A Nightmare on Elm Street — Adaptation Excerpts
Adapted by Bob Italia
Transcribed by Rob Nimmo
That night, in Nancy’s two-story house on Elm Street, Nancy decided to take a bath. She was so drowsy, she could barely keep her eyes open. She slowly slid to the surface of the water. Her eyes glazed over and her breathing deepened. Suddenly, the water rippled. Then something shiny broke the surface – a long thin blade! It began to rise slowly. Soon there were two gleaming blades. A full-bladed glove and dark hairy hand appeared, then the wrist and arm. The knives blossomed into a bright flower of razor sharp steel. The hand reared back and the claws arched – ready to strike!
Just then, Marge rapped on the door. “Nancy?” Nancy jerked up, opening her groggy eyes. “What?” she said. The dark wet arm, hand and knives were gone. “You’re not falling asleep, are you?” Marge said. “You could drown, you know.” “Mother, for petesakes.” Marge entered the bathroom and held a towel for Nancy. “To bed you, c’mon.” Nancy rose from the bath and dried herself off. She put on her pajamas and went to bed. “Here,” Marge said, handing her daughter a yellow pill, “take this. It’ll help you sleep.” “Right,” Nancy said, popping the pill into her mouth. Marge gave her a kiss on the forehead. “Sleep tight,” she said as she started out. “Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” When Marge closed the door, Nancy spit the pill into her hand. She tossed it out the window and took a NoDoz. Then she turned on the television. There was no way she was going to sleep.
Later that night, Nancy caught herself nodding off. She tumbled out of bed, stuck her head out the open window and took a deep breath of the cool night air. Someone pitched out of the dark at her. Nancy yelped – then clamped her hand over her mouth as she recognized Glen balancing precariously on the rose trellis outside her window. “Sorry,” Glen said. “I saw your light on. Thought I’d see how you were.” Nancy sighed with relief. “Sometimes I wish you didn’t live right across the street.” “Shut up and let me in. You ever stand on a rose trellis in your bare feet?” Glen climbed in through the window and planted himself on the bed. Nancy pointed to the chair. “If you don’t mind,” she said. Glen crossed the floor to the chair and plopped down. Nancy sat on the bed. “So, I heard you freaked out in English class today,” Glen said. “Guess I did,” Nancy replied. “Haven’t slept, have you?” “Not really.” Nancy tried to smile, but couldn’t fake it. “You look dead and rained on, if you want the ugly truth,” Glen said. “And what did you do to your arm?” Nancy shrugged. “Burned it in English class.” She looked in the mirror. Her jaw dropped. “My God, I look twenty years old!” Then she gazed at Glen. “You have any weird dreams last night?” Glen shook his head. “Slept like a rock.” “You believe in the Boogey Man?” “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you?” Glen replied. “No. Rod killed Tina. He’s a fruitcake and you know it.” Nancy thought for a moment. “Listen, I’ve got a crazy favor to ask. It’s nothing hard or anything. I’m just going to look for someone, and I want you to be sort of a guard. Okay?” “Okay… I think,” Glen said. Nancy took a deep breath and turned off the lights. “Now listen, here’s what we’re going to do…”
Nancy was in her pajamas, walking through the shadowy streets near her home. She peered into the darkness of the lawns and trees behind her. “You still there?” she whispered. Across the street and a distance away, Glen stepped from behind a tree. “Yeah. So?” “Just checking,” she replied. “Keep out of sight.” Nancy looked between the houses, deep into a dark alleyway. Then she forced herself to walk into it. As Nancy walked deeper and deeper into the shadows, she often paused and waited. She was sure the killer would come screaming out at any second. But Nancy emerged from the far end of the alley unscathed. Now she was across the street from her father’s police station. “Still there?” she whispered. She heard Glen yawning. “Still here!” he said softly. Nancy crossed the street and entered another alley. Then she peered into a low, barred basement window. She could see Rod lying on his rough cot, twitching in disturbed sleep. Suddenly, a long shadow slid across the cell wall. Nancy looked around and saw a big shape in the shadowed corridor. It walked closer and closer to her. Now she could see it was the shambling, grimly scarred man with the filthy red and green sweater and strange slouch hat pulled across his brow. The giant shadow of a man passed through the bars of the cell and approached Rod. Nancy drew back sharply, swallowing in terror. She looked behind her for help. “Glen!” she shouted. The street was deserted. There was no motion. All she could hear were the sounds of Glen snoring. Nancy jerked back around and forced herself to look into Rod’s cell.
The killer picked up Rod’s bedsheet and tested it between his powerful hands. Without thinking, Nancy banged against the glass. “Rod, look out!” she cried. The killer wheeled around, locking eyes with Nancy. She turned white with fear. The killer’s face was horrible – seething with hatred and a twisted, insane intelligence. The hold of those eyes was broken when Rod rolled up on an elbow with a deep, troubled groan. Suddenly, the killer faded into the shadows of the cell. Rod looked around his cell groggily, running his fingers through his matted hair. Then he collapsed on his pillow and pulled the twisted covers about his shoulders and succumbed again to deadly sleep. The bedsheet was no longer on the bed. The killer, materializing out of the shadows, was holding it between his hands like a garrote. He looked up and leered at Nancy, then approached Rod. Nancy pounded on the window, then turned in frustration. “Glen!” she yelled into the night. Then she turned back to the cell in desperation. The cell was deserted except for Rod who was sleeping peacefully. “Glen!” she shouted. “Glen where are you?” “I’m here,” the deep, ragged voice said. Nancy twisted around in horror. The killer grabbed for her face with his knife-fingers. Nancy pitched back, then ran for her life. The killer chased after her. Time after time, Nancy barely eluded the shadowy figure. She was too tired to scream. All she could hear was the sound of running footsteps, her rasping breath and the knife-fingers slashing through the air right behind her. Nancy made it to Elm Street. She tore across her front lawn and into the open door of her home, slamming it with all her might. “Glen!” she shouted. She heard distant snoring.
Suddenly, the killer was at the kitchen window prying the glass with his knife-fingers. Nancy ran upstairs in blind panic. She darted into her unlit bedroom, slammed the door, and locked it. Then she listened at the door. Nothing. Just then, the killer dived through the window, covering Nancy in a shower of glass. Terrified, she backed into a corner. The killer stood and approached her. Suddenly, the alarm clock went off with a jarring ring. Now the room was filled with light. Nancy reeled up, screaming and fighting on her bed. Glen lurched from his sleep at the frightening noise. He saw Nancy pressed in terror against her headboard, clutching a pillow. Nancy stared in disbelief at Glen, then gazed around the room, untangling herself from her bedclothes. There was no broken glass. Everything was in place. “Glen, you jerk!” she said in a furious and hoarse voice. Glen looked at her in groggy alarm. “What did I do?” “I asked you to just one thing – just stay awake and watch me, just wake me if it looked like I was having a bad dream! But you – what do you do – you fall asleep!” Suddenly, a white feather floated down in the moonlight. It was sucked out the window and disappeared. Nancy’s eyes widened. “We’ve got to get to the police station – now!”
Glen’s red 1959 Cadillac convertible careened into the station’s parking lot and screeched to a stop. Glen and Nancy jumped out and raced into the station. “I want to see Rod Lane again,” Nancy said to the desk sergeant. Suddenly, she jumped around at the sound of her father’s voice. Thompson emerged from his office, rumpled and yawning. “Dad, what are you doing here?” “It so happens I work here,” he said, “and there’s an unsolved murder. I don’t like unsolved murders – especially ones my daughter’s mixed up in! What are you doing here at this hour?” “Listen, sir,” Glen said, “this is serious. Nancy had a nightmare about Rod being in danger or something, and so she thinks…” His voice trailed off under Thompson’s glare. “I just want to see if he’s okay!” Nancy shouted. “Take my word for it, Nancy,” the desk sergeant said. “The guy’s sleeping like a baby. He’s not going anywhere.”
Meanwhile, in Rod’s cell, the bedsheet came alive. It twitched and pulsated, then snaked toward his throat. Rod stirred and the sheet fell still. When Rod slipped into deeper sleep, the sheet moved again – completing the noose around his neck!
Nancy made a dash for the cell block, but the door was locked. “This isn’t your average nightmare, Daddy!” she cried. “Just go back and check – please!” Thompson shrugged, then nodded to the sergeant. “Right,” the sergeant said, feeling his pockets. “Now where did I put that key…” The sergeant located the keys. Urged by Nancy, he fumbled with the lock. When he finally opened the door, Nancy sprinted past everyone and raced down the corridor. Then Nancy gazed into Rod’s cell. She sank back in horror as the others caught up with her. Rod was dead. Thompson and the sergeant untied the sheet from Rod’s neck. Rod slid down over the sergeant’s shoulders, limp as a marionette with its strings slashed. Then they laid Rod at Nancy’s feet. Thompson looked at Nancy in eerie suspicion. “How’d you know he was gonna do this?” Nancy just stood there and said nothing.