Authors: R. L. Stine
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To Kat Brzozowski and all my Twitter friends who persuaded me to return to this street of horrors
The Fear Street woods stretch for hundreds of acres at the eastern end of the town of Shadyside. Tall, leafy maple and sycamore trees, centuries old, make the woods shadowy and cool, even on the sunniest days.
The woods are beautiful, fragrant, and quiet. But few Shadyside residents would ever hike or picnic there.
Maybe they know the story of the two girls who were found in the woodsâ
with all their bones missing.
Or maybe they know the odd fact that no birds ever venture into these woods or perch on the trees. Most people take that as a
Or maybe it's because everyone in town has heard the unexplained, inhuman howls and shrieks that echo off the tall trees late at night.
Everyone in the pleasant, suburban town of Shadyside knows about the Fear family, early settlers of the town, who practiced the black arts and were cursed with a history of untold evil. The woodsâand the winding street that bears their nameâare places to be avoided by all.
Shadyside High senior Rachel Martin has lived in Shadyside her whole life. She should know better than to venture off with Brendan Fear to an all-night party at his family summer home on Fear Island. She should know there are risks when you get involved with a Fear. But sometimes romance gets in the way of common sense.
Besides, all those scary Fear family stories are ancient historyâaren't they?
Rachel looks forward to a dream weekend. But she is about to learn that Fear Street is where your darkest nightmares live.
âR. L. Stine
I saw Brendan Fear walk into the diner where I worked with some of his friends, but I had no idea how my life would change that night. As I wiped down a table, I followed him with my eyes as he led his three friends down the narrow aisle to the booth in the back corner.
How could such a normal scene lead to so much horrorâand even murder?
I knew the kids who were with Brendan. I'm not in the same crowd, but we're all seniors at Shadyside High. Ha.
. That's kind of a laugh. Face facts. I have a few good friends, but I definitely don't have a
My name is Rachel Martin, and I'm seventeen. I have this after-school waitress job at Lefty's, a hangout a few blocks from the high school. And yes, it's a teeny-tiny bit awkward to wait on the kids I see in school all day.
But I'm sure that's just me. No one ever makes a comment or a joke about it. But sometimes it makes me uncomfortable.
I guess I'm not the most relaxed person on the planet. Mom says I'm strung tighter than a tennis racket. My sister, Beth, always insists that's not true. She says I'm just
I sure miss Beth. She went off to Oberlin in September. Beth got a scholarship for her flute playing. She's the smart one
the talented one in the family.
We have always been so close. She said she'd Skype me every night. But I haven't heard from her in weeks.
The kitchen bell rang, the signal that someone's food was ready. I collected some dirty plates from a table and squeezed through the crush of kids at the counter to get to the kitchen.
Lefty's is small and always hot and steamy, no matter what the weather is outside. When I get home after work, I have to shower for a long time to get the fried grease smell of hamburgers and French fries off my skin and out of my hair.
But this place is definitely the most popular hangout for Shadyside High kids, partly because it's so close to school. And because it's The Home of the Two-Dollar Double Cheeseburger.
I don't know who thought that up, but it was genius.
I saw my friend Amy O'Brien walk in. She waved, but I didn't have time to go say hello to her. Ellen, the other waitress, called in sick, and I was covering the whole restaurant.
I carried some cheeseburgers to a table near the front. Then I picked up four menus to take to Brendan Fear's table. He and his friends were all talking at once, leaning toward each other over the table, glancing around as if they didn't want to be overheard. Very intense.
They all stopped talking as I stepped up to them.
I saw Kerry Reacher, who is our All-State forward on the basketball team. He was wearing his maroon-and-white team jacket. He's so lanky, his legs stretched out of the booth. His white sneakers had to be at least size 12 or a 14.
Patti Berger sat next to him. Patti is a sweet-looking dark-haired girl, tiny, like a little doll, with a whispery doll voice and dimples to die for. She's so adorable, you want to kill her. Except she's the nicest person on earth, friendly and warm.
Patti and I grew up together because our moms are best friends. We're not really in the same crowd at school. But we're still happy to see each other whenever our families get together.
Patti is about as tall as a fourth grader. Seriously. I mean, she's got to be two feet shorter than Kerry. But they're always together. They say they're just good friends. But everyone sees them holding hands, lip-locked in the halls. I guess the friends thing is some kind of private joke.
Next to Brendan, Eric Finn was drumming on the tabletop with two fingers. Eric is a big, bouncy teddy bear of a dude, with wavy blond hair, a round freckled face, booming voice, and a loud, hee-haw donkey laugh. He's one of those guys who just likes to laugh and party.
I've always thought it was totally weird that he and Brendan Fear are such good buddies. They're like total opposites. But they've been friends since elementary school.
Brendan has wavy black hair. He is pale and serious-looking. He has this shy smile, but you don't see it very often, and he speaks very quietly. I like his eyes. They're soft brown and warm, kind of crinkly, and when they lock on you, it's like he's seeing into your brain.
Uh-oh. Does that give you a hint that I've had a crush on Brendan Fear since eighth grade?
He dresses in black jeans and black T-shirts with video game logos on the front. He's the school brainiac, but he's totally into games.
He and Eric and some of his other friends play games for hours.
World of Warcraft
Grand Theft Auto
and all kinds of fantasy and car-racing games. That's all they talk about at school. And someone told me that Brendan programs his own games and is working with some guys to develop an online gaming site.
I walked up to Brendan's booth with the menus tucked under the arm of my red-and-white-checked uniform. “Whoa.” I tripped over Kerry's big shoes, and stumbled into the table.
Brendan grabbed my arms and helped stand me up. “Rachel, you okay?” His dark eyes peered into mine.
I could feel my face go hot. I liked the way he said my name.
“I'll move over if you want to sit with us,” Eric said. “Or you can sit on my lap?”
Kerry and Patti laughed.
“That would be a thrill,” I said. “But would you give me another job when I'm fired?”
He flashed me a devilish grin. “I could think of
“Give Rachel a break,” Patti told Eric. “Can't you see she's busy?”
“She and I could get busy,” Eric said.
Patti gave him a playful slap. “Eric, don't you ever stop joking?”
Eric and I have been teasing each other since first grade. He's always flirting with me, but he flirts with every girl he sees. No one ever takes him seriously because he's never serious.
I handed the menus out to them.
“You work here every day after school?” Brendan asked.
I nodded. “Yeah.” I brushed my hair off my forehead with one hand. I could feel sweat on my forehead. I knew I didn't look my best.
“Till when?” Brendan asked. His eyes were studying me.
“Whoa. Long day. When do you do your homework?”
I shrugged. “Whenever.”
“What's homework?” Eric chimed in. “Should I try it?”
“You wouldn't like it,” Patti told him.
Brendan kept studying me, like he had something on his mind.
“Waitress? Could we have a check?” A woman at the table behind me tapped my shoulder. It startled me, and I jumped.
“Sure. Just a sec,” I said. The door slammed as another bunch of Shadyside kids came in. The diner was getting really crowded.
I turned back to Brendan. “Do you guys know what you want?” I asked.
“Do you have cheeseburgers here?” Eric asked, grinning at me again.
Totally dumb joke.
“No one ever asked for that before,” I said. “I'll have to check.”
Kerry and Patti laughed. “I'll come back in a few minutes,” I said. I glanced back and saw Brendan's eyes following me as I walked away.
I scribbled out the check for Table 4. I had to tear up the first one and start again because I was thinking about Brendan Fear, and my hand was actually trembling a little. Doesn't take much to get me excited.
I mean, those were definitely meaningful looks he was flashing me.
Rachel, he was just trying to make you feel better since you nearly fell into his lap.
Was I imagining the meaningful looks? Face facts. I'm not the most confident person in the world. I think I look okay. I'm not Red Carpet beautiful or anything. I have straight blonde hair, which I usually pull back into a simple ponytail, pale blue eyes, and a nice smile. I think my nose is crooked. And I have sort of a square chin, which I hate. When I'm feeling really low, I think my face looks like an ax blade with eyes.