Mike Wheeler was blind. For reasons unknown to him, his family and doctors all over the world he had been born blind, but that’s how it always is I suppose. His eyes were a dull clouded grey and he was often silent or seemingly elsewhere, a direct opposite to his twin Richie Tozier. While Richie could (and would) talk for hours on end Mike would simply stare at any certain point in silence, any attempt to make conversation with him was mostly unsuccessful. The only people who could get through to him were his resident trashmouth of a brother and a close friend, El. He wandered off by himself quite often too, always in the same direction, towards the same decaying house that gave just about everybody in the town the creeps. Whenever he slowly staggered towards it Mike would smile, it was always unnerving and nobody knew why, but his entire face lit up as a wide grin broke out on his face each and every time.
It happened at least 8 times a week.
For the most part no one asked. Nobody spoke about his wandering, or the fact he would randomly go into hyper focus on a shadow in the room, or look up and smile at what the others couldn’t see. What was crystal clear to him. It was almost as if people forgot he was blind, it was either that or they chose to ignore that delightful little fact, they also chose to ignore whatever he paid such close attention to.
Not necessarily darkness as the absence of light, but darkness as in your deepest fears. The darkness that makes your blood run cold, gives you goosebumps and has you looking over your shoulder at every given opportunity to do so. While to others it was a source of anxiety, like smoke you could barely see through it crushed any semblance of happiness, it bought him joy. Made Mike feel safe and comforted, the rotting house was where it was strongest and so naturally it was where he most desperately wanted to go. The pull towards the long abandoned place seemed to resonate deep within his bones, telling him it was safe that the dark, rotten house was the safest place to be and in all honesty there was no reason for him to argue.
Mike had been walking towards it again, this time faster than his usual pace, with more purpose than previously when he felt someone harshly pull his arm back. Away, away from home. He reached towards the door handle, as if by some miracle he could reach it and fling the door open. Only then would he be at peace, be happy. A familiar voice overpowered the one in his head, the voice was shouting and he easily placed the name to the overly dramatic sounds. “Richie.” Mike whispered “Please stop shouting at me.” Richie - who had been cut off mid rant - stared at his twin with a solemn expression he knew the other couldn’t see.
“Mike, you can’t keep doing this. Everyone is so worried all the time because people keep going missing and each time you leave we think you might join them. Wherever they might be.” Richie sighed, mostly to himself before pulling Mike into a tight hug. “I’ll stop shouting when you stay home, safe where we won’t need to worry. So we can make sure nothing hurts you.”
Mike didn’t know why they worried, the dark would never, ever hurt him, it swore it wouldn’t because he wasn’t like all the others. He was special, he was chosen to be with the dark and only two other people were but he didn’t know them. Not yet at least. Soon he would, he knew he would, it promised him that the others were never far away that once they were all three together is that house it would be perfect. The end would be perfect.
A few days passed and he paid no mind to whatever their teacher was blabbering on about, choosing to instead abesent mindedly smile as poor Isabella Miller, who had decided to fall asleep in Ms Smiths class, began to twitch and frown as it gave her nightmares on each of her worst fears. First her being stuck in the smallest possible space, with spiders crawling all over her body, then pulling her down beneath the water and taking any chance of her resurfacing away. Mike couldn’t necessarily see what she did, but he knew what she was experiencing, he heard her quiet whimpers in front of him. Felt the fear radiating off of her in waves, she genuinely was terrified and Mike loved that. It made him happy, a simple reminder that the darkness was never far away.
Richie Tozier didn’t understand.
He constantly asked himself why Mike did what he did so frequently, how his brother managed to walk with a purpose, somehow avoiding all obstacles although he couldn’t see. How he managed to unlock the front door every night, without keys or sight and why his parents chose to ignore this. Every time Mike left Richie was the one who went to find him, each and every time without fail and he did not understand why he bothered in all honesty. Put like that it sounds harsh, probably because it is, but he honestly couldn’t deal with the responsibility of his twin especially when he had everything else to deal with. It should be his parents job to go and find their son each night, or to at least be worried as they heard the door unlock and subsequently open. But to them Mike was a lost cause, a mistake clearly skirting between reality and some other place and therefore the responsibility for him fell to Richie. More often than not he’d much rather just not take any responsibility at all, yet each time he came close morals won out to lessening stress or getting more sleep.
For Richie the day had been particularly awful, first he woke up late and in his haste to leave managed to fall down the stairs. No major damage just a couple of bruises and a chipped tooth, then he remembered his twin and had to rush back up the deathtrap - stairs - to wake him. “Mike!” He clapped as loudly as he could “Mike!” His calls were met with silence, which concerned him as he started to realise other things were off about the day. Where were his parents? Why hadn’t they woken him? How was the house so quiet?
Who else was breathing?
Suddenly it was very cold, Richie felt goosebumps run up his arms and all over his body before just one feeling hit him like a truck. Pure fear. He didn’t dare look over his shoulder as he haphazardly grabbed his school bag before running out the door and away as fast as he possibly could, making it to school over an hour late but being excused as he was visibly shaken. When asked to recount whatever happened he was silent, incredibly out of character for him, therefore worrying anyone and everyone who knew him well. “Richie?” He looked up to see Beverly’s blue eyes full of pity. “You good?”
“Yeah.” He mumbled “I’m fine don’t worry.” The smile he offered was clearly fake, but none of the losers questioned him and so the topic was dropped. Giving Richie just enough time to remember something very important. “Oh shit, Mike!”
Mike has in fact wandered yet again. He currently stood outside the Well house one arm reaching out in front of him, both for safety and to be pulled in. Home he thought to himself, a smile broke out onto his face as he slowly staggered forwards through the door. Instantly he felt something cold touch his face, something similar to hands but at the same time not. Like a feather, wispy, not solid enough to hold yet able to put a minimal amount of pressure, to evoke feeling. He leaned into the light touch “I’m sorry I took so long.” Once the temperature dropped he knew he’d been forgiven, the door violently swung shut behind him, causing him to both jump and smile impossibly wider. “I promise not to leave.” The darkness curled around him then, pulling him further into the rot and decay, but no objections were made because this was where he belonged.
Mike had been missing for three months. Richie had not stopped looking. Every minute longer that his twin was gone he blamed himself more, why hadn’t he noticed. Why had it taken him so long? Why didn’t anyone else seem to care? Sure they held an assembly at school, but nobody really seemed to care other than him and the losers. It physically hurt knowing that if Mike never came back he may be the only one to truly be affected, while the other losers cared it wasn’t because his twin was gone but instead due to the fact Richie was so badly hurt by his disappearance.
He wished that it was different.
See - Alive and well. Resides in the house of horrors.
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