In November 1983 in Hawkins, Indiana, a scientist is attacked by an unseen creature at a U.S. Government laboratory. 12-year-old Will Byers encounters the creature and mysteriously vanishes while cycling home from a Dungeons & Dragons session with his friends Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson and Lucas Sinclair. Will's single mother Joyce reports his disappearance to police chief Jim Hopper, who starts a search for Will and assures Joyce that almost all missing children are quickly found. The lab's director Dr. Martin Brenner investigates an organic substance oozing from the lab's basement, claiming that "the girl" cannot have gone far. A nervous young girl with a shaved head wearing a hospital gown wanders into a local diner. The owner, Benny, learns from a tattoo on her arm that her name is Eleven. Brenner monitors the phone lines and sends agents to the diner after Benny calls social services. The agents kill Benny, however Eleven manages to escape using telekinetic abilities. Joyce's phone short circuits after she believes she can hear Will breathing on a phone call. While searching for Will in the woods, Mike, Dustin and Lucas come across Eleven.