A hum started building near the Magic Place, down the dead end road that said No Turn Around. Benny was crouched down looking at the snake, and realized it was dead. That’s why it didn’t move when he saw it yesterday.
The snake was part-coiled up in the shape of a cartoon balloon, like he saw in the comics. It had puncture wounds on the sides of it; maybe that’s what the slug had in its mouth when it was crossing the road, with the pine needles. If slugs even had mouths.
The hum was like a far-away jet, but then got closer, and Benny realized it was coming from the cables and the power lines that draped from the poles above him. The pitch of the hum was changing and getting higher.
Benny’s mom talked to him about love and hate, why it was important to love more and deny those feelings of anger, when other kids did hurtful things.
Still, he wished the boy dead, and now the boy hadn’t been at school for a whole week, no one knew why, just that he was really sick and wouldn’t be coming back for a while.
The boy was a bully, a wrestler, a rich kid with Polo shirts and a comb sticking out of his back pocket. He ran across the circle during the marble tournament, and stepped on Benny’s shooter, jinxing him for the rest of the game. Benny watched him laughing, high-fiving the other kids, pointing, calling him names, like Piggy-pie.
The hum turned into the high-pitched, flat tone of the TV station when it went dead at midnight, jarring Benny awake, to a blank screen. He looked up from the snake to the sky and it was full of crows flapping around, circling. The hum stopped. Benny let the snake there, for the crows.