Read Broken Hearts Online

Authors: R.L. Stine

Broken Hearts

BOOK: Broken Hearts
8.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Contents

Prologue: September

Part 1: The Following February

Chapter 1: A Surprise in the Mail

Chapter 2: Have a Heart

Chapter 3: Resentmen

Chapter 4: Surprise in the Snow

Chapter 5: Anger

Chapter 6: Everyone's Mad

Chapter 7: “I Hate Josie!”

Chapter 8: Math Problems

Chapter 9: First Blood

Chapter 10: Someone is Happy

Chapter 11: “Somebody Hates You”

Chapter 12: Maybe Jenkman

Chapter 13: Valentine's Day

Chapter 14: Erica is Worried

Chapter 15: Terrible Trouble

Chapter 16: A Stupid Thing

Chapter 17: Dangerous Plans

Chapter 18: “Hello? Anyone There?”

Chapter 19: Another Victim

Part 2: February, One Year Later

Chapter 20: Melissa's Turn

Chapter 21: Missing

Chapter 22: Dave is Guilty Again

Chapter 23: An Intruder

Chapter 24: Another Intruder

Chapter 25: The Real Killer

Chapter 26: Long Red Hair

Chapter 27: “Not Luke”

Chapter 28: Stabbed

Chapter 29: Another Broken Heart

Chapter 30: The Party

Chapter 31: A Hooded Figure

Chapter 32: On Thin Ice

Chapter 33: Drowned

Chapter 34: A Romantic Idea

About the Author

PROLOGUE

SEPTEMBER

THE FALL

T
he day of the terrible accident was bright and clear.

Erica McClain stared out the back window of the car as houses and yards whirred by. A few leaves had started to turn. The passing maples revealed patches of yellow and scarlet among the dusty green leaves. These splashes of color were the only clue that summer was fading.

Melissa Davis turned the car onto Old Mill Road and pushed down hard on the gas. The blue Firebird responded with a roar. “Why are we doing this?” she asked.

“Why not?” Josie McClain replied. She sat in the front beside Melissa, pushing the radio buttons.

“It's a beautiful day to go riding,” Rachel McClain added. Rachel, sitting in back beside Erica, leaned forward into the front. “Stop changing the stations,” she scolded Josie. “You're driving me crazy.”

“I can't find anything good,” Josie complained.

“Then put in a tape,” Rachel suggested.

“I forgot the tapes,” Melissa told her, swerving to pass a slow-moving van.

Josie stubbornly kept pushing the radio buttons.

Erica chuckled to herself. Josie and Rachel, her older sisters, acted so dumb sometimes.

Josie and Rachel were twins, although they didn't look it. Both sixteen, they called themselves the Un-Twins because they were so different.

Rachel had an oval-shaped face with creamy white skin and large olive green eyes. Her pretty face was framed by long copper-colored hair, which she swept straight back over her shoulders, letting it flow down to her waist.

Despite her fiery hair, Rachel was the cool one, the calm one. She had a soft, whispery voice and a confident, deliberate manner. Rachel was beautiful, and she was used to getting what she wanted. She moved easily through life, like a graceful, sure-footed gazelle.

Josie, with her dark brown hair and dark flashing eyes, was moodier, more temperamental, more unpredictable. Even though she and Rachel got along well, Josie worked hard at being different from her twin.

She kept her hair cut short. She always wore long, jangling earrings. She had worked all summer on her tan, while Rachel remained as pale white as ivory.

Rachel loved to shop and liked to dress in the trendiest styles. Josie seldom wore anything but jeans and T-shirts.

The only way you can tell they're sisters, Erica
thought, is that they constantly fight without really getting angry at each other.

Despite their differences, Josie and Rachel had a closeness that Erica envied. She also envied their freedom. Erica was fourteen, but her older sisters treated her as if she were six!

She was genuinely surprised when Rachel had invited her to go horseback riding with them. Maybe, Erica told herself, now that I'm going to be in Shadyside High with them, they'll start to think of me as a person and not a creepy kid.

“Wait till you see the guy at the stable,” Josie was telling Melissa. “You know, the guy who gives you your horse. He's a real babe.”

“What's his name?” Melissa asked, stopping for a red light. Melissa was pretty with a lively, animated face framed by long, jet black hair.

“Chuck, I think,” Josie replied. “I was so busy staring into his blue eyes, I didn't hear his name. When he smiles, he has dimples in both cheeks. You'll have to check them out. I think he was about to ask me out, but a woman got her foot stuck in a stirrup, and he had to go rescue her.”

Rachel laughed. “What a romantic story,” she said sarcastically. “Don't you ever get tired of chasing after guys?”

“What a question,” Josie muttered.

“Erica, do you have a boyfriend?” Melissa asked, raising her eyes to look at Erica's reflection in the rearview mirror.

Erica could feel her face grow hot. She knew she was blushing. “No. Not really,” she said quietly, staring
out the window. She chewed harder on her bubble gum, blew a small bubble, then sucked it back into her mouth.

“So you're going to be in ninth grade this year?” Melissa said.

“Yeah. I'm finally in high school,” Erica replied.

“Hope you don't get Anderson,” Melissa said, eyes still raised to the rearview mirror. “He's the pits.”

Melissa was Rachel and Josie's age and Josie's best friend, but she'd always been nice to Erica. She always talked to Erica as if she were someone worth knowing, not someone's pesky kid sister. She lived across the street from the McClains on Fear Street, which is how she and Josie got to be friends.

Erica blew another pink bubble, a larger one this time. Too large. It popped and stuck to her chin.

Rachel laughed. “Very mature,” she said scornfully, rolling her eyes.

Erica smiled as she struggled to pull the bubble gum off, but she felt hurt. Is Rachel going to make fun of me the rest of my life? she wondered.

The woods they'd been passing suddenly gave way to rolling green meadows behind log rail fences. A weatherbeaten wooden sign proclaimed Shadyside Riding Club.

Melissa slowed the car and turned into the parking lot, the tires throwing up clouds of dust. Beyond the fence Erica could see several horses standing with their heads lowered, nibbling the grass.

A gray clapboard barn stood at the far end of the parking lot. Behind it, Erica could see a dirt trail cut
deep into the meadow and lead off to the woods in the far distance.

She pushed Josie's seat forward and climbed out the open door, shielding her eyes from the bright sunlight. “Wait up!” she called. Melissa and her two sisters were already hurrying across the parking lot toward the broad open door of the barn.

“Hey, Chuck! Chuck!” Josie shouted, waving as a blond young man in jeans and a faded blue workshirt stepped into view leading two horses. He stopped to greet them.

As Erica followed the others into the shadow of the barn, her excitement suddenly gave way to nervousness.

“Oh!”

Startled, she cried out, as one of the horses raised its head and whinnied loudly.

I don't want to do this, Erica thought.

The horses suddenly seemed so tall.

Erica wasn't very athletic. Josie was the athlete in their family. She was a champion tennis player, swam like a fish, and loved to ice skate and play soccer and almost any other sport.

Why did I agree to come along? Erica asked herself. She wasn't much of a daredevil. She liked to keep both feet on the ground.

When the carnival came to Shadyside every summer, Rachel and Josie eagerly clambered onto every ride. Erica dreaded them all—especially the one that spun faster and faster until the floor dropped away, leaving everyone pressed against the round wall.

What was the fun in
that?
she always wondered. She just didn't get the point of rides. She couldn't figure out what was supposed to be fun about making yourself so uncomfortable and putting yourself in jeopardy. While her sisters would scream in delight as they whirred and tilted and spun, Erica would close her eyes, sink into herself, and pray for it to be over quickly.

Now, peering behind Chuck at the tall creatures who were snorting and pawing the ground impatiently, Erica thought of the carnival rides and realized that horseback riding was probably going to be the same kind of frightening, unpleasant experience.

She hung back as Melissa, Josie, and Rachel followed Chuck into the barn. She watched them talking and laughing. Chuck was a great-looking guy, she agreed. Josie sure knew how to pick them.

Josie already had a boyfriend—Jerry Jenkman. Everyone called him Jenkman. Josie was talking about breaking up with him. Josie changed boyfriends nearly as often as she changed her socks, Erica thought, chuckling.

She watched Josie put her hand on Chuck's shoulder as she talked to him. “Boys love that,” Josie had once confided to Erica. “It makes them think you're really hot for them.”

Chuck had led four horses out of their stalls and tethered them. Now he was pulling blankets and saddles off a pile against the barn wall.

As she watched from the doorway, a cold feeling of dread tightened Erica's stomach.

It smells so gross in here, she thought.

Chuck asked the girls if they'd mind saddling their own horses. He flashed them all a dimpled smile as he hurried out of the barn to help some new arrivals.

“Erica, do you want the black one?” Josie called. “Come over here. What are you doing?”

Erica reluctantly made her way across the straw-littered floor to the others. “I—I don't think I'm going to ride,” she said, training her eyes on the black horse Melissa was holding by the reins. The horse's eyes widened and its nostrils flared as Erica moved closer.

It looks like a monster, Erica thought fearfully, a dark monster.

“Huh?” Rachel's mouth dropped open in surprise and she brushed a fly off her pale forehead.

“You're not going to ride?” Josie asked impatiently. “Are you sick or something?”

“A stomach ache,” Erica muttered, making a face.

“Erica, every time we do something a little fun, you say you have a stomach ache,” Josie complained.

Erica chewed hard on her bubble gum. She could feel her face growing hot. She knew she was blushing. Josie was right, she realized. I really need to think of another excuse.

“That's not fair!” she protested. “I can't help it if my stomach hurts.”

BOOK: Broken Hearts
8.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake
Guardians of the Akasha by Stander, Celia
Homeward Bound by Attalla, Kat
Be My Love Song by Sable Hunter
Addicted by S. A. Archer, S. Ravynheart
Chained Cargo by Lesley Owen
Leashing the Tempest by Jenn Bennett