“It’s not here,” you say with finality as you pull up in front of Dustin’s house.
“How could you possibly know that?!” exclaims the boy from the back seat in impatience.
“I just do.”
“It came through a rip in the dimension and knowing it’s not here is impossible?” you ask with derision.
He pauses for a moment in thought, “Yes!”
You just roll your eyes and open the car door.
“Then see for yourself…” you say haughty as you get out of the car.
Steve pulls a bat out of his trunk with nails protruding from it and turns to follow after Dustin. You head up the rear of the group casually glancing at your surroundings, completely at ease. It’s not like you haven’t been in far worse situations.
He leads you to a shed and you watch in amusement as Steve opens the doors and gazes down into the black abyss below. Dustin just nudges Steve a little.
“You go on down, I’ll stay up here in case he tries to get away.”
You glance over at him as thoughts of slamming the doors if push comes to shove flicker across his mind and you just send him a disapproving look.
He just looks at you innocently, “What?!”
You just shake your head and shove past both males, “I’ll do it.”
“Wait! I’ll go,” Steve says resolutely as his hand hovers above your shoulder.
You just ignore him and continue on down the stairs, it takes only a moment for the sound of Steve’s footsteps to echo on the stairs behind you. When you get into the cellar you send your mind out into the darkness but there isn’t anything there. A moment later, there is a small click and the light above your head flickers on. You exchange glances with Steve as you both inspect the cellar. You cross your arms in boredom before Steve makes a noise of disgust and looks down.
“Dustin!” he yells as he uses his bat to pick the slime up off the ground, “You better get down here.”
When Dustin reaches the bottom of the stairs you just hear, “Oh shit…”
Glancing from the shed skin to the boy behind you, you just roll your eyes before scoffing and marching up the stairs while they inspect the tunnel in the far wall..
“You’ve done it now…” you say as you leave the duo behind to run up the stairs after you.
“What’s that supposed to mean! And how did you know he was gone?!” Dustin yells behind you.
“I didn’t. It’s impossible, remember?” you say innocently, “Steve, take me home now.”
You didn’t want to show it, but you recognized that skin and it belongs to something that you want to stay very far away from.
“NO WAY! We have to catch this thing! And if you know what it is you have to help us!”
Flashes so intense assault your mind you are temporarily caught off guard. Your hands fly to your temple as a searing hot pain shoots through your head. You see the moment. You see the moment that his friend had sacrificed herself for her friends. And you recognize her.
“Eleven…” you whisper.
“What?” Steve questions as he takes a step closer to you, “Are you alright?” he goes to place his hand on your shoulder and you step back and away.
“I told you… not to touch me,” you say coldly.
He holds his hands up, “Sorry! Geeze I just want to know if you’re okay! You looked like you were in pain.”
“I’m fine,” you heave a sigh and look up at the sky as a small voice calling for help echoes across your mind. You remember nights filled with isolation, loneliness and confusion. You left her. You close your eyes in pain, the guilt you feel from that moment you decided to run and save yourself engulfs you.
“Fine, but this is a bad idea.”
“What are you talking about? It’ll be fun,” Steve says as he opens the door for you to get in.
You send them both a withering stare before you get into the car.
“We need meat! LOTS of meat!” Dustin exclaims, happy to finally have some help.
“Grocery store it is,” Steve says as he turns on the ignition and drives away.
“So you gonna tell us how you knew all that stuff earlier?” Dustin asks as he sticks his head between the two front seats.
“Are you a psychic?”
“You sure sound like one… You know stuff,” he says suspiciously.
“Maybe, you’re just obvious,” you reply cooly.
He contemplates your answer for a moment, “Naw… that’s not it… you’re a psychic.”
He says it with such finality, even if it wasn’t particularly true you would never be able to convince him otherwise. You roll your eyes and quietly curse your carelessness.
“What do you intend to do with the meat?” you ask to distract him.
His eyes light up and he starts to explain his plan in detail, Steve jumps in every now and again to offer insight or disagree. You have to say that you are quite surprised at how reliable Steve seems. You also can’t help but like the boy in the backseat and the fact that he seemed to be happy to just be listened to.
It doesn’t take long for the three of you to end up at the railroad tracks with three buckets of raw cut up meat and rubber kitchen gloves.
“Hey… Uh.. Thanks for helping… I know you don’t want to… but… it’s really nice of you to.”
You glance over at Steve and notice how he refuses to meet your eyes. You are vaguely aware of Dustin yelling at his friend over the Walkie Talkie, but pay him no mind.
“I’m not doing it for you,” you say simply.
“I know… you’re doing it for Dustin.”
You look him in the eye as you answer him, “I’m not doing it for him either.”
You grab your bucket of raw meat and set off down the tracks. You are aware of the conversation of the two boys behind you, but only slightly so. You are far too deep in thought to really be paying attention. Eleven is dead and you can’t help but feel responsible.
‘I should have taken her with me…’ you think forlornly to yourself as you drop a few pieces of meat to the ground.
You remember that since she was in the cell closest to you, her mind would be the one you heard the loudest. She was innocent and sweet and earnest. Sometimes when she was sad or tired you would fill her head with the stories you stole from those around you. You stole pictures in story books just for her from the heads of the men who worked near you. Not all of them were bad people, but none of them were good people.
“If you want to get a girl’s attention, you just have to act like you don’t care,” Steve says.
The absolutely horrible advice cutting through your thoughts.
“Even if you do?” Dustin asks.
“Yeah, it drives them nuts.”
You heave a heavy sigh and wonder to yourself how you ended up with such an idiot for a lab partner.
“You just have to wait until you feel it.”
“Oh my God…” you groan and pick up your pace to get away from the idiotic conversation happeneing behind you.
“If you’re going to give him stupid advice Steve…” you say cooly, “At least it should be true…”
“Hey! This is true. This is golden information. Priceless.”
You finally turn to face the duo, “You are clueless.”
You turn back around, “Don’t listen to her okay? She has no idea what she’s talking about…”
“But she’s a psychic… and a girl…She probably does…”
“No! No. Just listen to me okay?”
With that the duo resumed their conversation and you couldn’t help small smile on your face as Steve gave Dustin hair care advice.
Once the three of you get to your destination, a junk yard, with a large old bus off to the side. You all end up emptying the remaining raw meat onto the ground in a central pile. A moment later two kids, a boy and a girl, around Dustin’s age come riding in on a bike, and from his reaction he knew them.
“I like my steak medium rare!” yells the boy on the bike, “Wait…Who is she!?” He yells pointing at you.
You really wished everyone would stop yelling about who you are. It’s getting quite old…
“That’s (Y/N) and she’s a psychic! She’s been super helpful! The most helpful!”
You roll your eyes at the boy as he drives his point home.
“Hey!” Interrupts Steve, “What about me?!”
“You’ve done good Steve.”
Steve nods in appreciation at the boy and claps him on the shoulder, “You too Henderson… Even though this is kinda your fault.”
“Whatever… Lucas! We need to talk!” Dustin then grabs his friend and drags him off behind a car a few yards away.
“Hey… I know you…” your eyes fix on the red haired girl.
“You’re Billy’s sister.”
“Uhh…Yeah… Don’t tell him I’m here!”
“Why would I do that?” you ask in confusion as you tilt your head.
“Because you’re… attracted to him?”
“Whoa! Hold the phone! You’re attracted to Billy? Billy Hargrove? That asshole?”
“No,” you say simply as you turn your gaze to Steve.
“But! He keeps giving you rides…”
“Curious?!” exclaims Steve in bewilderment.
Steve just sputters as you turn towards the junkyard to get started hauling things around, Max following along after. It doesn’t take long for Steve the corral the boys into helping and soon you have a makeshift fort to protect you all from the creature. The sun is close to setting when you all file into the bus and settle in to wait.
You all have been waiting close to three hours when it finally shows up. You can feel a buzz in your mind and slowly you raise your hand to your head. Your eyes screwed shut with the noise, as if there is a mosquito buzzing in your ear.
“Hey… you okay?” questions Steve from your right. You glance over at him and shake your head to rid your mind of the noise.
“What?!” exclaims Dustin before he rushes towards the window, Steve following right behind. Lucas is on the roof urgently telling them he sees them a moment later.
You close your eyes and send your mind outwards towards the creatures lured here by the promise of a meal. You begin to count them in your head your focus tuned in on their odd mind.
‘It’s a hive mind… there are… many…’ you could feel the minds of many more of the creatures beneath those that are closest to you.
“STEVE! ABORT! ABORT!”
Your eyes snap open at Dustin’s yells of panic and you glance around the bus frantically looking for him before you see Dustin in the doorway freaking out.
Your rush towards the boy and pull him out of the way as your eyes find Steve in the fog and you spot them. The creatures are rushing forward to attack him. You watch as Steve does a great job dodging the monsters before he comes sprinting towards the door, one of them hot on his heels.
“STOP!” you yell with a force you haven’t used in 3 years. The creature comes to an abrupt stop just inches away from the door and Steve’s leg. A moment later, you feel yourself surrounded by the hundreds if not thousands of minds that fill this one.
You feel yourself get thrown backwards into the seat behind you by a force, the pain in your head making you cry out. A chorus of screams surround you before the monsters are clawing at the sides. You push angrily through the haze of minds. You can feel the worker bees surrounding you but the farther you go the more obvious it becomes. There is a leader and you feel him. Your mind touches the boy’s and you are instantly assaulted by fear and panic. You’re confused how is this boy…? You feel an icy cold lingering inside of his head…
He is losing the battle…
Your mind finds his and you take a hold for a moment. He’s in a room…hospital room? No…
… A lab…
No…. You don’t want to go….
With a painful jerk you are thrown back into your own mind and you seal it shut. You gasp for breath as air fills your lungs and your hazy vision begins to find the people surrounding you. Panicked thoughts assault your mind and it takes only a moment to figure out why. Max has a death like grip on your hand and Dustin is gripping your arm, fear in his eyes. Steve has his hands on your upper arms trying to hold you up, his own fear filling his mind. With a cry your wretch yourself out of their hands.
“Don’t. Touch. Me.” you rasp out and slowly you feel your mind start to settle. The force behind your words making the group recoil.
You haven’t lost control like that in years…
…It’s here… And you have no idea how to stop it…