Back at the hospital, Lexi sat dejected in the waiting room, wondering how the hell someone who attacked you in your dreams could ever get you for real. The premise had made some sense to her. The nightmares she’d been having over the past few weeks sure seemed real, and the claw marks on her favorite nightgown were certainly real. That was something she definitely didn’t do herself.

But how? How could this hideous demon of a man capture somebody and keep them in limbo while they slept, their life hanging in the balance? How could one man, punished long ago for his crimes against humanity, come back in the afterlife and haunt someone in their dreams, ultimately killing them and claiming their soul? How could this man, this monster, single-handedly be responsible for it all? It just didn’t make sense, but one thing was certain— her sister was in a coma, and if she didn’t do something, she would soon be an only child. Which brought Lexi to the million dollar question— Just what in the hell could she do? This was no ordinary kidnapping. You couldn’t just go and track the guy and have the cops arrest him. Or could you? And speaking of the cops, what exactly could she tell them anyway? That some dream demon abducted Apryl and was going to kill her? If she did that, they’d lock her up in Westin Hills for sure.

Still, she had to be careful to not get wrapped up in Freddy’s dream world, or else she’d end up just like Apryl. There was no way in hell she could let that happen. That would be too much for their mother to handle. Surely there was a solution out there, she just had no idea what it was yet.

Lexi, staring at the wall across from her, clutched her sterling silver cross necklace. With a few tears trickling down her pretty face, she looked up and said a small prayer. Lexi had never been a real religious person, but lately, it was all she had. Apryl was in a coma, her mother was beside herself, and Mike was devoted to football, so there was no way he’d be of any help. Still, it was nice to have someone to turn to, Lexi thought, and God was as good as anyone at this point. She didn’t ask for a lot. She simply asked God to watch over Apryl and to give her the strength to survive. Finishing up, Lexi got up from the waiting room and headed down the hall toward Apryl’s room.

Everything at Springwood Memorial Hospital seemed normal. The nurses at the third-floor station were calmly preparing the next round of medications, the janitor at the opposite end of the hall was mopping the floor, and the security guard had just exited into the staircase to go on his rounds. Lexi slowly made her way down the freshly waxed floor toward Apryl’s room, carefully taking in her surroundings. Along the way, she looked at all of the rooms and noticed something strange. They were all occupied, but none of them had numbers on them. Or nametags for that matter. And all the doors were closed tight. Puzzled, she continued down the hall, glancing in through the tiny glass windows of the wooden doors. The one room she found interesting was the room right before her sister’s. Glancing in quickly as she passed, she could have sworn she saw Veronica in there, hooked up to tubes just like her sister. She even recognized the same drab beeping of her heart monitor, nearly identical to Apryl’s. If she didn’t know any better, she would have guessed that Veronica was in a coma as well. Which meant only one thing—that that bastard Krueger had gotten to her too.

Horrified, Lexi quietly entered Apryl’s room, trying not to draw attention to herself. Inside, she heard the familiar beeping of Apryl’s heart monitor, and saw her sister lying there peacefully. The sight of that brought tears to her face yet again. She couldn’t stand to see her sister like this, and now that she knew the real reason why, she felt even worse because she was powerless to stop it. The problem was, how was she going to get anybody to believe her?

Yawning, Lexi sat down at Apryl’s bedside and sunk her head into her hands, crying harder this time. As soon as she did that, she began to hear a familiar nursery rhyme coming from the opposite side of the room. She looked up and saw the familiar group of kindergarten-age girls skipping rope. Two of them were holding the rope, while the one in the center was jumping the rope perfectly each time, slowly and gracefully. They were all dressed in bright white schoolgirl dresses again, and none appeared to be more than 6 years old. They didn’t acknowledge her presence this time, either. They just kept jumping rope and singing the same nursery rhyme: “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. Nine, ten, never sleep again.”

Lexi was too frightened to move, fearing that Freddy Krueger might be nearby. However, as the girls repeated their chorus, they looked directly at Lexi and pointed at Apryl, whose hospital gown had tore open, revealing her chest. Just as the girls finished “Five, six, grab your crucifix,” they shut up, causing Lexi to look toward Apryl, and what was horrifically appearing on her chest. In what looked like was being scratched onto her chest, Freddy Krueger carved: “7, 8, Gonna Stay Up Late,” causing Lexi to scream. She couldn’t see Krueger, but she knew it was his handiwork. She could see the cuts happening, even though the bastard was nowhere to be found. Scared out of her mind, Lexi turned back around toward the little girls, but they were gone. In fact, everything appeared to be back to normal. Then she woke up in another cold sweat.

Speechless, Lexi immediately checked on Apryl, who appeared as peaceful as ever. Her gown wasn’t ripped open after all, and there was no writing carved into her chest. Sighing, Lexi glanced down at her watch and saw the time. 5:30. She had to go get ready for the game and head out if she was ever going to make it on time. Even though she didn’t really feel like it, something deep down told her she had to be there, not only for Apryl’s sake, but for her and her friends’ as well. So, in a rush, Lexi kissed Apryl’s forehead and headed out the door, saying nothing to her mother, who was also asleep.

In a flash, Lexi disappeared down the back staircase, not realizing that every nurse, janitor and security guard on that floor was watching her every move as she exited out into the chilly autumn evening.

Proceed To Chapter 11
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