The world moved too quickly on the move. The people, the energy, the vans, all seemed to be only a step behind them with each one they took. And yet, even with the largely notable passage of time from when the two first sprinted out their door, knowing that the inevitable had finally begun, the very night anyone could trace it all back to seemed to be only a lifetime away.
Surely the night filled with glorious drugs and an even better payout would top the movement of some big city (Or as ‘big city’ as you can get in Indiana anyway) businessman, or the amount he missed out on due to his eyebrow-raising tolerance to said drugs compared to some clique gossiping about god knows what, but it all churned out to be any more than a very distant memory.
“Hop, how much longer do we have to run like this?” El wined, peering aimlessly at the bright lights and warmth around them. The welcoming and glimmering shops seemed unbelievably more comfortable and cosy compared to the ill-fitting Fraggle Rock t-shirt, stained purple skirt, and light-up sneakers. A sloppily thrown together masterpiece at best, but it was all Hopper managed to grab before rushing off and away from any possible prying eyes. “I want to go home!”
“Yeah, well Hop fucked up and now we can’t call anywhere home.” Holler shot back, making a quick and sharp turn into a sea of people and hopefully far enough away from the vans. It had pained Hopper to be so blunt with El, especially with her lack of normal childhood, but it was the painful truth. Or what El had known of it anyway.
Sure, Hopper had volunteered himself awhile back to be shot up with whatever fancy new drug science had conjured you, and he was certainly paying for it now, but that wasn’t the full story. What Hopper was yet to inform his so-called daughter (By all means of paperwork and records, El was his child, but anything can be forged as long as you know the right people) was the other half’s mistakes, the unplanned disappearance and adoption to come.
But that wasn’t something Hopper could tell her now. Perhaps once they made it to a hotel, assuming he had the money. Or when they get out of the country and as far as possible from Hawkins oh-so-spooky lab. Or, if everything came out the way he could only hope they would, he could leave everything the way it is, and not worry about any sort of tangled ends.
Nonetheless, they couldn’t worry about it now. What the could fret about now, though, was the three men in green jumpsuits who had managed to spot them in the sea of pedestrians, and were now jumping back into the van to collect them.
“Left!” Hopper shouted, quickly moving in said direction and pulling a frightened El with him. Many people made their position noted, with a slew of ‘Hey!’s and ‘Watch where you’re walking!’, though the responses were deemed unimportant to the two as they made their way deeper into the crowd.
“You need to stop a taxi,” Hopper said confidently, pushing through a man and women pair. The two scoffed in response but said little against the occurrence. “There.”
Hopper pointed at a taxi making its way down the crowded street slowly but surely. The van was only four cars behind it, with the number slowly decreasing as they went on, but they had to take the chance. Hopper gripped onto El’s hand quite a bit harder and began pulling through, making sure to move as quickly and as comfortable as possible.
“But what if he gets hurt?” El questioned, following the man’s lead into the street. Just as they had in the bustling sidewalks, the pair was now met with a symphony of car horns as they tried to get close enough to the car.
That was likely El’s biggest downfall, her compassion and worry of the people around her. She could still remember the restless nights-the ones in their Hawkin’s home, back when they lived in the tip of the blade-when Hopper would succumb to the memories of his tainted past, and El would wander down to the kitchen in order to make sure that.. that he was still breathing, really.
It would always be in the very early morning, no earlier than 1:30, and Hopper-in his drunken sons and fears- would spill everything about everything that had ever happened, and El would just listen. She wouldn’t understand it, not for years to come, but she’d listen, attempting to keep Hopper at bay and make sure he’d be able to see another day.
They’d stay up for however long it took, or until Flo came over to question why Hopper’s light was on at 4:30 in the morning and scold him on how both he and his daughter needed sleep, and they’d listen and just go their separate ways.
And while that was okay at the time (Never good, as Hopper always felt guilty for pushing all his problems in such a young girl), it worked more like a burden now that their lives quite literally depend on it.
“You can’t worry about that right now.” Hopper shot back, only realizing his mistake once El began to sink down a bit. He wanted to apologize, and he would apologize, but only once they made it into the taxi and away from the men who were now only two cars behind the taxi.
“Just try not to stop it too hard, just enough to make it so we can get in.” Hopper corrected, quickly looking behind to get a grasp at how much time they had left. One minute tops. Though not showing it, Hopper felt as if he could break down, but not now, not at a time like this. Just add it to the list of things he’d do once he made it into the car, and as far as possible from the van.
El looked to Hopper sadly but continued on sadly. She shut her eyes tight as the world seemed to stop around them, the once quickly moving cars ceasing and the chitter of passing pedestrians quitting just as quickly as they began. But most importantly, and likely the most surprising for anyone who may have been watching, was how slow the taxi had become.
Slow, slower, slowest, until finally: It stopped. El barely had time to wipe her nose before being dragged even further down the street. Hopper grinned excitedly and briefly flipped the creeping the bird. Just barely could he see the driver yell in anger as he pushed himself and El into the car.
“Drive,” Hopper commanded, checking his coat pocket for a tissue to wipe El’s increasingly bloody nose. The only downside to her ability. The driver, still shocked by his sudden and unplanned stop, looked at his two passengers with an odd look.
“How..?” The driver stuttered, glancing at Hopper and El in the back. “How’d you do that?”
El was about to speak up behind her red-stained tissue but was quickly interrupted by Hopper. He held and now out of date police badge and likely cancelled credit card (He wouldn’t be surprised if the lab had cancelled it by now, and even if they hadn’t they would soon enough) and passed it towards the man.
“Get us to the closest airport and as far away as possible from that van,” Hopper said, referring to the car now only one vehicle behind them. The man glanced further back as he took the credit card, unsure of how to make the payment. “Keep the card, the station hands them out yearly. Probably has a good three hundred on it.”
“Three hundred?” The man asked greedily, quickly shoving the card into his picket and turning his car back into action. He needed to hear no more from Hopper, likely thinking of all the things he’d be able to do with the newfound cash.
And with that, they were off. It was only a matter of moments before they had ditched the van completely, and they were speeding down an Indiana highway. The man didn’t try to make conversation, but instead only continued daydreaming about all the stuff he’d get. What a pity it would be when he found out the truth.
“Why in such a rush, officer?” The driver questioned as he turned onto a lowly populated road. The once crowd of people moving from place to place was long gone, with little more than a few other cars-and no vans- making themselves present on the streets. It was almost calming to just peer out the window, so much so that El had since closed her eyes and drifted off, with Hopper nodding in and out of consciousness the further they went, but the inevitable of where they would go after they got out still hung over them.
“It’s been a long day.” Hopper finally said, turning his view to the window and away from the driver’s glance. The man nodded knowingly, leaning over to open his glove box and pulling out a pack of cigarettes. He passed it back to Hopper, taking only one out for himself.
“Keep it, I’m sure you’re tip has covered another twenty packs.” The man said simply, closing his glove box once Hopper freed his hand.
“Yeah, thanks..” Hopper said, pocketing the box and pulling El closer. And with that, that car became completely silent.
The man didn’t try to turn on the radio or make conversation again, but instead began to hum lowly. Hopper couldn’t quite make out the song, but it all felt familiar. Soon enough, the entire world seemed to consume him, as his eyes slowly fell leaving only the bit of music to remain.
The last thing Hopper could recall before giving in to the complete darkness was the man’s unidentifiable song.