July 25th, 1988 - Monday
New York City
It was still dark out when her alarm blared to life at five o'clock in the morning. Alexandra, a thirty-five-year-old single mom, groaned as she rolled over to hit the snooze button on her clock. She fell back onto her pillow and stretched like a cat after being curled up in the same position for too long.
After five minutes, slowly, she opened her light blue eyes and allowed them to adjust to the darkness. Alexandra didn't want to get out of bed after her late-night shift, waitressing on the seafood restaurant with a handsy manager but last night had her final shift so least she could be happy about that.
But she needed to make money so she could pay the bills and ensure a safe life for her Agata – her twelve-year-old daughter – or at least that was what she told her body when she climbed out of bed to prepare everything to leave.
It wasn't like there was a lot to do. Alexandra spent her free time to help the moving company she hired to place her belongings and furniture securely inside their truck. She looked around her bedroom, and aside from the old bed with the squeaky mattress that had too many lumps that she was leaving behind in the apartment, Alexandra only eyed the alarm clock with interest because that was the only object in the room that she had yet to pack. Well, besides some of her clothes.
Seeing her apartment empty was strange for the single mom, she struggled so much to fill it by herself and try to make it cozy for her daughter – but now her hard work could be left behind thanks to sudden death in the family.
After the lukewarm shower she took to wake herself up, Alexandra tossed her shoulder-length light brown hair into a ponytail and dressed up in her pleated, high-waisted jeans, her A-line tank top, and her well-worn oversized jean jacket that she as kept from her teenage years. It was fantastic that it still fit her.
When the time for her daughter's alarm clock was nearing to blare as well, Alexandra couldn't help but feel anxious about moving back to Derry. She loved living in New York, it's where she was born, but it was too expensive and even though she was sheltering Agata from the fact that almost every month Alexandra struggled to pay everything on time and had to skip some meals so her daughter could eat, Alexandra saw her lucky opportunity to move somewhere cheaper. Even though it broke her heart to leave New York, Agata was more important.
Her parents died when she was five years old, and Alexandra also lost her unborn baby brother because her mom had been pregnant when the truck collided with their car. At the time, Alexandra had been playing in her kindergarten, unaware.
Her only living relative at the time had been her estranged paternal grandfather that lived in Derry. Alexandra doesn't remember much of her childhood there, but she sometimes has recurring nightmares of a building burning, people inside of it screaming for help and a clown.
She also remembers a little of how badly and grandfather had cared for her – Alexandra basically became independent during her childhood to survive. It was strange, she didn't remember her parents that well because she was so young when she lost them but when it came to Derry, the town where she lived until she was sixteen, Alexandra had almost no memories. And the ones she had were all foggy.
It was probably for the best. Maybe her brain was protecting her from terrible memories of her grandfather.
A month ago, Alexandra got a phone call informing her that her grandfather died in his sleep and that shockingly, he left his house to her. She didn't know why – she had run away and he was never caring towards her so the whole ordeal seemed too good to be true.
But the voice on the phone assured her that the house was now hers.
Alexandra made the decision to keep it.
Agata, her daughter with a gentle and sensitive nature, didn't have friends apart from a girl in her class named Sophie. The two weren't best friends though, Alexandra knew that they just talked to each other at school and occasionally played together. But that was it. With no friends, Agata showed no complaint when her mom told her that they were moving to a small town.
But Alexandra wondered if her daughter was really fine with leaving.
The twelve-year-old blinked her blue eyes open blearily and sat up in bed, an instant sleepy smile crossed her lips when Duncan, her three-year-old German Shepard dog, quickly rose his head to stare at her as he lied at the end of her bed. Duncan always slept in her bed and Agata felt safer with him around.
Outside her window, she saw a perfect summer morning, fresh, bright and sparkling, "Good morning Duncan," she softly greeted him before stretching her limbs as she yawned at the same time. Duncan followed soon after, making her giggle.
However, Agata let out a startled gasp when her alarm clock suddenly started to ring – it seems that she had woken up just seconds before it was time for her to wake up with it. Sighing, and feeling her heart hammering quickly just for that little scare, Agata pushed the snooze button and pouted towards her dog companion.
"I need to stop scaring myself like that, boy," The brunette said before throwing the cotton sheet off her body and hopping out of bed. Duncan soon did the same, his tail waggling when Agata began petting his head, "Good boy, Duncan."
Duncan whined happily as he sat down for more pats, Agata was short for her age so even when he sat down, Duncan's head reached her chest. The petting was interrupted when her mom opened the door and smiled warmly at the sight of her daughter awake with Duncan.
"Good morning sweetie," Alexandra smiled, "Sleep well?"
"Yeah, I did," Agata told her before taking a second look at her mom, "Oh, you're already dressed" she realized.
Alexandra nodded, "We need to leave in less than an hour to reach Derry by lunchtime, don't forget it's a seven-hour ride."
Agata looked back at her alarm clock and saw that it's was nearly six in the morning, "Oh" ever since summer vacation began, Agata would usually only wake up at eleven or noon due to her late-night reading or insomnia, but surprisingly she woke up fairly early today.
While Alexandra took Duncan for a walk to the park before they began their road trip to Derry, Agata showered and got dressed. Before sending her clothes to Derry, her mom told her to choose an outfit for her to use during the road trip and Agata opted for a white pleated skirt that reached her knees, a lilac V-neck t-shirt that she tucked inside the skirt and her aqua-colored ballet flats.
Agata then placed her silver necklace and her simple bead bracelet. She then brushed her teeth and afterward, she combed her long brown hair with wavy tips and decided to let it loose for today. She waited for her mom to return with Duncan inside her bedroom, grabbing her 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' book and placing it on her lap to read during the car ride.
When her mom arrived, they all put the rest of the belongings, such as their pajamas, alarms clocks, and Duncan's dry food, in a duffel bag. They didn't have much furniture either so everything was able to fit inside the moving truck.
When it was time to leave, Agata and her mom took one last look inside their small apartment, filled with mold on the ceiling, leaks during raining and windows that didn't open – but it was still home, it had been the place where Alexandra raised her daughter since she was two years old and it was good enough to have sheltered them for ten years.
"Goodbye New York," Agata sighed meekly before walking out into the building's corridor.
No one's POV
Alexandra didn't remember how her grandfather's house looked like but she hoped it wouldn't look too empty once they arrive there.
They have been on the road for two hours now and she smiled at the sight of her daughter sleeping on the backseat while Duncan lied next to her, placing his head protectively on her thigh.
Every since they were robbed two years ago while they were out grocery shopping, Alexandra swore to never let it happen again and even though she changed her lock – she was not satisfied. It cost her a lot of money but she doesn't regret getting Duncan to protect the house. She got the German Shepard when he was about to turn one year old but the guy that sold him to her assured that he had been well trained.
And Alexandra was relieved she hadn't been wronged by the man.
Duncan was amazing and fiercely loyal. He also guarded Agata and whenever Alexandra had to go on a quick trip to a mini-market at a certain hour of the night, taking Duncan with her made her feel much safer.
Alexandra enjoyed taking scenic routes such as the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut, and Interstate eighty-four passing Old Sturbridge, a quintessential New England town.
Four hours into the trip, Agata woke up disoriented and with no memory of falling asleep as her mom was passing by Boston, and soon Alexandra realized she'd have to stop by a gas station to re-fill her gas and buy something for the two to eat.
Agata never complained about being hungry, she knew better than to bring up the sensitive topic such as having enough food to eat to her mom.
They ended up stopping by a rustic old-style diner, simply named Brunswick Diner. From the outside, it looked like a simple, small, red farmhouse. Inside was a time warp, replete with table-side jukeboxes and small wrap around coffee counter. It established itself in ninety twenty-two next to a gas station that was also run by the family. It had been Agata's first time in a diner and Alexandra had a sudden memory of working in one as well when she was a teenager, it was strange that she only remembered about it as soon as the greasy smell of fries and the strong scent of coffee hit her nostrils.
The food took a while to get to them, a true sign of made to order. Both ordered the French toast and sausage links with two strawberry smoothies. The French toasts had a nice cinnamon crunch to them, perfect to smother with butter and drizzle with syrup, and the sausage snapped through its natural casing as Alexandra cut and bit into it, releasing great savory flavors to counter the sweetness.
She was relieved to see Agata eat so well, the girl was so full that she didn't even want dessert.
Alexandra always knew her daughter was special, as all good mothers think of their child, but what type of kid her age refuses to order dessert even after being full? She hoped that Agata could enjoy the little things about being a child as long as she could like Alexandra did.
When she ran away from Derry, and even though she was homeless, the brunette traveled around the country by taking car rides from strangers, befriended people that offered her their couch temporarily and just enjoy life without any money until she returned to New York and started her own life there.
After paying the bill and leaving a satisfying tip, the girls let Duncan out for a while for him to stretch his legs and Agata filled his traveling bowls with some food and water. After Duncan had his exercise and had his own stomach filled, the small family hit the road again.
They got stuck in a traffic jam on the outskirts of a town called Ludlow, but they were already in Maine. Duncan was again, resting his head on his girl's laps as Agata looked at the forest surrounding the small road.
Alexandra sighed, she knew the entrance of Derry would show up at any moment but it wasn't because of the traffic she was feeling slightly anxious. She was used to traffic, she was a New York driver. It was because of an itch that began covering her nape.
She even thought it was a bug that had somehow crawled inside the car and then her, but even though she has scratched the back of her neck plenty of time, it would not go away. Her reasonable side told her that maybe the diner's food awoke some kind of temporary allergic reaction from her skin.
Its often said that if you have a bad feeling about something, you should follow that intuition. But Alexandra's anxiety about moving back to Derry made it very hard for her to listen to it. If she had, Alexandra would have turned her car around and return to New York.
But if she had done that, then she wouldn't have indirectly helped the Losers Club to defeat Pennywise.
So Alexandra shook it off, thinking she was jumping to conclusions.
After thirty minutes into slow traffic and talking to Agata about how exciting it was for them to began a new life, her daughter suddenly pointed at a road sign for Derry – and the two couldn't help to let out a relieved chuckle before Alexandra turned on her indicator lights to warn the car behind her that she was going to turn, and when she did, the traffic was left behind as Alexandra had to road to herself while making her way towards Derry.
Moore House, 7 West Broadway
No one's POV
Before becoming Alexandra Ray, she was born a Moore. That had been the last name of her late dad, and her paternal grandfather. Albert Moore passed away at the age of eighty-five during his sleep, at least that is what Alexandra was told. What she didn't know was that he had created a reputation for himself in Derry, a really bad one.
Everyone in the small town called him Devil Moore behind his back and both children and adults avoided his house like the abandoned one on Neibolt Street. There were rumors he was possessed by the devil but the one that was more popular amongst the youth was that he used to kill children and keep them buried inside his basement.
That's why when the news of his death spread faster than a common cold across Derry, no one seemed to mourn him. Sure, there was a ceremony for him but only the people who were nice enough to show up and leave a flower in his grave showed up.
Albert's death was forgotten when the rumor that his granddaughter was returning to live in his house began. No one could believe that Albert had left his house to her – even though she left Derry nineteen years ago and never returned, some of the residents in Derry that still remember her or even went to school with the infamous Devil Moore's granddaughter were surprised that he had done something nice such as leaving his house for her.
That's why when Alexandra Ray parked her pale blue AMC Gremlin in front of the infamous ugly yellow-colored house.
Alexandra turned off the engine and stared with distaste at the front yard, the lawn was dry and weeds could be seen outgrowing around the foundation around the small, two-story house. There was also some dirt patches randomly spread around the lawn, and Alexandra was suddenly hit with a memory of her trying to plant an apple tree in the backyard, hidden behind the shed where sometimes her grandfather would lock her in for hours when she misbehaved.
She gasped shakingly and gripped on her stirring wheel tightly as she heard her eight-year-old self begging her grandpa to let her out.
"Please grandpa, please! There's a scary monster after me! It told me it was going to eat me! Let me out"
"Shut you lying bitch! You're going to stay there all night if you don't shut up about seeing demons!"
"Mom? Are you okay?"
Agata's gentle tone brought her mom back from the trance of her forgotten past, and Alexandra quickly took a few deep breaths before plastering a smile on her face to look at her from her seat.
"I'm fine honey, just felt a little overwhelmed because of the yard's state," she said with a long sigh, "But, I guess what my little summer project will be!" Alexandra told her with a smile.
Agata smiled back, unaware of her mom's dark memories.