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A Dance with the Crimson Death

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PROLOGUE

The Sewers
August 5th, 1989

Beverly Marsh floats in the air, her eyes a milky white hue and her curly red hair framing her face—which is tilted to the heavens, staring blankly at the disembodied limbs and bodies: which also float high in the air. She feels dead, but at the same time she can feel the steady beat of her heart, and the faint breaths that leave her lungs. The corners of her bleary vision are intensely bright—similar to the lights, IT’s deadlights, that she had seen moments (or was it hours?) before she began to float.

The piercing feeling of fear wracks her body, and everything that Beverly sees before her vacant eyes makes her want to cry. But there’s nothing that she can do except watch. Her mind is bombarded by visions and blurbs, familiar and unfamiliar faces melding together as a cacophony of voices pour over each other.

“You’ll float too! You’ll float—”

“...ADRIAN! ADR—”

“—I promise, Bill...”

“...ir is wint...ire, January embers...”

“Close your eyes, Bev...”

“...that’s Major Criss...the...U.S...ir Force—”

“—it kills mo...ter...if you believe...”

“BEEP BEEP MOTHERFUCKER!”

“...hink I killed IT, Ric...”

“I am the...Bre..aker of...Be—”

 


 

Derry, Maine
July 10th, 2016

IT wakes up feeling hollow and angry.

Aside from the hunger gnawing deep inside, IT’s first instinct to go to place deep within the Barrens—where an estate stood: abandoned and withered for twenty-five years. The clown is the first form that comes to mind, but the sight of the large mansion that looms over the leaf-covered path prompts IT to change into a form familiar to the estate.

The form is that of a twenty-eight year old man with gaunt cheeks, dark brown eyes, and equally dark brown hair: wearing a loose floral-print silk shirt (out-dated for the time period he was now in) that was tucked into blue jeans. On his right hand, a dark-banded ring with a Citrine gem glimmers brightly. Robert Gray was the name of the man...That was the form IT inhabited for a majority of its last time being awake: nearly twenty-seven years ago. 

“Robert Gray,” he introduced himself, flashing a smile at the young teen.

He already knows that they’ll take a liking to this form—he could practically feel the warmth of their cheeks from where he stood. Their brown eyes stare up at him with instant infatuation, and he knows at that moment that they’ll do anything for him. The primal scent that wafts off of them is incredibly appetizing, more so after he scared them shortly before snatching George Denbrough a few weeks ago. It’s the smell that he’s dreamt of for billions of years, long before he landed on Earth.

It’s the taste that he can’t wait to savor between his teeth.

[Y/N] King returns his smile with a kind of nervousness that only he could see (taste). They shuffle towards him, and as soon as their hand touches his, Robert Gray has to resist the urge to bite that hand clean off. The urge grows worse when they begin their dance practice: when he can feel their pulse beneath his fingers and their blood rush with every twirl and pirouette.

He wants nothing more than to take every piece of their flesh between his teeth, and to drink every last drop of their blood until there’s nothing left but their bones. And even then, he’ll make a crown out of their bones in remembrance of their sinfully appetizing presence. A mockery to the Crimson King: who was foolish enough to let his “child” into IT’s domain. But as much as he wants to devour them, there’s something stopping him from doing so.

I want to savor this meal, he thinks. There will never be another like them.

Even now, as his trail over the old furniture and decor—the honey brown paint that covered the walls were now chipped and moldy; revealing mahogany walls underneath—he could remember everything that happened here. Although twenty-seven years had passed, that was nothing compared to the billions of years that IT experienced. For twenty-seven years IT dreamt and watched the world change. A change that IT was not there for. A change that IT could not stop.

Robert’s foot steps over something soft, prompting him to furrow his brows and lift his shoe. On the floor of the dusty and cobweb-filled foyer is a small strip of film. His large fingers pick it up gingerly, and he already knows exactly what it was. He blows the leaves and dust off, and miraculously the faded piece of film is still intact. It’s a photo of him and his—

“Darling,” he says quietly.

The word came out naturally, for whenever he saw their precious face, that’s all he thought of. That they were his darling. The mark they had given him, back in July of 1989, itched and burned as a strange melancholy filled his insides. The sorrow was felt deep within, to the point where he could feel himself—his true self (the Deadlights)—quiver. He was not immune to emotions, nor sorrow, but the fact that his darling is no longer here...fills him with both rage and sadness.

Those sniveling little children were the reason why they decided to go against him, and had they never met those kids—their precious Losers—then maybe, just maybe...they would still be at his side. But they weren’t here: they weren’t even in the same state anymore, having moved out of Derry with Howard Randall (oh how he wanted to eviscerate that man for getting in the way as well) after they graduated. Not once did they return to Derry, and he (IT) feared that they had forgotten all about Derry. But that wasn’t possible, right? Surely their own pair of lights would recall everything that they experienced, right?

Right?

Did they remember Robert Gray?

What did they look like now?

...Did they still love him?

Like all other things from his darling, IT stored the polaroid film between his fingers into IT’s nest: not the one in the sewers, but the one deep within the dark underbelly of Derry. Hunger gnawed once more at his gut and his mundane facade faded into the clown. He could feel the enticing scent of fear and hatred. His mouth salivated and the longer he stalled from eating, the hungrier he grew. A sickening grin made its way onto his face as he pried through the town—focusing on two men who were currently being attacked by a hateful group of teenagers. 

The two men being attacked reminded IT of two of the Losers: Kaspbrak and Tozier. A low growl escaped from his throat thinking about the two. And once one of the men, the one who needed the inhaler, was thrown over the bridge and into the Canal, he headed to the shore. “Help! Help me!” Pennywise could hear the man scream out, but that didn’t matter. No...the only thing that mattered was the fear that wafted off of the man and seeped into the water: teasing IT’s hunger. He reaches a hand out to grab the man, a giddy giggle escaping his lips once his prey is between his fingers. 

“Thank God,” the man—Adrian Mellon—chokes out. “Thank...”

Too bad the man was too battered to notice his “savior”. IT would’ve relished in the fear and shock that would take hold of his features. The other man, from the other side of the Canal, scuttles to the shore-line, yelling out his lover’s name. The grin on Pennywise’s face only grows with more deviance. Once his molten gold irises land on Don Hagarty’s frightened and panicked form—his eyes roll to the back of his head and his maw grows larger.

He lifts his head for a brief moment before clamping down on Adrian’s flesh, just above where his heart would be: and pulls back. The meat pulls off easily and a heavy coat of blood sprays at his face as he gobbles down the fear-filled flesh. Don lets out a scream that urges Pennywise to continue his “show,” letting balloons form from thin air under the bridge on Main Street. Shades of red rubber glimmer by as he continues to devour. Blood soaks his silver costume, blending with the three vermillion pom-poms that are splayed on the front. It’s the first meal of many that IT expects to have until his long rest would return, but again...something’s missing.

A brief thought of them has him reeling. There’s no way that he could get them to come back to him, is there? But IT knows that there is, and the key to that is none other than Mike Hanlon—the only member of the Losers Club who never dared to leave Derry. With the blood splayed all over his costume, and the remains of Adrian Mellon’s body, IT leaves a message, loud and clear, on the pillars that support the bridge over the canal. The words remind IT of when the taheen took his darling away from Derry: the same day IT, in a blind rage, decided to murder his darling’s parents. He’ll make sure that they’ll come home.

Back to him.

 


 

Mike Hanlon is sitting in a chair, in his room above the library, when he hears the radio roar to life.

Before the radio emitted noise, he was pondering in his thoughts—fiddling with a small cow-bell (connected by a black ribbon) between his fingers. It was a bell that belonged to a sheep that had passed long ago, but that sheep was the very same one that brought Mike Hanlon his first friend in Derry. Spring was the name of the sheep, and as Mike Hanlon delved deeper into his thoughts, he wondered if his first friend remembered the name of the sheep too. But then the radio sounded on, and Mike Hanlon’s fears—which hadn’t been unlocked for a whole twenty-seven years—finally came to life.

His palms suddenly grow sweaty and he sets the cow-bell on the table, grabbing his jacket and driving his car towards Main Street. While this happens, he can’t help but think back to the 5th of August: when the terror finally ended. But unfortunately, Mike has a sinking feeling that it never ended...it never stopped...IT never died.

The crime scene isn’t much, but he can see paramedics tending to a panicked man—whom Mike recognizes to be Don Hagarty, a man he had seen come in the Public Library now and then with his boyfriend. But the fact that Don’s boyfriend is nowhere to be found, causes anticipation and fear to pool in his gut. He brushes past the police officers, who (in Derry) are careless as always, and down a path that led to the Canal. The roar and excitement of the fair melds with the sound of the rushing water.

Something red catches Mike’s eye, prompting him to bend down and grab the object from a bush. His heart stills for a brief moment recognizing the texture and the white string that connects to the popped balloon. His fingers rub over the material, stretching it out to read the message printed on it in white text.

I ♡ DERRY.

All of a sudden a metallic smell catches Mike’s nose, making his face scrunch up. It’s a smell different from the brackish water from the Canal, and different from the popcorn and sugar that came from the fair. This smells more like...blood. Mike’s breathing quickens and his eyes catch something in the corner of his vision, prompting him to look up. He wishes that he didn’t. Mike jumps back, letting out a string of swears as his eyes land on the beam underneath the bridge.

The scar on his palm burns, and more memories begin to rush by: rekindled by the same horror that tied him and all of his friends together back in the summer of 1989. A police officer asks him what’s wrong, but Mike dismisses them—they can’t see what he sees. A message written on the pillar reads:

COME HOME

COME HOME

COME HOME

 


 

Mike doesn’t know what to expect when he dials the phone number.

His hand trembles, the phone shaking in his hand, as it rings over and over. His eyes trail over nervously to the note-pad beside him, containing all information he had about his friends’ current whereabouts. It took forever for him to find the personal contacts and numbers, especially when it came to finding Victor, Bill, Richie, and [Y/N]’s contact information. They were, after-all, celebrities (except for Victor, whom Mike found out was in the military and was extremely private on social media) and probably had several numbers—which was true for all of them. Mike had to do a lot of digging for the latter, because their information was so private.

Although they loved being in the limelight, they weren’t one to open up about themselves.

“If I ever make it big,” they say dreamily, leaning their head against Victor’s arm, “I want to live in my own private mansion.”

Mike smiles at their response, turning to Victor who shrugged. “A one-story’s fine with me,” the platinum-haired teen said. “Shit, I’m fine with the crappy apartment I have right now. I don’t like filling my place with too much stuff...gets kinda overwhelming.”

“You seemed pretty fine sleeping at the estate, though Vic,” [Y/N] says cheekily, poking Victor’s forehead.

The other merely lets out a huff, his cheeks growing warm at their actions. He wraps his arm around their waist, lifting the shower cap that Stan gave them all and pressed a chaste kiss on their forehead. Victor replied, “That’s only because you were there with me.”

Mike watched the exchange with supportive eyes.

Those two really went well together.

His foot taps against the wooden floor, and he can feel his anticipation grow worse when a voice-mail makes itself known.

“Hi, you’ve reached [Y/N] King. I’m unavailable right now, most likely practicing for or performing my next ballet. Please leave your name and number, and I’ll try to get to you as soon as possible.” Following their message is the tell-tale beep, which prompts Mike Hanlon to take a deep breath—forming a response.

“Hi...this is Mike Hanlon...from Derry...You need to come back, [Y/N]...IT’s alive.”