When the phone rang, she almost had a heart attack.
She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself as it rang again, and then she went to answer it. She already knew who it would be.
“Hello,” she said, with resignation as she sank down onto the couch. “Hi, Mom... I know. I’m sorry. I meant to call you, but I fell asleep. ”
She realized how emotionally drained she sounded and tried to inject a note of cheerfulness into her voice.
“Really, Morn, I’m fine. I just need a little time alone, that’s all. I—”
Her mother interrupted, like she always did, and Alice tried to listen patiently. Her mother didn’t understand, how could she ever understand? How could anyone understand unless they had been there? Unless they had seen what she had seen?
“I know you and Dad worry and I appreciate that,” she said as soon as her mother took a breath. “I—”
Her mother interrupted once again and this time Alice didn’t let it pass. “Come on, Morn,” she said, sharply. “We’ve been through all this before. I just have to put my life back together and this is the only way I know how. ”
Her mother wasn’t listening. She never listened, never even tried to.
‘Mom, please,” Alice said, exasperated. “It’s late. I don’t want to get into it. I—I’ll call you tomorrow. Bye!’’
She hung up the phone.
Why couldn’t anybody understand? All right, maybe she had imagined it, how could the boy have come up from the bottom of the lake to drag her under? He had drowned years ago. His body would have decomposed long since. And if he had lived, he would have been a full grown man by now. Yet she was certain she had seen something...
According to the police report, she was hysterical when the officers swam out to get her. They said that she had fought them, clawing at them, screaming at them to let her go. She didn’t remember any of that. Perhaps she had fallen out of the boat and they had seen it, and when they swam out to rescue her, her tortured mind deceived her into thinking that it wasn’t a policeman trying to pull her to safety, but a rotting corpse trying to pull her under. Anyway, that was what the psychiatrist had suggested, and it seemed to make sense. After what she had been through, it wasn’t surprising that her mind should have come a bit unhinged.
But she wasn’t really sure. She knew she had seen something. And lately, ever since she had returned to Crystal Lake , she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being watched. As if there was something out there, waiting for her...
Her mother thought that she was going crazy. Why, after all the horrible things that had happened to her there, would she want to return to the town of Crystal Lake ? Every night, her mother called. Every night, it was the same discussion, always the same old arguments. ‘Come home, honey,” her mother always said, “come home where we can take care of you. We’ll see this thing through together. We’ll get the finest doctors, we’ll do whatever it takes. ”
Her parents simply didn’t understand. What it took was going back to where it had all happened. The camp itself had been shut down and the buildings had all been condemned, but she came back to the town of Crystal Lake where people did not know who she was since her picture had been kept out of the papers when it happened. There she could confront her private demons by herself. Confront them and heat them, or he constringed by them. She had no choice. There was just no other way.
In a sense, she had never really left the place. After being discharged from the hospital, she had gone home to her parents, but each night after she fell asleep, she wound up back at Camp Crystal Lake again, reliving the horror. She would try to stay awake, knowing that it was impossible, knowing that she had to get some sleep, hut dreading it because she knew what sleep would bring. And when, inevitably, she would finally fall asleep from sheer exhaustion, the nightmare would begin again.
She tried explaining it to her parents when they told her it was foolish to go back. “What do you mean, go back?’ she shouted at them in exasperation. “Don’t you understand? I’ve never left! I’m still trapped there! I’ll never get away!”
When she got up from the couch and went back toward the bathroom, her eyes fell on the sketches she had been working on earlier in the day. She had done them in charcoal, shades of gray and black. There was a time, not so very long ago, when she had been a talented, versatile artist. She had enjoyed drawing still-life studies and landscapes, full figures and portraits—but the last thing she had done that looked anything like her former work was the portrait she drew of Steve back at Camp Crystal Lake. That’s when the nightmare started.
Ever since, all her drawings came out looking like this—dark, gloomy and foreboding gray shading into darker gray shading into black, studies of faces with wide eyes and bulging, mouths open in soundless screams.
She had once seen a documentary on television about children who had suffered traumas from abuse. Their drawings didn’t look anything like children’s drawing. No sunlit houses with picket fences and gardens and stick-figure people drawn in warm, bright colors. No, those drawings looked like hers—dark, savage, terrifying, the subconscious mind revealing the violence that had been done to it and crying out for help.
She went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. The phone rang once again.
Sighing, she went back into the living room and picked up the phone. Why couldn’t her mother just leave her alone? Why wouldn’t she understand that the only chance she had of beating this thing was to come back here and face it, prove to herself once and for all that it was over, that there were no more monsters lurking in the dark?
“Mom... “ she said into the phone.
There was no answer on her end.
Still no response. It was not her mother. She could hear only the sound of heavy breathing.
She slammed the phone down and backed away from it, swallowing hard, trying to compose herself. It’s all right, she tried to tell herself. There’s nothing to worry about. It was probably just some kids playing games, nothing to be afraid of. People who called other people up just to breathe heavily into the phone weren’t really dangerous, were they?
She went over to the window and pulled back the drape, taking a look outside. It was dark and the streets of Crystal Lake were rain slicked. There didn’t appear to be anyone out there, but it was hard to tell with all those shadows. In her present state of mind, every shadow seemed to be a prowler, a huge shape lurking in the darkness, waiting, watching
Her heart started to beat faster. Okay, this is ridiculous, she told herself, the phone rings and all of a sudden, you’re jumping at shadows. It was probably a wrong number.
She checked the chain and deadbolt on the door, then she checked the hall. She knew it seemed foolish to be creeping around her own apartment, but she couldn’t shake the awful feeling that had suddenly come over her, the almost certain feeling that she was not alone.
She checked the bedroom, then looked in the kitchen. She felt a cool breeze. The window was wide open! A knot formed in her stomach. She was almost certain that she had shut it earlier.
She suddenly felt short of breath. There was a tightness in her chest. She couldn’t take her eyes away from the gently blowing curtains on either side of the wide open window. Slowly, she moved toward the window, picking up an ice pick from the sideboard on the sink and holding it like a knife, ready for stabbing. She shut her eyes and took a deep breath.
Suddenly something came flying through the window, straight at her, and she gasped and recoiled with shock, then leaned back against the refrigerator with relief when she realized it had only been the cat.
“Oh, it’s you,’’ she said, exhaling heavily, feeling foolish for overreacting like that. Obviously, she must have left the window open earlier and the cat got out that way. I’ve just got to calm down, she thought. I’ve got to relax before I lose my mind and run screaming out into the street.
She put the ice pick down on tile counter, then ran a little water into the tea kettle, which she set on the stove, turning the burner on high. She took down a box of tea bags and got out a cup and spoon. The cat rubbed against her legs, meowing.
“You want to eat, huh? Okay. ”
She went back to the refrigerator and opened it.
The severed, bloody head of Mrs. Vorhees was resting on the top shelf, between the milk and the half-empty box of chocolate graham crackers. The putrescent mouth was open and the tongue protruded from between the rotting teeth like a dead slug. The stench of decomposing flesh was overpowering. Alice threw her hands up to her face and screamed.
She backed away, turning to run... and suddenly a massive arm was clamped across her throat, throttling her scream, choking it off. She saw the flash of the ice pick she had left lying on the counter and she had only the briefest instant to register the awful realization that her worst nightmares were corning true before the point of the ice pick was driven through her temple. She felt a sharp, searing, white-hot pain, then she fell lifeless to the floor.
The tea kettle started whistling.
The killer took it off the burner and conscientiously turned off the gas.
Back To Top
Five Years Later
“All right, keep your eyes peeled, I think we’re getting close,” said Jeff pushing is cap back on his head and watching the street signs as they entered the town of Crystal Lake.
He drove the midnight blue 4x4 with the raised body very slowly, being careful not to exceed the posted speed limited of twenty-five mph. He had bought it for his eighteenth birthday after taking several years to save up enough money for the down payment. It was still brand-new, not even a thousand miles on it yet. He knew that a lot of these small towns boosted their revenues at the expense of tourists and vacationers coming through, city drivers who were accustomed to a faster pace, and therefore had a hard time driving slowly in the country. His father had cosigned the loan on the condition that he keep a clean driving record, and Jeff intended to hold up his end of the bargain.
Beside him, Sandra, a pretty, seventeen-year-old blonde, checked the directions she had scrawled on a piece of loose-leaf paper. She glanced up, looking through the windshield, brushing her thick, curly hair out of her eyes as she checked for landmarks.
“Hey there’s the gas station,” she said, recognizing one.
Jeff pulled over to the curb, across the street from the gas station. “Come on, let’s call Ted,” he said, opening the door.
Ted had told them to get to the service station in town and call him from there, so he could come out and meet them. Otherwise, he’d warned them, they’d only get hopelessly confused.
“You can get lost on those little back roads,” he had told them. “Believe me, I know. Just give me a call from the Gulf station when you get into town and I’ll come out and get you. You can’t miss it. Just look for the big old orange sign. ”
Jeff and Sandra ran across the street to the phone booth in the gas station. Jeff fished around in the pockets of his jeans until he found a quarter. He deposited it and dialed Ted’s number. Sandra put her hands in the pockets of her khaki hiking shorts and took a look around at the town of Crystal Lake.
Ted had been right when he had told them that there wasn’t much to see. “Oh, it’s just a little ole hick town,” he had said, “but what the hell, it’s home, right?”
Actually, it was only a summer home that belonged to Ted’s parents. Ted used to spend his vacations here, but recently his parents preferred to get away to Europe. Ted usually worked at counseling jobs at various camps, so the house in Crystal Lake was closed most of the year. It was on the market, but apparently there was no great rush to buy homes in this town.
Looking around, Sandra thought she could understand why. The town looked dead.
Still, the prospect of spending a couple of weeks at the counselors’ training center, then having a big, empty house to play in for a few days before the summer camp season got started seemed like a lot of fun. They might meet some nice people at this training thing, and then, when it was over, there’d be some time to party with them. She wondered what the director of the training center, Paul Holt, would be like. She hoped he wouldn’t he a jerk. Ted had said he knew him from working with him several summers before.
Back To Top
His name was Ralph and he was the town crazy. No one ever paid any attention to him, except when he got drunk and careened around the town on his bicycle, preaching the Gospel at the top of his lungs and threatening to veer out into traffic or crash through somebody’s store window. He never seemed to make it around the corner of Harlan’s hardware store and he would inevitably smash into Harlan’s front steps and wind up in a tangled heap, pinned beneath his hike, writhing on the ground and screaming. Then someone would pay attention to him.
Harlan would conic running out and start jumping up and down and shouting at him, calling him names like “sleazeball” and “egg sucker” and threatening to wrap that trashed-out bike around his scrawny neck. A crowd would usually gather, or as much of a crowd as you could get together in Crystal Lake, and the sheriff would have to come by and pull Harlan off Ralph and take Ralph down to the jail to dry out. It was always like that, the same routine. They paid attention to him when he had too much to drink, but they never paid attention to him when it really counted, when he tried to warn them.
He had seen things, out in the woods, and he knew what was going to happen if they started having kids out there again—if they started trespassing on his turf. Just like the last time, he thought, when he’d tried to tell them what would happen and they didn’t listen. “
Back To Top
Paul Holt stepped out of his office in the large, Victorian frame house by the lakeshore and pulled the rope on the brass bell mounted on the porch railing. He brushed his thick blond hair away from his eyes and leaned back against the stanchion post as the counselor trainees gathered in front of him.
At twenty-five, he was senior to the oldest of them by a mere six years, and he was painfully aware of his responsibility to take charge immediately and make sure they all did their jobs. If this counselor-training session went well and the camp officials he had contracted with were pleased with the results, there was a good chance he’d get referrals to other summer camps and be able to double his enrollment next year.
It was an excellent way of adding a couple of weeks of extra work to the summer season and building up a part-time vacation business for himself. He got to spend an enjoyable few weeks in the woods, running his own business and picking up some extra money for grad school. He looked around, trying to remember all their names as they started to come out from the other cabins where they had been unpacking and settling in.
There was Mark, a dark, muscular boy of about eighteen, confined to a wheelchair as a result of a tragic motorcycle accident. Yet, despite his handicap, he was remarkably self sufficient. He’d be an excellent role model for the kids at camp, proving that you could accomplish whatever you set your mind to.
Vickie, a pretty, leggy brunette of about seventeen, came up behind Mark as he struggled to get his wheelchair through the soft dirt and up a slight incline to the main house. She offered to help him with a push, but Mark resolutely shook his head, making the well-meaning girl look hurt, as if he had rejected her.
Paul sighed. Perhaps Mark was a bit too self-sufficient. There were a few things he was going to have to learn, but they were the sort of things that no one would be able to teach him. He’d have to come to them by himself. Often, people who were handicapped became overly sensitive to other people trying to help them. In a sense, it was understandable, because no one wanted to be pitied or condescended to. And all too often, otherwise well-meaning people could become very intrusive, such as grabbing a handicapped person’s wheelchair and pushing it without bothering to ask if their “help” was wanted.
But there was a difference between an intrusive person and someone offering to help out of a genuine desire to be supportive. Even if you didn’t want the help and felt it was important for you to make it on your own, there was no reason why you couldn’t smile and thank the person for the offer, refusing graciously. A brusque shake of the head such as Mark had given Vickie was not meant as a rejection, because Mark was not inconsiderate and he probably felt self conscious about the difficulty he was having, but Vickie had taken it as such. It was plain by the hurt expression on her face.
Maybe we put too much emphasis on being self-sufficient and independent, Paul thought, watching them. Instead of stressing competitiveness, perhaps we ought to stress accomplishment instead, not for the sake of winning, but just for the joy of it, with the focus on achieving things together. Maybe then we wouldn’t have such a hard time communicating. And people might not get hurt so easily.
Terry, a shapely girl of eighteen, was coming down the hiking trail with her dog, Muffin, tagging along behind her. Paul had some doubts about her decision to bring that dog along. It wasn’t exactly an outdoor dog, like a shepherd or a setter. It was one of those cute little lap dogs, about the size of a football, and it was all hair and ribbons.
Paul didn’t understand why anyone would wrap a dog up like a Christmas present. The dog would pick up a million brambles in country like this, not to mention fleas and ticks and Lord only knew what sort of parasites from the lakes and streams. And in the woods, a domestic dog wouldn’t stand a chance against the sort of wildlife it could encounter.
Paul had even seen German shepherds get done in by raccoons, who were a lot more ferocious than they looked and canny enough to lure the dogs into a river or a pond and then drown them by climbing on their heads and clinging there. Even on bare ground, a coon could give a hunting dog one hell of a bad time. A little hairball like Muffin wouldn’t last three seconds. However, there wasn’t much he could do about it now. She had brought the dog with her and it seemed pointless to make an issue out of it. Terry would find out for herself that there was a lot of difference between the wilderness and a city park.
Back To Top
Ginny hurried inside her cabin, feeling a bit unnerved by her short walk down the path from the main house. She looked around at the empty room, went over to the window and pulled the curtains shut. She grimaced at herself in the mirror mounted above the pine dresser. This is really silly, she thought. I’m letting all my buttons get pushed by some jock telling a silly ghost story.
She pursed her lips as she glanced at herself in the mirror. He was, however, a very sexy jock, she thought. She sighed. Her friends would never understand her taking up with a guy like Paul. They would much rather spend their vacations doing summer stock at a theater participating in pretentious sensitivity-training workshops and encounter sessions, where they could “get in touch with themselves. ” Instead of spending their evenings around a campfire kicking back and singing songs, they’d sit around in some bar or cafe and have endless discussions about Jung and Freud and Dr. Ruth.
They’d rather talk about things like sexual repression and passive-aggressive tendencies than tell ghost stories, and they’d blanch at the thought of working with a bunch of young summer-camp counselors when they could spend their time dissecting one another’s personalities as well as their own.
It was really pretty funny in a way. Most of her friends at school would spend fortunes on clothes from L. L. Bean, REI, Banana Republic and Eddie Bauer, decking themselves out in down parkas, Woolrich flannel shirts, bush jackets and cotton canvas pants, fatigue sweaters and hunting shoes, and corduroy day packs, so they’d look like they were about to go off on a safari in darkest Africa, but the very thought of taking an overnight hike up into the mountains would make their blood run cold. They would be utterly lost without TV and indoor plumbing, and they’d rather take their sports cars and drive two blocks to go to class than walk or ride a bicycle.
Paul was too straight, too macho, and too unfashionable for them, but while he might not be an intellectual, thought Ginny, he had something a lot of them seemed to lack common sense. He didn’t need to use a lot of sophisticated jargon to get his point across. And he didn’t need to attend some group encounter session in order to get in touch with himself. He already knew who he was, He’d much rather take a hike into the woods and in touch with nature. And there was a lot to be said for that.
She teased him a lot, but one thing she really liked about him was that she could just relax around him. She didn’t need to impress him. She didn’t need to compete. A lot of people she knew looked down on jocks because they were into sports and sports were supposed to be nothing but adolescent power fantasies, a means to act out aggressive impulses and repressed behavior. Yet, the fact was that with so many of her friends, their relationships took on an even more competitive aspect than the most hard-hitting football game. It sometimes seemed that the more intellectual people seemed to be, the more childish they acted.
Paul wasn’t like that. He enjoyed athletic activities, but he enjoyed them for their own sake. He wasn’t driven to win, just to do his best. That way he was able to enjoy what he was doing, whether he won or lost. Because for him, it wasn’t about winning or losing. And in that sense, psychologically speaking, he was one of the healthiest people she knew.
He was the same way in their relationship. She had just beaten him at chess, but it hadn’t wounded his masculine pride. He had sat there, staring at the board, wondering at how he’d been tricked into making the moves she wanted him to make, purposely leaving herself looking vulnerable so that she could entice him into dropping his guard. However, it wasn’t going to ruin his whole evening that he had been beaten by her. Other guys she’d dated would have swelled on it for days.
She had been really looking forward to this time with him out in the woods. They had started off a little shakily, but that was only because she had been late and Paul had been anxious to have everything run smoothly. She could understand that. And maybe he really had been worried about her. That was rather sweet. In any case, it was a good group of kids, and it looked as if the next two weeks would be just great.
She undressed down to her bra and panties and went over to the washbasin. A shadow crossed the window.
She glanced up frowning, as if sensing something. Then, dismissing her first instinctive reaction, she shook her head and put on her bathrobe. She belted it around her and sat down on the bed to brush her hair.
There was a soft knock at the door.
Back To Top
Ginny awoke to the sound of birds chirruping outside her cabin window. She smiled and reached out for Paul sleepily, touching the rumpled sheets beside her. She opened her eyes and saw that she was alone in bed. She sat up and pulled the curtains open. Warm sunlight streamed into the room. As she turned, she saw a note from Paul written in lipstick on the mirror. It read, “Beware of Bears. ”
Grinning sheepishly, she got out of bed. Well, she had tried to tell him, but he hadn’t given her much of a chance, since when he had finally stopped to take a breath, she was much too turned on to care. He had always affected her that way. It wasn’t that he was such a terrific lover, although there was certainly nothing wrong with the way that Paul made love. While they were doing it, he always concentrated on her, on the emotions they were sharing.
He focused on the feelings that were washing over them, instead of concentrating on his technique, as so many guys did, because they were anxious to perform well.
She never understood why guys often got hung up on the mechanics of lovemaking, rather than the pleasure of it. Why reduce something wonderful to nothing more than mere physical exercise? Why remove yourself from the experience of genuine intimacy? How the hell could you possibly be involved with what you were doing while computing baseball batting averages or doing multiplication tables in your head.
She had once gone out with a musician who seemed so preoccupied during their lovemaking and so rhythmic in his movements if when she pressed him to talk about it, he confessed that he was concentrating on scores of various complex classical arrangements by composers like Paganini and Scarlatti. At first she couldn’t believe it and she thought that he was joking, but he was absolutely serious . He confessed to her that he had work out a system whereby various composers were classified according to different stages of the lovemaking process. Debussy was helpful during foreplay. Wagner, he claimed, was effective right near the end.
She got even with him one night by waiting until just the right moment; then, reaching beneath her pillow for her stereo remote control, she blasted him with a tape of Twisted Sister. He left scratch marks on the ceiling.
Mercifully, Paul wasn’t anything like that. Whenever the two of them made love, he was there with her completely, 100 percent. And it was like that when they did things together, too. He wasn’t in the slightest bit intimidated by the fact that she had as much endurance on the trail as he did, could run faster, or had a higher IQ. Instead, rather than resent her for the things she could do, he enjoyed the way she challenged him and spurred him on to try new things. Whatever they were doing-weather it was tennis, riding a bike, or running a marathon-they engaged in play rather then competition. They complemented each other well.
She wondered if she were really getting serious about him. She hadn’t thought that she’d be ready for that yet, but lately she’d been thinking that maybe the key to success in love wasn’t necessarily finding the right guy, but recognizing him when he came along. Otherwise, she thought, you might be so busy looking that you could miss someone really special who was right under your nose.
She got dressed and went down to the main house for breakfast. It was Terry’s turn to cook this morning, according to the chart they’d make up, and she certainly wasn’t skimping on her responsibilities. She had gotten up early and had the biscuits in the oven by the time everybody got there. Ginny arrived to the wonderful smell of fresh-baked biscuits mingled with frying sausages and something Terry called “scrambled Denver omelet,” which consisted of scrambled eggs with little pieces of ham, cheese, peppers, and onions mixed in. In return for the excellent breakfast, they all voted to excuse her from KP for the remainder of the day.
After breakfast, they gathered in the living room over coffee and Ginny gave a talk on child psychology, with tips on how to deal with homesick campers. They followed this is with a general discussion on how to handle problem children whose parents packed them off to camp just to have them away from home all summer. Then they exchanged horror stories about problem kids they had run into during summers past and how they’d dealt with them.
Jeff told a story about two rotten-tempered little boys, brothers who had driven him nearly insane one summer, always yelling and screaming and fighting with each other. One time, he said, they’d gone at it in the camp’s recreation building and they’d had a war with billiard balls. It was a miracle no one was killed, he said. He himself had a narrow escape when one of the little bastards hurled a pool ball right between his legs.
“What did you do?” said Scott.
“I decided to immobilize ‘em.” Jeff said. “I stuck ‘em in two wooden chairs, placed back to back, and then I lashed ‘em down, tied them to each other. I figured they could just sit there and scream to their little hearts’ content until their throats were raw. I left ‘em that way for three hours. They quieted down some time after that.
“I always carry handcuffs, myself,” said Ted.
“Handcuffs?” Ginny said, feeling that she was starting to lose control of this discussion. This wasn’t exactly the sort of child psychology she had in mind. “You actually use handcuffs?”
You can buy them in any police supply store or a magic shop,” said Ted with a perfectly straight face. “Or one of those kinky places where they sell the leather, you know? Those places are good because they’ve also got these black leather hoods that lace up from the back, you know, so you can’t really see anything? There’s just these little holes for the nose where they can breathe. Even the mouth is covered. Keeps ‘em from making too much noise. ”
Ginny stared at him with horror.
“You know what else is good,” continued Ted, “they’ve got these belts that go along as sort of an accessory, with these studs and rings on them, only the studs are just for decoration, really, though I guess they’d hurt if you got hit with ‘em. But the rings are the thing, see, because you can take a length of chain and run it through the rings, then loop it over the handcuffs and lock the whole right down, and the little buggers can’t hardly move at all then. ”
“Ted!” said Ginny, unable to believe her ears. “ My God, you can’t do that to little kids! What would their parents say?”
And then she saw the grins on their faces and heard the snickers, and she blushed as she realized that they’d been kidding.
“Same old Ted,” Paul said, with a chuckle.
Ginny threw a sofa pillow at him.
Following Ginny’s session, Paul took over and mustered everyone outside for a cross-country run, during which it quickly became obvious who the smokers were. Mark, who was excused from the run because he couldn’t propel his wheelchair across rough country, sat at the side of the path, near the start and finish line, yelling encouragement. He laughed as he saw Jeff bringing up the rear, gasping and panting hard.
“Hey, what’s the matter, Jeff?” he yelled, clapping his hands. “Com on, the women are showing you up.
Sandra was leading the race. Jeff stumbled by, out of breath, giving M ark the finger.
After the run, just when they all thought they were going to get a chance to rest, Paul announced that they were going to “walk it off” on a nature hike, and with a collective groan, the counselors embarked upon a hike down one of the lakeside trails.
“Try to stay on this trail,” Paul warned as they passed in single file down the narrow path that ran along the lakeshore. “There’s a lot of poison ivy here. ” He pointed out the three-pronged plants. “After lunch, we’re gonna do some more running. ”
There were more miserable groans.
Ginny brought up the rear, to make sure there were no stragglers. Paul had told her that he wouldn’t put it past some of these kids to hand back until everyone else was far ahead, and then double back to the cabins, where they could goldbrick. So Ginny was making sure that everyone kept up while Paul set a good, steady pace up front.
She saw Terry’s little dog, Muffin, go tearing off into the trees, barking furiously at something it had seen there, and for a moment, Gunny hung back, looking in the direction that the dog had gone. She had never seen the dog respond like that before. Something felt strange. She squinted, trying t o see through the thick woods, but she couldn’t see anything. Muffin had disappeared somewhere into the bushes at the side of the trail. She shrugged and continued on. It was probably only a squirrel.
Still, for some peculiar reason, she could not shake the feeling that there was someone watching them. She hadn’t said anything about it to Paul because he’d probably just laugh and claim that his fireside ghost story had gotten to her, after all. There was no way she could explain it to him. She simply sensed something nearby... something vaguely disturbing. She suppressed an involuntary shudder and hurried to catch up with the others.
He stood hidden in the trees and watched them pass by, oblivious to his presence. Deep within his simple, twisted mind, a cold fire began to burn as he watched them disappear from sight. He knew who these people were. They were just like the others—the ones who had hurt him so long ago—the same ones who had hurt his mother.
Jason Vorhess was insane. The violent things he’d seen and the savage life he’d loved out in the woods had their irreversible effects upon his feeble mind, but those things had only completed what nature had started. He had never been completely normal. Strange forces had been at work in his life from the very moment of his conception.
From his premature birth, at the stroke of midnight one Friday The 13th, there had been something different about him. It was not only that he had been an unusually large infant, with striking, pronounced features that gave him an almost adult expression, but there was something ominous about him that filled all those who came near him with a profound sense of unease—all except his mother. A mother loves her child.
Pamela Vorhees never had a chance to make it to the hospital. Her labor had been unnaturally short, as if the child within her were trying to claw its way out of her womb. The doctor had arrived just in time to deliver Jason in the bedroom. Even from birth, Jason was curiously silent. When the doctor held him up and slapped him, Jason didn’t make a sound. For a moment, the doctor was alarmed, thinking that the child might have been stillborn. He slapped Jason once again, a little harder this time, again with no response, and then he noticed that the child’s eyes were open and staring straight at him with an astonishing expression—one that almost seemed like cold, venomous fury. It staggered him to see such searing hatred in the gaze of a newborn child. But that surely would have been impossible and he decided that it must have been only his imagination. Yet, for months thereafter, he dreamed of those loathsome, hate-filled infant eyes.
Even as a child, Jason was unusual. No one ever saw him smile. He never gurgled with delight at the brightly colored mobile that was hung above his crib or at the toys that he was given. He never screamed when he needed to be changed and he displayed no reaction whatsoever when his first teeth came in. He acted as though he didn’t feel the pain.
He never woke his mother in the middle of the night with crying. Sometimes, feeling the anxiety that every mother of a newborn child feels, Pamela Vorhees would awaken at night and tiptoe to the baby’s room just to reassure herself that there was nothing wrong. She would look down into the crib and see her infant Jason laying on his bed, his eyes wide open, staring at her. He never made a sound.
For a while, she was afraid that there might be something wrong with him, and that perhaps he was autistic, one of those tragic children who were withdrawn into their own secret, silent world. But Jason was not withdrawn. He noticed everything. His reactions were unusually quick and sharp. He was incredibly alert and his senses were remarkably acute. He grew strong quickly, and he never became ill.
He had no playmates because the other children avoided him. They seemed to be afraid of him. They ran away from him and complained about his “creepy eyes.” In truth, there was nothing at all unusual about his eyes, except for the fact that, like a cobra, he never seemed to blink. The neighbors could never really explain why, when they were walking back from the train station after riding home from work, they always crossed to the opposite side of the street whenever Jason was outside playing. It was as if some involuntary reaction had taken hold of them, some primal instinct warning them away.
As commuters who worked in the city, they understood the subtle instincts that were at work. In a city full of predators, you learned to trust your feelings. And they had some very strong feelings about the little Vorhees boy. He made their skin crawl. It wasn’t something they openly admitted to themselves, because it would have sounded silly and it made no sense, but irrationally, it was there. It felt profoundly disturbing to be near him.
He baffled all this teachers, although he affected a few of them much more strongly. Once of them abruptly quit her job and moved away from town. His third-grade teacher, a shy young woman, offered her body to the principal if he would only move the boy out of her class. And a school psychologist who had tried to reach him wound up being “reached” himself and had a breakdown. The poor man was put into a straightjacket and taken to an institution.
It seemed that something strange happened to everyone who came near Jason Vorhees. All except his mother. A mother lovers her child. She was always hovering near him protectively, always ready to defend him. She had wanted her son to experience the pleasures of a summer in the woods and so she had taken the job as cook at Camp Crystal Lake just so she could stay near him. Only as it turned out, she wasn’t able to stay near enough.
She was beside herself with worry the night he disappeared, and when his clothes were found by the lake, Pamela Vorhees went berserk. It had been necessary to restrain her and take her to the county hospital, where she was sedated. Although they never found the body of the boy, the official verdict was that it was death by drowning. Pamela Vorhees never recovered from the shock.
Jason’s memories of what happened on the night he drowned were very dim. He remembered being frightened as his legs cramped up and he started to slip beneath the surface of the lake. He had a vague memory of struggling to stay afloat, of water rushing down his throat and filling up his lungs; he could recall the terrifying sensation of sinking down into the murky lake, the fading light, the roaring in his ears... and then nothing.
At some point, consciousness returned, but he had no way of telling how much time had passed. He came to on the shore, covered from head to toe with slime, apparently having dragged himself out of the lake somehow. He coughed up water for a very long time. He remembered lying in the bushes and retching, vomiting up slimy worms and maggots as his body fought its way back to life.
It never occurred to him to wonder what it was that made him different from the others—why they shrank from him as rabbits shrank from snakes. He never asked himself why he was always healthy, why the slight injuries of childhood had always healed so quickly. He had never broken any bones, so no one ever had the opportunity to notice the supernatural way his body could repair itself. Pamela Vorhees never questioned it, just as she never questioned his peculiar silence. A mother lovers her child. She was simply grateful for having been blessed with a healthy little boy. Like father, like son.
It did not occur to Jason Vorhees to winder just how long he had been underwater. He merely dragged himself deeper into the woods, some primitive urge driving him to find a hole somewhere that he could crawl into, a dark place where he could rest, and heal, and wait until he could think of what to do.
After a while, he returned back to the camp, his simple mind telling him that perhaps it was what he was supposed to do. Only there was no longer anybody there. The season had ended and the camp was closed. He broke into several of the cabins and found some cans of food and some old clothes for himself. In the process, he happened to catch sight of himself in a mirror and he recoiled in horror from the image that confronted him. He had been at the bottom of the lake for much longer than he’d realized. His flesh was trying to regenerated and heal itself, but decomposition had set in. The worms had eaten at his face.
He fled into the woods, terrified of his own reflection. After a while, he found a sack and cut some holes in it, then put it over his head and tied it down around his neck, so that he wouldn’t have to see the grotesque thing he had become if he saw his reflection in the lake.
He had no idea what to do or where to go. He wondered why his mother didn’t come for him. He was afraid to leave the vicinity of the camp, for that was where he’d seen her last and he didn’t want to miss her if she came looking for him. He didn’t want to get into trouble.
He lived like an animal, hiding in the woods, avoiding people, killing small creatures for food. He was vaguely aware of time passing, though his days became and endless succession of wondering in the woods and foraging. He was aware of feeling cold as winter came. He took shelter in the cabins at the camp and huddled before fires he built inside the hearths. He had learned to make fires in camp. Thought several times he did it wrong and let the flames get out of control, burning down a couple of the cabins before he got the hang of it.
On occasion, a policeman would drive by and see smoke curling from the chimney of a cabin that was supposed to be locked up for the winter. He would stop to investigate, but Jason always ran back into the woods whenever anybody came. He was waiting for his mother and he did not want to get into trouble. He knew she would be very angry.
And then, one day, his mother had returned.
Some people had come to open up the camp again and he had run off into the woods, hiding from them and watching as they rebuilt the place. Years had passed and he was no full grown, though still with the mid of a small child. But whatever vestige of sanity might have been driven out by the hardships he had suffered and by t he sight of his mother, mad with grief, embarking upon her bloody murder spree.
He had been afraid, because she had seemed so angry. He had hidden in the woods and watched on that fateful night when Pamela Vorhees had unleashed her vengeance on those whom she blamed for her son’s death. She had killed them all except one girl, and Jason had watched her struggle with the last survivor, Alice. He had seen that awful moment when the girl had picked up the machete his mother had dropped and swung it with a savage desperation.
He would never forget the sight of his mother’s decapitated body falling to the ground like a puppet with its strings cut, the stump of her neck spouting arcs of bright-red blood, her head falling to the ground like a ripe melon, rolling several feet and then stopping, the eyelashes still fluttering as it lay upon the ground.
When the girl had pushed off from the shore in the canoe, he had hesitantly crept out of hiding and approached his mother’s body. He had stared down at it uncomprehendingly, at the vivid red of her blood soaking into the ground, at the aw, torn flesh and the white bone where the machete had chopped completely through the neck like an ax through a small sapling.
He had knelt down and picked up his mother’s severed head, holding it tenderly so that the sightless, death-glazed eyes looked up at him. He had stared out into the darkness of the lake, looking in the direction where the girl who had done this to his mother had gone, and whatever fragile links his tortured mind still had with reality had snapped like the neck bones of the little forest creatures that he caught and killed for his survival.
The girl named Alice had escaped him once, and the fury of his frustration knew no sounds, but then she had come back and he knew that he had been given another chance to make things right. He had spotted her that day when she had returned to camp. She had stood at the lakeshore near the board dock, staring out over the water. She had returned to the place where her nightmare had happened, to see it once again, to confront it and to reassure herself that it was over now and that there was nothing left to fear.
When Jason had seen her standing there the lust to kill had welled up within him, burning like napalm in his mind. He had started for her, but before he could reach her, she had gotten back into her car and driven off. Fueled by a grim determination, he had followed her on the road back to the town of Crystal Lake , staying out of sight, waiting until night fell.
Each night thereafter, he had stalked the streets of Crystal Lake , always keeping to the shadows, looking for her car. He had always taken his mother with him, carrying her decaying head inside a sack so that she could be with him when he did it, so that she would know that he was doing the right thing. Then one night he had seen her car parked outside an old Victorian house that had been converted into several apartments. And he had seen the opened window.
He had killed her, punching the ice pick through her skull and driving it deep into her brain, and then he had taken her body with him back to the cabin in the woods, carrying it over his shoulder and slipping out of town like a grisly specter in the night. For a while, there had been a peace. The rage ad gone away and the hunger that had clawed at him like a ravenous animal left him alone. He had stayed with his mother in the woods and, for a while, he had been happy. They were together. He had done the right thing and he knew she would be pleased. Yet now they had returned once more, the same ones who had hurt him, the same ones who had hurt his mother, and he knew that there would be no more rest for him until he killed them all. He had to do it. It’s what his mother would have wanted.
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“Muffin!” Terry called, combing the brush along the trail. “Muffin! Here, girl!”
He stood perfectly still and watched the girl approach. He imagined what it would be like to kill her—the way he had killed Alice or the way he had killed Ralph. The way he would kill all of them, one at a time, drawing it out so that each death would, if only for a little while, quench the relentless flame that burned within him. “Muffin! Here, girl!”
It had begun with Alice. The sensation of holding her while he drove the ice pick through her skull, sensing her terror when she realized what was happening, feeling her life draining away...it had awakened something deep within him, some primordial predatory instinct that made him lust to kill again.
It was as if some voice within him urged him on, commanding him to kill. After Alice, there had been a brief respite from the frenzy that had made his head feel as if it were about to burst. It made his chest feel tight, and it was difficult to breathe. He had felt as if he were on fire. Burning up...“Here, girl! Here, Muffin!”
For a little while, after he had killed Alice and brought her home to Mother, it had gone away. And then it had returned once more, even stronger than before. Much stronger. After he killed, he felt relief again, but it didn’t last very long. This time, it came back not only stronger than before, it came back faster. He felt it now, the tightness in his chest, the shortness of breath, the fire in his mind...
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The slow tread of the heavy work boots made the porch steps creak ominously as he climbed them, but the sound of the whistling wind and the rolling thunder drowned out his approach . He reached for the doorknob and turned it slowly.
Lightning flashed as it opened soundlessly, casting his giant shadow on the door and letting a brief gust of wind come into the living room before the door swung shut behind him.
He looked around. The dying embers of a fire were glowing in the hearth. A few empty beer bottles and a bowl of popcorn were on the table along with several computer games . A girl’s embroidered denim jacket was laid out on the coffee table, the pieces still left in the same position as they’d been at the conclusion of the last game. A crude, Indian-style, wooden spear tipped with iron was leaning against the wall over by the stairs, a grotesque rubber monster mask hanging from it.
He crossed the room and reached out for the rubber mask, which he removed from the spear and dropped onto the floor. He picked up the spear and felt its heft. It felt strong. The point, hand chiseled from a stone and shaped like a large arrowhead, was firmly lashed to the wooden shaft. It would not break loose.
He closed his fingers around the long shaft of the spear, almost caressing it. The sound of muffled laughter, followed by a high-pitched squeal of delight, came from the second floor. He turned and with a grim purpose started slowly climbing up the stairs.
Halfway up, one of the steps creaked loudly and he paused, hesitating, listening intently, but the sounds of lovemaking continued uninterrupted and he resumed his climb, holding the spear before him.
The roaring in his ears sounded like a cataract, as if a huge wall of water were tumbling down from a great height and crashing down upon a pile of jagged rocks below. He could not block out the sound no matter what he did.
There was no escaping it. He could hammer his head against a tree until it bled; he could pound his fists against the ground until the skin broke and his knuckle bones protruded, as if he could batter the very earth into submission; he could run blindly through the forest, tripping over roots, crashing through the underbrush, his hands clamped over his ears in a futile effort to shut out the sound, all to no avail. No matter what he did, the roaring sound would threaten to engulf him and there was only one thing that could make it go away.
Over the horrific pounding in this ears, the tidal waves of noise that slammed away at him relentlessly, a disembodied voice seemed to float up from the depths of his subconscious, a voice that he remembered only very dimly. It was the voice that had spoken to him while he lay in a wooden crib. It was the only voice that had ever spoken to him kindly.
His mother’s voice.
“Kill them, Jason,” it commanded him. “Kill them! Kill them all!”
He knew them. He knew them all. He knew they were to blame for that had happened to his mother. He knew that the only way he could make the relentless pounding in his head diminish was to sacrifice their lives to the dark forces that threatened to consume him.
He moved closer to the door that stood ajar, the door to the bedroom where Jeff and Sandra were making love, oblivious to the horror that approached them.
She lay beneath him, her arms clasped tightly around his shoulders, feeling the strong muscles in his back as he drove himself deep inside her, pulling his hips back and driving them forward rhythmically, filling her with a warm, liquid heat that pulsed through her in waves.
Sandra felt his hot breath against her neck, she felt Jeff’s lips brushing against her throat, the tip of his tongue flicking at her earlobe, and her unfocused stare took in a diffused image of the curly blond locks of his hair that brushed against her face as she hugged him close, making him a part of her.
She felt the tremors start from way down in the tips of her toes, building in waves to a feeling that engulfed her, sending her entire body into paroxysms of ecstasy as she felt the heat of passion washing over her.
She hugged Jeff to her with all her might, trying to force him into her more deeply, and then the shadow crossed her face and her gaze focused on the figure standing over them, the horrifying, hooded apparition that held the spear aloft, the burning, hate-filled eyes that board directly into hers...
She opened her mouth to scream and then the spear plunged down, plowing through Jeff’s back so hard that she felt the brutal impact as the spear penetrated clean through him, then into her own flesh. She heard the hiss of air rushing from Jeff’s lungs; she saw the shocked, disbelieving expression on his face; she felt the spray of blood that came out of his mouth and struck her cheek.
She felt the searing heat of the spear’s iron point tearing through her flesh, plunging through her body, and emerging out the other side. It was driven through them both with such incredible force that it continued on through the mattress of the bed and became embedded in the floor.
Sandra did not die right away. She writhed in unendurable agony, transfixed by the spear which united her with Jeff forever in a passionate embrace of death. Blood bubbled up from her lungs and frothed upon her lips. She tried to scream, but found herself choking on her own life fluids. She saw Jeff’s sightless eyes, like frozen marbles, gazing down at her in a glazed stare, and the last image that registered on her conscious mind was the terrifying sight of Jason Vorhees standing over them, clenching and unclenching his fists, staring down at them with utter loathing.
She wriggled like a fish impaled on a hook, feeling her life ebbing with every blood-frothed breath she took. She wanted to scream out loud in protest that this could no possibly be happening to her, that she was too young to die, that she had a right to live. But death cared about neither age nor rights, and in a moment it was all over for her as darkness closed upon her and she moved no more.
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The bar was a lot louder, a lot smokier, and a lot more crowded as the hour grew late and the people who had already seen the one movie playing in the town drifted in to take advantage of the only other entertainment Crystal Lake had to offer. The band was cranking up, feeding off the energy of the crowd, and the lead singer had gotten drunk enough to lay into some Bob Seeger with at least a slight degree of authenticity.
Ted’s collection of empty beer bottles had grown to about a dozen, and even with his dragster like metabolism, he was starting to feel seriously buzzed. He had eaten some pizza earlier to cut the booze, but every drink order was just another excuse to talk to the lovely M aggie, with her jet-black hair, hazel eyes, beautiful long legs, and the blouse that seemed somehow to have come a little more unbuttoned since the last time he looked at it, which had not been very long ago at all. He wondered if he could possibly be imagining it.
He’d been flirting with the girl all evening, trying to get up enough nerve to make a move and hoping that he wasn’t sounding like a nerd, when all the time she’d been flirting right back and he’d been so preoccupied with trying not to look bad that he’d hardly even noticed.
M aggie was starting to get a bit concerned that he’d never get his act together. She figured that after a few drinks, he’d overcome his shyness and stop with the silly jokes, but he just kept putting them away and acting like an awkward little boy, not being obnoxious, just silly. Everything she’d done to try to let him know that she was interested had gone right past him.
She felt exasperated. She was getting tired of winking at him—she had already unbuttoned the top three buttons on her blouse. If she got any more obvious than that, she’d fall right out. She wished to hell he’d stop playing around and come right out and ask her if she was doing anything after she got off work, which would be in about another half an hour.
She could tell that he was nervous, but for God’s sake, how thick could a guy be? She’d been sending him signals all night long and he still hadn’t picked any of them up, or if he had, he was too uptight to act on them. Still, it was kind of sweet to see a guy who was so obviously not slick. She was really tired of guys who tried to come on cool and macho. Just about every guy in town had tried to put the make on her and here was this cute boy, sort of sitting there and goofing around with her, almost as if he were shuffling his feet in the dirt and saying, “Oh, gosh, shucks... ” She could hardly believe he was for real. She wanted to wrap him up and take him home and eat him.
Paul tipped back his beer bottle and chugged what was left of the brew. He set the bottle down and sighed. “I’ve got to get some sleep,” he said, knowing that he’d reached his limit.
Ginny gave him a knowing look. “I’m tired,” she said with an exaggerated yawn.
“Quittin’ already?” Ted asked, dreading the moment of truth now that it had arrived. He glanced at M aggie, wiping down the bar just a couple of feet away. She smiled at him. There was no more putting it off. Somehow he had to get his courage up and ask her. It had to be now or never.
“Ted,” said Paul, astonished at his capacity, “you’d have met out till breakfast if I let you. ”
Ginny stretched, allowing her hand to gently graze Paul’s thigh as it came down. “I’ll ride back with you, okay?” she said, hoping that Ted would get the message. Come on, boy, she thought, the girl obviously likes you and we’re getting the hell out of your way . Get on with it!
Paul gave her a look as he felt her fingers trail over his thigh, perilously close to his groin. He started to father up his money, except for the tip he was leaving on the bar. M aggie come over to take away their bottles and wish them a good night.
“When the place closes, you come back to camp, got it?” said Paul with a big wink at Ted.
Paul glanced pointedly at M aggie, then he reached into the pocket of Ted’s jacket and removed the keys to Jeff’s truck. As Ted watched, dumbfounded, he handed the keys to M aggie. “And let M aggie drive the pickup,” he said, winking at her and handing her the keys. Then he turned and walked away with Ginny on his arm.
Ted stared after him, openmouthed, then he glanced at M aggie as she smiled and twirled the truck keys. Ted smiled, awkwardly.
“Excuse me,” he said to her, “are there any after-hours places around here?”
“Sure,” she said, smiling and holding his gaze as she put the keys away inside her pocket. “ My place. ”
* * *
Ginny gave Paul a nudge as they walked out the front door of the bar. “You’re so bad,” she said.
“No, I’m not, Ted is,” Paul said. “I was beginning to think that M aggie would have to rip her blouse open and hold up a sign before he got the message. ”
Ginny giggled. “You think he’ll be coming back tonight?” she asked.
“I don’t think so,” said Paul, grinning. “ M aggie has the keys. ” He glanced up at the sky. The rain was starting to come down pretty hard. “Okay,” he said, turning the collar of his jacket up, “let’s make a run for it. ”
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She regained consciousness tired down to a stretcher gurney as two attendants wheeled her toward an ambulance. It was daylight. She looked around, astonished to discover that she was still alive.
There were flashing lights all around her and she could hear the crackle of a police radio. And then she remembered with shocking clarity what had happened before she had passed out, and she cried out, “Paul! Where’s Paul?”
No one answered her. She struggled against the restraining straps as they loaded her into the ambulance without saying a word. She kept crying out for Paul as they shut the doors behind her and the ambulance pulled away, heading off down the dirt road back toward town and the county hospital.
The sheriff stood by his police cruiser parked outside the cabin, his hands thrust into the pockets of his black leather jacket and his had pulled low over his eyes as he watched the ambulance drive off. They had found the others, but so far, they had not found Holt. There was no sign of him except some blood upon the floor in there.
He signed heavily. Now the shit would really hit the fan, he thought. He’d have to call the poor parents of those murdered kids; the press would descend upon the town like vultures and they’d resurrect the story of Camp Blood.
Everyone would want to know how the manic had been able to live out there on the grounds of the old camp without anyone spotting him and why he hadn’t been arrested. It would all have to fall on someone, and as sheriff, he would be elected. Everyone would wind up screaming for his hide.
He walked around to the back of the cabin and looked down at the large footprints in the mud. Bastard, he thought. He looked up and gazed off into the woods, thinking that you could put together the biggest dragnet in three counties and comb these woods for months and never find him.
He exhaled heavily. Damn, he though, another week and I’d have been packed and heading for Wyoming. Now he could kiss the Wyoming job good-bye. It looked like he was stuck in Crystal Lake. HE shook his head with resignation. Well, at least it was a friendly little town.
Too bad there was no way out.
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