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Hub, the Imaginary Friend This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Chapter 1; Go Fish

___

“Charlie?” Hub asked his friend, looking over his cards at the young blonde haired boy.

“Yea, Hub?” Charlie eyed him, Charlie's blue eyes were flashing and sparkling like they did when he knew he was going to win Go Fish.

“Will we always be friends?”

“Of course. Why wouldn’t we?”

“Well, it’s just… If we’re not friends forever, I go to a very bad place.”

“What bad place?”

“A bad place.”



His face scrunched up in thought as he gripped his cards tighter.

“I’ll never let you go to a bad place, Hub. You’re my best friend.”

“Okay. It’s your turn.”

“Do you have any nines?”

“Go Fish.”

___

Chapter 2; Hub

___

I was sitting on Charlie’s bed, swinging my short legs back and forth, waiting for him to be home for school.

I remember when Charlie was younger, when he was five and in Kindergarden. He was allowed to bring me to school then.

But the masters told me that when he went into 1st Grade, I wouldn’t be able to go anymore.

So there I sat, staring at his bedroom door, just waiting.



Normally waiting was not so hard.

I glanced at the yellow clock over his bed, it read 4:32.

Normally he was back by at least 4.



Two more hours passed, I spent the time twiddling my furry thumbs, wishing he would come back.

I needed him to come back soon.

And then he walked through the door.

“Hi, Hub!” He said cheerily, tossing his backpack on the floor, and hopping up onto the bed next to me.

“Charlie, where were you? I’ve been waiting all day!” I looked at him worriedly.

“Oh, I went to my friend, Leon’s, house.”

“Oh, okay. Can we play?”

“Sure!”

___

Chapter 3; Hub Hub

___

At this point in the story I feel the need to explain things.

Because as I’m scribbling this down in a notebook, the dank walls of my cell reminding me that I am to be executed tomorrow, I think you should know that despite what you think, this is not a happy story.

I am an Imaginary Friend.

I was born in my homeland, Lako, in Imagination.

When my time came, right after I got out of highschool, I went off to become somebody’s imaginary friend.



No one chooses to be an Imaginary Friend, you have to be drafted. Not everybody gets drafted, either, but about 75% of us do.

And I just happen to be one of those Friends.



My name is Hub, and I look nothing like my parents, as all Imaginary Friends do.

I’m short, furry, and possibly not the most fearsome looking IF.

But when I met Charlie, he didn’t care.

He was just happy to have a friend.

And so was I.



I was assigned Charlie because he was afraid of the dark, and I glow in the dark.

We’ve been inseperable since.

Well, until a few weeks ago.

So back to the story now.

___

Chapter 4; Hub Hub Hub

___

Charlie started spending most of his time at Leon’s.

After school, after dinner, Leon even started spending the night sometimes.



I started to learn how to entertain myself, since Charlie wasn’t doing that anymore.

I started to wish I had my own IF.

But that would be a double IF and those don’t exist.



And then, one night, the masters came.



I had been sleeping at the foot of Charlie’s bed, curled up in a ball, like I always did.

IF’s and their friends share dreams. That night me and Charlie had been dreaming a nightmarish dream.

Charlie wasn’t very fazed about it, but that’s only because he didn’t know what it meant.

But I did.



In the dream, we were in an amusement park.

We had been riding on a roller coaster, when suddenly Charlie was picked up by strange looking birds.

I had to go on a quest to get him back, and on the way I ran into a hooded man who started to follow me while chanting, “It’s time! It’s time! It’s time!”

More hooded men came, and I ran to where Charlie was.

Only he wasn’t there.

I woke up to see the hooded men standing over me, and before I could make a sound, I was stuffed into a bag.

The unpleasantness of the bag, or the constant bumping around as they dragged me away wasn’t the worst part.

I could feel the link I shared with Charlie dimming, I could feel it weakening.

And then it snapped.



I suppose he woke up when it broke, I’ve been told that’s what happens.

I just hope he didn’t get too afraid of the darkness that would surround him.

Surround him forever.

___

Chapter 5; Graham Crackers and Peanut Butter

___

“Hub!”
‘My name was never meant to be uttered by someone so gruesome in sight.’

Hub thought as he tore his big green eyes away from the paper he had previously been scribbling his story out on.

The IF that had uttered his name, and who he was currently staring at, was in fact very gruesome in sight.

He was five times Hub’s height, green and scaly like a lizard, but shaped more like a weasel with a snake head.

“Hub! Answer me!”



Hub sighed, knowing he had to oblige to the IF’s commands, or he may lose some of his privileges, like paper.

‘Not that it matters much, since I’m to die in the morning.’



“Sir?” Hub said with a bitterness in his voice he had only acquired in the past few weeks.

Before the Masters had taken him, Hub was as sweet as could be.

But the Masters have a way of changing people.



“What would you like for your last meal?”

The IF had an air of authority around him, even though he was a mere foot soldier to the land of Lako.



“I think I would like graham crackers and peanut butter.” Hub whispered, not missing a beat.

“What did you say, Hub?”

“Graham crackers and peanut butter!” He said it more loudly, blinking away tears.

“Odd request, Hub. But you’ll have it soon enough.”

“Not so odd in context…”



“Hub!” Charlie shouted, bouncing in the bedroom with a plate of graham crackers and a jar of peanut butter. “I brought snacks!”

I smiled, setting up Charlie’s stuffed animals at a small table.

I took a seat next to Charlie as he set down the food.

“I know peanut butter is your favourite!”

“Yes, it’s much better than cream cheese.”

“You’re only saying that because you’re Lactose Intolerant.”



Hub hung his head at the memory as a plate of graham crackers was set before him, a small bowl of peanut butter beside it.

The clang of his cell door echoed through the small stone room as he picked up a graham cracker wearily.

“I know peanut butter is your favourite…”

___

Chapter 6; Hub Hub Hub Hub

___

The first day I met Charlie is a day I’ll never forget.

I was fresh out of highschool, and planning on either joining the Lako Army, or becoming a teacher.

But then I got a letter, telling me I’d been drafted to become a real IF.



You might think becoming an Imaginary Friend would be a wonderful thing, you’d get to play with a kid all day, and it would all be just fun, but in Imagination, it’s a horrible fate.

Imaginary Friends aren’t reusable, we can’t be recycled, and once we step foot in the real world, and leave Imagination, we can’t go back.

Not until we come back to die, of course.



You see, the Masters have lived for years and years, since before the beginning of time, and they are the wisest of the wise.

They decide who is to become an IF, and who is to stay in Imagination.

When the humans started to inhabit Earth, they decided their kind would make nice companions.

So they sent a few IF’s out to live with them.



The IF’s became companions to children, and lived alongside them for years until the kid got bored of them.

But when the IF’s came back to Imagination, they had been changed.

Friendly and nice Imaginary Friends soon turned as mean, bitter, and insane as I am starting to become.



So it is that when a child becomes bored with an IF, we are brought back to Imagination, and executed.



People have tried to change this, arguing that we ‘don’t have to become the human’s IF’s.’

But the Masters think otherwise.



When I stepped out of Imagination and into Charlie’s bedroom, I was scared.

Charlie found me hiding under his bed when he saw me glowing at night, and I explained to him I was his Imaginary Friend.

I never told him I would eventually leave him.

He was so nice to me.



But now he’s gone.

And I am just a shell of the IF I used to be.

___

Chapter 7; Escape

___

Hub fell asleep sitting at his small desk, his cheek on the paper, and his pencil on the floor.

He was dreaming of Charlie, though Charlie was not dreaming of Hub since their dreams were no longer connected.

In Hub’s dream, Charlie and he were eating cookies and watching Sesame Street.

In Charlie’s dream, he was looking for Hub, but couldn’t find him. Just like in reality.



A sharp jolt sent Hub out of his chair and onto the floor, and before he could even make a sound, a hand went over his mouth.

His eyes grew big in fear as he looked into the equally scared eyes of another Imaginary Friend.

She resembled a large cat, though dreadfully skinny, and purple from head to toe.

“Shush! Or the guard will hear…” She whispered slyly, Hub nodded and the hand was removed from his mouth.



“Who are you?” He asked, she just shook her head and led him out of his cell.

“It’s not your time to die, Hub.”

“What do you mean?”

They whispered as she led him down a bleak hallway.

“I mean, your owner still wants you. But the Masters won’t let you leave.”

“How do you know this?”

“That’s a story for another time, come on.”



She led him out of the prison with ease, not even getting spotted by the guards, much to Hub’s surprise.

When they were out, they fled into the mountains, sirens wailed behind them and they heard guards coming after them.

“Hub! Go!” The IF shouted, pushing him along.

Hub kept running, not even stopping when he heard the IF scream and a gunshot ring through the air.

He kept on running until he couldn’t hear the guards behind him.

Until he was all alone.

Until he found a tree.



He didn’t even mourn the other IF’s life, he had lost the ability to care much for anything in the short time he’d been away from Charlie.

All he said was, “Thanks” into the air before he scrambled up the tree and brought out his papers.

And he continued writing his memoir.

___

Chapter 8; The Last Page

___

Hub’s body was found dead in the tree he had been hiding in.

They say he died of starvation.

His memoir didn’t have much to it, and all but the last page has been released to the Imagination public.

This is what the last page said:



Life with Charlie was simple. Or at least much simpler than it is now.



He used to tell me all his secrets.

And I would tell him mine.

Not that I had many to tell.



One day we played Cops and Robbers. I was the Cop.

In a way I’m in a real life game of Cops and Robbers.

Except this time I’m the Robber.



I can’t hear his voice, I can’t hear his voice, I can’t hear his voice

I CAN’T F***ING HEAR YOU, CHARLIE! I CAN’T!

___

Chapter 9; THE END

___

“Charlie?”

“Yea, Hub?”

“Will we always be friends?”

“Of course. Why wouldn’t we?”

“Why wouldn’t we?”

Why wouldn’t we?

Why wouldn’t…

Why…















I miss you, Charlie…



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

Princess Momo said...
Sept. 13, 2011 at 12:16 am:

After reading this, I looked down to find crystalline teardrops on my ebony keyboard, and realised I have not been affected by such a story in a long time. This was especially meaningful to me because of my imaginary friend from early childhood... Now I wonder where the time has  gone. This was absolutely, irrevocably, incredibly vivid and wonderful... I know I shall scarcely sleep tonight with my thoughts running wild in the land of Imagination.

Thank you for this.

 
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StrangeJade This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm:
This...was...amazing. It was so sad, and a marvelously dark twist on imaginary friends. Definitely going in my favourites.
 
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