CHAPTER FOURTY-THREE

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ACE OF HEARTS
CHAPTER FOURTY-THREE:
THE SAUNA TEST

     CASSIE HARRINGTON THOUGHT SHE WOULDN'T HEAR FROM HIM AGAIN

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CASSIE HARRINGTON THOUGHT SHE WOULDN'T HEAR FROM HIM AGAIN. When she told Mike Wheeler that they were over, when she said her final goodbye, she hadn't thought that they would meet up the very next day. Actually, she hoped he would be out of her life for a while. A few weeks, at least.

But now, hearing Max Mayfield explain that they were to go to the Wheeler's house that next morning, the girl couldn't help but feel sick to her stomach.

"Is that all he said?" Cassie asked the red haired girl.

"Yeah." replied Max, crossing her arms tightly over her chest. "He said that something bad happened, that our very lives could be at stake."

Rolling her eyes, Cassie sarcastically muttered under her breath, "Well there's something I haven't heard before."

"D-Did he say what it was?" Eleven spoke quietly.

Max shook her head, "No. But he told us to get to his house as soon as possible, so I guess we should go now."

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"I didn't think it was anything at first. I mean, I think I just didn't want to believe it. The first time I felt it was at Day Of The Dead." Will announced to the group of five listening to him.

"The power went out that night, too." Mike recalled.

"And then I felt it again at the field near Nelson farm the next day. Then again yesterday outside Castle Byers.

"What does it feel like?" Max asked.

"It's almost like..." Will trailed off, trying to think of a way to explain it. "You know when you drop on a rollercoaster?"

"Sure."

"Yeah."

"Of course."

"No."

"It's like...everything inside your body is just sinking all at once, but this is worse. Your body...it goes cold -- and you can't breathe. I've felt it before, whenever he was close."

Max furrowed her eyebrows, "Whenever who was close?"

"The Mind Flayer."

Eleven shook her head, telling the boy, "I...closed the gate."

Will sighed, "I know, but...what if he never left?"

Cassie felt her breath hitch in her throat, "What do you mean?"

"What I mean is...what if we locked him out here with us?" Will asked.

When receiving multiple blank, worried expressions, Will sighed and picked up a blank piece of paper and a black crayon. Drawing a large black circle, Will explained, "This is him. All of him. But, that day on the field, a part of him attached itself to me."

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