THE SPRINGWOOD SLASHER
CHAPTER 11- THE WEIGHT ROOM
At the same time Lexi was leaving the hospital, across town, at Springwood High School, Mike’s Corvette screeched to a halt near the gym’s back entrance, leaving a trail of rubber 10 feet long leading into a parking space.
Mike and Quinton rushed out of the car and slammed their doors hard with a sense of urgency. Nearby, Officer Darrell Jones sat in an unmarked squad car, watching their every move through a set of binoculars. A deputy by the name of Washington sat in the passenger’s side, and went to open his door, but Jones stopped him.
“Not yet,” the tall police officer said. “Just watch and wait.”
Randall Washington didn’t respond. He just sat there and reluctantly obeyed the direct order, clearly chomping at the bit to follow the Owls’ two most popular players. Washington, a short, stocky academy trainee, was assigned to Jones to assist him in his undercover operations. Jones knew that Washington was very green to the ways of the force, but if he stuck around long enough, maybe, just maybe, he could teach him how to be a real police officer, something most of the cops in this town had no clue about.
Silently, Washington watched as Jones lowered his binoculars and sat back in his seat, taking a draw of a Salem cigarette. He was intent on figuring out what these two were up to, but since he didn’t suspect any foul play from either one (any blotch on the record would ruin their football careers), he decided to bide his time and let things play out. He’d have them figured by dawn, he thought. By dawn for sure.
Inside the gym, Quinton led Mike running down the hall toward the weight room, determined to show him just what he’d found earlier. Breathing heavily, Quinton threw open the door with a loud thud, smacking it against the inside wall, but was instantly flabbergasted at what lay inside.
Absolutely nothing. No blood, no Swanny, nothing. There was no blood anywhere. Not splattered on the walls like he’d seen, and not on the floors in front of them. If he didn’t know any better, he’d swear the entire weight room was spic-and-span clean.
“What the fuck is this shit?” Quinton yelled, shocked.
“See, man, I told you, you’re just seeing things,” Mike responded. “Now come on, let’s get ready for the game.”
“No, god damnit, No!” Quinton fired back. “It was not this fucking clean. Swanny was right there against the wall. His blood and guts were splattered all over the place. Everywhere, Mike, I swear to God!”
“I think you spent too much time in the sauna, bro,” Mike replied.
“No way. No fucking way!” Quinton screamed. Now he was really beginning to wonder if he was losing his mind after all. “Well if he’s not here and he’s not dead, where the hell is he?”
“Probably down at the stadium,” Mike answered. “Which is where we should be.”
“I’m losing my mind,” Quinton relented, leaning his head against the wall.
“It’s alright man,” Mike stated, trying to calm him down. “You just have a lot on your plate right now. With the big game and your scholarship and all, you’re probably just trying to do too much too fast. I want to impress the scouts just as much as you do, but we gotta take it one step at a time. Come on, take a deep breath and relax, or you’ll never make it through the game tonight.”
Deep inside, Quinton was starting to wonder if he’d make it through the game at all, but he didn’t say it out loud.
“I know what I saw!” Quinton insisted. “I opened that door and I swear I saw Luke butchered against that wall like a piece of meat. He had these four cuts across his chest, like someone had clawed him or something.”
Mike didn’t respond. He just stared at Quinton as if to say, ‘yeah, right’, which further infuriated the talented Springwood wide receiver.
“Come on, man,” Quinton said. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed how many empty Starbucks cups are in your backseat. Or how many bottles of Sta-Awake pills you got on the floor? You don’t have to play this bullshit with me anymore. Just admit it. You dreamt of him too, didn’t you?”
“Dreamt of who?” Mike questioned, still on the defensive, but trying to play dumb.
“Oh, you know damn well who I’m talking about,” Quinton responded. “Freddy fucking Krueger!”
“Freddy Krueger?” Mike inquired, semi-agreeing with him. “HE’s the one that’s been after me all this time?”
“What do you mean after you?” Quinton piped back. “That bastard’s been on my ass for the last couple days, and apparently, he was after Swanson too, but he got him already, and we could be next. Me...you...your girlfriend...”
That last comment infuriated Mike, who grabbed Quinton by the collar and threw him against the wall. “You leave Lexi out of this!” He yelled. “She has nothing to do with it.”
“Oh, wake up and smell that fucking espresso you been drinking,” Quinton stated. “Has it ever occurred to you that Lexi lives at 8241 Elm Street?”
“Yeah, braniac, I knew that,” Mike said, still holding him in his clutches.
“Well,” Quinton continued. “Has it also ever occurred to you that her house number is the only one on the block that’s not even close to any of ours? I mean, come on, hers is 8241, but yours is 1490 and mine is 1532.”
“Yeah, so?” Mike asked, still clearly annoyed.
“Sooo,” Quinton stated. “Thanks to some research I did, I found out that Lexi’s house number isn’t 8241 at all. It’s really 1428, and they reversed the number to sell it. I guess Lexi’s mother was the only one they could dupe to buy it, so that’s how it’s been ever since. Anyway, that used to be Freddy’s house. It’s the house he hits every time he comes back.”
“Will you quit it with this Krueger shit?!” Mike demanded, not willing to accept the truth.
“Man, that’s where I was yesterday,” Quinton told him. “I went to the library and did some research on Krueger. I couldn’t find a damn thing about him in the historical archive, but I do know that he’s come back before, even after they killed him over and over. Doesn’t that sound weird to you?”
Mike didn’t reply. He just let Quinton go and headed back out toward his car to prepare for the game.
“I’m just trying to help,” Quinton stated as he caught up to him. “Any one of us could be next. Just listen to me this one time. Watch your ass.”
Again, Mike didn’t say a word. He just looked up at him and opened the passenger’s side door. Quinton got in, and the engine roared to life as Mike’s radio almost appropriately blared Ludacris’ “Go to Sleep.” Mike and Quinton just looked at each other, realizing the irony of the song as they sped away down the road.
During the whole brief ride over to the stadium, Mike and Quinton didn’t say one word to each other. Quinton guessed that what he said had finally got through, so he shut up. After about 10 minutes, they arrived at the back of the stadium and parked. Mike got out first and collected his gear, kicking some Starbucks cups out of his way to get his helmet. Quinton followed suit, and rounded up his gear too. But what Quinton didn’t notice was that as Mike gathered his things, he reached under the front seat and grabbed a fresh bottle of Sta-Awake pills and placed them into his pocket. Then, acting like nothing happened, he followed Quinton inside and they both went in through the players’ entrance.
Neither one said a word.
Proceed To Chapter 12
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