This year, there are three stories written by some of your favorite authors that will be posted throughout the week. Each one is a choose your adventure story, where you get to decide which path to send the character down.
Sometimes you live
...sometimes you die
...and sometimes you fall into a pit of no return.
*Insert maniacal laugh*
If you are here from another path, I commend you for following your gut. You can continue your character's story below, after reading about this section's author, Ty Drogo.
If this is the first YA Spooktacular post you've come across, click here to start your journey at the beginning of the story, after reading below about all the cool prizes and ways you can win things.
Throughout the stories, you will find TRICKS or TREATS scattered about, where you can enter to win prizes and get bonus points toward each story's prize packs.
The prize pack for Story #1 (this story!) is linked below.
On Halloween day, the grand prize pack will be posted on the hostess' blogs.
You can click the banner above to see a full list of the YA Spooktacular prize packs.
Ty Drago makes his home in Southern New Jersey with his beloved wife and son. He also has a beautiful daughter, but she makes her home elsewhere these days (sniff!). His short fiction has appeared in several locations, including AMAZON SHORTS and HAUNTS. When he’s not writing, he spends his time working as a business analyst for a large pharmaceutical company. His newest novel THE UNDERTAKERS: RISE OF THE CORPSES is now available.
Click the image above to start at the beginning.
What is this place? Laura wondered. She considered asking, but stopped herself. It didn’t matter. The only thing that did matter was getting out of this place.
“Keep going,” she told the figure, jabbing him with the poker. Obediently, he crossed the darkened room. Or was his obedience an act?
Either way, as he neared the far wall and what Laura took to be an exit, he stopped.
“What are you doing?” she demanded, hoping she sounded more angry than scared.
“You said you wanted to see Brian,” the figure said, sounding smug. “You said you wanted to … kick his butt.”
“So? You let him and Amanda go.”
A cough. Or maybe a laugh. “Did I?”
His web-fingered hand reached out, alarmingly quickly. Laura almost jumped back, but then saw that he wasn’t reaching for her, but rather for a lever on the wall. He pulled it, and the room filled with light.
Cages. And in them: people. A lot of people. Some were men, some women, many children. Dozens of them, one per cage. They squinted at her, as if unaccustomed to the light. One of the cages held a little girl, no more than eight, her angelic face twisted by fear and suffering.
“Help us,” she whispered.
“What is this place?” Laura exclaimed.
“It’s my collection,” the figure replied flatly and, for the first time, Laura saw him clearly. Saw his bulging silver eyes, which seemed to protrude several inches from the sides of his thin, hatchet-shaped face. His mouth was a lipless “0”, constantly moving, as were the gills — yes, the gills — visible just below where his ears should have been.
This time she didn’t hiss. This time she screamed.
“It used to be ours,” he said, sounding strangely wistful. “My sister’s and mine. Every specimen we collected together, snaring them in our pond in the forest. Goldfish made such wonderful lures. We’d built a life. We were happy. Until they came …”
He pointed at the nearest cage. There were three of them, all in a row. In the middle one, Laura saw Brian. He looked haggard and terrified, his pale face staring out at her through rusted, vertical bars.
And, in the next cage over, the beautiful Amanda – silently sobbing, her eyes vacant with suffering and despair.
The third cage was empty – its door wide open.
“They came together,” the collector said. “And we took them both. But the boy was quick and clever. He broke free and …” The creature’s voice choked a bit. “Killed my sister before I cornered him.”
“It was an accident!” Brian called. “We had a deal!”
They had a deal, Laura thought bitterly. “To trade me for Amanda,” she said.
Brian averted his gaze.
“Yessss,” the collector hissed, an odd, fishy sound. “But never would I have kept such a bargain. Oh no.
Once you see my menagerie, there’s no going back. So I let him have his precious mate, and then, as they fled, I snared them anew. Now … I have all three of you.”
“Laura, I’m sorry!” Brian called. “It was … the only way! I never meant –”
But he never finished the sentence. The creature leapt at Laura, seizing her wrist in an iron grip and wrenching away the poker. Then, with a cry of triumph he tossed it away before clutching a fistful of her hair.
Laura struggled wildly, but the collector was all muscle. With a great heave, he threw her into the empty cage and then worked another lever on the wall. The cage door closed with a loud, terrible finality.
“No!” Laura cried. She shook the bars. They were cold and clammy, but very solid.
“I will feed you,” the creature said. “I will care for you as I do the others. You’re all my pets, my toys, my subjects. I will play with you. And I will hurt you. I like hurting my specimens. It’s my favorite part of the game.” He chuckled, a wet, sickly sound.
“I’m sorry, Laura,” Brian said.
“Shut up,” she told him.
Amanda just kept crying.
“Please …” Laura whispered, reaching out toward the collector, whose “O”-shaped mouth seemed to have turned slightly upward, in a grotesque parody of a smile. She didn’t know what he was or where he had come from and, at this point, it didn’t matter. While the sight of him still terrified and disgusted her, his mercy was her only hope. “Please … let me go.”
“Oh, I will,” he replied with another chuckle. “As soon as you’re dead.”
Perhaps Laura will have better luck if you try again from the beginning.
Make sure you stop by Tangled Up in Words to enter the Story Prize Pack giveaway!
And don't forget to enter the awesome grand prize giveaways (one INT & one US/CAN) on October 31st! They'll be posted at Frenzy of Noise, and Wicked Awesome Books, on that date.
And now...despite the fact that the path you chose ultimately lead to your captivity (good thing there are do-overs, right?), I do have a a little TREAT for you, in the form of a giveaway.
The winner will get their choice of ONE of the following books:
Open to wherever The Book Depository ships!
(Make sure your country is on this list.)
You do NOT need to be a follower to enter.
You must be 13 years of age or older to enter.
This giveaway closes at midnight (MST) 11/01/11.
The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter and will have 48 hours to reply, or a new winner will be chosen.