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Narcotic Ritual
I'm stuffing my current Nightmare on Elm Street fic here as I work on it, so expect the occasional deletion and reposting of entries to maintain their order (keeping the prologue as the first entry and so on).
The fic you've just seen the first two chapters of is called "Narcotic Ritual," and it's something I've been working on intermittently for a couple of months now. It's my own take on one of the ideas discarded from an earlier draft of the Freddy vs. Jason script - a cult known as the "Fredheads" who worship Freddy Krueger and are dedicated to bringing him into the real world with his powers intact. I'm still plotting out the connective tissue of the middle, though there are a few delightfully trippy scenes I've already got planned out. It's also kind of a jaded post-adolescent retrospective on the Nightmare on Elm Street mythos and its philosophical implications in general, so it breaks a bit from the tone of the canon.

The main, Rene, has been through a vast amount of ********, and he's going to get still more of it as the fic progresses (because ******** is fun, goddamn it). Just in case anyone recognizes him, Rene is the character I won Hemp Fandango's character profile contest with. Might as well reproduce the winning entry while I'm still rambling about the fic...

Name: Rene Whitaker

Fandom: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Age: 22 (c.1990, when the fic is set)

Gender: Male

Ethnicity: Caucasian

Image Theme: The Boy in the Well (R.E.M.)

Appearance: Rene stands just under six feet tall, though his usual slouch makes him closer to five foot six; his build is thin and compactly muscled. His hair was dyed moss green long enough ago that a quarter-inch of its natural medium brown is clearly visible at the roots, and his eyes are an unusually red-tinted brown. (The eye color, as well as his name, is a nod to the original-fic-verse character he's based on.) He has a tendency to forget to shave for two or three days at a stretch; on a good day, he might be considered almost handsome if it weren't for the habitual predatory, haughty set to his expression.

History: Rene was born in Springwood, Ohio, in 1968 - two years before the "Springwood Slasher," child-killer Freddy Krueger's reign of terror was brought to an end at the Molotov-flinging hands of the town's parents. Rene's early childhood was fairly normal, though he was continually fascinated with big cities, and longed to travel the world outside of Springwood almost from the time he was able to grasp that there was a world beyond Springwood. From a young age, he was also possessed of unusual varieties of common sense and pragmatism - while he enjoyed playing with fireworks and occasionally introducing them to the plumbing, he always took care to prevent the consequences from finding their way back to him.

In 1980, Krueger returned to his old hunting grounds - this time, as a malevolent poltergeist invading the dreams of Springwood's children and making their nightmares entirely too real. He succeeded in making a handful of kills within a few days of his first appearance, though his comparative inexperience within his new territory led to his defeat at the hands of one Nancy Thompson. Freddy staged a temporary retreat, looking for a way to consolidate his power over Springwood. As a stopgap to prevent any further defeats from slowing him down too far, he decided to lay claim to one of the children - one he wouldn't kill, but instead manipulate into doing his bidding.

He chose Rene, for a number of reasons - younger children were easier to brainwash, and Rene demonstrated mild psychic powers while in the dream state. It was also a twisted expression of gratitude: Rene's grandfather, Judge Whitaker, was the one who had mis-signed Krueger's arrest warrant.

Rene proved almost too willing to aid Krueger - however, the fact that he didn't consider himself capable of much rather slowed things down. The most he accomplished during his youth was spreading Krueger's name and bits of his mythos around Springwood's middle and high schools, opening a path for Krueger to claim a few more victims. Along the way, however, his plans to assist Krueger became something more grandiose: he would find a way to bring Freddy onto the physical plane with all his powers intact.

Rene was meticulous as usual in determining his course of action - at least, up to the point when he realized he didn't know enough even to determine where to begin. He pinned his hopes on a better understanding of human psychology and physiology; in 1986, he was accepted to UCLA as a double-major in psych and pre-med. Before he left, he told one person - his cousin, Kelly - all that had happened between him and Freddy; she vowed to carry on in his stead while he was away from Springwood.

Determined to graduate as early as possible, Rene crammed an impractical number of units into every quarter, only taking courses unrelated to his major when they filled a gen ed requirement. He largely ignored his fellow undergrads, making friends with his professors and a few of the grad students instead, so that he could use them to build his contacts in the field. He also made a point of attending as many of the medical and psychological conferences held at UCLA as possible - he was surprised to realize that he actually understood most of what was presented, even though he lacked the background to evaluate it - building up his professional contacts there as well.

His efforts paid off: shortly after he graduated in the fall of 1989, he was able to stringpull and name-drop his way into an internship at the Tranquil Grove asylum in Nebraska, where a new, incredibly powerful dream-promoting drug called Somnambulene (and a complementary sedative, Tetrocaine, as Somnambulene tended to react poorly with ordinary sedatives) was being tested. Early on, Rene discovered that, when taken by itself, Somnambulene could produce a hallucinatory state with similar brain patterns to REM sleep in a waking subject; and, when paired with the Tetrocaine, it could induce a collective dream state. He managed to talk his way into control of the shipping orders and records for the Somnambulene and Tetrocaine. He immediately began ordering extra, altering the records to conceal the overage before diverting it towards Springwood. At the same time, he was able to persuade Kelly into founding a cult to worship Freddy. It came to be known as the Fredheads. Despite Kelly's best efforts to keep Freddy's newfound followers in line, their lack of common sense led to the incarceration of half a dozen of them when Springwood's Westin Hills psychiatric institute reopened in early 1990.

Rene managed to transfer an impressive quantity of Somnambulene over the course of the ten months he worked at Tranquil Grove, though it was only during the last few weeks of his internship that he really determined what he'd use it for. If he could put the entirety of Springwood's population into a half-dreaming hallucinatory state, he reasoned, perhaps he could strain the barrier between reality and Freddy's domain enough to allow Krueger to destroy it entirely. Rene devised a crude means of mass-delivering the drug, deciding to test it out in the asylum to make sure it actually worked.

At eight o'clock on the morning of June 18th, the experiment began. Rene had emptied out Tranquil Grove's supply of Somnambulene shortly after morning rounds, managing to slip away on pretense of a caffeine-withdrawal-induced migraine for long enough to grind up most of it. He dumped it into the water supply as the inmates were taking their morning shower, waiting for the drug's effects to manifest in the inmates before dosing himself. As soon as the hallucinations began, he summoned Freddy.

The dreamstalker's appearance touched off a panic, even though he wasn't able to actually harm any of those under the drug's effects, or fully manipulate the collective dreamlike hallucination. The inmates rioted, killing off most of the staff members before starting on each other and themselves. Rene found an out-of-the way corner in which to smoke the last of his stash of marijuana as he watched the asylum tear itself apart. By the time the Somnambulene wore off, four and a half hours later, Rene was the only one left alive on the premises.

It wasn't until he returned to his apartment shortly thereafter that the magnitude of what he had done finally made impact. Rene managed to prevent himself from panicking more than briefly, refusing to allow himself to focus on anything more than a few seconds in the past or future until he'd changed out of and burned his bloodstained clothes, packed his car, and gotten on the road. Half an hour of driving and mindless panic later, he had decided there was really nothing else he could do at that point but return to Springwood.

Rene made it to Bloomington, Illinois before finally stopping for the night. On the second day of his trip, the transmission went out in his car, just outside of Indianapolis. Repairing it would've cost more than the car was actually worth, so he left it and caught a bus to Richmond, Indiana. From there, he started hitchhiking.

Personality: Rene's most noteworthy traits are his pragmatism and drive to succeed. He is capable of nearly inhuman levels of singleminded dedication to his goals, yet he is often unusually distant from his own family and tends to take those closest to him for granted. The only one he truly seems to value is Freddy.
Rene is oddly charismatic, so long as one doesn't know him too well. He keeps his act together surprisingly well for one who has dealt with Freddy's continued presence for so long, and forced himself to endure so much in the meantime. However, he relies too much on his own ability to enforce discipline - over both himself and others - and one has to wonder just how close to the breaking point he's pushed himself, especially in light of what happened at Tranquil Grove.

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