CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

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ACE OF HEARTS
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: TIME AFTER TIME

ACE OF HEARTSCHAPTER EIGHTEEN: TIME AFTER TIME

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ONE MONTH LATER

"SINCE THE RELEASE OF THE incendiary tape, the quiet town of Hawkins, Indiana, has spent time in a place it never expected. The national spotlight. Under mounting pressure, several high-ranking members from the U.S. Department of Energy have admitted involvement in the death and cover-up of Hawkins resident Barbara Holland who died due to exposure to a chemical asphyxiant, which had leaked from the grounds of the lab. We sent our own April Kline to Hawkins to speak to the residents, residents who told us they thought they lived in a safe town..."

"Looks like those assholes at the lab got just what was coming for them," Cassie Harrington joked to her elder brother, who sat cross legged on the kitchen counter eating a bowl of Mr. T Cereal.

"Cassandra Harrington, how many times do I have to remind you?" Mrs. Harrington called, moving into the kitchen from the living room with a look of annoyance on her face. "Language!"

"Sorry, mom," Cassie apologized with an innocent look and a shrug.

Letting out a sigh, the brunette middle-aged woman stepped towards her daughter, meeting her face to face. As she tucked a stray piece of hair behind the girls ear, the mother smiled, "Are you excited for tomorrow tonight?"

Tomorrow night. The Snowball dance.

"Oh, yes she is!" Steve spoke from behind her. "Kid even got asked."

"That is amazing, sweetheart," Cassie's mother gushed, holding her hands to her heart.

"Oh hush," Cassie replied, her cheeks reddening as she tucked a stray piece of auburn hair behind her ear. Although the girl had never been the type to attend a school-related-function, let alone a school dance, she couldn't help but smile at the thought of going with Mike Wheeler.

The raven-haired boy brought up the question after the two had nearly been killed by the demo-dogs...after their best friend had closed the gate and saved Hawkins. The two were sitting in the back of Steve's BMW while he and Dustin were helping Mrs. Byers get the deceased demo-dog out of her freezer.

As the cool air brushed softly past Cassie Harrington's hair, the girl rolled down the widow and gazed up at the moon. For the first time in the past year, the girl felt like everything was going to be alright. The moonlight splashed down its watery white-silver glow onto the small town of Hawkins, bathing it, illuminating it. In the distance, the tall trees were silhouetted against the deep velvet sky.

"The moon is stunning at this time of night, don't ya think?" Cassie gushed to the boy beside her as she let out a long sigh of relief.

"Yes," Mike Wheeler replied, his voice falling to a whisper as his eyes landed on Cassie. "It's absolutely beautiful."

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