Friday, March 19, 2010

99 Fear Street: The First Horror

Book Description:

Twin sisters Cally and Kody Frasier aren't thrilled that their family has moved to Fear Street. They've heard the strange stories. They know about the centuries of nightmarish terror. But what they don't know is that they've moved into the one house that even the neighbors on Fear Street are afraid to enter. The house that has stood mysteriously empty for the past thirty years. They moved to 99 Fear Street. Now they must learn the secret of 99 Fear Street or they will become the next victims of the house of evil.

My Description:

Prologue (1960)

Some guy named Jimmy Lunt (dude, seriously? LUNT?) and his friend Andy Skowski are in a dark basement talking about all the guysthey've lost on this building project. Through their extremely expositional conversation (is expositional the right word? Oh well. If it isn't, feel free to shoot me.) we learn that school starts in a week and this crappy summer job will be over. Also, this house they're working on (located at 99 Fear Street. NOOO!) was built over some unmarked graves. Nice way to respect the dead, assholes. Anyway, Jimmy wants to get the hell out of here because he has a Beach Boys concert to get to and if he misses it, someone's ass is grass. Jim, you just announced that you're into the Beach Boys. Nobody is gonna buy your tough guy act, trust me. They turn a flashlight on the wall and a spot a crack with a fat rat coming out of it. A moment later, a giant black shadowy thing flows out of the crack, covers the boys, and disappears a moment later leaving both boys dead and surrounded by rats. Those two are totally fired--you don't go dying on the job.

Now we come to chapter 1 (look excited, dammit!). It's moving day for the Frasier clan and they're a little lost in Shadyside. The kids are no help--Cally and Kody and their bratty little brother James do nothing but complain. Yes, Shadyside sucks eggs, children. But you'd better get over it now because it only gets worse. They finally locate 99 Fear Street and everyone piles out of the car. Like every other house on Fear Street, the place is a damn dump. Dark and depressing atmosphere? Check. Gnarled trees and uncut grass? Check. Broken shutters and chipped paint? Check. Welcome to Fear Street! Cally stands in the long, ragged grass thinking about how dank the place looks and sweeping her long blonde hair (of fucking course!) over her shoulders like she's posing for Vogue. Cally is the perfect one and Kody...just exists. Basically the first chapter consists of nothing but these two and James whining and complaining about everything under the sun. As for the absolutely worthless parental units, I assume they're counting down the minutes until they can make a break for the nearest bar.

As they're all dragging boxes and such into the house, a heavy tree branch breaks off for no apparent reason and nearly crushes Cally and her pristine blonde head. It crashes into the roof instead and startles Cally so much she drops a box of china, shattering every piece. Is it wrong that I care more about the broken plates than the fact that Cally almost became a splattery mess? Oh well! A few moments later, Mr. Lurie, the real estate agent, shows up and the girls use the opportunity to complain some more. He leaves a moment later because the Frasier family sucks.

Inside the house, we get yet ANOTHER giant dollop of the bitching and moaning that these people do so well. *sigh*


Upstairs, Cally and Kody argue over who gets the bigger room and Mom tells Kody to stop complaining. No comment. James goes batshit about seeing the basement. Apparently rusty pipes, cobwebs, and rat droppings really turn this kid on. Cally and Kody go down there with him and find the aforementioned cobwebs. A couple of rats also make an appearance and one attempts to score with Cally, but she freaks out and kicks it away. They all run back upstairs where Mom asks what they want for lunch. (I'll take a rat sammich, easy on the mayo.) The doorbell rings and Dad answers it, finding a neighbor standing on the porch. "He had straight black hair down to the collar of his gray T-shirt. He wore gray denim overalls. His eyes were small and black beneath bushy eyebrows and he had a black mustache." The guy introduces himself as Glen Hankers and asks if they need any help around the house because he just happens to be a handyman. For all these people know, this guy could be a psychotic maniac (and in this town, the chances are HIGH) but Dad acts like he's an old friend and invites him right on in. They explain about the rat issue and Mr. Hankers says he can take care of that right away.

That night, Cally sits in her room writing in her diary. Is it a snooze? You bet your sweet ass it is. She recaps her day ("I never expected such a run-down, dark, gloomy, tacky place!"), confesses that she can't stop thinking about Rick, the boy toy she left behind in her old town ("I wonder if he's been thinking about me." Not if he's smart.), and pretends to care about Kody's feelings ("I hate it that she's so jealous of me! What am I supposed to do?" For starters, shut your face.) Cally falls asleep to the sound of rats shuffling their feet.

The next morning at breakfast, Cally says she's going to look for a job and she's gonna meet glamorous people and become famous before summer's end. Where the hell does she think she is?! Kody mumbles that she's gonna look for a waitressing job, but everyone pretty much ignores her because she's not Cally. Mom asks Kody to go open the window because they need some clean air in here/ She does and a moment later..."My hands! My hands!" The window crashed down on her hands for no reason, but they're not broken or amputated or anything so I don't care.

At 5:00 PM, the girls meet up at The Corner to talk about their job search. After looking all day, Cally got a job at a boutique called Two Cute that sells cheesy shit to couples. As if finding a job is that easy. Kody is still unemployed and depressed. They finally head home and when they get inside, something jumps out of the dark onto Cally! SQUEEE! It's just a cute cuddly puppy that Dad picked up at the ASPCA for James. He named it Cubby. Awwww.


If it got any cuter, I'd have to kill myself. Anyway, it's now time for dinner. Dad says that since Kody couldn't find a job, she could help with the household repairs because Mr. Hankers could use it. Kody agrees and the rest of dinner is spent talking about Cubby...until Dad gets knifed. He's preparing to carve some meat off the roast when somehow the knife ends up in his side. he blames Cally even though it's obvious she didn't do it. HA! Mom rushes Dad upstairs to check the wound and see if it needs stitches. While they're out of the room, Kody tells Cally "A ghost pushed his arm. I know it." I'm gonna go with Dad's theory and blame Cally.

That night, Kody and Cally talk about what happened earlier (Dad ended up needing 12 stitches) and Kody insists she felt "a cold presence" which Cally just shrugs off. Kody gets pissed: "You don't know everything! I hate it when you act so smug and superior!" Hallelujah. They argue for a few minutes until Kody stomps off to her room. Cally goes to sleep, but is awakened a few hours later by "a soft knocking on her bedroom door." She opens it...but there's no-one there. OoOoOo! The knocking continues through the night...

The next morning, the new housekeeper, Mrs. Nordstrom, arrives. Then Mr. Hankers shows up and a few minutes later, Cally gets a call saying she won't start work until Monday so Dad volunteers her to work with Hankers and Kody. This should be a disaster. Cally and Kody go outside to start working on the roof. Well, KODY works on the roof. Cally's only job is to hold the ladder for her. Once again, this should be a disaster. Kody starts climbing and the ladder starts shaking. When she's almost at the very top, the ladder starts jiggling out of control. Kody screams at Cally, but it's not her fault. The ladder eventually topples backward and Kody falls HARD. We learn from one of Cally's diary entries that Kody is sore, but she didn't break anything. She also confesses to being totally freaked out by everything that's been happening lately. Oh, and she's damn sick of being blamed! After she's finished writing, Cally tries to fall asleep, but that knocking starts again. Ghosts suck.

Cally wakes the next morning and finds that all of her clothes have been taken from her closet and strewn across the room. She runs downstairs and demands to know where the dog is. Unless the dog suddenly sprouted opposable thumbs and grew a couple feet overnight, I doubt he did it. It wasn't you, was it, Cubby?


See? Anyway, no-one can find Cubby and Cally is pissed that they're more worried about the puppy that Cally's stinking wardrobe. She steps out onto the front porch and screams. "The porch was splattered with blood. Cally raised her hands to her face as she saw the huge blood-scrawled number on the house wall. 99" Everyone comes running at the sound of Cally's blood curdling screech. Mom and Dad declare this is paint and just the work of some prankster. Everyone quickly forgets all about it and starts searching for Cubby (that damn well better not be HIS blood). Cally goes around the house and spots this dude named Anthony that works at The Corner. He's mowing a lawn, but stops to come over and talk to Cally because he's seen her around and thinks she's cute or something. Since Cally thinks this guy is hot, she forgets about Cubby. He tells her he doesn't actually live on Fear Street and proceeds to give her Fear Street's sordid history. He says he lives in the Old Village and calls it "pretty nice" which is a total lie because everyone knows that's the shitty part of town. When Cally tells him she lives at 99 Fear Street, he looks pretty spazzed out, but he doesn't get a chance to explain why because James comes running up and demand that Cally help him look for the dog, dammit!

Later, Anthony comes over even though he's freaked out by the place. Cally, Kody, and Anthony eat sandwiches and potato chips and then Cally starts begging to know about the evil behind 99 Fear Street. Basically there were a bunch of coffins with the Fear family crest on them that were found on this land. Instead of leaving them alone, they were dug up and the house was built. Ever since then, horrible things keep happening. Suddenly James's screams interrupt the story. They run to see what happened and find him standing in the kitchen repeating "Where is he?" He keeps hearing Cubby barking and it sounds like it's coming from the house, but James can't find him. Anthony leaves a few minutes later because he has better things to do than find the lost dog (you suck, Anthony!) but Cally, Kody, and James keep searching. They don't find anything. SOB.

That night, after writing in her diary as usual, Cally thinks about Anthony until her mind wanders to the knocking she hears every night. She decides she'll stay awake until she hears it and right after the first knock, she'll open the door. What's that gonna do? If it really is a frigging ghost, it'll immediately disappear. A moment later, she hears the knock and opens the door only to find KODY standing there. Yes, it turns out she's been doing the knocking in a feeble attempt to get Cally to believe in ghosts. She also was the one who scattered Cally's clothes everywhere and painted the '99' on the porch. What a disappointment. At least before there was the possibility of a ghost. You're killing my spirit here, Kody. Cally basically tells her to shut up. Good idea.

Later, Cally still can't fall asleep. She goes into the bathroom to splash some water on her face (why would that help her sleep? It would cause you to be MORE awake if anything. Idiot.) and gets a disgusting surprise. "Chunky green liquid, as sour smelling as vomit, poured out of the faucet, plopping into the sink. It ran down Cally's cheeks, dripped on to her neck, then on to the front of her nightshirt." Yum. She pukes and Kody comes in to see if she's ok. The chunky green soup just keeps on rolling out of the faucet and Dad comes in to try and shut it off but he has no luck because this shit is evil and you can't stop the evil! Mwhahahahaha! James comes in and says he can hear Cubby and the sounds are coming from the basement so he rushes downstairs. Mom comes in next (why are these fools still standing in that nasty ass bathroom?!) and they all freak out because she's covered in blood, but it isn't hers, it just dripped on her. Yeah, I have no idea what's going on. James comes running back in, sobbing because he hears Cubby, but he can't find him. Sad face :( Dad decides there must be something in the attic causing all this and he goes up there. He comes down a few minutes later and he's going nuts because he found some human heads and a while lotta blood. Well, that's just DANDY.

Later, the police come, but they find nothing in the attic. A doctor also shows up (as if) to give Pops something to knock his hysterical ass out. Mom and the girls clean up the bathroom and wonder what they can do to rid the house of the eeeeevil presence.

The next morning, Dad decides he'll call Mr. Lurie (that real estate guy) because the crooked bastard obviously knew something was up with this house when he sold it to them. Lurie's business card doesn't have a phone number, but his address is there and he's conveniently located on Fear Street. Cally goes with her dad to visit Mr. Lurie and when they reach the address, all they find is an empty lot. Dad is understandably sad and mad because Lurie took their money and ran. Ass. Cally mentions that Anthony told her the town historian knows everything about everyone and he can be found at the library so that's where they go next. The historian, Mr. Stuyvesant, finds the info about Lurie and it's very unappetizing: "Jason Lurie, real estate agent. In July of 1960, found his family murdered in a new house he had built for them. Hanged himself one month later in the same house. House located at 99 Fear Street." So a dead guy sold them the house. Guess they won't be getting that money back after all...

More from Cally's diary. Everyone is completely numb about the Lurie news. They're saddened by the fact that they continue to hear Cubby bark and howl, but they still can't find him. But who gives a damn! Cally has a date with Anthony! Yeeeeee- hawwwww! *sigh* Repulsive. Just repulsive.

On Saturday night, Anthony comes over to eat dinner before he and Cally leave for the movies. The menu: spaghetti and brownies. Mom, Dad, and James are visiting relatives so it's just gonna be Kody joining them at dinner. And then they're gonna leave her alone in the creepy haunted house. Nice. They make out for a few minutes and then go into the kitchen to eat. Afterward, Anthony helps clean up and all he gets for his trouble is having his fingers eaten by the garbage disposal. "The hand was a mangled pulp, a pink and red mass of skin, blood, and bone." Wow. *cough*thatsurewasawesome*cough* The girls manage to find his fingers and take him to the hospital where the doctor sews the digits back on.

The next evening, everyone is very tense. James is pacing the floor in worry over Cubby and Dad is losing his mind because he doesn't have the money to move away from this cursed shithole. Eventually, they all just go to bed and try to forget everything for at least one night. Cally writes in her diary until she hears James crying out. Everyone runs into his room and they can plainly hear him calling to them, but he's nowhere to be seen. The puppy AND the child? You're a real class act, Stine. Mom starts screaming that James is in the wall, and Dad starts clawing at the wallpaper until his fingers bleed. They've officially lost it. Dad says they need the sledgehammer in the basement. Let's just not question why they have a sledgehammer. Cally goes down to get it and is greeted by dozens of rats. Looks like Mr. Hankers has been slacking on the job. Cally grabs the sledgehammer and an iron pick and races back upstairs without any problem from the rat community. Dad makes a giant hole in the wall for nothing: James isn't there, but they can still hear him. They run to the stairs and Mom ends up falling down them and breaking her arm. Could it get any worse? "Mommy, where are you? Come get me! Hey, I found Cubby!" That's great, James, but Mommy's gonna be pickled on painkillers pretty soon so be a good boy and put a sock in it. Since their father doesn't give a shit about his wife (he's climbing up to the attic) the girls try to help. Cally attempts to call an ambulance, but the phone is dead. (Is there anything MORE cliched?) Cally watches her father climb the ladder to the attic and sees a black mist come down and cover his head. It's only there for a moment, but once it disappears, Dad says he's gone blind. *sigh* Off to the hospital we go...

Mom gets her arm set in a cast and the girls take her home, but Dad has to stay at the hospital. They all head for bed. Cally can't sleep and sits in her bed and cries for James instead. Then she hears three knocks at her door. She assumes it's Kody and storms across the room to open the door. But there's no-one there and the house is pitch black. She sees a white figure at the end of the hallway, mistakes it for Kody, and runs to it. When the figure turns, Cally finds herself staring at...herself. The ghostly figure tells Cally to go read what she wrote earlier in her diary. The pages reads "I DIED TONIGHT." Why write it down? As if you would need a reminder! Cally freaks out, but her ghost simply laughs in her face. How the hell are there TWO of her? Oh well. Cally finds herself drowning in bubbling hot tar and surrounded by decayed faces of the dead. The evil of the house has consumed her and now she's nothing but a pissed off ghost.

The family moves from 99 Fear Street (no mention of Dad. I assume he's dead.) Kody vows to come back someday, but Cally laughs and says to herself that Kody will pay dearly if she returns to this place.

Epilogue

The deceased Mr. Lurie has sold 99 Fear Street to a new family. Cally is very attracted to Brandt, the teenage son. "Watching Brandt, Cally was already making plans." Gross.

Conclusion? I really liked this one. But I'd like to know how Cally died. Is that revealed in the next book? And what about Cubby, James, and Dad? Did they just disappear forever? THE HUMANITY!

Next time: "The Prom Queen" Someone is offing the prom queen candidates one by one. Will the police find the murderer before all these girls are dead? SPOILER: No.