With a yawn, Eddie stretched his arms up over his head. "I should probably get going, Richie." He suggested, even though he really wanted to sleep another two or three hours. He and Richie had stayed up late reading comic books, eating chips and drinking soda, listening to music, and just generally talking about life... Eddie had slept over afterward. Richie's parents were fine with it, as they always were and it had been really, really fun...
The problem though, was that Eddie's mom thought he was at Bill's house, and was going to pick him up from there sometime before noon. That was the most descriptive answer she'd give, and Eddie couldn't exactly ask her for a specific time without giving away why he needed a more precise answer. She'd be suspicious if he asked for details, wondering why he needed to know... Wasn't he already at Bill's house anyway? Why did it matter? What was he up to? To avoid that, he just decided he'd need to get to Bill's house before his mom did.
"It's like six o' clock Eds. Jesus." Richie grumbled, turning over and pulling his blanket up over his shoulder.
"My mom's gonna freak out if she gets to Bill's house and I'm not there." Eddie frowned.
"Didn't she say she was picking you up at noon?" Richie rolled back over and stared at Eddie with a pout.
"Before noon. That could be anytime... Maybe even like right now." Eddie reminded him.
"You really think shes gonna get up at six am to drive over there and get you?" Richie frowned.
"Probably not... But maybe. Probably not seven either... Probably not eight... I don't want to cut it too close, Rich. Then she'll be pissed and won't ever let me stay overnight anywhere ever again." Eddie explained.
"You boys up?" Richie's mom spoke in a low voice as she knocked lightly on the door frame and peeked in through the door. Her smile was so kind, so happy, like she genuinely enjoyed having Eddie over. It made him feel happy, but also sort of jealous that his own mother seemed to take issue with every single thing he did if it didn't involve washing his hands, combing his hair neatly, making his bed, sitting up straight, and every other tiny thing she feared would kill him if it weren't precise.
Richie's mom was so cool - so warm and inviting. So non-judgmental. She always welcomed the other kids at her house, and let her son hang out with whoever he wanted. His own mom was so rigid and paranoid. He couldn't even tell her he was here right now. She thought Richie was a bad influence.
"Yeah. My mom wants me home early, so I'm gonna head out." Eddie told her with a smile. "Thanks for letting me sleep over."
"No problem, Sweetheart. You're always welcome. Want some breakfast before you go?" She asked.
Eddie shook his head. "I'm fine. Thank you." His mom would probably make him eat with her, even though he was honestly too tired to eat right now.
"Alright... If you change your mind, I'm making pancakes. There's more than enough." She told him, smiling, nodding, and walking away.
Eddie raised his eyebrows as he looked over at Richie, who rolled his eyes and frowned. "She fuckin' loves you. Not the way I love your mom, of course..." Richie smirked.
"Shut up." Eddie scoffed. "I wish she were my mom though."
"She wishes she was too. She talks about you all the time." Richie shrugged.
"What?" Eddie wrinkled his nose. "What does she say about me?"
"She's always going on about how sweet and polite and clean you are. She'd trade me out for you in a fuckin' heartbeat if she could. She wanted me to be a girl, so you'd kind of fulfill that wish." Richie shrugged.
"You're such a dick." Eddie stood up, stretching and pulling on his jacket. "See you later. I'll probably take a nap when I get to Bill's if he does't mind. Maybe have lunch with my mom so she doesn't start feeling like I hate her... Then maybe we can hang out again this afternoon."
"Sounds good. I'm goin' back to sleep. See ya." Richie rolled back over and pulled his blanket over his head.
Eddie smiled and made his way toward the front door.
"Hang on, Sweetie. Take an apple at least." Richie's mom called out, walking after him and handing him the biggest, prettiest, shiniest red apple Eddie had ever seen.
"Thanks, Ms. Tozier." Eddie smiled, taking the apple in his hand. He didn't really want it, but couldn't tell her no when she was being so nice... And it really was a gorgeous apple... for whatever that was worth.
Eddie began down the sidewalk, slowly but surely making his way toward Bill's house. He hoped Bill's family was awake. Richie was right about it being way too early... But Bill knew he was coming. They discussed this on the phone yesterday. And he knew Eddie was planning to get there early. Maybe he'd be up even if his family wasn't, so Eddie could sneak in without waking everybody else up.
As he walked, Eddie looked down at the apple in his hand. He rubbed it against his shirt, cleaning off a smudge. The fruit was so shiny. Almost unrealistically so. He wondered if Richie's mom went somewhere special to buy it. It just didn't look like the apples his own mom bought. Maybe it was one of the really expensive kinds that were grown way, way out of state - the ones his mom refused to buy because of the chemicals used to grow them.
Eddie inadvertently shrunk slightly to the side when a car drove up very slowly beside him. For a moment, he was content to just ignore it and keep walking. They were probably from out of town. Maybe they were looking for an unfamiliar address or street... But they didn't ever speed up. They kept pace with him long enough that he couldn't help but to look over at the car's occupants.
He let out a soft gasp when he saw who it was. Henry Bowers was driving, and his friend Patrick was in the passenger seat. They both looked amused... in a way that honestly could only be described as threateningly so.
"Hey, kiddo..." Henry smirked. "You're out early..."
Eddie swallowed and kept walking. "So are you..." He said back, not wanting to fully ignore the older boy and make him mad, but also not really wanting to say much. Why on earth were the older boys out driving around at six in the morning? Weren't they the type of kids who slept until two PM on the weekends? It was Saturday...
"Kid, we're trying to talk to you. Stop walking." Henry frowned, driving up onto the sidewalk slightly in front of Eddie and blocking his path.
"I'm just trying to get somewhere..." Eddie spoke in a small voice, but stopped walking as Henry and his friend stepped out of the car.
"Cool. We can take you somewhere." Henry grinned, stepping toward Eddie.
Eddie shook his head as he took a step back.
"Get in the car. We'll drive you to wherever you're going. It'll be faster." Henry stared.
"That's okay..." Eddie raised his hands in defense. "I can walk..." He forced a breathless smile. "Thanks though..." He added, trying his best not to offend the older boys. Obviously they were offering more than a ride. They wanted to do something mean. Eddie didn't know what, and he didn't want to know.
"We're not asking you." Patrick spoke up, his tone quite serious. "Get in the car."
Eddie swallowed as he glanced toward the car, then from Henry to Patrick, who stood very tall in contrast to his own small stature. They weren't going to take no for an answer. He wondered if he should just turn and run... or loudly scream no... Teachers at school taught him to be loud and assertive if a stranger ever tried to force him into a car... Henry and Patrick were worse than strangers.
"You all bitch about us being mean to you... Then we try to be nice..." Bowers trailed off, shaking his head as though disappointed. "I offer you a free ride, and you act like a little fucking ungrateful jerk."
"I just..." Eddie breathed, unable to find the words to convince them to leave him alone. He really didn't want to get into the car willingly... He really didn't want to be forcibly dragged into it either. They probably weren't going to let him go on their own. He was either going to have to run, scream for help... or just hope Henry's dad or his own mom happened to drive by in the next couple minutes.
"Get in the car." Henry growled, looking more and more angry with each passing second.
Patrick smirked from a few feet back, but stayed silent, letting Henry do all the talking at the moment.
"I really appreciate it..." Eddie spoke in a breathless voice. "But I'm almost there anyway, and-" He was cut off by his own scream when Henry's hand suddenly shot out and grabbed him by his upper arm. "No! Let go!" He begged.
The sound of the apple Richie's mom had given him thudding against the pavement echoed through Eddie's ears as Henry dragged him toward the car. Eddie dragged his feet and squirmed under the older boy's hands.
Henry's grip was hard and painful as he slammed Eddie's back up against the side of the car and pressed his hand over the smaller boy's mouth. He glared down into Eddie's eyes as he held him there. "Get in the back with him, Patrick." Henry growled, not moving his hard stare from Eddie's eyes.
Eddie stared back, complete fear enveloping him as he felt Patrick grab him from Henry and drag him toward the back seat.
"Please!" Eddie whimpered, grabbing at Patrick's hands and trying to pry them off of him. "I wasn't bothering you!" His voice shook. "I didn't do anything!" Of course, he knew these brutes needed no reason to taunt and abuse someone... His own mind just needed one. He needed to understand how he might deserve this - but he didn't. None of them ever did. Bowers and his gang were overly cruel to all of his friends, all of the time...
None of them ever provoked it. Maybe Richie... but he provoked them in such a way that he'd deserve some harsh words or a single shove - not the kind of twisted brutality these older boys always unleashed. Richie was also usually speaking up in defense of one of his friends, so it hardly counted as provocation at that point.
Eddie let out a small, shaking cry as Patrick forced him into the back seat and crawled in after him, grabbing his wrist and pulling him back as Eddie immediately tried to open the opposite door.
"Let me out!" Eddie begged, pulling at his arms as Patrick grabbed both of his wrists and dragged him back toward the middle of the seat. "Please let me go..." Eddie squeezed his eyes shut, trying to blink back tears. He didn't want to look weaker than he already felt. That's what they wanted - to see him in fear - to see him cry.
Patrick wordlessly dragged Eddie up against his side, putting an arm over his shoulders and gripping Eddie's forearm in a tight fist. He grabbed Eddie's other wrist with his other hand, effectively holding the younger boy in place.
Patrick was so quiet and calm as he held onto Eddie with strong, hard hands, not letting him go, but not being overly violent or angry like Henry either. Instead, the older boy just held onto him very tightly and remained otherwise still. Patrick wasn't trying to tease or terrify him at this point... He simply aimed to keep the younger boy in the back of the car. That was his job, and he was doing it.
"Where are we going?" Eddie asked in a small, panicked voice as Henry climbed back into the driver's seat and slammed the door behind him.
He had had to deal with a lot from these boys in the past. They'd corner him and his friends, hit, trip, kick them... Sometimes threaten them with knives, or lighters. Bowers and his gang had done some horrible, violent things in the past. They pushed Stanley down a flight of stairs once. One time Patrick shoved Bev against the lockers and grabbed at her chest... She said nothing else happened, but Bill said he was sure he saw the older boy trying to reach up her skirt too before Bill and Mike came to her rescue.
They hadn't ever gotten one of the Losers Club into their car... Not that Eddie knew of. This was something new - an escalation he hadn't experienced. It really scared him. There was no chance at a witness or anyone else coming to his aide now. He wasn't out in the open. They weren't near the school or at the park... They could go anywhere, and do anything.
Neither of the older boys answered Eddie's question. Henry just kept driving, while Patrick released his grip on one of Eddie's wrists and used his free hand to rub softly up and down Eddie's upper arm.
Eddie felt his breaths quicken as his chest grew cold. "Guys, my mom's gonna be looking for me..." Eddie warned in a shaking voice. "She's supposed to pick me up at Bill's house, like literally any minute now..."
"Too bad for her." Henry laughed, turning down a road Eddie recognized as the street the older boy lived on.
"She'll call the cops if I'm not there..." Eddie told him. "She over-reacts and she'll seriously report me missing within like five minutes... So I need to be there... She'll call the cops. She's done if before. She's gonna freak out if she gets to Bill's house and I'm not there."
"Sounds fine to me." Henry shrugged.
Eddie looked down at his shoulder with a pout. Patrick continued running his fingers gently up and down his arm. That was really starting to creep him out worse than Henry's overt violence. He tried to shrink down, but that only meant he had to press himself tighter to the same boy's body. He was trapped between Patrick's side, and his weirdly groping hand.
Eddie breathed in a sharp breath as he felt Patrick's hands pulling at his jacket, almost like the older boy was trying to take it off of him. "What are you doing?" Eddie whispered, grabbing his hands protectively toward the garment, holding it in place.
"Making you more comfortable." Patrick smirked.
Eddie shook his head, but Patrick continued pulling at his jacket. "Stop..." Eddie whispered, feeling tears pricking at his eyes.
"You stop." Patrick glared, putting his hand hard against Eddie's chest and pushing him back against the seat. "Stop fighting me, or I'm gonna hurt you."
Eddie felt his lower lip tremble as his vision blurred with tears, but he stopped fighting back and let Patrick pull his jacket down off of his arms, leaving him shivering slightly in his t-shirt. Patrick then resumed creepily petting his arm.
Inhaling a steadying breath, Eddie looked back up toward Henry. He had to get out of this... and soon. "She's going to report me missing..." He said again. "You'll get in a lot of trouble if she does that and-"
"No. I won't. Not unless you run your fucking mouth." Henry interrupted with a hard stare in his rear-view mirror.
"I-" Eddie stammered. "I won't... I just... She panics when I'm not where I said I'd be... and..."
"And she reports you missing all the time... So the cops won't take it seriously." Henry smirked toward the mirror as he put his car into park and turned off the ignition.
Eddie felt his breaths becoming more erratic again. Henry was right. His mom would report him missing really soon. He'd be missed right away... But Sonia had a reputation around the town... She wouldn't be taken seriously at first. It might take a day or two for anyone other than his mom and friends to really find it concerning that he was gone. That, and at the rate kids were going missing in Derry lately, he'd just be another face on a poster... There weren't search parties out for anyone else who went missing. Not anymore.
"I'm gonna show you where I live, Girly Boy." Henry turned around in his seat and grinned a rather crazy-looking smile. "You've never been in my house... I think you'll like it."
Eddie stared back with his mouth hanging slightly open. He didn't know what to say. He knew he really, really didn't want to go into that house though. If they got him in there, they could seriously do whatever they wanted without anyone ever knowing. They could murder him and have hours or days to clean up the bloody mess left behind... And Eddie was sure if they chose to kill him, it would be in a way that was horrible, bloody, messy... He wondered if Henry's dad would help him cover the crime.
"Come on, Pretty-boy." Patrick laughed as he grabbed Eddie's upper arms and pulled him from the back seat.
Shaking his head, Eddie forced himself to struggle for his life. He was scared of fighting back. Scared it would make Patrick hurt him... But he was more scared of not fighting back. Not fighting meant they'd get to do whatever they wanted to him unchallenged. He couldn't allow that. He had to at least try to get himself out of this mess.
"Let me go!" Eddie whimpered, feeling tears stinging his eyes again. "I'm not going in there! Let go!" He thrashed under Patrick's hands, kicking out wildly.
"Stop fighting." Patrick growled, dragging him effortlessly toward the house's front door.
"No!" Eddie screamed. "Stop!" He could hear his own voice shaking as his screams grew louder. Before long he wasn't even saying anything. He was just screaming.
"Shut him up." Henry growled as he took an angry step toward Eddie and Patrick.
Patrick clamped a hard hand over Eddie's mouth, which allowed Eddie to struggle more now that one of his arms was free. He could no longer make much noise above muffled screams however.
Eddie tried to shake his head as he grabbed at Patrick's hand over his mouth. His efforts just made Patrick grip him tighter, pressing his hand down painfully over Eddie's face, covering both his mouth and nose. Now he couldn't breathe either.
Patrick kept his hand pressed painfully down over Eddie's face as he lifted the smaller boy up off the ground with his arm wrapped around Eddie's waist. He was easily able to completely ignore Eddie's hands grabbing and trying to pry Patrick's hands off of him. Patrick was way too strong for Eddie's struggles to be worthwhile.
Eddie could no longer keep his tears from falling at this point. He was completely and utterly terrified, and in pain. Patrick's hands were so hard, so bruising. He and Henry were taking Eddie inside, where there would be no witnesses to whatever they were planning on doing to him.
Henry unlocked the front door and Patrick quickly dragged Eddie inside. "Where do you want him." Patrick breathed, sounding a little more out of breath than Eddie expected. Maybe his struggles were making this harder for Patrick than it seemed.
"Basement." Henry answered. "My dad won't be home for a while, but when he does come home, I don't need him finding this little brat."
Eddie felt his eyes widen. How long was Henry planning on keeping him here?
Bowers took a step toward him, grabbing at the front of his shirt while Patrick still held tightly onto him. "You don't make a fucking noise when my dad's here. Or I'll fucking kill you. He won't help you anyway. He fuckin' hates me, but not that much. He won't let our family's name be dragged through the mud. He'll help me cut up your little dead body and burn it in the woods if it comes to it." He threatened.
Eddie felt himself shaking as he struggled to breathe with Patrick's hand still pressed down over his mouth and nose.
Henry turned down a hallway and Patrick followed. They made their way through a door and down some stairs, where Henry pulled on a cord to turn on a hanging light bulb which illuminated the basement.
Patrick finally let go of Eddie, but Henry grabbed him immediately after.
"Please!" Eddie sobbed, trying to pull his arm out of Henry's grip. All of his earlier determination not to cry was gone. He was fully panicked now. "Let me go!"
Henry laughed as he did let go, but put his hands against Eddie's collar and shoved him back, really, really hard.
Eddie's back hit the wall behind him and he sunk down to the floor with a pained, breathless wince. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to get his lungs to work again. His breaths came in quick, short, wheezing gasps. He wondered if he should try to grab for his inhaler, or hold off. He feared the second the other boys saw him grab it, they'd take it from him. Smash it on the ground... Then Eddie might actually die down here.
He didn't open his eyes until he felt Henry grabbing at his wrist.
"No!" Eddie screamed, pulling his arm back, crawling backwards away from Henry as much as the small space allowed.
"Hold still." Henry growled, grabbing the smaller boy by his arm and dragging him roughly back. "Put your hands together."
Eddie stared breathlessly back. His tears had stopped, but only because he was too scared to even cry. He simply stared, wondering what Henry was doing. As he looked the older boy up and down, he realized he was holding a roll of duct tape in his hand.
Shaking his head, Eddie shrunk back. "Please... I won't fight back or scream... I..." He stammered. "Wh... What are you gonna do? What are you guys gonna do?" He felt himself trembling. His breaths were so ragged. It was making him light-headed.
Henry smirked evilly. "Put your hands together... Or I'll get my knife out and cut 'em off."
Eddie felt his lower lip trembling as his vision blurred with tears. Henry was going to tape his hands together... whether he struggled and fought back or not. If he fought the older boy through the process, he was just going to end up hurt with his hands taped anyway.
So he did what he was told, putting his hands together and letting out a small, defeated sob as Henry began wrapping quite a bit of duct tape around his wrists. "Please don't hurt me..." Eddie whimpered, looking down at his wrists as Henry wrapped the tape around several times, making sure Eddie wouldn't be freeing himself any time soon.
Henry laughed again and grabbed Eddie's feet when he was done with his hands. "Don't kick me." He ordered. "Or I'll fuckin' kick you. A lot harder."
Eddie choked out a fearful sob as he kept his legs still and watched Henry wrap a similarly large sum of tape around his ankles, securing them together.
"What are you gonna do to me?" Eddie breathed. "Please just tell me..." He whimpered.
Henry smiled silently as Patrick rubbed his hand softly on the smaller boy's shoulder. Neither of them answered.
Finally, Henry pulled off one last strip of tape, biting it loose from the roll with his teeth and pressing it over Eddie's lips. "Don't you fucking take off this tape... I'll beat the shit out of you. Remember not to be loud when my dad gets home too. He'll probably be drunk anyway, so it wouldn't matter... But if he finds you, he's gonna feel more desperate than me. He's not gonna want to admit he had a kidnapped kid in his damn basement. We'll have no choice but to fuckin' kill you."