When Bill thrust out of the cave water and back into Its lair, he was disoriented, taking in deep, gulping breaths. He listened closely for the others as he bobbed up and down, but all he could hear was the distant sound of rumbling, of the deadlights lightning, flashing up the darkness in sinister blue strikes.
He couldn't see the monster, nor could he hear its thundering footsteps. With a grunt he pulled himself out of the water and onto the rocky terrain and lay there panting. He searched the area again for some sign of life but there was none. The deadlights above cast an eerie glow as they hummed and spun, a trio of blue flames. Bill crouched and moved himself closer to a jagged rock, not taking the chance that Pennywise could see through those lights. There was honestly no telling what this thing was now capable of, and just how powerful it could be in its new form.
One thing he did know, which he was certain Pennywise knew as well, was that the losers were strongest together. They had defeated It as a group and that was how they'd beat this improbable monster again. It was essential that they regroup.
Bill looked behind him at a tunnel that was closer by. He’d have to start there. Despite his ability to face It via his childhood memory of his dead brother, he didn't like his odds with an It that was skulking around as a massive spider like thing, that could probably outpace him over a long distance. But he had no other choice. He would have to hope that he didn't run into It, or at least spot It before the monster spotted him.
He stood slowly and shivered, cold air hitting his soaked body. He tried to stick to the rocks, moving steadily forward but checking behind him almost frantically. He wished he could call out for the others. But if they were facing their own fears, under Pennywise’s influence, then he'd have no back up if he caught the clowns attention.
He reached the larger cavern and crept in. He dragged a hand along the wall as he moved, the light behind him fading. He couldn't hear anything hear but he still refused to shout out. The darkness was consuming now and as he checked behind him he only saw the distant glow of flashing light. Thankfully nothing else. He saw no choice but to call out, and so he did, softly.
“Ben? Mike?” he whispered, “Anyone?”
He made to turn back when there was no answer, when he heard a quiet voice.
“Bill,” the voice was deep and soft, which he instantly recognized as Mike’s.
He moved forward, “Mikey,” he gasped, “I’m here but I can’t see you. Talk to me.”
“Bill,” Mikes voice was weak, “go back.”
Bill’s brow furrowed at Mikes words but he continued on. As he reached the end of the cave he began to see a little better, his eyes finally adjusting to the low light. He could see a body lying on the floor.
Mike was crumpled in on himself, his face peering up as Bill approached, mouth a firm downward line. Bill crouched beside him and gently tried to turn him over. Mike hissed out.
“Stop,” Mike said, pressing a hand on Bills chest, “It's no good.”
Bill stared down at his friend with worry, and as he laid a hand down beside them, he felt something warm and wet. He jerked away and looked at the dark color dripping off his palm. His heart thudded heavily against his rib cage.
“Mike-...we- we n-need to get you out of here.”
Mike’s eyes watered as he stared back, and he rested a hand on Bill’s thigh. “No, you need to go. Its,” he took a deep, painful breath, his expression tight, “its too late for me. Take the others, and go…”
“I’ll carry you,” Bill asserted, already shifting his arms under the man's legs, “I’ll-”
“I’m sorry Bill.”
“For everything...you need to go.” Mike pushed at Bills arm, and then rose a shaky arm to the entrance way, “It’s a dead end. Please go.”
Bill remained there, with his arms hooked over Mike’s body. His eyes welled but he’d didn't blink, as if unable to take his eyes off the dying man. He didn't need an expert to know that Mike had lost a significant amount of blood. He would need emergency attention right now, which clearly wasn't going to happen. All he could do was hold his friend, and so he did, wrapping an arm carefully around his upper body. The man laid his arm on Bill for a while, before his gripped slackened, and fell. Mike went still.
“Mike,” Bill sobbed into the mans jacket, “Mike.”
“Oh Mikey, oh no.”
Bill jumped and twisted, looking at the cavern entrance. His heart constricted in his chest at the sight of the abomination lurking there, Its giant form blocking out much of the blue light. He could see its golden eyes leering at him.
“Why the sad face Billy,” the monster said in its quivering tone, its many hooked feet gripping the ground as it prowled into the space, “He won’t be alone.”
Bill stood on shaky legs, never breaking eye contact with the looming clown, its smile widening as it drew near. “You can kill me,” he said, “ But the others will destroy you.”
Pennywise grinned at him, showing off its many jagged teeth. The thought briefly occurred to Bill that this was what Georgie saw before the end.
The clown pressed against the opposite side from Bill, arms melodramatic as they held onto the wall, as if it were afraid of him and the threat he presented. Its eyes widened with concern, but remained a piercing yellow. As if Bill stood any chance of harming it while he was weaponless and alone.
“No little buddy, no they won’t. Do you know why?”
Bill said nothing, his heart pounding as it crept closer, preparing himself for one last ditch attempt at escape by running past it. The clowns eyes sharpened on his movements, its red mouth curved upwards and beaming.
“Because they're dead.”
“No,” Bill sharply asserted. The clown was almost upon him now.
“Yes. Dead dead dead, just like little Mikey.”
“No! Liar!” Bill didn't dare to wait, spinning on his heels and lurching forward. He felt regret at leaving Mike but had no choice. The ground shook as Pennywise moved, and a large limb whipped out in front of Bill, the tip deadly sharp.
Bill grunted as he dropped to the ground, rolling beneath it and sprinting again. Pennywise growled and Bill felt it as a full body vibration as he ran, taking no interest in looking back. He would head for another hole, one too small for It to fit through.
The clowns growl broke off into a disconcerting giggle. Heavy footsteps thudded as the beast galloped behind him, gaining so fast that very suddenly Bill swore he could feel its ragged breath on the hairs on the back of his neck.
Bills legs pumped as fast as he could go, the muscles burning. He staggered on rocks but kept going. He was so close to the other cave, having made it across the room without being sliced in half. He couldn't even hear the footfalls of Pennywise anymore.
He all but leaped the last few steps, when a large shadow fell from above, knocking him to the floor. He cried out as his back hit the ground with a dull thud, the hard and rough ground offering no mercy to his soft body.
His eyes squinted through dust as he heaved in air, looking up. The clown had struck down and was watching him from its perch, the lower part of its body still attached to the wall while its face and arms stood straight as needles, as if ready to pounce on his tiny form.
Bill pulled himself back with his aching arms, but struggled to get up. It smiled down at him, its mouth opening with a hiss of warm, foul breath which ruffled his dark hair. Its pointed legs stabbed into the ground with each step it took as it hovered over him, drool running down its chin.
“Poor buddy, so close,” it murmured.
“Richie! Ben! Anyone!” Bill called out with disgust, upset he had to bring his friends into this.
Pennywise drew back, its head cocked to the side and eyes drifting. “Oh,” it said, “what's that sound?”
Bill looked around desperately, then focused on the monster. He forced himself up with a grunt and stumbled back from the beast. Pennywise looked back at him like a hawk eyeing a mouse.
“It is the sound,” it whispered conspiratorially, “of dead friends who do not show.”
“I-I don't believe y-y-ou.”
“Do you need me to show you? They are mere bones little buddy, I licked them clean.”
“Fuck you! Beverly, Eddie!” Bill voice was growing hoarse.
“As Mikey said,” It’s voice shifted to Mike’s, mimicking the sounds of his dying friend. “it's no good Bill.” Then it cackled, “just one filthy child left.”
Pain wracked down Bills back as he tried to straighten his spine, the true hopelessness of his situation settling in. The only reason he was still alive was because It was amused at their conversation. The game could end at any time. He took a slow step back.
Pennywise cooed, “Poor Billy all alone. His friends all gone. All except...one.”
Bill grit his teeth, his clammy hands clenched into fists.
“Good ole Pennywise is still here, still here for my Little Buddy.”
“They aren't gone!” Bill shouted, and lowered himself to grab the nearest rock. He flung it as hard as possible at the smiling monster, watching with pleasure as its face twisted into a snarl. It’s arm blocked the small stone, batting it away like a crumb of dirt. When it glared back at Bill, its eyes had bled into red.
“Nasty little brat. I’ll make you scream.”
Bills eyes widened, his stomach flooded with ice cold fear. He turned to run but this time It wasn't playing, and its tentacle like arm grabbed him before he had the chance. He yelped as it coiled around him, twisting tightly until it was all but squeezing the life out of him. He could feel his ribs bend ominously beneath its grasp. He let out tiny wheezing breathes.
It brought him to its face, it’s large head encompassing his view. Bill tried to squirm but It shook him in retaliation, making him whine in pain.
“Time for me to show you. I will show you everything Little Buddy.”
Bill watched with horror as the chalk white flesh of its grinning face peeled back, rows of yellowed teeth spiraling inside its maw, hellfire burning brightly from the back of its throat.
“No!” he wheezed, trying to free his arms from its coils, “N-no!”
It was useless. Bill shut his eyes, but the back of his eyelids tinted bright red, and he found them opening against his will to gaze at the orange light. It was the bright light of a sun, white in its intensity and not to be stared at. But he was paralyzed. The brightness didn't hurt him physically, but was impossible to turn from.
His squirming grew weaker as it felt like his very soul was leaving his body. He could hear screaming. And then he was blasted with visions. Some of them were harmless, things that he couldn't even comprehend. But then he saw his friends.
Bill moaned and shifted his numb body.
‘You deserve this Little Buddy’
The voice of It was distant as it purred, as it showed him. His friends last moments of fighting, and dying at the end of its bloody claws and teeth. And then it was eating them and Bill screamed. He felt the wet sensation of tears rolling down his blindly staring eyes.
He knew the futility of asking It not to do something, much as he had with Dean. But sheer helpless horror forced the words out of his mind, begging it not to destroy his mind out of self preservation.
And so he was rightfully shocked when the images faded, and he found himself looking into a void of black.
He felt a presence then, behind him. But he couldn’t look, or maybe he had -but it was hard to distinguish as everywhere was black. Something warm pressed against him, curled around his being. Bill could do nothing but cry out, his real body squirming within the loosened hold of Pennywise’s limb, which he still felt distantly.
‘What do you think Little Buddy,’ It said, and Bill knew without being told that it was talking about the void. It spoke with such warm pleasure, as if this wasn’t a pit of emptiness but in fact something beautiful.
‘Oh silly boy. It is not empty, nowhere near. But you are pathetically human. Maybe if you stay here, with me, you will see. See as I see, everything there is in my home. Would you like that? Would you love that?’
‘NO LET ME OUT’
The creature chuckled and the noise echoed around him, over the sounds of screaming and the bright golden light as something hooked him, pulling him out and out of that fiery lights, out from the throat of teeth and into his real body again.
Bill gasped and blinked his dry eyes, feeling the sting of shed tears lining his face. His head fluttered with foreign thoughts, and ached with how overstuffed it felt like the most intense migraine.
“Please,” Bill tried, “please end it.”
Pennywise stared down at him, relaxed and serene, it’s toothy maw smirking. “Haven't we been having fun together?”
It reached a large gloved hand out, and pinned Bills head back with a thumb under his throat, and forefinger around his skull. It wiggled Bill’s head with a chittering giggle, as if imagining popping his head with a mere twist.
“There is nothing left for you little brat...but I am feeling merciful.”
Bill choked back a laugh, frustrated and horrified at Pennywise’s idea of mercy. His friends were dead and It had made him watch posthumously.
“You will stay with me, until I rest. And then you will rest. And I will keep you alive until it bores me.”
“You can’t do this, I’ll kill you!”
“Billy,” the clown murmured in a soft, warning tone, “You failed with the best chance you had, with The Other helping you. And your friends. Your chances are now nonexistent.”
It crawled with Bill still gripped in its snake like limb. “You are welcome to try. But know there will be retribution. Would you like to see how you fare with one leg Little Buddy? One arm?” It snickered, “That would be amusing.”
It beamed with sudden excitement, “You would be just like Georgie then! Would you like to se-”
“Enough!” Bill snapped, “I get it, y-you don’t need t-to go on.”
The clown softened, its eyes still a wicked yellow as it observed the human in its grasp.
“Let's hope not little Billy, for your sake, let's hope not.”