Quentin emerged from the darkened fog a little worse for wear. His previous trial with The Cannibal had been quite tricky but he managed to distract the killer long enough for his friends to escape. His own survival was nothing short of a miracle, the man’s swings nearly connecting as he sprinted to freedom. One moment of hesitation would have led to a different outcome.
His escape, however, did not come without a few drawbacks. His clothes were tattered and filthy, the stench clinging to the fabric reminiscent of a fresh corpse. Though the gash on his right bicep was his main priority, the nasty cut bleeding and stinging terribly. Hopefully Claudette was present at the fire. The precious medical kit he acquired was lost during the trial when The Cannibal knocked it clean from his hand during his escape. He thought he had a firm grip on the handle but apparently not.
Barely crossing from the treeline into the main campground, Quentin’s eyes instantly widened in fear before he swiftly backpedaled to safety behind a tree trunk. There, off in the distance and surrounding the beautiful flame, were killers.
Peeking around the tall trunk, he was able to make out four killers: The Hag, the woman inspecting her elongated fingers before chewing on the tips; The Nurse, the woman simply eyeing the blaze in silence like an enraptured moth; and The Trapper and The Cannibal, both males seemingly conversing with one another. Wait, were they talking? It appeared so but that could not be right. The only killer he knew to be capable of speech was Freddy with his perverted slurs and unoriginal taunts.
Oh shit. If these guys were here, then did that mean Freddy was here too? And where was here exactly? Where were the other survivors? What was going on?
Quentin shook his head to dispel the million unanswered questions piling up. He had to remain calm and lie low. Lord only knew what these monsters would do to him if he was discovered. Stay calm, his brain chided when he began to hyperventilate—a request which he was fairly quick to oblige. Peering at the killers before him, it appeared as though they did not hear his little panic attack. Good.
Slowly retreating backwards into the nearly pitch-black forest, his back smacked against some solid surface. Quentin reached around, expecting to feel coarse bark or possibly squishy fungus. Instead his fingers grazed over what felt like thick cloth, the scratchiness accompanied by something wet. Moving his hand in front of his face, Quentin was met with the sight of blood. A lot of it. His breath froze in his throat while his hand began to tremble. Slowly cranking his neck to the side, Quentin casted his eyes upward to see an eerie white latex mask staring menacingly down at him.
Myers? Holy fuck!
Panicking, Quentin shrieked in surprise and immediately ran away from the man, the fear coursing through his bloodstream propelling him further into the woods. And yet, the urge to look back overtook him. Was he being pursued? Was The Shape inches away from hoisting him into the air and plunging a sharp knife into his chest? Against his conflicting judgement he glanced behind him only to promptly run face-first into something, the impact knocking him flat on his ass.
“What’d we have here?”
Oh god. Through the meager light of the fluorescent fungi and flora, Quentin’s cesious eyes landed on his literal worst nightmare—Freddy Krueger. The sweater-clad killer was sporting the biggest grin he had ever seen, his miscoloured eyes practically sparkling with mirth. This was not happening.
The dream demon leaned down, his tongue clicking against his teeth, and said, “I wasn’t expecting you to visit me Quen. I’m touched.”
“Fuck you,” Quentin aggressively seethed. He was by no means in the mood to deal with this asshole. Not when he had no idea where he was or why there were killers everywhere.
“I’m all for foreplay,” Freddy declared in an annoyingly dramatic fashion, “but if that’s how you f—”
The rustling of leaves interrupted the dream demon, and Quentin leaned around on his forearm to observe Myers standing close by. The man was ever silent and made no further movement; however, from what Quentin was able to see, his posture looked even more rigid than normal. Was he angry? He probably disliked having to chase the teen down, or surrender his precious kill to another.
“Oh no you don’t,” Freddy warned The Shape, the man yanking Quentin up by the arm and thrusting his blades against the boy’s jugular. “He’s mine.”
Quentin wanted to struggle, to break free from his captor’s vile grip, but then what? What the fuck was he supposed to do after that? He could attempt to flee again, hide somewhere until he figured things out. But, if he was caught again, then it was all for not.
Myers, with his oversized kitchen knife gripped tightly at his side, took an agonizingly slow step towards the pair.
“Back off boy!” Freddy snarled angrily at The Shape, the dream demon dragging a frightened Quentin away from Myers.
Boy? Was it really wise to call this guy a boy? With his bulky physique, The Shape could probably mop the floor with the dream demon. Then again, Freddy was surprisingly strong for an old groundskeeper, and Quentin honestly did not know which killer was more dangerous in this instance.
Tightening his hold on Quentin, Freddy hissed out a low, “Why don’t you f—GAH!”
The dream demon screeched in agony as a hatchet abruptly buried itself into his shoulder, the man staggering backwards and loosening his hold on the boy. The Huntress too? Not good. Quentin had only managed to catch a glimpse of the thing sailing through the air, the steel gleaming dully in the aero blue lighting. She could very easily throw another one to impale him in the face or chest or, god forbid, the crotch.
Quentin shook himself from his fearful musings and tried to run away from this escalating situation only to crash into yet another solid obstacle. What the hell? Like each time before, said obstacle was yet another killer. The Wraith, whom revealed himself and ensured Quentin was unable to escape, eyed him compassionately. Not at all phased by such an expression, he thrashed against the cloaking killer, his body twisting and contorting every which way in the other's hold.
“Be calm,” The Wraith uttered softly to him.
Now that gave Quentin pause, his struggles momentarily halting to stare at the killer.
“W-What?” he mumbled quietly.
“Be calm,” the bell-wielding killer reiterated slowly. “I mean you no harm young one.”
No harm? Quentin internally scoffed at that. His previous experiences with the cloaking killer spoke volumes of how much harm the man had caused him. Still, the grip The Wraith had on him was not bruising or painful, and the man never once reached for his weapon. And when did The Wraith start talking too? This was all incredibly overwhelming, enough so where he was beginning to develop a pounding headache.
Quentin jumped slightly when Freddy grunted in a guttural manner, the dream demon ripping the hatchet from his shoulder and yelling, “You fucking bitch! What’re y—”
Freddy then released a bloodcurdling scream when a chainsaw suddenly ripped through his torso. Blood, entrails, and whatever else flew in every direction and painted the vicinity in a deep, crimson red. Quentin did not even flinch when some bits of gooey flesh splattered on his cheek, his body essentially paralyzed from witnessing the gory scene play out in front of him.
“H-H-Holy shit,” Quentin murmured in awe and fright when the chainsaw powered down. His worst nightmare, the man that had tormented him for as long as he could remember, lay dead at The Hillbilly’s feet. Despite his shock, watching Freddy get brutally gutted was immensely satisfying. Assuming the guy was actually dead. He was, right? Focus Quentin, his mind screamed at him. There were bigger priorities to contend with. Like the four other killers here—four other scary, intimating, and strong killers. He made to struggle once more until a hatchet was abruptly thrusted in front of his nose.
The Huntress spoke gruffly in a foreign language, something harsh sounding to the ear. Maybe German or Russian; he did not know.
“U-Umm…” Quentin squeaked, the noise coming out shaky and uneven. Could all of the killers speak and, if so, why had they not done so before? Perhaps they only spoke to each other.
“Protect boy,” she voiced deeply in broken English, her hatchet waving in front of Quentin’s tired eyes. Her masked face then dipped to his bicep and a meaty hand shot forward to grab him. Quentin flinched in fear, his eyelids shutting tightly and his shoulders hunching into his neck as he waited for a swift death. When nothing happened, he cracked an eye open to observe The Huntress clutching his arm and examining his wound. Her touch was a bit rough as her fingers pried the shredded fabric of his vest apart near the gash—likely to get a better look at his injury. “Boy hurt.”
“Oh, umm, it-it’s not—I’m fine,” Quentin stammered out only to shake his head. Why was he having this conversation with the very monsters that gave him these kinds of wounds?
“Hurt,” the hatchet-wielding killer repeated. “We help boy.”
A hand on his shoulder interrupted his panicky blubbering, his eyes following the source up to The Hillbilly’s mutilated face. Quentin gulped nervously but refrained from screaming his head off for a second time.
“Let’s go,” The Hillbilly said, his voice sounding as though it had not been utilized in years.
“O-Okay,” Quentin mumbled apprehensively while every fibre of his body yelled at him to run. But running was useless at this point; he was caught. Besides, if they were indeed going to kill him, they would have done it already. Right? Hopefully they did not intend to do worse things to him. Either way, considering how they had saved him, he decided to cooperate for the time being.
Quentin took one last look at the dream demon’s corpse, the sight of his mangled body bringing a grin to his lips, and allowed the four killers to lead him away. He knew not what they planned to do with him, but at least his never-ending nightmare was over for good.
Freddy was finally dead.
The four of them—now excluding Myers as the man had mysteriously vanished—trekked through the woods for an immeasurable amount of time. It was certainly long enough for his legs to notice, his toned limbs beginning to protest from the excess exertion.
They eventually came to a stop in a clearing, the area apparently removed of its trees if the numerous stumps were of any indication. Aside from said stumps, there was also an abundance of fluorescent flowers growing in the vicinity, more than he had ever seen before in one place. There was a bunch of furniture scattered around too—a few wooden tables, both cluttered with junk; a wooden chest; and even a couple of beds, their wooden frames covered by several furs.
Did they make these? Since they actually had proper tools to do so, Quentin did not believe his assumption to be too farfetched. But where did they get the screws and nails to hold everything together? Did the wooden creations even have them? And where did all the furs come from? He supposed it did not matter; although, he wished the survivors were able to have these kinds of things. The decor gave the space a sort of homey, comfortable vibe. It was nice.
Quentin was forcibly, yet caringly, parked on a wide stump by The Huntress. The burly woman then sauntered towards a wooden chest and threw it open, her hands rummaging around its insides.
He caught sight of The Wraith crouching down beside him in his peripheral vision. The killer tapped his forearm twice, and calmly asked, “Can you remove this?”
Quentin eyed his battered form before he pinched his vest sleeve between his fingers and uttered, “M-My vest?”
The bell-wielding killer nodded.
“Remove now!” The Huntress boomed, her tone stern and with a hatchet rising at the ready. The harshness of her demand caused Quentin to shrink into himself, his body unconsciously trembling in fright once more.
“Gentle Anna,” The Hillbilly advised the woman while one of his hands grasped her hatchet and lowered the dangerous weapon, “gentle.”
She had a name? Since Freddy and Myers both had names, it stood to reason that the others did as well. However, the information still baffled him all the same.
The Huntress, Anna, sighed before she reiterated her previous demand with a softer tone. “Remove. Want help boy.”
Quentin eyed Anna warily and then turned to The Wraith, those bark-like lips twisting into an encouraging smile. He sighed aloud as he was not comfortable with their help in the slightest. Although, he supposed there was no point in refusing and feared the ramifications of doing so.
After careful thought, Quentin offered a stiff nod and proceeded to shrug out of his vest while wincing at the soreness in his right arm. He placed his vest on his lap as both The Wraith and The Huntress inspected his wound. Honestly all this attention over one, albeit large, cut was probably unnecessary.
While the two killers cleaned and bound his injury with the items Anna had taken from the wooden chest, Quentin nervously glanced around at the scenery. This area truly was beautiful and, if he was feeling particularly brave, he might ask how so much plant life came to flourish all in one place. Were they replanting perhaps?
Scanning the trees with curiosity, Quentin instantly gasped when his eyes spotted The Doctor, the crazed killer’s teeth glinting ominously at him from the treeline. The Doctor stepped closer into the light, cackling obnoxiously in his wake only to be instantly silenced by a thrown hatchet being imbedded in the tree trunk beside his head.
“You leave!” Anna shouted at the electricity-wielding killer.
When The Doctor did no such thing, Anna went to chuck another hatchet at him but then quickly holstered it. What was going on? Was she going to let that madman hurt him? Quentin returned his gaze to the electricity-wielding killer only to discover a blade now positioned at his throat. Said blade belonged to none other than The Shape, his bright mask blearily peeking out from the darkness. The Doctor hovered for some time, his wide grin faltering a touch when Myers moved his knife closer to the man’s skin.
Releasing one final snicker or two, The Doctor pushed the kitchen knife away from his neck with a single finger. Next, the intruding killer locked eyes with The Shape, the two males staring each other down, and then The Doctor eventually disappeared back into the sea of trees along with his eerily merry chuckles.
Myers lingered, watching the other killer leave before moving partially behind a tree trunk. From there, The Shape simply observed Quentin and the three supposedly friendly killers from a distance. Well that was creepy. Did the man do nothing except stalk and kill? Though Quentin was surprised Myers even helped at all. From what Laurie had told him about the man, he expected a heartless killer and saw nothing less during trials. This was not that same man however. The Shape was still terrifying, no doubts about that, but his recent actions demonstrated that Myers was capable of other things besides bloodshed. Maybe there was more to the man than he realized.
“It is done,” The Wraith suddenly muttered to him.
Done? Quentin peered down at his bicep to see it free of blood and tightly wrapped in some sort of silky, dark-coloured cloth. He went to touch it but a rough hand prevented him from doing so.
The Wraith shook his head at him and patiently said, “Allow it to heal.”
Quentin felt himself flush in embarrassment and then promptly stiffened when a hand rested on top of his beanie-clad head. Was it The Doctor again? Whipping his head around, he located The Hillbilly now standing above him while the chainsaw-wielding killer offered him a seemingly reassuring nod.
“Boy rest now,” Anna said in a delicate, almost hushed, tone of voice.
“Rest?” he muttered in horror. “Oh, uh, n-no, no thanks. I-I’m good.”
Quentin was not keen on sleeping and especially not surrounded by killers. They may have tended to his injury and protected him from Freddy and The Doctor, but that did not mean he should trust them entirely.
Anna’s mouth formed a frustrated frown, the beefy woman obviously not happy with his answer. Instead of brandishing any hatchets though, she pointed a dirty finger at one of the fur-covered beds.
“Rest,” she said again. When Quentin failed to respond or move whatsoever, she softly added, “Please.”
“Really, it-it’s okay,” Quentin assured the hatchet-wielding killer, his fear manifesting in his voice once more. “I-I don’t wanna—”
“Shh,” The Wraith whispered while placing a calloused finger over his lips. “Be easy. Frederick cannot harm you now.”
“Phillip’s right kid,” The Hillbilly asserted. “He’ll come back ‘ventually, but for now he can’t getcha.”
“Y-You mean… h-he’s still… no,” Quentin mumbled the last word in anguish, tears forming in his orbs and cascading down his cheeks. He cupped both watery eyes with his palms as he wept in utter despair.
Freddy was not dead. Freddy would come back. His nightmare was not over, and it never would be. It never would be!
Quentin vaguely noticed The Wraith, Philip, taking his vest from him and The Hillbilly lifting him into his muscled arms. The chainsaw-wielding killer carried him bridal style over to one of the beds and gently put him down on it, the soft furs tickling the back of his neck. Philip then removed his beanie and placed his vest, now folded into a neat square, underneath the boy’s head.
“M’sorry kid,” The Hillbilly confessed while maneuvering the boy’s hands away from his face. His concern for Quentin seemed genuine if the look on the man’s face was anything to go by. “But you might as well get some shuteye while ya can.”
Philip patted him on the head, his fingers ruffling some of Quentin’s brunette curls, and said, “Rest. Rest, and indulge in this rare gift.”
Both males were smiling sadly at him, the gesture offering his the slightest of comfort. He stifled his cries and offered The Wraith and The Hillbilly a small nod in thanks. With that, the two imposing males moved away but remained in the cleared area. Philip started to idly shine his skull portion of his weapon while The Hillbilly tinkered with the components of his chainsaw.
Anna suddenly invaded his line of sight, the woman rubbing his tear tracks away with a thumb and softly cupping his cheek. Ignoring the possible consequences, Quentin leaned into her touch and gave The Huntress a tender smile and, to his delight, she smiled back at him from beneath her rabbit mask. A gentle yet forceful giant. Anna nearly reminded him of David.
“I...” he hesitated over what to say before going with a heartfelt, “thank you.”
The Huntress grunted in reply, the noise sounding happy or grateful. He was not entirely sure, but at least it did not sound displeased.
“This...” The Hillbilly spoke up from afar, his mouth morphing into a dejected line. “You understand that we’re still... that we gotta—”
“What’s your name?” Quentin abruptly asked the chainsaw-wielder.
“Max,” The Hillbilly replied in confusion.
“No matter what happens Max,” Quentin sniffled and then addressed the other two killers individually by name. “I’m grateful for your help.”
This was a kindness, one he never thought possible on their part, but he would be a fool to expect it during trials.
Underneath their gloomy expressions, they seemed surprised by his answer but accepted it nonetheless. Somehow their reactions reminded Quentin of the others. He wondered if he was ever going to see his fellow survivors again—his most cherished friends. Was he forever trapped with the killers or was the Entity just messing with him? Hell maybe Freddy somehow did this, bending this world to his whim and forcing Quentin to be physically trapped with him too. But the dream demon was not that powerful and the Entity would never allow something like that to happen. At least he prayed that were not the case.
Quentin felt as if he was drowning in his worries, his brain throbbing at the prospect of being stuck with a dangerous crowd, but perhaps these guys knew something he did not. “Am... Am I s-stuck here?”
All three killers looked uneasily amongst one another before Philip uttered a vague, “We are uncertain, though She would not allow your presence among us without reason.”
“The Entity,” Max helpfully clarified for him.
Anna stomped a foot on the ground in frustration and then pointed another hatchet once more at Quentin. “Rest now,” the female hastily shouted, “worry later. Protect boy. No matter what.”
“O-Okay, okay,” Quentin relented and proceeded to get as comfortable as possible. Despite all the furs, the wooden frame was a bit hard on his back but it was probably better than sleeping on the cold, hard ground.
The Huntress began to hum her familiar tune at his bedside. The delicate sound, foreboding to hear in trials, was now gently lulling him into unconsciousness. He permitted his eyelids to droop shut while his surroundings gradually faded from awareness. Before sleep claimed him, Quentin had one final thought cross his mind.
Maybe these killers were not complete monsters after all.