He needs a friend

by | May 31, 2012 | Fiction, Flash fiction | 6 comments

The story continues …

He Needs a Friend
By Laura McHale Holland

The social worker looks through the one-way glass at the boy on the other side. He was abandoned by his mother shortly after his father gunned down a dozen people on his way to a custody hearing. The boy stares at the puzzle, hands in his lap, while the social worker watches the brick wall behind the boy fall away.

Icy wind blasts in from a stark, frozen beach with only rocks and snowdrifts at the shore, bare saplings bending to the gusts, no birds on the wing, no footsteps approaching.

The social worker looks up a number on her cell phone. As she places a call, the brick wall reappears. “Hello? This is Ms. Maples from social services. … I’m good. How are you? … No, Chloe is doing just fine; the family wants to leave the past behind. … That was a surprise, wasn’t it: her own grandfather wanting her and Carly killed. … Are you still working as a chauffeur? … Good, good. … Well, there’s a boy here, and his eyes, I can’t explain it, but they’re just like Chloe’s. … He needs a friend … Why not come and meet him? … You could join the Big Brother program … No commitment, just a meeting. … Okay then, see you tomorrow.”

She turns off her phone, puts it on her desk and then enters the observation room. She kneels beside the slumping boy and tells him she has good news. He stares at the puzzle, lips quivering, and hopes she’ll go away soon.


All of the episodes in this series in the order in which they were posted follow:

Back pocket wishes

Cascading to the sea

Right through the heart

Away today?

A dime a dozen

She doesn’t know them

On the seat

A pillar of the community

He needs a friend

Double rainbow

The one he always wants to hear

Give it some time

It gives my life meaning


Extenuating circumstances

 The four of us

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  1. Eve Trout

    Is this little boy related to Chloe? That would be interesting.

  2. Barbara Toboni

    Am I right? I see the frozen lonely beach as figuritive here for the wall? Anyway, good stuff. Keep it coming.

  3. Susan

    So many of “our” kids need a friend, and some, like this little boy, will be fortunate that there are adults very willing to be that friend. I’ve only known a few kids who have suffered such tragedies. One watched his brother shoot his father. He was the first boy I worked at getting to an alternative school. It totally changed his life and his family’s life. He knew I’d stand with him. All he had to do was learn. Your little guy will learn too. They all do in one way or another, don’t they? I’m hoping that somehow Chloe and the boy come to know each other and realize they are not alone. HUGS!!

  4. admin

    I don’t think they’re related by blood, although the story’s not done yet, so who knows? The little boy’s father is the one who killed the well to do couple that was going to adopt her. So in that sense they are related. Thanks for both of your recent comments, Eve. :o)

  5. admin

    Hi Barbara, I’m just working on hunches and intuition right now. I’ll probably figure more out about the wall fading away to reveal beach scenes (a pleasant one for Chloe and a stark one for the little boy) once I begin reworking these tidbits after I get to what I think is the end of the story. I think on the next pass through there’ll be a few more touches of magic realism, but not too many. Thanks for your comment!

  6. admin

    It moves me, Susan, that you were able to make such a positive difference in the life of the little boy you described. I bet you’ve helped many other young people in similar ways over the years. I am so happy that the characters who have come to me in this endeavor are touching you. I’ve had visions of Chloe and the boy meeting at some point. I think I’m getting close to the end of this series, well, at least to the end of my first draft of it here. We’ll see what happens. Thanks for your thoughts—and for the hug!


  1. On the seat - [...] He needs a friend [...]
  2. Right through the heart - [...] He needs a friend [...]

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