[001] lights out

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lights out
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┌─────── •✧• ───────┐CHAPTER ONElights out└─────── •✧• ───────┘

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( the disappearance of will byers )

• °:.☆ . ₊°• ☆ . ° .• °:. *₊ ° . ☆

THE CONSTANT HUM OF electricity has grown to a faint buzzing in Laura's ears now that her eight-hour shift is coming to a close. Her nails tap boredly on the cheap laminate countertop that her right elbow digs into, her chin propped up in her hand as she counts the seconds on the clock. "Maneater" by Hall & Oates plays faintly in the background, but that drone of power is always louder. George is in desperate need of new speakers — as she and her coworkers have told her a million times, but he won't listen. Says people don't come here for the music, anyway.

And they don't come for the food, either, Laura has to bite her tongue to keep from retorting. George's Family Diner isn't particularly known for extraordinary cuisine. But then again, nothing is extraordinary in Hawkins.

The lights flicker, burning more brightly for a second before returning back to their usual, washed-out luminescence. Laura sighs and rubs her aching eyes with her knuckles. Colors swarm her vision, yellows and purples conflating to form an ugly mass of swirls before her eyesight clears again. Ten more minutes. Ten minutes and then she can get the hell out of here.

"Watch out, boy, she'll — you —"

The skipped lyrics irk some distant part of her brain that had been subconsciously singing along. She blinks out of her daze and darts her eyes toward the jukebox next to the front door, where two young boys have begun rocking the machine back and forth.

Laura glances at the only table remaining. The mother is trying to stop a toddler from eating crayons and the father is doing nothing to help. Neither parent acknowledges their sons' misbehavior, so Laura rolls her eyes.

"Please don't rock the jukebox," she calls out flatly. Her monotone voice cuts through the otherwise quiet establishment like a blade.

The boys — probably eight and six — whirl around with wide eyes like deer in headlights, as if they'd forgotten that people work here and they aren't alone in the restaurant. The jukebox struggles to recover even after the assault has stopped.

"Oh-oh, here — comes — a maneater—"

All the lights shut off at once.

Laura notices the silence before her brain registers the abrupt darkness. For once, the electrical buzzing of the fluorescent lights is gone, and now her ears are met with nothing but ringing silence to fill the void. The song has cut out for good. Even the parents and kids have fallen completely quiet, struggling to adjust to the pitch blackness.

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