CHAPTER FOURTY-FOUR

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ACE OF HEARTS
CHAPTER FOURTY-FOUR:
THE FLAYED

     AFTER EXPERIENCING THE HORRORS OF LAST NIGHT, the party couldn't help but feel a bit shaken up

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AFTER EXPERIENCING THE HORRORS OF LAST NIGHT, the party couldn't help but feel a bit shaken up. They thought it was over. After they released the Shadow Monster from Will, the party thought they had gotten rid of the evil in Hawkins for good.

But it turns out, they never did get rid of it.

Hands clenched over her knees, Eleven took a deep breath and spoke softly, "I found him."

At this moment, the five friends sat huddled together, facing Eleven while watching her every move. The girl was searching for Hopper, who had never returned to the cabin last night.

"Where is he?" Max asked.

"Woods."

"Woods?"

"He's with...Will's mom."

Will furrowed his eyebrows and leaned forward in confusion, "M-My mom?"

"What are they doing?"

"Ill-annoy" Eleven answered hesitantly. "They're going to Ill-annoy."

A sudden banging on the door caused the group to jump in unison, the actions followed by a loud voice, "Mike! Breakfast!"

Mike didn't hesitate to turn around, bellowing back, "Not now, mom!"

"Wait, Illinois?" Cassie asked. "They're going to the Illinois?"

Eleven shrugged innocently, "Ill-annoy."

Cassie sighed, "What the hell could they be doing in Illinois?"

"Beats me," Max spoke, standing up and taking off Eleven's blindfold. "Come on, let's get you cleaned up."

As the two girls enclosed themselves into the bathroom, Cassie let out a groan and leaned her head on Will's shoulder. Her eyes then trailed downward to her bandaged hand, rubbing her thumb over the wound softly.

From the other side of the room, Mike paced back and forth while rubbing his head, "Somethings not right. Hopper wouldn't just leave. Not only that, but Dustin's MIA too. This can't be a coincidence."

"I'm with Mike on this one," Cassie spoke without looking at the dark haired boy. "I haven't been able to get a hold of Steve for the last 12 hours."

"What does it matter?" Lucas intercepted. "The bottom line is, they're not here. It's up to us."

Mike shot the boy a look of confusion, "Up to us to do what, exactly?"

"Find Billy and stop him."

"Okay, yeah, thats a really nice sentiment but even if El could find him again, and thats a pretty big if, then what?"

"We burn the shit out of him and make sure he doesn't escape this time."

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