In 1983, in a US Department of Energy laboratory in the town of Hawkins, Indiana, a scientist is attacked by an unseen creature. 12-year-old Will Byers vanishes after encountering the creature while riding his bicycle home from a Dungeons & Dragons session with his friends. The next day, a young girl with a shaved head, wearing a hospital gown, steals food from a local diner. The owner, Benny (Chris Sullivan), takes pity on her and feeds her before calling social services. A woman posing as a social worker arrives and shoots Benny. Armed men search the diner for the girl, but she escapes. Joyce, Will's mother, believes she hears Will's voice on a distorted phone call, but her phone short circuits. Will's friends Lucas, Mike, and Dustin find the girl in the woods as they search for Will.