Short Story: Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks

Order on Kindle: $2.99
Order on Nook: $2.99
Dear Readers, Most of you know that Shawn, our faithful Web Druid, has been battling a re-occurrence of cancer that surfaced some months back. Thankfully, he is well on the way to a full recovery thanks to chemotherapy treatments and doctor care. Less happily, the result of all this is a huge medical bill he has no hope of being able to pay back in the time frame the hospital has set. Because we all love Shawn and value his friendship – no one more than me – we all want to do what we can to see him through this. So I am announcing effective today that I am giving Shawn the use of my short story IMAGINARY FRIENDS for an exclusive download for a period of 90 days. During this time, readers who have never read the story or would like to read it again and obtain an ebook copy in the process can do so. IMAGINARY FRIENDS was a story I wrote 20 years ago for Lester del Rey for inclusion in a coffee table book of stories by Del Rey authors called ONCE UPON A TIME. That book has been out of print for years, and the story has not been used since. The story is about a boy named Jack who discovers that he is dying of cancer. I won’t reveal any more except to tell you that this was the story which served as the jumping off point half-a-dozen years later for RUNNING WITH THE DEMON. So I am putting it up for sale for 90 days at $2.99 to help Shawn pay off his medical bills. All of the proceeds of sales of the story will go to him for that purpose. Here is a chance for all of us to show Shawn we support him. Goodness knows, he has supported me over the years. I know many of you have become friends with him, and maybe you’ve thought now and then about how you might let him know what that friendship has meant. Here is a really good opportunity. Order the download, read and enjoy your copy of the story, and know you are helping someone who really needs it. Then drop a note to the website, if you are so moved. I can promise you that by helping Shawn you will be doing me a real favor. Always your friend, Terry PS: For those of you without a Kindle or Nook, you can read the short story by setting up a Kindle application on your home PC or Mac! Click HERE for PC; click HERE for Mac.


126 responses to “Short Story: Imaginary Friends by Terry Brooks”

  1. Just saw this and went direct to to check if available. It was so I have downloaded to my Kindle.

    All the best to Shawn.

      • Just glad I can help and glad it was available.

        I’ve been on this site for some time, but only joined today after seeing this. Having lost my father to cancer in 2005 it’s always nice to be able to help someone else when needed. At least in the UK we weren’t faced with a huge medical bill, but I do sometimes wonder if we don’t always receive the best care possible as a down side.

        All the best for the future

    • All the best to Shawn! 🙂
      Thank you both for this gift! I had looked for a paper copy of this short story for ages! And thanks to you, I discover Kindle app is really good! 🙂

  2. Thank you Terry for supporting Shawn!

    Please repost and send out a notice once it’s available for Kindle.

    And it makes me proud that you’re creating innovative ways to raise capital and try to pay the medical bills as opposed to shirking your financial responsibilities.

  3. One of the many reasons Terry has so many loyal fans is because he is such an incredible person. Thanks from all of us not only for your wonderful worlds, but also for everything you do in ours. And Shawn, our thoughts & prayers are continually with you.

  4. Terry, have known for some time what amazing people you and your lovely wife are and have had the pleasure of meeting you several times in the past 10 years. Shawn is indeed very near and dear to many of us – want to say thanks to you for doing this and extend huge pixel hugs to all of you. We love the Web Druid and we adore you!! I do not even have my eReader yet because I cannot decide which one I want – but I am going to buy this… twice just because it is a great way to show my support for Shawn. Yes, benefit to me having the chance to get this but have been telling Shawn for a bit I want to help =]

  5. Thanks Terry and Shawn for all you do for us fans. I would have been glad to pay even more for this to help Shawn so I hope everyone reading this will tell all their friends and family that own Kindles and Nooks to join the cause! Even if they are not fans of Terry (“inconsthceiveable”) I urge you to compell them to join us in this cause.

    I have had the book “Once Upon a Time” for a long time and I never knew it inspired the Word/Void story. Thanks again Terry.

      • For REAL? Dude, I just finished Song of the Fell Hammer and it SERIOUSLY made me hunger for more of your work. I really liked your writing style and it kept me turning pages every spare moment I could put aside to read.

        Bring it on!

      • Finally got my Imaginary Friends!! And Shawn oooo been waiting for ages, so definitely looking forward to Dark Thorn release, too… ur the best <3

  6. When I saw that I could show my support for The Web Druid and get a Terry Brooks tale at the same time, I downloaded Imaginary Friends right away.
    Thoughts and prayers for you and yours Shawn.

  7. Got it, Shawn. Thanks Terry for giving us the opportunity to help Shawn. Looking forward to “Dark Thorn”.
    All the best to the both of you.

  8. I just purchased this. Not only is this going to a good cause, but I get to read something by Terry that I didn’t have any clue existed!

  9. Shawn, I’m sorry to hear that you are having a round 2 with cancer.I hope you are 100% ASAP! I would really like to purchase the story, but don’t have a Kindle or Nook and it says the PC app is disabled. HELP!!!

  10. Just purchased it and looking forward to reading it. Plus, knowing that it is for a good cause makes it even more special. It’s hard for me to pass something like this up when it means helping someone else out as well.

  11. I clicked on the “here” for PC and it says this link is no longer valid.

    Will It not be in book form? I have couple of friends who love Terry Brooks, but don’t have computers of their own nor Kindle nor Nook. they have to have books the old fashion way.

    I will keep you in my prayers Shawn. May God Bless you.

    thanks Contessa

      • I would love to but the story to help support you, but I have a personal vendetta against electronic books, they just aren’t the same as the paper kind. I might make an exception just this once, but do you think you could ask Terry about offering a new paper edition so I could help as well as keep my no-ebooks promise to myself?
        Feel Better!

  12. I lost my step-father to lung cancer in May 2002. I plan to buy a copy, but wanted to leave a message at this time. Best of health to Shawn. What an admiral thing for Terry to do for a friend. Recently, one of my friends from back home put on a concert along with many local bands/musicians to raise money for his mother’s medical bills. I wish I could have been there, but my work has me away from home for quite a while. Good day, Robert J. Dudas

  13. Can we also get your short story thru the PC too!!??? And I am of course eagerly awaiting the release of the Dark Thorn. All my prayers are with as always.

    • Which short story are you talking about, Dorothy? If you are talking about Terry’s short story, you can read it through your PC. The directions are at the bottom of Terry’s post.

      And I’m excited for you to read The Dark Thorn. You’ve been very vocal over the last year about reading it and I hope I don’t disappoint. 🙂

      • Sorry Shawn, I meant your short story “Fell Hammer”. I’m still hell bent on getting it as my e-book is KoBo driven.

          • I’m with Dorothy, I would love to get Fell Hammer and Imaginary Friends on my Kobo. I do most of my reading on there now.

  14. I am more than happy to help in such a small way and while it may be a week or so before I can read it, I look forward to it.
    All the best to you Shawn on your continued recovery.

  15. Best wishes to you Shawn. Great to be able to help you and at the same time enjoy another piece of Sinnissippi park history. Thank you Terry!

  16. Shawn –

    Many thanks for all that you do. Keep your chin up. All of us are wishing you a full and fast recovery. This website would not be the same without you. Take care and God Bless! I have purchased Imaginary Friends and hope that enough of us do to cover the whole bill. Keep the faith..

  17. I just bought the story on my brother’s Nook and read it. It is truly wonderful and life-affirming. Thanks, Terry, for making it available, and all my best wishes to Shawn for a full recovery.

    • Wasn’t it great. Weird that Terry wrote it in 1991, long before he and I met. And yet, it was almost written directly for me. It’s also pretty cool seeing how Pick evolved over a five year period — same personality, different package. haha

  18. Shawn as always you are in my thoughts and prayers, i look forward to both the Dark Thorn and also reading this from Terry. Be well and as always we will talk more on the forum bud.

  19. Would love to support Shawn and read this ebook… any chance it will be available in Canada on the Kobo?
    Best wishes Shawn!

  20. I`ll have the wife get this on her nook when she gets home from work. Hope all goes well with you Shawn! Good luck and God bless!

  21. I’ve never read this before and since it is for a good cause I have picked up a few copies. My mother and roommate now have a short story to read!

  22. Just saw the retweet from John Scalzi and downloaded the story. Good luck Shawn, from a fellow cancer survivor.

  23. Got here via Neil Gaiman’s retweet. The story is bought and waiting to be read. I hope this drive goes some way towards covering your medical care. I’ll certainly do my bit in spreading the word.

    All the best.

  24. Shawn,

    Glad that you are on the mend. I have been holding off on reading The Measure of the Magic until Christmas so this story gives me my dose of Terry.

    Hope loads of people download this. Sending you best wishes:)

    Stay well …….

  25. I bought my copy and look forward to reading it. The two of you are amazing people Shawn/Terry. So I’m happy to help. Also, threw this up on twitter and Neil Gaiman @neilhimself kindly retweeted, so I hope that will generate some traffic and some sales. After all he does have over a million followers. The power of words unites us all, cheers.

  26. Done!!
    I lost my sister to ovarian cancer so this was a no-brainier considering how much I loved the Shannara books when I was growing up!. May god bless you and keep you safe.

  27. I never had a ebook before this one. I read it and liked it. If I had known about Shawn sooner I would have gotten it sooner! Terry once again thanks for a good story and Shawn I am glad you are getting better. I would have paid more if asked to. I would be willing to buy this as a hardback if the money went to you Shawn!!!

  28. I’m not even on the message board (I’m Taliesin’s wife) but I bought it and shared this link on Facebook. It’s the least I can do. Taliesin and I are praying for Shawn’s full recovery!

  29. Just finished reading it. Great backstory to lead into the Word and the Void series.
    I can see Shawn as Jack. Incredible correlation between Jack and Shawn.
    Thank you so much for allowing Shawn to sell this to help with his medical bills.

  30. Just got the email and read about how Shawn needed help. Absolutely, without a doubt just went and purchased “Imaginary Friends”. I have had many friends and family members throughout the years who could have used the same type of support and I am more than happy to help out even though I have never met you.

    Shawn – hope the last two treatments go well for you and you are able to stay cancer free. Wish you nothing but the best and hats off to Terry for being a great friend.

  31. Hopes every thing goes well, my mom just been to he first check up and was cleared.

    So all good wishes her from Denmark :D.

  32. Been away for a bit, but just now saw this again and downloading it today. Never read this story and am looking forward to it. Also knowing it is going to help out Shawn is a great feeling. Good luck with everything, Shawn. Thanks Terry!

  33. What a wonderful thing to do for Shawn. I’ll be getting nook in a couple of weeks – the book will be my first purchase! I’ve loved having the Shannara stories in my life and its nice to help out someone who is so special to Terry and who is a wonderful web master. May your cancer stay in remission always. Good luck.

  34. Terry you are a hero. What a lovely gesture. I have just downloaded the e-book to my PC and read it. Like other I did not realise this existed. I am an avid reader of your work and eagerly await the next novel. I shall be sharing this link on facebook and hope to spread the word. Shawn keep up the good work and I wish you good health and I hope that Terry’s kindness raises the money you need.

  35. Im sorry to hear about the cancer but Im glad the treatment is working.

    Ive been a Terry Brooks fan for years but Ive never posted here. Still, this story made me put something up. I just want to say I wish Shawn the best of luck and Ill buy a copy of the ebook on Friday if I can find it on Amazon. If its not up then, Ill check back once in an while until I find it. Due to my financial situation its the most I can do these days but hopefully all the ebook downloads will add up to really help out with that gigantic bill.

    Best wishes to Shawn, Mr. Brooks, and of course everyone involved with the website’s management.

  36. I have bought/read every book of Terry’s that I could find. I hope it’s been all of them. However, as big a fan as I am of Terry and his writing, I am thrilled to purchase Terry’s writing for a purpose. I hope that what little I have contributed will help you, Shawn. It’s great to have friends so willing to help. Friends helped our family when our newborn needed heart surgery, so we fully understand. As for the cancer, I’m thrilled to hear it’s in remission. Thanks for all your hard work, it never goes unnoticed!

  37. Thank You Terry Brooks this is such a worthy cause, my prayers go out to our web Druid Shawn for a speedy recovery without him we would be lost in the void.
    Andy Hatter

  38. In for a copy for myself, and will be getting another for my daughter. Best of luck, Shawn. Hopefully you’ll be able to completely wipe out those medical bills.

  39. I just purchased it for my Kindle reader. I wish Shawn all the best, and hop that my little contribution will add to a completely swelled pot of riches for those nasty bills. I am dealing with several on-going health battles myself, and certainly understand how those medical bills pile up. I pray that Shawn is cancer-free now and will recover his pre-cancer / pre-treatment vitality soon.

    Terry, thank you for all of your wonderful books. I think I own EVERY single one of them. They have been accumulating on my book shelves for years. I’ve finally wizened up and bought a Kindle since I’ve run out of space. (I can’t bear to part with my old hard copies yet.) I have to say, the Kindle has been a wonderful way to read. Thanks for making your books available for reading via Kindle!

  40. When I read the latest newsletter I felt sad. I sincerely hope this is your last bout with the dreaded “C”. God willing. I thank you for all you do and I always look forward to reading the newsletter. No other web Druid is up to your caliber. You are a gifted individual and Terry is lucky to have you in charge! Thank you Terry for being the kind of person I have always known you to be. I have been a faithful reader for over 30 years, almost as long as you have been writing Shannara and i even still have the first copy of Sword of Shannara I got back then. God bless and I look forward to many more years from the “team supreme”!


  41. I purchased my copy as soon as I got home last night!

    Terry, thank you for the opportunity to help Shawn out and for giving me something new to read!

    Shawn, I wish you all the best in your recovery.


  42. I’d received my Kindle as a gift over a year ago, but decided I wouldn’t buy any books until I had read all of the hardcovers piling up in my house. Needless to say, that idea went out the window after reading the latest e-mail from the Terry Brooks newsletter. As a faithful reader of all things Brooks for 17 years now, and a fan of this site that wouldn’t be the same without the genious that is Shawn, I am so happy that “Imaginary Friends” was my first Kindle book purchase. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family Shawn!

  43. Hi Terry and Shawn
    Terry – what a gracious and caring gesture. I was moved that someone still has enough compassion to do something like this. Went straight to Amazon and bought the story. It’s the first I have read of yours.

    Shawn – Stay strong and keep smiling. Fight your dragon! My grandparents lost their fight, I don’t think their swords were sharp enough. Cancer is heartbreaking, and so much more when it grabs a child in its claws. I lost a little friend to cancer when I was a teenager and to this day I am still sad when I think how much I miss him. He was two, and an adorable, smart kid. His Dad was holding him when he passed and the last thing he did was ‘I love you’, and touched his dad’s cheek. Gripped by pain, he was still able to do that. Just shows the power of the human spirit.

    I’d like to shout out to Brent Weeks, because if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have been able to be a part of this. So, thank you Brent for posting on your page.

    Take care all, keep writing and smiling


  44. Got it just now. Congrats and good luck, Shawn!

    I’ve been reading your books since Elfstones published in paperback.

  45. Another important addendum to make to the posting,
    If you want this to be as widely available as possible,
    is that the Kindle app for iPhone and iPad is free
    and readers with those devices can purchase without using a Mac or PC.
    The same is probably true for Droid phones and tablets.
    I had to make the purchase on Amazon through Safari, but it went into the Kindle
    app immediately.

  46. Thank you, Mr. Brooks.
    You were a very real inspiration to me in my younger years which helped drive me to become a writer as well. It is my honor to help you, Mr. Orrulian, and Mr. Speakman in any way that I can.

  47. Purchased and read this remarkable story. It makes me want to re-read the “Running with the Demon” series again like NOW!!. Many blessings to you Shawn, keep Pick close in your heart! Love to you and Terry.

  48. Great idea. I purchased my copy. I lost my father to cancer earlier this year (he was 59). Is your battle now only with the bills, or are you still battling the cancer as well? Best of luck on both fronts!

  49. Yeah, as soon as it was announced I bought the short story. It was fantastic and lots of fun. I hope every thing continues on the up and up for your Shawn. Happy upcoming Turkey day.

  50. I have been an avid reader of Terry’s since high school (incidentally was born the year “Sword of Shannara” was published), and thoroughly enjoyed the detail of the Word & Void series. Terry’s contribution to the fantasy genre has inspired many people to write their own stories (which includes you too Shawn), and I thank you for making this short story available as a fundraiser for a great friend! All the best to you both 🙂

  51. I downloaded Imaginary Friends to my Kindle last week and thought it was a fantastic read. I am so pleased the money is going to such a good cause. Best wishes Shawn xx

  52. I’m always happy to read more Terry Brooks stories, and even happier when it helps a good cause. Shawn, I lost my grandfather to cancer last year, and my grandmother has been fighting cancer for most of this year, too, so I know all too well what a financial burden it can be. I am so, so glad you are in remission. I hope you continue to have good health.

    Thank you for everything you do for Terry!

  53. Hi guys, what an amazing gesture!! Bought it immediately upon hearing about Shawn’s battle. I recently lost a very close friend to cancer and I must say, it is very heartening to hear that people out there are beating it and showing cancer who is boss! My family and I have been avid Brooks fans, my father giving my The Sword of Shannara as my first adult novel to read at the tender age of 12, and he really set me on my path. Through it all this web page has been my way of keeping up and getting ever more excited about the new books. My family and I would like to send additional money to help Shawn out to show our appreciation for all the hard work he has put in. If there is an address available to send it to please send me an email with that information so we can do our part to help out someone who has helped us 🙂

    Good luck to you Shawn!!

  54. Just bought my kindle version to support you Shawn.

    Over 25 years ago when I was a young teenager I lost my father to lymphoma. So much has progressed in innovative cancer treatment in three decades that I’m hoping you come through this cured and strong for many years to come.

    My father was the one who read Sword of Shannara when it first came out in 1983 in his last year before passing in 1984. The book sat on a bookshelf until I picked it up a few years later and read it – setting me on a lifelong reading love affair with the world of Shannara. The hours of joy reading – and always making me remember the 14 good years I had with my Dad before he departed. My oldest son turns 13 on Friday. Its about time he gets hooked as well. My only debate is whether to let him read my Dad’s original copy or to get him one of his own. 😉

    Thank you Terry for all your imagination to all of us and your generosity to Shawn. I’m grateful to contribute in some small way to the repayment of the bills.

  55. Shawn, I wish you the best in dealing with the bills. I know how expensive it is. Ridiculously expensive. But I’m relieved that things are going well and you are beating it once again. You’re one tough guy. Take care man. I ordered Terry’s story, haven’t read it before and look forward to it. Thanks Terry. And thank you Shawn for your dedication and hard work. And friendship.

    Brandon (AKA BorderC)

  56. Thanks for your thoughtfulness, Mr. Brooks. Shawn, hope you’re well on your way to recovery…and financial freedom. Your place as Web Druid does not go unnoticed, and I hope this small purchase goes a long way to show how much we appreciate you. Merry Christmas, Shawn.


  57. My husband has read all the Terry Brooks Books and I am almost there. Running with the Demon series is still one of my favorites. A good friend of mine is currently battling Breaat Cancer, so in her honor I will definitely be buying the short story.

  58. Have downloaded on kindle straight away. Do make sure you are vocal if the deadline approaches and you are not hitting the $120k. I’m sure people will rally.

  59. Sorry don’t know either of you, but massively enjoyed Brent Weeks work, and have lost friends and family to cancer so followed the link here
    Hope all goes well for you, just got the book to do my bit
    Never know may find another author to get my teeth into

  60. I just finished reading “Imaginary Friends” and it was FANTASTIC!!!

    It was nice to see Sinnissippi Park again in a Terry Brooks story!! I live in Sterling, IL.. and I Love the “Word and the Void” series and hope there will be more.

    Anyway, I was glad to help out, and I hope things are well with you!!!

    Oh, and tell Mr. Brooks that he needs to come back to Sterling so I can the rest of my Collection signed!!!! LOL!

    Mike J.

  61. I am so proud to consider Shawn a friend, one in time of need. I know he would do the same for each one of us, so I just bought it for the kindle. God, Please bless Shawn and heal him and send that cancer to hell. Amen.

  62. This was a great story, and am happy to have been able to contribute in a small way! Looking forward to “Thorn” – and maybe something else Terry has in the vault to make available for a short time?

  63. Just saw this book on my Kindle Fire and came to the website to find out more about it. Bought it immediately! Healing thoughts going out to you Shawn. This is just another reason for me to love Terry. Thank you for being an all around good guy.

  64. Got the book yesterday, after finding out about it, and read it through right away. Great story and a great cause. My mom passed away from ovarian cancer when i was 13 so i know how hard it can be on you and the family. Speedy recovery, and kick some cancer butt, shawn.

  65. That is a crazy bill! 🙁 It would be free here in Sweden! I can’t understand Americans who complain about Obamacare! Good luck with the bill and beating the damn cancer, Shawn!!

  66. Glad I saw this, and just in time. Hang in there Shawn, and thanks to Terry and to those who supported this. All the best, Bill T.

  67. I thought it selfish of me to read this and not buy the book. I hope that my small contribution will help shawn on his road to recovery. Best wishes good sir.
    Nicole x

  68. Hi,
    I just saw this, and hope it’s not to late to contribute. I’ve been a fan of Terry Brooks for a long time, love his work, now I’m in awe of his kindness. Best of luck, with determination as yours, you’ll succeed.

  69. I just got it and look forward to reading it. I really hope that since it’s been more than 90 days, and it’s still available, that means it’s still helping Shawn.

    Thanks for the opportunity Terry and best wishes Shawn!

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