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Dreamed 1992/8/20 by Chris Wayan


A team of us are supposed to explore a warehouse that was last used for a wargame a bit like paintball, in which horror movie characters come to life. Holographs? Robots? Actors? The game is, they chase you through the plywood maze filling the warehouse, and you're supposed to kill them. But what happens if they get YOU? Are your injuries imaginary? All you get is a squirt gun supposed to stop a monster if you hit it dead on. But a few were able to revive, and now they're resistant to the guns. We all worry that some squirt-resistant monsters survived the shutdown of the game, and still lurk in the maze. So we're reluctant to explore it.

For safety, our team leader orders us to stay within sight of each other--a net of guards. But in the maze, that's not so easy; I keep ending up alone for several seconds. People patrol in and out of rooms--but who's to say shapeshifters haven't jumped a few of us? Movie monsters in human form now...

And as we go deeper, undisguised monsters appear. Proof! The players are gone, but the game is still running, dreaming on its own. I get out my squirtgun and fire on the monsters, but they keep on coming. It's true, then; they've developed resistance. We're in trouble.

And then I run round a corner into Freddy Kruger, of "Nightmare on Elm Street." He lost his steel-clawed hand in his last movie, but he's not dead as we all assumed. He can't slash any more, and he doesn't even speak, just laughs at me. And I know he's the mastermind behind this game that won't die.

This game I don't want to play.


Now I'm on the coast, a neighborhood recently developed, with just a few older houses. Freddy Kruger, in a less monstrous incarnation or disguise, rented the Huge Old House On The Hill, commanding a view of the whole tract. He has a practical reason: he wants to be able to defend his position, and guard his group's privacy. He's building bombs and assassinating politicians.

Freddy Kruger calls me up and invites me over. Says casually "I don't need you to buy explosives or fuses for me, I got that covered, but I want to hire you to help kill the guys who stand my way." I don't want to, and I'm worried because he's so open on the phone about it. I figure if I won't join, I'll be killed so I don't talk... I feel trapped. Despite the voice inside saying "Don't go in the Huge Old House On The Hill!" of course I do, I do.

We're blindfolded and led through Mysterious Tunnels. Guards pull the cloth off in a pleasant Victorian foyer--except that the windows are painted black. Noon outside but he's made it midnight.

Others are waiting here too. A short chubby girl to the left of me, and a tallish Indian-looking girl on the right, who says "I'm Telly Savalas's daughter". I don't even know who Telly is, exactly--a bald cop on TV? A comedian? I feel disturbed--she called herself his daughter rather than say her own name, like a wife saying I'm Mrs. John Smith! She's under her famous dad's shadow. Well, semi-famous. I'm still hazy what he's done.

Freddy Kruger walks in. He may have better make-up these days, but his aura is still jagged and slashing. This is an angry man. Or dream monster.

Angry, but not stupid. Freddy asks her "Thank you for coming, Ms. Savalas. Tell me--what do YOU want in YOUR life, apart from your father's influence and money?" Ow. Right to it. Better watch out when he gets to me, he's sharp.

She frowns, is silent a long breath. "I want money!" she bursts out. "Five times the money my father made. He NEVER gave me money!" I'm surprised. Her aura is gentle, intelligent... looks like someone seeking herself, but with no bitterness, no hate. But her voice, out of that gentle face, is deeply bitter.

Or is this HER way of fooling Freddy into thinking she'll cooperate? She needs to do that to leave here alive. And she comes from an acting family.

Freddy's cunning though--a genius in his way--he may kill us even if we DO sign up. If we're not sincere. You never know with Freddy.

Long talks, as she tries to determine whether his organization is OK by her standards. I think now that she was naively telling the truth, for now she's saying to his face that she doesn't want to be part of an organization that kills its enemies. She's radical and agrees with his longterm goals--at least what he claims the organization is for... but his method, she finds contemptible!

I get up and pace the room, nervously. Anger. Exaggerate the anger, make myself seem purely upset about the debate between Savalas and Kruger, not about the possibility he'll murder us. I pound things in frustration. Female guard watches but doesn't interfere.

I'm venting real anger about Freddy's policies, but I'm using my rage for a purpose. As I pound in anger, I'm sounding the mantel and tables and walls for secret passages! I know we were brought in here blindfolded thru a tunnel. But I recognize this place--I shared it with Freddy long ago, before the movies, before politics? And I know that at least two passages are hidden in the walls. At LEAST two!

I think I even recall where the door of one was. This panel... is it still usable? I'm not helpless here. I know Freddy and I know this place.

I challenge him. "Okay... explain your goal to me. I won't be your employee. You want me, you want me for my brains. So tell me exactly what you're after, Freddy."

He climbs out the window and sits on the broad ledge in the sun. I join him. So does the chubby girl, silent still. Not Savalas.

Freddy evades. Tells me anything but his goal--his real goal, not what he tells the recruits. I keep returning to it--pin him down. "What exact changes are you after? What social policies, what political structure? Spell out your dream, Freddy! Or I won't play."

It's hard for him, though. He's a genius--and the son of a man who is thousands of years old. His father invented the light bulb--in 1000 BC. No one would accept it--or any of his other inventions. For centuries he was ignored and rejected for his ideas.

His son Freddy is centuries old, and he too is set in his beliefs about ordinary humans. "The average person doesn't want to understand or use new things. I know what's best--and I'll force it on them." He's had enough of persuasion... and being spat on. Oh, I know WHY Freddy is this way, I was a child prodigy too, and got spat on plenty for it.

So he values me. But I won't play unless I know what he's after: revenge, personal gain, or to better the world?

He keeps evading. Freddy's on the defensive now! I'm not going to help him. Nor will I let him kill me--I'll leave via the secret passages I know as well as he does. But first I'm going to dangle some bait of my own--he can only get my help by coming clean about his goals. Freddy Kruger will have to answer his own question! What do you want, Freddy?

I owe a lot to Telly Savalas's daughter--she tipped me off that Freddy's whole game is about insecurity, wounds and dads. Not her dad. His.


LISTS AND LINKS: horror movies - mazes and labyrinths - self-defense - geniuses - dream beings - immortals - nightmares - Freddy Kruger gets a government job as the Ghostmaster - politics - dreams on dreams - father-daughter relationships - money - healing from abuse - values and goals - ethics - frustration dreams

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