At first, Brandt McCloy thinks moving to Shadyside is great. He has attracted the attention of three beautiful girls -- Meg, Jinny, and Abbie. But Brandt hasn't heard the terrifying stories about his new home -- 99 Fear Street. He doesn't know about the headless bodies, the bleeding walls. He doesn't know that Cally Frasier still haunts the house and plans gruesome deaths for him and everyone close to him. Poor Brandt -- what he doesn't know WILL hurt him.
*If you need a refresher, link to The First Horror is in the sidebar.*
Cally Frasier's ghost is in the attic of the eeeeevil house on 99 Fear Street. She's watching a new family move in and her ghostly eyes are drawn to the hunk of burnin' dry-lipped love called Brandt. (This specimen is also known as teenagus dooficus. The Latin makes it fancy!) Cally is a sad and lonely ghost because the eeeeevil drove her entire family away and she's been spending her spectral days lamenting the fact that the eeeeevil is now inside her. Lest we forget how this house became chock full of evil, Cally has the story: "The house was built over 30 years ago, she knew. Built on cursed land. The first owners never moved in. The man who built the house brought his family to see it and left them alone for five minutes. Five minutes. When he returned, his wife and children were dead. Their heads ripped from their bodies. He hanged himself one month later. Here. In this house." Truly tragic...and maybe a wee bit awesome. What am I saying?!? It's the eeeeevil talking through my feeble frame! [End Prologue]
We begin this tale of unimaginable EVIL (I'm already sick as hell of that word)with the McCloy family moving all their crap into their new residence, the cursed house at 99 Fear Street. Mr. McCloy is screaming at one of the movers for not being more careful with the boxes of priceless tribal masks. Yeah, I know how pissed I get when people throw MY tribal masks around willy nilly. Like, don't they understand that those things are priceless artifacts (i.e. worthless shit) that came from prestigious locations around the world (i.e. a discounted bin of Mardi Gras favors at the Dollar Tree)? Dammit, people! Anyway, instead of bothering to help in any way, Brandt sits nearby stroking his cat Ezra and staring at his new home. This house is just like all the others on Fear Street: a delapidated dump full of rats and evil. Don't look so excited, Brandt. He isn't...he's disappointed in this cesspool he's being forced to live in. It only gets worse when Dad comes out of the house screaming about the rats. The rats are your friends! Or they will be when you realize they're not going anywhere. No poison or trap can kill a Fear rat. FACT. A moment later, Mr. Glen Hankers (the handy dandy repairman from the first book) comes over to introduce himself. He and Dad head inside the house to check out the rat situation. I guess old Hankers isn't interested in telling this family what happened to the last tenants of this house. Brandt tells his mom he's going to help the movers and Mom says he shouldn't because of his "condition". Is he pregnant? As I ponder Brandt's gestation, he starts unpacking a box that has dad's blowing darts inside. Don't ask. I won't either. Somehow one of the spears "seems to jump" out of Brandt's hand and stabs Ezra who promptly bleeds to death. NOOOOO! One chapter in and there's already dead cat blood on your hands, Stine. You're an evil man. An evil man indeed. The family consoles themselves by saying Ezra didn't suffer. Uh, when DIDN'T he suffer? He slowly bled to death! SOB!
They heal their wounds (but not Ezra's! SOB!) that evening over pizza. Like a healing grease scented salve, the pizza coaxes their troubles away with its pepperoni and cheese goodness. They talk about all the healthy food they ate on the island of Mapolo, their last place of residence. They left a tropical paradise to live on Fear Street. Morons. Anyway, Mom recalls how much Brandt loved the food: "You asked me to make stewed mushrooms and coconut for your birthday, remember?" Ew. Then Mom shuts her pizza pie hole to hand Brandt a glass of Pepsi. WHAT?! PEPSI? Do they not know they could be shot in the back for not drinking Coke in this town?? All Coke, all the time...or else. The conversation turns to Zina, an old woman who lived on Mapolo until she vanished. Her coked out daughter said she turned into a panther and told Brandt he was the only one who could find her. Mercifully, Brandt's parents decided to move before he could go the way of the...panther.
That night, Brandt lies awake in bed thinking about poor Ezra. But his thoughts are interrupted by a scratching sound. He assumes it's just those dirty rats and notices the noise is coming from the attic so he decides to investigate. You, Brandt, are in a Fear Street book and should know that's it never the rats and will never be the rats. He enters the dark, musty attic and hears claws clacking and a growl. Suddenly something leaps at him, bounces off him, and falls to the floor. It's a fat raccoon who just tried to sumo Brandt out of the attic. Upon failing, the raccoon does battle with Brandt. Seriously, the next few pages consist of Brandt holding a broom and the raccoon hissing and growling before grabbing the broom with its mouth and snatching it from Brandt. Then it ditches the broom and bounces its fat rump out the window. Dude got pwned by a damn raccoon. Enough. Said. The parents come running and Brandt tells them the story, but he blames the raccoon's bad assery on rabies instead of the AWESOME VIRUS. Mom and Dad say Brandt shouldn't have been engaging in mortal combat with a raccoon on account of his "condition".
Cally's ghost watches Brandt slump back to his bedroom in defeat. She's quite amused by what took place and thinks Brandt's fear makes him even cuter. She also has a thought about the raccoon: "That raccoon didn't have rabies. There's another reason it acted so strangely. There's something else that made it act viciously. The evil, Brandt. The evil in this house." HELL to the NO. The evil is not responsible for everything! That raccoon is genetically fierce, you fools! And what do you know anyway, Cally? You're an invisible pile of DEAD.
The next morning, Brandt goes for a drive instead of helping his parents unload groceries like his father asked him to do. Brandt drives like the idiot he is and ends up losing control of the car, swerving out of the path of an oil truck, and squealing to a stop right at the rim of a gorge. He backs up and drives home at 80 MPH. "That was fun. Man, that was fun!" Mush head.
That night, Brandt can't go to sleep because he's thinking about starting school the next day. Then he feels cold air blowing across him just as sharp teeth clamp onto his shoulder. Pleasepleaseplease let it be Raging Raccoon back for another round! Brandt screams and Dad comes running in. He examines the shoulder (no marks) and checks the room (no vengeful critters). He chalks it up to Brandt being nervous about school and having nightmares because of it. Thanks, doc.
When Brandt comes downstairs the next morning, he meets Mrs. Nordstrom, the housekeeper who made an appearance in the first book. Mr. Hankers recommended her to Mom and she was hired on the spot. Hankers...Nordstrom...could they too be ghostly? Do I care? Eh. Brandt talks to his parents about his unpleasant experience the night before and suggests it was a spirit and the house is haunted. Mom and Dad basically roll their eyes at that and yet Brandt begs them to check it out as if they have Ghostbusters on speed dial.
Brandt finally leaves for school and meets a girl named Abbie Ayler on the sidewalk. They talk for a bit and he learns that Abbie goes to Darwin Academy (an girl's school) and likes to talk about the creepy crap that goes down on Fear Street. She tells him about the twins that lived in house before and that she heard that one of them died inside the house. Brandt just thinks about how cute she is. *sigh* He happens to glance up and sees what appears to be his father's body hanging in the window. Abbie sees it too and screams. Brandt runs upstairs and is shocked to find his father very much alive. The figure in the window? "A suit! It's only a suit!" Excellent sleuthing, Columbo. Relieved that his father isn't dead and hanging in a window like a forgotten muu muu, Brandt asks Abbie out for Saturday afternoon (they're going to "study". Unless Brandt's "condition" acts up.) and runs off for an exciting (and excruciating) day at Shadyside High.
Brandt is standing in line in the cafeteria getting hit on by yet another girl. Her name is Jinny Thompson and she also introduces her friend Meg Morris. Then they introduce him to a jock named Jon Burks who thinks he's awesome because he can spin a basketball on his finger. I bet Raging Raccoon could spin a ball on each paw. Suck it, Jon. Jon says Brandt should try out for the basketball team and Brandt agrees even though he never plays basketball. Jon then tells Jinny not to forget their upcoming date because he had to fight for his right to drive his parents' car. And by 'fight' he means he whined for an hour straight until his parents couldn't take it anymore and threw the stinking keys in his face.
That afternoon, Brandt shows up at basketball practice to show the team and Coach Hurley what he can and/or can't do. I'm getting high on the impending embarrassment! Even though the coach tells Brandt he's doing good, he actually kinda sucks and gets tired really quickly. Sadly, nothing embarrassing happened. My high was wasted.
After practice, Brandt walks home and decides not to tell Mom about b-ball because she would kill him. I assume this is because of his "condition" that no-one cares enough to tell us about. he dodges his parents and goes to his room where it doesn't take him long to realize there's a weird glow coming from beneath his closet door and the stench of rot is so strong it makes him nauseous. Should've washed those dirty Hanes, Brandt, you filth. He touches the doorknob and feels slime dripping from it. He opens the door and a heavy white cloud floats out and starts choking him. It doesn't get to finish, though, because Mom hears Brandt's shrieks of terror and rushes into the room where the mist immediately vanishes. Of course the mist was Cally who is after Brandt for reasons unknown.
The next afternoon, Brandt is back at basketball practice. YAWN. Jon elbows Brandt in the gut and he falls hard on his arm. Everyone freezes and stares in awe as a huge black bruise spreads over Brandt's arm. Jon grins a douchey grin as if proud of his handiwork. YAWN.
Brandt lays in bed that night thinking about his day. Then he starts hearing creaking noises from the attic and decides to play Nancy Drew again. Because he is an idiot. He creeps upstairs, turns on the light, and sees nothing except a notebook lying in the middle of the floor. MENACINGLY! It has Cally's name written on it which means it's her diary. Brandt doesn't mind, though, and immediately starts reading. He realizes that Cally was one of the twins that Abbie told him about. He reads the story of the house and Cally's thoughts on how cute Anthony is and how gross it is when people gets their heads ripped off which is supposedly what happened to the very first residents of 99 Fear Street. Brandt decides the house really is haunted and he was right all along. He wonders if Cally was the twin that died and his question is answered when he reads the last page which simply says "I died tonight." That never fails to amuse. Did she really need a written reminder that she was dead? Me thinks that's something you wouldn't forget. Except you can't remember or forget anything when you die. Because you're dead.
The next day, Brandt is sitting in Mr. Ross's chemistry class, totally spacing out and only paying attention to Jinny's miniskirt. "She looks awesome, Brandt thought." I hope he gets his testicles roasted on a bunsen burner. There's some arguing among Meg and Jinny about who will be Jon's lab partner and who will be Brandt's. Meg ends up with Jon and Jinny with Brandt. After class, Jinny confesses she didn't want to be paired with Jon because he sucks at chemistry and life in general and would have made her do all the work. Then Brandt asks her to come to his house on Saturday so they can get started on their "project". Uh...what about Abbie?
Basketball practice again. Jon shows off and when Brandt tries to do the same, he dislocates his shoulder. Coach Hurley pops it into place and Brandt goes off to the nurse's office. Jon smirks. I die a little inside.
As Brandt is walking home later, he tries to think of a way to explain to his parents why his arm is in a sling. "Fist fight in the student senate?" HAR HAR HAR! Except not. Suddenly Meg pops out of nowhere and Brandt screams "Stay away!". Smooth. He realizes it's only Meg and calms down. She makes a "joke" about it: "I know you didn't want to be my lab partner, but I didn't know you were terrified of me!" Shut up, Meg. She snuck up on Brandt to tell him about Jon and his horrible, awful, no good, very bad temper. "He got suspended last year for beating up a kid in Waynesbridge. The kid spent two weeks in the hospital." So you might wanna rethink your "study date" with Jinny, Brandt. Unless the thought of internal bleeding excites you. A moment later, Meg and Brandt are kissing. "She's really awesome, Brandt thought." What the hell? She tells him to come over on Sunday to hang out and he tells her that sounds great. She runs off to her house to record this EPIC event in her Lisa Frank diary and Brandt walks home. He spots Abbie and mentally freaks out because he FINALLY remembers he asked her to come over on Saturday too. He cancels with Abbie because he figures he's got a better chance of engaging in "extracurricular activities" with Jinny. Abbie is disappointed (WHY?!) but says they can reschedule and goes home. You're not missing anything, Abbie. A brick wall can give you everything Brandt can. And possibly more. Brandt goes inside with a big grin on his goofy face. "He had to smile. Girls were throwing themselves at him right and left!" I'm going to barf. And I haven't thrown up in two years. TWO YEARS, Brandt!
Jinny shows up on Saturday and it's pretty obvious she's disgusted by his house and the fact that it's on Fear Street. Well, this is all you've got to look forward to if you stay with Brandt. The parents are out at a faculty tea at the community college in Waynesbridge where Brandt's dad teaches so Brandt and Jinny can "study" for hours! Brandt shows Jinny his dad's collection of "tribal warfare" items and tells her "My father is an expert on ancient rituals." Then they go upstairs to Brandt's room where Jinny notices the pouch that Brandt wears around his neck. "It's a good luck charm. It saved my life once." He doesn't tell how a pouch of Lucky Charms can save you from certain death. Instead, he waits upstairs while Jinny goes down for a COKE. Brandt thinks about how awesome she is (his vocabulary is lacking) when he hears her scream. He rushes downstairs to find a lot of broken glass and a lot of blood on Jinny who keeps screaming "Make it stop!" Brandt's parents come in and Jinny calms down enough to tell them the glass she was holding just shattered in midair, slicing her wrist. They carry her off to the hospital where she's bandaged up. Brandt walks her to the door of her house and she says "Next time, we'll study at my house." before shutting the door in Brandt's face.
As Brandt is walking home, he notcies he's being followed by a huge shadow. He panics and starts to run. He's almost home when he trips over a tree root and lays in the grass waiting to be accosted. By a shadow. Yeah. But Abbie comes running up before the shadow can take Brandt's innocence. Abbie laughs at Brandt because he fell flat on his face and Brandt doesn't like it. She apologizes and they sit on the porch as Brandt grills her with questions about the house. She really doesn't know any more than what she already told him. Brandt doesn't want to talk about it anymore so he asks no more questions. "He suddenly wanted to be somewhere safe and warm. And he didn't want to be alone." Ooo la la. He asks Abbie is she wants to go to a movie, but she says she can't. She asks if he wants to go the next night, but he has plans with Meg. Finally Abbie just goes home and Brandt goes inside. His mom and dad call him into the kitchen where they tell him too many girls could be bad for him. Don't want to overdo it! Brandt gets pissed and stomps off to his room. Boo hoo.
Later, Brandt attempts to sleep, but the footsteps in the attic are too distracting. Eventually he goes up there and once again finds nothing but Cally's diary. It's open to a fresh page and on it are the words "I made Jinny bleed. Abbie is next." Brandt is horrified and only becomes MORE so when he sees that it's Cally's writing. His response is to throw the diary against the wall. "I know there's evil in this house. But if anyone can beat it, I can." Is that part of your "condition"?
The next day, Brandt tells Meg about the diary. She just says it's weird and has to be someone playing a joke. Who could sneak into his attic every night without him knowing about it? Meg isn't too worried about this crap and starts kissing him...until her cat Lulu scratches Brandt. The animals are really the star of this show. To make things even more uncomfortable, Jinny shows up. She's shocked to see Brandt and tells Meg she'd like to speak with her in private. Brandt ears them having a whispered argument and he can't resist shouting "Hey, don't fight over me, girls! There's plenty of me to go around!" Hey, don't fight over him, girls! Just gut him like a fish and leave his entrails out for the birds! After all, there's PLENTY of him to go around. Jinny leaves and Brandt follows shortly after.
Brandt goes home to his precious attic to read the dead girl's diary. There's a new line: "Brandt, you cannot save Abbie." That goes without saying. he takes the diary to his room and hides it in a drawer. He hears a muffled voice and something that sounds like a child crying, but he can't figure out where it's coming from. Then the invisible child starts begging for his mother. "Come get me, Mommy. It's so dark here. Come get me! It's me--James!" James is Cally's 9 year old brother who got trapped inside the wall in the first book and the family couldn't get to him so I guess they gave up and left him. Nice. Brandt remembers reading about James in Cally's diary and he rushes to grab a wooden mallet he just happens to have lying around so he can break into the wall. He makes a large hole and is greeted by the nauseating stench of putrid rot. Oh, and James's tiny skeleton gripping the tiny skeleton of his puppy (Oh Cubby! SOB!) who died along with him. "A ragged little pair of jeans and a shirt clung to the boy's bones." Too sad. Why didn't his dumbass parents find him? Brandt is now sure that the house is haunted by the ghost of James.
Later, Brandt shows his parents what he found. Dad thinks James is a poltergeist who has been messing with Brandt. Fool. Then he says they should call the cops so they can deal with the remains and get in touch with the family. Cally thinks about how sweet James was and how much she hates Brandt. "It's too late for James. Too late for me. And it's too late for you."
On Saturday morning, Brandt spots Abbie outside and tells her how great she looks. My eyes are rolling as hard as they can. They go inside and Abbie asks about his dad's tribal crap and about the island they used to live on. Brandt tells her about the islanders and how they drink animal blood to feed their animal spirits. Or something. Every time Brandt opens his mouth, I tune out. A moment later, the phone rings and Brandt runs to get it and hears Jinny's voice on the other end. But they don't talk long because Abbie is screaming bloody murder in the next room. A giant suit of armor fell on Abbie. Random much? Brandt drags it off her and she says it just flew at her. Then Brandt tells her that this was predicted in the diary of a girl who used to live here and the diary has had some new entires lately... Abbie just cries and says the house is evil.
The next afternoon, Brandt is attempting to go to basketball practice, but Jon is being an ass and won't get away from him. "Jinny and you--it isn't going to happen. You've got to remember one thing. You bruise real easily." Brandt isn't paying attention, though, because the shadow figure that once followed him home and practically violated him is now hovering in the hallway. Brandt doesn't want to be left alone with it so he tries to pick a fight with Jon. Jon just says he's a weirdo and walks off. Brandt follows and the shadow disappears. What is the point of having a shadows figure follow him around if it isn't going to DO anything?!
Later, Brandt rushes home to look in Cally's diary to find clues as to why the shadow is following him. Because it likes the smell of Axe body spray and Dippity Do gel. Then Brandt does into his father's study to search for a book that might have some information on evil spirits. He finds one titled "The Nature of Evil" which has some words for him: "Evil never dies. Those who do its work can be conquered. But evil itself never goes away. It only seeks a new vessel. Anyone can become a victim of evil. Even the kindest heart, the gentlest soul, is at its mercy." Brandt thinks that's what happened to Cally and that's why she's torturing him. He goes back to the attic and finds a photo of two girls and a little boy and thinks how happy they look and blah blah blah. The point is that Brandt doesn't want to have his life ruined like the Frasier family. Out of the silence of the attic comes shrill laughter. It goes on and on until Brandt can feel his eardrums melting and flees the house. Cally made a funny.
On Wednesday, Brandt is sitting in his house alone after school while his father works in the backyard. The doorbell rings and it's Jinny and Meg. Uh-oh. Jinny holds out a plate covered in aluminum foil and both girls say "Happy Birthday!" which makes Brandt confused because the last time he checked, it wasn't his birthday. Meg explains that they're leftover brownies from a bake sale last week. "They're not too stale. Only a little." Wow. They really hate you, Brandt. They all go inside to eat stale browniea. The girls can't resist jumping on those damn darts. Brandt takes down a blow gun when his father calls to him from outside. Brandt pulls on his sweater (the one that makes him look like Mr. Rogers) and runs outside, leaving Meg and Jinny to play with the deadly blow gun. Dad is standing beside a branch he cut, a branch that is blood red inside. Dad decides to call it bloodwood. Creative. He and Brandt cut the branch off and dark red sap oozes out. Then Dad remembers Brandt's "condition" and tells him to go on inside. Brandt does and finds Meg and Jinny lying on the floor with darts in their throat. Oops.
Meg and Jinny LIVE! The doctor says that they're lucky to be alive. Brandt and his father head home from the hospital and Brandt says it had to be the ghost, but his dad doesn't want to hear any apirit crap and tells him to stuff it. At home, Brandt goes to his room and ends up reading the latest diary entry. "No more Jinny and Meg. Abbie dies next." So Meg and Jinny are dead? What? Oh well. Brandt wants to warn Abbie and strangely, he finds her standing in the hallway outside his door. She walks inside, looks at the diary, and says "Why, Brandt, you've been reading my diary, haven't you?" OF COURSE. Abbie's (a corpse who Cally possessed) face contorts into a red eyed mask of monstrous EVIL! Also known as Cally. She says she's terribly lonely and plans on keeping Brandt here forever for company. Because that's how much she hates him. *sigh* Then she raises her hand and Brandt sees that she's holding one of his dad's hatchets. She buries the hatchet in Brandt's skull, but he doesn't die. I have a feeling we're about to find out what that "condition" of his really is. Cally is shocked and Brandt simply yanks the hatchet out of his head. "You can't kill me. I'm already dead!" Well, yeah, but...never mind. Brandt died two years ago on the island of Mapolo. HOW he died is completely ridiculous. His dad bought some darts from a Mapolo warrior who believed Dad cheated him somehow. So to get revenge the warrior came to Dad's hut one night and poured magical poison powder in the doorway. Then he growles "like a panther" in the hopes that Dad would open the door, step in the powder, and die a painful death. Over some freaking DARTS?! The plan backfires when Brandt comes to the door instead. Brandt tells Cally that it felt as if his feet were burning. The "fire" spread through his body until it reached his heart and he died. His father went to the local witch doctor who gave Brandt a new "life force" by killing a drifter and transferring that life to Brandt. Cally is happy that Brandt is undead and hugs him because now they can be together forever and ever. I THOUGHT SHE HATED HIM! Brandt looks over Cally's shoulder and freaks out: the shadow figure is back. Brandt asks "Who--who ARE you?" and the shadows fall away to reveal an old bald man dressed in white. It's the drifter from the island who has come for his spirit. Seriously. Turns out that pouch Brandt wears around his neck is the only thing keeping him alive and the drifter rips it off. Brandt immediately shrivels up and dies and the drifter lives again. Cally is sad because she's alone again. Apparently the drifter has no desire to hang out with mopey teenage ghosts. Good for him.
Cally is alone again. Cry me a river. She watches as Brandt's coffin rolls away in a hearse and thinks about how much she hates his parents. Ok... She decides to make life a living hell for whoever moves to 99 Fear Street next.
Conclusion? Only one thing made this book even remotely bearable...