*Spooky festive mannequins from hell! I can already tell this book is gonna be interesting. And by 'interesting' I mean 'absolutely horrible'. And in case you didn't catch the other two...links are in the sidebar.*
Rich, snobby Reva Dalby wants a little fame for Christmas. And since her daddy owns Dalby's Department Store, she can have whatever she wants. Someone else will always pay. Except this year Reva goes too far. Now someone is watching her. When she's sleeping and when she's awake...until she's dead.
Reva is on her way home from Smith College for Christmas break. I have to say I'm shocked she actually went to college. She doesn't seem to care about anything but her stupid hair and nails. Anyway! Reva has invited her roommate, Grace Morton, to stay with her. They're riding in a cab (I thought Reva had her own car?) and the driver won't shut up about Christmas which pisses Reva off. When they finally arrive home, Reva pays the driver, but doesn't tip him: "He'll get over it." Grrr. They go inside and Reva's little brother, Michael, comes running downstairs. Reva treats him like crap as usual until he gets tired of it and runs back upstairs. Then daddy comes home! Yay! Not. He brings up the fact that he could use Reva at the store for the holidays, but Reva doesn't wanna: "I couldn't take another season of those tacky women bursting out of their stretch pants. It's too hard not to laugh in their faces." What a bitch. She hasn't changed a bit! She goes into her room where the maid is unpacking her suitcase and bites the poor woman's head off for hanging up a blouse that has a stain on the front. No comment. Reva goes over to Grace's room and Grace answers the door with the phone in her hand. She looks terrified as she says "It's Rory! He knows I'm here! I'm so scared, Reva! How did he find me?" Apparently Rory is a psychotic ex-boyfriend who doesn't seem to understand that the relationship is over. He beat the crap out of Grace because he saw his brother give her a ride home once. Damn, Stine. A little heavy. Of course Reva doesn't really give a shit about Grace. She's just worried that Grace's problems might ruin her Christmas. Shut up, Reva!! THIS is why you have no friends. The phone rings, but Grace doesn't want Reva to answer because it could be the delicious Rory calling back.
Turns out the caller is just Pam Dalby, Reva's much abused cousin. She's hanging out with her friend, Willow, and decides to let the phone ring until Reva picks the damn thing up. FINALLY Reva picks up and Pam asks her how college is going. Reva bitches on and on about how boring it is and how lucky Pam is to be working instead of sitting in a classroom all day. Reva knows that Pam HAS to work if she wants to pay for tuition. I'm getting tired of writing the word 'bitch', but she just gives me so much material, it's hard not to. Pam says that she and Willow have made some things that they would like to sell in Dalby's Department Store. Reva's response? "Actually, Pam, Daddy doesn't sell clay pots at Dalby's." Pam keeps it together even though she would like to dismember Reva like the rest of us and says they can come over and shows her the SCARVES (no clay pots!). Reva agrees and the girls leave. A few minutes later, they arrive at Reva's. The maid answers the door and says Reva isn't there which pisses Pam off for the obvious reasons. Willow says they'll get her back. Even if you do, dear, it won't matter because she'll be back to her bitchy ways in no time. *sigh*
Reva is running through a darkened Dalby's Department Store, trying to find her dad. "Silent Night" is playing over the loudspeakers and she can't help but think that this is exactly how things were on the night she was kidnapped and almost killed. Good times. She starts to run, but is startled by a menacing pack of mannequins. AHHH! Give me a break. She backs away from them, but she isn't getting away THAT easily. The mannequins come to life, shuffling toward her with their plastic arms outstretched. Just as they start to crush and smother her, she WAKES UP. Dammit! You are an evil man, Stine, to allow such a beast to live and NOT be crushed be mannequins. I hope you're satisfied with yourself! Reva opens her eyes and sees Michael standing there. He says Grace's voice woke him up; she sounds like she's freaking out. Reva doesn't really care and wishes once more that she hadn't even bothered to invite Grace. Eventually, she crawls out of bed and follows Michael to Grace's room. She tells Michael to go back to bed and then she knocks on Grace's door. Grace is on the phone with Rory again, but when Reva bursts into the room, she hangs up. She tells Reva that Rory is threatening to come to Shadyside and make Grace pay for what she did to him. What the hell did she do?? All she did was break up with him and for damn good reason! Reva says let him come and then they go downstairs for tea and pie. Ok then. Reva assures Grace that she'll be safe here because ever since Reva was kidnapped, her dad "beefed up security" so they have plenty of alarm systems and a giant dog. That giant dog is nothing but a pansy who rolls over for bacon, remember? As they're sitting there eating, someone knocks on the door. Grace freaks out, thinking it's Rory. It's just a security guard who informs Reva that 10 minutes ago, some guy drove up looking for Reva. The guy in question peeks around the door. It's just Daniel Powell, a guy Reva dated a few times at college. He must be mentally unstable, too. Reva pretends she doesn't know him and the guard drags him away. She laughs her ass off at his reaction. So cruel.
The next afternoon, Reva and Grace are driving home from the tennis club. Grace says she couldn't concentrate on the game because she saw Rory. Reva just thinks she's a paranoid nut and turns up the volume on the radio to drown out Grace's voice. As they near Reva's house, they notice a beat-up VW in the driveway. Grace begs Reva to keep driving because Rory could have rented that car and he might be waiting for them in the house. Reva sees her father waving to them from the window and she goes ahead and parks the car. The visitors? Just Pam and Willow. Reva makes an instant assessment of Willow: "Where did Pam find her? That red glass nose stud looked like a scab. And what did she use on her hair--rust remover?" Does it ever end? Pam shows the girls the scarves and both Grace and Reva love them. And Reva isn't even being sarcastic and cruel! Reva runs upstairs to ask her dad about selling them in the store. He agrees to sell them in five of his stores which causes Willow and Pam to piss themselves in excitement. Unfortunately, Reva ruins the pleasant moment by being a total piece of shit--she says that the line of scarves will be called 'Reva Wear' because she told her dad that SHE designed them. Chain me down because I'm going to kill someone. Seriously, the rage is building. Reva says that Willow and Pam will get a nice percent of the profit. Right. But they get no recognition because they're playing slave to Reva. Here's hoping that someone finally slaughters Reva. As Pam and Willow leave, Willow says once again that Reva won't get away with it. Oh but she WILL! You know it, I know it, the dog knows it.
The next day, Reva is at Dalby's preparing things for a fashion show she's staging the next day. Puke. Willow and Pam are making more scarves in a tiny windowless room. Reva stops by to see how things are going and Pam tells her that they need to set up some kind of contract to make sure she and Willow get their fair share of the profits. Reva says she'll talk to her dad's lawyer later but until then, they need to get busy. She walks away and her dad catches up to her down the hall. He babbles on about the models he got for the show and one of them happens to be some chick named Traci that Reva despises. The only reason they're using Traci is because she works there. Reva goes to find her and discuss some things. This crap is boring. I want some DRAMA. Anyway, there are only going to be three models. I don't get any of this. What's the point? Reva walks away and is surprised to find Daniel waiting for her. He tells her he wants to kill her. YAY!! Please do! He's pissed about the other night when Reva told the guard she didn't know him. Daniel got in trouble with the police because they believed he was a burglar. Reva pretends that it was just a joke and she's really sorry. Daniel buys it for some reason and apologizes for threatening to kill her just now. I knew it was too good to be true. Daniel goes on to say that he got a position working in the stockroom here at Dalby's so he and Reva will be able to see plenty of each other. This guy is clueless. Reva walks away after insulting him and decides he's a total nerd who was never deserving of her attention. She runs into Grace who asks if she can be in the fashion show. Reva doesn't think that will be happening: "You're thin, but that's about all you have going for you. As a model, I mean. You're too short, for one thing. And you don't carry yourself very well. You sort of hunch around like you're scared of your own shadow. No offense, Grace, but you just don't have the training to be a model." Ouch. But don't worry--Reva offers to let Grace be her assistant! Grace reluctantly agrees because it's better than nothing. Grace walks away and Reva is glad to see her go: "There goes another loser. I'm surrounded by them!" You're the biggest one of all, you stupid little troll. Did I mention I hate Reva?
Later, Reva has chosen her models for the show: a dark haired girl named Liza Grogan and a redhead named Ellie Stern who unfortunately resembles Reva. Ew. The two girls rave over the scarves and Reva happily absorbs the praise even though she had nothing to do with their creation. Biiiiiiittttch. A few minutes later, a really hot guy shows up. It's Liza's boyfriend, Grant Nichols. Of course Reva is eyeing him like he's a juicy Milkbone and she's a starving mutt. Just then, Grace bursts into the room with a swollen eye and busted lip begging for Reva to help her. Rory strikes again. Reva drags Grace to the ladies' room and helps her clean up. Grace says she was walking on Division Street when Rory popped out of nowhere, dragged her into an alley, and hit her. Reva demands that Grace call the police, but Grace refuses because Rory got what he wanted and now he'll go away. Doubt it. Reva says she has things to do for the show and walks out. Willow is standing there, glaring at her. Quit giving her evil looks and DO something!
Later that afternoon, Reva is making out with Grant in Pete's Pizza. BOOOOOOOO! I knew she'd sink her claws in him sooner or later. He says that Traci and Liza are enemies; he used to date Traci and she thinks that Liza stole him from her. Reva is bored with the conversation because it isn't about her so she changes the subject by sticking her tongue back in his mouth. Gag.
The next morning, Reva is checking things out before the show. She examines a row of mannequins and finds that one of them looks awfully strange. She grabs it to straighten it and realizes that it isn't a mannequin at all--it's Traci's corpse. She was choked with a scarf. Reva Wear kills!
Reva is horrified at the sight of Traci's lifeless body. She notices a pool of blood beneath the corpse. Turns out Traci was NOT strangled by a colorful Christmas scarf. She was impaled on a support pole that usually holds up the mannequins. Reva starts screaming like a banshee...and I really wish I cared.
Reva is sitting with the models while the police search the place for any clue as to who might have killed Traci. Predictably, Reva is only worried about getting home and finding a replacement for Traci. I don't even know what to say anymore. She's totally devoid of any shred of humanity. A detective asks her a few questions and allows her to leave. She suspects that Liza might have had something to do with Traci's murder because the two girls hated each other, but she doesn't bother to say anything and simply leaves. When she pulls into the driveway at home, she spots the old VW and her heart sinks because she hates Pam and Willow. She goes inside and someone steps out from behind the door with a knife. Sadly, it's just Michael playing a joke.
In the living room, Pam and Willow are talking about Traci's murder and also about the fact that Reva is totally using them both. Pam says she regrets not drawing up a contract before showing the scarves to Reva or anyone else. Reva comes in then and as soon as Pam mentions the contract, Reva blows up and acts like she's waaaaaay too upset to think about such a thing at a time like this. Then dad comes in and comforts her and it's all so sweet that I might puke my guts up. Pam uses this opportunity to tell Mr. Dalby that she and Willow want to draw up a contract. He's surprised to hear it because of course he thinks Reva is doing all the work. He can't stick around and chat because he gets an urgent call and has to take it, leaving Willow and Pam empty again. When the two are alone, Willow voices her opinion that Reva should be the next to die. Yes! Do it! By the end of this book, Reva should be six feet under.
Grace is on the phone with Rory again. He refuses to leave her alone for whatever reason. I mean, he's gotten what he wanted, right? Oh well. I'm getting tired of hearing about RORY. If Grace would call the damn police, we wouldn't be having this problem. Reva walks in and Grace hangs up. She just stopped in to tell Grace that she has a date and then she walks out. Pointless much? Grace sits alone in her room, worrying about the RORY situation.
Later, Reva is sitting alone at Pete's Pizza waiting for Grant. He's late and this pleases me more than I care to admit. *cough* Reva sucks *cough* Grant shows up a few minutes later and gives Reva a big kiss. Please...no more. He says he's late because he had to tend to Liza. He feels guilty about lying to her and sneaking around. But Reva doesn't care; she believes she deserves Grant. Whatever. She tells him to forget about Liza just before making out with him yet AGAIN. Grant drives her home a little later and she says she wants to see him tomorrow. He hesitates but then agrees probably because he doesn't wanna deal with her crap if he says no. She gets out and goes up to her room where the phone starts ringing. It's one of those raspy-voiced anonymous callers that Stine is so fond of. This one says "You deserve what Traci got. Did you hear me, Reva? I'll tell you again in case you missed it. You deserve what Traci got! Traci is dead. Remember HOW she died? I wish I could see you right now, Reva. You're probably shaking, wondering where to hide. I'll be in touch." What happened to the good old heavy breathers? Reva immediately calls the police and tells them that she got a threatening call regarding Traci's death and she has the number (since this is a later book, caller ID actually exists). They call back a bit later and tell her they have the caller in custody and she needs to come to the station and make an identification. My guess is Willow?
Nope--Daniel Powell. He says he didn't kill Traci and the only reason he called Reva was to pay her back for treating him like dirt. An officer leads Reva away from him so she can make a statement. In the middle of this, someone calls. After the officer hangs up, he tells Reva that it definitely wasn't Daniel who killed Traci; he wasn't anywhere near the store that night. Reva leaves a little later and runs into Daniel on her way out. He apologizes again about the call, but when he realizes that she's having none of it, he says "I don't know why I'm wasting my breath apologizing to you. Just remember this, Reva. Sooner or later, you're going to get what's coming to you." So many people hate her...it's only a matter of time before she gets it! In the parking lot, she slips on some ice and busts her ass. HA! As she's walking to her car, she hears footsteps, but when she turns, there's no-one there. She keeps walking and hears the footsteps even louder; she turns again, but no-one appears to be around. Suddenly Grace pops up out of nowhere. She frantically tells Reva that Rory is going to kill them both. Merry Christmas! The girls jump in the car and speed away.
At home, Reva's dad says he has some bad news. Oh good. Pam told Mr. Dalby that she and Willow designed the scarves and that Reva refused to help them draw up a contract. Hell yes! In your face, Reva, you dirtbag! He goes on to say that he's extremely disappointed and wants to know why she lied to him about everything. She tearfully explains that everything has been so crazy lately that the truth slipped her mind. SHUT UP! Freaking liar. He buys it because he's just another puppet and says that everything worked out because he made a very generous arrangement with Pam and Willow. Reva goes up to her room, totally pissed because Pam told on her. HAHAHAHA! YOU SUCK! The phone rings--it's Grant. He says he wants to stop seeing her. Could this night get any worse for Reva? It's awesome! Unfortunately for me, Reva turns on the sap, telling Grant he means so much to her and blah blah blah until he gives in and says he wants to stay with her, too. Damn.
The next day, Reva is prepping for the fashion show which starts in 20 minutes. She's acting like a gigantic bitch to Pam and Willow because they're drinking coffee and eating doughnuts instead of slaving away in that tiny room even though they've already gotten everything done. Anyway, Reva goes out to introduce herself to the shoppers who have gathered for the show. Then the music starts and the lights go down, but no models come out. She turns and mouths the words "Where's Liza?" to Ellie, but El has no clue. Reva's gaze turns to one of those freaky mannequins and realizes that it isn't a mannequin at all. It's Liza and she's dead as a doornail. Reva starts screaming her head off like she hasn't already been through this before.
Why is this shit divided into parts? Oh well. Anyway, Reva makes the mistake of whispering into the microphone "Liza's dead" and everyone turns to look and they all go ballistic. Everyone flees and in the chaos, Reva sees Pam and Willow standing motionless in the distance. She's shocked at how nonchalant they both are, but she doesn't care THAT much and runs away with everyone else.
A few hours later, after being questioned by the police, Reva runs into Grant. She's extremely upset because she's afraid that she'll be the next to die. One can only hope. "Please, Grant, hold me!" Shut up! Grant is dazed. After all, his girlfriend was just murdered. Reva gets pissed because Grant isn't paying much attention to her. He says he really cared about Liza and now he feels empty and very guilty. Reva says that she needs him now and he replies "Liza needed me and I wasn't there. Don't you get it? I wasn't there!" He's furious, but Reva won't shut the fuck up and keeps saying that SHE needs him. He just says that he feels too much guilt to be with her and Reva turns the bitchdom up a notch: "I can't believe this. I came to you for sympathy and all you can do is whine about how guilty you feel." Oh you bitch! You really do deserve to die!!! Painfully! Horribly! Publicly! She runs to her car and drives home. Upstairs, she hears Grace pleading with Rory over the phone to leave her alone. Reva goes to her room and picks up the phone. She expects to hear Rory, but all she hears is "The time is eleven forty-five and twenty seconds. The temperature is thirty degrees. Need a wake-up call? Dial 555-W-A-K-E!" What the hell? Reva hangs up, confused as to why Grace was faking the call to Rory. Reva decides to be a snoop and call Grace's mother to find out whether or not Rory exists at all. She finds out some interesting things--Rory died two years ago in an accident. Grace killed him! I know that doesn't make any sense, but Grace's mother keeps repeating it. She also tells Reva that she needs to get Grace to a doctor because she could be dangerous. Reva turns and spots Grace standing in the doorway. Oh shit. Reva hangs up the phone and Grace says that Rory is coming to kill them both. Ok, you can stop with the Rory crap now. Reva, like a total fool, blurts out everything that she just found out. But Grace is too far gone to even listen to what Reva is saying. Instead, she keeps repeating that Rory will kill them both. That would be a welcome relief at this point. Reva reaches for the phone, but Grace rips it out of the wall and throws it across the room. She says that there's no help for anyone now because Rory is out of control and already killed Liza and Traci. Which means Grace killed them and Reva is next.
Grace grabs a green scarf and begins choking Reva with it. Michael comes in and thinks they're playing a game. This kid must be exposed to some sick shit if he thinks this is a game. He distracts Grace long enough for Reva to make for the door. Grace grabs for her, but Reva shoves her and she falls, slamming her head against the desk and knocking her unconscious. Reva tells Michael to run for a guard and while he's gone, Grace wakes up. Reva asks her why she killed Traci and Liza. "To show you. To show you that you can't have everything you want. You think you can take everything. That everything is yours. You think everything is yours. So I wanted to kill you. But first I wanted to frighten you. To make you suffer. To show you what real horror is like! You treat everyone like dirt. Everyone! Me. The maid. Your cousin. But especially the guys. You save the worst for the guys." Then Grace stares off into space, remembering Rory and what happened to him. Turns out they had a fight one night while he was driving her home and she grabbed the wheel and you can figure out the rest. Reva asks again why she killed Traci and Liza. Grace says "Because of the fashion show! It was the first thing I ever saw you really want. You wanted it so much, you stole all the credit from your own cousin. Because it was so important. It was the first thing that ever meant something to you. So I decided to take it away from you. Bit by bit, person by person." The innocent ones always have to pay for the sins of the truly evil. *sigh* Grace really gets crazy when she says that Rory has come to kill Reva and he's standing RIGHT THERE! Reva turns and sees Michael and a security guard standing there. Reva tells the guard to take Grace away. Grace just says "You're going to help me, aren't you, Rory?" Sad. Reva calls Grace's mother to explain what happened and then calls Mr. Dalby to tell him she still wants to do the fashion show. You have got to be fucking kidding me. And she wants to do it tonight. Never mind the fact that there was a corpse there earlier that everyone saw. Mr. Dalby agrees to let her do it the next day. You people are freaks.
Grace and Willow are at Dalby's making more scarves. Since Grace strangled people using their scarves, it's hard to work up any enthusiasm about the upcoming show. Pam exits the room with the intention to find Reva who should have arrived already to ask her a question. She hears a noise like someone gasping for breath in the hallway. She sees Reva and some guy using a red scarf to choke her with. The thing that makes life worth living is finally happening! Pam tackles the guy and runs to check on Reva who she proclaims to be DEAD. Pam wants to know why he killed her and he's about to answer when he suddenly screams "Oh, nooo!" and runs over to the body. It's Ellie, not Reva. NO! The guy is just upset because he killed the wrong person. Ok, now what?
Reva is just now running into Dalby's, unaware of all the crap that is taking place. She turns a corner and sees Pam standing over Ellie's lifeless body and GRANT NICHOLS standing beside them repeating "The wrong one! The wrong one!" again and again. Reva hears Grant confess that he meant to kill Reva because it's Reva's fault that Liza died. If that's the way you're looking at it, Grant, then you are equally to blame. YOU were the one sneaking around with her instead of "protecting" your little Liza. This situation just gets more fucked up by the second. Reva is pissed and storms up to Grant. She says that she's calling the police right now, but Grant isn't having that and tells her she has to die NOW. I don't even believe it anymore! People keep saying she has to die, but no-one does anything about it! She goes on and on like a freaking cockroach! Grant tackles Reva, but Pam is quicker and ties his feet together with a rope. No, I'm kidding--it's a scarf. While Grant is incapacitated, the girls notice that Ellie is moving and a few guards are rushing in. All this and Reva is STILL alive. Life isn't fair.
It's now Christmas Eve and the gang is gathered at Reva's house sipping cider. Pam and Willow's designs are going to be stocked in Dalby's year-round. Reva mentions that one of those scarves saved her life and Pam grins and says "Guess what I'm giving you for Christmas?" A Hallmark moment. As if I needed any more of those.
Pros--scarves as murder weapons, creepy mannequins, Grace + Rory = 4-ever
Next time: "Seniors #1 - Let's Party!"