Disclaimer: I do not own IT (All hail Stephen King!)
This takes place in the 2017 remake of it.
Blog: www . Wood - White - Writer . Tumblr . com
Cassandra Hayes' appearance: Taissa Farmiga
Nathaniel Richardson's appearance: Evan Peters
Claudia Hayes' appearance: Carla Gugino
Chapter 1: A little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing
"If one thing's for certain, I've had it with clowns to last a lifetime or two," Cassie mumbled sourly as she and her friend at the time, Nathan, stepped out of the circus tent with a bag of popcorn in each hand, feeling both drowsy and energized simultaneously due to the amount of cotton candy they had consumed during the course of the show. It was not often a small town such as Asheville to get visited by a traveling circus. "Seriously, whoever came up with the concept of those goddamn masks should've been given a life sentence in prison."
"Always so negative, Cassie," said Nathan jokingly and nudged her playfully in her ribs with his elbow, but instantly stopped when she sent a killer-glare his way to warn him about keeping it up. He held both of his arms up in defense, struggling to keep the popcorn-bag in his grasp for a second. "Hey, all I'm saying is that maybe you should adopt a different approach towards them. You have to give them credit, though, clowns do have a certain whimsical comedy about them."
"True," she amended and threw her empty cotton candy cone in the closest dustbin she could find, wiping whatever was left around her lips with the hem of her sleeve. "But I've never been fond of them regardless. There's just something awfully eerie about them I don't like. Probably because of that one douchebag in primary school who thought it would be funny to jump at me with a clown mask in the hallways." Yes, she recalled what had happened eight years ago in primary school. Edgar Middleton, a real A-class jackass back in primary school, had somehow gotten the brilliant idea that frightening one of his classmates on Halloween would totally benefit him with enough entertainment to last him the rest of the year.
It angered her the fact that she was not able to outlive that moment of embarrassment for a single day on Halloween, but it angered her, even more, to know that she was unable to pay the asshole back for his good deed. Sucker moved away from town before she could properly provide him with a good payback. It was six years ago since he left, but she was never capable of letting go of that grudge. Because of some stupid prank, she despised what should really have been the personifications of happiness and laughter.
"You're a big girl, Cassie," Nathan said as if he was pacifying a child throwing a tantrum, and needless to say, she didn't enjoy being treated like one. "I'm sure there's no such thing as monstrous clowns lurking around, waiting to kill you once you let your guard down." It didn't take a second guess to see through his antics, and with a quick punch to his shoulder, she let him know that she knew what he was up to.
"You're not exactly helping, dumbass," she snorted. "I'm not afraid of clowns, I just can't stand to look at them. There's a difference."
"Yeah, sure," he replied sarcastically and rubbed the arm she had just hit like a hammer had just collapsed against his skin. Although it didn't hurt as much as it could've, he could still feel it tingle beneath his skin. "Just know that Maine isn't as lighthearted as North Carolina."
"Meaning?" She furrowed an eyebrow skeptically at what he was insinuating about
He snickered mischievously and lightly pinched her cheek. "If you ever feel scared at your new place then don't hesitate to call me. Big, manly Nathaniel Richardson will save yo- OW!" Before he even had the audacity to finish his cheeky line, Cassie grabbed a hold of the finger on her cheek and bent it backward, causing him to yelp in pain and squeeze his eyes shut. "ALRIGHT, I GET IT!"
She sighed and let go, and he immediately began to check his fingers for any severe injuries, as idiotic as it looked like. If there was one thing she knew about her friend by seven years, it was that Nathaniel Richardson never passed the opportunity to mess with her regardless of the occasion However, it seemed like he was doing more of that now that she was about to move from Asheville with her parents. Perhaps his way of saying 'I'll miss your sorry ass' or something?
As far as both she and the rest of the town were concerned, Cassie and Nathan were never anything beyond friends, so heartbreak was out of the question as it that was never an achievable option. Evidently, there had been times where people got the wrong impression of them and just assumed that they were a thing, which they most certainly were not. Either way, now that she was moving away with her parents to another state, rumors would no longer be of her concern, not that she cared anyhow about what people said.
"So," he asked as he regained his equanimity and straightened up again, casually walking up to her. "When were you leaving again?"
She was easily able to detect the sadness at the back of his words, as much as he wanted to keep them concealed. She wouldn't lie, she was going to miss the idiot tremendously; he was perhaps the only person in the entire town she could stand, not including her parents in the category. Claudia and Jeffery Hayes were as far from being the ideal sorts of parents as could possibly get, but at least she knew where she kept her personal purses in time of need. Being a self-proclaimed politician did little to support the family financially, but her father was, through some miraculous way, able to get a real job as a member of the disciplinary committee in some town in the middle of nowhere in Maine called Derry. Her mother had been less than zealous about moving away from her supposed 'friends', who were really just a bunch of simplistic women in need of occasional gossip in the small town, but she eventually bit into the fact that they did not have many options left and thus begrudgingly agreed to it.
Cassie exhaled through her nose and looked at him with pitiful eyes. "Two weeks before summer vacation,"
"But that's, like, next week!" He exclaimed incredulously, earning himself a raised eyebrow from her as a reaction from his exasperated one.
"Exactly," she nodded bitterly. "So we don't get to spend a lot of time together like this again. I suppose my parents will be forcing me to use the time we have left to pack all of our belongings, so if we wanna hang out then I'll probably have to sneak out or something."
"It's nothing you haven't done before," he laughed weakly and ruffled her hair, messing it up more than it already was. She pulled herself out of her grip and tried her best to look angry at him, but not even she could admit that she wouldn't miss her time like this.
"True," she agreed and punched him in the arm again.
"Now, let's go to McDonald's. I've worked out quite the appetite just talking about something so depressing."
"Wiser words have never been spoken, my friend,"
She chortled and fixed her messy hair to at least look more presentable than she currently did prior. "But I swear, Nathan, you're gonna get fat soon if you keep pulling all of those burgers and fries."
He shrugged nonchalantly. "Sure, but I'm not going there just because of the food," and he flashed her yet another grin, alarming her about something she knew she would dislike. He had a tendency to do that whenever he was pulling her leg for fun.
"What do you..." At second thought, she felt tempted to punch him again upon figuring out what he was scheming with. "You ass. It's because of that damn clown, isn't it?" Yes, her aversion towards clowns escalated towards even Ronald McDonald himself.
Seeing him start to laugh caused her to start chasing him across the local park they had just arrived at, ignoring entirely how demented they looked like to any of the joggers or dog walkers around the place. "You asshole!" And she kept chasing after him all over the place, through the playground and around the pond, but she was never able to reach him. On the contrast of Nathan, who was tall and lean despite all of those sugar-filled donuts he munched on a daily basis, Cassie was short and, due to being skinny for her age, lacked muscle mass and was not exceptionally athletic, meaning P.E was her least favorite subject of the bunch except math.
"Admit it, Cassie," he snickered back at her as he consistently outran her until finally reached the bridge across the pond, pausing for a slight moment to regain his breathing. The wood beneath him began creaking upon acknowledging his weight and few chips fell down into the pond, letting out low and inaudible plopping-sounds from the impact. After steadying himself and catching his breath, he turned to look at Cassie, who had just reached the handrail of the bridge and was slowly approaching him, gasping for air like she had just run a marathon or two. He laughed and took a couple of steps back further onto the bridge, opening his arms as if expecting to be embraced by someone. "You know you love me."
"Smug bastard," she spoke in-between breaths, but the smile didn't leave her lips. With the assistance of the handrail, she managed to pull herself up to a straight position and slowly continued to stalk towards him, feeling a bit tempted to push him down into the water to show him who's boss. Instead, she took a deep breath and flashed a sincere smile to him. "I'm gonna miss this."
He scratched the back of his head and lowered his shoulders, smiling as well. "So am I."
But almost in an instant, before he was able to do anything to prevent it, Cassie charged towards him, energy regained, with high velocity and prepared to chase after him again, not intending on giving up their little game of Tag yet. "That's why I'm gonna enjoy it while I still am able to!"
However, just as she was about to reach for him, the wood beneath her began to creak again, much louder than the previous time, and before either of them were able to react towards what was happening, Cassie felt entire body fall through the collapsed part of the bridge and straight into the pond beneath them, still unable to properly react before the water soaked all of her entire being and pulled her down beneath surface.
She didn't really panic at first and she didn't know why. There was really no reason for her to fear dying at the moment, as moronic as it seemed. It didn't feel cold beneath the water, nor did it feel dangerous. No oxygen entered or left her lungs but it didn't hurt her in any way. It was as if her body had been trapped in a frozen state in the water, and the sight of the illuminating setting sun from above made every inch of it seem like the part of a beautiful daydream.
Suddenly, something blocked her sight from the surface, something small but at the same time significantly visible to her. She blinked a couple of times and furrowed her eyes in an attempt to get a hold of what it was.
A turtle. It was a turtle. She was unable to distinguish what kind of turtle it was because of the darkened water, but there was something about its presence which soothed her. Turtles in North Carolina weren't uncommon, especially during the warmer seasons such as summer, but she had never really paid any attention to them until now. The turtle gracefully floated before her eyes, poking its head out of its shell as if to get a closer look at her.
Stretching her arm forth, she attempted to reach for it, feeling suddenly tempted to touch it. However, before she was able to, she felt something pull her up by the neck of her shirt and away from the small creature, making her feel slightly disappointed for having just missed the opportunity. As soon as her face reached the surface, Cassie took a deep breath and began to cough harshly up a vast amount of water, feeling the panic she was supposed to feel the beneath water arise in her chest.
Nathan reached for her arms and pulled her up to the stable side of the bridge which hadn't collapsed, making sure that she got up before he pulled his jacket off and wrapped it around her tiny frame. "What the hell was that?!" He yelled as Cassie started to regain her breathing little by little. Lucky for them it was the middle of June and warm outside, so it was unlikely for her to get hypothermia or a cold, but it still didn't decrease Nathan's worries about her well-being.
"W-What happened?" Cassie asked as she stood up, gripping his jacket tightly around herself despite the fact that she did not feel cold at all. She felt entirely normal in body temperature, except that she was drenched in water.
"You didn't come up again," he explained, checking her face to see if she was fine. Though she appreciated the gesture, she couldn't help to find his behavior both a little embarrassing and over-exaggerated. "I thought you fainted."
"Oh, I didn't," she assured him and handed him the jacket back, not really requiring it because of the warmth in the air. "I just saw something down there."
"What did you see?" He asked, more curious than concerned this time, which relieved her.
"A turtle." She answered honestly and looked down at the water again from over the handrail. "Didn't think there were any at this side of the park."
"A turtle? You... Forget it," he face-palmed and groaned exasperatedly. Then he removed his hand from his face and eyes her from top to bottom, causing Cassie to unintentionally blush a bit. "Well, I guess we can't go to McDonald's until you've had a change of clothes."
She followed his gaze and looked down at herself, having almost forgotten that she had just fallen into the water. "Guess so." But it was not something she was looking forward to.
When they returned to her house so that she could dry herself and change her clothes, her mother had been less than subtle about how enraged she was about the fact that her daughter was soaking wet. Throughout the process of getting ready to leave with Nathan, Claudia had been consistently complaining at her unruly behavior like she always did whether she had a genuine reason to or not. Though it was nothing uncommon for Cassie to endure when it came to her obsessive mother, she did draw the line when she started complaining at Nathan as well.
Just as she had put on her new set of clothes, which consisted of a gray-colored shirt beneath a black dungaree dress that reached to her knees (sporting the logo of her favorite band 'AC/DC'), along with the black summer cap her father had actually been generous enough to give her on her fourteenth birthday that year, she finally went downstairs and dragged a very traumatised Nathan away from her mother's obnoxious yelling and out the door, not even looking back as she called, "Bye, mom. We'll be in town!"
"Get home before nine, young lady!" Cladia called after her from the frame of the entrance door, watching as her daughter walked away with her friend, not at all appreciating her daughter's rebellious attitude. She sometimes even agreed to her husband's ideal thought of wanting a son instead of a daughter but knew better than to add another child to the family with someone like Cassie to teach him her tricks. Maybe she would behave better when they moved? A part of her wished for that to happen, but another knew better. Cassandra Hayes would remain unchangeable until the end of time.
But little did Cassie know that the summer of 1989 would be one she would never forget her entire lifetime, and not in a good way.