CHAPTER 8- FIRST NIGHTMARE
That night, an unusually cold, blustery evening befell the town of Springwood. The stratosphere was pitch black, and many bright white stars stood aglow in the cloudless sky.
Outside of the Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital, the small Midwestern town began to calm as the hours passed. The roads sat empty, the roar of passing cars long since ceased, and nobody was out walking or catching a bus. All that remained visible were the smoking chimneys of houses off in the distance and the slight glint of a frost building up on the grass. Some windowsills sported a few dim candlelights on their mantle, but the rest lay completely dormant, their owners either absent or in deep slumber.
Staring out the window past his roommate, Manny Cuevas lay sprawled out across his bed with his hands firmly entrenched behind his head. Wondering what life will be like after he re-enters the world, the young Latino had visions of money, power, and of course, fame. With expensive, tricked out rides that only he could afford. That would be the life, he yawned deeply. Smiling, he rolled onto his side and tucked his head safely into his pillow as the moonlight shined in diagonally across his bed.
Briefly looking over at Ty, who was out cold, Manny closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, his body totally relaxed.
A few moments later, he was startled back awake by a loud noise and some chatter. Glancing over with a blur, Manny came to his senses and realized it was coming from outside his door.
“Ty, did you hear that, mang?” Manny struggled to ask in his sleep-deprived anger.
Ty didn’t budge. And from the looks of it, a whole army platoon in the trenches wouldn’t wake him.
Still no reply.
Discouraged, tired, and exhausted, Manny threw back his covers and hobbled over to the door, ready to confront whoever was disturbing his peace and quiet. However, when he threw open the door, he was stunned at what he saw. There, idling before him, was his beloved Red Dragon, almost calling out to him to drive.
It was also about that time that Manny realized that he was no longer within the walls of Westin Hills or in the town of Springwood, for that matter. Rather, he was back in his hometown, Collins, along a main road affectionately called ‘the strip’ by all the street racers. Everyone knew that on Saturday nights at midnight, the strip was the place to be.
Rubbing his eyes, Manny didn’t know what to make of his new, yet old surroundings. He was, however, pleased to see he’d shed his Westin Hills garb in favor of more promising attire— a throwback red Chicago Bulls jersey sporting the name Jordan 23 on the back in black. It was his favorite jersey, bought when Michael Jordan still played for the Bulls before his first, second, and third retirements. Not many guys could say they had one without jumping on the bandwagon, but Manny was damn proud of his, holmes.
Completing his wardrobe was a pair of dark blue, stonewashed jeans about five sizes too big for him and, what a surprise, red and white Air Jordan sneakers, neatly cleaned and polished.
At that point, a large crowd gathered around and Manny noticed five other cars lined up next to his, varying in color and style, but all there for the same reason—to score some quick cash at the expense of their fellow racers. As the cheering began and the cars revved up, Manny couldn’t shake the feeling of deja-vous, like he had been here before. Unfortunately, he couldn’t dwell on that thought for long, because a soft, excited little voice called out to him from inside his car, instantly grabbing his attention.
“Hey, baby, are you coming or what?”
It was Naya Fernandez, beautifully in the flesh, whom Manny playfully dubbed his ‘mamacita’, or mommy for short.
“Oh, you know it mommy,” Manny smiled, lifting open his lamborghini-style door. “We gonna score some serious dinero to-night.”
As he pulled his door closed tight and adjusted the steering wheel, something still didn’t feel quite right to him. But what?
Manny revved up the Red Dragon and turned on 50 Cent’s song “In Da Club”, flashing a toothy smile to Naya, who blew him a kiss back as a very attractive Asian girl appeared in front of all the racers, carrying a green flag under each arm.
With nothing but asphalt and two solid yellow lines ahead of them, a hush came over the entire crowd as they anxiously awaited the word to begin their dash.
The revving got louder and louder as time elapsed, but each car was still lined up perfectly straight behind the imaginary start line. Then, in a flash, the girl quickly waved both flags, and the sounds of squealing tires were heard as all six racers peeled out and took off together, zooming down the road in a mad dash for cash.
A half-mile later, all six were fairly even, when the unthinkable happened. They were unexpectedly approaching a road block, which meant that either the cops had arranged another sting operation—or someone else had set them up.
Jamming their brakes on almost collectively, the racers squealed to a halt as the smell of burnt rubber polluted the air. It was then that they all realized that the crowd behind them wasn’t their normal crowd. It was a gang. And following behind the six cars, this gang had effectively pinned them in, ending any hope they had of escape.
A moment later, about twenty to thirty black and Hispanic men stood at the opposite end of the road block, each packing a gun of some sort and staring a black hole through the opposite gang. At that point, the racers knew they were in serious trouble.
“Holy shit! Not again!” Manny screamed, ordering Naya to duck down as he instantly knew what was coming next.
And just like that, all hell broke loose as both gangs opened fire at each other, with the six cars innocently trapped between them.
Ricochet after ricochet was heard as numerous bullets struck their prized possessions, ruining the paint jobs and smashing the tinted windows and shiny, sparkling tires.
“Naya, stay right there! Don’t move!” Manny yelled, motioning toward her as he attempted to duck down under the steering wheel and ride out the wave of violence.
Looking over at Naya, who was screaming and scared out of her mind, Manny knew he had to do something. Reaching for the door handle, Manny peeked out over the dashboard, mumbling, “I’m gonna try to get some help.”
Manny stepped out into the street just as two cars next to him exploded, sending a shroud of flames and smoke roaring upward. Staring in utter disbelief, he clearly saw that his competition had been eliminated. Two were immolated in the explosions, while two others were hanging out of their cars with bullets stuck in their heads. The rest of the street resembled a war zone, as bodies were literally strewn across the pavement. Blood was everywhere.
Almost on cue, the firing stopped, and the smoke began to clear. Shouting was heard in the distance to the east and the west, and both rival gangs claimed victory for the massacre. Still stuck in the middle but blinded by all the smoke, Manny emerged, but didn’t check his blindside, because by the time he heard the click of the revolver and turned around, it was too late. The bullet caught him square in the chest and sent him sprawling to the ground, blood spilling all over his prized Michael Jordan jersey.
Lying there, he heard Naya screaming, and an instant later, she fell right next to him, blindly staring at him as blood poured from her body.
“Naya! Noooo! I told you to stay in the car!” he cried in agony as her head sunk to the pavement, dying right there next to him.
Everything after that was a total blur to Manny, who laid his head back and stared blankly up at the sky. Stunned at what he saw, Manny’s eyes widened in disbelief. There above him appeared to be the entire group of teenagers from Westin Hills. Ty, Tex, and Simon. Gwen, Maria, and Suzette. All his friends. Even that new girl Lexi, who looked more hurt and saddened than the rest of them. It was as if they could all see him suffering, but were powerless to help. Lexi appeared to be pointing at something behind him, and when he turned his attention back to the street, he saw why. Standing there, with his dark shadow cast down the entire street, was Freddy Krueger, the merciless dream stalker.
Looking back for Naya and finding nothing but pavement, it was then he realized that none of this was real. Naya was never there at all. He was just re-living his worst nightmare all over again, courtesy of Freddy fucking Krueger, the demon who used to haunt him as a kid.
Manny had briefly been haunted by Freddy when he was very young, but before his parents had to explain anything to him, he was secretly given a drug called hypnocil, and the dreams, Freddy included, vanished into thin air. Just like that. But lately, ever since he’d been at Westin Hills, he’d been dreaming about the man’s old, dirty boiler room, and seeing him again put all the pieces back together. That fucker just never gave up.
“Don’t you know street racing is illegal, kid?” Krueger scowled, slowly stalking toward him with his claw at his side. “And in my court, I am judge, jury, and executioner.”
Manny laid there in awe as the larger-than-life form of Freddy Krueger stood tall above him, proud of his latest achievement. Freddy, knowing exactly what Manny was thinking, wasted little time capitalizing on his opportunity.
“Don’t worry, holmes, they’re next!” the deadly dream slasher informed him as Manny quivered in fear.
“Fuck you!” he blared out as Freddy just smirked.
Lifting the bloodied Manny off the ground by his throat, Freddy whisked his claw from his side and held it up in front of his face, its metal blinding his eyes.
“It’s been a long time, Manny, but now, it’s time for me to get in the fast lane,” Krueger joked, making a revving sound with his mouth. “The fast lane to your soullllllll!”
Manny was only able to eek out the word ‘noooo’ before Freddy buried his claw into his gut, spilling his steaming intestines to the pavement with a thwak. Above them, embedded in the sky, the teens’ faces grew sick, clearly traumatized at what had transpired.
Laughing, Freddy flicked his claw in their direction, and they disappeared.
Proceed To Chapter 9
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