Dead End Street
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by Rick R. Reed
Description: The old house at the end of a dead-end street is more of a dead end than anyone realizes... They are five misfit kids who have banded together in their small Ohio River town. Over the years, they had organized various clubs, and now they've formed the Halloween Horror Club. The premise is simple: each week, each teen spins a horrifying tale, and at the end of five weeks, the scariest story wins a prize. The twist: the stories have to be told in the infamous and abandoned Tuttle house, where, fifteen years earlier, nearly an entire family had been murdered in their beds. The idea of the club seems like a good one, until the kids begin to realize they may not be alone in the Tuttle house, which backs up against the woods. There seems to be someone--or something--watching them. Is it Paul Tuttle, the son who, while still in his teens, disappeared the night his parents and sister were killed? Or is it someone even more sinister? With each story (each a completed short, original horror tale that stands on its own), the tension mounts...and so does the anger of the house's mysterious inhabitant. He is enraged at having his space violated, and his rage could mean a real dead end for those who dare to invade his home... Genres: Horror / Suspense / Thriller / Young Adult
eBook Publisher: Amber Quill Press, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: April 2009
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [197 KB]
Reading time: 119-166 min.
"...Reed is able to create just the perfect amount of icy fingers up the reader's spine without the gore of some horror novels or movies. The characters are well-drawn and believable, and the plot and subplots are good and scary. Move over, R. L. Stine. It looks like Rick R. Reed may be the next new horror writer for young readers for this century. (Because I enjoyed this book so much, I'm going to track down his adult horror fiction and dip into some of those.)"--Janie Franz, MyShelf.com
"...A delightful haunted house story, framed by an effective use of the story-within-a-story narrative...Reed has proven himself time and time again at crafting solid stories in which the suspense ratchets up exponentially with each passing chapter. Dead End Street...is no exception. The relatively short novel builds to an action-packed finale...with Reed twisting and turning the story line just enough so that the reader is kept enjoyably off balance and surprised along the way. Brimming with just enough violence to appeal to teens without putting vigilant parents off, Dead End Street is a perfect YA horror experience for young readers."--Vince A. Liaguno, Dark Scribe Magazine
"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.
"The Tuttle 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.