Here we go with another chapter. I hope you like it. I also want to thank my beta reader StrangerThanXsAnatomy for making this story possible. :) You can leave a review if you wish. They make me happy :D
*Note* This chapter occurs a month earlier than the previous one.
CHAPTER 2: NIGHTMARES
His feet wandered through the darkness. He had long stopped worrying about where he was going. Nowhere.
In such a place, he could only choose between a terrible path or a worse one. After spending so much time there, his needs had become very elementary. Get water and provisions, and try to avoid becoming the food of, what did the boys call them? Demo What? It didn't matter. Damn hellhounds.
Without a doubt, not having sunlight was driving him crazy. He never thought he'd miss something as simple as feeling that warmness on his face. Any light would have suited him. A spark to get him out of the gloomy endless darkness that overwhelmed everything.
It had been weeks, or months, it was hard to tell. The man can only measure time by his need for sleep. And even that wasn't reliable. Having several hours of sleep in a row was a luxury that he could not afford.
If it weren't because he had been there before, he would have thought he was already dead, and that was the damn hell. On second thought, he would have almost preferred to go to hell. It was always represented as a place on fire, and here everything was cold. Fuck, he couldn't even light a fire to warm himself, he learned that the very first day he arrived.
Since the heat was a weapon against those creatures, he thought it was a great idea to light a fire to defend himself. But, in such a dark place, holding a torch was like putting a fluorescent signal on your head: 'Hey! Fresh meat in sight!' He almost died that day. No, he would not start a fire again unless it was necessary.
There were so many things he wouldn't do again. He missed the little everyday things; a good hot shower, he would sell his soul to the devil for that. Making fun of Powell and his lousy luck playing cards. Share a cigarette with Joyce... Oh God, Joyce. Now it was he who did not attend their date. "We're doomed…" He thought.
What tormented him most was thinking about El. He would never enjoy seeing her smile while eating Eggos.
Now he understood why the girl enjoyed those little moments so much. She never had them in that miserable laboratory, so they meant a lot to her. It was his turn to miss the little things, but it was useless to complain. Especially when you don't know how much time you have left. For a moment, his eyes closed, thinking if it was worth it.
Owens told him that this place was radioactive or something, but it didn't matter. He knew that place would kill him before any radiation. The time he had been there, he had seen everything, none of it good; creepers trying to catch him, the damn demogorgons looking for fresh meat and then there was... the other thing.
At that time, he had learned how to deal with them. It wasn't easy, but those creatures have a weak point under their necks, but even knowing that, he could only face two of them at most.
From three, the only way out was to run like a bat out of hell. Praying to find the right place to hide. Thank god, they didn't have a good nose to look for their prey.
That if you had a good day. Then there was something worse. He had only seen it twice, but that, whatever it was, froze his blood. A monster with no face, no shape, only smoke, and shadows. He discovered it the first day he thought he was going to die. Oh, man... that day.
Four damn hounds cornered him, and his gun only had three bullets. Certain death. The brutish beasts circled him, savoring the moment, knowing he could not escape.
"Fuck, what are you waiting for? Come on! End this now!" He cried with all his might. That startled even him. It had been so long alone that he didn't also remember the sound of his voice. The dogs stood still for a moment, scared. "Here is the chief!" He shouted, believing his voice frightened them. To his disbelief, the animals turned around and run away until they disappeared from view, which made him smile. If he had known that shouting at them was enough, everything would have been more accessible.
Suddenly, He noticed an icy breeze on the back of his neck. It was weird, there was no wind down there. A shiver ran down his spine as he turned, and what he found left him breathless.
A tangle of shadows shaking, almost forming a body, was in front of him. His survival instinct made him aim his gun and shoot twice. The bullets went through that figure as if it were a ghost without effect. Idiot. You can't kill a shadow. That entity began to walk towards him. As it approached, he would have sworn he heard whispers.
His feet remembered how to walk and walked backward. That thing was moving faster, and he didn't think twice; he ran without even looking where. Whatever it was, he wasn't going to stay to find out.
The adrenaline flowed through his veins, making him faster. Even then, that wasn't enough to dodge a blow from the back knocking him to the ground. A tentacle of shadows grabbed his ankle. "You bastard!" He tried to hold on to the ground, but it was in vain, that thing dragged him back several meters.
He spun around to face that creature, tried to get up, but the shadow pounced on him without mercy. A weight felt on his chest that prevented him from moving. He wanted to hit it, but his fists slipped and pierced it like smoke. "This isn't fair play." He did not know how to fight against a shadow, and yet that monster had subdued him. Why didn't he kill him at once? What was he doing?
His gaze fixed on a shadowy tentacle that was forming with a stinger on its end. He had only seen it once, when they rescued that boy, Will.
"No, no, NO! YOU SON OF A *****!" He gasped, horrified.
The images of that moment came back to his mind as distant memories. He saw himself removing that tentacle from the boy's body and trying to revive him again and again. Even the screams of Joyce filled his mind.
That vision was enough to know what the future held for him, a cold sweat fell down his face. The shadows were enveloping him as they finished forming the stinger.
"Shit!" He cried while trying to free himself.
"It's useless." A voice echoed in his mind.
"What the hell?!" He screamed as an excruciating pain ran up his head.
"Don't resist the inevitable, James Hopper. You and your whole world belong to me."
"GET OF MY HEAD!"
He had worked as an inspector in New York, witnessing unspeakable crimes there. He had faced a doctor telling him that his daughter had terminal cancer. Even Vietnam was still fresh in his mind. And yet, he could assure that this moment was the most frightening of all his life. The mere thought of being trapped, used by that thing, and buried in life indefinitely... It was so much for him. Fear mixed with the anxiety of not knowing how to escape.
His eyes saw that the sting was almost finished. He blinked, thinking about how to use the last bullet his pistol had. Who did he want to fool? It had only one proper use.
"You are wrong." His tone was challenging, of those who know they have nothing to lose. It was obvious what to do. He placed the barrel of the gun on his temple and closed his eyes. "I am not yours."
Before pulling the trigger, he thought about El. The moments they had spent together. That icy night when she followed him in the forest, their nights watching tv on the couch, even their discussions... But also the incredible experiences they had shared. That terrifying day when they closed the portal. Oh god, that thing that came out of the crack ready to gobble them up, and how she, levitating, faced that monster without thinking...
The pressure on his chest began to loosen.
"I'm sorry, kid." His fingers adjusted on the trigger as his eyes were on the verge of tears. "I'm so sorry."
He imagined her facing that beast and defeating it. That comforted him at that very last moment. God, if he could only see her one last time, there were so many things to say...
A breeze brought him out of his thoughts, so fast, that he seemed to hear a horrible scream, like a howl, and then nothing. Silence flooded everything. His eyes flashed open, confused... the shadow was gone.
"NO!" Her heart was beating so fast that she thought it was going to get out of her chest. The scream woke up all of the Byers.
Immediately, an alarmed Joyce appeared through her bedroom door, followed by Will and Jonathan, a little sleepy. It was barely midnight.
Eleven looked around, she seemed disoriented, as if she didn't know exactly where he was.
"Honey, honey. That's it, it's over now." The woman approached the girl and wrapped her in her arms. "It has only been a nightmare."
"No ..." El retorted while taking refuge in that hug. "This has been different."
The girl had had nightmares since everything happened. She had woken up several nights soaked with sweat and screaming heartbreaking. Sometimes, her dreams tormented her with the mall monster. Other times, his mind was cruel enough to recreate the death of Hopper.
"Shh ... It's ok." Joyce murmured, trying to reassure the teenager. "Tell me about it, tell me what you have dreamed." The truth was she didn't want to know any details of the story. Every time El told her any of her dreams, she couldn't help going back to that moment. The worst moment in her life. Her life changed in just a second. The time it takes to turn a key. In a moment, you are alive, and a second later not. Everything you are disappears in a flash. "Everything is ok. I'm here, honey." She sighed, more to comfort herself than the girl. It had been hard months for both of them.
Eleven separated from Joyce and tried to think about what she had lived. She didn't know how to express it.
"It was different."
"Ok." Joyce comforted her with a gentle squeeze on her shoulder.
Eleven bit her lower lip trying to sort her thoughts.
"I wasn't anywhere. It was ... just sensations, but they were powerful. I felt like something was chasing me, it was catching me. I could not do anything ... "Her voice broke, showing how that experience had affected her more than other times. "I had to avoid ...I... I could only think of ..."
"Calm down, I'm with you. We are with you. You can tell us everything." Joyce looked at the boys who nodded, trying to reassure her.
Eleven's eyes felt down, ashamed. "I just wanted to die. I could only think about that." Tears began to fall down her face "Horrible. It has been horrible!"
"Calm down, it's over." Mumbled Jonathan.
The girl shook her head, she was still upset. "No, it's not over. You don't understand... "Her face seemed frustrated.
Will sat down next to her "Well, explain it to us. You know that whatever happens, you are not alone in this."
El looked at them and nodded. "It wasn't a nightmare, it was real, they were... memories. "Insisted, "But they weren't mine."
"I... I don't know."
Will and Jonathan looked at each other.
To be continued.
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