CHAPTER 27- THE BOILER ROOM
“Ohhhh, what happened?” Lexi groaned, sitting up on a dirty, rusted floor. “Where am I?”
Looking around in all directions, she didn’t need a tour guide to tell her where she was. That heat blistering the side of her face sure felt familiar, and the rank odor of the place was unmistakable. Gazing straight ahead, she took a deep breath and accepted it. She was back in Freddy’s boiler room, this time all alone. And based on her past experience, that could only mean one thing—the bastard was around somewhere close, finally ready to finish her off.
Brushing off the tiny pieces of glass from her sweatshirt, Lexi got to her feet and started to move across the damp floor of the dark, shadowy boiler room, feeling every ounce of heat in the place. It seemed to her like all the steam inside the room was following her, almost trailing behind her as she walked, the thick fog ready to crawl down her throat and choke her at a moment’s notice.
“Hello?” she called out, her voice echoing loudly as she wiped the sweat from her forehead. “Are you guys down here?”
There was no response. Instead, a large boiler at the end of the room roared to life, its orange and yellow flames illuminating the entire corridor in an eerie glow. Approaching the boiler, Lexi’s vision was distracted by a series of items scattered about on the floor directly in front of the fire.
She bent down to pick one of the items up and when she turned it around, a human skull stared right back at her, its empty hollow shell totally deprived of life. Screaming, she threw the skull back down, sending it crashing onto a pile of other skulls, arm bones, leg bones, and various other body parts.
As the fire continued to rage directly in front of her, bathing her in a somber aura of amber, Lexi noticed a couple of other odd items mixed in among the body parts. The first was a red bandanna that she couldn’t quite place, but thought she recognized. Unfolding its dirty, red cloth, she spotted a name and number scribbled on it with permanent marker—Swanson 44—and nearly freaked out.
Throwing the cloth back down, she scattered some of the bones out of the way and found a blood-stained case for a pair of glasses with the name “Property of Simon Larson” written across it in black and white, clearly the work of a label maker. Nooo, he didn’t, Lexi pondered, fearing the worst. Not Simon. Laying the case back down, she saw a hat leaning up against the boiler nearly going up in flames, so she grabbed it before the brim caught fire. When she pulled her hand back, she was shocked to see it was drenched with blood. In fact, the entire cowboy hat, once a sparkling white, was now splattered crimson with blood.
A cowboy hat? But that could only mean—
Nooo!!! Not him too!!! This can’t be happening, she thought to herself, stepping back away from the boiler. Not again. However, when she did, she tripped and fell belly-up over another item sticking out from the opposite side. Startled, she turned back around in a hurry to see what had knocked her over.
When she did, she nearly puked.
There at her feet sat a Kelly green football helmet with a big white “S” emblazoned on its side. Holding back her fright for a moment, she grabbed it by the facemask and turned it over, getting more blood on her hands. As if her worst fears were confirmed, there on the back of the helmet was the white number 7 of Mike Clark.
“Oh god!” she yelled, crying as she dropped the helmet to the metal grating with a loud thump, the noise reverberating loudly off of the walls. Dropping to her knees, Lexi had finally lost it. The most reserved of the Westin Hills crew had finally gone over the deep end. This was it. This time Fred Krueger had really done it. He had managed not only to take some, if not all, of her new friends away from her, but he’d also succeeded in recycling the old nightmares of her past, bringing them back to the forefront. With tears rolling off of her face, Lexi stood back up, ready to confront her nemesis one last time.
“It stops now Freddy!!!” she whimpered to no one in particular, showing her first sign of weakness since that fateful homecoming football game in Springwood. “You took all of my friends from me, what more do you want?! Leave the others alone. It’s me you’ve wanted all along, so come take me. I’m offering myself up to you as a sacrifice if you just leave the rest of them alone.”
There was a dead silence. Only the sounds of the pipes steaming and the valves whistling caught her ears.
“Did you hear me you son of a bitch?!” Lexi screamed, a ball of sweat beading across her brow. “No more games. No more fucking around. Come and take me. I’m all yours!!!”
“GLADLY!” came a deep, sadistic voice directly behind her from the boiler. From INSIDE the boiler.
She whipped back around in a flash, but it was already too late. Freddy, inside the raging inferno of the boiler, reached out with both his hands and wrapped his fiery, larger-than-life arms around Lexi’s thin, curvy body and jerked her toward the fire.
The last thing Lexi saw was a wall of flames eating at her face, then everything went black.
“What the fuck is this? Where am I?” a dazed Ty mumbled, staring into a blank white space before him. The last thing he remembered, he was being forced backward inside a mirror by that claw-wearing motherfucker Freddy, shattering it into a million pieces. Now, it felt like he was wrapped up inside some sort of cocoon and his supply of air was wafer thin.
With a sense of urgency, Ty peeled back the white cocoon, which to his surprise, came off relatively easy. When he pulled it back, he realized it wasn’t even a cocoon at all, but rather, a plain old white bed sheet. It was about that time that Ty figured out he was no longer in Westin Hills. Or Springwood for that matter.
He was back home in the ghetto. Back in North Akron. In his own bedroom.
Rising to a seated position on his bed, Ty couldn’t believe he was somehow released from the hospital and brought home. How the hell did that happen? Most of his family didn’t care if he lived or died, so he knew it couldn’t have been any of them. Still, however it happened, here he was. Back inside the same bedroom he’d spent many hours in torment, escaping only through his music. First listening to, then writing his own raps, mirroring his idols Ice Cube, 50 Cent, and Eminem. Hoping one day he would be good enough to join their ranks and punch his ticket straight out of this hellhole.
Brushing the glass off of his torn up old jeans and battered Naughty by Nature t-shirt, Ty got up off of his bed and walked toward the closed door, trying to make sense of the whole situation. With a sigh, he turned his head and glanced around the entire room from left to right, not wanting to believe that he was indeed back in his old stomping grounds. The one room he loved so much, yet despised even more.
To his left on the poorly-painted wall was a tiny brown desk, where he used to sit to study and write his music. Chips of old white paint hung lazily off of the wall, peeling badly over every inch of it. There were numerous cracks in the wall spread throughout, some of which were horribly re-plastered, making it look worse than it already had. Ty ran his hands across that particular part of the wall, vividly recalling the time he tried to repair the wall with some cheap plaster, hoping to impress his father. A lot of good that did, he remembered, examining the old poster of Tupac Shakur on his wall. It wasn’t a poster, per say. Rather, it was a picture cut out of a magazine that he kept and taped right onto his wall with some scotch tape. But to him, it was a poster, so that’s all that mattered.
Directly in front of him was an old 17-inch black-and-white Zenith TV, its rabbit ears still duck-taped and perched awkwardly atop the set. Staring at it, Ty briefly recalled watching it for inspiration while he wrote his rhymes. Not listening to it, just looking at the picture. He could only pick up the basic channels, and the sound and picture quality were never that good, but it was better than nothing. Mama worked hard all day to provide this much for him and his two brothers, so if it meant watching Law and Order, then so be it. Besides, some of the cases were pretty interesting, he vaguely remembered. Especially when they involved brothas.
Looking back down at his desk, he saw a couple of wallet-size photographs of his two brothers scattered on top, followed by one with Ty and his mother. Staring at the smiles on both of their faces, a slight smirk came to his face, realizing that was the last time he was truly happy. The day before the shit hit the fan and he was taken to Westin—
There was a loud crash coming from somewhere downstairs in his small two-story house, followed by a series of screams. Ty couldn’t quite make out what was being said, but he didn’t have to. He knew what was going on.
Daddy was home.
Proceed To Chapter 28
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