CHAPTER 13- GETTING CLOSER
“Gwen!!!!” Lexi shrieked, rushing to her side in a flash.
“Oh, Gwen, what did he do to you?”
Sitting up in a ball of sweat, Gwen started hyperventilating as she turned her attention toward her mid-section. Much to their relief, it was only her shirt that was shredded, not her stomach, as Lexi had feared.
Doing a double-take and blinking her eyes, Lexi was relieved not to find any blood. After all she’d seen and been through, it was a welcome change. But at the same time, she knew that it wouldn’t last long, and it was only a matter of time before Krueger would strike again. Next time she might not be so lucky.
“Lexi?! What happened???” Gwen panted in awe, pulling her shirt away from her chest to get a good look. “Oh my god! I was in this dark boiler room, and these little girls were there jumping rope, and they were pointing right at me giggling. And that guy in the floppy hat…the guy that killed Manny...he was laughing, too, staring right at me with these evil red eyes...”
“It’s alright, Gwen, he didn’t get you,” Lexi insisted, hugging her as Gwen cried into her shoulder. “You’re back here with me now, safe in the real world.”
“My god, Lexi, what is happening to me?” Gwen whimpered as she noticed the four distinct claw marks on the front of her shirt.
“It’s exactly what HE wants,” Lexi informed her. “That bastard is trying to pick us off one-by-one just like he did my friends. He just never gives up.”
“Who the hell is he?” Gwen asked, puzzled as tears streamed down her reddened face.
“He’s a very bad man, if you can even call him that anymore,” Lexi responded, not wanting to reveal his identity just yet. “Look, I think we better round everyone up as soon as possible and have our group meeting before it’s too late. There may not be enough time to wait any longer.”
“Okay, I’ll look for Calvin, hopefully he’s still here,” Gwen stated, wiping her tears with her sleeve as she approached the door to leave. “Hey Lexi?”
“Thanks for watching my back.”
“Anytime,” Lexi replied with a smile, completely relating to her hysteria. “That’s what we’re here for. We have to look out for each other. It’s the only way we’ll survive.”
“You want to know the worst part?”
“It wasn’t the little girls laughing, or even those fiery red eyes glaring a hole right through me. It was that awful sound that nearly made my eardrums explode. It just made me want to cry, it hurt so bad.”
“It sounded like Mrs. Harrison, my old fourth grade English teacher, who used to drag her fingernails across the chalkboard intentionally just to get our attention. It made my skin crawl.”
Then, mimicking Krueger with her own hand, she did her impression of it: “It kinda went like this: SCREEEEEEEEEEEECH!!!!”
At that instant, Lexi’s mind replayed that throttling, raspy sound of Freddy Krueger’s knives scratching across the wall, and it sent a chill down her spine, bringing back so many bad memories.
“I know that sound all too well, believe me,” Lexi replied, shivering. “Now come on, get changed so we can go get the others. It’s time they know what’s really going on.”
“Haha! B&O Railroad! You owe me two hundred bucks!” Maria exclaimed as her counterpart, Suzette, landed on her space during a heated game of Monopoly. After hanging out in the common room, the two decided to take their mind off everything by playing a round of the great American board game. That would definitely kill some time, Maria suggested, and after that, they would have their meeting, and all their questions would be answered.
About halfway down the hall, Simon and Tex stopped them, and the end result was a four-person mega-war hosted by Parker Brothers and the guy in the little white top hat.
“That’s so unfair!” Suzette complained. “How can you own all four railroads like that?!”
“Um, that’s why the game is called Monopoly,” Tex interrupted as Suzette handed over her two yellow one hundred dollar monopoly bills to her roommate. “This one time, my paw made up a real Monopoly board based on our farm...and it had the hog pen instead of the jail, Cow Place instead of Park Place, and each railroad was a horse-drawn buggy...boy it was a hoot, laws yes it was...”
“Screw you,” Suzette chirped at him, flipping him the middle finger. “It’s your turn, and it looks like your little mini-boot thingy is eight spaces away from Boardwalk, cowboy, so I’d shut my mouth if I were you.”
Grabbing the dice, Tex shook them in his hands, blew on them for luck, winked at Maria, and tossed them onto the board, which was neatly set up on her bed. After bouncing around, the dice each stopped on four—for a total of eight.
“Woah, sumbitch!” Tex shrieked as Suzette jovially clapped her hands and cheered. “What’re the odds of that happenin’?”
“Not too good my friend,” Simon sighed, feeling bad for his friend. “I think that puts you out of the game now, doesn’t it?”
“Uhh, yeah, it does, actually,” Tex responded matter-of-factly, giving his remaining money to Suzette and heading for the door. “Good game, everybody.”
“Until next time,” he concluded, tipping his white ten-gallon cap at both Maria and Suzette, showing a sign of respect to both women.
“Where ya goin?” Simon asked as Maria grabbed the dice for her turn.
“I’m fixin’ to get some shut eye,” Tex informed them. “I’m really exhausted. I think I’m more tired now than after a whole day of picking corn back on the ole’ homestead.”
“Alright, well don’t forget about our meeting,” Maria reminded him. “Lexi said to make sure we were all there.”
“That girl scares me,” Suzette blurted out of the blue.
“What are you talking about?” Maria scolded her, giving her a dirty look. “She’s just like all of us.”
“I don’t know what it is, I just get this uneasy feeling around her,” Suzette answered. “Did any of you notice that the problems didn’t start until she came here?”
“So what?” Maria replied, defending her. “In case you haven’t noticed, the problems have followed us around long before we met Lexi. Why else do you think we’re all here?”
“Yeah, she’s right,” Simon added, and Tex nodded in agreement as well. “You can’t blame Lexi for stuff that was our own fault.”
“Yes, that’s true, but still, I know it might sound crazy, but I think Lexi has something to do with Manny’s--”
“Hey guys,” Lexi said half-cheerfully, peeking her head in the open door.
“What’s up Lex?” Maria said with a smile while the others instantly became tight-lipped in a panic of guilt, like they were caught shoplifting or something.
“We’re moving up the meeting,” Lexi stated. “There isn’t much time. Meet me in the TV room in ten minutes, and don’t be late.”
Proceed To Chapter 14
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