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I read a book directed at children, in the early 2000s. It was a sort of collection of short stories, and there was this one story about this bully. One time he tried to rob a lady at a bus stop, and said the words "give it to me" at which point she threw something invisible at him, which he caught. It was jelly like, and I believe he felt it dripping down his hands.

Following that moment, he had dreams (involving snakes, I believe they were described as very very long snakes slithering possibly along the border of whatever he was seeing/thinking during the dream. I'm not a hundred percent sure about the snakes, but I'm like 90%) , where he would see what people were thinking of him, causing him to change his ways.

He stopped hanging out with his other bully friends, and I think he himself was bullied by them, and one of them, trying to take his lunch money perhaps, said "give it to me" at which point he passed the invisible jelly-like thing onwards. Does anyone know the name of this collection, or at least of this story?

Some more context: I live in the US, and this book was found in my fourth or fifth grade classroom.

I suddenly seem to remember that the cover had someone with a lot of eyes on it. But I could be mistaken.

  • In what way did the dreams involve snakes? – Adamant May 23 '16 at 0:07
  • I believe they were described as very very long snakes slithering possibly along the border of whatever he was seeing/thinking during the dream. I'm not a hundred percent sure about the snakes, but I'm like 90% – Academiphile May 23 '16 at 0:09
  • Good. Please put any details you can remember in (including that last one). That tends to help. – Adamant May 23 '16 at 0:16
  • Was this a Paul Jennings story? It sounds a little like his 'Gizmo' series. – user32390 May 23 '16 at 8:01
  • I just went through the summaries of his short story collections, and though this story is very similar, I didn't find it in one of those books. Do the gizmo series only tell one story each? Because then I think it would be too long to be it. – Academiphile May 23 '16 at 13:25
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The story is called Nightmare, and it was published in the book Instead Of Three Wishes, which contains seven short stories by Megan Whalen Turner.

The book is available online via the Open Library.

You can find a review of the book here, which mentions the bully and the detail of the snakes in his nightmares.

  1. The Nightmare - A story about a bully named Kevin who after hassling an old lady on the street began to have nightmares. The nightmare consists of seeing himself through the eyes of others particularly his victims.

Thoughts: If there is a "mystery story" in the bunch, this one is undoubtedly classified as the "horror story". Haunting image of snakes with mirrors in their jaws allowing you to not only see but feel the terror that you impose on others. It effectively drives the point of how would it be like when the shoe is on the other foot or how you shouldn't do to others what you wouldn't want done onto you.

  • YESSS THANK YOU – Academiphile Aug 18 '16 at 20:05
  • Very nice. At one point, this question had a bounty on it, and I tried to find the answer, but was unsuccessful. Did you find this by searching or did you remember it? – Adamant Aug 19 '16 at 7:07
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    In any case, you missed the bounty. It's only fair that you get it anyway. – Adamant Aug 19 '16 at 7:08
  • @Adamant I recognized the story description as soon as I read the question, and then a day or two later I had time to search my archived reading material, and found it there right away. – This isn't my real name Aug 19 '16 at 15:40

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