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     WATCHING THE SKY BEGIN to dim into nightfall, Cassie Harrington began to feel her legs grow increasingly numb

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WATCHING THE SKY BEGIN to dim into nightfall, Cassie Harrington began to feel her legs grow increasingly numb. The group had been walking through the forest for several hours, and still, they had not yet discovered where the alleged gate was. Of course, this process was much more difficult since they were guided by a boy who didn't know where he was going.

Moving fairly ahead of the others, Dustin Henderson followed his compass and raced through the trees as fast as he could. In fact, the boy was moving so fast, that the others found it extremely difficult to keep up with him.

Trailing a few feet behind the boy, Eddie Munson repeatedly asked, "Dustin? Can you slow down? Dustin?"

"You can beg him as much as you want, dude," Cassie Harrington told him, pushing through the tree branches. "He's not gonna listen. Trust me, I know."

"Is he always like this?" Eddie asked.

"Yes," the entire group chorused at once, their voices echoing through the trees.

Smiling excitedly, Dustin Henderson ignored the others behind him and focused his gaze on his compass, "Something's happening."

Picking up his pace, Dustin charged forward, breaking through the trees in anticipation. As the others quickly followed, the boy briefly turned back to face them, "I think we're getting close."

But, just as he said that, the boy abruptly fell forward as the ground disappeared beneath his feet. Luckily, Eddie Munson was there to catch his fall, grabbing Dustin's backpack before he lost balance. Letting out a short breath, Eddie warned, "Watch your step, big guy."

As the others caught up to them, they all stared forward, examining the large bed of water sitting directly in front of them.

"Oh man," Steve Harrington sighed in defeat, placing his hands on his hips. "You gotta be shitting me."

"Yeah, I thought these woods were familiar..." Eddie Munson trailed off, letting out a sigh. "Dustin led us right to Lover's Lake."

Furrowing her eyebrows, Max questioned the group, "There's a gate in Lover's Lake? How is that possible?"

"Whenever the Demogorgon attacked, it always left an opening..." Nancy Wheeler spoke up, turning to face the group. "Maybe Vecna's the same way."

Meeting her gaze, Steve Harrington replied, "Yeah, only one way to find out."

Conveniently enough, Eddie Munson had stashed away Reefer Rick's boat in the same area, allowing the group to use it to get further out into the lake. Reaching forward, the boy pulled away the large tarp, revealing the boat he had used the previous night to get away from Jason and Patrick.

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