Near midday, the hallways of Springwood High School were quiet and desolate. The only noise being made was that of Steve, the creepy-looking janitor, who was at the far end of the hall mopping up a spill. The scruffy, middle-aged man stared up at the clock on the wall as he adjusted his dark blue trucker’s cap. Then, with a slosh, he guided the wet mop back and forth through what looked like a combination of Pepsi and puke. Hell, he didn’t care. He had cleaned up worse than that in his day. He just bleached the hell out of it, then rinsed the mop out and walked down an adjacent staircase to the bowels of the basement, where his office was located.

A few seconds later, the bell rang, and the first floor roared to life as students poured out into the hall to chat with their friends, visit their locker, or go to their next class.

Lexi was one of the privileged seniors who had her locker on the first floor, so she spun through the combination with ease and flung open the door. She threw two books in and took two more out as Apryl came by.

“Chemistry sucks,” Lexi said as Apryl reached her locker.

“Why?” Apryl responded. “Because you actually have to think?”

“Noooo,” Lexi annoyingly fired back. “Because I don’t know anybody in that class, and there are like so many elements on the idiotic table.”

“Periodic table,” Apryl stated, correcting her.

“Whatever,” Lexi said. “I don’t know helium from carbon. I thought helium was like something you put in a balloon that made you talk funny.”

Apryl sighed. “Look, I’ll help you out if you need it, but I’m not doing your work for you.”

“Thanks sis. You’re a lifesaver.” Lexi said with a smile, hugging her. “I really need to pass this course or I’ll never graduate.”

“Good, then you won’t mind if I tag along with you and Mike on the way home after school,” Apryl said, using that offer to her advantage. “I have to stay after to prepare for the Johnson debate.”

Lexi clearly looked like a deer in headlights after that comment. Mike wasn’t going to like it, but if it meant passing her chemistry class, he’d have to deal with it.

“Okay, okay,” Lexi finally relented. “I’m meeting Mike after football practice outside on the field at 4:30. I’ll see you there.”

“Thanks,” Apryl said as Lexi ducked into a nearby classroom.

Just then, someone tapped Apryl on her shoulder. When she turned around, she was nearly scared to death. Standing there before her was a dark, mysterious girl in black makeup with a black skirt, black webbed pantyhose and black high heels. That was Veronica Mills, Apryl’s best friend and Springwood’s version of Marilyn Manson. Veronica, 16, was all goth, all the time. Her entire wardrobe was black, right down to the black eyeshadow around her eyes and her black lipstick. That, combined with the multiple piercings all over her face, meant nobody would mess with her. She also had an interesting infatuation with vampires, blood, and death, but that’s something Apryl never cared to ask about. It was one of those ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ areas. The first time Apryl met her, she could have sworn she was a reject from The Munsters TV show.

“Hi, Veronica,” was all Apryl could think of to say as her heart rate finally began to slow down.

“What’s the matter with you?” Veronica asked with a smile, revealing a set of fangs carved out of two of her teeth. “You look like something crawled up your butt and died.”

“Oh, nothing,” Apryl replied, trying to shrug off her fear. “I just hate it when you sneak up on me like that. Someday, someone’s gonna do that to you and you’ll know how it feels.”

Veronica didn’t reply. She just spaced out like she always did, and starting singing a lyric of her favorite song a cappella. “She had a corpse under her bed,” Veronica sang. “She had her fun, but now he’s dead. Her momma said come feed desire, her brother said, hey throw it on the fire!”

“Um, Veronica?” Apryl asked as she heard some students nearby yell “Freak!”

“This is the house, come on in,” Veronica continued singing. “This is the house built on sin. This is the house, nobody lives. This is the house, you get what you give, yeah, yeah.”

“Veronica!” Apryl yelled as people continued to stare at her.

“What?” Veronica asked, turning to her.

“Will you cut it out with the Dracula shit for a minute?” Apryl asked.

“It’s not Dracula,” Veronica responded. “It’s Rob Zombie, the demon god of horror.”

“Whatever,” Apryl said. “You still want to meet at the diner tonight to cram for the algebra test?”

“Yeah,” Veronica replied. “Eight okay with you?”

“Eight’s fine,” Apryl said as the late bell rang. “I gotta go. I’ll see ya tonight!”

Apryl then hurried off upstairs to her next class, and Veronica went to hers, as the Springwood hallways became desolate once again.


That afternoon, Coach Paul Reynolds was putting the team through a grinding football practice. They were already an hour into it, and hadn’t done anything but run. Four or five of the guys on the team had already keeled over and puked, so Coach Reynolds kicked them out and told them to hit the showers because they were weak.

Mike and Quinton were in a slow jog trying to survive, when coach blew his whistle, forcing the entire team to speed up for a 20-yard sprint. After about 10 times, Coach told them to stay in a slow jog or they would be benched for the big game against Collins the next night.

“Man, fuck this shit!” Quinton yelled, breathing heavily through his helmet and coughing repeatedly. “Who does he think he is anyway?”

“I don’t know,” Mike replied, wheezing just as bad and coughing worse. “I think he gets off on it.”

“What’s the matter, wimps?” Coach asked, looking right at Quinton. “Not enough balls?”

Quinton knew the comment was directed at him, and he had to be restrained by Mike as they ran past the coach, who just laughed.

“Come on man, he’s just fucking with your head,” Mike said, trying to reason with him. “Just keep running or else you’ll be riding the pine tomorrow night.”

“Fuck him!” Quinton yelled, still complaining.

“Okay dirtballs,” Coach stated, handing his clipboard to his assistant coach. “40-yard dash. Line up along the goal line.”

The rest of the team, breathing heavily and wheezing, let out a collective groan just as Coach’s whistle pierced their ears yet again. Then, just like that, they ran down the field, not nearly at full strength. Several players fell over, and it didn’t take long for Coach Reynolds to eat them alive.

“Hey, hey, hey, what the hell is this?” Coach said, screaming at the three linemen who fell down. “You fuckin’ guys are pussies! Gentlemen, this game is not for the weak. I want men out here, not the chess club!”

The assistant coaches then stepped in and called for a water break, which usually lasted the last 15 minutes of practice. Nearly every one of the players said “thank you” as they walked by the other coaches. Coach Reynolds just glared at his assistants like they had just ran over his dog or something.

Lexi arrived a little early and took a seat in the bleachers nearby. She took one look at Mike, Quinton, and the rest of the guys slugging down the water, and she could tell they had been put through hell. Quietly, she sat down next to Tash, who was sketching a football portrait of Quinton.

“What do you think?” Tash said, without even looking up from her sketchpad.

“Wow, that’s awesome,” Lexi replied. “It looks just like him.”

And it did, too. The colorful portrait brought out the kelly green and white of his jersey, but at the same time, accentuated the darker green of the grass below him.

“So, what do you guys have planned tonight?” Lexi asked.

“I’m not sure. Quinton has to a tutor session in the library later on, so we’ll see,” Tash answered, touching up the drawing with a green colored pencil. “Tonight might be one of those nights we fly solo. Plus, I’m working on this awesome still life, and I really want it to be perfect.”

“Oh okay,” Lexi stated. “Mike and I will probably end up going to a movie or heading by the diner later. My sister is going to help me with my chemistry.”

“Fun, fun,” Tash said sarcastically. “I’ll definitely be at the game tomorrow though.”

“Okay, then we can hang out after,” Lexi said with a smile as she noticed Apryl on the far side of the field. “I’ll let ya go, Apryl’s here,” Lexi smiled. “Call me later, okay?”

“Okay,” Tash concluded, starting her drawing again. “See ya later.”

“Bye!” Lexi exclaimed, walking down toward Apryl.

As soon as Lexi was out of sight, Tash quickly lifted up the top page of her sketchpad, revealing a much darker sketch on the page below. This sketch was nothing like its predecessor. This one was a very dark piece, with various shades of red, orange and yellow throughout, embedded in a black background.

The subject of the portrait was very well done, considering she did it totally from memory. The shape of the mysterious man was dead-on accurate, complete with dirty boots, dark pants, a red and green striped sweater, and a dark brown fedora on his head. His face was badly scarred, with Tash accenting the various shades of red to highlight the burns all over his body. But the darkest shade of red came in the evil glare of his eyes, staring back at her almost three-dimensionally off of the page. The large claw on his right hand gleamed with the silver and graphite of the pencils she used.

Tash then took out a brick red pencil and touched it to the tips of the claws, pressing just hard enough to simulate blood dripping from the razor-sharp talons. Her latest masterpiece was finished. Freddy Krueger, the man of her dreams, was alive again, contained within the pages of her sketchpad.

Proceed To Chapter 3
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