- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
"C'mon, Dave. Let him finish." Roy spoke up, but his words weren't very convincing. His high-pitched voice made him sound like a seven-year-old boy, or worse, a girl.
"Thanks," Peter said. "Anyway, what I was thinking was this. It's only six weeks until Halloween, right?"
Erin nodded and flung a mass of her dark brown hair over one shoulder. She gave Peter the full attention of her eyes, which were so dark they appeared bottomless. Erin was the prettiest of the group, and what made her especially so was the fact that she had no idea this was the case.
Peter continued. "Well, what we could do is meet officially once a week. At that time, one of us would be responsible for making up a scary story--you know, something really gross or bloody--for that week. Let's see if we can come up with something more terrifying than any movie, something that would make some of us afraid to turn off the lights at bedtime. When we're all done, we'll take a vote, and whoever gets the most votes gets to decide how we'll spend Halloween."
"Boring!" David said. "Can we move on to other business, like putting some other music on? This sucks." David reached out toward the computer, and Marlene slapped his hand away.
Her eyes were bright with interest. "I think the idea has potential."
"I didn't tell you guys the best part, though." Peter's face warmed with excitement. "We'll meet at the Tuttle house each week. That's where we'll tell our stories." His smile died as he surveyed the reaction on his friends' faces.
The group got quiet. Even the music seemed to become softer, as if an unseen hand, pale, veiny, and covered with sores, was turning down the sound.
"TheTuttle house?" Erin whispered, her dark eyes alive with fear.
"Isn't that where all those murders happened? That family?" Roy's voice cracked.
"Supposedly," David spoke up. "That was a long time ago, before any of us were even born. I think it's just a rotting house up on the hill. Nothing to be scared of."
"Then we can do it?" Peter sounded hopeful.
"I haven't got a problem," David said.
"I don't know." Erin twisted a strand of her dark hair. "What if someone catches us?"
"Who's going to catch us?" Marlene spoke up. "The house is at the end of a dead-end road. There aren't even any neighbors until you get to the Washington's, and they're at least a football field or two away. If we're quiet, I don't think anyone would pay any attention. It's just an empty, old house, really."
Peter looked around at them all. "'An empty old house'? Maybe. That's part of why I want us to meet there. To see just how empty it is. I've heard things, lots of things about the Tuttle house. I know you guys have, too." His gaze met Erin's, whose unblemished and perfect skin had gone pale. "It may not be as empty as some people'd like to think." He grinned. "Or hope."
"What are you talking about?" David frowned.
"That's for you to find out at the first meeting. I'll tell the story. Next Wednesday after school okay for everybody?"
They all agreed to meet the following Wednesday at the bottom of the hill.
The "Halloween Horror Club" was born.
Posted July 22, 2011
Review by Nancy Holzer:
The book's structure embeds each friend's story in the larger story of what's happening in the Tuttle house. These are stories you might hear around a campfire: demonic possession; sisters lost in endless, frozen woods; the ghost of an old woman frightened to death; a vain girl unaware of her parents' terrifying secret; a haunted road to nowhere and each reveals something of its teller's personality. Although the stories are fun, each teller's voice sounds too much like the others', making it hard at times to distinguish the kids. Of the five friends, two emerge as complex characters: David, who acts tough to cover up his insecurities, and Marlene, the smart, "perfect" girl who neglects herself to care for others. The other three friends never rise above their initial, somewhat stereotypical impressions: Peter, the chubby, glasses-wearing nerd; Erin, the pretty girl who doesn't know she's pretty; and Roy, the late bloomer who has a crush on Erin.
With each tale, a sense of menace builds until events explode in an action-packed conclusion. The friends' courage, smarts, and loyalty are tested as they face the house's mysterious inhabitant. With just enough violence to sustain a sense of real danger, the climax keeps you guessing until the plot's final twist.
Posted January 5, 2011