"Do you think he meant it?" Dawn asked after a long silence. The three girls were walking back to the boiler room, and none of them had said a word. Rachel was clutching her arm, which was beginning to heal and form a scar. "Would he really let one of us go?"
Beth thought for a moment. "I don't know," She finally said. It was the first time she hadn't had an answer for Dawn, and this secretly saddened her. Dawn was always asking questions. "He might not. He could send us to another part of the Dreamscape... he might just have that little girl as an addition to us. Or maybe he's not planning anything."
The last one was what sounded right to the girls. It was normal of Fred to give people false hopes. That was the nature of his work. You think you're just dreaming, and then you get cut and realize it really hurts. Next thing you know, you're dead. When he was alive, it was different. Mr. Krueger has something to show you in his room. Don't scream, you don't need to be afraid.
And then you're pulled out of heaven after he dies, working for him for the rest of eternity.
Rachel realized that her arm wasn't bleeding anymore. It had healed unnaturally, just like everything in Fred's artificial Hell. Rachel's arm was better, but she knew the redheaded girls wouldn't. Her mortal arm, probably having a band-aid put on it by her mortal parents, in a world that was delicate and yet so much better than this one.
"Maybe he will replace one of us," Rachel said, trying to keep the hope out of her voice. "It sounds pretty nice to me. Little Orphan Annie fills in, one of us gets to go back to heaven. It'd be good for us."
"Yeah, and how good for the girl?" Beth snapped. "I thought we told ourselves we'd help Fred's victims, not serve them to him."
"We wouldn't be serving her!" Rachel said. "We'd just let Fred do his job! Maybe if we started doing that in the first place, he wouldn't be paying so much attention to us!" She raised her arm, which was covered with scars, to make her point.
"Here we go," Beth said, preparing for the big speech that Rachel always made when she was venting about their captor.
"Every day, our arms are cut, our legs are bruised, our necks are slashed, our bodies are ruined so that others won't have to die," Rachel vented, "And why? He always gets them anyway!"
"Because we try to do something good and he catches us!" She screamed.
"Rachel, be quiet," Dawn whispered, cautiously looking for Fred out of the corner of her eye. She was starting to panic. Fred would find them, and he would hurt them, and...
She didn't let herself think about those things.
"And maybe," Rachel finished, "if we just let the man do his job, we wouldn't be getting so beat up all the time!"
Beth walked forward until she was directly in front of Rachel. "It's the sacrifice we have to make." She said with authority.
Rachel was incredulous as she looked back at her friend. "Yeah, well screw sacrifice." She answered softly. "I think it's time I got a break." And with that, she slowly walked away.
Beverly sat on the porch in Ben's backyard, trying to make sense of what had happened. She fell asleep on the bus, in an aisle seat - nowhere near a window or anything that could hurt her if she stayed still. She had a dream, fell down in the dream, and when she woke up her elbow started to bleed. She had woken up in her seat. There was nothing on the bus that could have mixed in those little pieces of concrete and dirt with the blood… so how had that happened? Dreams weren't real. Beverly knew that. After her and her friends had killed the sewer monster, she'd had nightmares of its return for at least two weeks.
As a matter of fact, her little nap on the bus was the first time she hadn't dreamt of Pennywise.
She absentmindedly tapped on the side of the porch that she sat on, not quite thinking anything for a while. Ben and the others wouldn't notice she was gone. It wasn't that they didn't like her; that was just what happened in big groups… not to mention a big group where she was the only girl. Everyone was trying so hard to pay attention to the others that there was always someone who got forgotten. Still, she kept her ears alert. If she heard anyone through the screen door ask where she was, she'd know to go back inside. It was ridiculous that a cut this inconsequential would raise alarm, but her friends, well, cared. They had saved each other's life countless times in the past few weeks.
Beverly was startled as the door opened. She let out a small gasp as she turned around to see Richie Tozier standing on the steps. "Oh, hi." She greeted as her heartbeat returned to normal. "I was just, uh-"
"On the lookout for aliens?" He asked, still standing. "'Cause I think we've handled enough of the supernatural for one summer." He adopted a bad British accent as he recited, "It is time to go back inside for tea time, Ms. Beverly. No evil clowns out here to worry about."
Beverly grinned, but it didn't reach her eyes.
Richie sat down next to her. "You know what I'm talking about, right?" He asked. "Pennywise the-"
"The dancing clown." Beverly finished for him, staring at the grass. "Yeah, I remember." She sighed. "Kind of wish I didn't." It was true. She didn't want to remember the gleam in his eyes, the benign-looking balloons that he seemed to pull out of his sleeve. And she sure as hell didn't want to remember the fate of Patrick Hocksetter and the slugs. People said that they feared what they didn't understand, and that was true. She didn't even know if Pennywise was its real name.
"Yeah, well, you and I are the only ones who have any idea who that is." Richie said. "I mentioned it to Eds... he looked at me like I was a loony."
"You are a loony."
Beverly laughed, a little over-the-top as she did so. "You admitted it!" She said cheerfully. "You admitted that you're a loony! Let's go inside." At this point, she was willing to do anything to change the subject. If Eddie didn't remember what had happened, then she envied him. She stood up, taking Richie's hand.
"You do realize that is the most phony laugh I have ever heard." Richie said, glaring at her. "I know it sucks eggs, remembering. I have nightmares about the guy too. But come on! Isn't it weird? We are the only ones who remember what happened."
Beverly stood in place for a while. She hadn't thought about that.
"If you go back in there, they're going to harp on your cut." He reminded.
Beverly let go of Richie's hand. "You're right." She said. And with that, she walked inside. Better to be with her friends worrying about a dream than with Richie worrying about an evil that was very real to her.
Rachel hadn't gotten that far in the Dreamscape (still in the boiler room, believe it or not) when she saw Fred Krueger. In a panic, she hid behind a gas can and began to spy. This went against everything that she had said to the other two jump-ropers, but for the first time in a long time, she wanted to know what he was doing. He was holding up a piece of fabric… some kind of clothing. It was too dark to see what it was. Finally, he lit a fire to examine it in a better light.
It was a dress, and it matched the one that Rachel was wearing.
A/N: Here's the cast list that I promised.
Bill Denbrough: Jonathan Brandis
Ben Hanscom: Brandon Crane
Eddie Kaspbrak: Adam Fariazl
Beverly Marsh: Emily Perkins
Richie Tozier: Seth Green
Stan Uris: Ben Heller
Mike Hanlon: Marlon Taylor
Beth: Isabella Fuhrman
Rachel: Daveigh Chase
Dawn: Maria Lark
Fred Krueger: Robert Englund