

“Sometimes people lie,” Mom said, pulling Merton into a hug, “They don’t do it to be cruel. Sometimes people say what they think you want to hear in order to make you feel better.”

“Vince promised…” Merton whispered, even as the truth hit Merton, “I… I… I never thought…”

“It’s ok,” Mom whispered back, “I’m here.”

And there they stayed while upstairs, unheard by those below, Vince screamed.


Years passed Years passed.

But Vince never noticed.

Time was meaningless to Vince. A memory of something that once was.

All that Vince remembered was Merton. All Vince knew was Merton. The rest of the world became distorted, as did Vince’s mind. All time was measured as Before. Before the chest. Before the Dark. Before.

Vince became… different. Became obsessed with finding a way out of the chest. And, when Vince finally realized that Vince would never leave the chest, Vince became obsessed with remembering Merton. Vince’s memories of Merton began to change in small ways. Vince forgot about Becky, The Mom and The Dad, forgot everything but the moments that Vince was with Merton. And Vince began to plan what Vince would do when Vince escaped from the trunk. Plans of death and destruction and fire consuming Pleasantville. Before the chest, Vince had been a scallywag, slightly out of control but never dangerously so unless Merton was threatened. But now, trapped in the chest, far way from Merton’s calming influence, Vince began to dream of blood, dream of killing everyone who had ever come between Vince and Merton.

In short, Vince went insane.


The world moved.

Vince, half-awake, realized that the world was moving. The Chest was moving.

This was all very upsetting for Vince, who immediately sank down to the bottom. Vince couldn’t remember the last time the Chest had moved. Quite some time ago though since movement from the outside.

Words were spoken by an unfamiliar voice.

Than Vince heard the voice. Vince still couldn’t understand the words but Vince’s heartbeat doubled just the same. Vince knew that voice. Vince had spent eternity in the Chest, listening to the same voice over and over again in Vince’s head.

It was Merton!!

Part of Vince wanted to climb out of the Chest immediately but Vince remembered that Merton had locked Vince inside the Chest. Quietly, Vince waited for Merton to leave.

And Vince smiled.

Merton would be his again.


Vince watched Merton sleep.

Merton had changed in many ways. Vince was just now realizing this.

Merton was bigger and he had grown from a small, weak child to a small, yet slightly stronger adult. Vince no longer had to worry about breaking Merton when they played. But…

Merton no longer wanted to play with Vince. Merton had new toys that were better and friends that were real. And what Merton wanted had changed.

Before, Merton had just wanted to play with Vince and have fun. Now Merton wanted so much more. He wanted to go on dates with girls and to get good grades in school and play with his new friends Tommy and Lori.

This disturbed Vince. The Merton that Vince remembered was almost nothing like this Merton. But… Merton was still Merton and Vince was made to love him. No matter what.

Quietly, Vince walked over to Merton’s bed and sat on the edge beside Merton. In his sleep, Merton looked like the Merton that Vince remembered. A wonderful child who loved Vince with all his heart.

“Vince is here little buddy,” Vince whispered as Vince ran Vince’s hand across Merton’s hair, “And Vince won’t leave you ever again. Vince will stop anyone who tried to take you away from Vince.”

Merton made a sound in the back of his throat, a cross between a whimper and a sigh. Vince took this as a sign that Merton agreed with Vince.

“You’ll be Vince’s again.” Vince said as he gazed at Merton, “And no one will take you away.”


The fire burned quickly.

Vince stood back and watched at the pile of rags was consumed by the orange flames. Vince smiled, imagining of what it would look like when the entire town burned. Vince could almost smell the scent of ashes and burning flesh. Of course, Merton would be beside Vince when this happened and they would watch together.

Right now Merton was at school, leaving Vince to explore the Lair. But Vince had first decided to see if everything that Vince remembered was still in the same place.

The oily rags and matches were in the same place in the house.

Vince grabbed the fire extinguisher off of the tabletop and, with a spray from the nozzle, put the fire out. Then, Vince put the extinguisher away and scraped the rags into the garbage can. Then, Vince began to dig though Merton’s room, discovering all sorts of lovely toys that Merton had picked up since Vince had left.

Many of these toys had extremely sharp points and multiple cutting edges. Some of the more dangerous looking toys Vince set on Merton’s desk. When Merton came home, Vince would ask him about them.

Until then, Vince planned on playing with them.



“Maybe Vince should get rid of Merton. Right. Now.”

“I’m not quite on board with that last suggestion.” Vince could see the fear in Merton’s eyes.

“It’ll be just like old times little buddy. Like when we used to play hide and go seek. Only this time, if Vince finds you, it’s your turn to go in the trunk for ten years,” Vince let Vince’s voice take on a cheerful tone, “You have thirty seconds.” Vince fluttered Vince’s eyes.

“You know, when you give into vengeance the only one you hurt is yourself. And possible me.”

“Twenty-five seconds.”





Merton gave out a whimper and ran out the door, leaving Vince alone the lair. Vince would give Merton a chance to hide. And when Vince found Merton, Vince would lock Merton in the chest. But not for ten years. Just until Merton came to his senses and realized the truth. That he didn’t need anyone else except for Vince.

And, after that, they would kill everyone in Pleasantville, starting with Tommy Dawkins and ending with The Mom.

It would be glorious.


“It’s nice to have an imaginary friend,” Merton said this as he opened the chest. Vince felt his heart leap in his chest. Maybe Merton had seen the light.

“But you know what?” His voice suddenly changed, became cruel. “It’s better to have real ones.”

“What!” Vince was shocked.

“I don’t believe in you anymore.” Merton’s words pierced Vince’s heart. Vince realized that Merton had set up Vince. Merton who Vince loved with all of Vince’s heart.

Vince heard a slapping noise behind Vince and Vince turned around just in time for Tommy and Lori to kick Vince in the stomach.

Vince fell backwards, arms spiraling. Vince’s legs hit the back of the chest and Vince fell backwards into it. Before Vince could do anything more, Merton slammed down the lid.

Vince lay frozen in fear at the bottom of the chest. Vince was back in the darkness, back in the dream world Vince had lived in for ten years.

“Maybe I never left,” Vince whispered, “Maybe it was just a dream.”

Then Vince felt Merton sit on the chest, just above Vince’s head. Anger just filled Vince and, enraged, he attacked the top of the chest, screaming at the top of his lungs. He felt Merton get off and leave.

And suddenly all the anger left Vince and Vince collapsed at the bottom of the chest. Tears began to run down Vince’s face.

“Vince just wanted to love you,” Vince sobbed, “That’s all Vince was meant to do.”


“Ready or not,” Emily called out, “Here I come!”

She opened her eyes and looked around. Emily pushed her curly red hair out of her face and she looked under her bed. Seeing that he wasn’t there, she knew that there was only one other place he could be. She walked to the closet and pulled open the door.

“I found…” She started to say but stopped when she realized that the closet was empty. He wasn’t there.

Emily frowned. She hadn’t heard him leave the room. Then she heard him move.

Emily looked up and saw Vince sitting on the ceiling, looking down at her.

“No fair!” She called out to him, “You know I can’t hide up there.”

“You never said that before,” Vince called down to her, “You said we could hide anywhere in the house.”

“I meant anywhere in the house where I can hide too!” Emily pouted.

“You should have said that before we began.”

“Come down!” Emily smiled, “I found you so now it’s my turn to hide.”

“I’ll come down when I feel… Ah!” Vince screamed and fell down off of the ceiling.

“Vince!” Emily ran over to Vince’s prone body, “Vince!”


“Mommy?” Emily walked into the kitchen, her ‘My Little Pony’ lunch kit in her hands.

Nora Roth turned to look at her daughter. “Yes?”

“Vince and I need to go somewhere.” She said, her little brown eyes looking sadly up at her mother. “Vince needs to see an old friend.”

“Oh,” Nora swivelled her chair around to face Emily. “And who is this old friend?”

“His name is Merton,” Emily pointed to the space beside her, “Merton is the one who created Vince. And now Merton is sick and might die.”

“Die?” Nora was a little bit shocked. She would have to find out what sort of stories Earl, Emily’s grandfather, had been reading to Emily.

Emily nodded, “They had a fight a long, long time ago, before I was born. And Vince left because of it. And now that Merton is dying, Vince wants to tell Merton that Vince doesn’t hate Merton for locking him away in a chest.” She turned to face the empty space, “Am I right?” Emily must have received some response from the space because the smiled at it.

Nora had become used to Emily talking to her ‘friend’ Vince. He had shown up about a year ago after they were playing in the park and the other kids wouldn’t play with Emily. Since then, she had just played with Vince, no matter how hard Nora tried to get Emily to play with kids her own age.

“Where is this Merton?” Nora asked.

“In Pleasantville.”

“Pleasantville?” Nora knew of the town. It was about an hour away from New Scarborough but Emily had never been there. “Emily, where did you hear about Pleasantville?”

“From Vince.” Emily sighed in exasperation. “Vince’s old friends are coming to pick us up in an hour. But can I have some snacks to take with me and Vince? And some fruit punch?”

Nora smiled, understanding what Emily really wanted. “Well all right,” Nora said, “But if Vince’s friends don’t show up, you’ve got to give the treats back.”

“Ok.” Emily walked out of the room, swinging her lunch kit.

Nora pursed her head. She had heard the name Merton before but couldn’t remember where. Then she saw the newspaper on the table and relaxed.

It was obvious that Emily had taken the name from the newspaper headline. “Local Man Merton Dingle Fatally Injured In Crash.”


“Are you sure that they’re coming?” Emily was getting worried. Vince sat beside her, idly running his figures though her hair.

“It’s ok.” He replied, “I talked to Anna and she’s just picking up Jeff and Danny from the airport.”

A sudden BEEP BEEP noise from outside startled Emily. But Vince was already at the door.

"Lets go!" Vince opened the door and gestured to Emily. Emily picked up her lunch kit and ran to Vince. Vince picked her up with his right arm while he shut the door with his left one.

Nora looked up, startled by the sound of the horn. "Emily?"


Anna reached over and opened the front passenger door for Vince. He hopped in, a little red headed girl in his arms.

"Hey Vince!" Anna smiled, "How are you doing?"

"Not so good," Vince slammed the door and put the seatbelt around him and the kid. "I can feel myself fading."

"Wait a minute," Danny leaned towards Vince, "You're not speaking in third person anymore?"

"I made him stop," The little girl spoke for the first time, "Vince talked all funny and it was confusing. But it took a long time. He only stopped talking right...um..." The girl turned to Vince. "How long ago?"

"Three months." Vince ruffled her hair, "And even now I slip every once in a while."

"You taught Vince in nine months what I never accomplished in eight years?" Anna shook her head, "What's your name anyway?"

"Emily." She suddenly turned and pointed to the woman running out of the house they were in front of, "And that's my mom."

"Oh crap!" Anna shifted out of park and into first gear. "We better get out of here."

"That would be suggestedddddddd!" Jeff yelled in surprise as the truck shot forward.


Vince entered the room quietly. The only sound was the beep from Merton's heart monitor. There was a chair beside Merton's bed and Tommy was sitting in it. Vince could see tear's flowing down Tommy's face but Vince didn't care about him.

He only cared about Merton.

Merton was older than Vince remembered. The last time Vince had seen Merton was just before Merton shut the chest lid on Vince for the second time. After that, Vince ran away from Pleasantville, desperate to be far away from Merton. Vince regretted that decision sometimes in the early morning hours.

Merton's once black hair was shot with streaks of gray rising from his temples. Wrinkles from smiling and frowning had marred the smooth skin on Merton's face. He was stronger now, muscles evident under the flimsy hospital gown that he wore. But, most noticeably, Merton's expression had changed. The smile of wonder that had always graced Merton's sleeping face was gone, replaced by a look of sadness. Vince stepped closer, desperate to touch Merton.

And that's when Tommy finally noticed Vince.

"What are you doing here?" He hissed, rising out of his chair. Vince could see a few scratches along Tommy's face and Tommy's eyes flashed yellow.

"Still wolf-boy I see?" Vince smiled slightly, "I didn't bring any milk-bones for the puppy though."

"I'm not a puppy any longer," Tommy walked towards Vince, "And I'm not going to let you hurt Merton!"

"Hurt him?" Vince was surprised and his tone of voice must have revealed the same because Tommy backed off a bit, "I could never hurt Merton. It's not within me."

"Last time I saw you it sure looked like you were going to hurt Merton." Tommy growled, " As I recall, you were planning to lock him in that chest for ten years."

"No," Vince rolled his eyes, "I was just going to put him there until he returned to his senses and remembered all the fun that we had. All Merton wanted to do was to get rid of me. If someone was aiming a gun at you, you'd do what was needed to make them stop. I forgave him long ago for locking me in a chest."

"Then why now?" Tommy said, "Why after forty years have you come back here?"

"Because Merton's going to die." Both Vince and Tommy turned to look at Emily.

"He's not going to," Tommy insisted, "Merton's been though worse than this. He's been locked in stone, fattened by giant spiders, almost killed by a voodoo doctor and every time he's come out stronger."

"I'm fading." Vince said, "Emily saw me do it. She said that I began to flicker in and out of reality. Even now, I can feel my grip slipping away. Merton made me and as long as Merton lives, so do I. And when Merton dies..." Vince trailed off.

"You're lying." Tommy was furious, "You're just saying because you're still angry at him!"

"He got over that a long time ago." Danny entered the room, followed by Jeff and Anna. He shook his head. Vince suddenly remembered the first time he had seen Danny sitting at the restaurant, bored by the clown that was trying to entertain him. Vince could still remember how he punched the clown and sent it flying though the air. It had been a wonderful feeling with Danny had laughed, one that Vince had never forgotten.

"Who are you?" Tommy looked at the two adults, the teenager and the little girl.

"I'm Danny and this is Anna and that's Jeff and this is Emily," Danny pointed to everyone in turn, "And we're Vince's friends."


"After Vince left Pleasantville, he became friends with me." Danny smiled, "And when I was ten and didn't need Vince anymore, he met Anna."

"Vince stayed with me until I was thirteen," Anna shrugged, "At that time, I met my first boyfriend and I knew that Vince would be better off with another kid. So I introduced him to Jeff who was five at the time. Vince and I kept in contact though e-mail."

"I had Vince up until last year," The lanky thirteen year old smiled, "And that's when he met Emily."

"I was in the park," The small five year old said, "And no one else would play with me. But Vince wanted to play with me. And we've been friends since."

Vince turned to speak to Tommy when a surge of pain ran though Vince. Screaming, he dropped to his knees and felt himself fade. A gasp of surprise alerted Vince to the group gathered around him.

“Vince!” Emily screamed in terror. Anna held Emily back but Vince could see the look of shock on her face as well.

When the pain subsided, Vince shakily stood up.

“You…” Tommy started to say but paused.

“I disappeared.” Vince nodded, “I know. It happened first yesterday when Emily and I were playing hide and go seek, even before I knew about the accident. It’s happened three more times this morning. I keep fading more as Merton slowly dies.”

“We’ve got to do something to stop it!” Tommy was beginning to panic. “There must be something we can do.”

“There’s nothing to be done.” Vince said sadly. “It’s Merton’s time. And it’s mine as well.” Vince walked over to Merton and touched the side of Merton’s face. “I never thought it would come like this but…”

“But it can’t be time!” Tommy shouted, tears running down his face, “We haven’t had time to do so many things!”

“Consider yourself lucky,” Vince shot back, “You’ve had Merton for almost thirty years. I only had him for three.”

The anger disappeared out of Tommy’s shoulders and he sat down in the chair, his shoulders slumped. “I…” Tommy took a deep breath, “I just never got to tell him everything. How much his friendship meant to me.” He looked up at Vince, “He’s been the only friend who’s stuck beside me for so long. Everyone else left. All except him.” Tommy gestured helplessly to Merton.

“I know.” Vince sighed, “I can understand.”

Tommy looked up at Vince, “You know. I think you can.”

“Could I…” Vince paused, uncertain of how to say it, “Could I spend? I mean…”

“I understand.” Tommy turned to Merton and grasped Merton’s hand. “I guess that this is goodbye Merton. I only wish that it were me there instead of you. You’ve been the best friend I could ever have. I only hope that I was the same.” Tommy stood up and walked out of the room.

Vince turned towards his four friends. Emily was trying to keep from crying and she clung onto Anna’s leg. Danny and Jeff were talking quietly to once another.

“I guess you’d like us to go to.” Anna looked straight at Vince.

“Not just yet.” Vince walked up to Danny, “I have to say goodbye first.”

“Vince…” Danny began to say. Vince pulled him into a hug and patted Danny on the back.

“I love you Danny,” Vince said quietly, “You were the first after Merton. And I’ll always remember how we first met.”

“When you punched that stupid clown,” Danny’s voice was chocked with sobs, “And you played tag with me.”

“And the fort in the woods?” Danny nodded as he remembered, “I always had fun.”

“Me too.” Danny smiled though his tears, “I’ve always loved you.”

They let go of each other and Vince turned to Anna who gratefully sank into his embrace.

“You were the first girl friend I ever had.” Vince smiled at Anna and tapped her noise. “And you were the first person I played dress-up with. And the first that ever hit me.”

“I told you not call me freckle-face anymore.” Anna suddenly looked sad, “I never meant it…”

“I know,” Vince touched Anna’s cheek, “I always knew when you didn’t mean it.”

“I love you.” She gave him a serious look, “I always meant that.”

“I love you too.” They too separated and Vince turned to face Jeff.

“Am I too old for a hug?” Jeff asked.

“Never,” Vince said as he pulled Jeff close, “Never, ever too old. Remember that.”

“I will.” Jeff nodded, tears staining his cheeks, “Just like not to stick my tongue up against steel in the winter time.”

“And we had to get the teacher,” Vince smiled, “But she couldn’t see me so I had to trip her to get her attention.”

“But she still didn’t see so you had to drag her towards me,” Danny laughed quietly, “And after that she wouldn’t come near me.”

They chuckled for a moment when Danny stopped laughing. “I love you Vince.”

“I love you too,” Vince ran his hand though Jeff’s hair, “I’ll always love you.”

Then, Vince turned to Emily. Before he could say a thing, she flung herself at him and wrapped her arms around his legs. Vince bent down and picked her up.

“It’s not fair!” Emily wailed, burying her head in Vince’s shoulder, “I barely got to know you at all!”

“Shhhh,” Vince rocked her back and forth, “I know it’s not fair. Life is cruel sometimes. But sometimes it’s wonderful and beautiful. But you have to have one to have the other.”

“But I love you!” Emily sobbed, “Isn’t love enough?”

“Sometimes it’s not,” Vince said, “But… sometimes it’s all you need. I love you Emily.”

“I love you,” Emily let herself be handed to Anna. “I’ll never forget! Never ever!”

“I know.” Vince smiled at Emily, smiled at Anna and Jeff and Danny. “I promise you. I’ll never forget anyone.”

“We should go now,” Anna rocked Emily in the same way that Vince had, “I pray that where ever you go, you’re happy.”

“Thank you.” Vince watched as they left.

Then, he walked to Merton’s bed and sat on it. Gently, he maneuvered Merton’s head onto Vince’ lap. Vince could feel Merton’s heartbeat; feel the blood racing though his frail body.

Then he began to sing.

“I’ll love you forever. I’ll love you for always. All long as we’re living, my Merton you’ll be.”

Vince ran his fingers though Melton’s long hair, “I wonder if you know how much I love you. I never stopped, even when you locked me away. I love the others but… you made me. I was made to love you and that’s all I know how to do. I can only hope that you know that. I wish that we had more time but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way…”

Pain rocked though Vince again as Merton began to die but Vince was prepared this time and he didn’t scream. The room went blurry and then began to darken.

Something began to pull on Vince, a force that Vince couldn’t see. It became too much for Vince and he let go. As Vince felt himself disappear he called out once more.

Let my last word be of him, Vince though, let my last thought be with him.



White White.

Bright blazing white as far as the eye could see.

That’s what Vince saw on the other side.

The world, if it could be called such, was a mass of white without definition. No walls, no floors, no lines. Nothing but white fuzz.

And Vince.

Vince was as he had always been. But he didn’t seem to be standing on anything. It was oddly comforting but Vince could only think of one thing. He looked around, searching for him.

“Merton?” Vince called out but his words were swallowed by the white, “Merton! Where are you Merton?” Vince listened but he didn’t hear anything. “Merton!! MERTON!! MERTON!!! MERTON!!!” Vince began to scream, trying to make his words echo, trying to make Merton hear them. But there was no answer.

Exhausted, Vince fell to his knees. Vince pressed his hands against his face, desperately trying to stop the tears that flowed down his face. Then he felt the hand touch his shoulder.

“I heard you,” Vince turned around to see Merton standing behind Vince, “And I came.”

Vince turned around and saw Merton the way that Vince remembered him, a child of five. Vince jumped to his feet and scooped Merton up in a hug. “Merton!” Vince realized that he was still crying but for once Vince didn’t care, “I thought you were gone!”

“Never,” Merton kissed Vince’s forehead, “I’d never leave you. You promised to find me. And I’ll always find you.”

Vince smiled though his tears and he began to laugh. “What do we do now?”

Merton smiled and laughed they way he had when he was a child, “Play silly.” Merton gestured around him.

And a wonderful thing happened.

The white melted away, revealing a playground filled with equipment and grass. Bushes and trees perfect for climbing were filled with animals and toys of all sorts of shapes and sizes. The playground was filled with large patched of lovely grass and dark spaces perfect for hide and go seek. Nearby there was a table covered with treats and drinks of all sorts. Above them, a blue sky with large clouds gently floated.

“It’s beautiful,” Vince whispered as he stared at the scene around him, “It’s so beautiful.”

“It’s all for us,” Merton smile, “And only us. For eternity.”

“I love you,” Vince looked into Merton’s face and gently placed a kiss on Merton’s forehead, “I love you so much.”

“I know,” Merton giggled, “I love you too. Now, lets go and play!”

And, together, the boy and his friend ran off into daylight. We should leave them now, I suppose, to their games. For eternity is quite a long time for mortals like you and me. But not for them.

For them, it’s barely long enough.


If I don’t make it know that

I loved you all the long

Just like sunny days

We ignore because

We’re all dumb and jaded

And I hope to God I figure out what’s wrong

- 4 A.M. by ‘Our Lady Peace’