A Nightmare on Elm Street — Adaptation Excerpts
Adapted by Bob Italia
Transcribed by Rob Nimmo
Later that night, an unmarked police car sped to the curb outside the police station. Lieutenant Don Thompson emerged and popped a cigarette in his mouth. Officer Parker greeted Thompson. Parker looked shakened. “Sorry to wake you, Lieutenant,” Parker said. “I’d have canned you if you hadn’t,” Thompson said. “What you got?” Parker stumbled to open the door for Thompson as he bulled into the station at a furious pace. “Her name was Tina Gray,” Parker said. “It was her home. Father abandoned ten years ago, mother’s in Vegas with a boyfriend. We’re trying to reach her now.” Thompson grimaced as he headed toward his office. “What’s the Coroner got to say?” “Something like a razor was the weapon,” Parker said, “but nothing found on the scene. Looks like her boyfriend did it. Rod Lane. Musician type, arrests for brawling, dope–” “Terrific,” Thompson snapped. “What was she doing there?” “She lived there,” Parker said. “I don’t mean her–” Thompson burst into his office. Nancy and her mother, Marge, were waiting anxiously for him.
“What was she doing there?” Thompson said to Marge. “Hello to you, too, Donald,” Marge replied. All the steam left Thompson. He looked at Nancy and winced. She looked like a wreck. Her skin was clammy and the color of paste. Marge gave her ex-husband a worried-glance. Thompson pulled a chair close to Nancy. “How ya doin’, pal?” he said softly. “Okay,” Nancy replied. “Hi, dad.” “I don’t want to get into this now,” Thompson said. “I know you need time. But I sure would like to know what you were doing shacked up with three other kids in the middle of the night – especially with a lunatic like Lane.”
“Rod’s not a lunatic,” Nancy said.
“You got a sane explanation for what he did?” Thompson said.
Nancy stared blankly as she shred a tissue.
“Apparently he was crazy jealous,” Marge said. “Nancy said they’d had a fight, Rod and Tina.”
“It wasn’t that serious,” Nancy said softly.
“Maybe you don’t think murder’s serious,” Marge said.
Nancy sat upright, her eyes flashing. “She was my best friend! Don’t you dare say I don’t take her death seriously! I just mean their fights weren’t that serious. She dreamed this would happen.” “What?” Thompson said. “She had a nightmare about somebody trying to kill her, last night” Nancy said tearfully. “That’s why we were there. She was afraid to sleep alone.” “She’s been through enough for one night,” Marge said. “You have her statement.” Nancy and Marge started out. “I suggest you keep a little better track of her,” Thompson said. “She’s still a kid, you know.” “You think I knew there were boys there?” Marge snapped. “You try raising a teenager alone!” Nancy and Marge left the room. Thompson glared at Parker. “See that they get home okay.”
The next morning, Nancy was walking alone down a sidewalk on her way to school. Sensing she was being watched, she looked across the street. A man in dark clothes was holding up a newspaper, staring at her. Nancy shrugged and continued on, then stopped and looked back. The man was gone. Suddenly, a bloodied hand clamped over her mouth and dragged her into the bushes. Nancy struggled, twisting against the powerful assailant. Then Nancy realized it was Rod Lane. He was barefoot, clad only in jeans and leather jacket. His skin was pale as a ghost’s. Rod released her warily. Nancy made no move to run or scream.
“Your old man thinks I did it, don’t he?” Rod said.
“He doesn’t know you,” Nancy said. “Couldn’t you change your clothes?”
“The cops were all over my house,” Rod replied. “They’ll kill me for sure.”
“Nobody’s going to kill you,” Nancy said.
He ran his hands down his face. “I never touched her.”
“You were screaming like crazy,” Nancy said.
“Someone else was there,” Rod stated.
“The door was locked from your side,” Nancy said.
Rod grabbed her hard. His muscular body tensed. “Don’t look at me like I’m some kind of fruitcake or something.”
“Good morning, Mr. Lane,” a voice interrupted.
Rod jerked around. Thompson pointed his .38 at Rod’s belly. “Now just step away from her, son.”
Rod backed away, looking at Nancy with a terrible sadness. Then he dived out of the bushes and began running. Thompson aimed his revolver at Rod – but Nancy jumped between them. Thompson jerked his gun into the air. “Are you crazy?” he said. Then he rushed after Rod. Rod raced like a frightened animal across the lawns. But the plain clothes police officers cut him off. Rod scampered away from them, but then two uniformed officers grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground. One officer held Rod’s knife in the air for Thompson to see. Then they forced Rod into the squad car. “I didn’t do it!” Rod shouted. “I didn’t kill her!” The officers slammed the door, and took Rod to the police station.
Later that day, Nancy was in English class. She was trying to concentrate, but was just too tired. She began nodding off, barely able to keep her eyes open in the warm, close boredom of the classroom. When her cheek rested against the desk, she could hear a sad and distant voice. “Nancy,” Tina said. Nancy looked through the open doorway of the classroom into the hall. She saw a full-sized, clear plastic body bag. There was movement within. Nancy slipped from her seat. No one noticed her leaving the classroom. Nancy looked down the hall in each direction. No sign of anybody. “Nancy,” Tina’s voice whispered. Nancy wheeled around and saw the body bag at the far end of the hall. Then a pale hand thrust out of it. Moments later, the bag slid out of sight. Nancy ran down the hall and around the corner. Then she gazed down a stairwell filled with an orange glow. “Tina?” Nancy said. Nancy descended the steps and entered a dank boiler room. A trail of blood ran behind a crackling, red-hot boiler. Terror slowly moved across her face. Then she heard a low, sinister giggle.
Suddenly, Tina’s killer stepped from the shadow of tangled pipes. He wore a filthy red and green sweater and slouch hat. His melted face twisted into a smile as he slid his long blades from beneath his shirt and fanned them on the ends of his bony fingers. “Who are you?” Nancy asked. “Gonna get you,” the leering man replied. Nancy jerked around and fled in blind panic into the first opening she saw – a dark pipe tunnel. The killer chased after her as Nancy tore ahead into the darkness. Deeper and deeper she ran into the labyrinth of steaming, sizzling pipes. The killer was just yards behind her. Soon she was trapped, just like Tina was before her. Nancy pressed her back to the wet bricks as the killer raised his knives to strike. Suddenly, Nancy realized what was happening. She shoved her arm against a scalding steam pipe…
…and she lurched up from her desk screaming, her arms raised to ward off the invisible blow, books clattering to the floor! The other girls nearby shrieked in surprise as Nancy stumbled over her books. Then she stopped, confused and groggy from the nightmare. Everybody was staring at Nancy as if she’d gone mad. The teacher rushed to her side. “Okay–okay, Thompson,” the teacher said. “Everything’s all right now. Let me call your mother.” “No! No, really, I’m fine,” Nancy said, picking up her books. “I’ll go straight home. I’m okay.” Shaken, Nancy walked out of the building. Then she paused at a big pine tree and started crying. When she regained composure, Nancy rubbed her arm absently, lost in thought. Then her eyes flew open as she lifted her arm to stare at the spot she touched. There was a burn mark, about the size of a half-dollar. Nancy was utterly and chillingly confused. Suddenly, Tina appeared out of nowhere. “Couldn’t get back to sleep,” she said. “What did you dream?” Then she was gone. Nancy walked quickly to her father’s police station and entered his office. “Dad, I want to see Rod Lane.” Thompson looked uneasy. “Only family allowed, Nancy. You know the drill.” “I just want to talk to him for a second,” she said. “He’s dangerous,” her father replied. “You don’t know he did it!” “No, I know, thanks to your own testimony, that he was locked in a room with a girl who went in alive and came out in a body bag.” Nancy flinched. “I just want to talk to him. Please, Dad.” Thompson’s neck grew red. “Make it fast.” Nancy was escorted to Rod’s cell. She began talking to him about the night Tina died, then paused as a guard passed by. “And then what happened?” she said to Rod. Rod ran his fingers through his wet hair. “I told you. It was dark, but I’m sure there was someone else in there, under the covers with her.” “How could somebody get under the covers with you guys without you knowing it?” “How do I know?” Rod said. “I don’t expect you to believe me.” Nancy studied Rod’s eyes, then leaned closer. “What did he look like? Did you get a look at him?” Rod turned away. “No.” “Well then how can you say somebody else was there?” Rod smashed his fist against the wall. “I probably could have saved her if I’d moved sooner. But I thought it was just another nightmare, like the one I had the night before. There was this guy who had knives for fingers…” Nancy swallowed hard as she turned white. “Do you think I did it?” Rod asked. “No,” Nancy replied.