A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child — Adaptation Excerpts
Adapted by Bob Italia
Transcribed by Rob Nimmo
Standing before the bathroom sink, Alice Johnson splashed her face with warm water as she prepared herself for bed. Suddenly, she heard an odd gurgle in the drain. She looked down and saw the water backing up in the sink. “Oh great, the drain monster strikes again.” Alice tried to turn off the water, but the handles would not move. The water pressure built. The water filled the sink and overflowed onto the floor. Alice grew perturbed. Straining with all her might, she forced the handles to turn. But then they came off in her hands. The pressure blasted from the faucet. Water flooded the floor, rising above her ankles. Alice sloshed to the door and tried to open it. But the doorknob wouldn’t turn. Frantic, Alice began pounding on the door. The water climbed above her knees to her waist. She was trapped! Alice watched in confusion and horror as the water climbed to her neck. She pounded furiously on the door and took a deep breath as she was completely submerged under water.
Suddenly, the door opened. Alice stumbled out of a static wall of water into a dark room. Then the door closed behind her and melted into the wall. With her mind whirling in confusion, Alice looked around. She was in an empty corridor. Two doors flanked both ends of the hallway. One opened. Alice tried to peer beyond the door, but all she could see was darkness. Slowly, she rose to her feet and stepped through the doorway into another dark room. Fingers of light stabbed up from crusting floor plates and reached through thick, murky air toward a dark cathedral ceiling. The beams appeared to be made from the bones of some unearthly creature. Old beds and filthy mattresses crowded along the walls. Some were torn to shreds. Alice could see the figures of men lying on the beds. Others paced aimlessly, devoid of sanity and purpose, lost in their private hells. All were dressed in old hospital garb.
At the end of the room, a staircase led to a huge iron door. Two orderlies hovered on the landing before it, gazing into the dim scene below. One orderly poked his finger into the dark, counting silently. “Come on, will ya?” the other orderly said. “Shut up,” said the first orderly. “You’ll make me lose count.”
Alice looked down at herself. Now she was dressed in an old-fashioned nurse’s uniform, white and starched. There was a name tag on her chest. It read: AMANDA KRUEGER. Alice barely had time to react when she heard the first orderly say: “Close enough. Let’s just say one hundred and call it a day.” The heavy door started closing on its rusted hinges. “No—wait!” Alice cried, rushing toward the door. The door slammed closed with a resounding clang. Then the heavy bolts were thrown into place. Alice whirled around. The door she came through had disappeared. All heads turned to her. Horrible faces peered from everywhere. Some men moved toward her. Then the others moved in from all directions.
Alice shot up in her bed, screaming. She looked around in panic, finally realizing she was alone. The bedroom window curtain gently billowed in the morning breeze. Alice tried to collect herself. Though the dream was over, she was far from being composed. She put on a robe and shakily climbed from the bed. Alice stepped into the bathroom and approached the sink. Looking at the faucet, she paused and took a deep breath. Everything looked normal enough. She turned on the water and watched apprehensively as it poured serenely down the drain. Then she cupped her hand and splashed her face.
The next day at Springwood High School, Dan Jordan stood in his graduation cap and gown before the school’s water fountain talking to his fellow graduates. “High school was only the beginning for some of us,” he said. “Don’t forget, S.A.T. stands for Sadistic Anti-human Torture.” Laughter emerged from the sea of fellow graduates who were out-numbered by their less amused parents. “Most of us have just this summer to live,” Dan added. “And by live, I mean—party!” The graduates sent up a cheer as Dan threw his cap in the air. Greta Gibson and her mother, Racine, stood at the edge of the group. Greta was a beautiful girl, tall and fashion-model thin. Racine raised a disapproving eyebrow toward Dan and the boisterous teens around him. “How colorful,” she said. “Who is he?” “Dan Jordon,” Greta replied. “Captain of our football team.” “Charming,” Racine said with distaste. Suddenly, Greta spotted some of her friends. “Alice! Yvonne!” she squealed with delight.
Alice stood with Yvonne in the swirling crowd. Alice looked a little glum, but Yvonne smiled broadly as they turned toward Greta. “Hey, girl!” Yvonne said. They rushed toward Greta. Yvonne and Greta threw their arms around one another and sent up shrill noises of girlish delight. Then Yvonne broke into a rap. “I’m the Y, to the V-O-N-N-E, and wherever I am, that’s the place to be.” Alice wasn’t getting into the spirit of things. Yvonne tried to inject a little enthusiasm into her. “C’mon, honey!” Alice joined in, trying to be cheerful. “I’m the A-L-I-C-E. Blond hair on my head, blue eyes to see.” “The G-R-E-T-A and my mom says I’ll be in magazines one day,” Greta chimed in. “We’re the three together, and together we’ll be. The Y, the A, and don’t forget the G!” All three put their hands together in an overhand slap. Greta and Yvonne broke into laughter.
Alice half-heartedly joined them, about a step behind their good spirits. “Hey,” Yvonne said to Alice, “what’s wrong with you? Let’s see a smile.” “Had kind of a long night,” Alice replied. “These things are wild,” Greta said, striking a pose in her gown. “What do you think?” “Makes you look like a nun,” Yvonne said. “Yeah, kick the habit!” Alice said. “Break those vows!” “Find me a man!” Greta said. The girls laughed. Just then, Mark Grey, a good-looking and eccentric young man, approached with a small sketch pad and a large lollipop. “No, no, it’s all wrong,” he said, speaking to Greta as if he were a fashion photographer. “Sell it! More teeth and raise the arms a bit.” Greta dropped the pose and looked to the heavens. “Maybe I should spell it out for you,” she said sarcastically. “Maybe God’s trying to tell you something,” Alice said playfully. Mark smiled at Greta. “Yeah, when are you gonna come to your senses?” “Next life,” Greta replied, looking at the lollipop. “Oh, what’s that?” “My undying love,” Mark answered. “Have some.” “Give it up, Mark,” Alice said. “It’s hopeless.” Mark grinned. “I think I’m starting to wear her down.” He held the lollipop out to Greta. “Have some anyway.” Greta stepped back. “That must never pass these lips.” “Greta,” a voice called out, “that’s not what a cover girl puts in her body.” Greta turned around and saw her mother glaring at her. “Meet me later,” Mark whispered. “Milkshakes, cherry pie, banana spits—and no mom!” “Pimples, heartburn, cellulite—and no modeling career!” Greta replied. “Not to mention the heartbreak of psoriasis,” Alice said. They all laughed. “Greta, come on,” Mark said. “One burger with me?” “One with you and I’m off to comic book land,” Greta stated. “We’re high school graduates now. Time to grow up. And speaking of grown-ups… Daddy’s here, super hero.”
All turned as Mark’s father, a rugged, middle-aged man, approached. He glanced at the girls, then at Mark. “Hey Rembrandt,” he said, “no wonder I couldn’t find you. I thought you’ld be hanging out with the guys.” “Oh, hi, dad,” Mark said, growing uncomfortable. “I thought the guys could hang out with themselves.” “Uh huh,” Mr. Grey said. “I hope you had time to finish those cross-sections I asked for.” “Can we get into that later, dad?” There was an awkward moment of silence. “Good to see you again, Mr. Grey,” Alice said. “I’ve got to go find Dan.” “Yeah,” Yvonne said, “before they revoke his diploma.” As Alice turned away and walked through the crowd, the cheerful face she had put on dissolved. She was still on edge. Suddenly, a dark shape loomed from behind, lifting her in a bear hug. As the big arms twirled her around, she came face to face with Dan. He smiled. “Hi, beautiful,” he said. “Don’t do that!” Alice snapped. “Sorry,” Dan said, putting her down. Alice recovered. “I’m sorry, too.” Dan smiled. “Got a present for you!” He reached into a pocket beneath his gown, then handed her two plane tickets tied with a ribbon. “The tickets,” Alice said, trying to be enthusiastic. “They’re coach seats, but the plane lands in Paris.” “I know,” Alice replied. Dan studied her for a moment. “Okay, what’s the matter?” Alice hesitated. “I had one of those dreams last night.” Dan grew concerned. “About him?” “No. Well, not exactly. It’s that…I feel like I wasn’t in control, for the first time since… all that. I’m scared.” Dan gave her a reassuring hug. “You stopped it, didn’t you? It was probably just a regular bad dream.” “Yeah…I guess.” “If you don’t dream him up, he can’t hurt you. Or me. Or us. Remember…” “You’re right,” Alice said. Suddenly, Dan’s robust father approached through the crowd. He dragged along a gruff-looking man with a crew cut. “Dan,” Mr. Jordan said, “this is Coach Ostrow. He’s interviewing this week!” Mr. Jordan turned to the coach. “Coach, you’re looking at the state’s finest quarterback. You know what they say—this boy feels the need for speed.” “So I’ve heard,” Ostrow said. “Dad, summer’s just starting—“ “We’re talking about your future, son.” Mr. Jordan shot an unfriendly look at Alice. “Excuse us, dear.” Alice joined up with Yvonne, Greta and Mark at the fountain in mid-conversation.
“That club stinks,” Mark said to Greta. “They card everybody. Let’s just party at your place.”
“You know my mother,” Greta replied. “Get real. What about Alice’s?”
Alice shook her head. “My dad’s got this thing about drinking in the house.”
“Well we gotta do something!” Mark said.
“All right, kids,” Yvonne said, “I’ll tell you what we’re gonna do. I’ve got swimming practice until 6:30 today. That means they’re gonna give me the key to the pool so I can lock up when I’m done.”
Mark’s face lit up. “Pool party! I dig it!”
Suddenly, Alice frowned. “I have to work tonight.”
“Tell Dan to bring you after,” Greta said.
“Mark!” Mr. Grey shouted. “Picture time. Come get immortalized. Parents and brats.”
“Greta!” Mrs. Gibson cried. “Photo opportunity, dear!”
Greta groaned. “They caught me, too. Guess I’d better go gnash my thousand-dollar teeth for the paparazzi.”
Alice glanced at her watch, then looked around for someone. She was not happy. “You guys go ahead. I’ll catch up with you later.”
Alice trudged along, staring at the ground. “Congratulations, Alice,” she muttered to herself. “You looked beautiful up there. I’m so proud of you…gee, thanks dad.” “You do look beautiful,” a voice said from behind. Alice whirled around to face her father. She smiled. “I was afraid you weren’t coming.” “I watched from behind the stands. Didn’t want to embarrass you, ya know. ‘The drunk showed up,’ that kind of thing.” “That’s in the past,” Alice said. “Unless you’ve stopped going to the meetings.” “No, a deal’s a deal.” Her father produced a wrapped present from behind his back. Hesitating, he awkwardly handed it to her. Alice’s face lit up as she stared at the package. “Well, go on, open it.” Alice gleefully ripped the paper off and opened the box. It was a camera. Alice smiled. “Dad!” “It’s the model you’ve been saving up for. I wanted you to have it for your trip.” Alice stared lovingly at her father. “I don’t care what they might think. You’re terrific.” She gave him a kiss on the cheek then took his hand and began leading him toward the fountain. “Where are we going?” he said. “To take a picture.” Alice and her father stood with the other teens and their parents as someone took a group picture.
When the photo session was over, the group scattered for the cars in the parking lot. “Call me when your shift ends,” Dan said to Alice. Then he shook her father’s hand. “Goodbye, sir. I’ll have her home by August.” Alice’s father frowned. “Just kidding,” Dan said. Dan smiled at Alice and walked away. Alice handed her gown and flowers to her father as he opened the car door. “Thanks for everything, dad.” “You sure you don’t want a ride to work?” “It’s just across the park.” He smiled and climbed into the car. “Okay, angel. Have fun tonight.”