There was seven of them standing in front of the community center, Eddie included. He tried to distance himself from the rest of the group, although they didn't exactly look like trouble makers. Then again, he supposed he didn't either, and yet here he was.
Listening to the probation worker give what he probably thought was an empowering speech.
"This is it. It's your chance to do something. Give something back. You can help people. You can really make a difference to people's lives. It's what community service is all about. There's people out there that think you're scum. This is your chance to prove them wrong."
One of the other parolees, the one with the glasses that took up half his face, raised his hand. The probation worker looked confused but pointed to him.
"Yeah, but what if they're right?" the man asked. "No offense, but I'm thinking some people are born criminals."
He looked over to the man with curly hair and sneered at him. Curly Hair looked like he was about to retaliate, but his phone rang, and he answered it instead. The probation worker gave him a look and tried to continue on with his speech.
"It doesn't matter what you've done in the past. What matters... Can you get off the phone?"
"I thought you had finished," Curly Hair said.
"Do you see my lips still moving?"
"But you could have been yawning," Big Glasses suggested. "Or chewing or..."
"It's my probation worker," Curly Hair said, back on his phone. "Oh, ew. No. Don't be gross."
"This isn't going to work for me," Short Guy said.
God, Eddie couldn't take much more of this.
"Hey, what makes you think that you're better than us?" he asked.
"What is that?" Big Glasses asked, cutting off whatever Short Guy was about to say. "Was that a squeak? Are we supposed to understand that?"
At this point, all of them were talking over each other and Eddie couldn't make out a word. He could see the probation worker slowly losing what little he had left of his patience. He eventually snapped at them and shoved buckets filled with white paint at them.
"See those benches? Paint."
Eddie would have taken the bench farthest way from the rest of the group but Quiet Guy took that. With a sigh, Eddie took the next one and hoped that the others wouldn't bother him. He had no such luck when Big Glasses came over and started painting the front of Eddie's bench while he worked on the back.
"I'm sorry if I upset you earlier," he said eventually, catching Eddie off guard.
"It's alright, I guess." He refused to look up at the guy, partly because of course he was good looking and Eddie refused to get a crush on someone as annoying as he was, but mostly because he wished he would leave him alone. He just wanted to put in his hours and then forget that it had ever happened.
"Soooooo, I'm Richie. What's your name?"
"So, Eds, what are you in for?"
Eddie's hand froze for a moment before he dipped his brush back in the bucket and resumed painting.
"I got into a fight," he said quietly. "There was this guy. I don't really want to talk about it. What about you?"
"Oh me?" Richie smiled deviously, like that was what he had been hoping for since he had started the conversation. Eddie quickly glanced back at the wood he was painting. "I got done for eating some penny candy."
"Okay. Don't be serious, then."
"What about you Quiet Guy?" Richie continued, turning to face the other antisocial one of their group. "Don't take this the wrong way, but you look like a pantie sniffer."
"I am not a pantie sniffer," Quiet Guy said. "And my name is Ben."
"Okay, geez. No need to get your panties in a twist," Richie said, holding his hands out in a 'I surrender' pose. His brush dripped white paint down the side of his orange jumpsuit, although it probably didn't matter. Now that he was turned a bit, Eddie could see he had already drawn on the back in Sharpie. "I'm just trying to get to know everyone. What about the rest of you guys?"
The one girl of their group was sitting on the steps, smoking a cigarette. Surprisingly, she was the first to answer Richie.
"I'm Bev. And I beat the shit out of my father."
"Oh wow, now that's what I'm talking about," Richie said with awe. "Very nice."
That seemed to ease the tension between all of them. Richie obviously was a bit of a class clown, but it did seem he was simply interested in getting to know everyone. Try to make the work go by faster. The rest of the group introduced themselves, Curly Hair being Stan, Short Guy being Bill, and the last of their group being Mike. Stan had vandalized his father's synagogue for undisclosed reasons, Mike had also gotten into a fight with some racist assholes, and Bill had broken into a police station.
"I'm sorry, you did what?" Richie asked, his voice raising high enough that Eddie was sure dogs could hear him.
"Yeah, I was looking for some information about my brother," Bill explained. "He went missing last year, and they aren't doing anything about it. The cop supposedly on the case knows me, so thankfully I got away 'easy' as they put it."
"Well, sorry Bev, but I think Bill here is now the most bad ass out of us losers."
"I don't think I can even be mad about that," Bev said. She had finished her second cigarette at this point and finally rejoined them in painting. "That is pretty bad ass."
"Not that bad ass. I didn't find anything before I was caught. Which was pretty quickly."
The seven of them continued to talk as they continued painting. It was starting to get overcast, but it didn't look like it was going to rain any time soon, so they kept at it. At one point, the probation worker came out to check on them and congratulated them on actually getting work done. Eddie didn't like his sarcastic tone. He knew, though, that saying anything wasn't going to help his situation and he kept it to himself. Maybe he should have because as the sky started to open and lightning flashed across the sky, Ben took out his phone to film it. The probation worker didn't like this, grabbed his phone, and put it in his pocket. Richie started yelling at him while the rest of the group stood their ground, waiting with baited breath to see what happened. They had been so focused that none of them saw the giant hail falling toward them.
It landed right behind Richie and he screamed as he jumped nearly a foot into the air.
"Holy shit. What the hell was that?"
"I think that was hail," Mike said. "But it's like the size of a car!"
"Guys, there's more coming!" Bev said, pointing for the sky. "Watch out!"
Eddie and Ben ran the few feet toward the stairs just as another piece of hail slammed into the benches they had just finished painting.
"What the fuck?" Richie screamed right into Eddie's ear. He went to cup his hand around it, like that would help, but realized that Richie was holding it in a death grip and he couldn't. "What the fuck is happening?"
"Guys, we have to get inside!" Bill shouted as several pieces of hail fell into the river, splashing them all.
They all went running to the community center, the probation worker bringing up the rear. Bill and Mike reached the door first, desperately trying to pull it open, but it was locked.
"What the fuck?" Stan asked. "Did you fucking lock it?"
"Unlock the door!" Bev yelled.
"Do not speak to me like that," the probation worker said.
God, how could he sound so calm? They were going to die if they stayed out here. He was taking his time going through the key ring, searching for the one to the front door, and Eddie didn't care anymore that Richie was holding onto him for dear life. In fact, he slipped his hand down and threaded his fingers through Richie's. If he was going to die, he wanted to at least hold a cute guy's hand. It wasn't fair he was here and hadn't even held someone's hand.
And then ---
--- there was a flash of light.
Eddie came too several feet from where he had been standing. He was no longer right next to Richie. In fact, it looked as if all of them had been thrown back toward the railing where this shitty fucking day had begun. And, oh God, he was in incredible pain."What just happened?" he asked.
"I think we got struck by lightning," Ben said.
"God, I feel really weird," Richie said. He stood up quickly, leaned on the railing, and threw up into the river. "Okay. Now I feel a little bit better."
"You're so fucking disgusting," Stan said and then collapsed right back onto the ground.
"Hey, are you alright?" Mike asked the probation worker.
He was looking dazed, watching the seven of them with a glazed look in his eye.
"Assholes," he muttered and then quickly shook his head. "So everyone is alright?"
"Yeah, no thanks to you," Bev said.
Huh. Had her hair been that red the whole day?
"Okay, I think we can call that a day."
Like any of them were going to stay after that.
They all made their way to the locker room, once the probation worker finally found the key, and started changing into their clothes. Eddie was still in some pain, so he took his time, leaving him and Richie the last two there. Richie seemed to literally be stalling, waiting for Eddie, and he tried to not get his hopes up as to what that could mean.
'God, he's too fucking cute, it should be illegal.'
What was that? Maybe he should get his hopes up?
No, he probably misheard him. Best to make sure before he made a fool of himself.
"Sorry. Didn't quite catch that. What did you say?"
Richie stared at him as if he'd grown another head.
"I didn't say anything."
"Oh, sorry," Eddie said as he blushed. "I thought you did."
'Like seriously, someone that neurotic shouldn't be that cute.'
"What the fuck Richie?" Eddie asked as he turned around. He had moved too fast and his shoulder hurt. "Stop muttering shit under your breath."
"I didn't mutter anything asshole," Richie retorted. He slammed his locker door shut and started walking away. "Whatever. I'm out of here."
"Fine! I don't want anything to do with an immature dickhead anyway," Eddie yelled after him.
See? What had he said? He didn't need someone annoying like that in his life. He would rather never kiss a boy then kiss Richie.
Though he did want to kiss a boy eventually. It felt like bull shit that he was stuck doing community service for the fight with Henry Bowers, who had started it all because he thought Eddie was gay. Which, duh, he was. That was besides the point. He had only defended himself and somehow he ended up here while Henry got off scotch free because his dad was a cop. The least the universe could do was send a cute boy his way for his troubles. If he was here because he was gay, he should be as gay as he possibly could.
Instead of going on a date, though, he went straight home like he did every night. His mother fussed over him as soon as he was through the door, asking if he was alright. Did he get wet in that rain storm earlier? Were the other parolees nice to him? They didn't have him doing anything too labor intensive, did they?
He tried to weasel his way out of the conversation. A 'yes Mom' here. A 'no Mom' there. She frowned at him and crossed his arms.
'He's just like his father. Why can't he listen to me?'
Eddie froze. She never mentioned his father. He must have came off as too annoyed. He was about to apologize when it suddenly hit him... he hadn't seen her mouth move.
"Everything's alright, Mom. I just think I need to lie down."
'I knew that this was going to be too much for my Eddie bear.'
Eddie closed his bedroom door, leaned against it, and slid down to the floor. He cradled his head in his hands and let out a sigh.
"I think I'm going crazy," he said to himself because he couldn't simply think it. There were all these other voices in his head. Because... "I can hear people's thoughts. I can, can't I?"
Eddie groaned as his alarm woke him from a rather nice dream about a guy, who was totally not Richie, kissing him. Why had he set it for so early?
Oh. Right. Community service.
He reluctantly pulled himself out of bed and got dressed as fast as he could. He always wanted to get out of the house under normal circumstances, but he definitely wanted to as soon as possible that day. He didn't think he could stand hearing what his mother really thought of him. He had known for awhile that she was over bearing in an attempt to control him and not because he had any of the multiple illnesses she insisted he had. That was bad enough. He didn't want to know what else was going on in that head of hers. So once he was dressed, he simply grabbed a granola bar from the kitchen, gave her a quick kiss goodbye, and went running out the door. He may have ended up being a little early for his community service but he didn't care. It beat the alternative.
Surprisingly, he wasn't the first one to arrive. Richie was also there, playing Foosball by himself. Eddie tried to sneak past him and get to the locker room, but unfortunately he wasn't that lucky.
br>"Hey, Eds. Wait up a sec!" Richie abandoned the game, catching up to Eddie, and slinging his arm around his shoulder. "Hey, I'm glad I caught you before the rest of the losers got here. I wanted to say sorry for yesterday."
"What part of yesterday?" Eddie asked. He picked up Richie's arm and pushed it off of him. "You were a little shit for most of the day."
"Ouch, Eds. Way to hurt my delicate sensibilities." Richie clutched his heart and fell to the ground. Eddie had to bite his tongue so he didn't chastise him for how dirty it most likely was. Thankfully he stood back up before Eddie lost his nerve. "I'm talking about in the locker room. I really do mean it. There was no reason to flip out on you. We're all a little crazy."
"I'm not crazy," Eddie said, although he didn't believe it.
He had reached his locker at that point and tried to focus on changing instead of the nitwit following him around.
'Oh Jesus, look away. Look away. Do not stare at his ass. No matter how perky of an ass it is.'
God, Eddie wanted to smash his head into the door of his locker. Maybe then he'd knock Richie's thoughts out of his head. Or better yet, get amnesia and forget any of this had ever happened.
The other five started to show up and thankfully drowned out anything Richie was thinking. Eddie decided it would be best if he just put in his headphones while they were working and try to ignore the whole thing. He queued up something motivating and told them he'd meet them outside. As he was leaving, he did a double take and counted heads. Huh, was one of them missing? He had been sure everyone had arrived, but honestly, he had more than enough on his mind than to worry about that. He hit play and went out to the front of the community center where the probation worker had left buckets filled with water and soap for them so they could clean some graffiti that had appeared over night. Eddie started scrubbing and the rest of the losers slowly joined him.
As the morning went on, things seemed to be quiet enough, and Eddie took his headphones out to see if he'd catch anymore of Richie's annoying thoughts. It seemed he was in the clear, so he put his phone away and even joined Bill and Mike's conversation. They were just starting to see an improvement, the paint starting to disappear from the wall, when Ben timidly spoke up.
"Hey, has anyone, uh, noticed anything weird after the storm?"
"Yeah," Richie said, and Eddie was afraid he was going to say something about what had happened in the locker room after everyone had left. "I have this weird tingling sensation in my anus."
Never mind. Of course he wasn't being serious.
"Weird like how, Ben?" Eddie asked.
Ben was about to respond when Richie asked, "What? You don't want to hear about my anus?"
"No, I want to hear what Ben was saying."
"When we were in the locker room earlier, I disappeared," Ben said. "Like, I was there, talking to you guys, and then suddenly it was as if no one could see me."
"I thought someone was missing," Eddie said. "You're not the only one Ben. I can hear... I can hear people's thoughts."
'Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.'
"Shut up Richie."
"I didn't say anything!" he protested. "Honestly, you do realize how ridiculous you two sound. Ben can't disappear and you can't hear thoughts. Like, if you could, you'd be able to tell me what I was thinking right now."
'This is bull shit. He's lucky he's cute.'
"You think this is bull shit," Eddie said, leaving out the last part. He wasn't cruel like Richie was.
"Well, that wasn't hard to guess."
"Guys, can you not fight?" Bill asked. "Let's just focus on cleaning this wall and we can talk about this later?"
"Yeah, fine," Eddie said. He should have known better than to get worked up over it. He leaned over to pat Ben's back in a silent apology.
"Richie?" Bill asked, giving him a look.
"There's nothing else to talk about," Richie said. "Those two are crazy. Problem solved."
"You know what? Fuck you."
Eddie threw his brush into one of the buckets and stormed off. He knew he shouldn't care what Richie said. In fact, he still wasn't entirely sure that he wasn't crazy himself, but he just couldn't take it anymore. He could hear some of the group yelling after him, but he didn't care. Let the probation worker see that he had walked out. What was he going to do? Give him a few more hours? Honestly, Eddie would welcome it. It's not like Richie would still be there once he finished his hours. Eddie thought he might even enjoy it once Richie wasn't there running his motor mouth. His mother never let him do any cleaning around the house, claiming that the chemicals in the products were bad for his asthma, and he found that the work was rather calming in a way.
Plus, as he had said before, it got him out of the house, so...
Eddie sat down on a staircase that was about a fifteen minute walk from the community center. He had stopped running after the first minute but he still felt a little winded. He pulled his inhaler out from his pocket and took a couple of puffs. He still wasn't entirely sure if his asthma was as fake as everything else about his medical history, but it still helped him when he was feeling out of breath. He kept it out, turning it over in his hands, as he stared off across the estate.
He hadn't cried.
He hadn't cried when Henry Bowers's fist hit his jaw. He hadn't cried when he had fallen to the ground, hitting his head even harder, worsening the headache he could already feel coming. He hadn't cried when Henry Bowers started kicking him, yelling that word over and over again. He hadn't cried when he forced himself up and head butt Henry Bowers right in the fucking balls. He hadn't cried when he punched him over and over even though he didn't know how to do it properly and he probably hurt himself just as much as he hurt Bowers. He hadn't cried when the police took them in and Bowers's dad processed them. He hadn't cried as he watched that asshole walk away and he was handed a paper with a court date. He hadn't cried when the judge sentenced him to 100 hours of community service. He hadn't cried as his mother cried, asking where he darling little Eddie bear had gone, because he would have never done something like this to her.
But now? Now he cried. And all because of some stupid guy who had the audacity to be cute despite being the most annoying piece of shit Eddie had ever met. Why did he care what he thought?
That's how the probation worker found him.
Eddie sniffled, trying to wipe away the tears before he could see, and then faced him. He was about to apologize and explain the situation when he grabbed his arm.
"Hey, what are you doing?" Eddie yelled. "That hurts. Let go of me."
"None of you have any respect for authority," the probation worker was saying through gritted teeth. "I'm going to have to show you your place."
"What the fuck are you talking about? Seriously, let go of me."
Eddie started to panic as the probation worker was dragging him up the stairs. He went to grab his inhaler when he realized that he had dropped it when he had been grabbed. He was going to either be hurt by the one person at this place that was supposed to care about him or die from an asthma attack before that ever happened.
Except he wasn't going to let that happen. He was tired of being helpless. He had been in a fight now. He had won that fight. He could take care of himself.
He drew his arm back and brought his fist sharply into the probation workers side. He doubled over in pain, letting go of Eddie's arm, and Eddie went running. He knew if he went back for his inhaler first, he would only be caught. He couldn't think about how he was going to need it after running for his life because that would only slow him down. He would worry about that once he got into the community center. Because there was no where else safe nearby that he could think of. God, it was the last place on earth he wanted to go to, but at least he would also have back up. His six fellow parolees should still be there, scrubbing the graffiti off the wall.
Except they weren't there when he skidded to a halt in front of, now dripping, paint. He looked behind him and saw the probation worker slowly limping after him. There was no time to look for the others. He ran into the center and locked the door behind him before collapsing onto the floor.
He could hear someone shouting distantly and assumed it was the probation worker before he felt someone pressing their lips to his. He pushed them away and started shouting himself.
"What the fuck? I'm not drowning!"
"Well, what else was I supposed to do?" Richie said, hands on his hips. "You were having trouble breathing!"
"Yeah, and your C02 isn't going to help that! Plus, who knows what germs you just gave me? Gross."
"Do you have an inhaler?" Bev asked before he and Richie could get into another spectacular shouting match.
"I do, but it's back... back there." Eddie gestured uselessly. "Oh shit. The probation worker. He's gone crazy. Grabbed my arm and chased me."
Ben knelt down and gently took his arm to inspect it. Eddie could see that there were already bruises forming.
"It doesn't look sprained or anything, thankfully."
"Thanks Ben," Eddie said softly.
"Why did he do that?" Mike asked.
"I don't know. Maybe it has to do with the storm. The lightning. He seemed mad yesterday but not this mad. Not mad enough to attack someone... attack me."
'I can't believe that asshole touched him. I'm going to kill him. I'll kill him.'
"I think Eddie has a point," Ben said, saving Eddie from addressing Richie's thoughts. "Like I said earlier, one moment I was there and then the next I was gone. I walked right in front of Bev and she didn't even see me."
"So what? You're saying the storm gave us all super powers or something?" Richie asked. "I'm sorry, but I still think this is all bull shit."
"Fine! Don't believe me then," Eddie said. "If you all aren't going to help me, I'm getting out of here and going home where I'll be safe."
Eddie stomped over to the door and unlocked it. He had barely gotten it open an inch when the probation worker was there, a pipe in hand. He swung and the last thing Eddie remembered was hearing Richie's shouts. He had sounded absolutely heart broken.
"What the fuck? I'm not drowning!"
"Well, what else was I supposed to do?" Richie said. "You were having trouble breathing!"
Wait. Why did this feel vaguely familiar?
"Yeah, and your C02 isn't going to help that!" Eddie said, almost as if he were reciting dialogue that had been placed in front of him. Without even thinking about what he was going to say next, he continued. "Plus, who knows what germs you just gave me? Gross."
"Do you have an inhaler?" Bev asked. She was leaning down to help Eddie find said inhaler, and over his shoulder, he could see Bill staring blankly into space. For some reason, that didn't seem right.
"I do, but it's back... back there." Eddie gestured toward the door, somehow feeling as if the others would automatically know what had happened. Where he meant. "Oh shit. The probation worker. He's gone crazy. Grabbed my arm and chased me."
They continued talking for awhile, Bill still standing there looking like a statue. Eddie was about to ask him if he was alright as Richie was shouting.
"So what? You're saying the storm gave us all super powers or something? I'm sorry, but I still think this is all bull shit."
"No! They're right," Bill said. God, he was as pale as a ghost. "Guys, all of this? Just happened. And then the probation worker. He comes to find Eddie and he... he kills him."
Eddie lost his breath again. Bev reached over and rubbed reassuring circles on his back.
"You have got to be shitting me!" Richie said, throwing his hands up. "So we've got a mind reader, an invisible man, and now a time traveler. What are we supposed to be? The Fantastic Four, uh, times two?"
"I don't know what we're supposed to be, but it's the truth. And even if we don't open that door like Eddie did the last time, the probation worker is going to find a way in eventually. We have to come up with a plan."
"He's right," Stan said. "Richie, I don't really buy into all of this either, but there's the evidence that the probation worker is coming after us. We have to focus on that for now."
"Alright, you're right. So, what do we do? We can't leave, even through the other door. He's too close, and there's too many of us to leave without him noticing."
"Should we hide?" Ben asked.
"No, he has to know this place really well," Mike pointed out. "I think we should wait until he gets in through that door and then go out the back."
"Well, that just might be stupid enough to work," Richie said. "Alright. Come on, Eds. Let's get you up."
"Do you ever stop with the nick names?" Eddie mumbled, but he allowed Richie to help him stand up.
Bev gave them a knowing look when Richie didn't even offer her his other hand. Ben took the opportunity to offer his instead. At first he looked excited to be holding her hand, but suddenly his face shifted into one of extreme pain. He cried out as he dropped Bev's hand, blowing lightly on his palm. Bev was asking him if he was alright, and so the two of them didn't notice what the rest of them did.
"Bev, your hand is on fire," Stan said.
"Yeah, it was pretty hot," Ben said, trying to laugh the whole thing off.
"No, like, Stan means it's literally on fucking fire," Richie said.
Bev held her hand up and gasped as the flames surrounding her hand shot up even higher.
"What the hell is going on?" she asked.
"Fucking human torch, man!" Richie said. He seemed oddly happy about that. He was a comic geek, wasn't he? Eddie rolled his eyes. "Oh my God, okay. So you guys are right. Damn, what about the rest of us. Mike? Stan?"
"I don't really think that's what matters right now," Bill said. "The plan, remember?"
The seven of them made their way from the hallway to the room with the Foosball table, which honestly felt like it had been years since Eddie had found Richie playing it. They were so close to reaching the doors when Stan slipped on something and fell. Mike went over to help him up but Stan started freaking out, pushing him away.
"It's blood," he said, holding his hands out in front of him. Sure enough, they were covered in blood. "Why is there... oh my God, I'm covered in fucking blood."
He started furiously wiping his hands on his orange coveralls, trying to get it off. It wasn't working very well, which only caused him to panic more. Mike was trying to talk him down, but it wasn't helping. Tears started streaming down Stan's face and then --
-- he went shooting up into the ceiling.
His head hit the tiles hard and sent him back down into the pool of blood and he cried harder.
"Holy shit, Stan can fly," Richie said, his grip on Eddie's hand tightening.
And wait. They were still holding hands? Things were really fucked up if Eddie had managed to forget that.
"Who gives a shit that I can fly?" Stan screeched. "I'm covered in blood, in case you had forgotten. Do any of you shitheads have water powers or something? Since it turns out we're all freaks now."
Mike held his hand out in front of Stan and stared at him intently for a minute before letting out a long sigh.
"No, I don't think I have water powers."
"Jesus, I wasn't serious."
"Are you allowed to say Jesus?" Richie asked. "You know, since the whole..."
He pointed to the back of his own head and Stan reached back to make sure his yarmulke was safe. He sighed in relief, which Mike seemed confused by.
"Is it there?" he asked. "I don't... I don't see it. I just see Stan's hair. I see... oh my God."
It was Mike's turn to fall over, although thankfully he missed the pool of blood.
"What is it Mike?" Bill asked.
"I could see his hair and then his scalp and then... I think I'm going to be sick."
Mike leaned over and threw up near Richie's shoes, causing him to jump backward. He was still holding on tightly to Eddie's hand, so he had no choice but to go with him, bumping into his side. There was just too much going on that he let himself rest there. At this point, he really didn't give a shit and Richie's body heat was comforting. Apparently, Richie felt the same way.
'Oh God, he's so close. He feels so soft. I'm gonna break him. Then he'll kill me. What a way to go, though.'
Eddie couldn't help but laugh to himself.
"Glad to think you think this is funny, asshole," Stan said.
Bill and Ben had helped him and Mike up. Bev's hand had finally stopped burning and she was now holding Ben close. Eddie let out a sigh of relief, glad that he and Richie weren't the only ones looking for some physical comfort. It quieted his mind, for the moment at least. It even let him rest his chin on Richie's shoulder.
"Sorry Stan, I wasn't laughing at you," he said. "It's like... nervous laughter. There's just so much going on."
Stan was about to reply when a thunderous crash came from the hallway.
Fuck. They had forgotten about the probation worker.
"Out the door," Bill yelled.
Eddie and Richie were the closest, so they dropped their death grips on each other's hand and rushed over to try and push the doors open, but they wouldn't budge.
"Shit," Richie said. "They're all locked. I think he locked them from the outside when we weren't paying attention."
"Oh no, I fucked us all over," Stan cried out.
He ran his hands down his face, no longer caring that he was getting streaks of blood everywhere.
The probation worker came running into the room then and everyone started screaming. He ignored the others and went straight for Eddie, grabbing the same arm as he had earlier. Eddie cried out in pain and Richie jumped onto the probation worker's back. He started pounding him with his fists, but it seemed to have no affect on him. Bev ran up to him and placed her hands on his face. She closed her eyes in concentration and in a moment, her hands lit up once more. The probation worker yelled and dropped Eddie's arm as he staggered back. Richie was still clinging onto his neck, and with his balance thrown out of proportion, he fell down. Richie groaned, essentially having been elbowed in the gut, before rolling out from under him and rushing back to Eddie's side.
"Eds, are you alright?" he asked.
"Yeah, I think so." Eddie rubbed his arm gently. "I didn't think it could hurt anymore."
"Did we... did we just kill him?" Ben asked tentatively.
They all stood around the probation worker, watching him carefully. There were two hand shaped burn marks on his face, but they didn't look severe enough to have killed him. But it also appeared he wasn't breathing. Eddie didn't know where the odd surge of bravery came from, but he stepped forward slightly, and poked the probation worker in the side with the toe of his shoe. He didn't move, but Eddie couldn't be entirely sure with one little poke, so he touched him once more. The probation worker jumped up and grabbed Eddie's leg, throwing him forcefully on his back. It knocked all the breath out of him for the third time that day, and he just couldn't do it anymore. He laid there, gasping for breath out of instinct, but he was positive that this was finally it.
He could distantly hear Richie screaming, and a disgusting splat, and then the rest of them joining in. When he realized that his breathing was under control and he still wasn't about to die, he pushed himself up onto his elbows and saw that the six of them were kicking the probation worker to a bloody pulp. He fell back onto the ground, more blood trickling out of his mouth.
"Okay, so he is dead now, right?" Ben asked.
"I don't think you can just much more dead than that," Richie said.
And then it was his turn to turn to the side and throw up.
"We just killed our fucking probation worker!" Stan yelled.
"We had to!" Mike said, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. "He was going to kill Eddie. He was going to kill all of us."
"I think he killed someone else already, too," Bill pointed out.
They all turned their attention back to the pool of blood and how it led to one of the lockers. Bill opened the door and a body fell out on top of him. They all screamed again, but once they calmed down, Bill shoved the body off of himself with an exasperated sigh.
"Does anyone know who this is?" he asked.
"I don't recognize him," Mike said as he bent down to look. "I mean, there has to be other staff here, right? Our probation worker couldn't have been the only one who works here, so it was probably one of his coworkers that was still here yesterday after the storm. I mean, the police will be able to identify him, so that's not our problem. Does anyone have their phone on them?"
"Whoa, hold on. Nobody is calling the police," Richie said. "Who cares who this guy is? All it means is that now we're stuck with two fucking dead bodies, which I hate to break it to you, but two is definitely worse than one. The cops are going to take one look at this and we are all going to jail."
"But it was self defense!" Ben said. "They have to believe us. There's seven witnesses."
"What do you mean seven? I didn't do anything," Eddie said. "I was on the floor. I didn't know what was going on."
'We were trying to fucking save you, you beautiful idiot!'
"God, shut up Richie," Eddie muttered.
"Get out of my head!" Richie yelled, face bright red. "And anyway, my point is even though there's seven of us, the police don't believe people who have already been arrested and are on community service. They'll take one look at this, say we killed them both, and that's it. We're done for. No. We can't call the police."
"I hate to say it, but Richie is right," Bev said. "You guys have to admit that this doesn't look good. We have to get rid of them."
"And how the fuck are we supposed to do that?" Stan asked.
"Oh, I got this. I got this." Richie went running out into the hallway and came back with two wheelchairs. "We were fooling around in these earlier, Eds," he explained. "So we clean these guys up, clean up the floor and the locker, and then take them out for a walk."
"Out for a walk?" Stan asked. He leaned over and punched Richie several times in the shoulder. "What the fuck does that mean?"
"So we can get them somewhere to bury them asshole! If anyone sees us, they'll just think we're some lovely people, doing our part for the community, and taking some disabled veterans out for a stroll."
"That could work," Bill said. "But where are we going to bury them?"
"There's that overpass," Ben suggested. "It's about two miles south. It's secluded since it's near the forest. No one goes there. I mean, unless they're driving over it. No one would see us."
"Perfect," Richie said, rubbing his hands together. "Alright, you guys get to cleaning."
"What do you mean 'you guys?'" Eddie asked.
"I came up with the plan, so I did my part."
"Oh my God, you are such a dickhead," Eddie said. "You're still helping us."
'Anything for you,' Riche thought, but all he said was a drawn out, "Fine."
Ben had been right. The area underneath the overpass was completely abandoned and all the trees nearby provided the perfect cover. No one stopped them as they walked the two bodies in the wheelchairs over and, once the coast was clear, they made a break for it and ran from the road to the empty space. There was some graffiti on the concrete walls, but it was easy enough to see that no one had been down there for a long time. Bill and Mike had found three shovels in the community center, which they had brought along, walking farther behind the rest of the group so it appeared that they were occupied with a different task. They all took turns digging two graves for the probation worker and the unfortunate other body. Perhaps someday they'd see a missing poster and know the poor guy's name.
Eddie honestly hoped that didn't happen, though. He already felt sick with everything that had happened. Knowing the man's man would only serve to make him feel guiltier.
At the moment, he and Richie were in the one hole digging while Bill was in the other. Bev and Ben were standing near the road -- close enough to keep an eye out but far way enough that they wouldn't be seen. Stan and Mike were sitting on the ground, talking quietly as they waited for their turn. They were almost done since thankfully with seven people it had gone pretty quickly. It felt weird to say, but Eddie was starting to calm down as the end was in sight.
Of course, Richie had to open his big mouth and ruin that.
"So, once we wipe our hands of this, what are we going to do? Now that we're like super heroes."
"We're not super heroes," Stan said, glaring at him.
"Fuck yeah we are," Richie insisted. "Like, proper super heroes and everything. We should, like, do some good."
"You can't actually believe that."
"I actually believe that."
"Shame, since you're the only one who doesn't have one," Mike joked.
"Yeah, that's right. You don't have a power," Stan said.
"Which is bull shit. I was there. I should have one of these bull shit powers."
"You can have mine," Eddie said quietly. Then, the anger building, he added, "If you want to know what everyone is thinking about you all the time."
Richie stood there for a moment, leaning against the handle of his shovel, thinking.
"Hhhmmm, not so much. No, I want something good. Something from the A List. Seriously. It's bull shit that I don't have a power. No! I have to have one. I can feel it in my balls."
Eddie groaned and stuck his tongue out at Richie when he looked over to wink at him.
"Maybe you can't feel pain," Bill suggested.
"Oh, I like that one. Maybe that's it." Eddie leaned over and slapped him. "Ow. What the fuck was that for?"
"You felt it, didn't you?" he asked with a smirk.
'He should not be so cute when he's slapping me. Oh God, am I into that? No, I can't be. Am I?'
"Stop thinking about your weird kinks," Eddie muttered and then started digging again.
"Anyway, we're not fucking super heroes," Stan repeated. "No one can know I have a power. I don't want people to think I'm even more of a freak then they already do."
"Hey," Mike said gently. "You're not a freak. None of us are freaks. Except maybe Richie."
"Yeah, a super freak," Richie spit back.
It was getting dark by the time they had finished burying the bodies. By the time they had made their way back to the community center they had agreed that they had to keep the powers a secret and got their story straight as to what had happened. Because it was inevitable that the police would eventually investigate. So they cleaned up, got dressed, and said their goodbyes before heading home.
Eddie's mom was yelling at him for being late as soon as he was in the door. He tried to explain to her that he couldn't control how long his community service went for, but she was having none of it. She 'sent him to his room' as if he was 13 again and not 22. Well, he had been planning on locking himself in there and never coming out again, so he wasn't going to fight it. He collapsed on his bed and tried to fall asleep but he couldn't. He was busy thinking about the way the probation worker looked, face caved in, and blood everywhere. How everyone looked horrified when they had realized what they had done. How Richie was going to stand by it because he would have done anything to save Eddie only though they had only known each other for two days. Not even two full days.
He imagined Richie at his own house, trying to figure out what his power was. Bev sitting on her balcony, lighting up one of her cigarettes with the tip of her finger. Ben turning invisible so he could sneak out for the first time in his life. Mike looking through the walls to check on his family while he hid in his own room. Stan flying higher and higher to get away from it all. And Bill? He imagined Bill going back in time and saving his little brother. Eddie thought he would look just like Bill, but younger obviously, and he'd smile so brightly knowing that his brother had literally bent the rules of time to rescue him.It was these thoughts of his new friends that helped him calm down enough to finally fall asleep.