Disclaimer: I of course, do not own the rights to Freddy Krueger, 1428 Elm Street, or Springwood, Ohio. Or Crystal Lake, for that matter. Those rights are solely the intellectual property of New Line Cinema.

A little note on the story itself. What's about to follow is hopefully the first chapter of what could wind up being a fairly epic fic. Actually, to call it a single fic would be misleading. My idea for it is more of a series of stand-alone one shots, each interconnected by a single overlying story arc. While many of the stories will feature recurring characters and themes, I will do my best to insure that each one is capable of standing on its own. I hope you enjoy it. And review it, please, by all means. The bigger a response I get, the greater the chances are of me continuing.

And without further ado, I give you the first chapter of the Nightmare House series.

"The House That Freddy Built"

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

"The repose of sleep refreshes only the body. It rarely sets the soul at rest. The repose of the night does not belong to us. It is not the possession of our being. Sleep opens within us an inn for phantoms. In the morning we must sweep out the shadows..."

--Gaston Bachelard

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fall, 2010...

"Fourteen Twenty-Eight, Elm Street." Lisa Clifton said, the grave tone in her voice matching the stone cold expression on her face. "A rundown, dilapidated, and altogether frightening presence on the otherwise tranquil neighborhood."

Lisa stood stock straight, her hands at her sides, clenched into fists, her dark brown eyes staring straight ahead. Behind her, was the subject of her speech... 1428 Elm Street. Standing two stories tall, 1428, once upon a time, might have been one of the nicer additions to Elm Street. As it was, for whatever reason the abandoned house had fallen into severe disrepair over the past five years. The windows had all been boarded up and nearly half of the green roof's shingles had fallen off, evidenced by the broken green fragments scattered though out the dead and dried up grass in the house's front yard. A small, and rickety white picket fence lined the sidewalk at the yard's edge. A rusty mail box barely clung to its post at the front of the walkway leading from the house's porch, the name "Campbell" almost completely worn away on its side.

The white paint on the house's walls was badly chipped, and the front door was a scratchy and faded golden color, though through the large gashes in the paint it was clear it was once red. The numbers "1, 4" and "8" hung in a vertical row on the left side of the door, a large space between the last two where the number "2" had once been. A defaced, and apparently frequently vandalized "For Sale" sign, hung in the front yard, nearly overgrown with now dry and dead weeds. Among many other illegible scrawlings and symbols, the words "HELL LIVES HERE" were the most prominent, sloppily spray painted on the sign in red, looking not unlike blood.

Lisa brushed her long, straight black hair out of her pale face. She was young, 19, and attractive, if just a little on the thin side. She was dressed in a pair of khaki shorts and a black t-shirt. Black combat boots were on her feet.

"Very few records exist on the house itself." she continued. "City hall absolutely refused to let me view any of the files on the house, which, last time I checked was a violation of the Freedom of Information Act... but whatever..."

From behind his digital camcorder, Kyle Stark let a chuckle slip. Kyle was a good looking young man, the same age as Lisa, with long shaggy blonde hair, though most of it was stuffed up under a red baseball cap. He wore red t-shirt and a pair of knee-length, cutoff blue jeans and a black pair of Chuck Taylor's on his feet.

Lisa sighed, her stone cold expression morphing into one of annoyance.

"Dammit, Kyle..." she groaned. "That's just more shit we're gonna have to edit out, now."

"Ya know," Kyle continued, ignoring the fact that Lisa's face grew even darker as he continued speaking. "Aren't documentaries supposed to be unbiased? And technically, aren't the directors of documentaries supposed to remain behind the camera for the most part and let their findings speak for themselves? You've been in almost every shot. That's a little 'Michael Moore,' doncha think?"

"God dammit, Kyle!" Lisa growled. "We have three days before this project is due, alright? Three days! You remember? You remember that little tidbit? Remember what Berger said would happen if we turned in one more film project late?"

Kyle shrugged. "Hey, I'm not the one that threw the bitch fit and made my entire crew walk out on me back at Forest Green, save for one ruggedly handsome camera man."

Lisa waved a hand dismissively. "Can we just fucking focus right now, Kyle?"

"You are in focus."

"Don't be a wise-ass."

Kyle shrugged, and placed his eye back up against the eye piece of his camcorder, signaling for Lisa to continue.

"The Nightmare Bitch on Elm Street..." he muttered to himself. "Rated R. For bitchiness."

Lisa rolled her eyes, paused a moment, then morphed back to her stone-cold serious face.

"The house itself is shrouded in mystery. Almost every inquisitory effort I've made on the subject has lead to nothing but dead ends, and quite literally, slammed doors. I've tried interviewing the police, doctors, morticians... even citizens who live on Elm Street. No one is willing to talk about this house."

"Is 'inquisitory' a word?" interrupted Kyle.

"Yes!" Lisa growled. "Now shut ...the fuck... up!"

Kyle sighed and went back to filming.

"There was, however, one source who was willing to speak on the subject." Lisa went on. "A source who unfortunately wished to remain anonymous... but a source, nonetheless, who managed to shed more light on the subject than I'd venture to guess has been shed in nearly seven years."

"Ch-ch-ch-ch, ah-ah-ah-ah."

Lisa rolled her eyes and took a deep breath before continuing.

"According to my source, this house has been home to many strange and ultimately gruesome events spanning over forty years. In the 1960's, it was the home of a man dubbed 'The Springwood Slasher,' by the local papers, a child murderer whose numbers included over twenty children and even his own wife. Twenty years later, a young woman who lived here had to be committed to a mental institution after her mother was mysteriously burned to death in her own bed. The young woman's boyfriend was also murdered in a bizarre incident the same night, right across the street. When seeking information on that particular event at the Springwood Police Department, however, I was unceremoniously turned away."

"Kicked outta the police station." mused Kyle. "Gotta be a fuckin' pro to pull that off."

"Five years later, in 1986," Lisa went on, opting to ignore Kyle this time. "A new family moved into 1428 Elm. This culminated in the death of the family's 16 year old son. It also, mysteriously enough, coincided with the death of a P.E. teacher at Springwood High, as well as several deaths at a local pool party. Again, details on both are unfortunately hazy, as very few people in this town are willing to speak about these subjects."

Lisa stepped forward now, her eyes not leaving the camera. The wind rustled through her hair, enhancing the dramatic effect she was going for.

"Information about the house dropped off for a while after that, although any information at all on the entire town for the nine year period between 1991 and 1999 is virtually non-existent. Years worth of entire issues from the local papers are completely missing, and many articles from 1968 until 1989 are heavily edited in the microfilms at the library. Springwood has proven to be a very difficult town to research."

Thunder rumbled in the distance.

"Jesus," Kyle glanced around at the darkening sky. "Is that some timing or what?"

"Yeah," Lisa sighed. "Hopefully we won't have to edit it out because you keep opening your God damned mouth!"

"You could try being nicer-"

"SHUT. UP!"

Kyle glared at her for a long moment, before placing his eye back up to the eyepiece.

Lisa groaned in exasperation.

"Where the fuck was I?"

"You were, um... being a total bitch like always? That help at all?"

"Cute." Lisa glared.

"We're gonna have a hell of a blooper real for this shit, ya know that?"

Lisa just continued glaring at Kyle.

"Alright," Kyle said, his face still behind the camera. "Whenever you're ready, Lisa."

Lisa sighed deeply, before closing her eyes for a long moment. When she opened them, her face was serious again.

"Things were quiet for a long time, until seven years ago, when yet another brutal murder occurred within these walls." she gestured to the house. "A young man was brutally stabbed to death in his bed. Not only that, but, according to my source, the entire mattress was folded in half, bending the victim's body backwards and completely severing the spine. Within the week that followed, more murders occurred throughout Springwood, including several deaths at Westin Hills psychiatric hospital, and at a cornfield rave. These events also seem somehow connected to a similar series of events that occurred in the nearby town of Crystal Lake, now known as Forest Green. A campground that was undergoing renovations at the time burned to the ground, and the bodies of two teenagers, both identified as being from Springwood, were found among the carnage." Lisa glanced back at the house before slowly looking back at the camera. "It's almost as if the deaths at this house sparked off the others. As if all the strange, unexplainable events that have occurred throughout Springwood, and in the last case, Crystal Lake, all originated at this house..."

Kyle looked up from the camera, an excited grin on his face. "Oh my God, Lisa, we should go inside the house!"

Lisa paused a moment, and for a half a second, Kyle thought she might be considering his suggestion... before her face quickly turned back in to the trademark scowl that seemed almost a permanent fixture of her otherwise pretty features.

"Don't be fucking stupid, Kyle." she sighed. "We can't go inside the house. That's illegal."

Kyle rolled his eyes. "And everything else we've been doing for this thing has been perfectly within the realm of the law..."

"Hey!" Lisa jabbed a finger at him. "We haven't done anything against the law! Making ignorant people upset because they don't want anyone to know about their perfect little community's nasty secrets is not illegal!"

"It's not like anyone's gonna give a shit anyway!" Kyle continued, returning to his original point. "Or even notice! Look at this place! It's a disaster! Clearly nobody's been too concerned about the upkeep! I'll bet no one's even looked at this house in years!"

Lisa hesitated, glancing over her shoulder at the house before turning once more back to Kyle.

"Still," she said, continuing to argue her point, although the anger and irritation in her voice had been replaced by a sort of musing tone. "I don't think its a good idea, alright?"

Kyle shrugged. "I mean, yeah, some ominous looking blacked out newspaper articles and shots of you standing in front of the house are creepy and all, but... not exactly visual, you know what I mean? If we could actually get some shots of the rooms where these supposed murders took place however..."

He trailed off, his grin widening when he saw that faraway look in Lisa's eyes that he knew meant she was actually giving his suggestion some serious consideration now.

"I'm sure the doors are locked." she said.

"Please... this place is falling apart. I'll bet the doors are ready to come off their hinges. Trust me, physically getting inside isn't going to be a problem." Kyle allowed Lisa to ponder this a bit further, before adding, "Whaddya say?"

A certain glow, a light in Lisa's eyes, that Kyle recognized as a sign that she was about to become extra "inquisitory" began to appear, and she looked up at him, concession finally showing on her face, her mouth opened to reply... when she paused. Her eyes unfocussed, and she tilted slightly to the left, glancing over Kyle's shoulder.

"Shit..." she breathed softly, more to herself than anything. Kyle paused a moment, before glancing over his shoulder as well.

The van that he and Lisa had driven to the place in was parked at the curb, on the other side of the ruddy picket fence. And another vehicle, a rather expensive looking BMW had just pulled up behind it. It idled for a moment, before the engine cut, and the driver's side door opened. A man stepped out. He looked to be somewhere in his mid-forties, with a hard-lined, but pleasant face, and a high forehead that hadn't quite become a receding hairline just yet. His brown hair was smoothly slicked back, and he wore a pair of sunglasses that looked as though they were more expensive than Kyle's DV camcorder. He wore a black sports coat, over an untucked, white button-down shirt, a pair of jeans, and a black pair of pricey looking, Italian shoes. He glanced first at the van with a curious expression on his face, before slowly looking over at Kyle and Lisa.

"Whose this guy?" Kyle asked. Lisa ignored him, stepping forward a bit.

"Can we help you?" she asked, trying to sound pleasant.

"Yeah," the man said slowly, removing his sunglasses and squinting at them from over the roof of his car. "Yeah, you can. What're you doing on my property?"

"Your property?" Lisa raised an eyebrow.

"You own this dump?" asked Kyle.

"Sure do." responded the man, a deep level of disapproval under riding his casual tone. He walked as he spoke, moving past his car and walking up the walkway to the house, and stopping only when he stood right next to the two film students. "As of three-thirty yesterday afternoon. So, if you don't mind, I'll ask again: What are you doing on my property?"

As the man crossed his arms across his chest, his face stern and expectant, a grin slowly began to form on Lisa's face. She stepped further forward now. Her eyes flitted momentarily to the "For Sale" sign on the houses front yard ("HELL LIVES HERE") before immediately refocusing on the man with the expensive car. She motioned for Kyle to start the camera again. Kyle paused a moment, confused, before slowly lifting the camcorder back to his eye.

"So you've actually purchased the murder house on Elm Street, huh?" Lisa asked, expecting the news of deaths at the residence to come as a shock to the man.

Instead, the man didn't flinch. "Yup. That's me."

Lisa paused a moment, caught off guard by the man's blunt response. It didn't take long for her to regain her composure. "Would you... care to say a few words on the subject?" she tilted her head toward the camera.

The man shrugged. "Sure." He turned and looked straight into the camera lense. "If you don't get off my property right now, I'm going to call the police."

Lisa's expression slowly transformed from intrigue, to surprise, and finally, to the trademark vicious glare she almost always wore. The man simply looked at her, eyebrows raised, before glancing back to the camera.

"You can quote me on that, too." he said. "Donald Lawson."

Lisa growled, motioning for Kyle to lower the camera. "Alright, asshole, we get it. Come on Kyle."

She stormed toward the van. Kyle paused a moment, glancing apologetically at the man, Donald Lawson. "It's not you," Kyle said. "She's like this to everyone. Bitch and whatnot."

"Kyle!" Lisa snarled over her shoulder.

"Coming, you radiant beam of sunshine!" Kyle replied. He flashed Donald a grin, before trotting off after Lisa. A moment later their van had disappeared around the corner at the end of Elm Street. Donald sighed, watching them go... it wasn't like he hadn't expected some annoyances, particularly with the history of the house he'd just purchased. He just hadn't expected to have to deal with said annoyances the moment he set foot on the property. He turned back to the house, grinning, his hands on his hips. He took a deep breath. He didn't care what anyone thought. He was proud of this purchase. This property was going to be huge when he was done with it. From somewhere closer than before, thunder rumbled threateningly.

Behind him, the passenger seat of Donald's BMW opened, and a teenaged girl, about sixteen, stepped out of the car. She was attractive, with long blonde hair, tied back in a ponytail, with bright blue eyes. She was wearing a worn, brown leather jacket, over a pink, button up blouse and a knee length, denim skirt. A pair of black, slip-ons were on her feet. She yawned, rubbing her eyes, and glancing up at the house Donald was beaming at, blinking a few times.

"This is the place?" she spoke up, speaking to Donald's back. Her tone was cynical and slightly amused. "Dad, you paid actual human money for this house?"

Donald spun around quickly. "Oh, honey!" he said. "You're awake! I was gonna let you keep sleeping."

"Yuh huh." his daughter replied. She stepped up next to him, still looking at the house. "Gotta tell ya, dad. You've made some error's in judgment before, but this... this is gotta be one of the front runners."

Donald waved a hand dismissively, turning back to the house. "You're missing the big picture, Rory. It's not the house, the house is inconsequential, the house is crap..."

"No kidding." Rory said, dryly.

"It's the property that's important." Donald continued, as if his daughter hadn't said anything. "The property is where the money's at."

Rory glanced around at the dried grass, the falling apart mail box, and the overgrown white picket fence. "Yeah, this place is going to fetch a pretty penny alright..."

Donald sighed. "Could you knock it off with the sarcasm? You sound like your mother when you talk like that. It's unnerving. Trust me, this place is going to be worth a fortune when we're done with it. Knock over the house, replant the grass, and start all over again. It's a great neighborhood, a great location... trust me... this is gonna be the big one. This is gonna turn our whole lives around."

Rory didn't say anything more. She wanted to believe her dad, she really did... but he'd said these things before. Her father ran a contracting business, a once very successful contracting business until an error in judgment about where to place a commercial district backfired and almost sent Donald Lawson's company into bankruptcy, three years ago. This also coincided, cosmically enough, with Donald's wife (and Rory's mother) filing for divorce. Things hadn't been the same for Donald and Rory since, and while they'd just managed to scrape by thus far, Donald was desperate to try to return his company to its former glory. This resulted in him taking an awful lot of chances with his purchases. An awful lot of chances that, more often than not, hadn't exactly made the payoff he'd expected.

"Trust me." Donald said again, smiling broadly. "This place is gonna be the one. I promise."

As if in response, another rumble of thunder rolled overhead. Rory glanced up, then back over to her dad. "I really want to believe you, dad. Really, I do."

Donald shook his head, his grin faltering a bit, but he made his best attempt to cover it up. "Oh ye of little faith."

Rory noticed his smile fade, and sighed. She had hurt his feelings. It seemed to be getting harder and harder not to hurt his feelings lately. She knew he was trying his best, so she offered a weak smile and said. "But hey... what do I know. I'm not the big time contractor."

"Damn straight!" her father replied, his grin broadening again. He looked back to the house, then back to his daughter once more. "Ya wanna go inside? Scope the place out?" his tone had taken on that of an excited twelve year old who'd just been dared to sneak into the old haunted house down the street. Rory glanced up at him, raising an eyebrow.

"Are you serious?"

"Why not? It's my house now. Who knows what cool stuff might've gotten left behind."

"You're a dork of monumental proportions, dad. You know that, right?"

"Cooler than you are." Donald retorted in what was, in Rory's opinion, a decidedly uncool tone. She couldn't help but smile about it.

"That notwithstanding," she said. "I think I'll just wait in the car."

Donald shrugged. "Suit yourself. But your missin' out!"

He started toward the house. Rory shook her head, walking back down the walkway, and back to the passenger side of the car. She opened the door, and slipped back into the seat. Just before she shut the door, her father, who was now standing at the house's front door, turned back to her.

"If I'm not back in ten minutes... keep waiting!" he said, grinning. Rory shook her head, smiling back, and shutting the car door. Her dad turned back to the house and after fussing with the door for several moments, finally managed to get it open. He stepped inside, into the incredibly pitch blackness that lay beyond 1428's door. Rory watched him go, and watched the door swing a few inches, before coming to a rest, still open by about a foot. It really was incredibly black beyond the house's threshold. It was actually kind of creepy.

"Wouldn't catch me dead in there..." she finally muttered to herself, before leaning back against the seat, and letting her heavy eyelids slowly close. Cross-country practice had been exhausting this afternoon, and her dad had driven straight here from picking her up. Even in just the fifteen minute drive it took to get here, she'd managed to fall into a pretty deep sleep. It was this level of sleep that she slowly slipped back into.

------------------------------------------------------

"RORY!!!"

Rory awoke with a start. She blinked a few times... how long had she been asleep? She glanced at the clock in the car's dashboard. It was blank. Puzzled, she pulled her cell phone out of her jacket pocket and looked at its face. Also blank. She flipped it open. The screen was black.

"I just charged this stupid thing this morning..." she muttered to herself. She tried turning the phone back on. Nothing happened. "Wonderful..."

She glanced at the sky through the car's windshield. It had grown darker, but Rory wasn't sure if that was because the sun had dipped lower in the sky, or the overcast clouds had grown thicker. Lightning flashed, and thunder rumbled menacingly.

"RORY!!!"

She jumped. Someone was shouting her name. It sounded like her dad! She opened the car door.

"Dad?" she said loudly. "Are you alright?"

No answer. Slowly, she slid out of the car, closing the door behind her. She shivered a bit as she stood. It had definitely gotten colder out... how long had her dad been in there?

"RORY!!! HELP ME!!!"

Rory gasped. It was definitely her dad. And it was definitely coming from the house.

"Dad!" she cried, worry weighing heavily on her voice. "Dad, are you alright?!"

"RORY!!!" was the only reply she got. Rory whimpered. Her dad sounded like he was in pain! She turned and glanced up and down the street. Where was everyone? It was desolate. And dead silent. The wind wasn't blowing. No cars were passing. Nothing. A sudden blast of thunder caused Rory to jump and shriek.

"RORY!!!" she heard her father cry from within the house once more. "PLEASE HELP ME!!!!"

Rory turned back to the house and hesitated only a moment longer, before trotting down the walkway and up to the front porch. Just before she stepped onto it, she paused. She thought she had seen a flash of movement out of one of the dirty, second floor windows, but it was hard to tell. The colors red and green came to mind.

"RORY!!!"

She yelped, startled at how near her father had sounded.

"I'm coming, dad!" she replied after a moment, and with one final deep breath, she pushed the chipping, gold colored door open, and stepped into the blackness....

Once inside, she paused to allow her eyes to adjust.

As her vision focused, the first thing she noticed was how filthy the house was. Cobwebs were everywhere, and a thick layer of dust covered everything. A hallway stretched out in front of her, leading to what looked like a kitchen. A set of stairs were on her right, leading up to the second floor. To her left, an arched doorway lead to what looked like a living room. The floorboards on the hallway in front of her were splintered and broken, and Rory feared that if she stood in one place for too long she might fall through. The carpet in the living room was filthy, moldy, and deteriorating.

"....help me...."

Rory paused. This new voice wasn't her father... it actually sounded like a child's. Like a little girls, maybe. And it wasn't shouting. It didn't sound as frantic. Just hopeless. And weak.

"Hello?" Rory called.

".....please help me...." the little girl's voice whimpered again. It sounded like it was coming from a doorway on the right side of the hallway, under the stairs. Rory slowly moved toward the door. As she drew closer, she heard the little girl's voice again, but it no longer spoke. It merely whimpered. Then, it shrieked. Loudly. Rory froze in her tracks. A dark pool of liquid... blood... had begun to flow from underneath the door under the stairs.

"Oh my God..." Rory breathed.

The little girl's shrieking fell silent. Rory had had enough. She couldn't stay in here, even if her father needed her. She'd run to a neighbors, call the police. But she couldn't stay here. She turned to dash out the door... and screamed.

The same scene greeted her. The stairs to her right. The living room on her left. The splintery, hallway leading to the kitchen stretched out in front of her. The blood oozing from beneath the doorway on the right side of the hallway under the stairs....

She tried to turn toward the doorway again.... and once again, found the same scene before her. The stairs. The living room. The hallway. The blood.

"No..." she moaned. "No! This is impossible!"

Suddenly, with a click, the door under the stairs slid open ajar. Rory stared at it, her eyes wide with terror. She wanted to run, but she couldn't get her legs to respond... besides, where would she go? She couldn't leave... the house wouldn't let her!

Thump! Thump! Thump! It sounded like footsteps. They were coming from the open door... it sounded like someone stomping up stairs.

"Heh heh heh..." the gravelly chuckle, emanating from the door, sent a shiver up Rory's spine. Slowly the door began to open wider.

Rory had no intention of seeing who... or what... was going to come out. She couldn't walk out the front door. But she was desperate. She turned and quickly ran up the stairs.

At the top of the stairs, directly ahead was a doorway. To the left, stretched a hallway. Rory tried the door first. The handle rattled and didn't budge. Locked.

"Fee, fi, fo fum!" Rory barely suppressed the urge to shriek as she heard a gravelly voice that matched the cackle from the doorway, bellow from the first floor. "I smell the blood of a blondie-blonde! Yum!" The voice cackled once again, and without even thinking about it, Rory dashed down the hallway to her left.

As soon as she entered the hallway she stopped, her eyes widening even further than she thought possible.

The hallway stretched out seemingly endlessly, further than her eyes could see. What looked like an endless number of white doors lined both sides of the hallway. Rory turned around... and screamed as she saw that the hallway now stretched impossibly far on that side as well.

"The stairs? Where are the stairs?!"

Suddenly, a door on the left, closest to Rory, creaked open. Rory shrieked, jumping away from it. A moment went by... when a little brown haired girl, in a dirty, stained white nightgown slowly shuffled out of the now open doorway. The little girl's head was bowed forward, her hair obscuring her face.

Rory, breathing heavily, watched the little girl shuffle toward her.

"Wha-what... what's going on?" Rory stammered softly. "What is this? Who are you?"

The little girl's head lulled back, her hair parting like the Red Sea... and Rory screamed once again.

The little girl's face was bleach white... and her eye sockets were empty and shriveled. A hideous slashing wound split wide open on the little girl's throat like a demonic red grin, as her head rolled back, exposing and stretching bleeding red muscle and tendons. Blood poured from the wound soaking into the little girl's dirty nightgown like a sponge.

"I could be bounded in a nutshell..." the little girl said, in a ragged and raspy whisper, blood burbling and spurting from her wound as she spoke. "And count myself a king of infinite space..."

Suddenly another door, this one to Rory's right, slammed open, and a little boy staggered out. He was blond, and wearing a dirty pair of tanned slacks, and a green and red sweater-vest over a blue button down shirt. His cheeks were deeply slashed on either side of his lips, turning his face into a grotesque permanent grin.

"I could be bounded in a nutshell..." the little boy repeated. "And count myself a king of infinite space..."

Rory slowly stepped back from the two children in horror... when more of the doors began opening. One by one by one... and more ghastly children began filing into the hallway. Soon all of the doors, as far as Rory could see, were coming open, ghostly pale figures slowly wandering out of them. Not just children any more, but teenagers and even a few adults. All of them different, but all of them sharing the same key features... some grotesque and obviously fatally grievous wound. Some of them were emaciated, some of them even decayed, maggots squirming and falling out of their flesh. Rory even saw what had to be the burnt and charred skeleton of an impossibly young child shambling toward her. Crowds and crowds of these living corpses filled the hallway to Rory's left and right, drawing closer and closer to her. All of them moaning the same phrase, over and over, overlapping one another...

"I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space.... I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space.... I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space..."

The people... the corpses... were drawing closer and closer, their arms stretching out toward Rory. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to go.... Rory realized with horror that the doors the corpses had shambled out of had disappeared, blank, red walls now stretching off endlessly in both directions. The corpses crowded around her, clutching and pulling, and tearing at her hair, her jacket, her skirt....

"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space..."

It was too much.... Rory scrunched her eyes shut and shrieked, trying to drown out the monstrous voices assaulting her from all directions.

Silence followed. The hands that clutched at her fell away.... Rory stood with her eyes shut for several minutes, waiting. More silence followed.... slowly, she opened her eyes... and was greeted with nothing but blackness. Blackness and silence, stretching off in all directions. She couldn't see the wall, or even the floor and the ceiling. Nothing but total blackness. It was as if she'd stepped into an endless void of nothingness.

Suddenly, a soft, barely audible voice whispered to her, seeming to come from all directions at once.

"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space.... were it not that I have bad dreeeeeamsssss....."

And suddenly, Rory found herself in a room once again. It was empty, with a dusty wooden floor, and a tall, sloping roof that came to a point directly overhead, sloping down on either side of her. It looked like she was in an attic of some sort. On the opposite end of the room, directly in front of a large, stained glass window... was a woman in a rocking chair. She rocked back and forth, facing the opposite direction from Rory, seemingly completely oblivious to Rory's presence. Her skin was as pale white as the corpses from before, her hair black, and done up in a tight bun on the back of her head. She was dressed in what looked like a colonial era dress, with a long, ankle length skirt, a neck hugging collar and long, wrist length sleeves. The woman held a bundle in her arms as she rocked. She was singing softly to herself, her voice hauntingly beautiful, and laced with a feathery British accent.

"One... two... Freddy's coming for you..."

Rory, slowly began walking toward the woman, not even sure why she was doing so. Anything seemed better than just standing still at this point.

"Three... four... better lock your door..."

Rory drew closer and closer. She could make out the woman better now... she looked young, only a few years older than Rory herself...

"Five... six... grab your crucifix..."

Rory stood mere feet behind the woman in the rocking chair now.

"Seven... eight... better stay up late..."

The woman slowly glanced over her shoulder now... she was beautiful, with high, defined cheekbones, a soft, smooth chin, and thin, sloping eyebrows. Her eyes made Rory gasp, though. They were veiny, red-rimmed, and yellow... and decidedly malevolent. The woman's red lips parted in a dark smile.

"Nine... ten..." she finished softly. "Never sleep again..."

"Who..." Rory whimpered softly. "Who are you?"

The woman glanced down at the bundle she held, smiling and nudging the bundle which cooed softly at her, before slowly looking back up at Rory.

"I am someone," she said softly. "Who has been waiting here for a long, long time..."

Rory groaned. What did that even mean? What the hell was going on?!

"What is..." Rory began, trying to think of how to word what she was asking... trying to think of what she was even asking. "What is this place?"

"This place?" the woman asked simply, her grin never faltering. "It's my house."

"Your house?"

"Yes. I've been here for as long as this house has... longer actually. Much longer. I've been here.... waiting and waiting and waiting. Waiting for the right time. The right time to make my presence known. The right time to set the Master's plan in motion." she glanced up at the stained glass window. For the first time, Rory noticed the design on the window. It depicted a raging storm. In the middle of a large thunderhead, was a huge swirling vortex. A large, black shape, with two slanted, glowing red eyes was emerging from the vortex. Bloody, human corpses littered the brown, dead grown below the storm. "The time draws very near, child..."

The Master's plan? Who was this woman? "What in God's name are you talking about?" Rory asked, her voice growing frantic.

The woman chuckled. For some reason, this scared Rory even worse than the raspy chuckling from the door under the stairs.

"No." the woman said, shaking her head. "No God."

"HAW HAHAHAHAHAAAW!"

Rory gasped as this cackle, in the same raspy voice as before, suddenly roared from every direction at once.

"Whoops." said the woman, fussing with the bundle in her arms once again. "It appears that you have caught the attention of my housemate, young lady."

Rory spun on her heel... and gasped. A blood red door stood not six feet in front of her, in the middle of the room. It hadn't been there before.

Without warning, the door suddenly burst open, and a man lept out.

He was thin and lanky, wearing a dirty brown pair of pants and a ratty, red and green sweater. A pair of black, scuffed and stained work boots were on his feet. His arms were spread wide, and on his right hand, he wore a dirty brown work glove that was fitted with four razor sharp claws on the index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers. A dirty brown fedora was on his bald head. And every inch of his exposed skin was covered in the most hideous and mangled looking burn scars Rory had ever seen. The man's face was twisted into a vicious grin, his eyes wide with a malicious excitement.

"Honey!!!" Freddy Krueger cackled. "I'm hooooooooome!!"

"Well, hello Freddy, dear..." said the woman in the rocking chair, from over Rory's shoulder. "It's good to see you again."

Freddy paused a moment, cocking an eyebrow (or at least, the mass of scarred tissue above his right eye where an eyebrow would've been) and looking past Rory, at the woman in the rocking chair.

"Who the hell are you?" he growled.

The woman chuckled once again. "No one you should concern yourself with just yet."

Freddy paused, clicking his claws as he glanced from Rory to the woman in the chair. Rory stood, her eyes locked on Freddy. She had never been more terrified. A long moment of silence went by.

"By all means," the woman said, breaking the silence. "Don't allow me to interrupt the two of you." her gaze moved to Freddy. "You just carry on like you normally would, as if I weren't even here."

Freddy stared at her for a long moment, before his grin slowly returned. He glanced at Rory, and chuckled darkly, raising his claws.

"Sounds like a plan to me!" he growled.

He lept at Rory, claw raised. Rory screamed and dived out of the way, just as Freddy's claws slashed the air where she had been standing. She turned to face the woman in the rocking chair... and found that she, the bundle, and the chair were all gone. All that was left was the large stained glass window. She glanced back over her shoulder and saw Freddy rushing at her once again, claw raised. This left her with one choice.

She turned and dove straight through the stained glass window.

The world spun around her as she felt herself falling through the air, her arms and legs flailing wildly. She fell for what felt like an eternity... before landing hard on her back, gasping as the wind was knocked out of her.

The first thing she noticed was the full moon hanging in the clear starry sky, directly over head. The second thing she noticed, was the cool, wet feeling of dewy blades of grass against her bare legs. She sat up, suddenly, still coughing and trying to catch her breath.

She was laying at the foot of a tall, black, and craggy dead tree. It stretched up in front of her, like a clawed hand reaching for the stars. She slowly stood and glanced around... and cried out as she looked behind her.

A lone gravestone jutted out of the ground. Her gravestone... "Lorelei Constantina Lawson" it read. "1994-2010/ Beloved daughter. Gutted before her time by Freddy Krueger."

Rory slowly backed away from the gravestone... when she heard a creaking sound from behind her. She turned around.... and screamed as the craggy, claw-like tree toppled toward her. She threw herself to the ground as the tree fell on her, it's razor sharp limbs miraculously missing her, digging themselves into the ground on all sides of her... pinning her to the ground. She struggled for several minutes before she realized it was hopeless.

"Help!" she screamed, even as she realized how ludicrous it was to do so. "Somebody help me!"

Without warning, something burst out of the ground, mere feet from Rory's head, showering her with damp dirt.... it was an arm. A green and red striped arm... wearing a clawed work glove.

Rory began screaming even louder.

Slowly, Freddy dragged himself out of the ground, dusting himself off, and drawing up to his full height, which from where Rory was, appeared taller than the space needle. Slowly, Freddy crouched next to her, grinning, exposing his hideous gnarled and rotten teeth.

"You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this...." he purred, softly caressing Rory's face with the back of his claws. "Seven years. Seven long fucking years, waiting in that house. The only place in Springwood where I have any power left at all. Waiting, hoping that one day one of Springwood's brats would be stupid enough to come wondering right back into my arms." he chuckled. "Congratulations, Rory. You're officially Springwood's most brainless citizen. Speaking of which..."

He suddenly plunged his claws into Rory's forehead.

Rory screamed waiting for the explosion of pain, the warm gush of blood, waiting for darkness to engulf her senses.... anything. Nothing happened. She didn't feel any pain at all. She didn't feel anything.

Freddy's claws hadn't penetrated her head. Freddy's claws had faded away before they even touched her flesh.

Freddy snarled, withdrawing his hand. Slowly, his clawed hand reformed. Growling, he plunged it back toward Rory's head.... and again, it dissolved into nothingness before it reached her.

Freddy withdrew his hand once again, grumbling low. Slowly, the grumble turned into a growl, the growl turning into a snarl, the snarl turning into a roar. Freddy lept to his feet, grabbing the dead tree, and with a scream of rage, he threw it... he actually THREW it! The tree went soaring off into the eerily tranquil starry horizon.

"I knew it!" he screamed. "I FUCKING KNEW IT!!! I knew this was too good to be true!!"

Rory tried to scramble to her feet, but Freddy lifted his foot, bringing it down hard on her chest, pinning her back to the ground.

"I can't kill you..." he said, looking down at her, sizing her up. "But I'm capable of touching you. Which means..." a grin slowly spread across his face. "Which means your fear is giving me power... which means it ain't over yet! I think we've found a usefulness for you, blondie-blonde!"

Freddy reached down, grabbing Rory by the collar of her blouse and hauling her her up, over his head, her feet dangling just a foot above the ground.

"Go back, little piggy!" Freddy cackled. "Back home. Back to the real world." he lowered her to the ground, pulling her close so that her face was inches from his. She could smell his rancid breath as he spoke. "Tell 'em Freddy sent ya!"

He cackled loudly. Rory began screaming, and Freddy suddenly grabbed her by the shoulders and began shaking her.

"Wake up!" he cried. "Rory, wake up!" Only it wasn't the evil, rattling, raspy voice of Freddy Krueger. It was the terrified and desperate voice of her father....

------------------------------------------------------

Rory's eyes burst open, and she sat up screaming.

"Rory... RORY! Rory, calm down, it's me! IT'S ME!!"

Rory's father looked down at her, his eyes wide with worry.

Rory glanced around. She was back in her father's car. It was still day out, the sky still the drab grey of rainclouds. Thunder rumbled again, softly in the distance. Rory could see 1428 Elm looming darkly over her father's shoulders.

"Jesus Christ..." Donald breathed, kneeling down beside his daughter. "That must've been one hell of a nightmare... I could hear you screaming from all the way on the second floor..."

Rory was breathing heavily. She began trembling violently, tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Honey?" Donald said, concern thick in his voice. "Are you alright."

Rory shook her head, before throwing her arms around her father's neck.

"I thought you were dead!" she whimpered. "I thought I was dead..."

"No, of course not..." her father held her to him, closely. "Jesus, that really must've been some nightmare...."

"You have no idea..." Rory slowly pulled away from Donald, wiping her eyes. That was when she noticed the dusty red book her father was holding. "What is that?"

"This?" Donald held up the book. "I dunno... I found it in the closet of one of the rooms on the second floor. I think it's a diary..."

Rory looked at the book for a moment, then up at her father, then at the house looming menacingly over her father's shoulder. Her eyes widened, and she inhaled sharply.

"Honey..." Donald looked at her before glancing over his shoulder at the house. He slowly turned back to his daughter. "Honey... is everything alright?"

Rory's eyes narrowed. "You have to destroy this place, dad. Destroy it. Tear it to the fucking ground..."

She could've sworn she'd just seen a shape move quickly past one of the windows on the second floor... the colors red and green came to mind...