“Awaaaaaay...I see it’s going down...Today, hoping in time, we’ll bury all this pain and we’ll awake something inside...We pushed our buttons far inside...We tear our hearts out, then we fight...Hey, I know, feels like I’ve lost everything that I’ve known...I cannot sur-vive a-lone...feels like I’ve lost everything that I’ve known...”

Those were the words Lexi heard faintly as she sat up in bed, dazed and disoriented. Rubbing her eyes, she looked around the small room and noticed four very plain blue and white walls and a large window criss-crossed in a rectangular design, with just the slightest hint of sunlight peeking through onto her bed. Somewhere off in the background, Korn’s song “Everything I Know” continued blaring from a radio she couldn’t see.

“Oh, I’m sorry, was I playing that too loud?” said an unknown voice next to her.

With sweat dripping down her face and chest, Lexi turned around and was greeted by a tall girl sitting Indian-style on the bed across from her. “Hi, I’m Gwen,” the girl said with a smile as she turned down her portable radio and extended her hand.

Still confused, Lexi shook her hand and very vaguely mumbled, “Lexi Murphy. Where the hell am I? Where’s Freddy???”

“Freddy who? ” Gwen inquired, noticing Lexi breathing heavily. “Boy, you must have really been out a long time. Welcome to Westin Hills.”

“Westin what???” Lexi questioned, mouth wide as she suddenly recalled her nightmare with Freddy.

“Westin Hills,” Gwen repeated.

“Isn’t that where they take all the crazy people?” Lexi asked, noticing that she was wearing the standard-issue white sweatshirt and pants.

“Yeah, well, welcome to the club,” Gwen stated matter-of-factly as she set down the glue and paper she was working with.

“But I don’t belong here,” Lexi insisted, flopping down off of her bed and rushing over toward the door. “I have to get back to...”

“It’s no use, we’re on lockdown,” Gwen interrupted before Lexi could finish. “Listen, you’re obviously here because something really bad happened to you. And that’s okay. That’s fine. That’s why we’re all here. This place is a cure for all that. It’s a good way to put your past behind you and turn the corner in your life.”

“I don’t need to turn the corner in my life,” Lexi snapped back, running her hand across her forehead and then pushing her hair back. “I just got one hell of a big problem to get rid of.”

“You and me both,” Gwen replied, showing her the thin, dark scars on her arm. “Look, I don’t need Calvin or Dr. Graham coming in here and disturbing the little bit of peace and quiet I do have, so could you please just bear with me? They’ll be here soon, and you can ask them all you want to then.”

Taking in her surroundings, Lexi sighed, realizing her situation was not about to change anytime soon. After a brief pause, she finally relented, mumbling “fine” as she collapsed back onto her bed.

“Thank you,” Gwen responded, getting off of her bed with a squeak and walking over to a small wooden desk to fetch more paper for her project.

Those four blank, empty walls seemed to be closing in on them. In fact, anybody who was even the slightest bit claustrophobic would be shit out of luck in this place, Lexi thought as she eyed Gwen’s personal belongings. Not surprisingly, there wasn’t a whole lot. She was sitting at a really tiny desk with a small nightlight hanging over her head, a light similar to the one that hung above her own. Taped around her bed were a few personal affects, including a few pictures, novels, and a couple posters she couldn’t quite see.

Sitting atop her desk was her ‘project’, which looked like nothing more than a red and white paper box. Leaning next to it was a small bottle of Elmer’s glue, followed by some sheets of red paper, blank popsicle sticks, and finally, a large green permanent marker, whose odor still lingered in the room very faintly.

A moment later, Lexi heard the sound of keys jiggling outside the door, with one finding its way into the lock. The door then creaked open, and in stepped Calvin, an orderly, followed by two doctors in long, white overcoats.

“Ah, she’s awake,” Calvin, the tall, lanky black man stated as he put the large set of keys into his pocket. “How are you doing?”

Lexi didn’t reply. She just kept staring up at the ceiling very pale and motionless, obviously lost in a daze. Nearly catatonic, she saw the three men enter the room, but never really paid attention to them. Or didn’t really want to.

One was tall and wearing an aqua blue-green vest, with a silver nameplate that read “Calvin Jennings”. Below that, inscribed in black block letters, it read, “Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital”. The other two had similar nametags, only with a really fancy cursive text instead of the block lettering. The guy on the left was “Dr. Gregory Graham”, while the one on the right, a bit shorter and heavier than Graham, was “Dr. Lloyd Halverson.”

“Gwen, will you come with me for a few minutes, the doctors need to talk to her in private,” Calvin asked.

“Sure thing, Cal,” Gwen replied cheerfully. “Besides, I have to give Maria her CD back anyway, so you can just follow me over there if you want.”

Calvin didn’t look too happy about that, but he dutifully escorted her out the door and pulled it shut behind him as the two doctors surrounded Lexi’s bed, each carrying a clipboard.

“Miss Murphy,” Dr. Graham stated in a calm, collected voice as he sat down on the edge of her bed. “I’m Dr. Graham. I’ll be overseeing your care. You were really asleep a long time. How do you feel?”

“How do you think I feel? One minute, I’m fine at my house, and the next, I wake up in here?” Lexi fired back, clearly showing her discontent. “Why am I even here? I should be at home with my mother. She really needs me now that Apryl is gone.”

“Miss Murphy, please relax,” Dr. Graham insisted. “Calm down and we’ll answer all your questions.”

“I can’t calm down!” Lexi yelled, standing up. “I have to get back to my house now, you assholes!”

“Your denial is understandable,” Dr. Halverson added uncomfortably, adjusting his collar as beads of sweat appeared on his forehead.

“Denial?” Lexi questioned, somewhat taken aback by his statement. “What do you mean denial? Denial of what?”

“Miss Murphy...”

“It’s Lexi!”

“Okay, Lexi,” Dr. Graham continued very monotone, taking a deep breath. “I don’t know how to tell you this, but your mother passed away last night.”

The look of shock and horror filled Lexi as her head sank into her hands and tears began to well up in her eyes. “W-what do you mean she p-passed away?”

“Um, well, there’s no way to sugar coat this, so I’m just going to tell you. She was leaving the cemetery yesterday after your friends’ funeral, and she got into a violent vehicle accident and sustained severe head trauma. She was taken to Springwood Memorial, but she didn’t pull through. I am very sorry.”

Lexi almost fainted as she heard those words, and her breathing and heart rate increased rapidly. Nearly hyperventilating, she had to sit back down on her bed to steady herself.

“Lexi, we really are truly sorry,” Dr. Halverson added glumly, putting his arm around her shoulders.

“Don’t fuckin’ touch me!” Lexi screamed, her eyes clearly reddened with sadness. “Don’t even pretend to understand what I’m going through, because you have no god damn idea!”

Covering her face with the palm of her hand, Lexi began to weep. With the tears streaming down her face, she collected herself and calmly turned to Dr. Graham. “So why am I here?” she mumbled.

“Our attempts to locate your father were unsuccessful, so, without a legal guardian, we’ve been ordered to take you into our care until your 18th birthday, or until we deem you fit for society.”

“What do you mean ‘fit for society’?”

“We got a report from Springwood Memorial that you were very traumatic and hysterical out there, showing signs of aggression and intense violence.”

“My sister and friends were just killed, how the fuck do you think I’m gonna feel?”

“We understand that,” Dr. Graham continued. “But the fact is, we were given an order, and it is iron-clad. Until you undergo our treatment and your emotional wounds heal, there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Sighing with tears still rolling down her face, Lexi just whispered, “get out of my sight,” and sat down on her bed, crying into her hands as she turned her back on them.

Dr. Graham didn’t say anything after that. He just exchanged a nod with Dr. Halverson and the two left the room, closing and locking the door with a loud click.

Crying on her bed, a million thoughts ran through her head. Now she truly had lost everyone she ever loved. But how? How could her mother die like this? She was always there for her, and now she’d have no one. She’d be all alone. And the thought of that not only scared her, it downright terrified her. Because if she was all alone, that meant she’d be easy prey for—

Interrupting her thought, a familiar deep-rooted chuckle caught her attention. It sounded like it was coming from Gwen’s desk, but that wasn’t possible, was it? As she tried to locate the source of the laugh, her eyes were led right to Gwen’s ‘project’, which no longer looked like a red and white box. Rather, it looked just like her house, only older and dirtier. And that house meant only one person.

Suddenly, a small light lit up inside what was now the front door, illuminating the entire red door in light.

“Ahhhhhhhhaahahahahahaha!” Freddy Krueger cackled hysterically.

Proceed To Chapter 3
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