A short story by a character in some of life’s stories
“Hey! Where do you think you’re going, twerp?” Teren called out to the small, frail boy walking ahead of him.”I’m going home,” the child mumbled. Teren jogged to catch up with the child. “Why? So you can read more of your books on how to be a dweeb?” Teren snatched one of the books out of the kid’s arms. “Property of Beagan Kelly, 1st grade,” Teren read aloud. “Well, Beagan, hope you got all the reading you needed to do done in gym class. Don’t think I can’t see you hiding under the bleachers with your head in your books.” Teren threw the book as far as he could, and it landed in a creek.
Beagan began to wimper. “Oh hush up you big baby,” Teren jeered. “If you were anyone else you’d be thanking me for giving you an excuse not to do your homework. But I’m sure you’re just upset you don’t have an excuse for why you can’t play sports. Guess you’ll finally have to show the world just how much you suck?” This was how the school year began, and this was how it went every day. Teren would hurt Beagan, always emotionally, sometimes physically, and Beagan would cry, but never say a word.
One day in late December, Beagan was building a snowman. It was the largest one on the block. Beagan even had to stand at the top of a 10 foot tall ladder to put the hat on it. It was as he was adding this final detail that Teren decided to stop by. “Oh look, the wimp built himself a friend since he can’t make any real ones,” quipped Teren. Beagan didn’t even glance up.
“Oh, you think you’re so tough. Is your mommy aware that you aren’t eating that carrot nose for a snack today? You might have to get an even stronger pair of glasses, nerd.” Once again, Beagan just continued on with his snowman. “Hey nerd, pay some attention over here! Are you deaf?” Beagan refused to acknowledge him. “Oh, okay. I see how it is, you dweeb.” Teren began to create a snowball. The snow was perfect for compacting into a little sphere, which was precisely why Beagan decided to build a snowman that day. Unfortunately, it was a little too perfect, and whether or not he knew it or cared, Teren now held a perfectly round ball of ice.”Think fast, dork!” And with that, Teren threw the ice ball right at Beagan’s head
The ice ball hit its target perfectly, right on the left side of Beagan’s forehead. It knocked the child unconscious, and he fell from his ladder. Teren was already walking away, and didn’t even see him lying in the snow that was rapidly turning red.
An hour later, Beagan’s parents became concerned. Their son was usually quiet, and they knew he had gone outside to play, but he was so small and frail he could typically only stand being in the cold for about 30 minutes. They went outside to find him barely alive; unconscious in a pile of blood and snow.
They immediately called an ambulance and rushed him to the hospital, but six year old Beagan died just moments after arriving. The doctors figured out that he had a head injury, likely from a softball sized object hitting the left side of his forehead, but they never had an explanation of how such an object could have hit Beagan. One suggested that a friend may have tossed a snowball at Beagan, but his parents informed them through tears that Beagan knew no one, and therefore had no one to start suggested snowball fight.
Teren was eating cereal for breakfast a few days later when his father asked him if he knew a boy named Beagan who went to his school and was about two years younger than him. Teren nodded. His father passed him the newspaper and pointed to the name in the obituary section. The little kid Teren bullied every day was dead. “Died doing something he loved; building a snowman,” one line in the obituary read. It was at that moment that Teren thought back to the snowball he had thrown. He had heard a thud, and thought nothing of it. Could that have been the dweeb’s corpse?
The next few days, Teren was enjoying winter break. He went sledding with his friends every day, and on New Year’s Eve, he decided to stay out later than everybody else. There was a full moon, and the snow had frozen over, leaving perfect sledding conditions. Teren was going to spend the last day of the year in the snow as long as he could.
Teren was having an amazing time. He was the only one on the hill, so he never had to wait in a line or dodge any pesky kindergartners. He still had to dodge trees though, but he must have forgotten about that because he nearly crashed into one a few seconds after his thought about not dodging kindergartners. He jumped off his sled just in the nick of time and rolled into a nearby snowbank.
Teren shook the snow off and went to retrieve his sled. He went to pick it up, but just as his hand reached for it, tree branches like a hand snatched it up off the ground and held it high in the air. Teren looked up and shrieked before collapsing into the snow in fear. Standing before him was a humongous snowman that looked just like the one Beagan was building the day he died, but this one was even bigger. Hello, Teren.
Teren could have sworn he heard someone say hello, but there was no one there. “W-Who said th-that?” Teren stuttered. It is I. Look up. The snowman smiled menacingly as Teren dared to glance back up. “Who a-are you? What do y-you want from m-me?” Teren whispered. I’m Beagan. I want the same think you took from me: your life.
The snowman tightened its grip on the sled as it cackled. The plastic sled began to crack. Teren whimpered as he tried to back away. “I never killed you, I only ever teased you. Maybe I hurt you from time to time, but it was never deadly.” That’s what you think. The snowman rolled closer until it was right over top of Teren. Bullies like you just never stick around for the aftermath, emotional or physical. I cried myself to sleep through panic attacks every night thanks to you, and prayed for the sweet release of death. Even when it finally came, it came at your hands. Ghosts stick around because they have unfinished business. Well, Teren, you are my unfinished business. You were going to live the rest of your life completely oblivious to what you had done.
Teren began to cry “So you’re going to kill me?” The snowman paused for a moment. No. That’s exactly what you want. To be rid of the guilt, and rid of me. I’m going to stick around a little while longer, and make every day for you a living nightmare, like you did to me every day we knew each other. I’ll use the same methods you used against me; relentless teasing until you hated everything about yourself, kicking, punching, and throwing you so every ounce of you hurts every second of your life, and sending whispers and rumors floating from ear to ear so everyone in town hates you, but never even knows why. I’ll even go above and beyond. I’ll keep you from external harm so that you’ll have to endure the suffering for as long as possible. With those final words, it plucked Teren off the ground, tossed him into a snowbank, and threw the broken sled at him. With that, the snowman vanished, until the next day.
Beagan’s snowman did just as it said it would. For half a century, Teren’s life was a nightmare. Then, at age 58, Teren finally died of a heart attack due to the increased blood pressure from the snowman’s torture. When he died, Beagan’s spirit was finally gone, but it left Teren with some unfinished business of his own. Teren’s spirit took over the snowman and roamed the woods looking for his new victim to torment; a victim turned bully doomed to live the rest of his/her days in misery at the hands of the giant snowman. This brings us to the end of Beagan’s story, but of course, the snowman lives on, with each new victim of the snowman’s spirit seeking revenge on a new victim turned bully, allowing the snowman to roam the woods forever, with someone new to torment every few decades.