Chapter 5: The Nest
You wake up to the sickening sound of a fist meeting skin. Your eyes are blurry and unfocused, but the sound of the kids screaming jars you from your haze. Opening your eyes fully you see Billy Hargrove leaning over Steve, beating him senseless. You lurch forward off of the sofa and grip your head as it pounds. The panic of the kids and rage from Billy making it worse.
“Billy...stop…” you whisper putting what little bit of power you have into your voice.
It doesn’t even faze him.
Stumbling forward off of the couch towards them you say his name louder only to hear a laugh.
“What are you doing here sweetheart?” he asks as he catches you before you fall onto him and Steve. The moment your skin connects with his your eyes clear and you lock them with his. Suddenly, you are deep inside of his head. Flashes of a tyrannical man flow through your head followed by pain on your skin. You feel fear, anger, shame and hate. It courses through your veins as moments of his life flash before your eyes. You see a blonde woman, beautiful and bright smiling and laughing before you see her beaten on the floor. A note on the kitchen table breaks your heart and you watch as he screams his rage and pain, rejections like a white hot poker, seers his heart that day. You watch as his fist goes through the wall and tears fall from his eyes. Helplessly, you watch as he picks his prone form off the floor that night. Beaten and bloody he hauled himself into the bathroom to assess the damage...alone.
The kids watch in horror as you seem to freeze in a silent scream as tears flow down your face. His own face mirrors yours as his mind feels as though it’s being invaded, but there is nothing he can do about it. Flashes of his life run rampant through his head and he feels exposed and vulnerable. He doesn’t like it.
You watch as he’s pulled from his home and thrown into another house. A woman appears, too unsure of what to do the first time she sees him held aloft by his own father, her husband. Billy didn’t let it show, but he would rather his father beat up on him than the red headed little girl and her mother. He’d tried to keep them away, he’d been rude and angry until his father had beat him until he couldn’t move. He was too scared to try anything too hostile after that, but he still silently begged them to run every chance he got.
A moment later, Max sees the syringe on the table and stomps towards her step brother before she plunges it into his neck. You break away from one another and you stumble back before you fall to the floor, dazed and confused by the experience. Billy stumbles to his feet before he looks at Max.
“What did you do to me?” he slurs as he stumbles forward before he falls back.
Max stomps towards him, “You are going to leave me and my friends alone. Do you understand?”
Billy just laughs, but stops the moment she swings the bat riddled with nails between his legs. The sound of her prying it from the floorboards below terrifying in and of itself.
“Do you understand? Answer me!” she yells.
He looks up at her with shocked eyes before he mumbles out a yes.
“I can’t hear you!”
“Yes! I understand…” With that his head falls back and he’s unconscious on the floor.
Max walks over to him, grabs the keys from his pocket before she turns back to the boys.
“Let’s get out of here.”
She looks over at you and you just gaze back at her in confusion, completely unsure of where you are. You are dazed and confused the sound of blood rushing through your head and the images playing in your minds eye. You gaze down at the boy on the floor and feel tears well up in your eyes.
He’s so lost…
But so are you…
“(Y/N)! Come on! We have to go now okay?”
It takes a moment for you to focus on the face before you, but the striking red hair tells you who is before you.
“Max?” you whisper squinting up at her.
“Yeah… come on… let’s go…”
You look over and watch as the boys struggle to pick up Steve and haul him out the door. You get in only for Steve to practically be thrown on top of you.
“Hey (Y/N), can you support his head?” Dustin asks before he climbs into the back of the sports car and holds an ice pack to Steve’s head. Steve ends up laying in your lap and before you know what is happening Max is climbing into the driver’s seat.
“Max… can you drive?” you ask in confusion.
“Yes. She can,” Dustin says with such finality that you have no choice but to believe him. It doesn’t really matter because a moment later you have slipped into unconsciousness. You wake up to panic flooding your body and Steve screaming for someone to “SLOW DOWN!! STOP THE CAR!”
You feel Steve grip you as you clutch him back feeling fully away from the adrenaline rushing through your body. You both yell in fear and panic as the thirteen year old zooms down the street to who knows where.
“Where are we even going?!” you yell into the tense car.
“The nest!” Dustin yells back.
“NO!” you scream, but it doesn’t matter, you have nothing left to give and your cry falls on deaf ears.
The car comes screeching to a halt right before a giant hole in the ground.
“AAHHHH Hel-Lo!” Steve yells as the car stops and the two of you share of look of horror from your most recent near death experience.
“Incredible…” Mike mutters.
“Told you… Zoomer…” Max says before everyone hauls themselves out of the car and rush around to the trunk.
You and Steve stumble out, each dealing with the pain that is coursing through.
“Oh...no… guys…” Steve half yells half groans at the group.
“Hey! Where do you think your going? What are you deaf?! Hello! We are not going down there right now! I made myself clear! There is no chance we going in that hole! THIS ENDS RIGHT NOW!” he yells as he rushes forward towards Dustin.
“Steve, I know your upset. I get it. The bottom line is a party member requires assistance and it is our duty to provide that assistance. Now I know you promised Nance you would keep us safe,” Dustin says as he pulls a bag with the bat out of the trunk and hands it to him, “So keep us safe.”
Steve sighs and looks over at you, “A little help here?”
You just shrug, “Do you have a spare bat?”
Steve groans and grabs the bag from Dustin’s hands after he gives you a look of betrayal. He grabs a tire iron out of the back of the car and walks up to you. Your eyes are much clearer now and your headache is starting to subside.
“I thought you were supposed to be on my side…” he whispered under his breath as he hands it to you.
You hold his gaze, “We need to stop it… I don’t have anything left to give… but we can help.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be the smart one?” he asks with a scoff.
“Uh huh… right… then why am I the only source of reason here?”
You tilt your head regarding him for a moment, “Because he would kill us all if we don’t stop him… I have seen his desires… It is...death.”
Steve regards you with fear filled eyes, “Well let’s go…”
Dustin comes up behind the two of you and hands you a pair of goggles and a bandana. You secure them around your face quickly before you follow after Max and the boys. After you have all jumped down into the hole the bickering begins.
“Woah woah woah! Where do you think your going? I’m going first. If any of you little shits die down here I’m the one getting the blame. Got it, dipshit? From here on out, I’m leading the way! Let’s go!”
With that everyone started after Steve as he walked down the tunnel. He motions for you to walk with him up front. The dark tunnel pulses around you and very faintly you can feel the entity surround you.
It’s not long until you hear Dustin screaming from behind you. You feel yourself panic over the well being of the boy and turn around to help. He’s on the ground coughing up something.
“It’s in my mouth! It’s in my mouth!” He coughs and spits for a moment before he looks up at everyone, “I’m okay.”
“You serious?” asks Max.
“Very funny. Nice. Very Nice,” grumbles Steve.
“Jesus, what an idiot…”
“Dustin…” you mutter with a shake of your head as you pull him up to walk next to you.
“What?” he exclaims as you just guide him alongside you to make sure he doesn't get into anymore trouble.
You have no idea how long you’ve been walking when Steve stops suddenly.
“Wheeler, I think we’ve found your hub.”
You all gaze around the open area with tunnels branching off from all sides and what looks like some kind of nest like thing in the center.
“Let’s drench it,” Mike declares and you all get to work covering it in lighter fluid and gasoline. It doesn’t take long for you all to finish coating the area in fuel.
“Alright, you guys ready?” Steve questions holding a lighter in his hand.
After a chorus or ‘ready’s’ Steve flicks the lighter open.
“Light her up,” declares Dustin.
“I’m in such deep shit…” Steve pants as he flicks the light and throws it to the floor. You watch in awe as the places is instantly engulfed in flames. You all stumble back from the sudden onslaught of heat. You watch as tentacle like vines begin to flail amongst the flames.
“GO! GO!” Yells Steve as he motions for everyone to get out of there. You grab Max, who is closest to you, and begin to make a break for it down the tunnel. Steve takes the lead and you all begin to follow him down the tunnel. You can feel the pain in the tunnel all around you, thankfully it is more of a dull ache than anything. You’ve exhausted too much of yourself to really be able to sense too much.
Mike falls as something wraps itself around his leg. You whip around and grab onto him, your gloves making it hard to get a grip. You are soon joined by the others and Steve begins to beat the vine until it finally let’s go. You all turn to make a break for it when you see one of the creatures behind you all. You are amazed you didn’t sense it and realize just how drained you are. You begin to summon up what powers you may have left to take care of this one when Dustin steps forward.
Everyone immediately starts to whisper yell for him to come back but he just hushes everyone.
“Guys! Trust me! I got this!” He talks softly to the creature and you feel yourself grip onto Steve in your anxiety. You pull yourself away abruptly, but feel him grab back onto you in fear as he watches the kid he’s come to care for like a little brother feed candy to this creature. A moment later Dustin is motioning for you all to go, quickly you slide around the creature one by one and take off down the tunnel.
You’ve about made it to the exit when there is what seems to be an earthquake.
“They’re coming!” You yell as you feel the buzz of the creatures on the edge of your consciousness. You all see the rope and rush to it. Steve helps Max up first, then you both help up Lucus, Max pulling him up from above, next up is Mike, you were about to help Dustin up through the hole when the creatures round the corner and head your way. You and Steve both pull out your respective weapons with the intention of fighting off as many as you could, however, they just end up running past the three of you. They knock you all into one another and you all three hold onto one another for dear life. You could feel their fear more intently as Dustin wraps one arm around your waste and one around Steve’s trying not to fall. This just brings Steve and yourself almost careening together. You grasp him around his back as one of his arms encircle you and the other Dustin. Essentially the three of you become a pile of limbs as you watch in confusion as they all head off down the tunnel paying you all no mind. Not that any of your were complaining…
“Elle…” you hear one of the boys whisper and you know that she has begun to close the gate.
“There are too many…” you whisper as you plop yourself down onto the floor of the tunnel.
“Woah woah! What are you doing?! We have to get out of here!” Steve yells.
“Helping,” is the only thing you say before you dig your hands into the infected dirt and with the absolute last of your strength send your mind outward. You use the creatures to hop from one to another, infecting them with the intent to kill its brethren. You don’t have much strength left, but you need to make it to her. You owe her this much.
You put everything you have into killing as many of the creatures as you can. You can see her in the abyss as you leap from one mind to the next, desecrating them, then leaving them to fall to their death. You watch with bated breath as the portal closes slowly. You know what will happen if you are in the mind of one of the creatures when that happens, so you jerk yourself back. You feel yourself snap back into your body violently. You gasp and begin to take deep breaths.
“OH SHIT! YOU’RE ALIVE! YOU’RE ALIVE! SHE’S ALIVE!” Dustin is screaming up to his friends. His hands on his head in disbelief and tears in his eyes.
“You weren’t breathing...I thought you were dead! You weren’t breathing...” pants Steve a look of relief wild in his eyes as he pulls you towards him into a hug. You don’t even have time to reciprocate it before you fall unconscious, completely exhausted.