Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thirteen (Part Two)

* If your brain is still bleeding from Part One, do not continue. *

A Little Taste of Death by Patricia Windsor

"Louey had taken to reading the newspaper at breakfast every morning." I can already tell this story is going to be full of HORROR! Epic proportions the likes of which the world has never seen! *sigh* Sarcasm is ugly. But seriously, the first three pages consist of nothing but Louey (who is a girl. A girl named Louey. Yeah.) scouring the newspaper. Ok, if your story is only 12 pages long, it's not in your best interest to waste page after page on classified ads and obituaries. I'm looking at you, Patricia! Anyway, Louey only finds one thing of particular interest in the paper--an ad that says "Remember the lollipop? The man in a white hat?" Below that it lists a number for anyone who remembers the man and his lollipop (GROSS) to call. "It could save your life." I'm sure. Is the guy a serial rapist or something? How long has he been eluding the cops, offering his lollipop to unsuspecting passerby? We're not safe!!!

The rest of the day is a total bore. Louey is spending the summer with her bitchy, uptight grandma in a dull town called Dolonga. I guess that's why she's so into the paper--there's nothing else to do. Sad. She wonders around outside before coming inside to call the number about the lollipop man. Yes, Louey ate a lollipop. I'm having a hard time taking this seriously. Just when I think I've reached a decent level of maturity, the lollipop man comes along and ruins everything. Anyway, a man picks up and asks Louey a few questions about her lollipop experience. Then he tells her there's a meeting Thursday night and it would be in her best interest to come because "when you ate that lollipop, you ate death." Uhh...ok...?

Louey has no intentions of going to the meeting, but when Thursday evening rolls around, she finds herself heading for the unsavory part of town and searching for the address of the house where the meeting will be taking place. When she finds it, she hesitates before going in. A boy comes up to her and she asks if he got a lollipop, too. He says yes and they enter the house together. There are lots of people of various ages sitting around. A man stands and introduces himself as James and announces to everyone that they have two newcomers (Louey and Bobby Lee, the boy she just met). James tells the two a little about what they do here: "Louey, Bobby Lee, we'd like to tell you about our experiences. That's what we do here; share to give each other support. All of us have been called." Then the "sharing" begins and Louey listens in shock as people talk about all the nasty things they've done (no details). Is this Nymphomaniacs Anonymous? Because Louey's deep embarrassment makes me think it might be. It's only a matter of time before everyone unveils their lollipops. Then it's Louey's turn to talk and she blushes, saying she doesn't have any stories like THOSE. Finally she tells them about receiving her cherry lollipop. She was on a train with her mom when some guy in a white cowboy hat comes up to her and tells her everything is bigger in Texas and he can prove it. Ok, ok, I'll stop. He actually says "Look what I've got for you!" and hands her the lollipop before walking off. Her mother tells her not to eat it, but Louey does anyway because it looks fine to her. Don't take candy from strangers, fool! Otherwise you'll end up in a room full of probable sex crazed perverts who will try to pull you into their cultish world. Or something. Everyone starts talking about guilt and death and evil and I really wish I knew what the fuck is going on. Bobby Lee says they should all kill themselves (mass suicide? Maybe it IS a cult.) before it gets worse. Before WHAT gets worse?!?

Louey flees the room thinking about how crazy these people are. "Crazier than a bunch of pickled goats, her daddy would say." Are you fucking kidding me? PICKLED GOATS?!? What the hell?! This story is turning my brain into a useless lump of spaghetti. The sad thing is, I KNOW Patricia Windsor can do better because I've read a few of her books and they weren't bad. What the hell happened? Never mind. I don't wanna know. She must've suffered some severe psychological trauma to churn out something like this.

The next morning, Louey trudges down to breakfast and Grandma tells her there's a huge mess in the living room. What kind of mess? "The smell stopped [Louey]. Cloying and sickly sweet, and some undercurrent of the unmentionable. Smells that shouldn't be in living rooms." Apparently Grandma got mad because Louey stayed out too late last night and decided to throw the contents of her diaper across the room. Louey decides not to read the newspaper today. NOOOO! She mopes around in her room, thinking about the night before until she comes to the conclusion that Bobby Lee must have been joking about the suicide thing. Because suicide is an hilarious punch line. *sigh* Finally she decides to go back to the meeting place. There's a crowd outside and a few policemen gathered. Surprise surprise--James has slit his throat.

The next morning, Louey is back to her newspaper. I guess we're ignoring the horrible, bloody suicide? Ok then. Over the next few days, Louey recognizes several names in the obituaries. It seems that everyone who was at the meeting is now dropping like flies, offing themselves in various ways. Grandma tells her to stop dwelling on such morbid things and get some fresh air. Louey wanders around outside and thinks that she might be in love with Bobby Lee. First of all, you don't fall in love after spending 15 uncomfortable minutes with someone. Second, what the fuck does this have to do with anything? It's totally random...much like everything else in this story.

Louey has dreams about Bobby Lee every night which is why she thinks she's fallen in love with him. *sigh* In the dreams, they're riding a motorcycle. They stop and he hands her a knife with a coffin shaped handle and tells her to kill for him. Then she wakes up. THAT is love? No thank you.

One night, she has the usual dream, but at the end she stabs herself and Bobby throws her off the motorcycle. Ass. She wakes up, runs downstairs, and finds a dog boiling in a pot on the stove. WHAT? Then the doorbell rings, she answers it, and it's the guy in the white cowboy hat who gave her the lollipop. He tells her it's time to go, but she says she doesn't have to because she didn't eat the entire lollipop. "So I don't have to go with you now because I only had a little taste of death."

Grade: F Dear GOD. That was horrible. I've never read something that made so little sense. There was literally NO PLOT. Just random events smushed together. Get back on your meds, Patricia, and stop torturing us all.

The Doll by Carol Ellis

Some guy is walking along the beach at sunrise (wonder if he put that on his profile) when he comes upon an object wedges between two boulders. Since litterbug assholes frequently dump their garbage here, he assumes it's piece of trash. We're not told directly what it is, but it's gotta be a little box of some kind because the guy is warming up his hands to open the latch. End paragraph one.

Now we're going back three months for no reason. 16 year old Abby Rogers and her family have just moved into a house close to the location where the anonymous man will find the box (or whatever the hell it is). Abby and her younger sister Lindsay hate the house because it looks like the kind of dump you'd find on Fear Street. BURN. Abby's parents are divorced which is why Abby, Lindsay, and their mother Deanna moved here. So their douchebag father kicked them out and kept the old place for himself and his skanky mistress and their illegitimate spawn? Ok, so it doesn't say that, but I'm pretending that's what happened. Anyway, even though Abby is repulsed by the house, she's also drawn to it for some reason.

After dinner on their first night in the house, Mom starts assigning chores for the next day. Abby immediately says she'll clean the attic and her mother thinks she's a nutjob because it's really stuffy up there, but agrees and thinks about how nice it is to have stupid children to do your bidding.

The next day, Mom leaves for work and Abby climbs up to the tiny, hot, dusty attic while Lindsay goes outside to build a treehouse. Why the hell does she get out of working? Brat. Anyway, Abby feels that something is waiting for her in this attic and she won't be able to relax until she finds it. Ok, crazy lady. She digs around the attic until she comes upon a wooden box. Inside is a creepy ass porcelain doll that is described as looking like a dead child. It's wearing a lilac dress and has black hair with giant blue eyes that are boring right into Abby's soul and dammit, I hate dolls! Seriously, I have two porcelain dolls given to me long ago by well meaning relatives and those things have been buried in my closet beneath piles of clothes and blankets because I'm afraid if I pull them out and acknowledge their presence, they'll come to life and strangle me in my sleep with the silky ribbons from their dusty dresses. Yes, I'm insane. But I'm not alone: "The staring sky blue eyes seemed awake, aware, alive, and filled with an emotion so powerful that Abby gasped. For a moment, she thought she saw hatred in those eyes." See? Dolls will infect your once healthy brain with their dolly evil!

After Abby finishes cleaning, she takes the doll to her room. NOOO! She places it on a shelf beside some other junk. Later that evening, Lindsay comes in and tells her the doll is disgusting, but Abby doesn't care what she thinks. "Think of it this way, Lindsay--I just liberated her. She's a free woman now." Yeah, free to rip your eyes from their sockets. Abby goes to bed and wishes the dolls eyes weren't staring out. For some reason, they won't close...

School starts a week later and so do Abby's crazy dreams that are more like premonitions. On Friday night, Abby's friend Erin Gray comes to sleep over. They're in Abby's room talking about boys and such when Erin picks up the doll and asks what's wrong with it. Abby says nothing and changes the subject. You're screwed, Erin. You insulted the damn thing! As they're getting ready for bed, Erin asks if she can turn the doll around because it's big freaky eyes are scaring the crap out of her. Oh Erin. That night, Abby dreams that the doll stuck its tiny hand out near the staircase...and she's awakened by screams. In the hall, Erin tells her that she tripped on the stairs on the way to get a drink of water. Ooo!

A week later, Abby, Erin, and their friend Holly are sitting at Abby's kitchen table doing homework. They WERE in Abby's room, but that damn dirty doll wouldn't stop giving them her wide-eyed stare of DOOM! Everything is cool...until the stained glass lamp hanging over the tabletop falls on Holly's head! And Abby dreamed this the night before, but we get no explanation of how the doll did this or why Abby never said anything about it! And I just remembered that I also have old Barbies in my closet who probably hate me more than the porcelain dolls! I'm sorry for hacking your hair off with my dad's beard trimmer, Gloria! Don't hurt me!!! Ok, I'm cool now. Where were we? Oh yeah, Holly's bloody head. She needs four stitches blahblahblah life goes on.

One night, Abby is jerked out of sleep by her mother's shouts. She and her mother go outside and see that the treehouse where Lindsay is sleeping is on fire and yes, Abby dreamed this would happen. The dream thing pisses me off. It's completely pointless--the terrible events always happen before Abby can do anything about it. Or maybe she just doesn't give a shit. Maybe the doll is an alien cyborg who is planting these images...ok, I'll stop. Anyway, Lindsay miraculously survives with only first degree burns. No-one knows how the fire began. No-one except Abby: "Hours before her mother's cry had pulled her from sleep, she'd seen the match. Not tossed from a car, but torn from a matchbook and struck into flame by a slender white hand." That doll is such a bitch.

A week passes before Abby dreams again. But who gives a damn? Abby finally got asked out by Mark Helpern, her long-time crush! They're at her house and Lindsay passes by with the doll saying it fell. Mark says it's nice...but not as nice as Abby. Then they kiss and my head spins around in a 360 turn as I projectile vomit. Now that it's out of my system, I can tell you that Abby has a dream Friday night about a car crash and a giggling blue-eyed demon in a lilac dress.

It's now Saturday night and only a few hours before Abby's date with the majestic Mark. Unfortunately, Abby can't think of anything but her awful dreams. At 7:00 she showers and as she's digging through her closet for something to wear, she hears that childish giggle she heard in her dream the night before. Uh-oh. Abby ignores this, gets dressed, and finds out later that Mark is dead. She called Mark's mom and apparently Mark swerved to avoid hitting a little girl and hit a tree instead. After hanging up, Abby hears the giggle again and realizes it's coming from that psychotic doll who is maiming all her friends. Abby watches in horror as the doll begins to move. She runs over and shoves the doll into its wooden box and listens as it pounds on the lid with its little hands. I really love that part. Abby drives to a cliffside and tosses the box over the edge, relieved that it's gone for good. Now remember the man at the beginning? He's just pried open the box and is admiring the doll. He decides to give it to his niece for Christmas. Fool.

Grade: B I'm a sucker for a psychotic doll. The only reason it's not getting an A is because of those damn dreams.

House of Horrors by J.B. Stamper

Some dude named Mark is staring in the mirror, horrified at his shitty, haggard ass appearance. Well, that's what you get when you spend most of your life sucking on a crack pipe, buddy. We learn in the next paragraph that Mark's poor looks come from the fact that he's dressed like a vampire (none of that ethereal "Twilight" shit here) for the local House of Horrors. Spoooooky. The doors open and the visitors are led through each room while screaming their heads off like plastic spiders and cardboard coffins are the scariest things they've ever seen. HORRIBLE!

Finally the tour is over and Mark is excited--he's been invited to a party being thrown by the other guides. Considering that these assholes have ignored him since he started working here, this is monumental. And very suspicious. The plan is to hide until the manager, Mr. Hiller, leaves. Then they'll all come out and party. Yee haw! I think. Mark decides to hide in a room filled with wax figures. He waits for quite a while because a girl named Lisa (whom Mark has a raging crush on) told him everyone would meet in this particular room. After a while, Mark gets sick of waiting and creeps out of the room to search for the morons who are probably planning a really ugly surprise for him. Really, he doesn't think it's even a LITTLE odd that they're suddenly treating him like he's an old friend? Guess not because he moves from room to room calling out and getting no answer. When he reaches the dungeon, he realizes that there was no party. They just wanted to trick him into spending the night alone in this place. I hate to say I told you so, Mark, but I fucking told you so.

Mark is incredibly pissed and attempts to get out, but the place is locked up tight. He decides to get out of the dungeon and go upstairs, but hears noises nearby that freak him out. It sounds like footsteps creeping through the darkness and after soiling himself, Mark runs for the stairs. He bumps his head after getting distracted by a wax figure he could've sworn was in the library a little earlier, loses his flashlight, and is now running in pitch black. He still hears the footsteps and begins to run. He dashes into a room...and a moment later, a pair of fangs sink into his neck.

The next afternoon, Lisa comes in for work thinking about how funny it would have been to see Mark so scared. You suck. She enters the library and spots a wax figure that looks just like Mark...

Grade: B Me like everything except the ending. Why the fangs?

Where the Deer Are by Caroline B. Cooney

They're in a field. The end. *sigh* If only it were that easy. Moving on. A girl named Tiffany lives on Fawn Hill and hates that all the houses up here are deep in the woods. "Tiffany hated the woods. And the woods knew it." So the woods trips Tiffany with its branches and shoves pinecones up her butt as revenge. Anyway, Tiffany also hates the deer on Fawn Hill: "They were deer-oids." Is that like an android with hooves and hair? I can't believe just asked that question...OF COURSE it's like an android with hooves and hair! *sigh* Apparently Tiffany is terrified of deer because of their dull, lifeless eyes. They have no souls, dammit! Shut up, Tiffany. Deers seem to be quite attracted to Tiff even though she hates them. They're always hanging out in her backyard and she doesn't think they're there for the lush grass: "They had their eyes on her. Even in the dark, Tiffany could feel their eyes on her. Those muddy snow-melting deer-oid eyes." Ok, this chick is certifiably insane. SNOW-MELTING EYES?! Give me a break! It's just a fucking deer! Do you honestly think a damn deer has the capability to stalk you? She's acting like they're reading her diary and watching her shower through a hole in the wall. Weirdo.

Now Tiffany thinks about something ELSE that scares her: Dead Kid Curve. Seriously. This is a spot situated above a cliff where two kids went missing years ago. Everyone assumed the two simply ran away (did no-one think they plunged over the side of the cliff?) but Tiffany knows...well, it's not clear what she knows. Who cares anyway? After all, she's crazy. Maybe the deer kidnapped the kids and dragged them to the woods to be their human slaves. NOOO! Anyway, Tiffany and some of her equally nutty friends are walking to school and as they pass Dead Kid Curve (is it wrong that this name makes me laugh?) the biggest wacko of them all, Janie, starts babbling: "One of us is chosen. The cliff has decided. It just hasn't told. One of us will go today. I know it." Did a deer tell you that? The "leader" Kelso (ok, now I definitely can't take this seriously) tells Janie to shut the hell up and she does because he's such a bad ass. Are you sure?

Tiffany starts freaking out after they spot a deer in the woods. "She could see where the deer were: among creeping roots and strangling branches, past dead moths and roadkills." They're DEER, not Green Berets. They're not hiding in the bushes watching you!!! Dammit, you're gonna be the straw that breaks my back, Tiffany. They're still hanging out on Dead Kid Curve *snicker* and every one of these idiots believes that one of them will be chosen to die here. Don't flatter yourselves. Finally Kelso announces they'll be late for school if they don't leave now, mercifully preventing Tiffany from telling them that the deer are calling her name so she'll probably die soon. Damn you're nuts.

They arrive at school...and realize Janie is missing. Everyone except Tiffany decides to go back and find her. Tiff is just relieved that Janie probably died instead of her. Bitch. She goes to the bathroom, looks into the mirror, and sees a muddy deer instead of her reflection. Then the fucking thing starts climbing out of the mirror and Tiffany runs away. She starts running back home and ends up becoming the next victim of Dead Kid Curve (meaning she fell over the cliff while a damn deer watched).

Grade: F What WAS this?!?!

The Spell by R.L. Stine

This is the first time I've been relieved to read something by Stine. At least he doesn't write about deers who are part-time peeping toms. Anyway, a girl named Jennifer is staring at the phone wondering whether or not she should call the police about her friend William. She knows she should, but William will be here soon and he was always such a good friend. This leads to Jen thinking about her old group of friends: Erin, Stan, and Marty. And of course the possibly deranged William. They all used to play basketball and baseball together, but Marty would give William such hell about his poor athletic skills that it wasn't much fun. Ass. William prefers musical theater. One afternoon, he tells Jen that he's trying out for "The Music Man". Marty ends up getting the part William wanted. William takes up hypnotism which Marty makes fun of him for. Then Marty gets a job at an Italian restaurant...the job that William wanted. Ok, we get it--Marty is a total douche.

The group kind of falls apart after William loses his shit over the job thing. But one night, when they're all in a good mood, they meet up at a pizza place (yep, Stine definitely wrote this) where William attempts to hypnotize them with a teaspoon. It doesn't work for the obvious reasons and they don't see each other for a few weeks, also for the obvious reasons. When they do meet up again, it's in William's kitchen. Erin and Stan are making out, Marty leaves soon for work, and William asks if anyone wants ice cream. It's Heath Bar Crunch if you were wondering and yes, I would very much like some. After eating, they all go for a walk. William stops and commands Stan and Erin to stand in the middle of the road and they obey. It's...THE SPELL! But when did it happen? Did he put some crazy shit in the ice cream? Jennifer is horrified to see a semi heading right for them, but they don't get hit. William says they won't remember anything when he brings them back and he doesn't want Jen to say a word.

Life becomes nothing but a blur for Jennifer after that. One afternoon in the school parking lot, she's tempted to tell Marty what William did to Stan and Erin, but then she spots William hiding behind a Honda Civic, spying on them. Jen leaves and starts walking home as fast as she can, but William catches up to her. He acts like a complete freak, telling her "So you're on Marty's side, too. There's no point being on Marty's side. Marty is dead meat." Ooooo. He says he's going to hypnotize Stan and force him to kill Marty. Then he walks away. Have a good afternoon, sir. Jennifer runs inside and immediately calls Erin to tell her that William is gonna hypnotize she and Stan (why hypnotize Erin if Stan is doing all the dirty work? Why do I care?!). She tells Erin to pretend to be hypnotized and tell Stan to do the same and they'll figure out what to do with William later.

The next evening, William calls Jennifer and says Stan and Erin are already at his house and she should come join the party. Spare me. Jennifer rushes to William's house and finds them all seated in the kitchen. Erin and Stan are nervous and cackling like demented hyenas. Idiots. William offers them all ice cream (so it is in the damn ice cream. The Blue Bunny company doesn't appreciate this, William.) but before he gives anyone anything, he leans toward Stan and tells him what he wants him to do. The plan is for Stan to grab his baseball bat, head for the restaurant where Marty works, wait for Marty to take out the trash in the dark alley, and bash his head in. Sounds reasonable. Stan and Erin leave and Jennifer wants to go home, but William says no way. Apprently he hynotizes her, too, because the next thing she knows, she's in William's car and they're on the way to restaurant. Jennifer spots Marty's bloody body behind the dumpster and she flees the car, running until she's home.

She gets a call from William a little later. "I took care of Marty. I took care of Stan and Erin because they were on Marty's side. Now you're the only one left." Jennifer says he couldn't have hypnotized Stan and Erin because she told them to resist. "I didn't need to hypnotize them. They were already hypnotized, Jennifer. I hypnotized all three of you that day at the Pizza Palace." He says he gave them a "posthypnotic suggestion" so there was no need to ever hypnotize them again. All that with a damn teaspoon? I say nay. William hangs up the phone and Jennifer sits there staring at it waiting for him to arrive and tell her what to do next.

Grade: C I could take it or leave it. *cough*But I'd rather leave it*cough*

Well, we're finished with another batch of stories. Yes, my head is aching, too. But I know what will make us all feel better--the knowledge that there are still five more to go before we're finished with this book. NOOOO! Oh yes.

1) "Dedicated to the One I Love" Diane Hoh
2) "Hacker" Sinclair Smith
3) "Deathflash" A. Bates
4) "The Boy Next Door" Ellen Emerson White
5) "Collect Call (Part Two): The Black Walker" Christopher Pike

Ohdearsweetmercifulheavens I do NOT want to read that last one...DIE BOBBY!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thirteen (Part One)

Book Description:

You don't really want to read you? [No.] The masters of horror are waiting to take you on a terrifying ride, and there are thirteen stops. Meet the new guy in town--very handsome, very sexy, and very deadly. [With very dry lips.] Dine on sweet and wonderfully inviting confections--they're good to the last breath. Learn that some spells can never be broken. Inside you'll find the works of thirteen masters of horror. [You use the word 'master' too loosely. And you obviously don't know what it means.] Let Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, and the rest of our macabre crew show you the beauty in your worst nightmares and the terror in your most exquisite dreams... [Huh?]

My Description:

Collect Call - Part One by Christopher Pike

The first line of this story makes my spirits plummet to some foul nether region I care not to imagine (a.k.a the hamper which houses my brother's dirty underwear. Barf-o-rama.) "The party was a bummer from the start." Now that doesn't seem SO bad, but in the land of Point Horror, that's an indication of shitty things to come. Oh well. I'm armed with a bottle of Klonopin and a tub of Breyers cookies and cream. I can DO this! What the hell was I talking about? Oh, the party. Yeah, it sucks. Janice Adams likes a guy named Bobby Walker. A girl named Caroline Spencer also has a thing in her pants for old Bob. What shenanigans! This will never end well! Har har har! Anyway, Bobby has only been around for a few months "just long enough to get all the girls in Chesterock High sweating." Ooo la la, Mr. Pike. Has he got you sweating, too? Forget I asked. Look, all you need to know about Bobby is that he's Chesterock's James Dean.

A guy named Randy Claud is putting on this party. He's the BMOC and likes to tell people about Republicanism, fine wine, and the stock market. Yep, sounds like every teenage boy I ever knew. Except not. Back to Janice and Caroline (why even bother mentioning Randy? We'll probably never hear from him again because I'm sure this story is gonna be allll about Janice and Caroline's big cat fight over Bobby and tight jeans). Janice hates Caroline because she's a blond cheerleader with big bazongas who can't keep her mouth shut.

The party is extremely dull--everyone just sits around smoking cigarettes and drinking beer that someone probably mooched from their boozy parents. Janice is sitting in a corner with Randy talking about Bobby. She says he probably never takes that leather jacket off and Randy says "He takes his pants off. He's in my P.E. class." Uh...ok. This seems to excite you, Randy. Combine that with the fact that no-one even mentioned Bobby's pants and I'd say you've got a big old gay crush on him. No-one can resist this guy! Janice wants to know what Bobby looks like in his underwear, but that's info that Randy is keeping close to his heart (or crotch). They talk some MORE about Bobby and we learn that he's tough and a loner. So basically he's a giant leather-clad stereotype.

Finally Janice works up the nerve to go talk to him. The conversation is so painful and pathetic I don't even wanna repeat all of it. It mostly consists of Janice making fumbling remarks and Bobby saying things like "You know what I really hate about this scene? The people. All of them except you, Fran." and "You got it, sister." Run, Janice. He's an ass with 2.5 brain cells working at half-mast who can't even remember your name. Thankfully, she's distracted by everyone singing happy birthday to Caroline. OF COURSE it would be her birthday. Barf. After the singing dies down, Bobby calls Caroline over saying he has a present for her. Ew. That's the kind of thing a guy says just before throwing a burlap sack over your head and tossing you into his big dirty van. Janice's spirits sink because she thinks Bobby likes Caroline: "I look like a bookmark next to her." What the hell does that even mean? Oh well. Go ahead and be a bookmark. Anyway, Bobby got Caroline a cassette which he didn't bother wrapping: "I would've wrapped it. But you just would have had to open it." *sigh* Caroline thinks this is hilarious and laughs like a fucking loon before asking who the cassette is by. "The Black Walker" Caroline lies the lies of a liar and says she's heard of him even though she never has. Bobby is a huge fan: "Listen to him and you'll see God." That also works with acid, something you're probably all too familar with. Caroline giggles like the airheaded windbag she is and says she's sure she saw The Black Walker on MTV and Bobby scoffs at this: "The Black Walker doesn't prostitute himself. You can feel him but you can't see him." Shut up, dude.

Later, the party has ended and Janice is stuck giving a drunken Caroline a ride home. The world really does hate you, Jan. In the car, Caroline pops in the tape and both girls are pretty disturbed by the first song. Want the lyrics? Of course you do!

I come from the past.
I eat the night.
I knew you when you were young.
I tell you my story.
But I sleep with a gun.
This is my night.
This is your night.
I'm a black walker, babe.
Touch me softly, you get a fright.

Wow. That fucking sucks. FAIL. The girls talk and Janice can't resist harrassing Caroline about being a cheerleader and Caroline reveals herself to be the raging bitch Janice always knew she was. Janice ends up calling Caroline a slut and Caroline bitch slaps her across the face. MEOW! Jan loses control of the car and it rolls off the road down a rocky embankment. Jan is alive and conscious, but Caroline is gone, baby, gone. Jan really doesn't give a shit: "I wish you had been driving. Things would be so much simpler now." See, Jan is afraid her life will be ruined by this because that's so much more important than the fact that someone was just killed. She's 18 and about to graduate and has all her life to live! What will she do about the bloody corpse in her car?!? WAHHH! She decides she'll tell everyone it was all Caroline's fault. After all, Caroline won't mind. Before dragging the corpse to the driver's seat, she slips the Black Walker tape into her pocket. Just as she gets out of the car and steps back, the damn thing explodes. Jan stands there as Caroline screams bloody murder. Yeah, she was alive and now she's being burned to a crisp. Damn. Jan's callousness is pretty freaky: "Die! Die! Stop screaming!" Jan = daughter of Satan.

Jan is now at the hospital being examined. Dr. Please (no, I'm serious. His freaking name is Dr. Please.) dresses her wounds and then a cop questions her. She lies about the whole thing of course and is completely off the hook. "I feel lucky." You damn well better!

Since her parents are out of town, the officer drives her home. Once inside, she checks the answering machine and nearly shits her dirty, bloody pants when she hears Caroline's voice. No, it isn't a ghostly message from beyond the grave. Caroline called before the party to ask Jan for a ride which makes no sense whatsoever because these two obviously hated each other's guts. Jan also finds the message strange and replays it several times before going to bed. How can she sleep after all the shit that just happened?!

She's only been in bed for 10 minutes when she hears the machine clicking in the next room. Then..."Janice, this is Caroline again. I really need a ride to the party. You're my only hope. If you don't come get me, I won't get to go. Please, Janice. I know you're there." Ok, maybe she IS calling from beyond the grave. You're gonna get yours, Jan! She unplugs the machine, goes back to bed, and hears another message a few moments later. This one is the best of all: "Janice, you know who this is. Pick up the goddamn phone. We're going to the party and you're taking me. There's no way I can drive myself. I have a fever. I'm burning up. If you don't come with me, I'll drive off the road. You got that, girl? Come get me now." Holy shit. Jan freaks out, but decides there must be a logical explanation--Caroline MUST be alive. First, that doesn't explain how an UNPLUGGED answering machine would go on playing messages (no, it doesn't run on batteries. Don't start with me!) Second, even if Caroline is alive, she would be so badly burned that calling you to fuck with your mind would be the last thing on her to-do list.

Jan puts on her blood encrusted clothes (why is it a crime to change into clean clothes?) and heads for the hospital where a dried-up hag of a nurse informs her that Caroline really is dead. She also says she doesn't think Caroline was her name. Jan is feeling pretty uneasy so to calm her fears, she heads for the hospital morgue. *sigh* She finds a body bag tagged with HER name. Once again, she simply shrugs it off as a mistake and leaves a moment later.

In the car, Jan wonders how that Black Walker tape got here...she was sure she left it on top of...the answering machine! Oooo! Of course the tape starts playing messages from Caroline instead of songs. Caroline gives Jan directions to her house, but Jan ends up at the site of the crash. Me thinks you're about to meet your end, dear. Jan climbs down the slope and watches a dream-like sequence--she and Caroline plunging down the slope. She drags Caroline out, but can't get to the other Jan...

And suddenly Caroline wakes up. No. No, you've gotta be fucking kidding me, man! Everything I just read was a dream? EVERYTHING?!?! Not cool, Pike. Not. Cool. So yeah, Caroline is in the hospital, Janice is dead, and Bobby Walker is hanging around waiting for Caroline to wake up. Dr. Please (I still can't get over the name for some reason) says he'll go find Bobby. While he's gone, Caroline decides to check her messages. Here we go again. The first one is from Bobby: "Hi, Carol. This is Bobby. Wanted to know if you loved the tape. If it did something for you. I'll see you soon, if you're still alive that is." Bobby Walker = The Black Walker. The second message is from Janice. Uh-oh. "Hi, Caroline. This is Janice. You called me so I'm calling you. But don't try calling me back. I can't answer the phone. The fire burned off my hands. But don't worry, I'll be in touch...soon." The story ends with Caroling screaming her head off just as Bobby enters the room.

Grade: B+ This story wasn't too bad. I hated that almost everything was all a dream, but the dream was creepy so I can overlook that. This would've gotten an A if Bobby hadn't been such a 1950s greaser wannabe. "You got it, sister." Go away!

Lucinda by Lael Littke

"Lucinda" begins with a random person's memories of (you guessed it) Lucinda. Lucinda is standing next to a lake in her red graduation gown because her class just graduated and there's a party going on. Booze-filled high school parties are as foreign to me as the other side of the universe--I was a sober nerd who got drunk on books and dirty articles in Cosmo. Actually, that pretty describes me now. Anyway, Lucinda is fighting with her boyfriend Brandon because she thinks he's been cheating on her with some skank named Holly. Brandon says he's not the only one at fault here; after all, hasn't Lucinda been spending quite a bit of time with Kevin? Ouch. Lucinda dives into the lake because that's the reasonable thing to do and Brandon storms off. I'm glad they could settle things like adults. *sigh* Random person's memory becomes hazy after that. Turns out Lucinda disappeared that night and random person believes it was Brandon's fault.

It's six years later and random person (whose name is Kate) is standing next to the very same lake (which is called Lake Isadora) with her brother Brandon. Yes, THAT Brandon. Their mother is dead so Brandon who is 23 is now Kate's guardian (she's 16). I'm sure she enjoys sharing a home with a probable murderer. They're hanging out at the lake because Brandon wants to take a trip down memory lane. Kate can see the insanity in his eyes and wants to go back home before he flips out like a rabid raccoon and claws her eyes out. He wants to stay, though, even though it's getting dark. He leads Kate into the woods and if this isn't the set-up for a scene ripped right out of a B-movie slasher, I don't know what is. Kate starts thinking about Lucinda and how awful it would e if she and Brandon came upon Lucinda's decayed remains in the woods. She doesn't say any of that, but Brandon seems to be reading her mind and says "Do you believe what they say about how hair grows on a dead body?" I don't even know what to say to that, you fucking nut.

It's now full dark and Brandon insists on leading Kate to where Lucinda's house once stood. He wants to show her Lucinda's "secret place". At this point, I would've ran home, bolted the doors, and spent the rest of the night stuffing my face and watching shitty Lifetime movies. Let the little bastard drive himself crazy. But Kate's soul isn't as soiled as mine and she stands by Brandon until he finally decides he wants to leave.

When they arrive home, Keith (Lucinda's brother) is on the porch waiting. Brandon immediately asks if there are any updates on Lucinda and Keith says last week someone found a red graduation robe at the edge of the lake. Brandon collapses in a chair just as Holly shows up. Why are these people just appearing out of the darkness? Go home! Brandon doesn't really like Holly so I'm not sure why she's here. She says she believes Lucinda is alive somewhere. Shut up, Holly. These fools finally leave and Brandon and Kate go to bed (not together, you pervs).

Kate wakes up around 3am to the sound of water dripping on the floor. She flips on the light and sees drops of water leading to the living room and out the front door. Guess Lucinda dredged herself from the bottom of the lake to pay you a little visit. Kate actually grabs a flashlight and follows the watery trail which leads to the foundation of Lucinda's old house. Kate peeks into the gaping hole that was once the cellar and sees a big pile of rats. Good times. She starts running, gets lost, and spots a flash of red through the trees. EEEKKK! Never mind--it's just Holly wearing a red jogging suit, not a wet moldy graduation gown. Kate asks Holly what the hell she's doing out here and Holly says she likes to jog every morning. At 3m? At 3am, I can barely form a coherent sentence much less go skipping through the neighborhood. Does anyone around here SLEEP? Anyway, Kate says she still has Lucinda on the brain and Holly offers to walk her home.

At home, Kate finds Brandon crouched in the backyard. "She was here. Lucinda. I saw her face. I ran after her, but she got away. I grabbed her robe." He's holding a wet grad gown and Kate tells him this is Lucinda's way of telling him to let go. Emotional, kids. They go back inside where Brandon finally falls into a restless sleep and Kate stays awake thinking about Lucinda. *sigh* I think it's YOU who needs to let go, Kate.

In the morning, Kate visits Keith and they look at old photos and such. She goes home and hangs out until Brandon wakes up. He goes outside and moons over the gown some more. "It smells like Lucinda. Like flowers. It's her perfume." I feel sorry for this guy.

That night, Kate revisits the old foundation. This time she climbs down into the stinking pit with the rats and snakes. "The old forgotten root cellar was Lucinda's secret place." How do we know this? Because Kate can smell her perfume. Oh, and Lucinda just showed up. At first, Kate thinks Lucinda is alive after all, but then she thinks she sees Lucinda float down the stairs and believes she's a ghost after all. She ties Kate's hands behind her back and Kate decides she must be a human after all because a ghost wouldn't haven't to resort to that. Make up your damn mind! Kate realizes Lucinda is going to lock her in this tiny room and she begs her to stop. Lucinda rips Kate's flashlight out of her hand and shines it in the corner where a filthy skeleton dressed in the remains of a red graduation gown is sitting. Kate realizes that this is all that is left of Lucinda. Someone held her captive down here and Kate is about to suffer the same fate. Who's doing this? Holly. What the hell? First it was Lucinda, then it was her ghost, and now it turns out it was simply Holly. What have you been smoking, Kate?

Turns out Holly bludgeoned Lucinda with an ax and dragged her corpse down to the cellar. Why? I don't even know. She didn't think anyone would ever find out, but Kate just couldn't resist meddling so Holly will have to put an end to her, too. Suddenly Keith springs up out of nowhere and he and Kate manage to tie Holly up. So the bad girl gets punished, Lucinda is given a proper burial, and Kate can't get the scent of flowers out of her room. The end.

Grade: D I am so freaking confused...

The Guiccioli Miniature by Jay Bennett

An American kid named Jerry is hanging out in Italy. It's after midnight and he's standing near St. Mark's canal admiring the view when some weirdo comes out of the darkness. "[Jerry] saw the man put his long hand into his coat pocket and draw out a small object that glistened in the half-darkness." No, it's not a Trojan. It's the Guiccioli miniature, a small picture of a woman named Teresa Guiccioli who was once royalty or something back in the long forgotten old days. The man wants $10 for it and Jerry finally buys it after the guy begs him. He'll probably just buy shots with it. You got ripped, Jerry! The man disappears into the night after informing Jerry he's a doomed man. DOOMED I tell you!

Jerry goes back to the room he's staying in and feels the miniature grow icy. He suddenly feels like HE is the doomed man. I told you, you got ripped off, dude. That weirdo passed his curse on to you. How does it feel to have sold your life away for ten bucks? Jerry pretty much spends most of the night freaking the fuck out. Seriously, he acts like a crack addict going through withdrawals. He ends up throwing the miniature out the window where it lands in a pool of dirty water. Jerry immediately feels better and falls asleep.

The next afternoon, Jerry is on a plane waiting for take off. A stewardess gives him a magazine to read and he flips to an article that describes three men who robbed a GUICCIOLI MINIATURE from Passi Palace. Jerry recognizes the weirdo in the picture and his heart sinks when he realizes he bought something priceless from a criminal and then trashed it. BURN.

Grade: A Not a horror story, but decent nonetheless. Plus, it was short and sweet (only four pages) just how I like it.

Blood Kiss by D.E. Athkins

D + E + Athkins = Deathkins. I really can't stop laughing. I mean, SERIOUSLY?!

Anyway, I get the sinking feeling that this thing is about vampires and that kinda sucks (no pun intended) because I am totally burnt out on the living dead. Oh well. Let's get started...

We're introduced to a gang of friends on the first page. Delia is described as "emphatic" which means she never shuts her damn yapper. Valerie is "frail and waiflike" which means she's the useless one. And Elizabeth (our narrator) is...well, we know nothing about her except that she hates her name. They're busy staring at Ken, the new guy in town. These girls have the fever for Ken: "Gorgeous, but pale. Carved, rugged, but somehow delicate, features. Straight dark brows. Perfect black, black hair. A living doll." Someone has been reading too many romance novels. Elizabeth is certain she's deeply in love. Unfortunately, most people believe he's a vampire.

U-G-L-Y you ain't got no alibi, you ugly, Ken, yeah yeah, you ugly! *cough* Anyway, to learn about the love of her life, Elizabeth does some research at the local library on vampires. Are we in Transylvania? Why do you people actually believe this crap?! Elizabeth finds herself obsessing over Ken, writing his name all over her notebooks and dreaming of dating him. So she's pretty damn crushed when he starts sucking face with a cheerleader named Liz. But that doesn't last long. Valerie theorizes that Ken got all the blood he needed from Liz and dropped her. There's proof--Liz is wearing a turtleneck! NOOOO! Get a life, kids.

Elizabeth is in math class watching everyone file inside and take their seats. Ken walks in with some chick named Louise hanging all over him. He works fast. I'm surprised Elizabeth hasn't slit her wrists yet. Ken and Louside last a few weeks until Ken gets bored and moves on to Delia who throws herself at him like the little hussy she is. Elizabeth is, of course, pissed: "Eat garlic and die, Delia." Ouch. Or something. She manages to stop thinking about Ken long enough to go on a date with Collin Harper, a piece of cardboard who won't be heard from again. They go to a movie...about vampires. Didn't see that one coming. Dammit. Elizabeth spies Delia and Ken making out and tells Collin she's sick and has to leave ASAP.

One day, Delia shows up at school with a scarf around her neck, but she insinuates it's only because Ken left her with a big nasty hickey before breaking up with her. HA. Ken has now moved on to Valerie, Delia is all mopey, and Elizabeth is spending more and more time in the library. She finds out that Valerie has also been reading all these vamp books before Ken asked her out. *sigh* I'm bored. Anyway, Valerie shows up at school wearing a turtleneck AND a scarf. But she isn't all pale and drained. In fact, she looks rosy and positively alive, dahling. It's KEN who is getting paler. Hmm.

Valerie and Ken break up over Thanksgiving so Elizabeth decides to try her luck with him. You people are lame. Seriosuly, get away from him and get a damn hobby! On their first date, they see a horror movie and afterwards they drive to the Point, the local makeout spot. Ken nibbles on her neck and Elizabeth gets pissed because all he did was give her a "world class hickey" and never bit her. But then he basically confesses he is indeed a vampire, but he doesn't bite his victims to turn them into vamps. He feeds them HIS blood. What? Elizabeth drinks from his throat, pulls away, and delivers the last line of the story: "Gimme a kiss." Ugh.

Grade: D My kingdom for a fucking werewolf.

Next time: We continue with these TALES OF HORROR!

1) "A Little Taste of Death" Patricia Windsor
2) "The Doll" Carol Ellis
3) "House of Horrors" J.B. Stamper
4) "Where the Deer Are" Caroline B. Cooney
5) "The Spell" R.L. Stine

Give me strength.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Book Description

When the Devil's Elbow roller coaster goes off its track and several teenagers are hurt, everyone thinks it was just an accident. So no-one listens when Tess says she saw someone tampering with the track. But one person knows it's true. That person is playing a deadly game and is going to make sure Tess doesn't get in the way. Tess soon finds she's being terrorized with threatening notes, menacing phone calls, slashed tires, and nasty pranks. When another "accident" occurs in the Funhouse, Tess is sure that SHE was the intended victim. Who is committing these horrifying acts? And why? Tess is just beginning to realize that the Funhouse can scare death.

My Description:

Tess Landers is reminiscing about where she was and what she was doing when the Devil's Elbow went off the tracks: eating a hot dog and drinking a Coke (Diane Hoh has obviously been conspiring with Stine on his pro-Coke campaign). Wow. How interesting. Now, before I fall asleep, tell me of the maiming that occurred: "The crash killed Dade Lewis, destroyed Sheree Buchanan's face, and seperated Joey Furman forever from his left leg." What a cheery way to start off this book. If I smiled any harder, my face would look like Sheree Buchanan's. Ooo...too soon? Anyway, the next few paragraphs are descriptions of the surroundings: beautiful, sunny California. Please God tell me there are no size six twins with sparkling blue eyes anywhere in the vicinity. Anyway, in addition to remembering what she was doing on that fateful evening, Tess also recalls what she was wearing: jeans, boots, white sweater. She had been waiting for her best friend, Gina Giambone, a sassy Italian who never manages to be on time. Since Diane Hoh seems incapable of focusing on one thing at a time, the next few paragraphs are a mish-mash of Tess's broken family (mom died, dad remarried a much younger woman named Shelley who is a total bitch, brother lives with dad and Tess lives with Shelley because Shelley left dad and took Tess with her. What the hell? How could the evil stepmother gain custody over the biological father? Oh well.), Gina's ugly sweater, mustard, and a guy named Doss Beacham that Gina finds sexy but Tess thinks is a neanderthal. Remind me how these things are related. Oh that's right--they aren't.

The subject changes to Gina's boyfriend Beak. Yes, I said BEAK. Then Gina pisses Tess off by bringing up Sam Oliver, Tess's boyfriend? Ex-boyfriend? Their relationship is unclearand I really don't care about this shit. Unless Sam is the psycho, I don't wanna hear another word about him. (Unfortunately, we all know there will be page after page about their crappy "relationship" later because high school boyfriends are SO IMPORTANT. You NEED them! Your life is nothing but a big dookie pie if you don't have one! WAHHHH!) Tess walks off alone and finds herself standing by the Devil's Elbow. One second later, the car plunges off the tracks, crashing into the Boardwalk below. Tess, you're bad luck, babe.

Now it's time for Lunatics Wear Ski Masks And Hide In The Shadows Outside The Girls Restroom Like Dirty Perverts Looking For A Good Time theater! "Even without darkness, total chaos on the Boardwalk would have made it difficult for anyone to notice the figure or the long, thick, steel pipe in its hands." Uh, you can't do that in a public place, pervert. Anyway, the weirdo runs off with his pipe and a shit-eating grin plastered to his face like he just accomplished something. Tess spots him running, but doesn't think too much about it because the place is total chaos.

*sigh* Now we get a page devoted to the weirdo's private thoughts. Just the usual REVENGE! scenario: all those people on the Devil's Elbo deserved what they got (it isn't explained why) and rigging the crash was so easy (with a thick steel pipe in your hands, anything is possible!) and now that Dade, Sheree, and Joey are out of the picture, there are five more people to go. And he's gotta cut this short because he has to plan the next step in his diabolical plan...hopefully this one doesn't involve public masturbation.

Back at the Boardwalk, ambulances have arrived to carry off the injured/dead. Gina, Doss, and Sam crowd around Tess to make sure she's okay (she is). Doss describes someone finding Joey Furman's amputated leg before walking off like nothing happened. Tess hates him for this and no-one else cares. Nice. Sam runs off with Doss because he cares so much about Tess (NOT) and Tess and Gina wander aimlessly around. Why has no-one told everyone to go the hell home? Oh well. They come upon Tess's brother, Guy Joe (what is up with these names?) and Sam's sister Candace. Guy scolds Tess for being too close to the Devil's Elbow when it crashed, but he ain't her daddy so she isn't listening. Big baby. Some chick wearing a red leotard comes loping up like a giant jackrabbit. Her name is Trudy Slaughter and apparently she's really popular and violent. She asks if anyone has seen her little brother and Gina says he's fine. Trudy acts like she doesn't really give a damn about what happened until Tess confesses that she saw someone running away. She can't provide any concrete details about the person other than "there was something familiar about the way he moved." Does he have a peg leg? Is he pigeon toed? What's so familiar? Okay, don't tell me. The group finally decides to head home.

Another weirdo chapter. I can't hide my (nonexistant) excitement. For some reason, he's digging through an attic looking for ski clothes, but comes upon an old journal instead. It belonged to someone named Lila O'Hare. She was married to some guy named Tully O'Hare who once owned the Boardwalk. Blah blah money woes blah going to see Buddy about a loan blah blah we must take care of the child! blah.

Sam walks Tess to her car and then decides he'll take her home and she can come back for her car tomorrow. She says no which pisses him off so he storms away like the little crybaby he is. As Tess pulls away, she thinks about the person she saw running in the darkness. Then her mind drifts to the fact that she'll be alone tonight because Shelley is trotting around Europe. Once home, Gina calls Tess to make sure she arrived. They talk about the accident until they're both sick of the subject and hang up. Then Tess turns and spots *GASP* a note! Written in purple Magic Marker and shoved under the door! THE HUMANITY! P.S. If you're trying to freak someone out, don't use a happy purple marker. The note reads:

Dade and Sheree went up the hill,
With Joey right behind them,
Now Dade is dead and Sheree's ill,
And Joey's leg can't find him.

Just like the rhymes Mom used to read me. *sigh* Those were the days. Oh wait. There's more:

If Dade was one and Sheree two,
And Joey number three,
Who will be next? Could it be you?
Why don't we wait and see?

Let's not and say we didn't, weirdo.

Lock the doors and bar the windows, kids--it's another psycho chapter! Did I mention I really hate these? Because I really hate these. Anyway, he wrote the purple note to Tess. He wrote the rhyme because he's an aspiring poet and used purple because Tinky Winky is his favorite Teletubby. He talks more about Lila O'Hare's journal. To sum up what he read: money trouble, Buddy wouldn't lend them money and ended up buying the Boardwalk which means that the O'Hares were officially screwed over. For God's sake, think of the child!!! *sigh*

Back to Tess. She's freaked out and tries to think of someone who would do such a thing. She's a total wreck so she calls Guy Joe who isn't home. Then she wanders around the house holding a fire poker until she gets tired and falls asleep. The next morning is Sunday and Tess heads to the police station about the note. Does she really think anyone is going to take this seriously? A stupid poem that looks like it was written by a fifth grade girl. Oh well. The sergeant at the desk informs Tess that the chief isn't in, but he himself would be happy to take a look at it. The damned idiot thinks it's a love note. A fucking love note! He asks if Tess had a fight with her boyfriend. My cat has puked up things more intelligent than this fool. Tess finally gets pissed and asks to have the note back, but Sergeant Shitwhip says he'd better hang on to it. *sigh* Just go, Tess.

Later, Tess meets Gina (who is wearing a red silk dress, her church dress of choice) at the local ice cream shop to talk about the note and such. Memo: STOP BEATING A DEAD HORSE. Gina says that her father told her that some guy hanged himself in the Funhouse long ago. Cheery. The girls leave and Gina pipes up with "Let's wait and see what Chief Chalmers comes up with before you start running around town like Henny-Penny, shouting that the sky is falling. Okay?" First of all, who the hell talks like that? Second, if the good Chief is as stupid as his sergeant, you're all screwed. Tess ends up spending the night at Gina's house, but she can't put the note out of her mind.

Another psycho chapter. Grrrr. He knows that Tess took the note to the cops and he also knows that they didn't take it seriously. More from Lila O'Hare's journal: Tully committed suicide (in the Funhouse?) and Lila thought it was because he wanted her to get a bunch of insurance money from his death (unfortunately, the insurance company didn't give her anything because it was a suicide). The woman thought of her husband as some kind of martyr. It never crossed her mind that he was a selfish screw-up. Mercifully this chapter ends so I don't have to think about this anymore.

Tess goes home the next day with Trilby, Gina's Siamese cat, for protection. Yeah. That'll work. Gina calls Tess and tells her that her dad wants her to gather some friends and go to the Boardwalk later in the week to show people that it's safe. No comment. It hurts too much. Gina wants to take Tess, Guy Joe, Trudy, Beak, Sam, and Candace. Tess immediately says no, but Gina badgers her until she agrees. What a good friend. They all go to the Boardwalk that evening and the place is pretty much deserted. Tess is overcome by anxiety, but no-one but Guy Joe notices. They talk for a minute before Tess tells him to go ahead with the others. She lags behind to the Funhouse. She makes it through and once she reaches the beach where everyone is waiting, she tells them that she really wants to go home. Unfortunately, she realizes her key case is gone and she must've dropped it in the Funhouse. Gina offers to retrieve it and as soon as she leaves, Doss shows up and makes Tess feel guilty for not getting the case herself so she runs back to the Funhouse (this Doss thing is just an ugly little plot contrivance). She stumbles through and almost falls through a giant hole in the floor. The hole was once filled by a giant rotating disk (no pun intended. I swear.). Who could have removed it so quickly? Tess backtracks and suddenly hears a scream. You guessed it--Gina fell through the hole. But of course we get no details because...

...the stupid psycho chapters are sooooooooo important. BARF. He removed the disk and it was supposed to be Tess who fell so he'll have to punish her for screwing everything up. Ok, one question before we start with the Lila O'Hare shit: how could one person remove a huge, heavy disk in a matter of minutes? Is he a demented version of Superman? A werewolf? A vampire? SOMETHING supernatural with superhuman strength? Throw me a frigging bone here, Hoh! No? Be that way then. Ok, more from Lila's journal: Buddy wanted her to give the baby away when it was born and said he knew a couple who would pay quite a bit for it. Asshole. Lila actually considered this because Buddy was providing for her financially and she felt obligated.

Back to the beach. Gina is unconscious and there's a crowd surrounding her when Tess finally reaches her. The manager of the Boardwalk comes running up and Tess explains what happened. Before he can ask any questions, the paramedics arrive and take Gina away. A moment later, the manager asks Tess to show him where the hole is (everytime I type that, I feel icky). Of course when they reach the spot, everything is in place and looking normal. The manager is a little pissed and says that since Tess was in here when Gina fell, the police will want to speak with her. Oooo. Tess is dragged to the manager's office by the douchey manager himself, her friends following close behind. After the police ask their questions, they move a few feet away to talk about her. They obviously didn't move far enough because she can hear every word. I thought the Shadyside police force was pathetic, but these cops are as useful as mud. Anyway, they simply think that Tess is a bored rich kid craving attention. They let everyone go a moment later.

Tess and friends head for the hospital to check up on Gina. As they sit in the waiting room with Gina's family, Tess thinks about the purple note. Yes, let's make everything about you, Tess. It's not like your friend is in critical condition or anything! Dammit, I hate this book. There. I said it. Sadly, I still have 100 pages to slog through. The only things that will make this bearable is Tess shutting her mouth and the psycho getting out of the damn attic, closing the stupid journal and killing everything in sight. I can't even remember where I was. Anyway, Tess gazes around the room, wondering if any of her friends could be the psycho. I wish. Finally, the doctor (who happens to be Sam's father) comes out and tells them that Gina has a mild concussion and a fractured leg and no-one can see her because the girl is out like a light.

On the way home, Tess has a good cry because her life is falling apart. It isn't all about YOU! I really hate you, Tess, you selfish creep. When she gets home, she see something furry hanging from the light fixture beside the door. If the cat is really dead and this isn't a stupid prank, I'm blowing up the planet.

To add to my impending rage, the next chapter is one of THOSE. "Poor Tess. What a fright that pretty kitty gave her." Shut. Up. More crap about the journal: Lila considered the "adoption". What a waste of paper.

So Tess is freaking out over the cat when Guy Joe, Trudy, Candace, and Sam show up. It takes of these geniuses to figure out the cat is just a stuffed animal. They calm Tess down while Trudy comes on to Guy Joe. Did I mention she's wearing a pink leather catsuit? More Trudy! They all discuss the creepy shit that's been going down and Candace offers to spend the night with Tess so she won't be alone. When Tess accepts, Sam whines like a little bitch: "Oh, great! Now I not only have to worry about you, I have to worry about my sister, too. That's just perfect!" Shut up, dude. Just...shut...the...yapper. Tess totally burns his ass by telling him that if he's so worried, she'll give him a blanket and he can sleep on the porch. Zing! Everyone except Candace leaves and she and Tess get ready for bed. A few hours later, the ringing phone wakes Tess. Just your friendly neighborhood psychopath: "It's your fault Gina's in the hospital. You messed everything up. You'll have to be punished for that. Soon. Very soon. Did you like my present tonight? Meow!" Nice. Or something.

All he has to do is wait just like Lila waited for Buddy to leave her alone about the baby. These "chapters" (I wouldn't really call half a page a chapter) are so fucking useless. It's basically the little lunatic giggling to himself about his horrible acts of VENGEANCE! and moping over Lila's journal. Wake me when it's over. Zzzzzzz...

The next day at school, the conversation is all about the Devil's Elbow. Take it away, Trudy: "I don't want to talk about this gloomy stuff anymore. I'm sick of it. And I'm having my birthday party Saturday night, on the beach, the way I planned. You'd all better be there or I'll never speak to a single one of you ever again!" Somehow I don't think they view that as such a loss. Everyone thinks she's crazy for throwing a party so close to the Boardwalk, but Trudy doesn't give a shit.

After school, Tess visits Gina at the hospital. Gina is awake and had absolutely no memory of what happened. A few minutes later, the entire group arrives, including Doss. A nurse that Gina calls "Florence Frightingale" comes in and tells them that only two at a time can be in the room. Doss and Tess stay. Gina brings up Trudy's party and asks if they're going. Neither of them really wants to, but Gina begs them to go. What the hell does she care? It's not like she'll be there. Tess leaves a moment later and once in the parking lot, she sees that all four tires on her car are slashed. And it's raining. And her butt is numb from sitting for so long. And a lunatic is stalking her. And no-one is paying attention to her. And...WAH!!! Yep, that's Tess for you. Want some cheese with that w(h)ine?

"Ha ha ha. Shredded tires. Now her car won't go!" No shit, Sherlock. You're the Einstein of your generation! *sigh* This just gets more and more painful. Lila update: she gave the baby up for the illegal adoption and this pisses the psycho off.

Tess stares at her slashed tires and instead of going into the hospital and asking one of her friends for a ride, she decides to walk home through the woods. I'm in awe at her total stupidity. Logic would dictate that you keep your ass out of the darkened woods when a lunatic is on the loose. But logic has no place in a pea-sized brain like Tess's. Of course someone starts following her and calling her name. She panics, starts running, and spots a house nearby. But before she can reach it, she falls into a big hole. What luck.

He could've finished her off, but he chose not to because he has more important things to do. Like planting his ass in the musty attic and reading more of Lila's journal. When is this journal crap going to be relevant to the rest of the story? Lila has the baby, Buddy takes it to its new parents, and gives Lila a check which she promptly rips up because she didn't really want to give the baby up. Too damn late, lady. Why did Buddy want the baby to be given away anyway? It didn't belong to him. Or did it? Oooo! The psycho finally reaches the last page of the journal in which Lila writes of her plans to end her life.

Tess is lying in a big muddy hole listening to a dog barking.

She unsuccessfully attempts to climb out of the pit, but it's too slippery. Finally she gives up and screams at the dog "Quit that stupid barking and go get some help! Didn't you ever hear of Lassie?" Just for that crack, you'll never get the dog's help. Eventually some old guy comes along with a rope and drags her out. She realizes it's Trudy's father and he leads her to the house. He gets her a blanket and drives her home where Sam is waiting in the driveway. Could this night get any better? He wants to take her to her father's house, but she refuses. Ok, idiot, someone nearly killed you tonight so it might be in your best interest to get somewhere relatively safe! She and Sam argue like they always do and Tess runs inside. A moment later, she gets a phone call: "Happy birthday to Trudy, happy birthday to Trudy, happy birthday to Trudy, may she live till you die! Which may be soo-on!" Encore, encore! Tess knows something bad will happen at Trudy's party, but of course she won't do anything about it. She's just too tired from arguing with Sam and whining about her pathetic life to tell her friends that they might be dead soon. Life is so hard! WAHHH!!

The psycho is pissed because an announcement is being made that the Devil's Elbow crash was accidental which means that he won't be getting his due credit. And by the way, he's Lila O'Hare's son. SHOCK!

Finally it's the night of Trudy's party! Check out these outfits: Trudy is wearing a bright yellow jumpsuit, Candace is in a blue muu-muu (WHY?!), and Sam and Guy Joe are dressed in cut off shorts and sweatshirts with the sleeves chopped off (fug. I picture those shorts are being really short...Sam and Joe Boy probably look like Chippendale rejects). Tess and Sam take a walk on the beach while everyone else stays behind to stuff their faces with brownies. Tess almost immediately starts a fight with Sam because he doesn't really believe there's a psycho after her. Don't be dense, Sam. He tells her if she's so freaked out, she needs to go somewhere where she'd be relatively safe rather than spending the night in the condo alone. Agreed. They keep fussing until Sam gets fed up and storms off (I should have a macro for that phrase. I feel like I've written it 500 times already). Tess sits in the sand and finds a stone that looks like it came from a class ring. She slips it into her pocket and begins walking back to the party. Unfortunately, the party has pretty much died because everyone except Sam and Trudy are writhing on the ground in pain...Trudy runs to call an ambulance and Tess and Sam figure out that someone must've poisoned the brownies. Everyone who ate one is now on death's doorstep. Bad little psycho! BAD!

Sam, Trudy, and Tess follow the ambulance. Their parents all show up at the hospital and a detective enters to inform them of what happened: "These kids are telling you the truth. It wasn't drugs or booze. Their friends were poisoned." We got that, Captain Obvious. The poor poisoned ones have had their stomachs pumped and they'll be okay. Tess ends up spending the night in Gina's room sleeping in a chair.

So the psycho is freaking out because he finally knows who he really is and he's angry because he's been lied to for most of his life. Since the people who helped Buddy with the Boardwalk are the parents of his friends, he's chosen to attack his friends in order to hurt their parents. "The only thing left to do is punish Tess. I'm going to take her with me when I go." Just do it and let me have my life back, dammit!

The next morning, Tess actually goes home with her father and Guy Joe. She takes a shower and sleeps until 6:30 PM when she has a very awkward dinner with her father. Afterward, she goes on a search for some old yearbooks that she knows Gina will get a kick out of. She turns on her Walkman and starts rummaging through junk. She comes upon some interesting bits--a purple marker, a monogrammed napkin from Trudy's b-day party, and a class ring with a missing stone. She doesn't hear Guy Joe enter the room, but she does hear him say "A shrine. To my mother, actually." OH.

Guy Joe was responsible for all the "accidents" that have been occurring lately. Why? Well, I guess he'll get to that eventually. But first he wants Tess to come with him so he can kill her and himself. He drags her to the car and drives to the Boardwalk. He decides to kill her in the Funhouse and says he's not sure where his father (Tully O'Hare) died so he'll just pick a spot of his own. Somehow Tess manages to get away from him, he falls through a hole (where the hell did it come from? None of this makes any sense!) and Sam comes to Tess's rescue. What the hell just happened?


Guy Joe is being shipped off to the "loony bin" where he will wait until he can escape and kill Buddy (a.k.a. Mr. Slaughter, Trudy's dear old dad). Yeeee hawww.

Conclusion? It hurrrrrrrrrrrrts.

Next time: "Thirteen: 13 Tales of Horror by 13 Masters of Horror" I wouldn't call them masters of anything except TRASHY SCHLOCK, but whatever, man. I'm going to divide this one up so next week I'll be doing the first four stories:

1) "Collect Call (Part One)" Christopher Pike
2) "Collect Call (Part Two: The Black Walker)" C. Pike
3) "Lucinda" Lael Littke
4) "The Guiccioli Miniature" Jay Bennett

Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns (Goosebumps #48)

PUMPKIN POWER! Nothing beats Halloween. It's Drew Brockman's favorite holiday. And this year will be awesome. Much better ...