Saturday, July 28, 2012

THE HORROR! (Part 1)

 99 Fear Street: The House of Evil (The Second-and-a-half Horror)

A continuation of the 99 Fear Street: The House of Evil trilogy by R.L. Stine

By Christopher P. Waltz

*Note: The following takes place between the events of R.L. Stine’s The Second Horror and The Third Horror and is purely a work of imaginative fiction based on Stine’s works. This story does not fall into an official continuity in the 99 Fear Street: The House of Evil saga.*


Margot stepped out of her mother’s beat up old Plymouth and stared at the house before her. It, like most of the other houses on Fear Street, had once been nice, but suffered neglect over the years and now seemed more creepy and menacing than anything. It wasn’t hard to believe though, as the realtor, Mr. Lurie, had told them that the house’s previous tenants had stayed only a short time, and the family’s stay before them had been even shorter.

Of course, this wasn’t the house they were moving into, just the one they were renting for the weekend while they tried to find a reasonably priced house in Shadyside. Aside from Fear Street, most of the rest of the town seemed pretty normal. And as long as they escaped all the scrutiny they’d faced in Edgetown, Margot didn’t care where they lived.

“Home sweet home?” Margot’s mother, Sharon, asked as she stood behind her awe-struck daughter.

“Hardly, but I guess it beats being called slasher-chick at school.” Margot answered, flipping her hair over her shoulder and glaring back at her mom, who answered her sarcasm with a saddened smiled.

Though no one in Shadyside knew, Margot Hagen’s family had become front-page news when her uncle decided to go on a homicidal rampage, stalking and murdering several teenage babysitters in their sleepy town. And while Margot hadn’t even spoken to her uncle in several years, not since his daughter had died, having the same last name had sealed the deal and she and her little brother, Derek, had been tormented in school so badly that their mother had made the decision to move halfway across the country to help them escape it.

“You won’t have to worry about any of that here,” Ms. Hagen said, squeezing Margot’s shoulder. Derek, who was eleven, ran past them excitedly and began peering through the house’s dust-covered windows. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I want to see inside!” Derek called back, his hands still cupped over his eyes as he stared into the house. Moments later, he leapt back from the glass, almost toppling over his own feet, and let out a frightened yelp.

“What is wrong with you?” Margot asked. She was an average-looking girl with shoulder-length brown hair and hazel eyes. And while she hadn’t been the most popular girl at her old school, she had decided that missing her best friends June and Gwen was going to be the worst part of leaving Edgetown behind forever. At least in Shadyside, she might be able to meet a nice boy who didn’t have to worry about her insane uncle trying to kill him if he got too close to her.

“I… I saw someone inside.” Derek gasped, backing away from the window even further and glancing over his shoulder to his mother and sister. “There was a girl inside. She walked right past the window!”

Ms. Hagen let out a slightly annoyed laugh at her son. “Derek, no one is inside. All the doors are locked and we can’t even get in until Mr. Lurie shows up with the spare key.”

“No, I saw her, I swear!” Derek cried out, but Ms. Hagen paid him no attention as Mr. Lurie seemingly appeared out of nowhere, walking up the Fear Street sidewalk towards the family, dangling a set of keys in between his fingers.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Lurie.” Ms. Hagen said, shaking his free hand smiling at the aging man. “Thanks for bringing the keys by on a Saturday. I can’t believe I forgot to take them when we talked last week.”

Mr. Lurie smiled, his lips curling over his teeth. “It’s not a problem! 99 Fear Street and I go way back, and it’s my pleasure to help you out while you look for the perfect house right here in Shadyside.”

Margot turned away so that neither Mr. Lurie nor her mother could see her rolling her eyes. She knew full-well that as soon as her family left, a film crew would be setting up shop in the house, getting last minute details laid out for the horror movie that was to be filmed in the house a few months later. Lurie had sealed the deal with the production company and the real estate office, meaning that he would be making more than a pretty penny from the rental. Why else would he have helped her mother rent the house for a weekend at such a cheap price?

As Mr. Lurie and Ms. Hagen continued to exchange pleasantries, Margot made her way to the car and opened the back door and letting her golden retriever, Rupert, out to explore. As the dog started to trot away, she grabbed his leash from her pocket and hooked it onto his collar.

“Derek, want to come with me while I walk Rupert? It might be fun to explore the town.” Margot called to her brother as he continued to stare at the house as if studying it intensely. Margot stepped forward and bent down to eye level with Derek, snapping her fingers in front of his face. He snapped out of his apparent trance, startled.

“What?” He asked.
“I’m taking Rupert for a walk. Let’s go.”

Several minutes later the two were walking through the middle of town, taking in the sights and realizing how similar Shadyside was to every other town they’d ever been in when Derek let out an elongated sigh, catching Margot’s attention. Though the two were six years apart in age, they got along pretty well for brother and sister.

“What is it?” Margot asked, knowing she would regret it as soon as the words had passed her lips.

Derek hesitated as if her knew what he was about to say was ridiculous and impossible, but he answered anyway. “I really did see someone in the house when I was peeking inside.”
“Derek…” Margot began.

“No, I swear! It was a girl with long blonde hair! She went right past the window and looked right at me!” He argued, raising his voice. “She smiled at me, Mar!”

Margot was at a loss for words, as she knew there was no such thing as ghosts. But at the same time, why would Derek make something like this up? It was possible that he didn’t want to make the move to Shadyside, but that seemed pretty farfetched since he had been as much a victim of bullying back home as she had.

She put her hand on Derek’s head and ruffled his shaggy hair, smiling at him. “Even if you did see some kind of spook, we are only staying in the house for two nights and then heading back home until we move. You have nothing to worry about.”

“You promise?” He asked, contemplating her words.

“Yes, I promise.”

The two turned to continue walking but stopped immediately as they discovered a guy, about Margot’s age, standing in front of them. He looked at them suspiciously and bent down to pet Rupert. He had long blonde hair and piercing blue eyes; if these were the kind of guys that lived in Shadyside, Margot found herself suddenly more eager to move than she had been before.

“Nice dog,” He said nonchalantly. “’I’m Parker.”

Margot let out a nervous laugh. “I’m Margot and this is my little brother, Derek.”

“No offense, but this is a pretty small town and I don’t think I know you. Are you new around here?”

“Not yet,” Margot joked as Derek rolled his eyes. “We’re just visiting for the weekend while our mom looks for a house to move into. We should be moving into town within a month or two though.”

An expression of understanding appeared on Parker’s face as he crossed his arms over his chest almost nervously, breaking eye contact with Margot and now focusing on almost anything but her. With his eyes staring firmly at a nearby tree, he asked “Are you the folks staying at 99 Fear Street?”

Derek spoke up before Margot could rationalize how Parker knew this about them. “Yeah, we’re staying at that haunted old dump.” Rupert let out a low bark as if to agree with the statement.

Parker didn’t speak, but continued to stare at the tree. Margot waved her hand in front of him and he once again focused on her. “Is there a problem?” Her voice came out a little more condescending than she’d intended, a problem Margot had encountered more than once in her life. “I mean, my brother’s been acting a little silly since we got into town. He thinks the house is haunted and that he saw some kind of ghost-girl through the window.”

Parker didn’t seem shocked at all by the comment and only nodded his head.

“What, you don’t actually think it’s haunted too, do you?” Margot prodded. “It’s a creepy house, but most of the houses on that street look like they could use some TLC.”

“Yeah, Fear Street had a bit of a reputation in Shadyside. But that aside, 99 Fear Street has more than a reputation; it has a legacy.”

“What are you talking about?” Derek asked, both frightened and interested.

Parker continued even though Margot’s expression said she wasn’t buying it. “That ghost girl you saw was probably Cally Frazier. The house was empty for thirty years until earlier this year when the Fraziers moved in. They seemed like a perfect little family with a mom, dad, twin daughters, and a little boy, but things started turning really weird, really fast. I didn’t know the twins well, but rumors spread around school fast that something bad was going on in the house. And no one can say for sure, but one day, the whole family just packed up and left,” Parker hesitated now, letting the story sink in for Margot and Derek. “Only, when they left, Mr. Frazier was blind, Mrs. Frazier had a broken arm, and they left without Cally and the little brother.”

Margot scoffed and threw her arms into the air, aggravated. “Do you really expect us to believe this, Parker?”

“It’s all true, Margot. You can ask anyone in this town what they think of 99 Fear Street and they will tell you that it’s a house of evil.”

Margot had had enough, beginning to lead both Rupert and Derek away, but Parker’s voice stopped them again. “It didn’t stop with the Frazier family, you know. Crazy, evil stuff kept happening when the next family moved in a few months later. My ex-girlfriend Meg almost died when she was visiting the guy who lived there. She got impaled by some tribal hunting spear and almost bled to death. She said something evil was in the house.”

“So what happened to this next family, Parker?” Margot asked.

“Yeah, what happened?” Derek chimed in, his voice cracking slightly.

Parker let out a sigh and shuffled his feet momentarily. “Basically the same thing happened to them as what happened to the Fraziers. They moved out a few weeks later, but without their son.” Parker paused for a moment, letting Margot and Derek take in the information. Neither of them seemed as skeptical as before. “The rumor is that he died in the house, just like Cally and her brother. Of course, no one can prove it.”

Rupert tugged at his leash, snapping Margot out of her thoughts. “We really need to get going. But if you wanted to tell us a little more about the house, you could stop by for dinner. I don’t think our mom would mind.”

Parker hesitated, running his hand through his thick, blonde hair and letting out a nervous laugh. He’d never been inside 99 Fear Street and honestly had never wanted to experience the house for himself. After all, ghost stories were only fun when they happened to other people.

“What’s wrong?” Margot asked. “Are you scared?”

Not wanting to seem like a scaredy-cat, Parker scoffed at Margot’s question. “I’m in. I’ll come by the house around seven, if that’s okay with you.”

“Of course it is. Do you need directions?”

Parker shook his head. “No, everyone in Shadyside knows where 99 Fear Street is.”

Moments later, Margot and Derek were on their way back to the house while Parker was walking in the opposite direction. It had become suddenly overcast, though the weather report on the radio had called for sunny skies. The wind picked up and Margot found herself thinking about the things Parker had told them about the house. Was it possible that something had caused terrible things to happen to the people who had lived there before? And if not, what had actually happened to Meg, Parker’s ex-girlfriend?

“You’re being really quiet,” Derek said as they walked towards the front door of the house. By the looks of things, their mother was still out looking for a house. Yet, when the duo came to the door, Margot quickly noticed that it was not only unlocked, but standing just slightly ajar.

Margot couldn’t help but think about her crazy uncle in Edgetown and instinctively stopped Derek from walking into the house before her. “Wait here,” She said in a stern and serious voice.

Before Margot was three steps into the house, Derek stepped in behind her. “No way; I’m staying with you.”

Though they would only be staying in the house for two nights, it had been completely furnished, complete with beds. Margot wasn’t sure if it was furniture left behind by the previous owners, since they supposedly left in such a hurry, or if it was new furniture that had been moved in by the movie production crew. The movie wasn’t set to start filming for another couple of months, but Margot didn’t know how soon they started getting things ready beforehand.

As they stepped through the house, nothing seemed out of place. The house was in need of some repairs, but both kids could tell that it had been very nice at some point in time. Perhaps, thirty years ago, it had been the nicest house on Fear Street, or maybe even in Shadyside, but now the wallpaper was peeling back and a musky basement smell had overtaken the entire first floor. Margot didn’t want to think about what the second floor smelled like.

“Maybe mom left the door open. Maybe she didn’t want us to get locked out.” Derek shrugged, still holding onto the back of Margot’s sweater.

“You’re probably right,” she agreed.

Just as Margot turned to walk towards the kitchen, she and Derek both heard a creaking noise coming from behind them. Margot was about to pretend as if she hadn’t heard anything, but Derek froze, making eye contact with her and refusing to break it. His eyes were wide and frightened, as if he suddenly remembered that even if their mom had left the door open, he had still seen something, or someone, when he was peeking through the windows.

“What was that?” Derek asked in a hushed voice as if it would keep the blonde ghost-girl from knowing where he was in the house.

Margot’s mouth gaped slightly in disbelief. “It sounded like a door opening… or maybe closing. Let’s just go into the kitchen and get something to drink. We’re just overreacting because of the stories Parker told us.”

Derek was less than convinced, but followed his older sister into the kitchen where she went to the fridge and asked him what he wanted to drink. His options were limited though, as they had only brought with them enough food to get through the weekend.

“Pepsi or Coke?” Margot asked, peering into the fridge. “And let me give you a hint: Pepsi.” Derek laughed at her as she tossed him the glass bottle and closed the fridge door. However, the bottle slipped from between Derek’s fingers and crashed onto the kitchen floor, shattering into thousands of tiny, sharp shards and sending soda across the entire room. Margot groaned, ignoring the look of horror on Derek’s face as she reached for a towel that had been laying on the counter. “Way to go, doofus! This is going to take forever to clean up!”

Derek remained speechless, but managed to point his finger directly behind Margot. His expression of terror took his sister by surprise as she quickly spun around to see what had caused it.

Behind her stood a short, plump, bearded man in coveralls who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Letting out a yelp, Margot threw herself backwards, slipping on the spilled Pepsi, and came crashing violently to the floor. She let out another, slightly more agonizing scream as the palm of her hand made contact with several shards of broken soda bottle.

The man stepped forward, without words, and reached his large, dirty hands toward her as she let out another scream. Derek instinctively dove behind the kitchen table and covered his eyes. The last thing he wanted to see was his older sister getting dragged helplessly into the basement by an overweight bumpkin of a ghost.

To be continued...