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Authors: R.L. Stine

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BOOK: All-Night Party
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Cindy.

In the flour.

White and red. Dark, dark red.

Cindy.

A lifeless, blank stare on her face.

Her mouth locked open in a scream of horror and pain.

Chapter
14

G
retchen staggered against the wall. She clutched her stomach.

I feel so sick, she thought. She fell to her knees and started to vomit.

Her stomach heaved. Then, wiping a hand across her mouth, she tore her eyes away from Cindy's body and ran out of the kitchen in a panic.

How did this happen? Where is everyone?

A few steps from the kitchen door, she stumbled into Marco. He caught her in his arms.

“Gretchen—what?” Marco demanded.

“It—it's Cindy,” Gretchen choked out. “She's been—someone has—”

“Huh? What about Cindy?” Marco demanded.

Gretchen tried to force the words out, but her
tongue felt like rubber. Hot tears rolled down her face. She squeezed her eyes shut. But she kept seeing Cindy's body.

The blood leaking from the open wound.

The red blood. The white flour.

Cindy's horrible, lifeless stare.

Murdered! Gretchen's mind shrieked. Cindy has been murdered! Someone I know has been murdered!

She looked up to see Patrick race out of the downstairs bathroom. “What's going on? What's wrong?”

“She's in there!” Gretchen choked out. “Go and see!”

She grabbed Patrick's arm. And started to tug him into the kitchen.

But she stopped when she saw the stain on Patrick's T-shirt.

“No!” Gretchen gasped “No!”

The front of Patrick's shirt was covered in blood.

Chapter
15

G
retchen felt the room spinning. A blackness closed in on her. I'm going to faint, she thought. She reached out to one of the walls for support.

Patrick killed Cindy! Gretchen's mind screamed. He killed her!

“How did you get that blood on your shirt?” Gretchen demanded.

Patrick stared down at his shirt. “I cut my hand trying to open the bedroom window upstairs,” he answered.

He held up his bandaged right palm.

Was Patrick telling the truth? Gretchen couldn't think about that now.

“The kitchen,” she whispered.

Marco dashed into the kitchen. But Patrick stayed by Gretchen's side.

Why isn't he running with Marco into the kitchen? Gretchen wondered.

Is it because he already knows what's in there?

“Gretchen? Maybe you should sit down or something. You look awful,” Patrick said softly.

He reached out to touch her arm.

She flinched and pulled away. Her gaze dropped again to the bloodstains on his shirt.

Gretchen couldn't answer. Tears filled her eyes and blurred her vision. She blinked them away.

“The escaped prisoner,” Patrick whispered, his eyes widening with fear. “How did he get in? Why did he kill Cindy?”

Gretchen heard a floorboard creak. She gasped in terror. She heard Patrick gasp, too, as he turned quickly toward the sound.

Then she heard familiar voices. Gil's and Hannah's voices.

They strolled into the cabin, arms around each other.

“What's going on?” Hannah asked. “You guys look awful.”

“Where's the birthday girl?” Gil inquired. He gazed around the front room. “Let's get this party rolling!”

“The party's over,” Gretchen moaned.

“Over?” Gil replied. “We haven't even cut the cake.”

“It's Cindy—” Patrick began.

“Cindy is dead!” Gretchen blurted out. “Somebody killed her.”

Hannah's arm fell away from Gil's waist. She took a step toward Gretchen.

“Huh? What did you say?” she asked slowly.

“Dead,” Gretchen whispered. “Cindy is dead.”

Hannah shook her head back and forth. “She can't be!” she whispered. “What are you saying?”

“It's true,” Gretchen choked out.

Hannah's lower lip started to tremble and her eyes filled with tears. “Cindy can't be dead. She can't!” she sobbed.

Gil gaped at Gretchen in shock. “Are you sure?”

Gretchen nodded her head. “Her body's in the kitchen.”

“What are we going to do?” Hannah sobbed. “What are we going to do?”

“We've got to get the police,” Gretchen said.

“We
can't
get the police,” Patrick cried.

Gretchen spun around to face him. She felt her feelings well up inside, as if she might explode.

Patrick always acted like such a know-it-all. Even at a time like this.

“Why not?” she demanded. “Cindy's been murdered! We have to do something!”

Patrick didn't answer.

He stepped quickly toward Gretchen, an intense look on his face.

What is he going to do? Gretchen wondered.

Is it because I mentioned the police?

Her eyes fell to the front of Patrick's shirt again.

To the blood.

Did he lie? Is that really Cindy's blood and not his?

Is he the killer?

Before she could back away, Patrick grabbed her.

His strong arms wrapped around her.

“Patrick—stop! What are you doing?” she cried.

Chapter
16

P
atrick drew Gretchen close to him.

He's hugging me, Gretchen realized. Patrick is only hugging me. He's not hurting me.

“Calm down, Gretchen,” he whispered soothingly. “Calm down. We have to think clearly. We can't call the police. There isn't a phone in the cabin. There aren't any phones on Fear Island.”

“Then we'll go home!” Gretchen cried. “We'll row back to Shadyside and get the police.”

“We can't,” Patrick insisted.

“Why not?” Gil asked.

“Because of the storm,” Hannah said.

“And because of the killer,” Patrick added. “He was in our kitchen. He might still be outside the
cabin. We're safer inside. At least we have the gun. And he can't sneak up on us.”

Gretchen pulled away from Patrick. She felt a little bit calmer.

Yes, the killer, she thought. We have to protect ourselves from the killer.

“But the gun isn't loaded,” Hannah pointed out.

“I brought bullets,” Patrick answered.

“Huh? You did?” Gil asked.

Patrick nodded his head. “I told you. My dad wanted to make sure we were safe.”

He turned back to Gretchen. “Are you okay?”

No, I'm not okay!
Gretchen wanted to scream. One of my closest friends is dead in the kitchen. She's been stabbed to death, and she's lying in a pool of blood.

But Gretchen didn't scream. She hugged her arms around her body.

She wanted to scream and cry. But she couldn't.

What would it accomplish? Cindy would still be dead.

If only I had rushed back into the cabin when I overheard that argument, she thought miserably. Maybe I could have prevented Cindy's murder.

“What's going on?” Jackson appeared in the doorway of the cabin with an armload of wood.

“Cindy's been murdered,” Gretchen murmured.

She watched Jackson closely, waiting for his reaction.

But he didn't react at all. He didn't even blink.

He dropped the wood into the bin next to the
fireplace. Then he took off his yellow rain slicker and hung it on the coatrack.

What's wrong with him? Gretchen wondered. Doesn't he have any feelings?

“Don't you have anything to say?” Gretchen cried. “Didn't you hear me? Cindy's been murdered.”

“This is a joke—right?” he asked.

“A joke?” Gretchen gasped.

Hannah shook her head sadly. “It's no joke, Jackson.”

“In—in the kitchen,” Gretchen murmured.

Jackson stared hard at them. Then he strode across the living room and threw open the kitchen door.

Everyone followed him. Except Gretchen. She stayed behind. She didn't want to see Cindy's lifeless body again.

But being alone in the empty living room frightened her.

She hurried into the kitchen—and saw Marco standing over Cindy's body. His face was deathly white.

Jackson and Patrick stood beside Marco, in shocked silence.

Gil and Hannah stood on the other side of Cindy's body. Hannah turned and buried her face in Gil's chest.

“Who could have done such a thing to Cindy?” Hannah sobbed. “Who?”

“It's really true,” Gil whispered numbly. “She's really dead.”

Hannah pulled her tear-stained face away from Gil's shirt. “We have to get to the police. Our parents.
Do
something.”

“Hannah's right,” Gretchen said. “We need help. If we all stay together, we can make it down to the boat dock. The escaped prisoner isn't going to attack all of us at once.”

“It's too big a risk,” Patrick insisted. “We only have to stay here until tomorrow afternoon. When we don't come home in the morning, our parents will send the police to look for us.”

“What are we supposed to do in the meantime?” Hannah demanded shrilly. “I can't stay here now. I just can't!”

She began to sob again. Gil put his arms around her.

“I think we should try to get out of here,” Gil said. “None of us wants to stay here with Cindy dead in the kitchen.”

“If you want to risk your lives, go ahead,” Patrick said. “But I'm not setting foot outside this cabin.”

“But, Patrick—” Gretchen started.

“The escaped prisoner is a maniac!” Patrick cried. “He's already killed once tonight!”

Gretchen stared at Cindy's lifeless body. At the puddles of blood in the flour.

She imagined the way Cindy fought her killer. Struggled for her life.

Patrick is right, she decided.

The killer could be anywhere. We can't take such a dangerous risk.

“I don't want to die,” Gretchen blurted out, trembling.

“Then let's all stay put,” Patrick urged.

“Wait a minute,” Hannah spoke up. “What if the prisoner isn't outside?”

“Where else would he be?” Gil asked.

“What if he's
inside?”

Chapter
17

BOOK: All-Night Party
12.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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