CHAPTER 23- THE LAST ROUND-UP
“Ahhhhh!” Tex screamed as he came crashing down to the ground amidst a shower of broken and shattered glass. Unsure of his whereabouts, the young cowboy slowly got to his feet, brushing off tiny pieces of glass from his plaid shirt and blue jeans.
Plaid shirt and blue jeans? Wait a minute. Why the hell am I wearing a plaid shirt and blue jeans, he thought, carefully examining his new attire. I wasn’t wearing this a second ago...
And that’s when he began to get a little bit more acclimated to his surroundings. As his eyesight adjusted to the dark, he could clearly see he was in some sort of long, narrow tunnel, with only a glimpse of alabaster light at each end. Stuck in the middle, Tex attempted to find his bearings and make his way toward the far end of the tunnel.
As he took two small steps down the passageway, he noticed a bevy of pipes lining the ceiling above him, all dripping wet and steaming. There was something oddly familiar about those pipes, he pondered as the slight hiss of the escaping vapor echoed in his ears. Feeling his way along the cold concrete walls, Tex noticed a bright white light appear suddenly at the end of the tunnel. And that smell…that musty, rank odor. The smell of deja-vous.
With a chill riveting down his spine, Tex spun around and was immediately met by a dark figure standing dormant in the shadows. The blank silhouette just sized him up carefully, wearing his floppy brown hat and brandishing his steel blades at his side. Like an old-fashioned western film, it was time for a standoff.
Clearly shaken, Tex took a step back and yelped in fright.
“Awww, Tex, you disappoint me,” Krueger called out, his deep, sinister voice echoing in the distance. “I thought cowboys were supposed to be the toughest hombres in the west.”
Tex didn’t reply. He just swallowed hard and stared coldly into Freddy’s dark red eyes, then away from him, hoping for a possible means of escape.
“What’s the matter, Tex? No easy way out?” Freddy called out. “The way I see it, you have two options. You can either deal with me...”
Then, pointing in the opposite direction with the index finger of his claw, he continued: “Or deal with your biggest fear. The one that got away.”
As Tex turned around, he spotted a large beast standing there snorting through its snout. The large bull, the one that scared Tex so much he could never rope it in the rodeo, stared a hole right through him behind two beady crimson eyes, the only parts of the animal that were visible. The hulking body of the animal, hidden in the shadows, stomped its hooves into the ground to mark its territory and let out a loud, menacing growl that nearly shook the walls on their foundation. It was then that Tex knew he would be in for the fight of his life.
With sweat beading up on his forehead, Tex looked back at Freddy, who still stood there motionless in the darkness, curious to see what the young kid would do. Brainstorming, he really had no idea what TO do. On one hand, he could confront one of the most deadly serial killers of all time, but on the other, he would have to face the pain of meeting El Toro, the one bull he could never tame. With a million thoughts running through his head, Tex could almost feel the migraine coming on.
Then it him. This is a dream, right? he asked himself. And not only, that, this is MY dream. So if this is my dream, I should be able to do whatever I want—and have whatever I want. That would certainly explain the new clothing.
Cleverly smirking back at Krueger, Tex reached to his side and suddenly found his security blanket. The one thing that made him the most comfortable for any battle.
Twirling it around, he grasped the loop in his right hand and the excess rope in his left, naturally swinging it like a pro. Like riding a bike, he always used to say, it was something you never forgot. Even though they never let him have his real rope inside Westin Hills, he used to get the biggest kick out of roping Suzette or Maria with one of his makeshift lassoes made of yarn or thread of some sort.
Clearly unimpressed, Freddy merely chuckled and pointed back at the steer, which let loose all at once and came charging toward him like a freight train.
Feeling his muscles tense up and with his stomach in knots, Tex gripped his rope tighter than ever before, preparing to face his toughest battle yet.
This was going to be the longest eight seconds of his entire life.
Snorting and growling, the large monster of a bull sped directly at Tex, who firmly stood his ground and started to twirl his lasso. Freddy, anticipating a major blow, looked on in the background with eager anticipation, a sniveling look of blood lust on his face.
The bull was getting closer now...closer...closer...
And then, just when the horns were about to make contact with Tex, the resilient teenager pulled out his bag of tricks. Leaping up to the ceiling, he grabbed two of the pipes and propelled his entire body upward, sending the bull raging just past his legs. Hesitating a moment, Tex flung himself back down, and in one fluid motion, launched his loop around the massive neck of the bull, hooking on it perfectly.
Surprised, Freddy yelled, “Oh, give me a break!” as Tex took down his prey, wrestling first the monster’s head, then its entire body to the ground with a thud. The loud roars of the beast soon mellowed out, and by the time Tex was finished hog-tying its arms and legs together, the beast was reduced to a mere “moo!”, a far cry from the raging menace that had lunged at him moments earlier.
“Yeeeeeee-hawwwwwww!” Tex screamed in triumph, jumping up and down repeatedly to celebrate conquering his biggest fear. However, as Tex hopped around and began to whistle and dance some sort of two-step, he didn’t notice Freddy moving in closer behind him. Methodically stomping toward him, Freddy flicked all four of the blades of his claw, determined to bury them right in his heart—
When all of a sudden, Tex spun around and his claw was ripped right off of his hand, crashing to the ground with a clang. Shocked, Freddy looked on in disbelief and spotted Tex smirking at him, holding another lasso.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me!” Freddy snarled, grabbing Tex by the throat with his bare hands anyway. “Now you’re really starting to piss me off!”
However, much to his surprise, the strong Texan proved to be much more than Freddy could handle. Prying Krueger’s hand right off of his throat, Tex connected with a hard right hand to the jaw, sending the demented murderer to the ground in a heap of pain. Kicking him repeatedly while he was down, Tex continued his barrage on the defenseless Freddy, who curled up into a fetal position in an attempt to absorb some of the blows.
Once Krueger stopped moving, Tex sensed a chance to escape and took off running down toward the end of the corridor, the stirrups of his cowboy boots clanging off the ground with each step.
But just as he reached the end, he was stunned to hear the voice of Krueger calling his name.
Puzzled, he turned around and couldn’t believe his eyes. There, standing tall before him, was Fred Krueger, carefully affixing his claw back onto his right hand.
“Let’s see you lasso this, bitch!” he snarled, pointing all four blades at him.
As he looked on in horror, all four blades grew longer out of his hand like long, broad fingernails, curling into a large metal loop. By the time Tex realized what that loop was for, he was already trapped. Directly behind him, the exit of the corridor was now nothing more than a dead end, solidly blocked by a large brick wall.
Seizing his opportunity to strike, Krueger flicked his razor-sharp imitation of a lasso at Tex, looping him around his knees. Instantly barbed in many places, Tex screamed out in agony as Freddy dragged him down to the ground and started to yank him backward, smacking his head right off of the concrete.
“TIME FOR THE LAST ROUND-UP!!!” Freddy joked, pulling the young teen toward him in a trail of blood.
Fighting and clutching with everything he had, the woozy and delirious Tex shrieked out in intense pain as his blood began to flow like water off of a rainspout during a thunderstorm. Trying desperately to gain some sort of foothold before he reached Krueger, Tex saw his entire life flashing before him, fading in and out of consciousness in the process. When he finally got to Freddy, his legs were almost entirely severed, with the exception of one lingering patch of skin on each side.
Looking back toward the escape route one last time, Tex spotted his cowboy hat, only it wasn’t white anymore. It was a dark shade of crimson, stained with his own blood as it laid end-over-end on its top. Looking back at Freddy through bloodshot eyes, he knew his time was up.
Grabbing him by his belt buckle, Freddy yanked his lifeless body to the sky, his two legs hanging limply like a broken rag doll below his waist.
“Your eight seconds are up. You lose, kid!” Freddy quipped, burying his now-normal sized claw right into Tex’s heart.
All at once, his entire body went limp and his eyes rolled back into his head as his life slipped away in an instant.
Proceed To Chapter 24
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