-Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into The Future-


-Chapter 04-

Bryce's well-tuned mind tried frantically to concentrate on the Fibonacci sequence as he lay unconscious on the hospital bed. The problem was that every time he got past 89, his mind went blank and he had to start again. It wasn't like him. He could usually work it out well past that. But for some reason, tonight he couldn't. He was getting a little frightened. A feeling that grew as he noticed the rickety old house that suddenly stood before him.

"One- two- Freddy's coming for you," a voice sang suddenly. He turned to find a group of Fringer children playing jump rope on the sidewalk out in front of the house. "Three- four- better lock your door…"

He ignored it for several minutes until a bolt of lightning startled him and he rushed inside to get out of the sudden downpour. He shivered as he looked around the room and recognized it as the same place he'd been in when he'd been slashed. Not wishing to have anything more to do with such a place, he opened the front door and stepped through. There was nothing there under his foot as he took a step and he lost his balance, tumbling down the same rickety staircase he had walked down in his previous nightmare.

He looked around, trying to see if he could spot Freddy. He saw a door and decided to see where it went to. He was surprised to find himself standing on a metal catwalk overlooking a series of boiler machines. He heard the screeching of metal on metal. It was very irritating and a bit frightening as well. He ran down the steps and didn't stop until he was suddenly blocked by an inexplicable steel gate. Turning, he found another gate just behind him. The room was stiflingly hot. He had trouble breathing. His heart raced as he waited in terror for the man from his first nightmare to return.

He soon found himself face to face with the horribly burned and scarred face of the man who had slashed his abdomen.

"Hot in here, isn't it?" Freddy asked, in a casual tone.

The brick wall behind Bryce exploded around them, revealing a wide open boiler. The flames rose up as Freddy suddenly grabbed Bryce.

"Come on, kid, wake up," a doctor was shaking. He injected Bryce with a drug to awaken him. He hadn't liked how high Bryce's temperature had suddenly gone. A high fever was never a good sign with surgery.

Freddy started to lift Bryce, clearly intending to throw him into the boiler, when Bryce suddenly faded from his grasp.

Bryce's eyes flew open and he was comforted to see Edison Carter sitting there.

"Bryce?" Edison asked. "How do you feel?"

"That's twice now," Bryce muttered to himself. "What the hell is this guy's obsession with me anyhow?"

"Who?" Edison asked. "The man who slashed you?"

"Freddy," Bryce nodded. "I didn't catch his last name."

"Can you describe him?" asked a Metrocop who had been informed by the doctor that Bryce had awakened.

"He was badly burned," Bryce told the cop. "He wore a dirty brown hat and had razors on his right hand. Like a Raking glove."

The Metrocop took down the information while Edison relayed his conversation with Bryce to Theora.

Theora ran a search for the name Freddy and a description of his weapon on her computer. "Edison, there was a series of killings back in the 1980s on Elm Street in Springwood, Ohio."

"The United States," Edison muttered.

"Thing is," Theora pointed out, "that none of the deaths could be explained. But they were all marked by the victims claims of chronic nightmares, and all of the victims died in their sleep."

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