cigarette memories

Way down deep we knew it would never last. We were in it for the kicks, for the thrill, for the joy, and all that was missing was the love. Slowly but surely my addiction to you faded. With every high, there comes a low, so I lit my last cigarette and said my last goodbyes. At least it was fun while it lasted.
—  @endlessunicornsauce faded memories :)

As a kid, I was fascinated by the girl on the Belinda cigarettes pack. Mysterious. Adult. World-wise. Who was she? She represented a different world, one that existed far away.

The idea of a female mystery figure always stayed with me: no doubt it was on my mind, subconsciously, when I drew my profile icon.

The illustration, originally from 1974, is by Frans Mettes (1909-1984).

The Second Biggest Lie (1/2)

Summary: A year after defeating the Shadow Monster, Joyce and Hopper go to the one person they think might have information a new danger in Hawkins. 

Unfortunately for them, that person is conspiracy theorist Murray Bauman. 

Also on AO3 here

“Well, well,” the man said, offering a yellowed smile as he leaned against the metal doorway. “Here’s a sight I thought I’d never see.”

Joyce frowned, looked over at Jim. He was holding steady eye contact with the man she guessed - from description alone - was Murray Bauman.

Police Chief Jim Hopper,” the man said, mocking. “What dire straits should bring you to my door? And accompanied by – “ Bauman made a great show of turning his head, dramatic. “The one and only Joyce Byers. At last, we meet. I’m Murray Bauman. You already know that.”

He didn’t extend a hand in formal greeting, which suited her just fine.

“He’s going to be an ass about this,” Jim had said on the ride there – a trip that had taken the better part of the day, and seen her staring at the sunset through the window of his police car. It was apparent from his terseness – the glower in his tone, the set in his shoulders – that he wasn’t looking forward to paying Bauman a visit. But with the lab gone and information scarce, it was a necessity. 

The lab’s departure had been a good thing, for a little while. And for a few months – well, almost a year – things had been normal. Jonathan had applied (and been accepted early) to NYU, where he would be attending next fall. Will’s mind seemed to be completely his again, with no “now-memories” blurring the present and past. Jane was receiving tutoring from Nancy and Dustin, in hopes of joining her friends in high school next year.

Joyce had gone back to work at Melvald’s and tried to keep tears from sliding down her cheeks every time she drove past the RadioShack, a flickering sign in the window that advertised “Now under new ownership!” and lessons for beginners interested in BASIC coding. Jim kept trying to solve mysteries of missing lawn ornaments and small-town crimes, their paths crossing when he dropped Jane off for D&D nights or at the arcade.

The lab’s departure had been a good thing, for a little while. Until Jane started having horrible headaches and bad dreams about Brenner – “papa,” Jim told Joyce she’d said, her voice shaking, her brown eyes tearful and haunted. Until Jane started having dreams about other kids – kids with numbers, just like hers – dreams that seemed less like her brain’s midnight musings and more like premonitions. And in those dreams, they were coming to capture her.

“I don’t understand,” Joyce had said when Jim told her, cigarette pinched between her fingers as they sat across from each other at her dining room table. The kids were in the living room, sounds of laughter accompanying the low hum of the light above her kitchen table, and everything – at least for the moment – seemed normal.

“Me, either,” Jim said. “Jane thought Brenner was dead. But now…”

He trailed off, and he didn’t have to finish his sentence for Joyce to know what he was thinking. Now, there was a question mark where there had once been a period. And if Brenner was alive, it stood to reason that he wanted Jane…and he might be willing to go to grave lengths to get her back.

The lab’s departure had been a good thing, until they’d realized that although the lab might be done with Hawkins, it might not be done with them.

Keep reading