Here is the chapter 3! I hope you like it :D Thank you for reading it, and of course, Thank StrangerThanxsAnatomy my beta ;)

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Chapter 3: Remember the hurt

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Joyce lit a new cigarette. It was her second pack. As much as she tried to make sums on the calculator, the numbers didn't add up. Her head rested on her hand, with a sleepy expression on her face. "I can't believe it." The pencil fell on the table. It was evident that the new house generated more bills than they could afford. Jonathan also helped with his new job as a journalist, but it was difficult to make ends meet. The family had grown, and their new salaries were nothing to write home about.

She took a drag on her cigarette right just as the phone started ringing.

"Hello?"

"Joyce, is that you? Perfect, let's see. We have only forty seconds per call to avoid being tracked or heard, okay? All good?"

The woman rolled her eyes. Murray Bauman was definitely the definition of a paranoid conspiracy theorist man, and what was worse, she had to suffer his calls at least once a week.

"Yes, yes. All good for now." She leaned against the wall by the phone. It was going to be an exciting conversation. "For God's sake, Murray, I don't think anything's gonna happen if you ask me about the boys. In this city live many more worried boys and mothers; it's not of interest to anyone, not even for a boring telephone operator..."

"Shhh! Joyce, use ... the notebook! Oops ... have to go, thirty-five seconds." The line was cut, and annoying beeps indicated that Bauman had hung up.

"Great," She snorted as her nervous fingers extinguished the cigar in a nearby ashtray. That was far from being over.

The phone rang again, and Joyce picked it up again, knowing she had to summon all her patience.

"Don't say anything, Joyce, let me talk. Well, I will tell you that I have kept watching the forest and, well, although the deer have remained silent, and the frogs are still in the pond, according to my last ... sightings ... the white fox continues to hibernate until winter passes, but, the red fox has asked for... food but I don't know exactly what. I will continue to investigate."

She ran her hand across her forehead as her lips pressed to avoid shouting something obscene. She did not understand anything at all!

"Thirty-seven seconds," Murray stated before the line cut again. Seriously, one of these days, it would be she who hung up. Worst of all, she couldn't call him back. Not even to shout at him how absurd it was.

Murray believed that someone was chasing him, and that is why every time he called her, he used a different public phone. Even so, He had left her a phone number, but it was only for emergencies, and she could only call him in case of impending nuclear catastrophe. Yes, he had literally told her that. Annoying.

How Jim could have considered him a friend is something that escaped her understanding. A man so unnerving with a friend with little patience. That was a potential train wreck. A sad smile drawn on her lips. Several months had passed, and any reason was enough to remember him every day, thinking of everything that could be and was not. Joyce sighed.

Having nothing better to do until the boys return, she decided to check the famous Murray's notebook.

She kept it in a kitchen drawer, under the bowl where she put the cutlery. Who would look there? God, maybe she was becoming as paranoid as he was.

"Let's see." She said aloud as her fingers turned the pages. Bauman had written down several words and their meanings on the side. The forest was Hawkins, obviously. He had talked about a deer, something about a frog ... Oh yes, the white fox that hibernated and some food.

"Fox is ... Russians" She read. Damn it, those guys never got tired? And why had he distinguished between red and white? There were no more types of foxes in the notebook and no colors. Great.

"Food... here: Material. Well, this is not very specific, either. And winter? She passed the pages until she reached the end. "Fuck, Murray, to be so cautious, half of the keywords are missing!"

Joyce remained restless. She didn't know what he had meant by referring to winter, but if it had something to do with the Russians, it couldn't be right.


Eleven looked at the clock with contempt. There were five minutes left before the bell rang. What a boring class. If she had her powers, she would have moved the clock handle. The girl was having a hard time adapting to school, and not having ever been to classes before didn't make it easier.

Hopper had been preparing her for that moment. He taught her many new words and even brought her books about math. The man seemed obsessed with her learning to do counts. He always said that smart kids knew a lot about it, so it was the only subject that she was good at it.

Other days, if she was fortunate, he picked up a new book from the library. Somebody said that Hopper didn't get along with the Hawkins librarian, so making that effort to get El books was something she appreciated a lot.

Joyce was definitely right. He would have liked her to go to school. Perhaps, that was the only motivation that dragged her, day after day, to attend those dull classes. El couldn't let that effort have been in vain. She felt she owed it to him, it was an outstanding debt.

Finally, the bell rang and started a race by all students to see who left first the class. She finished putting away the books and saw that Will was already at the door. The boy had become her own shadow since she confessed witnessed the memories of another person.

"Ready to go home?" He grinned. "You will not believe it, but today in science class, a frog has escaped, and the professor almost has a heart attack!"

Eleven looked at him with some envy as she headed towards the exit. " Well, nothing unusual happened to me. Oh, yes." The girl pushed the door with a malicious smile. "Mr. Thompson has taken Jodie to the board to solve an equation ..."

"And? Came on, don't play hard to get."

She can't stop herself from laughing. "Well, Jodie is null in math. Then the teacher pointed at me, and I solved it without problems. You should have seen her face when he congratulated me. Whoa. It was super!"

Will and Eleven laughed until they stood in the small parking lot where they had left their bikes. They were not there.

"What?" The surprise was evident in their faces.

"Well ... it seems that someone has lost something, don't you feel sad guys?" A voice behind them replied.

"Jodie!" Exclaimed an outraged Eleven. "Give us back the bikes!"

"Oh Look... not only does she ridicule me in class, but the freak accuses me of being a thief. Wow... That's impressive. " Jodie put her arms around her waist and gave them a daring look. "Let's see if you can calculate this ... two geeks, minus two bikes ... equal to ... you're walking home."

Eleven quickly crossed the distance that separated her from the other girl. "I said, give them back to us." The tone she used made it clear that she was angry, so Jodie's friends began to approach them. They were at least five.

Will took Eleven by the shoulder. "Come on, it's okay... we'll find them," he said, using a conciliatory tone as he looked at the group. The boy definitely didn't want problems.

"Yes, listen to your friend, geek. And go look for them elsewhere."

Eleven took another step. "No!" she was practically nose to nose with the other girl "You will tell us where they are, and you will tell us now!"

Jodie whistled slyly. "And why would I do that? Should I be afraid of you or something?"

Will stood between them. "Come on, Jane, we'll be late."

The boy did not like that scene, he had heard rumors in the school that it was better to go along with that group, they could be real thugs if they wanted to. They said that even one of them had a pocket knife.

"But who invited you to get into this?" One of Jodie's friends punched Will in the stomach, and he doubled in pain.

Eleven witnessed it helplessly, "Will!" She couldn't believe it. The problems were with her, and in the end, there were always others who paid for it.

"Don't worry, I'm fine." Will groaned, trying to straighten.

Jodie took advantage of the distraction and grabbed Eleven by the collar of her shirt, holding her tightly. "Listen to me, fool. If you make me look ridiculous again in class, I swear that you and your friend will regret it. This time they were your silly bikes, but later, well ... who knows."

Eleven looked at her without saying anything. She really didn't know what to say. How could that girl hate her so much, without even knowing her?

"Please, you're boring," Jodie said, releasing her. "No wonder your father is dead, sure it was your fault." She put on a face of intense sorrow. "You killed him of boredom."

Her friends started laughing and left together to another nearby bicycle parking lot.

El was stuck on the site. She shrank, and for a moment, her body forgot how to breathe.

Will began to worry. "Calm down, El, don't listen to them. You know it is not true."

A tear began to fall down the girl's face as she shook her head. In recent months if she had time for something, it was for thinking. Reflect on what she could have done and did not do. How she could have saved Hopper.

"He was with me when I closed the portal of the laboratory. He protected me," The girl murmured. "I wasn't with him when he had to close the Russian one."

"Come on, El, don't do this to yourself. We all did what we could, okay? It was not anyone's fault, let alone yours. You have saved us many times." Will went to hug her, but she turned away from him in anger.

"Yes, it was." There was a determination in her eyes. She believed it. "I was not strong enough to keep my powers, nor quick to dodge that monster in the cabin, nor ready to have known that he would need my help. It's my damn fault!" She screamed.

Jodie and her group turned as they heard that cry and laughed again. Eleven felt an inner unease; tears fell faster. She looked around, feeling nauseous. Everything was out of focus.

El tried to take a deep breath, but her chest ached. She only listened to Will, far away, calling her name and the laughs ... those laughs ... made her sick. The girl felt her head was about to explode and put her hands on both temples.

They had hurt Will right in front of her, and ... were they mocking Hop's death? How dare they?! Messing with her was one thing, but messing with her loved ones was something very different.

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...When life hurts you, because it will, remember the hurt. The hurt is good. It means you're out of that cave...

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"Let's go El, they don't deserve your tears." Said the boy in a last attempt to calm her.

"No ..." Her voice was almost inaudible. "No!" Finally, she could breathe air into her lungs, "NooooooOOOO!" That screech full of rage and pain frightened several birds that flew in fright.

A tremendous crunch echoed through the air, and Will spun fast enough to see a significant branch split. It was from the tree that was just above Jodie's friend's bikes.

"What the... hell!" They stated in disbelief just as the big crunch sounded in front of them.

The branch had fallen just above their bikes, reducing them to simply redoubled irons with no greater use than to end up in the landfill.

Will stared at Eleven. Her nose was bleeding.

To be continued

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