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nightlights

Chapter Text

Blood dripped from the man’s hand onto the bathroom floor. He was staring at the ceiling with wide open eyes, his lips slightly parted. The bathtub water had turned red. The singular word, written in blood on the bathroom wall seemed to taunt Georgie Denbrough. ‘It.’

It was not the first time Georgie had dreamed this and a hundred other horrible possible deaths for Stanley Uris. He knew it was Stanley, even though he looked a different. Taller, older. Like his dad, Donald, a little. Georgie had dreamed of all the losers club members’ deaths. He’d memorized the many ways the seven of them died. Sometimes it was the clown. Other times it was a car crash. A trip down a flight of stairs. Choking. Certain deaths seemed to shine brighter than others in Georgie’s mind and he knew, without knowing how he knew, that these were the most likely events.

He’d dreamed of Stanley, dead in the bathtub more maybe than anything else.
The nightmares didn’t come every night. Sometimes they came once a week. Sometimes months would pass and there would be none and Georgie would start to feel safer going to sleep. Then, without fail, the violent dreams would be back, bloody and cruel.

‘Poor Stanley,’ he thought. Georgie was not a physical being in the dream. He had to exist, like vapor and air. Georgie Denbrough did not know the word ‘corporeal.’ If He had, he’d know that his state in these dreams – dreams in the Deadlights – was noncorporeal. Instead, he thought of himself as a ghost in the dreams. A ghost, a fly on the wall, observing but unable to interact with what he saw.

Georgie thought of Stanley almost like a brother so seeing him like this was almost like a physical pain, as if his heart – though it did not exist in this state because he was (a ghost) vapor and air - was literally breaking apart. Afterall, Stanley had helped save him That Summer. Georgie always thought of it that way, in capital letters, That Summer. Stanley and Billy and Eddie and Richie and Ben and Mike had saved him and Beverly.

Patricia Uris opened the bathroom door and Georgie wished he could close his eyes or look away from her expression, which was almost as horrible as Stanley’s dead body. He couldn’t. He couldn’t scream, or cry or close his eyes. All he could do was watch. Patricia dropped the beer can. ‘Now she’ll scream,’ Georgie thought. Indeed, Patricia Uris started screaming a few seconds later.

Georgie woke up covered in sweat and with tears streaming from his eyes.

He thought, not for the first time, of telling Bill about the dream. ‘They’re just dreams,’ he told himself. ‘Bill doesn’t need to know.’ Bill already had enough to worry about. Sometimes, when Georgie got up to go to the bathroom or get a glass of water, he would hear Bill in his room crying and saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I should have saved you sooner. I should’ve protected you.’ He didn’t know if Bill was talking about himself or Beverly, but he knew Bill was talking about the deadlights, and the events of That Summer. Bill didn’t need to know how much Georgie remembered, or how it was as if a fragment of light from the deadlights was still inside of him.

“It was just a dream,” he said out loud to the empty, dark room.

He got up and walked across the room to where a Snoopy nightlight Bill had gotten him, at his request, was plugged in but not lit. 'I know I told Mommy to light that before she left the room and she lit it, I saw her turn it on, she lit it -' a panicky voice in his head thought. Georgie ignored it, cut it off because it was silly. Mommy must have come back in and turned it off when he was asleep. He clicked the switch. Snoopy lit up. He walked back to his bed even though he wanted to run, he wanted to run and pull the covers over himself but he was a big kid now. Only babies did things like run across the room to hide under the covers and he was a big boy and he knew what was real and what wasn't. Still, some of the tension lifted from him when he was in bed, wrapped in the covers - safe. 'Safe from what?' he asked himself. He didn't know. He didn't want to think too hard about it.

"It wasn't real," he said to the empty room, trying to sound firm.

‘Wrong,’ said a cruel little voice. ‘The deadlights show you things, Georgie, all kinds of things. You know for sure some of them are true.’

Georgie hugged himself. ‘Yeah,’ he thought in defiance. ‘So?’ So what if some of it was true? Not all of it.

Besides, some of it was good. Not all the dreams felt the same. Some of them didn’t feel evil at all. ‘The turtle,’ he thought. ‘The turtle sometimes helps.’ But he didn’t know what that meant, so he brushed it off.

Like, he’d dreamed that Bill was a boy before Bill had ever explained it to him. Bill had tried to tell Georgie about being ‘transgender’ and Georgie hadn’t understood all of it, but he’d understood that Bill was his brother.

‘It’s ok, Billy,’ he’d said. ‘The turtle told me.’ He hadn’t known what he meant by that, but he knew it was true.

‘I didn’t even tell you my n-name,’ Bill had said, confused. ‘How did you kn-know?’

‘Is Billy not right?’ Georgie had asked, worried.

‘No,’ Bill said. ‘That’s right, Georgie.’ But he’d had an odd expression that Georgie hadn’t understood.

He’d dreamed of finding the dog with the broken leg hiding in the bushes by the street and Ben Hanscom adopting it and that had come true. That had been good, and Georgie was glad he’d known to look for the dog. He’d dreamed of Richie Tozier talking in a silly voice and kissing Eddie Kaspbrak on the kissing bridge and later Billy had mentioned that Richie and Eddie were in love. That was good too though.

‘Not all of it is good, stop lying to yourself,’ said the cruel voice that didn’t want him to be comforted.

He’d once dreamed of Sonja Kaspbrak crushing something up and sprinkling it into Eddie’s water and the next day Eddie had called to tell Bill he couldn’t play, and Georgie had insisted to Bill that the two of them go over there. When they had, Eddie had been strange and quiet and not himself. Georgie had asked Bill what was wrong as the two of them walked home but Bill just shook his head.

Georgie had been eight at the time and he hadn’t understood. He was just ten years old now, and he understood a little more. He didn’t want to think about this. He didn’t want to think about the deadlights. ‘Think about My Little Pony,’ he told himself. ‘Or SpongeBob SquarePants, or anything else.’ He looked over at the lit up Snoopy light and he felt a little better.

He closed his eyes to go back to sleep.

At around one o’ clock in the morning Zack and Sharon Denbrough awoke to hear their youngest child sobbing and calling for ‘Billy.’

Bill Denbrough had snuck out hours ago. Zack and Sharon had both heard him leaving and said nothing.