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angicy

The Iron Boy

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“Every new kid has to go through this?” I asked nervously. My Nike caught on a tree root, and soon my mouth was full of dirt and other various pieces of vegetation that lay on the forest floor.

 

“Yeah, after this you’ll be treated as if you lived here your whole life.” Holly said this, after a few snickers from the other kids traveling behind us. “It’s like a ‘welcoming’ ceremony to Tellmount.”

 

Tellmount is a little town nestled cozily off the cost of Lake Michigan in Northern Wisconsin. It is dominated heavily by forest area and I just moved here. According to the kids in my new school, each “noobie” has to spend their first Friday night in the Iron Boy’s hut. Then the kids come back in the morning and welcome you into their social group, pretty screwed up huh?

 

“So explain to me…” I said, brushing off all the dirt and bugs, “…who’s the Iron Boy?”

One of the boys answered me.

 

“Legend says that years ago a mad scientist lived in these woods. The scientist created a robot, who looked like a boy about 14 or 15 years old, to do his dirty work for him. Well, years after the mad scientist died, people say that they see the Iron Boy roaming the woods trying to find something to do.” He wiggled his fingers, as if this made the story scary. “Sometimes people find little scraps of metal from projects to Iron Boy made to keep himself occupied.”

 

“So the hut is where the boy lives?” I said, doubting the whole story. “So what, am I supposed to sit there all night and wait for him to come in the front door?”

 

“Yup,” he said, “pretty much. And if you saw him that means your cool enough to hang with our group.” This was so stupid…

 

“And how will you know I saw him?”

 

“Because the Iron Boy gives you present if he finds you in his home.” By this time it was already getting dark, and I could see a small cabin in the distance.

Now, I’m not afraid of the dark, so a night in a cabin really didn’t bug me. Plus, if it got these kids off my back I was all for it. So when they dropped me off and told me they’d be back in the morning, I was glad to be alone.

***

I looked at my cell phone. It was already midnight. I have been sitting in this room for almost six hours. What if this was all a joke to laugh at the naïve new girl? I looked around the pitch black empty room for anything; a simple piece of scrap metal, or a tissue? But, the place was spotless. No dust covered the walls or floors. That’s when I heard it.

A twig snapped just outside the window. I didn’t want to be scared, but I was. “It’s an animal…” I mumbled. “Or those idiots…” The door knob twisted, and the light of the moon flood into the one room cabin.

A figure stood in the door way, holding a lantern in his right hand. I screamed, and began to apologize. This wasn’t some kid that was with me earlier. It was a kid alright, but his eyes looked so confused as to why I was here.

He closed the door without a word. The room was lit dimly by the lantern, it was then I noticed something odd about him. His face, his body, was flawless. His eyes were light blue, and seemed to illuminate on their own, like a small light was behind his iris. He set the lantern down, not taking his eyes off me.

 

“I’m so sorry,” I choked, “I’m new here and some kids told me that in order to be accepted I had to be seen by the Iron Boy and…” He began walking toward me until we were only an inch apart. He cocked his head, watching me curiously.

He brought up his hand and poked my cheek. I have never felt skin that cold and hard, it was like he was dead. He poked my cheek again, and smiled. I should have run then, but his smile was just so pleasing. I wanted him to smile again, it seemed he never smiled.

 

“You’re…” My brain began connecting the oddities of him. “…the Iron Boy aren’t you?”

He looked somewhat puzzled at the name, but nodded. He reached into his pocket and pressed something cold into my palm. I looked down; it was a small cat, constructed beautifully of junk metal. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, so perfectly made. I looked up to thank him, but no one was there.

 

I ask myself today if I was insane, but whenever I question my belief I look to the small cat I keep with me everywhere. I want to see him again someday, maybe I go to the woods tonight, and see the Iron Boy.

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