There is an awkward silence in the group as you all start off down the trail following after the Demidogs, as Dustin had dubbed them. Your head is still pounding from your overload and you realize how much you will need your power. Steve is walking beside you and you are surprised at how protective he is of you after what happened. Max is on your other side and you find that her thoughts are buzzing with worry.
“Max,” you murmur getting her attention.
“Yeah?” she whispers looking up at you.
You see her swallow the lump in her throat as she nods but she doesn’t leave your side for a moment.
You can hear Dustin explaining the molting process to Steve and the subsequent argument that he gets into with Lucas, you’re too tired to care though.
“They have a hive mind…” you rasp out.
The boys stop in their tracks in front of you and turn back to gaze at you in confusion.
“How do you know?” Questions Dustin as he turn fully to face you and takes a few steps towards you.
“I felt it…”
“Felt it? What do you mean felt it?” Steve asks as he grasps your elbow.
You pull yourself from his touch and take a step back looking at the ground.
“They are being controlled…”
“By what?” whispers Dustin.
You just nod and feel yourself shrink farther into yourself. It’s been a long time since you’ve felt actual fear.
The silence is pierced by screeching screams that can only be deemed demonic. You know what it is though. You watch as Steve turns towards the noise and rushes off to inspect it, the boys following quickly behind. Max scoffs at them and turns to look at you. You turn towards the noise and quickly follow after them.
“Wait! Are you guys serious?! We should not be going towards the noise!” Max yells after everyone.
“Come on…” you say softly as you pass her.
“Shit!” she curses before following quickly behind you.
You find the boys on a ridge overlooking the forest and the town, too bad the darkness keeps you from seeing much. Lucas takes out his binoculars and scans the area.
“It’s the Lab… They were going back home.”
“Well… let’s go…” Says Dustin as he starts off down the pathway towards the lab.
“You have got to be kidding me! This is insane!” exclaims Max from behind you.
“Look! If you don’t want to go then don’t go, but this is something we have to do!” exclaims Dustin.
“Don’t worry. We will be fine,” you say with resolution as you start off down the trail. Regardless of how terrified you are of these things, you know what you have to do. You lose track of how long you all are walking before you hear yells coming from in front of you. The voices are familiar, but you are having a hard time placing them.
You all walk out of the trees and hear an echo of, “Steve?”
“Nancy?” questions Steve walking toward the pair.
“Jonthan?” questions Dustin following close behind.
“What are you doing here?!” exclaims Nancy.
“What are you doing here?” questions Steve right back.
“We’re looking for Mike and Will.”
“Their not in there are they?” questions Dustin indicating the Lab before you all.
“We’re not sure…” says Nancy uncertainty in her voice.
“Why?” questions Jonthan.
A howl rips through the air in answer to Jonthan’s question.
Nancy begins to question the younger boys on when they last saw Mike and Will. The group erupts into a tirade of questions and answers. You end up standing off to the side since you don’t know enough to really help the duo with their quest.
The lights in the lab suddenly coming to life catches you attention at the same time that Nancy notices.
“The powers back,” she announces as she gazes intently at the building before her.
The talking ceases and everyone turns their attention to the building. Without a word, everyone rushes forward and to the front gate. There is a car parked in front of it and an abandoned guard station. Jonthan runs into the guard station and starts trying to open the gate. It doesn’t work and Dustin barrels in after him demanding to try his luck. You hear Dustin cursing when he too, can’t get the gate to open. Suddenly, it springs to life opening before you all.
You take a step forward and begin to focus on it. You can sense the minds of several people and Demidogs alike inside. You can’t be sure of how many since everyone’s mind is in chaos. All except for one. You can feel him lying in wait in the mind of the boy.
“I’m going in,” declares Jonthan as he gets into his car.
“Me too,” says Nancy as she jumps into the passenger’s seat.
Nobody argues as the two speed off towards the building. There is silence the kind of silence that happens when everyone is too nervous to speak and all you can do is move.
“So… how are you holding up?” questions Steve as the two of you lean against the guard station.
“I’ve dealt with worse…” you murmur as you gaze at the ground. Your focus is consumed by the minds that are over run by grief, terror and confusion.
You will never know what Steve had been about to say because suddenly the sound of an engine rips through the air and honking alerts you all to the car speeding towards you all, the kids scramble to get out of the way of the first car. It doesn’t even stop as it blows by you all, the second car stops and you all pile into it, Steve being the last one in, to make sure everyone is alright. You feel yourself begin to slowly calm down.
The ride to someone’s house, is silent and you are beginning to feel a little forgotten as friends and family members begin to huddle together.
When you arrive you can see everyone little begin to break apart and sew themselves back together. They are lost in their own thoughts as they mourn the man who had given his life to save the group. You can feel yourself being overwhelmed with the thoughts and you desperately attempt to block them out.
“Hey… how are you holding up? I know this isn’t what you bargained for today…” Steve says as he walks over to you in your little corner.
“I’m… okay,” you say resolutely as you gaze at Steve with new eyes.
“You’re very brave…” you mutter after a pause.
You nod, “I wasn’t expecting that from you…”
“Oh well…uhh… thanks then?” he says obviously confused about what to say to that.
You just nod and turn your attention to conversation happening among the kids. They are discussing the concept of the hive mind and the Mind Flayer?
“Alright so how do we get rid of it?” questions the police chief.
“Well we summon an undead army because he likes…brains… and zombies… don’t have brains… I don’t know! It’s just a game!” Dustin trails off when he realizes that it is in fact impossible for us summon an undead army.
“You are correct though… it is a hive mind…” you say calmly, speaking up for the first time.
Everyone in room whips their head towards you, mostly because you’ve been so quiet they forgot you were there and partially because some of them don’t even know who you are.
“And who are you?” questions the police chief in exasperated irritation.
You heave a sigh of exasperation of your own, “I’m (Y/N) and your best bet at getting any information out of this…creature….”
“Oh? And why is that?” he asks in suspicious disbelief.
“Because I spent the first fourteen years of my life in a lab five cells down from the one you call Elle.”
Everyone is silent at your confession.
“What do you mean?” he asks in a horse whisper.
“I don’t have time to explain now… we have more important things to worry about….”
“Wait so… how do you get the information?” questions Dustin.
“I’ll need access…”
“Access. A weak point. I’ve never infiltrated a hive mind before so I’m not sure how well this will go.”
“‘Infiltrate a hive mind…’ Okay! Where did she come from?! Who invited her?” yells the Chief in bewildered confustion.
“Umm… She’s my lab partner?” says Steve with uncertainty as he looks at you in bewilderment.
“So you knew Elle?” Questions one of the boys, Mike you think is his name.
“Yes… we were in the lab together…”
“So you have…powers like she does?” questions the chief.
“Not exactly like hers. Mine are different.”
You close your eyes as you feel another headache coming on.
“You are all THINKING too loudly,” you exclaim much to the surprise of everyone in the room.
“Do you know how to kill it?” you hear a voice question from the silence that followed.
You hear a few curses around you.
“Will!” Mike exclaims.
“The weak point,” Dustin mutters as he looks at his friend.
“I thought you said that he couldn’t be trusted, he’s a spy!” exclaims Max.
“What if he doesn’t know where he is? Then he can’t spy on us…”
The group starts prepping the shed for the interrogation that is going to happen. The plan is to keep the ‘Mind Flayer’ preoccupied while you try to get information out of Will. Honestly, you don’t know what could happen to you if it realizes you are there.
“So… What if that thing realizes you’re in there with him?” questions Max as she helps you tape cardboard up on the wall.
“I don’t know… So I really should not get caught…”
You sit in the house, your eyes are closed and slowly you begin to empty your mind. The exercises instilled in you as a child come rushing forward. The world slowly falls away and you feel your mind leave your body and begin to travel out into the unknown. You find yourself in front of the boy and behind him the creature, Him. In your mind’s eye you can see the mass of tentacles that spread out beneath it. It’s grip reaches far beyond what you thought it did.
Suddenly, in front of you stands a boy with haunted brown eyes.
He looks at you as if he is seeing a ghost and he isn’t sure what to do. Fear takes over him.
The echoes of his friends and family drift through his mind and you watch as he helplessly answers them back.
“Can you help me?” he begs.
“You have to help me first,” you reply.
“How?! What can I do? I’m trapped in here!”
“He has a weakness… what is it?”
You watch as his eyes gaze into nothing for a moment.
You nod, expecting as much.
“What is his plan?”
Before you can comprehend what is happening you are thrown from his mind and into your body. You can hear the screams from the shed as you hold your head in your hands.
“What happened?!” exclaims Steve as he wraps his arm around you to hold you up.
“Steve! How many times-?!”
“What?! Oh! Sorry! Sorry! Are you okay?” He asks as he makes it a point to grab a pillow and put it behind you helping to prop you up.
You heave a sigh, “It found me and threw me out of his mind… Or something did…”
“Shit!” Steve curses behind you his hand resting on your shoulder. You can feel his thoughts swarming his mind and for once you are surprised to find how worried he is about you.
“I’m fine… He must not be able to enter my mind through the connection, because he’s not in this world physically….” You end up museing more to yourself than to Steve.
“So it didn’t get you?”
“No… but getting thrown back into my own head so abruptly is rather painful…” you mutter as you put your hand to your head.
“Right… What can I do to help?”
“Calm down, Steve.”
“Right,” he says as he looks away from you and runs his hand through his hair.
A moment later the phone rings and panic seizes up among everyone in the room.
“No!” exclaims Dustin as he rushes over to the phone picking it up and hanging it violently back on the receiver.
A moment later, it rings again, only for Nancy to violently hang it up and rip it from the wall. It’s too late though and the sound of creatures howling in the night assault your senses.
“Well that’s not good…” you mutter as you gaze off into the distance the feeling of several of the creatures making their way towards your group begin to tickle your mind. You know in your current state that you won’t be able to feel them all, but you need to stop as many as you can. The group has assembled and slowly you sit yourself down in the middle of the group and close your eyes.
“This is no time for a nap (Y/N)!” exclaims Dustin.
You glance up at the boy and roll your eyes, “Just make sure I don’t die while I kill a few of these things…”
“And for goodness sake grab a frying pan or something in case one of them gets in… don’t just stand there being useless…” you roll your eyes and hand Max and Dustin the nearest blunt object you could reach.
“In fact… Max you are in charge of making sure I don’t die,” you say matter of factly, as if you are talking about the weather and miss the look of abject horror on the 13 year old’s face.
You send your mind out again and feel it connect with one of the creatures. You had always hoped you would never have to use this particular trick, but that was before a large creature decided to break through to your dimension and enslave or kill everyone. The things you do for freedom…
You push your mind into the creatures and end up taking control of it and turning it onto it’s comrade. You essentially turn it into a berserker as it rips into its brethren, then you hop into the next mind. It takes a moment ,but you realize that the demidogs are being taken out by another outside force as well. Looking through the eyes of the creature you are currently inhabiting you see a girl dressed all in black with her hair smoothed back. You pull yourself away from the creature, only vaguely aware of it’s brain essentially imploding before your mind gently touches hers.
She stops in her tracks as she gazes around the battlefield, now littered with the bodies of the creatures the two of you had taken care of.
“Sissy?” she whispers.
The moment you return to your mind you feel sobs wrack your body and you curl in on yourself. Alarmed by your sudden outburst Max is by your side in a moment attempting to comfort you.
“(Y/N)! What’s wrong?!” you can hear the panic in Steve’s voice and feel his mind go wild. You can’t sense coherent thoughts anymore, you are too exhausted, but the feelings of panic washes over you from everyone around you.
“She’s here…” you gasp out as the lock on the door flips and, a moment later, in walks Elle. Seeing her with your own eyes you feel relief wash over you before you lose yourself to unconsciousness.