I was lying on my back while Eli was tending to Hulk. Eli asked, “What happened?”
I didn’t answer. It wasn’t that I was ignoring Eli’s question, it was that I felt like I couldn’t spare any energy to speak. I was beyond exhausted. Every part of my body was hurting, I was dehydrated, and I had lost a lot of blood. Eli could tell, and he rushed to my side. He gave me water and cleaned and rebandaged my wounds. My right eye was swollen shut.
“I can’t see.” I said.
Eli looked at me and said, “It’s over. It’s over Marcus. You won’t survive the guardian.”
“Lance it.” I said.
“What? No. I’m not doing that. That could blind you.”
“Eli, what difference does that make? Huh? I have to do something.”
“Marcus, you barely have the energy to speak…”
I cut Eli off and said, “But, I’m alive. The others are going to be dead in a few minutes if I don’t kill the guardian.”
“Marcus! The others are going to die regardless if you kill the guardian or not. That’s not going to make a difference.”
“Eli… you’re… you’re wrong.” I reached up to him and said, “Help me up.”
Eli helped me into a chair and lanced my eye. Blood squirted in a stream, and soon, my right eye regained vision. Eli said, “All right. Better hurry. That’s not going to last long.”
I ripped off what was left of my shirt and harnessed my swords. The lock to the final door had dropped to the ground, and I flipped up the latch and opened the heavy, iron door. I stared into the darkness and walked through.
The door, of course, disappeared, and my environment revealed itself to me. I was in a boiler room. The red lights made the steam and pipes glow with a dull aura. The air was hot and thick, and it was difficult to see very far. The pipes of the boiler room were close together and claustrophobic but were open enough to make narrow “trails” that were difficult to traverse. The trails also led to multiple catwalks and grated stair cases. The boiling steam became a constant problem, and I had to wary of it in every direction or face having my skin charred.
The boiler room did not surprise me, and I had half expected it; given whom the demiguardians were. I wandered deeper and deeper, further and further into the boiler room maze. “I don’t have time for this.” I thought to myself.
An idea hit me, and I sang out loud, “One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door.” I ducked under a pipe and continued, “Five, six, get a crucifix. Seven, eight, gonna stay up late…”
“NINE, TEN, YOU’LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!” Freddy yelled as a bladed hand swung over my ducking head.
It was Freddy Krueger. He was dressed in a dark trench coat, his red and green sweater, fedora, and work pants and boots. On his right hand, he wore his glove that boasted four razor-like blades. His face was melted and burned, and he looked at me and said, “Like what I’ve done with the place?”
“Looks the same, Freddy. You kind of suck at interior design.”
Freddy cocked his head to the side, put his left hand on his lips, and in a lispy voice said, “Oh Honey, now, now. That’s not very nice. You’re breaking my heart.” He walked closer to me and continued, “Now, let me have yours!”
The stab came quickly; however, I was able to get out of the way. I retreated down a stairwell and into another hallway of pipes. I started to jog down the corridor, but from a narrow alley, Freddy appeared and greeted me with a clawed swipe. Fortunately, I was able to keep my head from being shredded, but the blades caught my back and part of my left arm. I retaliated with a cross swipe with my wakisashi across Freddy’s gut. My slice was deep, but Freddy laughed at my attempt. His wound closed by itself and even his shirt rethreaded itself.
Freddy raised his bladed pointer finger to me and said, “Tsk tsk tsk. Marcus, Mark, Marky-mark. You’re in my world now, Cupcake.”
He picked me up and dragged my face across some piping and then threw me behind himself, down another stairwell. I rolled down the stairs and landed on my back. I shook my head and looked around. I was in an open room. The irons walls still had a dull red glow, and in the center of the room, fastened to the wall was a large, open furnace raging with fire.
I heard Freddy, step by step, slowly walking down the stairs. I stood and readied my swords, and Freddy mocked me by mimicking my motions in an exaggerated manner. He said, “Ooooohoooohooo. Shiny. Now, tell me Marky-mark, did you really think you could come in here and just ‘wham-bam-thank-ya-ma’am’ me and that would be it? Huh?” He flicked his claws and they made a “schling-ling-ing” sound that resonated in my ears.
Freddy opened his mouth again to speak; however, my windmill shuriken was already soaring through the air. It struck Freddy in the mouth and severed the top of his head from his bottom jaw. The shuriken returned to its resting place as Freddy’s head rolled to the ground. Freddy’s body stumbled around a bit and then turned to me. His tongue was still attached to his lower jaw and flicked from his mouth. It stretched across the room and bashed me in the chest. I flew across the room and hit the iron wall. I groaned in pain as I tried to stand.
Freddy’s body walked over to his head, jammed his claws through the face, and fashioned it back in its rightful place. Freddy pulled his claws out of his eyes, twisted and popped his neck, and said, “Ya’know, Marky-mark, you should’ve been a chiropractor. That readjustment was amazing.”
I was at a loss. I wasn’t sure what to do at this point. I racked my muddled brain for ideas but nothing seemed logical. Freddy was still slowly walking towards me. Sparks lit up the shadows as he scraped his bladed fingers across the wall.
I was still lying on the floor because my previous attempt to stand failed. Freddy looked at me and said, “You do know laziness is one of the 7 deadly sins?”
I looked up and said, “I thought it was sloth?”
Freddy shrugged and said, “Tomato, tomahto. A boy your age shouldn’t be sleeping the day away.”
Freddy rammed his claw into the ground. I pushed myself up and four giant blades erupted from the ground to the ceiling. I narrowly missed being impaled. I now had my back against the far wall with Freddy in front of me. He smiled and pulled his claw from the floor and rammed it into the wall next to him. I ducked the four giant claws that emerged from the wall behind me. Freddy began to scrape his claw down the wall and the giant claw began to move towards me. Freddy tried his best to pin me; however, I was able to evade the giant claw.
Freddy once again removed his claw from the wall and began to clap mockingly, “Bravo! Bravo! That was a sexy dance. I think you missed your calling.”
Freddy disappeared in a puff of fiery smoke and reappeared behind. He swiped at me and grazed the right side of my face which caused me to stumble backwards. Freddy rushed me and swung with a downward swipe. I blocked it in between my two blades and kicked him in the gut. The kicked staggered Freddy backwards and he retaliated with two cross-body swipes. I moved from the danger and connected with two stabs and a downward cut with my swords. As before, the wounds instantly closed.
Freddy laughed and swung his claw at my head. I ducked under it and saw sparks above me from his claw connecting with the wall. I jammed my wakisashi at an upward angle through his chest and sliced him across his head and stomach with my katana. The wakisashi was stuck in his chest, and I drove my katana downwardly through the top of his sternum and through his back. Both of my swords stuck into Freddy as he staggered backwards.
Freddy began to gurgle and dropped to his knees. He started to spit up blood and shake violently. He looked up at me and started to yell, “NOOO! NOOOOOO! HOW CAN THIS BE?”
His gurgling became louder and his shaking became for violent. He let out one last groan and fell on his back. Relieved, I fell against the wall and put my head between my knees. I ran both of my hands through my hair and said “Finally” out loud.
Freddy began to laugh, sat up, and said, “Pretty good, huh? I should be an actor.”
Freddy pulled my swords out of his chest and threw them to the ground. He looked at me and said, “You’re an idiot. Did you really think that magically your plastic swords would start working? You know, I was told something once, and I think it fits this situation.”
I stood up and tried to run up the stairwell, but, suddenly the iron walls closed on the stairs. I was trapped in this room with Freddy. I turned around, and he said, “Where ya going, boy. Lemme, learn ya something.”
He walked closer to me and continued, “So, yeah, as I was saying before I was rudely interrupted, there was this thing I learned. I think it was on the Internet. Anyway, it said, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.’ So, guess that makes you insane, eh?”
Freddy stuck his claw through my left shoulder and ripped it out. I fell to the side exposing the right portion of my torso. His claw tore through my ribs, and I felt my breath leaving me. I fell to the ground and was lying on my left side. I looked up and saw Freddy laughing at me as he raised his claw to finish me.
The satchel that Ryu had given me opened when I fell to the floor. One of the blood rubies rolled on the floor and began to melt. Freddy stopped laughing and yelled, “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT? WHERE?”
The ruby had melted into a puddle of blood. Quickly, I poured the rest of the rubies on the floor. Dozens of rubies scattered along the iron floor and began to melt. The red puddles moved by themselves into one large puddle. Hundreds of hands began to reach up from the puddle and then it exploded into 243 angry souls. I slowly stood to my feet and started to cough up blood.
The vengeful spirits encircled Freddy and began to attack him. They started to pull him to the large, open furnace against the back wall. Freddy was screaming, cursing, clawing, and kicking; trying to get away from the spirits. They continued to pull him, and in one giant heave, the souls tossed Freddy, along with themselves, into the fire. Freddy began to burn and scream.
I had been limping my way towards the furnace, and Freddy reached out with his claw to try and grab me. I slammed the furnace shut, and it sliced off the bladed arm at the elbow. I reached down and unfastened the claw from the charred hand. I stumbled to my swords and sheathed them while holding on to the claw.
The world began to fade, and the door to the Welcome Center appeared. I crawled through it and fell to the floor. I stared at the Welcome Center’s ceiling, and I felt my life leaving me. Everything became dark, and I took my last breath. In my mind, I heard a familiar voice.
The voice said, “Sleep.”