Actions

Work Header

The Only Thing to Fear

Chapter Text

Ruth ran out from behind her white, two-storey American ranch house and raced across its fenceless front yard. She was laughing hysterically as she ran.

“Come and get me you bastard!” She hollered.

Just as she said that, a spine-chilling roar rose up from behind the house.

“Just you wait until I get my talons into you, BITCH!” An angry voice shouted back.

“You got to catch me first you pussy!” Ruth replied.

Out from behind the house came her pursuer, a horrendously scarred man with a vicious, demonic scowl. He was dressed in a red and green striped sweater, covered with a dark grey trench coat, shiny black full length pants with matching shin-high combat boots and a felt green fedora hat. His right hand was a horrible tangle of tendons and musculature that was armed with five razor sharp steel blades.

The terrifying man watched the woman as she fled further down the street, his venomous green eyes virtually glaring holes into her back. The woman momentarily spun back round to see the scarred man staring her down in her front yard.

“What’s the matter Freddy?!” she hollered. “Am I too fast for ya?”

Then, with a childish giggle, she took off and disappeared around the corner.

New Nightmare Freddy Krueger just stood there, dripping from head to toe in a stench of fish guts and brine. He curled his upper lip into an even more menacing scowl.

“I’ll be waiting here for you, Bitch!” he spat.

Chapter Text

It was a fine and sunny Sunday afternoon in late August. Ruth was lazing about the house, contemplating whether to chuck a sickie the next day. Of all the things Ruth hated, it was Mondays she loathed the most. It was that and having to work with idiot people in the begrudging factory job she had to do in order to ‘fit in’ with society. Being different from everyone else wasn’t easy, especially when you were known in other dimensions as the infamous “Raptor Queen”.

Ruth let out a mournful sigh for she knew another weekend was drawing to a close. While she flicked through the classifieds in the local paper, her attention was suddenly broken by the sound of a heavy motorcycle engine pulling up in the driveway.

“That’ll be Scar,” she muttered under her breath.

Five minutes later, Scar Velociraptor waltzed through the door dressed in his thick leather motorcycle jacket and with his helmet tucked firmly under his arm. He cracked a toothy smile when he saw Ruth slouched at the table.

“Hi, honey I’m home!” he chortled playfully.

Ruth smiled back in response. Scar always had a knack of cheering her up, no matter what was bothering her. Scar strode gracefully over to Ruth’s side and gawked over her shoulder at the newspaper she was reading.

“So you found another job yet?” teased Scar. He got a poke in the ribs for a reply.

“I wish,” moaned Ruth, who returned to slumping over the table in defeat.

“So what’s eating you now?” Scar sat down on the chair beside Ruth and waited for her to start whinging.

Ruth looked up from the table to stare at Scar.

“I’m just so over this job right now! I’m getting overworked, underpaid and to top it off, I’m stuck with moronic people for eight hours a day!”
Ruth wrinkled her nose and buried her head into her arms, letting out an exasperated whine. Scar extended a scaly arm around Ruth’s shoulder in comfort.

“Don’t worry,” Scar laughed. “Your skill level surpasses everyone there, even your Supervisors. I’m sure it’ll be easy for you to find another job somewhere else.”

Ruth looked up from the table again.

“I think I might have to wait 'til the New Year,” she sighed.

Night had fallen and Ruth had decided to stuff making dinner and order pizza instead. By now, more of Ruth’s friends had returned home from their days’ adventures and were busying themselves on getting comfortable in front of the television. After she had finished ordering dinner, Ruth went and joined her friends on the lounge suite. She squeezed herself between Scar and Diego Velociraptor, and tried to get comfortable. Off to Ruth’s left side sat Serrangah Dromaeosaurus and Mark Hollander. Off to her right side seated in the singular lounge was Ace Lightning and sprawled out on the rug in front of her was Sparx.

After Ruth managed to pull out a cushion from Scar’s grip for herself, she turned to speak to the young Velociraptor.

“So how was your scouting trip today Scar?” She queried.

Scar returned the question with a half shrug and a huff. “There is still no sign of Rick or Lord Fear. My best bet is they’ve both skipped town.”

“They won’t stay hidden for long,” added Ace, the leader of the Lightning Knights. “Soon they will have a new plan for attack and if I know Fear, he won’t want to keep his maniacal ego waiting.”

Sparx rolled over onto her side to join in the conversation. “Yeah, and when he and Rick do show their faces, we’ll be ready to kick both their butts back into White Hot Oblivion!” Ace shot her a disapproving look.

“You do realize there’s more to life than just kicking peoples butts Sparx,” Mark said from across the lounge suite. Sparx rolled over again to reply. “Well at least I’m good at kicking peoples’ butts,” she mused.

“OK, enough of the ego bashing,” quipped Ruth. “Where not here to out-do each other. Our main objective is to find Rick and get him to reveal how he managed to bridge the dimensions before he raises all hell and we have to save his scrawny neck again.”

Ruth then smirked as she remembered Rick’s last attempt on world domination, which backfired spectacularly on him.

Serrangah, who had been sitting quietly, raised his snout towards Ruth.

“I think we should concentrate our efforts on finding Rick first. If we find Rick, then we’ll find Fear and the rest will fall into place.” Everyone in the room looked at each other for agreement.

“I think that’s fair enough,” replied Ace, shifting in his seat to gaze at Ruth.

“Well it’s a start,” sighed Ruth. “We’ll kick-off our search for Rick this week then.”

Just as Ruth finished speaking, the doorbell rang, startling everyone into silence. “Dinner must be here!” smiled Ruth, leaping up from her seat to answer the door.

Ruth then suddenly realized she had found an excuse not to turn up to work the next day.

“Any way to get out of Mondays” she thought to herself.

Chapter Text

Ruth rose early the next morning, eagerly anticipating the day ahead, which was unusually out of place for her first thing on a Monday. After making herself a cup of tea, Ruth stood at the kitchen bench, dipping her teabag in deep thought, trying to construct a legitimate sickie-excuse to tell her Manager at work. She was so preoccupied with her thoughts that she didn’t even notice Scar stroll into the kitchen.

“Morning sunshine!” chortled Scar.

Ruth jumped in surprise and whirled around to face Scar, her face furrowed in slight annoyance.

“You know you shouldn’t make me jump first thing in the morning,” sniggered Ruth.

“Oops, sorry Ruth,” apologised Scar. “So anyway, what’s the plan?” he queried, backing off toward the toaster.

There was a short moment of silence before Ruth answered.

“I think it’s best for us to separate into small search parties,” Ruth paused, her back still to Scar. “That way we’ll cover a lot more ground.” Ruth finally turned around to face Scar, who was now munching down a slice of cheese-and-jam on toast.

“OK, well if that’s the case, who is going with whom?” Scar asked through his mouthful of food.

“Well, Ace and Sparx can search the carnival, you and Diego can comb the backstreets of Conestoga, Serrangah and Mark can look in the local parks, and I can explore Camp Wolfground.” Ruth sipped her tea in contemplation of her plan, waiting for Scar’s reply.

When Scar had finished stuffing his snout, he immediately aired his complaints.

“But we’ve already searched those areas thoroughly several times, so why are we going to waste time searching those areas again?” Scar walked over alongside Ruth to pour himself a boiling cup of coffee.

“Yes, but we haven’t searched those areas at the same time,” Ruth explained. “Rick and Lord Fear are terrified of what will happen if they get caught, so they’re probably moving between hiding spots quite often.”

Scar raised a clawed finger in realisation.

“Ah, I get it!” “So it will be like a strike force hitting several places at the same time to flush out the assailant when they least expect it.”

Ruth smiled deviously. “Exactly,” she replied.

“Well let’s hope that we find them this time,” interrupted a scruffy-haired Ace, who was followed shortly after by a grumpy Sparx.

Ruth smiled cheekily at the pair who had joined the morning kitchen pilgrimage. “Well the sooner you’re ready the sooner we can go.”

She then opened the bottom kitchen draw, pulled out one of Scar’s air-horns and marched up the stairs.

BAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRPPP!

“Get up!” Ruth called down the hall. “We’ve got work to do!” Her wake-up call was greeted with a symphony of groans.

Scar, Ace and Sparx just stood in the kitchen, shaking their heads and giggling to themselves.

When everyone had finally made it down to the kitchen and finished filling themselves with life-sustaining caffeine, Ruth gathered everyone who was involved into the barn. Ace and Sparx preoccupied themselves on getting their weapons ready, while Scar fiddled around with his motorcycle. Mark, Diego and Serrangah stood back, observing the kafuffle, and chatted about different capturing techniques that they might have to use. After much bickering and tweaking, Ruth called for everyone’s attention.

“Right, this is it, I hope,” Ruth swung her arms wide in acknowledgement to her fellow band members.

“This time we will divide our efforts into small search parties and we’ll hit all the likely hot-spots simultaneously, that way if we find Rick or Lord Fear, they won’t have a chance to escape again.” Everyone present nodded silently in reply.

Ruth gazed around and then continued.

“Ace and Sparx, you two will search the Carnival. I don’t care if you have to turn that place inside-out, just do your best to cover every nook and cranny.”

“No problem Ruth,” replied Sparx, flicking her auburn-coloured hair out of her eyes. “We’re experts in finding the things we’re after!” She elbowed Ace in the arm, startling him slightly.

Ruth then turned towards the Raptors. “Scar, Diego, you will scour the backstreets and trails. Cover as much ground as you can and keep your eyes open.” She emphasised.

“Sure thing Ruth,” Scar said as he straddled his motorcycle in readiness to leave.

“Mark and Serrangah,” Ruth took a few steps towards the pair. “I want you to look around the local parks and any other possible places around Conestoga itself. I want to make sure we have all the bases covered this time.”

Mark and Serrangah hopped onto their bicycles and prepared themselves for action.

“Where are you going to search?” questioned Mark as he buckled his helmet on.

Ruth turned to face him. “I will search Camp Wolfground,” she replied flatly. “Oh and Mark, I will have to borrow your piece of the Amulet.”

Mark momentarily looked up from his bike, and then fumbled around his neck. He revealed a necklace with the centre piece of the Amulet of Zoar, the most mystical artefact in the known dimensions. He reluctantly handed it to Ruth, who pulled out her piece of the Amulet and held them both up to her face.

“I’m going to need these to transform myself,” she stated out loud to herself.

Everyone in the barn instinctively retreated to a safe distance as Ruth carefully lined up the Soul piece and Form piece of the Amulet. Suddenly, a brilliant lightning blue energy swam across the Amulet as the pieces met, and continued to travel down Ruth’s arms, covering her whole body. The entire barn filled with stunning light as Ruth started to physically transform.

She grew several metres taller, sprouted a long muscular tail from her spine and her digits now bore curved talons. The intense blue hue circulated around Ruth’s shoulders, forming the skeletal structures of powerful dragon-like wings. The blue light then flowed over Ruth’s entire body in an intense etheric, and then disappeared into the centre crystal of the Soul piece, completing the transformation.

Ruth stood before her dazzled friends in her "Raptor Queen" form, complete with wings and all. Her luminous green eyes sparkled in excitement for the impending hunt ahead.

Chapter Text

Ruth the Raptor gazed down at her friends and beamed a huge smile.

“Let the hunt begin!”

Everyone in the room leapt into a frenzy of action. Sparx gave a whistle to her jet bike, Lightning Flash, and with athletic precision, jumped onto it as it swooped down over the gathering. Then Sparx and Ace, who was now air-born himself under his own powers, rocketed out of the barn at the speed of light. Mark and Serrangah pedalled out of the barn and down the driveway, kicking up dirt as they headed for town. Scar threw his helmet on as Diego balanced himself on the seat behind him. Scar then kicked his motorcycle into gear, letting out a thunderous roar from the engine, and they too sped down the driveway. Ruth strode casually out of the shed and watched her crew disappear into the distance.

Then with a quick glance to the clear blue sky she whispered, “Here we go again…”

Ruth spread her vast wings and took off straight up into the heavens, not knowing whether or not her crew were going to be victorious in their search. Ruth glanced over her shoulder to see her friends now resembling tiny insects scampering towards their destinations. With her wings beating strong and her head held high, she banked northward towards camp Wolfground.

Mid-morning came quickly as well as the unforgiving summer heat. Mark and Serrangah had completed most of their search, so they decided to stop at the local gas station to grab a bite to eat and to rest. Other fellow customers stared at the odd pair with suspicion as they picked out what they wanted. Townsfolk still hadn’t gotten used to the idea of having to share their neighbourhood with a pack of Dinosaurs.

“So where do you want to look next buddy?” asked Mark with a mouthful of chicken sandwich.

Serrangah squinted at Mark’s face through the glare.

“Well, the school and the old factory are the only places left to look,” he explained as he un-wrapped his ham sandwich.

Mark pondered this for a second.

“The school is closed for the summer holidays, so we would know if someone was in there, because all the alarms would be going off for sure,” he though out loud.

“If that’s the case…” Serrangah paused to take a bite out of his sandwich. “Then all we really have left is the abandoned factory.”

Serrangah watched Mark think this over. Mark then rose to his feet with his bicycle in hand, and slapped his helmet back on.

“Ready when you are,” smiled Mark.

Serrangah stuffed the rest of his sandwich into his gob, then picked up his own bicycle and hopped back on it.

“To the old factory it is!” He exclaimed valiantly.

The pair rode off towards the edge of town, hoping they might find something, or someone there.

The old factory stood silent and still, like an ancient guardian of Conestoga looming over the town, waiting for a long forgotten past to wake it from its slumber. Mark and Serrangah pulled up the dirt driveway and cautiously approached the dilapidated building, looking for any signs of life. The sweltering heat was nearly unbearable as the pair parked their bikes and peaked inside the door.

“Geez, this place gives me the creeps!” said Serrangah. The hackles on the back of his neck were raised as he warily sniffed the air.

“Yeah, me too,” agreed Mark as he grabbed a torch from his backpack. “This once used to be the power station when the town was first established. Then it was converted to a factory some 30-odd years ago, until the owners went bust and just left it to rot.”

Mark switched the torch on, illuminating the decaying insides of the building, as thousands of dirty cobwebs became visible in the artificial light.

Serrangah jumped suddenly when the torchlight caught sight of a rat darting through the darkness. He briefly glanced over at Mark, giving him a look of unease. Mark took a step inside the door, and then turned to face his friend, who was still wearing a face of uncertainty. “Or so what the people around here have told me,” he added with a half-smile. Serrangah just rolled his eyes and followed Mark’s torchlight into the ruins.

It was like a maze inside, with endless corridors, catwalks and machinery. The air was stale with mould and dust and the heat outside had turned the whole building into an over-sized pressure cooker. Mark wiped his forehead onto the sleeve of his tank shirt as the pair journeyed further into the labyrinth. He could hear Serrangah panting behind him as he was clearly distressed from the suffocating atmosphere.

They stopped midway in their tracks as Mark shone the light down a corridor that was filled with rusted boilers and pipe networks.

“Well, looks like a dead-end,” Mark huffed as he threw his backpack onto the ground and dug out two water bottles.

“Alright, let’s get out of here,” heaved Serrangah, swigging down mouthfuls of water. “I can’t smell anything through this haze anyway.” The Dromaeosaurus let out a sharp sneeze to try and clear his itching nostrils.

Mark sighed in defeat as he too quenched his relenting thirst. “Yeah, maybe you’re right, let’s…” SCCRRREEEEEEECCCHH!!

The sound of metal scraping against metal shattered the eerie stillness. Mark and Serrangah stood dead still, their eyes darting about wildly to locate the origin of the sound. They peered into the darkness down the corridor as Mark flashed his torch from boiler to boiler. The thumping of their own heartbeats was all that resonated in their eardrums. Mark backed away quickly and grabbed Serrangah, who raised his hackles once more and hissed defensively into the darkness.

SSSHHHRIIIPP!!

The next few seconds past in a blur in front of their eyes. The flash of red and green, the tips of steel blades slicing through feathers that were flung into the pitch black and the resulting screams from the terrified pair as they turned tail and ran for their lives. All that could be heard was the haunting laugh that echoed throughout every inch of the building as Mark and Serrangah sped away on their bikes as fast as they could move.

Chapter Text

“C’mon Ace, let’s go already!” Sparx whined irritably.

Ace Lightning and Sparx were having no luck at the Carnival across the other side of Conestoga. The Kent Bros Carnival now resembled a ghost town since the owner, Duff Kent packed up shop and left on a suspected "holiday" to relieve his stress from the whole ordeal of hosting a bunch of villainous scum, but he hadn’t been seen since.

As for Lord Fear and his crew of vile minions, they too had not resurfaced. All seemed peaceful and quiet, a rare thing at the Carnival. Ace and Sparx had scoured every single tiny space. They had checked every nook and cranny, and then turned them over and checked them again. There simply was no sign of anyone.

“Be patient Sparx,” Ace retorted, who too was also getting weary of the situation. “Let’s just check the Haunted House one more time, and then we’ll go, alright?”

Ace tilted his head at Sparx, who responded with an aggravated groan. She had lost count of how many times her and Ace had looked through that old excuse of a sideshow, only to turn up the usual nothing. She was quickly becoming bored from the serious lack of butt-kicking.

The two Lightning Knights followed the railway circuit inside, and strode through the internal door to the centre court where Lord Fear used to love to sit and play his ‘Symphony of Evil’ on the old organ. Now the seat lay bare and covered in dust and the organ was strung with whispery cobwebs. They were the only reminders of all those memories now lost and forgotten.

Ace was the first to step forward, walking quietly across the black and white tiled floor. Sparx followed suit and decided to ogle at the silly hangmen skeletons strung up in the false windows. Just as Ace was about to turn to Sparx and call it a day, the tile floor creaked under his boots. Both of them snapped to attention upon hearing the odd noise. Ace rocked back and forth on the spot, summoning more creaks from the floor.

“That’s odd…” He commented. “That sounds... hollow.” Ace looked excitedly over to Sparx. “Here, hand me your sword,” urged Ace.

Sparx ran over to Ace, and handed him her pronged sword. Ace positioned the sword tip on a spilt in the tile edge and levered upwards.

The pair smiled wildly when the section of tile floor opened up like a trap door, revealing a narrow staircase leading down into the dimly lit bowels of what seemed like a cellar room. Sparx immediately grabbed her sword off of Ace and rushed down the stairs.

“Last one down is a rotten egg!” she called mockingly.

“Hey wait!” replied Ace who flew down the stairs to catch his partner. “You don’t know what’s going to be down….OOPPHH!”

Ace crashed straight into Sparx' back, knocking them both to the ground. Just then, a maniacal laugh rose out of the darkness, catching both of the Knight’s attention. But the laugh didn’t sound at all like Lord Fear's. It sounded a lot more evil and darker. The pair looked up from where they were lying to see a stranger clad in a red and green striped sweater, a dirty brown fedora hat and long oily, greasy slacks and work boots. His face was a horrible mass of scar tissue and angry red sores. The menacing figure flicked his right bladed hand threateningly at them.

“How sweet…” he smirked. “Fresh meat!”

The scarred man cackled again and raised his bladed right hand ready to strike.

The afternoon sun shone fiercely down on Ruth’s back, the sweat pouring off her reddening skin. She panted profusely, trying to cool her internal temperature down while she stalked stealthily through the undergrowth. Her sharp eyes flicked around as she momentarily raised her head to sniff the warm breeze. She caught the smell of wildflowers in bloom, the oozing of sap as pine leaves shrivelled up in the burning heat and the distant funk of deer grazing near a watering hole. But she also caught a whiff of something else, the scent of danger.

Ruth glowered into the brush and snarled, knowing that her prey was out there, somewhere. There was no way that she was going to allow that bastard Rick and that crazed skeleton Lord Fear get away this time. Lord Fear had been on the run ever since that last fateful battle at the Carnival, which ended in his mistress, Lady Illusion losing her life at his his hands. She sacrificed herself for the sake of Ace, to protect him.

Deep down Ruth knew she had a soft-spot for the Elvin Lady. She would sometimes talk to her on quiet afternoons at the Carnival, or when the two crossed paths somewhere else in town. Ruth knew how it felt to be betrayed, to be hurt, and to be alone, as did Lady Illusion. That's probably why the pair could relate to each other so well.

Ruth’s train of thought was suddenly interrupted when she heard stifled panicky voices rising from the far side of a crag up ahead of her. She had to be careful. Camp Wolfground was still a popular camping site, so she had to be mindful. Now was not a good time to scare the living daylights out of some poor innocent person.

A god awful scream ripped up from behind the crag. Ruth dashed over with her claws at the ready, sniffing the air as she drew near. She definitely could smell Rick and Lord Fear now. She could recognise their stench anywhere. But there was an unfamiliar scent, one that was very powerful and stunk to high hell. It was almost as if this thing had come from hell, the odour was that strong.

Ruth squinted through a gap in the outcrop, trying to see the source of all the noise, but what she saw absolutely dumbfounded her. Out in a clearing was Lord Fear armed with his trusty Staff Head and Rick wound up in a panic. Both of them were facing off with a viciously scarred man. Most of his body was concealed in a dark grey full-length trenchcoat, but his wicked scowl and the five blades on his raised right hand was enough for Ruth to recognise him instantly. It was the entity Freddy Krueger.

Ruth flew over the rocks without hesitation, her jaws wide open and her huge hand claws extended for attack.

“RRRAAAWWWWRRRRRHHHH!!!”

She landed right between the startled opponents and back-handed Freddy with one quick swipe, knocking him to the ground. She then reeled around and glared directly at Rick. Lord Fear had already decided to use the opportunity to save his own hide and had scampered down into an old bomb shelter hidden amongst the rough, leaving Rick completely defenceless.

Ruth eyed Rick in triumph. “You're mine now!"

Ruth then screamed as a sharp, intense pain tore through her right ankle. Freddy had spun over and lashed out at the Raptor Queen’s ankle with his steel talons, leaving deep, bloody gashes. Rick took the opportunity and ran, but Ruth caught sight of him out of the corner of her eye. As quick as a flash, she lunged at Freddy, grabbed him by his trenchcoat and then tossed him at Rick, who landed flat on his face. Ruth then pounced on the pair, only to leave Freddy flat on his back as she took off with a wailing Rick in her grasp straight into the sky. Lord Fear extended his skeletal neck out of the shelter only to see a furious Freddy Krueger marching straight towards him.

Lord Fear swallowed hard.

“Somebody help me!” he shouted huskily.

Chapter Text

“Aww, cool-as bike dude!” gaped a slick-haired boy at Scar, who was straddling his motorcycle at the gas station while waiting for Diego to return from the service station's shop.

Scar swivelled his head round to meet the astonished gazes of three 12-year-old boys on their pushbikes, apparently beside themselves at the sight of a leather-clad Velociraptor sitting on a powerful motorbike. Scar smiled eccentrically at the trio.

“Hey, thanks kid! You guys wanna come check it out!” he summoned to them.

All three of the boys’ faces lit up with excitement as they rushed over to get a better look at the machine.

Diego strolled out of the station shop five minutes later, his clawed hands full of snacks. He briefly glanced up and caught sight of Scar with the three young boys circling him and his bike with their mouths agape and uttering amazed compliments.

“Oi Scar, you ready to go?!” shouted Diego, who was instantly met with nervous gazes from the three boys as he walked back over to his friend. The boys backed off slightly when Diego joined Scar at his side.

“So, you three like bikes eh?” commented Diego, aiming to ease the tension.

But his appearance wasn’t helping the situation at all. His naturally dark orbs made his bright yellow eyes shine fiercely, a common feature for his subspecies. He stood at least two-and-a-half feet taller than the boys, giving him an air of authority. Combine these with wide shoulders and bulging muscles, and you get a very dangerous-looking animal.

“Look we’ve gotta go,” replied the slick-haired boy, who practically fell over his bike trying to get back on it.

Scar just rolled his eyes at Diego, giving him a quick slap as the three boys rode out of the station.

“Ouch, what was that for!” hissed Diego.

“Nice work mate!” sneered Scar. “I try to make a good impression and you come and scare them away!” Scar leered at Diego.
“We’re supposed to be making friends with the locals, not looking like we’re going to eat them! Scar kicked his motorcycle into starting gear out of frustration.

“Hey, I can’t help it if I look scary!” snapped Diego, swinging his arms wide in a 'big deal' kind of fashion. “It’s not my fault that my subspecies looks like this!” He angled his fore claws towards his gleaming eyes.

Scar snatched the bundle of snacks from Diego’s hands. “Look, it’s getting late, we should think about heading back home.”

Diego pouted his snout at Scar. “Whatever you say, boss,” quipped Diego, hopping back onto the motorbike behind Scar, intentionally kneeing his friend in the ribs in the process.

Scar smirked at his counterpart, then started up his motorbike, revving the engine into thunderous life. Just as the pair started rolling for the exit, two cyclists careened up the same driveway, nearly crashing headlong into Scar's motorbike. It was Mark and Serrangah, who promptly hauled off their bikes to avoid being struck.

“Jesus Christ you two!” yelled Scar, neutralising his motorbike. “What the hell's going on?! I nearly hit you guys!” He swung the kick stand back down and jumped off to confront the pair.

Scar was met with a startling sight. Mark was terrified out of his wits, his face pale as a ghost's. Serrangah was clutching his cut head, a steady flow of blood trickling down into his left eye.

Scar quickly escorted the frightened pair to the service station restrooms, while Diego went back inside the service shop to buy some medical supplies for Serrangah’s head-wound.

“So let me get this straight, you guys were attacked by... something,” Scar said as he wiped the blood off Serrangah’s face with a wet towel.

Mark paced the bathroom anxiously. “Look, we don’t know what it was!” his voice was shaky and dry. “All we really saw was this set of claws, or something like that."

Mark was clearly shaken by the ordeal. Scar gazed over his shoulder at him with a worried expression.

“So, you never got a good look at this… thing?” he raised a scaly eyebrow at his friend.

Mark just shook his head. “No,” he replied bluntly.

“Well, it could have just been some falling debris,” Scar pondered out loud to Mark. “That old dump is a death trap…” he carefully examined Serrangah’s head wound. “So how come you guys ended up there?"

Serrangah battered Scar’s hand away in defiance. “We were there because it was the last place we had to check for those villainous scumbags.” He inspected his torn scalp in the bathroom mirror and groaned.

“Great, now my perm is ruined!” he scoffed at the gap in his crest, where the feathers had been cleanly sliced off.

“Forget about your hairdo Serrangah,” Diego assured as he entered the bathroom with a bundle of bandages and sterilising wipes. “You should consider yourself lucky, you could have been much more seriously hurt.”

Serrangah flinched away when Diego applied one of the sterilising wipes to the cut, causing it to sting severely.

“Whatever, but no falling object can cut through feathers this precisely,” Serrangah pointed out the broken feather stumps for Diego to see for himself.

Diego clasped his clawed hands sympathetically around his exasperated friend’s fluffy shoulders. “That’s not important now,” he cooed softly. “All that matters is that you guys are alive and safe.”

Yeah, and besides, the cut isn’t even that deep,” smiled Scar, who gently wrapped a bandage around Serrangah’s skull. "You might be able to get away without stitches."

The Dromaeosaurus took another look at his injured reflection in the mirror and sighed heavily.

“I guess so,” he finally spoke. He personally thought he looked absolutely ridiculous with his patched up head, but he was at the same time grateful for having such caring friends.

Scar, Diego, Serrangah and Mark walked out together into the fading afternoon light.

"C'mon, let's go home," said Scar. "Serrangah, you can ride with me and Diego can ride your bike home."

Chapter Text

When Mark, Serrangah, Diego and Scar arrived back home, they could hear the pleading cries of a man coming from the barn behind the house. Immediately, all four friends raced around into the barn, where they were met with quite a sight. Rick Hummel was tied to a cast-iron garden chair, squirming and begging for mercy, like he usually did. In the corner of the barn, with her back to them, was Ruth. She was crouched on her haunches in pain, clutching her right foot with a wad of cloth wound around it.

Scar was the first to congratulate her. “Hey, you got him, well done!”

Ruth returned his comment with a half-pained snarl. Scar’s smile quickly turned to worry, now seeing Ruth's distress.

“Hey Ruth, are you alright?” Scar asked as he slowly walked towards Ruth.

Ruth didn’t look up and continued to hold her bleeding ankle. Scar could now smell her fresh blood that was oozing out of her wounds.

Ruth breathed in sharply. “It isn’t over yet… Not by a long shot.”

Ruth then carefully removed the blood-stained cloth from her right foot, revealing four long, clean gashes right across her ankle.

Everyone’s eyes widened at Ruth's injury. Scar became visibly upset at the sight of his best friend having been maimed.

“What do you mean… who did this to you!?” Scar stuttered in disbelief.

Ruth glared in anger. “Freddy Krueger, that’s who!” she growled.

Everyone in the room was stunned into silence. Several moments passed before anyone spoke, then Mark stepped forward.

“You mean the guy from ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street?” He stated, becoming tense again.

Ruth looked up from her bleeding ankle at Mark.

“Not just him,” she paused, searching for an explanation. “It was Freddy Krueger from ‘New Nightmare’, the entity Freddy Krueger."

Ruth hissed loudly, buckling onto the concrete floor from the sheer pain that was now running up her leg. Scar and Diego rushed to her side to help her. She sat up with her arms on her knees as the two Raptors tendered to her cuts. Ruth then caught sight of Serrangah’s bandaged head as he stepped into the barn lighting.

“Jesus Serrangah, what happened to you?” Ruth asked with a puzzled look.

Mark stepped closer and gestured towards the injured Dromaeosaurus.

“Me and Serrangah were at the old factory outside of town when we were attacked by… something,” he explained at a hurried pace.

Ruth raised her eyebrow in concern. Then Serrangah unwrapped the bandage and exposed the clean slit in is scalp. Ruth inhaled suddenly in a realisation, that his wound closely resembled the slashes on her ankle.

“Go on,” urged Ruth

“We never got a good look at this thing,” continued Serrangah. “All we did see was a glimpse of…”

Serrangah stopped dead in mid-sentence as shock swept over him.

“Steel claws,” he uttered faintly.

Ruth, Mark and Serrangah glanced from one another in astonishment at the sudden revelation. Mark and Serrangah had also been ambushed as it seemed, by Freddy Krueger as well. Ruth lurched forward, attempting to get to her feet again.

“Wait, what was the time when this happened?” she asked abruptly.

Mark and Serrangah looked at one another for a second, and then Mark shrugged, “I don’t know, between 1:30pm and 2:00pm,” he approximated roughly.

Ruth plopped back down, her eyes deep in contemplation.

“My run-in happened around 3:00pm, so that was at least an hour after you guys,” Ruth said, her eyes narrowing in concentration. “And Freddy couldn’t have walked from the old factory all the way out to Camp Wolfground without being seen in that time-frame.”

Ruth managed to get to her feet and limped painfully over to the barn door, leaning against it for support. She stood silent for a moment in the doorway, then suddenly whirled around in near panic.

“Where’s Ace and Sparx!” She shouted.

No sooner had the words left Ruth’s mouth did the two Lightning Knights come zipping through an open window and crash-land in a daze on the barn floor. Ruth hobbled over to the pair as fast as she could move.

“Are you two alright?” She enquired hastily.

“Yeah, we’re fine,” replied Sparx, who wearily got to her feet. “But we have a problem.”

Ruth’s eyes became wide again as Sparx helped Ace to his feet. She could see that both of the Knights were sporting several rips in their uniforms. Rips that looked exactly like claw marks.

“We didn’t find Rick or Lord Fear, but we found someone else” Ace explained, who sat down on Sparx's jet-bike from exhaustion. “There was this man…”

“Let me guess,” interrupted Ruth. "He wore a striped red and green sweater, looked horribly burned and had a bladed glove on his right hand?”

Ace and Sparx looked at each other with stunned expressions.

“Yeah, how did you know?” remarked Sparx.

“Let’s just say that we’ve encountered this man today as well,” Ruth gestured to her torn flesh and then to Serrangah’s cut head. Ace and Sparx became confused at the sight of all the slash marks.

“Well then, who is he?” Sparx asked.

“His name is Freddy Krueger, and he has come to help me.”

Rick’s voice rose up from behind the crowd. He leered insanely at the gathering from his seat, and then broke into hysterical laughter, clearly not caring about the appalled looks he was receiving from his captors.

Ruth glared at Rick, her seething rage boiling over into her red face.

“Shit, Rick!! What did you DO!?” Ruth roared, rearing up so she towered over the poor man.

Rick just laughed to himself, obviously not worried about the huge and intimidating Raptor Queen standing over him. He turned his head away for a moment, contemplating his answer. He then turned his head back and looked up at Ruth with a blank expression.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Rick sneered. “I brought Freddy Krueger into our world so he could help me defeat all of you lousy people.”

Rick rolled his head back and giggled at the ceiling as beads of sweat rolled down his forehead onto the collar of his dirty cardigan. Ruth narrowed her eyes and glowered even more at Rick. If looks could kill, then Rick would’ve been a dead man. Ruth stood still for several more seconds, and then whipped painfully back around with a disgusted look on her face. She hobbled for the barn door, but stopped abruptly within its entrance.

“Ace,” Ruth called over her shoulder. “Keep Rick tied up and weasel as much information as you can out of him.”

Ruth then stepped out into the cool night and disappeared into the darkness. “I’m going inside to clean these cuts,” she finished.

Ruth yanked the Amulet of Zoar from her neck and separated the two joined pieces, summoning the bright blue light to wash over her body once more, reversing her body back into her full human form. She stormed into the house and threw the Amulet pieces onto the counter table before she limped across the hall into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.

Scar, Diego and Serrangah followed suite a minute later. They tip-toed up to the bathroom door and pressed their ears against it. They could hear Ruth running the bath water, yowling in pain as she started treating her wounds. Scar knocked gingerly on the door, trying not to startle Ruth.

“Ruth?” Scar called out emphatically. “Do you want me to take you to the doctor?” His voice was tinged with nervousness.

“No, I’ll be fine,” reassured Ruth. "I can deal with it.” She let out another pained cry as the three Raptors glanced at one another worriedly from the other side of the door.

Suddenly the house phone rang from the living room, causing all three Raptors to jump. Diego rushed into the living room and picked up the phone.

“Hello, this is Ruth’s residence, how may I help you?” he asked politely.

“Hi, this is Mr. Sarge, Ruth’s boss, do you know if Ruth is home?”

Diego glanced to the bathroom door, then back to the phone receiver. “Yeah she’s home,” he replied. “May I ask what this is about?” It was very unusual for Ruth's boss to be calling outside of work hours.

“I need to speak to her about her absence from work today, so could I speak to her please?” The man’s voice was calm and stern.

Diego glanced once more to the closed bathroom door.

“Yeah, could you hold on a sec…? Ruth is just in the bathroom."

Diego marched back over to the bathroom door and banged loudly.

“Hey Ruth, it’s ya boss, he wants to speak with you!” He hollered over the sound of the running water.

Ruth then screamed out, “OH SHIT!!”

She swung the bathroom door open, her face pale with panic.

“I forgot to call-in sick for work! Oh fuck me, I’m so dead!!” she shrieked as the three Raptors stared on with slightly bemused looks.

Chapter Text

Tuesday morning came with a heavy heart as Ruth the Raptor, Queen of the Dinosaurs trudged painfully up to her Manager’s office, dreading what was to follow. She turned the first corner inside the warehouse's Administration building and walked up to her Manager's open door, where she leant against it and waited for Brent Sarge, the Site Manager, to look up from his morning paperwork.

“You wanted to see me Brent?” Ruth asked, obviously in a foul mood.

Brent looked up from his mahogany desk and beckoned Ruth in.

“Ah, G’day, G’day Ruth,” clucked Brent.

Ruth always hated it when he said that. It was Brent's way of saying ‘you’re in trouble’, and Ruth was in it, big time.

She closed the door behind her and sat down in the large black leather chair across from her Manager, and waited for him to start his rant. Physically, Brent wasn’t a very tall man, but he was robust, particularly across his shoulders. He always kept his oiled black hair immaculately trimmed and styled into a ridiculously short Mohawk. Ruth sometimes wondered if he actually slept with his hair like that. Brent carried out his duties with a no-nonsense approach, often over-looking the finer details of jobs and letting the supervisors and team leaders below him work out the rest.

But the one thing that defined Brent the most was his nickname, ‘Twinkle-toes’, aptly given due to his choice of footwear. You always knew Brent was around by the distinct, click-click-click sound of his shoes when he approached. In fact, if the staff didn't know any better, Brent could easily be mistaken for a woman walking around the warehouse in high-heels.

Brent shuffled his paperwork as he glanced up to Ruth again.

“So why weren’t you in yesterday?” He asked flatly.

“Because there was a family crisis,” Ruth returned equally.

Brent sighed and finally looked directly at Ruth.

“Ruth, this is the 5th family crisis you have had in the last two months,” stated Brent, with a slight tinge of irritation in his voice. “And yesterday, you didn’t even call-in.”

Brent crossed his hands in front of him on the desk. “Is there something personal going on with you?” The Manager narrowed his eyes in suspicion at Ruth.

Ruth stared at Brent for several seconds, contemplating what she was going to say next. It’s not like her Manager would believe her if she told him that her ‘family’ consisted of several Dinosaurs, Superheros and other inter-dimensional characters at any one time, or the fact that she is a Human-Dinosaur hybrid, responsible for stopping all evil from breaking loose and taking over Earth-realm as we knew it.

Ruth just shrugged her shoulders in return to Brent's personal question.

“I just have a large family,” she explained. “And sometimes things happen and I have to lend a hand.”

Brent reclined back into his chair and sighed again.

“Look Ruth, I understand that other members of your family may run into trouble and need help, but you can’t do everything for everyone. I need you here, putting that effort into your job, so I think it’s time that we made an action plan for you.”

Ruth narrowed her eyes at her Manager again. She did not like where this conversation was heading at all.

Rick giggled manically as he tried in vain to wriggle himself free from the tight bindings that held him steadfast to his seat, while Ace and Sparx looked on with growing frustration

“Look here you jerk!” Sparx shouted at the deranged man, slamming her sword down out of sheer irritation. “We don’t have time for your stupid games!”

Sparx glared at Rick, trying to intimidate him, the anger burning in the hot-headed Knight’s eyes. “Just tell us how you managed to bring Freddy Krueger into this Dimension, and we might spare you from White Hot Oblivion!”

Rick just cocked his head backwards and laughed eccentrically again. He had clearly spent too much time in that bomb shelter with Lord Fear. He rolled his eyes at the young superhero, who was becoming more annoyed by the second.

“And are you going to make me, Sparxie?” Rick mocked, pursing his lips tightly shut as Sparx finally blew her stack.

“AAARRRGGGHHH, Ace this is HOPELESS! We’re never going to get anything out of this twit!”

Sparx threw her sword across the barn, managing to plant it firmly into the wooden door frame.

“Sparx, the first thing is to not lose your cool over it,” Ace stepped forward into the light to intervene, raising his hands in an attempt to calm his fellow Lightning Knight. “You are only letting the enemy win by seeing your defeat.”

Rick scoffed and giggled childishly in the background. Sparx was tempted to turn around and slam her fist right into Rick’s mouth just to shut him up.

She scowled over her shoulder at Rick, then stormed past Ace and retrieved her sword out of the barn door.

“Well let’s see how far you get with him then!” Sparx huffed as she charged back up to the house.

Ace looked back over to the poor insane man. “Now let’s see if we can work something out, shall we?” The muscle-bound Superhero leant against an upright support with his arms folded waiting for Rick to reply.

Sparx marched through the back door and slammed it shut out of downright annoyance. “Some people just need a good pounding!” she scorned to the air

Suddenly the front door slammed, giving her a start. Sparx raced into the kitchen with a smug grin on her face, thinking it was Ace who had also finally given up on the delusional Rick.

Sparx was instead met with a fuming Ruth, who stood on the other side of the kitchen counter with teeth bared in a wicked glower. The sight alone wiped Sparx’s face clean as the young Lightning Knight hesitated to ask Ruth why she was home so early from work. As if reading the Knight’s mind, Ruth raised her right hand.

“Don’t even ask Sparx, I’m not in the mood for it now,” warned Ruth.

Sparx turned tail and ran up the stairs to her bedroom. “Good!” she scoffed to herself. “I ain’t in the mood either.”

“I don’t care what my bastard boss thinks! He has no authority to force me to sign over my personal rights as an employee!” Ruth yelled at Scar, who had unfortunately come home an hour later from the shops just in time to witness Ruth in a fit.

“I know your boss may have been a bit overhanded, but he’s just doing his job,” replied Scar, trying to reason with Ruth.

“Yeah right, at being an arsehole Manager who only cares about the size of his pay checks and how deep his pockets are!” Ruth spat back.

It was clear that this conversation was heading nowhere fast. Scar sighed in defeat, watching Ruth sign her resignation letter and then tear up all her measly pay checks. He knew all too well that when Ruth made up her mind about something, it was near impossible to try and reason with her.

“And besides," continued Ruth, "we have more important matters to deal with, like that nonsense with Rick and the trouble he’s caused.”

Ruth suddenly stopped in her tracks and looked up at Scar with an expression of sudden realisation.

“Which reminds me, how are the negotiations going?” Ruth raised her eyebrows at Scar expectantly.

“Um, I don’t know really,” shrugged the Velociraptor. “I’ve been out all day and I've only just got home.”

He tried to sound as honest as possible, because for him, ‘being out all day’ really meant that he was up to his usual strife. But Ruth didn’t seem to be in an overly caring mood, for she only gave a slow nod and returned her irate gaze to the pile of torn papers on the table in front of her.

Meanwhile, Lord Fear and his trusty Staff Head stood silently and very uneasily at the edge of the Conestoga Hills State forest, gazing into the late afternoon sun which bathed the Thunder Tower Observatory immediately ahead of them in glorious orange light. Lord Fear huffed begrudgingly to himself. It almost seemed like the dome-shaped building was mocking him. Just when things looked like they couldn’t get any worse for him, they had. Ace Lightning had beaten him in battle, he accidentally obliterated his beloved Lady Illusion back into Oblivion, then lost Rick the Master Programmer, and now he was stuck with a powerful Demon that was holding him at knife-point, well, five knife-points to be exact.

“Move it bone bag, or I'll end you where you stand!” snarled New Nightmare Freddy from behind the un-dead skeleton. Lord Fear glanced wearily over his shoulder at the scarred creature, catching the Demon's fiery stare.

“We’ve been walking for hours,” Fear explained hesitantly. “Don’t you think we should stop for the night?”

“You insolent fool!” scolded New Nightmare Freddy, shoving his claws against Lord Fear's spine. “The night is our cover, our chance to attack the enemy when their guard is down."

Freddy's claws had now penetrated fabric, and their tips were pricking sharply into Lord Fear's bony back, causing the skeleton to jump forward.

“Alright, alright!-” Lord Fear shouted. “But we have to get past the Observatory- and the Lightning Knights first.”

Lord Fear pointed a bony finger toward the back-lit building in front of them, but New Nightmare Freddy only smiled wryly in return.

“I bet they’re not home," hissed Freddy. "They'll be with this so-called 'Raptor Queen' who has your precious pet human, just waiting for someone pathetic like you to rescue him."

Staff Head then pivoted around from his perch on top of Lord Fear's walking cane, and glared at New Nightmare Freddy with beady little red eyes.

"You dare insult his Lordship?!" snapped the little green gargoyle frog, flapping his purple wings angrily at the Demon.

Before Lord Fear could stop what was happening, New Nightmare Freddy had lashed out at Staff Head, catching the gargoyle frog off-guard and nicking one of his wings with a razor sharp steel talon. Staff Head screeched in both surprise and pain, and reeled back out of the way of the Demon's reach.

"Next time it'll be your throat, you wretched little toad!" New Nightmare Freddy growled.

Freddy then prodded his steel knives into Lord Fear's back once more, silently ordering the skeleton and his staff to keep marching forward towards Conestoga Hills and the darkening sky ahead.

Chapter Text

Scar and Serrangah went down to the local corner store just after sunset to pick up something to eat, leaving poor Diego at home with Ruth, who was still in an irate mood. The cool night air was a nice reprieve from the stinking hot day, but the distant rumbles of thunder and streaks of lightning on the horizon were a dire warning to the Dromaeosaurids as they walked down Junction Street.

“How’s your head feeling?” Scar asked Serrangah, giving his friend a sympathetic look.

“It’s frigging killing me!” Serrangah groaned.

His head was still patched up, and the area around the injury had become inflamed.

“I’m going to have to get something for this swelling while we’re down here,” added Serrangah, scratching at his bandages.

“We’ll get some more antiseptic solution too, just in case,” affirmed Scar with a smile.

Serrangah didn’t notice Scar smiling at him and just moaned in pain.

Scar knew they had to hurry. The storm was coming ever closer and he didn’t particularly feel like getting a free shower. But as the Velociraptor sniffed the damp night air again, he picked up an alarming odour, the stench of smoke. Scar and Serrangah came over the crest of Junction Street and spotted a plume of thick black smoke rising from the corner store!

A good portion of the shop was well ablaze when Scar and Serrangah reached the store, the distraught store clerk rushed up to the pair waving his hands furiously.

“I don’t know what the hell happened!” the clerk screamed at the surprised Raptors. “There was this loud explosion, and a fire ball erupted from the back, and there were these two guys in red and green striped sweaters fighting each other with knives on their hands!”

The store clerk collapsed to his knees and sobbed while Scar and Serrangah glanced at one another and shouted in unison,

“FREDDY!”

Sure enough, when the two Raptors ran around to the back of the burning building, they discovered two versions of the infamous horror villain Freddy Krueger wrestling each other on the ground, their claws interlocked as they snarled and bit madly at one another. Through the choking smoke and dancing flames, Scar and Serrangah could make out that one looked like Freddy Krueger from the ‘Freddy vs. Jason’ movie, while the other looked like the ‘2010 Remake’ version.

Scar immediately leapt through the smoke and planted his feet onto the back of Original Freddy, knocking him free of the other character as Serrangah ploughed straight into Remake Freddy’s chest.

Scar pinned Original Freddy to the ground and bit hard into the Dream Demon’s left shoulder, drawing thick tar-like blood as Freddy howled under him and tried to slash at the Velociraptor's legs. Remake Freddy kicked Serrangah off of him, sending the Dromaeosaur flailing across the parking lot. Serrangah quickly recovered, and sized up Remake Freddy again for his next attack.

Scar still had a hold on Original Freddy, but the toxic smoke was becoming debilitating.

“HURRY UP SERRANGAH!” Scar bellowed. “I can’t hold this bastard for much longer!”

Serrangah was starting to feel dizzy from the smoke as well. The Dromaeosaur's vision blurred suddenly, and he momentarily lost his balance. Remake Freddy took his chance and charged at Serrangah, ramming hard into the Dromaeosaur and knocking him onto his back. Serrangah instinctively clawed at Remake Freddy's belly with his feet, desperately trying to dig his sickles into flesh.

Remake Freddy lunged forward with his bladed right hand, but Serrangah caught him at the wrist, frantically trying to stop the Demon driving its claws ever closer to his vulnerable neck.

"Scar, HELP!!" Serrangah yelled.

Thinking quickly, Scar grabbed Original Freddy by the arms and tossed him in Serrangah's direction. Original Freddy slammed straight into Remake Freddy, knocking them both to the ground. Serrangah hastily rolled away and stumbled onto his feet again. By now both Remake and Original Freddy had also recovered from their tumble, and were getting ready to attack the Raptors again.

"Got any ideas!?" Scar shouted at Serrangah.

Serrangah frantically searched the ground for something that could help them bring down the Dream Demons. By sheer chance, there was a singed bag of cable ties lying not too far way, along with a fire extinguisher. The Dromaeosaur glanced between the cable ties, the extinguisher, Scar, and the two versions of Freddy Krueger, who had now closed the gap between them all.

Yeah, but it's gonna be tricky," replied Serrangah.

"Mate I'll take anything right about now!" Scar looked over to Serrangah nervously.

"Alright then, follow me!" Serrangah ran for it, with Scar close behind him.

Serrangah scooped up the packet of cable ties as he zigzagged across the car park, the two versions of Freddy Krueger in hot pursuit of him.

"Scar, get the fire extinguisher!" Serrangah shouted over the crackling flames.

Scar picked up the fire extinguisher and aimed it at the advancing Dream Demons, cottoning on to what Serrangah had planned. Scar let rip with the extinguisher, and both Original and Remake Freddy copped a face-full of ice cold foam, giving Serrangah enough time to hand Scar a wad of cable ties.

"Tie them up at the elbows, where their claws can't reach!" Serrangah instructed. Scar nodded his head in reply.

The Velociraptor then got a flash of brilliance. Scar clamped the bunch of cable ties in between his sharp teeth and then ran towards the two villains, using the fire-fighting foam as cover. He grabbed the extinguisher by its nozzle and swung as hard as he could.

TWANG!!

Original Freddy fell to the ground moments later, stunned and confused from being clocked with something metallic across his head.

Remake Freddy slashed wildly within the foam cloud, just as Scar swung the fire extinguisher again.

TWANG!!

The extinguisher connected with Remake Freddy's gloved hand, yielding a roar of pain from the Demon.

TWONG!!

Remake Freddy then fell to the ground next to Original Freddy, also concussed from being whacked hard in the head.

Scar removed the cable ties from his mouth, just as Serrangah joined him at his side.

"Let's tie these assholes up before they come around," proclaimed Scar.

The Raptors could hear the approaching sirens of fire trucks breaking over the flames and smoke of the burning corner store as they dragged the two versions of Freddy Krueger away into the darkness.

It was 8:15pm when Ruth finally reappeared from her room after a long stint of quiet reading. She went into the kitchen and began to make a cup of peppermint tea when she spied Diego slouched on the sofa engrossed in a bike magazine.

“Hey, is Scar and Serrangah back from the corner store yet?” queried Ruth, suddenly noticing how late it was.

“Nah, haven’t seen them in a while,” answered Diego, not bothering to look up from the magazine.

“Odd, they’re usually pretty quick,” frowned Ruth. “They had better hurry up or they’ll get caught in this storm.”

Ruth leaned across the kitchen counter and tuned the radio into the local station to catch the latest weather report, but what blared out of the radio froze her to her core.

“Fire fighters have attended the local Junction Street corner store blaze that mysteriously started half an hour ago. It is thought to be the result of a botched robbery by two assailants dressed as the iconic horror villain ‘Freddy Krueger’. Two Dinosaurs living in the area came to the store clerk’s aid and attempted to catch the offenders, but it is unclear if either party escaped the fire."

Ruth practically flew from the kitchen counter across to the bottom of the stairs.

“GUYS, GET DOWN HERE NOW!! IT’S AN EMERGERNCY!!"

In 5 seconds flat Ace, Sparx and Mark were standing in the lounge room alongside Diego with a mixture of puzzled and worried expressions.

“It’s Scar and Serrangah!” Ruth wailed. “They’ve been involved in a fire at the Junction Street corner store- we’ve got to get down there NOW!”

Ruth slid for the front door but suddenly stopped short. She could hear the distinct sounds of coughing, hissing and swearing coming from the back of the house. Scar and Serrangah stumbled onto the back porch with Original and Remake Freddy Krueger in tow. The hostile horror villains' elbows were cuffed with several large cable ties and both of them were bruised and bloodied.

Ace and Sparx immediately collared Original and Remake Freddy and dragged them to the barn where they were keeping Rick, while Ruth and Diego ushered Scar and Serrangah inside. Mark prepared some saline solution and wet towels as the exhausted pair of Raptors collapsed onto the couch, spluttering and heaving for breath.

“You guys nearly gave me a heart attack!” Ruth sighed both in relief and agitation. “What the hell happened down there?” She handed both Scar and Serrangah each a glass of cool water.

“We don’t really know Ruth,” explained Scar as he tried to hold back from coughing. “We just came over the crest of Junction Street and saw the store was on fire, and then the clerk told us there were these two guys dressed like Freddy Krueger fighting around the back…”

Scar bent double and hacked violently, spilling half of his water.

Ruth then noticed how sickly Serrangah looked. The scaly skin around his eyes and muzzle had turned very pale and his breathing had become erratic.

“Serrangah, you don't look so good,” stated Ruth.

Serrangah shook his head and then sprawled out on the couch beside Scar.

“I'm OK Ruth, I just need to rest,” assured Serrangah, his head getting heavier by the minute.

“Well I’m not taking any chances,” replied Ruth solemnly. “I’m going out to get some medicine for you two.”

Ruth then grabbed her keys and wallet, marched out to her white pick-up truck, kicked the engine over and sped off up the road just as the heavens opened in a deluge of lightning and rain.

Chapter Text

Ruth was on her way back home from the medical and veterinary supply shop with all the stuff she needed to help Scar and Serrangah recover from the corner store fire. She had bought two small oxygen tanks with matching masks, water-soluble electrolytes and colloidal Silver cream to help with any burns the two Raptors might have suffered.

The storm had quickly rolled through, but it had hit with the force of a mini hurricane, dumping 3 months' worth of rain in the matter of half an hour. It had brought down countless trees, damaged power lines and caused major flash flooding to low lying roadways. Emergency services were dotted every couple of miles restoring power to the outer communities and clearing blocked roads of debris as Ruth wearily drove back home.

Ruth had just reached the outskirts of Conestoga Hills, when she suddenly slammed on her brakes and skidded to a grinding halt. The bridge that led in and out of town over the Goodren River had been sheared off at the near end and was only hanging on by one pylon at the far end as the swollen river raged below it. Ruth got out of her pickup to survey the damage, befuddled at the sight of the wrecked old bridge. There was no direct way into town now. The only other way to get into Conestoga Hills was via the mountain overpass route on the other side of town, but it would take at least another hour to make the journey. More time that Ruth couldn’t spare to waste.

As Ruth edged closer to the smashed pylon ends, she spied a felt green fedora lying in the mud, illuminated brightly by the truck headlights. Curious, she picked it up and wiped off the dirt, swearing that she had seen this hat before. The chilly night air was then suddenly shattered by a piercing scream that came from the flooded river below Ruth.

“HELP!! I CAN’T SWIM!” The voice cried out hysterically.

Ruth peered over the bank’s edge and spotted New Nightmare Freddy Krueger clinging for dear life onto what remained of the bridge’s railings, while Lord Fear and Staff Head were crawling their way up to safety on the far end of the bridge.

“Hold on, I’M COMING!” called Ruth as she raced to the front of her pickup truck.

Ruth flicked the feed release on the car's tow winch, but just as she grabbed the cable, she heard the most god-awful crunching sound coming from behind her. It was the final pylon holding the bridge together, twisting and splintering under the force of the flash flood. Time seemed to slow down as the bridge remnants bucked upwards in the rapids and then flipped over completely, carrying New Nightmare Freddy with it.

Lord Fear had managed to extend his skeletal arms just in time to grab a tree branch before the river claimed him and Staff Head as well. He clambered up the bank with his Staff’s help, and turned to look back at Ruth, who had already jumped back into her pickup and sped off downstream along the river bank. There was no way he was going to risk his scrawny neck to save the Dream Demon. After all, the ugly scarred Demon had held him captive and made him walk right the way through that dreadful storm.

Ruth drove as fast as she could along the embankment, then abruptly stopped on a sharp turn in the river. Without thinking it through, she hopped out, wrapped the car winch around her waist and scanned the water for New Nightmare Freddy. And just in time. The Demon bolted out between the debris, desperately trying to latch his steel claws onto something stable. A large bit of tree trunk caught Freddy by his long trenchcoat, and he was forcefully dragged back under again. Ruth took her chance and dove into the churning river. As soon as she hit the water, she immediately became disorientated from its washing machine-like effects. When Ruth resurfaced, she was immediately sucked back under by the violent current. The water was so murky she couldn’t see anything and she was rapidly running out of strength and air.

Ruth’s head was spinning under the currents as bridge debris and tree branches swirled all around her and pin-balled off her body. She desperately needed to break the surface for air again. Suddenly a flash of red and green whirled past her head and Ruth instinctively grabbed a hold of it and resurfaced with New Nightmare Freddy. The panicking Demon latched onto Ruth like a vice and nearly dragged them both back under the rapids again.

“Quit it, or we’ll BOTH drown!” spat Ruth, trying to keep her mouth clear of water.

But Freddy wasn’t listening in the slightest, and continued to struggle against the floodwater. The pair then suddenly came to a halt in the floodwater as the cable around Ruth's waist snapped taught, signalling the end of the winch line. Ruth quickly seized Freddy by the scruff and ordered him to hold on as she pulled out a water-proof remote and pointed it towards the front of her pickup truck.

The winch mechanism groaned into life and pulled the stricken pair back towards the river bank. At last there was firm ground beneath them and both Ruth and New Nightmare Freddy collapsed onto the muddy embankment gasping for air.

“You’re a fool to rescue me, you know that?” New Nightmare Freddy panted.

“You’re welcome,” huffed Ruth.

New Nightmare Freddy was sopping wet as he sat in the passenger seat of Ruth's pickup truck with a thermal blanket wrapped around him.

“Where are we going?” shivered Freddy, as Ruth sped back onto the main road.

“Back to my summer house," replied Ruth, handing Freddy’s muddied fedora back to its owner. "You can rest there while I call for someone to help us get back into town - oh and the name’s Ruth by the way.”

The white pickup truck tore up a narrow dirt driveway 15 minutes later and parked in front of a quaint cottage hidden in the foothills. Ruth went to exit the car, but she instead found herself on the ground in sheer agony. She had forgotten all about her damaged ankle, where New Nightmare Freddy had earlier slashed her when she was after Rick in her 'Raptor Queen' form. New Nightmare Freddy gawked over the driver's seat to look at Ruth on the ground.

"What's the matter with you?" Freddy quipped.

Ruth was about to give the Dream Demon an ear-full, but quickly thought better of it.

"Nothing," hissed Ruth through her pain. "I must have bruised my ankle while in the river."

Ruth practically dragged Freddy out of her truck and into the bathroom of her summer house to take a hot shower, which Freddy readily accepted without complaint. While he was in the shower, Ruth gathered up New Nightmare Freddy's clothes and plopped them in the laundry sink to drain off, then rummaged around in the guest bedroom closet for some spare clothes that might fit the Dream Demon, as well as some towels and spare clothes for herself.

A short time later, New Nightmare Freddy emerged from the bathroom still resembling a half-drowned rat, wrapped up tightly in one of Ruth’s fuzzy bath robes. Ruth trotted back from the guest room and handed the Demon a long-sleeved blue-and-cream flannel shirt, a pair of faded jeans and a brown pair of hiking boots. She had to stop herself from laughing when she saw the mighty Dream Demon wearing her fluffy pink bathrobe.

“Here, try these on and see if they fit,” said Ruth, but not before Freddy piped up.

“But what about my clothes!” whinged Freddy.

Ruth limped past New Nightmare Freddy and into the bathroom with the intention of having a shower herself.

“You’re more than welcome to wash your own clothes while ya go about naked - oh and I'll be wanting my bath robe back too." Ruth replied wryly.

New Nightmare Freddy just grumbled to himself and went into the lounge room to try his new outfit on. Ruth shut the bathroom door behind her, then proceeded to unwrap her injured ankle. The cuts were now even more inflamed, and they were leaking pus-coloured fluid.

"Damn, maybe jumping into a flooded river with open wounds wasn't such a hot idea after all," mumbled Ruth.

Chapter Text

Scar paced nervously and rather unsteadily back and forth across the lounge room floor.

“Ruth should be back by now, what’s taking her so long?” He mumbled.

“Don’t worry about Ruth,” replied Serrangah from his position on the couch. “She’s probably just being held up by all the emergency works after that vicious storm we just had.”

Suddenly the house phone rang, and Scar practically leapt across the room to answer it.

“Hello, Ruth? Thank Christ you’re alright! Where are y - what, the old bridge is destroyed and you’ve got New Nightmare Freddy with you?!” Scar's quills bristled on the back of his neck.

“Don’t worry about me Scar, I’ve got everything covered here, but can you get Sparx to send the ‘Lightning Flash’ over to my summer house for me?” replied Ruth.

“Alright I’ll ask her, but keep an eye on Freddy. He’s a sly bastard and you don’t know what he’s going to do,” Scar cautioned Ruth.

“Sure thing Scar, I’ll be home as quick as I can,” assured Ruth.

Ruth then hung up on her end and the phone receiver went silent. Scar clunked his end of the phone back into its holder and then turned warily. The smoke inhalation was starting to make his head spin again. He shouldn’t have moved so quickly to answer the phone, or was it just his nerves doing it? Serrangah opened his eyes a crack as Ace, Sparx and Mark filed into the living room to find out the news.

“The Goodren Bridge outside of town has been destroyed and Ruth is stuck at her summer house. She also managed to fish New Nightmare Freddy Krueger out of the river and she’s got him with her,” relayed Scar.

Ace, Sparx and Mark looked at each other with growing concern.

“Well, I hope she can handle him,” joked Sparx.

Scar squinted at Sparx, clearly not taking her joke.

“Ruth asked if she could borrow the ‘Lightning Flash’ to help her get back home Sparx,” Scar retorted. “And we’re going to need that medical stuff for Serrangah, so he can get through the night comfortably.” Scar flicked his snout in Serrangah’s direction to emphasise his point.

“Alright then, I’ll go calibrate the ‘Lightning Flash’ with the correct coordinates.” sighed Sparx. The young Lightning Knight then retreated out the back door, while Scar turned his attention to Ace and Mark.

“Any progress with Rick or Original and Remake Freddy?” Scar asked.

“Nothing,” Ace replied flatly.

“Except for a lot of cursing and swearing,” added Mark.

Scar shook his head, making him feel even dizzier than before.

“I just hope Ruth will be alright,” Scar said to himself, walking over to the couch where Serrangah was laying.

“You alright?” Scar whispered to Serrangah.

The Dromaeosaur moaned unpleasantly.

“As fine as I can be,” groaned back.

After Ruth finished her shower, she decided to fix herself a quick dinner while she waited for her ride home. A frozen lasagne-for-one was buzzing away in the microwave, while she prepared some frozen vegetables to go with it.

“So what’s the deal with you and bone-man Lord Fear”? Ruth asked New Nightmare Freddy, who was now sprawled out on the couch flicking through the TV stations.

“So that’s his name is it – doesn’t seem so scary to me,” Freddy quipped sarcastically.

“C'mon Fred, I need to know where he is,” Ruth demanded.

“How do I know, I was a bit busy trying not to drown!” New Nightmare Freddy growled. “Why is he so damn important to you anyway?

“Because he's caused a lot of trouble around town and we need to catch him before he does something serious enough to alert the FBI and the CIA,” explained Ruth. “Now will you tell me where you two were going before you fell into the river?” Ruth was getting more annoyed by the second.

“Not telling, it’s a secret,” smirked Freddy. “I don’t have to tell you nothing anyway!”

“Wanna bet?” Ruth pointed a forefinger at the Demon sitting on her couch.

“Oohhh, what are ya gonna do, tie me up and torture me until I spit it out?” New Nightmare Freddy was now standing, waving his hands mockingly at Ruth.

“Oh don’t tempt me,” jeered Ruth.

“I’m shaking in my boots,” teased Freddy. "Well if you have to know, we were going to see an important person."

“Was this person the 'Raptor Queen' by any chance?” Ruth probed.

“Yeah, how did you know?” New Nightmare Freddy stared at Ruth suspiciously.

“Let’s just say I know her personally,” replied Ruth with a wry smile spread across her face.

New Nightmare Freddy then strode up behind Ruth at the kitchen counter and wrapped his strong arms around her shoulders, his musky breath tickling the edge of her ear.

“Well if you know her so well, why don’t you take me to her, so I can get this mess I’m in sorted out?” Freddy whispered coarsely.

The Demon then made the mistake of gently nipping at Ruth’s earlobe.

Ruth wheeled around and pinned New Nightmare Freddy against the pantry door by his throat, his clawed right hand was held firmly in place by Ruth's unusual strength. Freddy yelped in surprise and glared fiercely back into Ruth’s burning eyes.

“You better not try that shit around the 'Raptor Queen', or she’ll rip your bloody head off! You do as I say, and everyone will come out of this in one piece, OK?!” Ruth spat.

Freddy forcefully pushed Ruth off of him. He hated being subdued.

“Whatever!” Freddy shouted as he stomped angrily past Ruth, then outside into the darkness to check on his drying clothes.

Freddy stood at the clothes line inspecting his still wet outfit, grumbling and cursing to himself.

“Fuck sake, how the fuck am I going to get out of this one? If I find that walking bag of bones and his little pet, I’m gonna fucking run them both through!”

Freddy then heard the loud snap of a branch behind him and he turned his head in the direction of the sound. He stood silently at the clothes line, the crisp night air hitting his warm breath and instantly turning it into steam, framing his scarred face in the dim porch light. The rustling of trees made Freddy fully turn around this time to face whatever it was behind the trees. The Demon’s long steel claws were flexed, ready to kill anything that jumped out at him.

“Fear, if that’s you, get out here and face me where I can see you coward!”

A deer then scampered through the tree line and fled back into the woods. New Nightmare Freddy let his clawed hand down by his side and he returned to the clothes line.

"Who ya talking to?" Ruth suddenly appeared out of the darkness beside New Nightmare Freddy, startling the Demon.

Freddy turned quickly with his claws half-raised in Ruth's direction, before realising who it was who had just spoken to him.

"Don't sneak up on me like that!" New Nightmare Freddy warned. "I have a tendency to kill first and ask questions later."

"Sure you do," replied Ruth, who didn't seem too phased that she had come close to being inadvertently slashed to pieces.

"So you want some of this or not?" Ruth held out a plateful of lasagne and freshly cooked vegetables to Freddy, who returned Ruth's gesture with a menacing scowl.

"Alright, suit yourself then," shrugged Ruth, who then promptly tucked into the food.

"The real question is, what are you doing?" New Nightmare Freddy scoffed.

"What do you mean?" Ruth was taken aback slightly.

"Well here you are, wanting to have a good old chit-chat with me and you're not even the least bit afraid of me?" New Nightmare Freddy stared patronisingly at Ruth.

"Oh-oh, I've had to deal with far worse people than you Fred," Ruth replied through her mouthful of lasagne. "And I did save your ass from the river, so you'll have to excuse me for wanting to know how you ended up in there in the first place - oh and by the way, you owe me one for that one too."

"Oh do I now?" Freddy raised a deformed eyebrow at Ruth, less than impressed. "Well then, would a thank-you kiss suffice?"

New Nightmare Freddy then playfully wrapped his clawed hand around Ruth's waist, trying to pull her into him so he could smooch her.

"Aahh - no! Go away, I'm eating!" Ruth spun out of New Nightmare Freddy's grip and side-stepped the Demon's amorous advances.

"Oh come on, you know you can't resist me," drawled Freddy.

"Real smooth Fred," replied Ruth, rolling her eyes.

New Nightmare Freddy chuckled darkly.

“So this ‘Raptor Queen’, who is she?” Freddy asked after a few seconds. Ruth knew this question was coming.

“Simple, she is the Ruler of the Dinosaurs who live here”, answered Ruth.

“Wait, Dinosaurs?! What crazy era am I even in?!” New Nightmare Freddy snapped.

“An era where you’re going to get eaten if you’re not careful,” joked Ruth.

“Oh very funny,” snickered Freddy.

“I’m serious, you’ll have to mind yourself around these parts. A lot of the Dinosaurs may react unpleasantly to – someone of your disposition,” clarified Ruth.

“What do you mean someone of my disposition?” New Nightmare Freddy seemed quite offended at his portrayal.

“Well, you are a Demon, are you not?” Ruth gestured towards Freddy with her fork, scrutinising him for the obvious answer.

“Yeah, so? What’s that got to do with all this?” Now it was New Nightmare Freddy who was getting more irritated.

Ruth swallowed another mouthful of food and cleared her throat.

“I’ll put it into laymen’s terms - the Dinosaurs have returned to Earth to help protect, and ultimately rid it of the dark forces that are plaguing it, which they failed to do 65 million years ago. That is why they’ll react very badly to you, and believe me when I say this, they will not hesitate to kill you, unless you are under my protection,” explained Ruth.

New Nightmare Freddy stood in silence for several seconds, trying to fully process what Ruth had just told him.

“And how can you protect me?” Freddy cocked his bald head and sneered into Ruth’s face.

Ruth then momentarily glanced behind New Nightmare Freddy, and caught sight of a pair of gleaming yellow eyes staring at them from the wooded undergrowth. Ruth quickly fixed her eyes back on the Demon standing in front of her, praying that he didn’t notice. “Well you know how I said earlier that I personally know the ‘Raptor Queen? That relationship comes with certain privileges.”

New Nightmare Freddy gazed down at Ruth and smiled wickedly, a dark and course laugh rising from his throat.

“Mmm, I like the sound of that,” Freddy brought a steel fore-claw up to Ruth’s face and gently glided the back of it over her cheek.

Ruth flinched away and lashed out with her right hand, grabbing New Nightmare Freddy’s clawed hand by the wrist.

“DON’T!! Not out here!” Ruth snarled, baring her clenched teeth.

“Oh touchy aren’t we?” Freddy breathed noxiously.

Ruth shoved New Nightmare Freddy away from her, just as the ‘Lightning Flash’ broke through the clouds and came to hover next to her.

“What in the devil’s name is that?” New Nightmare Freddy balked in astonishment.

“Our ride home, so you better go pack your wet clothes,” replied Ruth with a beaming smile spread across her face. “Oh and while you’re at it, could you be a dear and take my plate in with you? I’ll clean it up later.”

New Nightmare Freddy twisted his scarred features in abhorrence and glared at Ruth vindictively

“Take it in yourself, I’m not your fucking servant!” Freddy hissed spitefully. The Demon then strode back into the summer house with the intention of finding something to put his wet clothes into.

Ruth waited for New Nightmare Freddy to be out of sight and sighed heavily, before returning her gaze to the pair of luminous yellow eyes that had kept watch over her from the woods the whole time.

“Oh Freddy, you have much to learn, for you have no idea who the ‘Raptor Queen truly is,” mused Ruth.

Ruth then dipped her head and bowed respectfully at the pair of glowing yellow eyes. A second later, the pair of yellow eyes dipped also, reflecting Ruth’s gesture. The owner of the eyes then turned and stalked off into the wooded darkness, and Ruth was just able to make out the outline of a large Allosaurid from the dull porch lighting.

"Yes, so much more to learn," repeated Ruth.

Chapter Text

Ruth quickly packed up all her medical supplies and then tied them down to the 'Lightning Flash' while she waited for New Nightmare Freddy, who was scurrying about the summer house looking for something suitable to pack his wet outfit into.

“Hey Ruth, where you keep all the spare bags in this place?” New Nightmare Freddy shouted from the laundry.

Ruth let out an irritated sigh. “They should be in the guest bedroom closet – and can you hurry it up, we need to get going!” Ruth shouted back.

“Alright, don’t get your knickers in a twist!” New Nightmare Freddy jeered, racing through the living room and up the stairs to the guest bedroom.

Ruth shook her head. “Oh this is going to be one hell of a fucking week…” she mumbled to herself.

New Nightmare Freddy found the spare bedroom closet and he was in luck, there was an empty duffel bag on the top shelf. Freddy reached up with his clawed right hand and hooked his steel fore-claw around the bag’s strap and pulled it down, bringing with it a bunch of old newspapers hidden underneath right onto his head.

“Oh hell almighty!” Freddy whined, dusting himself off.

Just as New Nightmare Freddy was about to leave the room, he caught sight of a headline on the front of one of the fallen newspapers. The title of the news article read; “Representative of Dinosaur Clan Ballots for Reptile’s Rights” , with a large photo of Ruth directly underneath it.

“Oh what’s this then?” New Nightmare Freddy raised a scarred eyebrow, bending down to scoop up the tattered newspaper.

“Fred! Hurry up!!” Ruth yelled again.

“I’m coming dammit!” New Nightmare Freddy hollered back as he chucked the newspaper onto the floor, accidentally revealing the paper’s inside story.

New Nightmare Freddy stopped dead in his tracks. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The inside story had another photo of Ruth, this time with her arms slouched around the snake-like necks of two medium-sized Dinosaurs standing either side of her. Dinosaurs that appeared to be Raptors.

“Looks like we have a few secrets of our own, don’t we now Ruth,” crooned Freddy, folding up the newspaper and shoving it into the duffel bag’s side pocket for later reading.

New Nightmare Freddy finally re-appeared from the summer house 10 minutes later with a full duffel bag.

“You ready now?” Ruth asked exasperatedly.

“Course I am,” sneered Freddy.

“Well get outside so I can lock the door then,” gestured Ruth.

New Nightmare Freddy pulled a nasty face at Ruth as he walked past her. Ruth just rolled her eyes in response.

“So how are we going to do this then?” Freddy said, slinging himself onto the ‘Lightning Flash’ rather suggestively.

Ruth abruptly tossed her backpack at the Demon, catching him off guard. She then slung herself in front of Freddy and turned around to face him.

“I drive home while you keep your pie hole shut!” Ruth pointed her fore-finger in New Nightmare Freddy’s face to let him know that she was being serious.

“Very well, but I’m going to have to hold onto you if I’m ever going to stay on this thing,” New Nightmare Freddy tightly wrapped his arms around Ruth’s waist and cooed into her ear.

Ruth let out a low growl. “Well you better hold on to your hat, 'cause this ain't no pleasure ride!”

Ruth revved the jet's engine and released its throttle, deliberately sending the craft straight upwards into the sky while New Nightmare Freddy held on for dear life, desperately trying not to fall off from the sheer momentum.

The summer house quickly faded from view as Ruth and New Nightmare Freddy roared through the mist and clouds towards the town of Conestoga Hills. Ruth kept glancing down briefly to the woodland below in false hope of catching a glimpse of Lord Fear trudging through the bush with the aid of his Staff.

“He’ll be long gone now…back into hiding,” She thought to herself. Ruth’s mindset suddenly snapped back to reality when she felt the cold sensation of sharp steel talons being dug into her side.

“You stick your claws into me any further and I’ll roll you off and let you plummet!” Ruth bellowed over her shoulder to New Nightmare Freddy, who wasn’t taking the hint.

“But I have to hold onto something…” Freddy replied slyly, snuggling his stout jaw into the crook of Ruth’s neck. Ruth knew she couldn’t wiggle her way out of this one.

“Jesus fucking Christ! I’ll be glad when I send these pricks back into Oblivion!” Ruth brooded angrily.

The 'Lightning Flash' passed over the old broken bridge and the flooded river. Conestoga Hills came into view soon after, and the pair had arrived back at Ruth’s homestead in no time at all. Ruth steadied the ‘Lightning Flash’ mid-air in front of the barn and then allowed it to settle back down to Earth.

Ace, Sparx and Mark ran out to greet Ruth, only to come collectively skidding to a halt when they saw New Nightmare Freddy Krueger sitting on the back of the 'Lightning Flash', holding Ruth in a tight embrace.

“Let go of me you bastard!” Ruth elbowed New Nightmare Freddy hard in the ribs. The Demon didn't even have a chance to catch his breath before Ruth practically dragged him off the 'Lightning Flash' as she got off.

“Mark, Sparx? Can you to get this medical stuff set up for Scar and Serrangah? I’ve got to deal with him first.” Ruth flicked her head back at New Nightmare Freddy to emphasise her point.

“Yeah, sure thing Ruth, but…” Mark went quiet when he spied the scarred Demon staring savagely down at him.

Ruth looked between Mark and New Nightmare Freddy, figuring what had upset the teenager. “Oh don’t worry about him, he’s harmless,” teased Ruth.

New Nightmare Freddy scowled dirtily at Ruth and was about to say something distasteful to her when she grabbed him by the collar of his borrowed flannel shirt and yanked him along with her towards the barn, eliciting a shriek from the Demon. Ruth then abruptly stopped in her tracks and whirled around.

“And how are our guests?” Ruth called out to Ace, her voice tainted with displeasure.

“Not good,” shrugged Ace.

“I thought as much,” Ruth wheeled back around and continued to march towards the barn with New Nightmare Freddy Krueger in tow. Ace promptly followed after Ruth, now worried about her intentions.

Original Freddy, Remake Freddy and Rick Hummel all looked up in surprise when Ruth came storming into the barn with New Nightmare Freddy and Ace Lightning close behind her. Ruth shoved New Nightmare Freddy off to her side with enough force to almost knock the Demon off his feet.

“The fuck is going on here?! And who's this impostor?!” Original Freddy growled, referring to New Nightmare Freddy.

“Shut up!” Ruth bit back. “Ace, release them!”

“What?!” Ace replied, completely dumbfounded.

“You heard me! Release them!” Ruth repeated angrily.

“But Ruth, we’ve worked so hard to catch them, and now you want to let them go?” Ace was still in shock at what Ruth was saying.

“RELEASE THEM!” Ruth screamed. “This shit ends NOW! It’s MY turn to negotiate!”

Reluctantly Ace fetched the Sword of Jacob and carefully blasted the bindings off of Original Freddy, Remake Freddy, and then Rick.

As soon as Rick was free, Ruth lunged at him, hoisting the poor man up into the air by the front of his sweat-soaked shirt.

“Now you LISTEN, and listen GOOD! I’m tired of your games! It’s time for me to play a game with you! If you don’t fess up and tell us what the hell you and Lord Fear have been up to out in the woods all this time, I’m gonna let your new friends here tear you apart!!” Ruth had reached the end of her rope, her rage was burning in her cheeks.

“Ruth, you’re not being serious are you?” Ace appealed.

Ruth glared back at Ace. “YOU got any better ideas?!”

“Yeah not killing him might be a good start!” Ace was now almost as flustered as Ruth was.

Ruth ignored Ace's pleading and turned back to Rick. “So what’s your answer, Master Programmer?”

After several moments, Rick finally slurred out, “You-wouldn’t-dare. I am all you have left in this crazy world!”

Ruth narrowed her eyes and bared her clenched teeth at Rick. She then let Rick go and he dropped back down onto his seat.

“Very well, HAVE AT BOYS!” Ruth then turned around and started to walk out of the barn without another word.

All three versions of Freddy Krueger eyed Rick with growing hunger. Ace raised his wrist cannons ready to defend Rick, just as Original Freddy made the first move towards the senseless man.

New Nightmare Freddy followed suit, stalking towards Rick with a malicious grin. Seconds seemed like minutes to Rick, who now realised with sickening dread that Ruth was not bluffing. He glanced between New Nightmare Freddy and Original Freddy. Now the Master Programmer was afraid, and the Dream Demons knew it.

Two sets of clawed hands were held high in the air, the artificial light shimmering off the wickedly sharp knife blades. Rick, now terrified, screamed out in surrender.

“ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT! YOU GOT ME!! I’ll tell you what you need to know, but please, don’t let these beasts kill me!” Rick was curled up in a pathetic ball on the barn floor, his hands clutching the back of his head protectively.

Ruth stopped short of the barn door, a victorious smirk playing across her lips.

“Hold your fire!” Ruth hollered out.

Ruth then turned around and sauntered back over to Rick, who was still curled up on the floor. She leaned over the defeated man and snarled into his face.

“I’m listening,” Ruth hissed darkly.