Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare — Adaptation Excerpts
Adapted by Bob Italia
Transcribed by Rob Nimmo
John sat balled up in a tight window seat as the 727 jet airliner thundered through a storm-ridden night sky. Rain pelted the aircraft as flashes of lightning illuminated the plane’s green and red markings. John’s face betrayed a map of anxieties. He was sitting next to a sweating, three hundred and fifty pound woman in a polyester pant suit. He barely had enough room to cross his arms. When a flight attendant walked by, John flagged her down. “Excuse me…Miss?” “Yes?” she replied. “Can I have a different seat?” “I’m afraid we’re full tonight, sir. You’ll have to stay put.” John blanched as the plane rocked under another wave of turbulence. “Thanks anyway,” he smiled weakly. The fat woman flipped on her reading light. It hit him squarely in the eyes. As he turned his head away he saw water dripping from the ceiling. Then he heard a faint bending noise. He turned to the woman. “Did you hear that?” he said with alarm. The woman looked up from her magazine and shot him a contemptuous glance. “I hate heights,” John said. “Don’t be a wimp,” the woman replied. Then she buried her face into the magazine. John fearfully looked up at the leak. He heard the noise again. It sounded like metal fatigue. Suddenly, the roof began vibrating and rumbling. The noise grew louder. John looked around, trying to call the flight attendant. He hit the call button. No response. A sad-faced little girl with brown hair and red ribbon pigtails pushed her face up from the seat in front of him. “He’s gonna make you help him,” she said to John, “because you’re the last.” John stared at her and smiled weakly. Then he signaled the flight attendant again. She approached. “Listen,” he said to her, “I really need to change this seat.”
Suddenly, the roof ripped up and blew open with the crunching, bending sounds of rotted metal. The fat woman was ripped from her seat and flung into the night sky. John tried to fight the wind and rain. “It’s not fair!” he screamed. “I was almost out!” Just then, the floor beneath him tore away. He dropped through and plummeted past the clouds, his skin rippling upward as he continued picking up speed. Now he was falling at hundreds of miles an hour. John screamed as he saw the roof of a small-town house rushing up to meet him. At the moment of impact, John woke up screaming, clutching his sweat-soaked pillow. He sat up and patted his bed, letting out a nervous laugh. Then he jumped out of bed, rubbing his eyes. He frowned when he heard a strange whistling sound coming from the window. John reached the window as the whistling grew louder. He put his hands on the curtains and stood there a moment, his face a portrait of dread. Then he flung the curtains wide. John’s eyes flew open in terror as he realized his room was plummeting hundreds of miles an hour through the sky. He grabbed the window frame as his body flew to the ceiling. Suddenly, he heard a familiar booming cackle.
John looked out the window and into the surrounding sky. A sinister figure flew up on a broomstick and up to John’s window. The wind tugged at the hideous man’s rotted green and red sweater. “I’ll get you, my pretty,” Freddy cried, “and your little soul, too!” Then he shot upward and disappeared. John’s house spiraled toward the ground, landing with a loud WHUMP! The impact launched John out the window. He landed on some pavement, shakened and confused. A full moon cast a long shadow of a street sign over him. John cleared his head long enough to look around. Then he gazed up at the sign: ELM STREET. John ran into a backyard and quickly hopped a tall fence. As he fell over the other side, he stared in horror at the steep hill below. John landed hard and started rolling down the hill, smashing through bushes and branches, screaming all the way. John finally came to a stop at the hill’s bottom and struggled to his feet. He looked around and headed into a dense forest, running toward an eerie glow. He stopped when he reached the dream border of Springwood, a deserted landscape with a pond that stretched into infinity. The border was marked by a rusted and faded town sign featuring a happy face, a rusty tear coming out of one eye. The population number had been crossed out and rewritten into a lower number many times.
John passed the sign and rushed toward a small, glowing ticket booth. He looked inside and saw an old man wearing a clerk’s visor and armbands. He slid a ticket toward John. “One ticket,” the old man said. “Round trip.” Backing away, John stared at the ticket. “Hurry up, boy” the old man chuckled. “You don’t want to miss the bus.” John frowned as he looked around. What bus? Suddenly, a huge bus roared toward him at top speed. It was Freddy’s own nightmare bus-line, complete with the logo of a frightened, running teen on the side. The bus smashed into John. His scream was cut off by a loud smack as the bus grill made contact. “No screaming while the bus is in motion!” Freddy said, behind the wheel. John was plastered across the grill like a bug, but he was alive and screaming. The bus suddenly stopped short, launching John into an invisible barrier that shattered like glass. John landed on the other side, his head striking a rock. Freddy stepped from the bus and approached the hole in the invisible barrier. But the hole sealed up the moment he reached it. Freddy snapped back in frustration.
John regained consciousness and winced in pain as he touched the lump on his forehead. He struggled to his feet, then gazed in confusion at the skyline of a gleaming city in the distance, its tall spires hiding the fetid and neglected areas in their shadows. John checked his pockets for some clue to where and who he was. He pulled out two twenty dollar bills, a bottle of Stay Awake caffeine pills, and a yellowed old newspaper clipping. He stared at the clipping and the bottle for a moment, then put them back into his pocket and headed for the city.
The little girl ran happily around the backyard in the shadow of a nearby water tower as a man and a woman played tag with her. The girl was laughing, enjoying every moment. Suddenly, the man bent down to pick the little girl up. There was a horrible scream…
…then Maggie Burnham woke up, startled. She looked around in frustration. She had this strange dream often, and it always ended the same way. Just then, the door buzzer sounded. Maggie rolled her eyes and buried her head in her pillow. “God save me from mothers and birthdays,” she mumbled. Then she got out of bed. Maggie threw on a bathrobe and walked to the front door, letting in her mother. “Happy birthday, sweetie!” her mother said. “Gimme a break, mother,” Maggie replied. “It’s eight in the morning.” “If you called once in a while, let me know you’re alive, I wouldn’t have to surprise you.” “Mom, please. I turned twenty-eight today, not fourteen. You don’t have to surprise me.” Maggie moved into the kitchen and began searching for some filters for the coffee maker. Maggie’s mother immediately began cleaning up the kitchen. “You’re never too old for surprises,” her mother said, locating the filters. “Is this what you’re looking for?” Maggie took the filters and began making coffee. “You had the dream again, didn’t you?” her mother said. “You only look this tired when you have that dream.” “That’s not true. I always look tired.” “You can’t just ignore it,” her mother said. “Twelve years of therapy is hardly ignoring it,” Maggie replied. “When you’ve had the same dream for twenty years, you just get used to it.” “I just wish it would go away.” Maggie sighed. “I have to be at the shelter by nine.” “The shelter,” her mother scoffed. “You should be a famous psychiatrist by now—with your own practice. Not slaving away at some delinquents’ home.” “It happens to be a place for kids with problems,” Maggie said defensively. “I’m proud of what I do there.” “It’s practically a jail. And you spend too many hours there. You’re leaving no time to meet someone nice.” Maggie sighed. “Enough with the meeting-someone-nice speech. I told you the last hundred times you gave me this lecture that this city’s full of ‘nice’ men. That’s why I work so much.” She walked into the bedroom and shut the door. Then she came out and kissed her mother on the cheek. “Thanks for remembering.”