June 19, 2022
06/30/2022 02:07 PM
A ten second head start. (Part two)
"A ten second head start." (Part two)
Fear washed through him, dark wide eyes glanced from one exit to the other and it was when Dean hit seven that he finally bolted, the sack of basketballs he had been holding forgotten on the floor. Eddie’s feet took him as fast as they could, but he knew he wasn’t quick enough to outrun Dean, so he went for another strategy. Straight into the locker room.
“One!” There was an undeniable fury twisted into his words and god, Eddie thought he would actually piss himself right then and there.
By the time the locker room door hammered against the brick wall, frantic fingers were finding the lock on the bathroom stall. Every movement was hurried, desperate even and if anything, it actually made Eddie slower and he was pretty sure that it would just get Dean even more wound up. It was like a predator stalking his grey, revelling in the hunt before he stuck him down.
“Come out, come out wherever you are, Munson!” Dean seethed, fist rattling against each and every locker he walked past. His movements were slow, precise.
The sound shot through Eddie, forcing his knees to buckle just enough that he even stepped up onto the toilet in a hopeless attempt to hide where he was. Eddie knew it was futile, he knew he would be found and the tears gathering at the corners of his eyes would just make him an easier target.
Shoulders raised, he sank down into a crouch on the toilet, shifting only enough to stop his feet from slipping down into the water. Fear completely encased him, like a tomb of his own making. He just wished he would have remembered to gut himself before he did it, it might have stopped the yelp that gurgled out of his throat when Dean’s fist met the bathroom stall door.
“Come out Munson! You can’t hide in there forever you f***ing queer!”
A foot met the wood now, hard enough to rattle it right down to the hinges.
“Just leave me alone!”
He begged and he begged and he begged. Cradled hands raised to tear across his shaved head, eyes locked tight enough to block out even the blinding lights of the locker room.
“You’re f***ing dead! You hear me?! F***ing dead!” The words were vociferous, accompanied by an insistent kick to the door.
One more kick found the door with an exasperated grunt on the other side and he knew Dean was trying to take the door down. He hoped to whatever f***ing higher up being that was listening that the hinges would hold. They were his gates of Gondor; the only thing stopping him from losing the battle without reinforcements that weren’t coming.
When the rattling stopped abruptly, Eddie was honestly surprised the hinges were still intact from the way Dean had been battering into it. He hadn’t heard the reprieve of footsteps, so locked onto his own survival that had no idea if the football start was still outside the door; if he was waiting for him to come out, ready to pounce. So, he waited. He wasn’t sure for how long, but it was enough time that he finally heard the locker room door thump against the brick wall as it had when Dean first entered. Eddie didn’t move. He didn’t dare even move a muscle, straining to hear any noises within the cage he was trapped. A footstep, a sweep of material; but there was nothing. There was complete silence other than Eddie’s own heavy breath and the faint flicker of the lightbulbs above him. He was alone. Dean had finally given up.
06/29/2022 01:25 PM
A ten second head start, part one. (Drabble)
"A ten second head start." (Part one)
Long before Eddie had been labelled a “freak”, he’d be quiet, gentle even. In his first year of high school, he’d kept to himself; just wanting to play D&D, listen to good music and get through the hell that was high school in small town Indiana. Settling at the back of the bleachers at each pep rally, Eddie had a small group of friends. None of them really stood out against the backdrop, finding it easier to just be invisible than draw attention to themselves and he was happy. He could ignore the things around him, ignore the fact his mother had left and the fact his father came home less and less.
The first day he and his friends decided to wear their Hellfire Club tops was the first day they didn’t quite blend into the background enough for the jocks. Sneers, nasty comments and sometimes food were thrown their way. “Fag” and “sissy” were particular favourites from Dean, the football captain and all-round king of Hawkins high. It was before Jason Carver, before he’d found his jock squad to wreak havoc with; but this was high school, and what was high school without bullies? God f***ing forbid someone got through it without some sort of emotion damage.
Then, one by one, his group fell apart. Each one stopped coming to Hellfire, preferring still to blend into the background than face the wrath of tyrannical popular morons that had decided D&D was devil worship. A game, a f***ing game. Each day got lonelier and the comments, the insults progressed to physical pursuits. It started with a leg stuck out here or there, tripping him in the lunch hall, then it progressed to being cornered in the locker room by a bunch of the football team so that they could take turns sending one punch after another into his stomach. Teachers either didn’t notice, or they turned a blind eye and his parents obviously weren’t home to see what was happening to him so it just continued. Eddie didn’t fight back, what was the point? He just had to live it out, he just had to wait until Dean and his goons left and he would be free.
It was all well and good for Eddie to keep in his head that it was only a year. One year. But it didn’t feel like one year the night he got kept late after school to help clear up the gymnasium. One too many forged notes from his “mother” excusing him from P.E. There were a variety of different reasons for each absence, but eventually they became stupid. A particular one regarding smallpox led his teacher to force some kind of punishment onto him and clean up duty was the best she could do.
“Hey, fag!” Dean’s voice rang out around the gymnasium so loud that Eddie froze on the spot, the basketball in his hand dropping to the polished floor with a deafening thud before it stuttered away from him.
“Hey, I’m talking to you!”
Eddie was terrified, there was no one around, just him and Dean. He didn’t raise his head for what felt like hours but when he finally did, he realised Dean had been walking toward him at a leisurely pace.
“Look, I don’t want any trouble. Please, I just want to do this and go home,” Eddie barely whispered. It was mousey, nothing like what he became.
“Do I look like I care what you think?”
Eddie took two steps back, his sneakers squeaking on the wooden floor each time and god he wished they hadn’t; as if the noise would agitate Dean more. He could tell by the look in his eyes he was there for a fight. Something had happened, if anything he looked more riled up than usual and the cuffs of his letterman jacket were scuffed as if he had already had a brawl.
“I’ll give you a ten second head start. Ten..”
To be continued..
06/27/2022 01:26 PM
Roll twenty for courage. (Drabble)
"Roll twenty for courage."
He’d been staying at the Wheeler’s for a few weeks following what he liked to call “the end of the f***ing world” and although it wasn’t home, they’d done their best to try and make it feel like that (Karen at least, he wasn’t sure what the dude’s problem was, or why a babe like that was with him; but that was a story for another day). He knew eventually he’d have to go back to reality, even if what he had been through was reality; as much as his brain tried to talk him into thinking he’d just conjured it all up, that it has been some gnarly nightmare. He’d have to talk to Wayne at some point and actually tell him what had happened, even if he knew he'd think he had gone completely crazy. Eventually, he would have to face what he had been through instead of hiding out in a save screen; stuck between each level with the game's theme song playing on loop without having to go forward or back.
Roll twenty for courage, Eddie. Stop rolling twos for f***'s sake.
It’d been a while since he’d been back to the trailer, and the fact that Eddie had been rooted outside staring at it with wide, doe eyes for a good twenty minutes portrayed the fear flaring at the base of his stomach perfectly. The last time he was there he was pouring through the ceiling onto his beaten-up old mattress with god knows how many stains on it, full of relief to just be out of that burning hell hole. This time, this time felt different. It felt like he was returning to the scene of a crime, which in a way he was but the crime hadn’t been performed by him, despite what all the zomboids of Hawkins thought. Seeing the trailer brought back all the images of Chrissy that he’d been pretending, even to himself, that he didn’t see flash behind his eyelids every time he tried to close them.
Eddie had no idea how the others had gone through this once, let alone twice and were still able to go back to living a normal life.
Occasionally, he would show up at Family Video just to grip onto some form of normality that Steve and Robin would bring. Both of their laughs didn’t sound hollow the way his did and most of the time he could lie to himself and say that Steve’s scars that were still harsh and red weren’t caused by some demobats that were barely the starting level of the game. Christ, sometimes he even missed goddamned Jason Carver and his meathead basketball gang taunting The Hellfire Club in the halls; at least that he could fight back against. What was he meant to do when every part of him was either numb or filled with a burning fear that never quite evaporated like he hoped it would? Eddie kept thinking one day he would wake up; the fire would be snuffed out and he would be able to breathe freely again but only a spell from a mage could probably do that. Demons and monsters were real, why not goddamned mages?
Roll even five for courage, Eddie. Just move your goddamned feet. That’s another two, you coward.
Nancy was probably the only one that knew how much he was struggling to get back to life. She watched him each morning as blank, hollow eyes stared out of the window; nimble fingers absent-mindedly tapping “Hallowed Be Thy Name” by Iron Maiden onto his knee – which she only found out when she asked. It was the song that would have saved him from Vecna and he’d grown to have it as a comfort now. If he wasn’t tapping the tune, he was humming it or singing it beneath his breath on a constant loop.
Thirty minutes passed and he still hadn’t moved. His heart bludgeoned against the inside of his chest, and it was like he was trapped there again, choking on ash and poison. Long fingers curled into fists at either of his sides, chest heaving with a long drawn, deep breath. It was like a scratching at the back of his throat, nails gripping into his flesh and dragging all the way down into his lungs. Every part of his body was screeching at him, the ash was drowning him, scorching his insides right down to the very tips of his fingers. Gasping desperately for unsoiled air, Eddie tried to drag himself back, to haul himself out of the abyss.
He pushed his hands into his pockets after what felt like an eternity, finally drawing in a shaky breath that tasted like freedom. Accepting his fate, even if he hated himself for it, Eddie couldn’t do it; he couldn’t go in. Not today.
There’s no shame in running.
06/22/2022 02:19 PM
Let them stare. (Drabble)
"Let them stare."
He’d never been all that sad when Starcourt Mall burned down. It had been another money grab from the wealthy overlords of Hawkins, desperate for just another goddamned dime in their pocket at the expense of each and every store bowing down below them.
First his favourite music store went, the place he got his babe; the guitar that he hung with pride against the littered wall of his bedroom. She got him through. The gigs gave him hope of one day sticking his finger up to the f***ing construct that was capitalism and she was going do more than just get him through, she was going to get him there. Eddie had dreams of following in the footsteps of his idols; Bruce D*ckinson and Lemmy. He’d send money back to support Wayne, to get him somewhere better than the trailer he ended up in, working constantly for a living wage and to keep him when his parents were no longer around. But first they would need more than around five drunks that happened to still be in the bar when they finally got on to play to actually watch them.
Then went the record store, his solace, the place he could always guarantee had good music playing and characters just like him. He could picture them in games, which one would hold an axe and which would be swift with a sword. Even the homeless guy that sat outside had more spark that some of the zombies that walked the halls of that repulsive tomb of conforming, witless fools.
So, when Jason Carver, King of the School, talked about the fire that took down Starcourt and how winning some basketball game played at the local high school was for them, Eddie couldn’t help but chuck his head back in loud, boisterous laughter. A blow to capitalism was exactly what was needed, and if it took out a few lives in the process, it wouldn’t be a basketball game that was going to make up for it. It got him looks, heads turning so eyes could lock of him but all Eddie did was grin. Two middle fingers raised; he extended his tongue down his chin in an act of sheer defiance. Let them stare.
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