I have never written fan fiction. The idea idea of fanfic as a major thing is, to me, a fairly new thing, definitely since the rise of the internet. When I was of an age to really want to write fanfic, the internet was in its infancy and I didn’t have a computer. By the time I got my first computer and access to the internet, when I was 21, I was too busy writing Bill Gauthier stories to try my hand at fanfic, preferring to wait for the day that I was hired by a licensed property to write stories. Sometimes, though, an idea comes and it just won’t go away.
In the last few years, I had an idea regarding A Nightmare on Elm Street. Longtime readers know I’m a big fan of the movies, particularly the first five. Except the second movie. It’s bad. But, what if those stories could be told in a way that they were like five parts of a bigger story? This idea wouldn’t leave me alone. Finally, I decided to try my hand at fan fiction.
I haven’t done much, focusing on my other projects. I don’t really have any plans of sharing any more of this fun writing with anyone except–maybe–close friends. But here is what I did for the beginning of my unofficial fan-novelization of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. I hope it’s mildly enjoyable, at the very least.
Prologue — A Dream
He feels like he has lived to reach this moment. Everything that happens afterward hinges on this particular moment in time. As he steps into his workshop, his work shoes shuffling against the concrete of his area, he chuckles. The chuckle comes from the throat and sounds a little phlegmy. That’s all right. It is as it should be.
He approaches a workbench and grabs a grimy old leather work glove from a shelf that’s against the wall across from his cot. Because the boilers need constant attention, the owners of the power plant let him live here. No, lets him live here, present tense. Right? He lifts the canvas bag up, the items inside clanging together as he upends the bag. Knives fall onto his workbench near the copper plate he’d put aside. He lifts the brim of his hat and wiped the sweat beading on his forehead on the red sleeve of his sweater. Not wiped but wipes, except, he’s not sure that there is sweat beading on his forehead.
It doesn’t matter, though, because he has work to do. Thinking about it makes him chuckle again.
He picks up a knife with his dirty, fingernail-bitten hands and begins the process of disassembling. He looks at the sketches he made on the old notebook, his crude drawing more detailed than almost anything else he’s ever done. He chuckles. That’s not true. As he disassembles the knives, he remembers the dream that brought him here, the dream that was so intense that it almost had to be more of a vision than a proper dream.
In the dream, a child ran from him, laughing and smiling. He laughed and smiled, too, and said the same sorts of things he’d said before when he’d play around with the children (sometimes he remembered the child being a little girl, sometimes it was a little boy) in the neighborhood. He knew he had to wait for the real fun to begin, his fun. For the child, it was new. Being at the power plant, being in the boiler room was exotic, fun. The ultimate playground. It was the kind of place Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t allow them to play. Soon, though, the child grew scared.
He heard the child call out for him. He didn’t respond. He stood, back against a metal wall, barely containing the laughter he felt building up in his chest. As the child grew more panicked, he grew happier. His wheezing breath grew quicker. He followed the sounds of the child’s mewling until he saw the small boy/girl in her/his Sunday Best. It sickened him, really, how prim and proper these children could be.
He chuckled and the child turned toward where he’d been. The child saw nothing. He saw them, though. He slowly, silently crept behind the machines, and when the child stepped toward where he’d been, he leapt out and struck.
He chuckles now, as he welds metal to more metal. In his dream, he’d killed the child with a claw on his right hand. Long, deadly fingernails, like a bear’s or a lion’s tore through the pale flesh of the child. His other hand had held the child down. That’s when he knew what he had to do, what he had to build.
After warming the metal, he shapes it on an anvil. He uses a stone spinner to help shape the already curved knife blades. He then welds the blades to more metal and tests the feel against his fingertips. A surge of energy and excitement pours through him and he chuckles again. He can’t help it. At last, he will do what he’s needed to do in the way that he’s needed to do it. At last he’ll show them.
And they need to be shown.
He thinks of them now and anger bubbles in the pit of his stomach. They smile at him, and the children are kind to him, mostly, but he remembers when the parents were children themselves and how they weren’t kind to him at all. Oh, no. He’d never really been one of them, though he grew up around them, somewhere on that long street ran not quite through the center of town, but almost as long parallel to Main Street, a few streets over.
He’d been an orphan in the small town of Springwood. Somehow, most of the time his foster parents lived on Elm Street. Though he lived on other streets in the small, suburban town that lay to the northeast of Los Angeles, it was Elm Street where he’d spent most of his childhood.
Elm Street was comprised of four basic sections that were almost separate neighborhoods on their own. The northern most end of Elm Street were mansions. It was also the smallest part of Elm Street. Some of the residents in those large houses wrote N. Elm Street as their address, though there was no official North Elm Street. He’d seen these houses as a child, and had even done some odd jobs in them as an adult, but he’d never lived among them. Not that he’d ever wanted to. The children and teenagers who’d lived in those large houses and mansions were amongst the cruelest he’d had to deal with throughout his childhood and adolescence.
The next section, moving south down Elm, was the largest section. This section was home to the upper-middle class houses. He’d lived in two of these houses growing up, 1570 and 1428. The people of 1570 had been horrible. The man of the house was considered a stellar citizen of Springwood, even sat on the town council, but would put his cigarettes out on him. He’d only been eight years old and had already known pain. This same great denizen of the town would also make nighttime visits to both of his daughters. He’d been a rotten man. As a child, he eventually got out, but he’d had to kill a cat to do so. He’d lived at 1428 when he was seven and the people there had been terrific. Still, his anger could sometimes be too much for them and he’d been removed after a particularly bad tantrum.
Driving south down Elm Street, the houses grew smaller. As he checks the hinges on the fingers, he muses that he’d spent three years in one of the houses. The family had been okay but didn’t really give much of a fuck about him. This was where the middle-class and, eventually, the lower-middle class families lived. The cars weren’t as nice as the other section, and there were more divorced parents and trouble down here, but not much. As he’d grown up in the forties and fifties, things were still pretty good. As those who lived in that section Elm Street were fond of saying, they didn’t have much but didn’t need much. It was funny, he‘d noted as a child, how those who said that always looked north, up Elm Street and to where they dreamed to live.
The blades were sharpened and on the finger pieces, the finger pieces were hinged together, and now came the time to rivet each finger to the copper base. He takes a straight razor that he’s had since he was a teenager and cuts into the metal. He cuts and cuts until time passes and he’s left with a three-by-four-inch plate that covers the back of his hand perfectly. Throughout the cutting process, and into the mild shaping process, he remembers where lived the longest on Elm Street. The South Section, as it’s often referred to. No need to say “of Elm Street” afterward. If someone asked, “Where’s this freak from?” and another replied, “Oh, he’s from the South Section,” everybody knew what that meant.
The South Section was the small section of Elm Street that was, quite literally, on the other side of the tracks. The West Station train cut through Elm Street, running parallel to Spruce. This small part of Elm Street (though larger than where the mansions and enormous houses were) was all lower-lower-class. Generally, if you were a child who lived in the South Section, children from the other sections couldn’t play with you. Sometimes, if you’d come from one of those other sections and hard times had fallen on the family, then maybe things would be all right and you could have friends, but you always played in their backyards or out on the front lawns or sidewalks, never in the house, and your friends were never allowed to go to your house.
This is how he knew the truth about Elm Street, about Springwood. He chuckles as he rivets the fingers to the plate. Certainly, they’d call him a monster if they knew what he plans to do with his new toy, if they knew what he’d done on the outskirts of L.A. a few months back and over in the town of Longmeadow a year before. The impulses are too strong to ignore anymore and besides, they have it coming. Sure they smile and wave at him. They grew up with him, but he’ll always be the weird guy.
He attaches the plate to the work glove. It’s careful work, he doesn’t want to wreck the old glove anymore than it already was wrecked. And, finally, it’s done. His heartbeat rams in his chest and he feels an erection grow in his work pants. He flips the glove over to look at it palm-side up.
He slides his hand into the glove and it feels like coming home. He lifts the hand and is surprised by how heavy the glove is. Good. Momentum will help cut through cloth and then flesh. He looks at the clawed glove from one side to the other, wiggles his fingers, and chuckles and the sound the metal makes on metal.
He flicks his hand and splays his fingers simultaneously.
The sound is deadly and frightening. He imagines what the sound alone would do to a child and he laughs.
Yes, he thinks. This is where it begins.