A Boy Named Theo


It’s been too long since I’ve shared something from my notebook. So, in honor of Halloween, I dug through my archive to see if I had a good scare to share. I hope you enjoy one of my favorites. Happy Halloween! ~ hvh

Sarah smiled at the sight of her young nephew’s approach. He slowly worked his way closer, finally squeezing his small body between the wall and table so he could reach the corner chair where she sat alone.

Looking over his shoulder to ensure no one was listening, Theo leaned in to whisper in her ear. “I saved someone’s life,” he said, his breath hot against the side of her face.

Her eyebrow raised. “You what?”

“I saved someone’s life,” Theo repeated, stepping back and pressing his lips into a firm, solemn line.

Sarah’s nostrils flared as she tried to contain a smile. “You did?” she asked. The seven-year-old nodded gravely, and she grinned in spite of herself.

Then Theo’s eyes narrowed. “And I punished the wicked,” he whispered.

Sarah’s smile faltered. “What?” she asked, tilting her head to the side, certain she hadn’t heard him right.

Now it was the Theo’s turn to smile, and her eyes strayed to his small, left hand where a heavy fork was clutched tightly in his fingers. In a single, effortless movement, his thumb pushed the fork handle back until the metal utensil bent at a 90-degree angle.

Gasping and wide-eyed, Sarah looked back to the little boy’s face. He leaned in ever so slightly, standing on his toes to get even closer to her ear.

“It’s wrong to be naughty,” Theo whispered. When he met her eye, her blood ran cold. “And I know you’ve been naughty.” His voice was a soft purr.

Sarah’s lips parted in surprise, “I— I—”

She tried to push away from the table, but the little boy’s right hand snaked out, grabbing her wrist. “Ow!” Sarah cried, trying to break free from his vice-like grip, but his fingers held fast.

A small smile played at his lips. “You shouldn’t have been naughty,” he whispered, and she shrank back in terror.

Theo drew his left hand high over his head, and the fork glinted in the morning sunlight before it plunged through the air in a flash. A scream shredded her throat as the fork tines embedded themselves deep in her captured hand. Sarah yanked and pulled against the boy’s vice-like grip to free herself, but still, it held firm.

Tears poured from her eyes as she gaped at the bent fork protruding from her hand. Sobbing, she tugged against the Theo’s small fingers to free herself. “Please! Please!” she begged.

He leaned in one last time, and Sarah trembled as his breath tickled her ear.

“I saved a life,” Theo said again, “and I punished the wicked.” He smiled sweetly. “Now we know which one you are.”

Suddenly, his face brightened, and Theo released her wrist. Sarah clutched her hand to her chest, the fork still lodged in her flesh, tears streaming down her face.

The little boy giggled, “Don’t forget, Aunt Sarah.”

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By Heidi Van Heel
Heidi Van Heel

Heidi Van Heel

Writer, freelancer, and believer in magic living in Minneapolis. In my free time, I love reading, exploring the great outdoors, and experimenting in the kitchen.

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