Monday, March 7, 2011

Ghosts of Fear Street #1 - Hide and Shriek

Ready Or Not, Here I Come

The cemetery. That's where Randy Clay has been invited for a game of hide-and-seek - with a ghost. If the ghost tags her, Randy will lose more than the game. She'll become the newest ghost on Fear Street.

And Here I Am

Killer cover. Skeletons who rob children of their eyeballs and Fear Street merchandise are SO bad ass.

Anyway, Randy's family has just moved to Shadyside and the idiots decided to live on Fear Street. *sigh* Will the outsiders never learn?! It's Randy's first day of school and she's running late because she can't pick out an outfit. Her mom makes her wear a gray jumper and pushes her out the door. Apparently Randy's 7 year old sister Baby (honestly?) doesn't have to go to school.

When Randy finally reaches Shadyside Middle School, the halls are deserted. As she wanders through the halls looking for the office, she stops beside a bulletin board with a calendar posted on it. June 10th is circled and written next to that is "18 More Days Until Pete's Birthday". Who is this Pete? "He must be pretty popular if the whole school is looking forward to his birthday." Indubitably, Randy. Indubitably. (That word rolls off the tongue like melted ice cream. Especially if you say it in a Patrick Stewart voice.) Suddenly, Randy's Petey musings are interrupted by a boy who appears with a huge gash in his head is pleading for help in between bouts of...bleeding to death. Randy is staring in horror when a teacher pokes her head out of a classroom and demands to know just what the hell is going on. The boy is magically A-OK and runs off. A moment later, a girl who introduces herself as Sara Lewis and is dressed in old timey clothes comes up to Randy and asks if she saw a profusely bleeding boy come through these parts. Randy says yeah and the girl says that was Lucas and they're rehearsing a play. That blood shed was all fakery. That's fortunate for Lucas because no-one seemed too interested in coming to his bloody aid. Won't someone think of the children?! Randy eventually finds her classroom where her teacher Ms. Hartman is explaining the concept of a final exam since the end of the year is coming up. At recess, a couple of friendly kids named Megan and David introduce themselves and ask Randy to play softball with them. She runs off halfway through the game because she notices a lot of kids staring at her and whispering. She runs to the bathroom to make sure she doesn't have crap in her teeth or an oozing volcanic zit on her nose. Both of these are in the negative so Randy doesn't know what the problem is.

The next day, Randy spots an addition to the bulletin board. It's a sign up sheet labeled "Volunteers Needed To Make Pete's Birthday Cake. Sign Your Name Here." Once again, Randy can't believe this Pete kid and his REVOLTING popularity. How dare he! While Randy is pondering Pete, a popular blond (there's no other kind of popular in this town) named Laura comes up behind her and whispers "You better watch out!" And now we're in a prison drama.

A few days later, Randy is in the cafeteria searching for a seat when Laura strikes again. "Just wait. Just wait until the tenth." What's happening on the tenth (besides the almighty PETE's birthday)? Is Shadyside going to be sucked into a rip in the space time continuum thereby never existing? That's the only possibility I'm considering. Stick that in your bubble blowing pipe and smoke it (blow it?), Laura! Randy is freaking out over Laura's ominous warnings and ends up taking a seat next to Lucas, the one who greeted Randy on her first day with his massive bleeding head wound. Just pretending! They bond over Fear Street (Lucas lives there, too) and he tells her not to believe everything she hears about that unholy shithole even though it's all true and everyone knows it which is why not even the local cockroaches lower themselves to live there. And those dudes are NOT picky. Later, Randy is walking home from school alone...past the deep, dark Fear Street Woods. OoOoOo! (That's my ghostly shriek. Fear it!) Randy, being a complete fool, decides to take a shortcut through the woods. She comes across a small cemetery and forces herself to keep walking and not be afraid. But fear kicks in anyway when she hears leaves crunching and realizes someone is following her. "I saw a wrinkled old face laughing at me. An old man." Unfortunately, it's just a statue and not this gentleman...

Honk if you love Crazy Ralph.

Anyway, yes, the gravestone has a statue of an old grinning man sitting on it as if telling everyone that the bag of bones in the coffin below enjoys death just fine. A moment later, Randy hears a boy's giggle coming from nearby and she runs all the way home. Good plan. Giggling boys are not to be trusted. Mom is in the kitchen with Baby who demands to be called by her real name (which is Barbara) to establish her status as a fully fledged 7 year old woman. "BARBARAAAA!" Yeah, we get it. Thanks for bursting our last ear drum, BARBARA. Mom stirs the spaghetti sauce while BARBARAAAA! informs Randy that she's in love with her teacher Mr. Pine. So she does go to school. Hmm. After declaring her intention to marry and kiss Mr. Pine and jumping on Randy, Baby finally sits down to watch Batman, her favorite show. "My name is Barbara. Everybody has to shut up now. Batman's on." Ah, you make me laugh, Barbara.

The next day, Randy is in gym class hula hooping next to Sara. Sara asks her if she wants to come over Saturday for a sleepover. Randy is elated and says yes, but her good mood is ruined by Laura's foul mouth. "Better get in shape, Randy. Or else find a good place to hide." Does she ever give up? Randy asks Sara why Laura keeps saying things like that and Sara says she'll find out on Saturday.

Saturday arrives and Randy's sexy computer programmer dad who wears black rimmed glasses and tweed jackets takes her to Sara's house. Sara lives in the fancy part of town (a.k.a. North Hills) and Randy admires the house. Sara leads her to the basemtn which Randy also likes. "Our basement is like a dungeon, but the Lewises was all fixed up with a TV and VCR, a stereo, even a kitchenette in one corner. The floor was carpeted and travel posters covered the walls. Nothing scary about this basement at all." Everybody loves a travel poster. Sara introduces Randy to the other girls: Megan, Anita, and the twins Karla and Kris. They all lay out their sleeping bags and prepare to watch a scary movie while Sara makes some popcorn. They turn out the lights and watch Dracula which Randy finds quite creepy. After the movie, Anita says that Dracula isn't as scary as Pete which prompts Randy to ask just who this PETE is, dammit! The girls don't say anything which only increases Randy's curiosity so she asks again and FINALLY Anita tells the story. A long time ago in ye olde Shadyside, a kid named Pete died in the Fear Street Woods on his twelfth birthday. No-one knew how he died. He was "all shriveled up". They buried him in the cemetery in the woods, but Petey didn't stay put. One year later on his birthday, some kids are playing hide and seek in the woods and one girl spots Pete's ghost. He wanted to play with them, but they weren't having that so Pete took revenge on one of the kids by possessing his body and making him do horrible things such as running wild like an animal through the woods and eating nasty things. The boy shrivels up and the same things starts happening to most of the kids in town until they all start looking like terrified dried apples. The Dried Apple Disease. HORRIBLE! So ever since then, every year on Pete's birthday, the kids of the town go to the woods to play hide and seek with Pete who is always the seeker because that satisfies him so he won't terrorize the whole town. But whoever Pete finds first gets the privilege of being possessed by him for a year. Why? Because Pete is a whiny little bitch ghost who doesn't want to be dead so he forces a child to share their body with him. Randy thinks the story is a joke, but all the girls look genuinely scared. Then Megan tells Randy she's in the most danger. "Because Pete likes new kids." A moment later, the lights go out and all the girls scream. Sara turns them back on and finds her little brothers giggling over their trick. She chases them back upstairs and when Kris tells her they're adorable, Sara says "You can have them. Take them and Mom, too." Sara has CLAWS! The girls start talking about Pete again, but their attitude has completely changed. Now they're all saying the game is fun and it would be a shame to miss it and if you don't come, everyone thinks you're a total wimp. Randy doesn't buy into stories unless she knows the facts so she decides to investigate. How she plans to do this, I have no idea.

At school on Monday, Randy can think of nothing but Pete and whose body he must be in RIGHT NOW. Why doesn't Pete just invade a dog's body? All he wants to do is run wild and eat gross makes more sense. But I guess that takes all the fun out of it for Pete. Any excuse to ruin a child's life! Laura passes by with her usual good word. "You're doomed, new girl." As Randy is walking toward her locker, she sees Lucas leaning against it. He starts talking about Pete and hide and seek and asks Randy if she wants to sit with him again at lunch because she's new and everything. Randy immediately decides Lucas is Pete. I thought Randy was the fact checker. Guess facts are useless when you've got a crazy ghost who wants to take over your body and turn you into a prune. Randy says she's eating with Sara and a guy named David Slater so Lucas walks off. Randy calms down and realizes she doesn't have enough facts to accuse Lucas of being the Dried Apple Demon. Make up your mind! Randy tells David and Sara about her theory and they just laugh, but David agrees to spy on Lucas with her later.

That evening, Randy and David head for Lucas's house. He comes out ad they watch him walking toward the woods. Randy hears him whistling a tune she recognizes as a funeral march which she happens to know a few words to: pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you, simply because there's nothing else to do. What the hell? Never mind. They follow Lucas into the woods, but soon lose sight of him. They hear kids laughing, but they don't see anyone. They both run until they reach the street and then laugh at themselves for getting scared over some kids playing. Fact: those weren't ordinary kids. Fact: you both know this.

During gym class the next day, everyone is pissed because they have to square dance. It's probably just so Ms. Mason (the bleach blond, perfectly manicured gym teacher for the girls) wil have an excuse to touch Mr. Sirk (boys gym teacher). Everyone is convinced she has a thing for his porny mustache. What an ignorant slut. Anyway, Lucas picks Randy as his partner which further convinces her he is actually Pete which makes her feel sick which gets her a pass to the nurse's office which means she gets out of square dancing. Yay.

That evening, Randy is walking to the bus stop with Karla, Kris, and Sara. They went to the movies and now it's starting to get dark. They talk about Petey before splitting up; Sara, Kris, and Karla get on their bus and Randy walks a little further to her stop before deciding to just walk home. Alone. In the dark. No, I don't know what's wrong with her. As she passes the cemetery, she sees Lucas slurping worms out of the dirt. Delicious. She hides behind a tree and waits a moment before running home where her parents scold her for walking home in the dark. What do you think about it, Baby? "Barbara!" Shut up.

The next night, Mom and Dad are going to have dinner with Sara's parents which means Randy gets to babysit BARBARA. What joy. When Mom tells Baby she can't stay up as late as Randy, she runs off crying and screeching. Someone put Baby in a corner! PLEASE! Baby calms down a little later and she and Randy watch TV and eat pizza and ice cream. Baby falls asleep at 8:30 and Randy starts getting nervous about Pete. Unfortunately, Baby wakes up about an hour later, gets pissed when Randy won't give her cookies, and starts screaming her head off when Randy calls her Baby instead of Barbara.Then she starts screaming for a different reason: Lucas is at the window and then at the door, rattling the knob. Randy and Baby lean against the door and scream at him to go away. He does and a few moments later, Mom and Dad walk in. Randy tells them about Lucas, but pretends she's joking when they threaten to call the police. Randy goes upstairs, leaving her parents with their precious Baby.

Saturday, June 10th. The dreaded day has finally arrived and Randy is freaking out. Her mom makes her go to the store for some ground beef even though she really doesn't wanna leave the house. Later, Sara calls and says the game starts at sundown. Randy tries to eat her meatloaf, but she's too nervous and Baby won't shut up. "My name is Barbara." *sigh* Your name is MUD.
Finally it's dark and Randy goes to the woods. Mr. Sirk is there with all the kids to wish everyone luck or something. Because he has no life. Before the game begins, someone brings out a cake, lights 12 candles, and everyonesings Happy Birthday. Fact: this is crazy. The game begins and everyone scatters to hide. Randy is just focused on staying the hell away from Lucas. She freaks out when she hears someone running behind her and she climbs into a tree. A few minutes later, David climbs up beside her and they sit in silence. Then Randy starts smelling something nasty like rotten garbage. She looks over at David and sees a stain on his shirt. A moment later, it starts to spread. David says "Pete's not so bad. I don't know why everybody tries so hard to get away. What is everybody so afraid of? Pete always gives the bodies back. I give them back as good as new." Randy stares at David in shock and he smiles at her with a mouth full of blackened, rotten teeth. She sees that the stain on his shirt is blood and she freaks out, knowing he's Pete and she has to get away. He tells her she can't run from him, but that's obviously a lie because that's exactly what she does. She makes it to home base only because Lucas distracted Pete. Randy tells the others that David is Pete (or Pete is David?) and he's after Lucas, but everyone laughs at her.Then Mr. Sirk (why is he still here? Seriously, does he have nothing better to do than hang out in the woods with a bunch of kids in the middle of the night?) blows a whistle and announces the game is over and everyone needs to go home. Kris says she saw Lucas jogging home which makes Randy feel a little better and she goes home, too.

At school on Monday, Randy hears that David is in the hospital and she assumes it's because Pete violated his soul. Later, she and Lucas walk home together. She confesses she thought he was Pete and brings up the worm thing. He laughs and says he was getting worms for fishing bait. In a cemetery? I thought he ATE one? Is he turning into a fish? Anyway, she also brings up the incident where Lucas rattled her front door. Apparently he heard Baby screaming bloody murder and wanted to make sure Randy wasn't killing her. They have a good laugh and Lucas says "You know, Pete really wanted you." His teeth turn black and he starts stinking like a decaying corpse and chases Randy into the cemetery. A whole gaggle of ghostly children surrounds Randy and Pete. They start calling Pete a loser and Randy chimes in. The ghosts form a swirling tornado that sucks Pete's spirit out of Lucas and puts it back into its grave. Uh, why didn't they do this years ago? Lucas and Randy vow never to play hide and seek again and both go home as if nothing ever happened, accepting the fact that they'll both probably need therapy a few years down the road when this repressed memory comes back to haunt their dreams.

Fact: this book really makes no sense.
Fact: worms are full of protein.
Fact: if you drink every time Baby screams "BARBARA!" you will be drunk within seconds.
Fact: the cover of this book has no relation whatsoever to the actual story which is a shame.
Fact: "99 Fear Street: The Second Horror" is up next.

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 ...