Eddie Kaspbrak was terrified out of his mind.
He'd been walking behind Richie in the Derry sewers one moment, and then the next his feet were on a soft, sandy ground instead of the metallic bottom of the sewers. Seagulls screeched above him, and he swore he heard a clicking sound somewhere. Kind of like a really big crab.
He swallowed and reached for his aspirator, spraying it into his mouth just go be safe. It tasted like piss, as usual. But if he could taste the piss spray, then it meant this wasn't a dream and he'd really teleported to a place he'd never even seen before.
While he pondered this, he neglected to notice the clicking sound gradually getting louder. And that was when he was snatched off his feet by the back of his shirt the way kids were in movies by bullies. Eddie Kaspbrak screamed.
"Hush!" yelled a husky voice from behind him. Eddie could infer that this was the voice of whoever had grabbed him. Whoever it was shouted behind him and waved their arms, making Eddie shake in their grasp. The thing dropped him on what felt like more solid ground underneath his feet. He was feeling a little bit weak in the chest from shrieking like that. What he was looking at was not a thing, but a man. A man who looked like a superhero. An Old West gunslinger from one of those old comic books. But he looked tired. His hair was ragged and his face dotted with stubble.
"Who are you?!" Eddie inched backwards, preparing to run depending on how the man answered.
"I am Roland of Gilead," the man said simply. He squinted. "Jake...Jake Chambers?"
"My name's Eddie," he said, trying to keep the fright out of his voice. He had seen Pennywise the Clown, he could deal with a stranger or two. "I'm from Derry, Maine. Where am I?"
"You are not Eddie."
"My mom named me that. Well, actually, she named me Edward, but everybody calls me Eddie. Did your mom name you Roland of Gilead?"
Roland of Gilead gawked at him. "You look similarly to Jake Chambers and yet say you are Eddie."
"Who's Jake Chambers?"
"Never mind it," Roland of Gilead said. "I saved your life, Eddie from Derry, Maine. This beach is no place for children. There are monsters here. Perhaps you are my Eddie, after all. He is equally rash." Roland said this with almost fondness. "I awoke this morning and saw that my Eddie had gone for a walk. It appears he has disappeared and left Eddie from Derry, Maine in his wake."
"Can you tell me where I am?"
Roland looked puzzled. "Midworld. I trust that you are very far from Derry, Maine. Did you come through a door?" There was something funny about the way he said 'Derry, Maine.' It sounded like Derrymaine when he said it.
"No. I was just there one moment and here the next."
"The universe works in mysterious ways," Roland said. "Would you like something to eat?"
"Sure." He felt awfully useless, sitting down outside a makeshift hut while Roland bustled around in a pile of...something by what looked like a campfire. He produced a few pieces of meat. Eddie noticed he was missing two of his fingers and grimaced, thinking about how that would feel, to lose your fingers.
"It is lobstrosity meat. The lobstrosities would have killed you had I not intervened. Now instead, you will eat their flesh." He smiled, like that was a Roland of Gilead joke. Eddie gulped. Roland shoved the two pieces of meat into Eddie's hands. They looked sort of dirty and sandy, and Eddie wondered if he was going to get salmonella. But there was a gentle, childlike smile on Roland of Gilead's face, like he was proud of his monster meat. So Eddie tried it.
It tasted kind of like crab. Maybe he could get used to this.
Eddie Dean would have been sure he was high, if he hadn't been denied drugs for the past couple weeks, that was.
He'd gotten up and planned to take a little stroll to get away from that bastard gunslinger for a few minutes. But he'd set one foot down and ended up here. Where 'here' was, he wasn't really sure. It was dark. And wet. And kind of disgusting. Something smelled pretty awful. It was like he was inside a really dark toilet. Roland could have his quest for the Dark Tower, but it seemed that Eddie's true destiny was the Dark Toilet.
Somebody was calling his name.
It sounded like a kid. A kid with an accent like those upstate Maine assholes, the kind who were close enough to Canada to practically be Canadian. "Eddie!" The voice called again.
"I'm right here," Eddie yelled tiredly. There wasn't much conviction behind it. "What the fuck do you want?"
Silence on the other end. Alright.
Then there was flashlight in his eyes. He covered them instinctively. "You're not Eddie," the kid voice said threateningly. It belonged to a skinny little guy who didn't look older than thirteen. From what Eddie could see when he drew his hand away, he had blond-red hair, freckles, and glasses like a nerd from a 50s high school film. In front of him was an honest-to-god ginger kid, and behind him was a chubby kid and a skinny kid with a pointy Boy Scout's hat. One girl was standing behind the ginger. Her hair was as red as his.
"My name's Eddie," he said, like he was trying to prove himself. "Eddie Dean. Ex-junkie. Aw, shit, I used to have a job title to put in one of these descriptions but now I have no idea what the hell I do. Eddie Dean, companion to gunslinger? Doesn't have the same ring to it." The kids stared at him blankly. "Look. I was just minding my own business, and then all of the sudden I'm in the dark and I hear somebody calling my name. What do you want me to do?"
"O-our Eddie's younger than you," ginger boy said. He had an audible stutter.
"Well, damn. I can't help you. Where am I, anyways?"
"The sewers of Derry, Maine," the girl said. She turned to ginger boy and said what she thought was whispers to him. "Maybe it'd be good to have a grownup with us."
"Do you think he can see It?" The chubby one asked.
"I don't give a shit if he can do a backflip underwater," the 50s nerd said impatiently. "I just want to find Eds."
"Maybe this Eddie can help us," the girl said brightly. "Hi, Eddie Dean. I'm Beverly Marsh." He looked into the girl's face, and immediately he knew. It was the same look he'd had when Henry had shoved him too hard. He wanted to tell her it was okay, that whoever was hurting her was full of shit.
"Nice to meet you, Beverly Marsh." Ginger boy was Bill Denbrough, chubby one was Ben Hanscom, 50s nerd was Richie Tozier, and Boy Scout was Stan Uris. "So, what do you need me to do for you?"
"We're looking for a c-clown," Bill said.
"And our friend," Richie added.
"A clown in the sewers. Not the weirdest thing I've ever done."
"Welcome aboard, cap'n," Richie said, in one of the worst English sailor imitations Eddie had ever heard.
"My fucking grandmother could do a better British accent than that. If you're planning to become a voice actor, give up while you still can."
"Hey! I'd like to see you try and do better!" Richie looked indignantly at him. So Eddie did. Richie looked silently at him for a moment, then shoved him and told him he was an amateur.
Eddie figured he was part of the gang now.
Within an hour, Eddie Kaspbrak returned to Derry knowing a little more about Midworld mythology and how to kill a lobstrosity, and Eddie Dean returned to Midworld knowing a little more about what kids in the 50s thought was funny and what laid in the Derry sewers. Needless to say, both experiences were educational.
This was one of the best ideas I've ever had.