“Dear god, I hope this works,” Gwen said aloud as she washed down a sleeping pill and climbed into bed.

Resting the back of her head on the soft down of her pillow, the aspiring stage actress closed her eyes and exhaled deeply, feeling every inch of her body tense up at first, then totally relax.

So much was going through her mind as she stretched out across the bed that she couldn’t pinpoint any single thought. Gwen tried to think of something pleasant, but every time she did, Fred Krueger would instantly take over and drive her mad. No matter who or what she thought of, the burned and scarred dream demon was somehow always there. Still, despite all that, there was one person she could concentrate on that Freddy couldn’t touch. Someone who had made quite an impact on her in such a short amount of time. Someone she was determined to help at all costs.


Focusing all her energy on her roommate, Gwen was soon able to forget all about the ruthless slasher and recall one of the first conversations they’d had right after Lexi was admitted to Westin Hills...

“You know, it’s really not so bad. I mean, before I came here, my life was totally messed up. I got in with the wrong crowd and almost ended up dead on a street corner. But now, I have a whole new outlook on life,” Gwen smiled, pointing at the small posters on her wall of the Broadway shows Cats and The Phantom of the Opera. Lexi, surprised at her cheerfulness, gave off an inherent smirk and just nodded. “After I get out of here, I’m going to star on Broadway, and that’s something I never even dreamed of doing before...”

...And just like that, Gwen found herself totally under and inside a dark, mysterious room. It was so black that she couldn’t really define the dimensions of the room, just the large metal door directly in front of her. Staring at it in awe, Gwen knew she might not like what was behind that door, but she also knew that it could be her only path to Lexi so she decided to throw caution to the wind and worry about the potential consequences later. Seemingly unnerved, Gwen stepped forward and pulled the heavy door open with a strained yank, causing it to squeak loudly on its hinges. Then, taking a deep breath, she passed through the doorway, which roared shut behind her.

On the other side, she found an equally murky room complete with large metal pipes, a steamy red-hot boiler, and what appeared to be two long poles sticking out of the ground. Glancing down at the base of the poles, Gwen found a couple of strands of rope and a pair of gags and instantly thought of Lexi and Ty.

“Hello?” she called out, her voice echoing eerily up the shaft of the room. “Lexi? Ty?”

Walking right past the boiler, Gwen spotted two dark shadows at the far end of the room, where another metal door lurked in the distance.

Hesitating, she carefully approached the shadows, her face and upper body dimly lit by the crimson aura hanging over the room. She tried to focus on the two figures as they drew near, but had no luck. It was extremely difficult to center on anything in that room, let alone two dark objects. It wasn’t until she spotted the outline of a cowboy hat that she let out a huge sigh of relief and her body relaxed.

It was Simon and Tex.

“Hey guys!!!!” Gwen exclaimed, hugging them both, one with each arm. “I knew you would come.”

“We’re glad to see you, too,” Tex smirked, adjusting his hat. “I was getting ready to have Simon use his Jedi mind powers to get us out of here or something.”

“Ha ha, very funny,” Simon piped back sarcastically. “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack. Where in the hell are we?”

“I’d say that’s exactly where we are,” Tex responded, not trying to be funny as he cautiously looked around the room.

“All joking aside,” Gwen interrupted somberly. “This is as serious as it gets. I won’t think any less of you if you decide to turn back now. You’ve already proven yourselves to me. Whatever happens behind that door is for real. You might not come out alive.”

“We’ve come this far, haven’t we?” Tex replied, glaring at the door out of the corner of his eye. “I’m here for you, Gwen.”

“Yeah,” Simon agreed. “Me too. Let’s go find the others and get the hell out of here. Hopefully we don’t have to see that Krueger guy. Those claws really creep me out.”

Turning their attention to the large metal door, the three newest dream warriors looked on with a mixture of fear and determination as the door creaked open, much like the one Gwen had passed through moments earlier.

Exchanging a nod, they passed through the archway and disappeared into the darkness.


Outside the Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital, all was calm. The remaining patients had finally seemed to settle in for the night, and the guards at the main gate had just finished their rounds and closed the large iron-rod gate for the evening.

Anticipating another dull, mind-numbing shift at their entrance station, the two uniformed sentinels leisurely lounged in their chairs and set up a game of poker. As one guard shuffled the cards, the other organized the clay chips and took a slug from his Diet Pepsi. Neither one noticed the white Cadillac Escalade parked across the street nor the tall, gangly man who snuck past their window.

Climbing the fence behind the station, Calvin carefully maneuvered over the barbed-wire across the top and dropped down onto the lawn, freezing in his tracks. Smelling the dew on the blades of grass, Calvin sat there motionless, expecting one or both of the guards to emerge from the booth. When neither did, he continued back onto the gravel road and headed straight for the back door. The door he was going to enter.

Stooping down next to the entrance, he glanced at the remote entry, where all of the workers swiped their badges to gain access to the building. Looking at the keypad numbered one through nine, he quickly typed in a special access code and pressed enter, thinking the door would unlock like it had a hundred times before. When it didn’t, the remote blinked at him with a red light, indicating a failed entry.

Fuck! How could that code not work? Calvin thought, clearly confused as he plotted his next move. I was the only one who knew that code. Well, me and—


That was quickly followed up by the simultaneous clicking and cocking of what appeared to be hundreds of guns, varying caliber.

Stunned, Calvin spun around in a daze. How did they know?


As the former orderly put his hands on his head, three more police cars squealed to a stop across the road, their sirens and lights blaring into the night. With every potential escape route blocked, Calvin knew he had no choice but to surrender. Either that, or he’d be eating lead for dinner. A lot of it, he noted, eyeing up both the left and the right flanks. There surrounding him was a sea of officers, each pointing some sort of automatic weapon or pistol at him, ready to fire at a moment’s notice.

Pissed off, Calvin was taken into custody by two of the nearby cops, who tried to cuff his hands behind his back. When they grabbed his arms, Calvin’s thoughts shifted to the reason he snuck back into Westin Hills to begin with—the kids. Worried more about them than himself, Calvin elbowed the left officer in the nose and clotheslined the one on the right, sending them both to the ground with a thud.

However, before he could do anymore, a crashing blow came down on the back of his head and neck, putting him down to the ground right away. Falling face first onto the gravel, Calvin recognized his attacker right away. It was Sheriff Wilkinson.

“CALVIN JENNINGS!!!” the sheriff commanded. “You are under arrest.”

“For what?” Calvin groaned, feeling pain course up and down his spine.

“Three counts of murder in the first degree,” Wilkinson informed him. “Not to mention breaking and entering and trespassing on private property.”

“THAT’S BULLSHIT AND YOU KNOW IT!!!” Calvin fired back as he noticed doctors Gregory Graham and Lloyd Halverson standing directly behind the sheriff, with orderlies Damian and Jonah off in the distance hiding behind one of the police cars.

So THAT’S how they knew I was coming, Calvin thought. It all makes sense now. They’re trying to cover this up. They won’t ever admit to anything that happened behind those walls, so they’ll just pin the murders on me and go on with their merry fucking lives like nothing ever happened. And in the meantime, those poor teenagers, my friends, in there are at the mercy of Fred Krueger, the real criminal here.


“You’re right, Cal,” Dr. Graham coldly responded. “They do need help. That’s why they’re here. And you need help, too. Only you won’t be locked up in here. You’ll be locked up somewhere else a lot less comfortable. In jail.”

“FUCK YOU!” Calvin yelled as they physically restrained him, forcibly cuffing his hands behind his back as Sheriff Wilkinson read him his Miranda rights.

“Don’t drop the soap, old buddy,” Graham concluded as the sheriff clubbed Calvin in the back of the head, tossing him into the back of the squad car like a piece of meat. “Have a nice night.”

Proceed To Chapter 22
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