( march 13, 1984 ! )
MIKE WOKE UP WITH A START, his chest burning as he tried to catch his breath. He found himself drenched in sweat; his t-shirt stuck to his chest like glue. He wiped the sweat off his forehead with and sighed in relief before his breathing began to slow down.
His alarm clock currently read three o'clock in the morning. The boy had just broken himself out of a nightmare, the same nightmare he had been in ever since the night after his thirteenth birthday. He recalled being in a dark place, a dark version of the town of Hawkins, the atmosphere all covered in dust and trees and houses covered black vines.
He remembered only flashes of it. He remembered running through the darkest part of the forest with a sharp pain on his right palm and echoes of yells from someone also sprinting along with him, hinting himself that he wasn't alone.
He didn't know who he was with since everything was a blur when he tried to take a short glance at him. He didn't know why they were running, or who they were running from. His companion's yells were unclear, but the ones he was able to make out was about trying to catch up and run faster. He immediately knew why after he remembered that he was trying to carry a huge amount of weight around his shoulders, maybe a person's.
The nightmare would always end the same, the part he always thought of for the rest of his day. Before he could wake up, he would see a glimpse of a young girl in a brown pixie cut laying down on the ground with dark vines wrapped around her body, clinging her to the earth. She was ghostly white, her baby pink dress stained with dirt and mud. She had her eyes closed, her dirt-caked fingers twitching from the cold.
In all of this sudden, she opened her eyes and turned her gaze towards him. She screamed his name, loud enough for him to wake up and come back into the real world.
Eleven was her name. A number with two 1's almost close to each other. Named after a writing tattooed on her left wrist. He promised her many things when she still lived. A promise where she'll be safe and happy for the rest of her life. Sadly, she sacrificed herself to save him and his friends, moments before she turned into nothing but dust.
For over three weeks from now, Mike found it difficult going through every night, trying to find options to peace like he did before. However, no matter how hard he tried to push out the wicked dream out of his sleep, it didn't stop. He thought that there might be a solution to why this nightmare occurs out of nowhere and find a way how to stop it.
Rubbing his eyes, he reached out to his bedside table and turned on the lampshade. He ran his hand through his black hair as he laid down on the bed once again, his eyes travelling to the illuminance of the lampshade. The longer he stared at it, his eyes began to droop heavy. As his eyelids almost close shut, there came a loud flickering noise that made him wide awake and sat up his bed.
Mike looked around to see where the noise came from. He looked back at the lampshade, this time staring at it very strangely. It started to flicker multiple times at the quick pace, making the boy yelp and pull out the plug from its socket until the light vanished.
Sighing, he pulled the blankets off himself, jumped off the bed, and sneaked out of the room, tiptoeing every step he took. By the time he reached the basement, he leaped off the last step and felt a searing pain beneath his feet. Cursing silently, he looked down under his heel to see a miniature figure of a Demogorgon.
Memories flooded through his mind as he began to stare at it. He and his friends must have forgotten to pick it up after their campaign. He recalled the monster that took one of his best friends in the middle of the night and left him stranded in the Upside Down for a week. Mike rarely brings it up during D&D, most likely for Will. During one they held a couple of hours ago, he remembered it being at the bottom of a box with a pile of old figurines and found it odd on how it got under his feet.
Mike picked up the figurine and threw it inside a box a few feet away where most of his toys were. He began to massage his foot to ease the pain, until something caught his eye. At the corner of the basement was a homemade fortress made out of blankets and pillows. He recalled how many times his mother told him to take that town, but he never listened.
The boy crawled inside the fortress and sat there for a few minutes. In the corner of his eye, he saw a rectangular device buried underneath the pillows. Furrowing his brows, he took it out and examined it in his hand. It's been a while since used his supercom. Well, his friends still use them to talk to each other but Mike stopped joining in their conversations in all of this sudden.
Mike sighed, turning it on and pulling out the silver antenna. "Hello? Does anyone copy?" he spoke up. He licked his lips, hoping that someone would respond.
After a few seconds, there came a loud static sound from the speaker and Will's voice came up. "Mike? Is this you? How come you're awake at this time?"
"I was about to ask the same question." Mike chuckled softly. "Well, I can't sleep."
There was a short pause. "Yeah, me too."
"I don't know. I just can't. You?"
"The nightmare came again."
"The same one. Every night."
There was another pause from Will. "Don't tell me you saw that girl again."
"Eleven, you mean." Mike pursed his lips at what his friend had just said.
"You do realize everything you've been going through for the past few weeks has to do with her. You've been mentioning her for like, every day."
"I-I don't know, Mike. Maybe you're just thinking about her too much."
Mike scoffed. "What makes you say that? You think I should forget about her to stop my nightmares?"
"What?" said Will. "No, no, that's not what I meant."
"There must be a solution to stop them." Mike started to massage his temples. "I can't just live with them for the rest of my life."
"Have you told your parents about this?" Will asked.
"You know what will happen if I told them." Mike replied. "My mom would freak."
"Oh." said Will. "So, what are you gonna do about it? I'm not giving you an option to stay up all night."
"That's the problem." Mike sighed. "Don't get me wrong, but I think this does have something to do with Eleven."
"Mike-" Will started but Mike cut him off.
"There's has to be a reason why I keep seeing her. What if she's really in the Upside Down cold, scared, and alone."
"What makes you so sure about that?"
"She's alive, Will. I can feel it. Isn't that weird?"
There was no response.
"Will?" Mike held the device closer to his lips. "Will, are you still there?"
There came a loud noise coming from the speaker that made Mike yelp and dropped the device. Shaking, he picked the supercom up again. "Will, can you hear me? Will!"
Beyond the noise, he can hear Will's faint yells. "Mike! Mike! Are you-"
When the noise died down, so did Will's. Mike tried to call out his name again. Nothing came but a crackle of electricity and a couple of faint whispers. Whispers that seemed like it belong to a girl.
Mike gasped. "Eleven?"