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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Deadtime Stories: The Witching Game

Deadtime Stories

Annette and Gina Cascone





Lindsey Jordan was dead. Dead, dead, dead! And she knew it. There was no place to run and no place to hide. In fact, if Lindsey hadn't tried to escape the horror in the first place, none of this would have happened. But now the horror was running loose through the house—along with a friend. And Lindsey was no longer locked inside the safety of her own room.

"Oh, man!" Lindsey's friend Bree Daniels gasped when Lindsey finally stopped screaming. "Your mother's going to kill us if she sees this mess! We'd better clean it up. And fast."

"No way," Lindsey snarled. "We didn't make this mess, so we're not going to clean it up." She stormed out of the living room into the foyer. Then she screamed up to the horror at the top of the stairs. "Alyssa!" she yelled at the top of her lungs. "Get down here right this minute, you little beast! And bring your sticky friend with you!"

Lindsey was answered by the sound of four little feet racing across the hallway upstairs.

"Alyssa, I'm not fooling around," Lindsey hollered. "If you don't get your butt down here right now, I'm going to come up there and kick it!"

"Drop dead!" Alyssa screamed back. Then a door slammed upstairs.

"That's it," Lindsey said as she took the first step. "I've had it with that kid. I'm going to kill her."

Bree grabbed Lindsey's arm to stop her. "We don't have time to kill her. Your parents will be home any minute. And if they see that living room, they're going to blame us."

Bree had a point. After all, she and Lindsey were supposed to be in charge. Lindsey had sworn to her parents that she and Bree were mature enough to be left alone with a couple of seven-year-olds. Little did they know that it would take a SWAT team to keep those brats under control.

"Don't you remember what your mother said?" Bree went on. "Watching them does not mean just being in the house. It means watching them."

To be honest, they hadn't been doing much watching at all. In fact, Lindsey and Bree had spent the entire afternoon locked up in Lindsey's room trying to escape the little horror and her friend. Lindsey needed the peace and quiet. Bree was helping her rehearse for the play tryouts the next day at school. They got so caught up in it that they actually managed to ignore the sounds coming from downstairs: the blaring TV, the screaming and giggling, the thumps and bumps, even the crashes.

They had forgotten all about the little horror and her partner in crime, Stephanie. That was a big mistake. Alyssa and Stephanie had turned the living room into a giant disaster area. Furniture was tipped over. The cushions were off the sofa and chairs. And what looked like every blanket in the house was draped across the mess to create a room-sized tent.

"This is unbelievable," Lindsey groaned as she and Bree walked back into the living room.

"It's not really that bad," Bree lied. "All we've got to do is fold up the blankets and fix up the furniture."

But they soon found out that that wasn't all they had to do.

Under the blankets, inside the tent, 128 crayons were scattered across the floor, along with every piece of every board game in the house. Stickers were stuck on everything—except the two dozen sticker books that littered the room. And in the center of it all, Alyssa's dolls were having a beach party—in a pile of sand art.

Somehow, Lindsey and Bree managed to clean the mess up. And they did it in record time. So what if the marbles from Hungry, Hungry Hippos were in the Monopoly box and Barbie's and Crystal's heads were in the trunk of the Dream Mobile? The room looked almost the way it had when Lindsey's parents left, and that was the important thing.

Bree heaved a sigh of relief as she turned off the vacuum. "I can't believe we got it all cleaned up before your parents got home."

"Yeah," Lindsey agreed. "And we've still got time to kill Alyssa." She headed into the foyer again. But before she turned to go up the stairs, she noticed something she'd missed before. The mirror on the wall across from the stairs was smeared with globs of peanut butter and jelly. "Look at this," she said to Bree in disgust. "No wonder that Stephanie kid is always so sticky."

"Do you want me to go get the glass cleaner?" Bree asked, exhausted.

"No," Lindsey answered, taking the steps two at a time. "We'll clean it up after those two little urchins are dead."

Lindsey was about to scream out to let Alyssa and her friend know what they were in for, but then she thought better of it. Why give them any warning? This would be a surprise attack.

"Shh," she whispered to Bree as they reached the top of the stairs.

They crept down the hallway toward Alyssa's room, checking to make sure that all the other rooms were still intact. They paused at Alyssa's doorway and then burst through like a couple of TV cops about to make a bust.

But the little horror was nowhere to be found.

"Where the heck did they go?" Bree said. "And what destructive thing are they doing now?"

Lindsey raced back out into the hallway in a panic. As she was trying to decide where to look first, the sound of little voices caught her attention. The sound was coming from the room across the hallway—her parents' room. She gestured for Bree to follow her.

Luckily, the bedroom was in order. But it appeared to be empty—until more chattering led Lindsey straight to her parents' bathroom door. "They're in there," she whispered to Bree, pointing at the closed door.

"What are they doing?" Bree whispered back.

Before Lindsey could even venture a guess, Alyssa herself answered the question.

"Okay, I'm going to light the candle now." Her voice drifted through the door. "Then we'll turn out the light and say the chant."

"She's got matches in there!" Bree gasped, reaching for the doorknob.

Lindsey put a hand out to stop her. "They're playing Bloody Mary," she whispered to Bree. "Let's scare the living daylights out of them."

Inside the bathroom, Alyssa was explaining the rules of the game to Stephanie. "Now we have to stare at the mirror really hard, and watch carefully for Bloody Mary. Once we say the chant, she'll appear. But only for a second. As soon as she appears, I'll make the wish. Then Bloody Mary will make it come true. Ready?"

Lindsey heard the click that told her the bathroom lights were out. There were no windows in her parents' bathroom, so Lindsey knew it was dark inside. She could just picture Alyssa and Stephanie staring through the eerie glow of candlelight into the mirror above the sink. She and Bree smiled at one another as they heard the quivering voices begin the chant:

Bloody Mary is your name.

Please appear and play this game.

For the wish we ask of you,

You must make it now come true.

Once the wish has been revealed,

Can't turn back, its fate is sealed.

In return for what you give,

We will let your spirit live.

Lindsey and Bree paused for a second, imagining the two little urchins peering into the mirror expectantly. Then the older girls let out bloodcurdling screams. Before Lindsey and Bree had even stopped screaming, Alyssa and her friend began to wail inside the bathroom. Along with their cries came fumbling and bumping sounds. The doorknob turned, but Lindsey grabbed it and held the door shut.

Alyssa and Stephanie started pounding on the door. "Help us!" they screamed. "Somebody, help us!"

Lindsey and Bree were practically doubled over with laughter.

Finally, Lindsey let go of the doorknob and the door flew wide open, sending Alyssa and Stephanie toppling over each other onto the floor.

Lindsey had gotten her revenge. And she was feeling pretty pleased with herself.

Until she caught sight of the horrifying face in the mirror. And it wasn't Alyssa's.

Copyright © 2012 by Annette Cascone and Gina Cascone