Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book.
|Published (Last):||9 June 2008|
|PDF File Size:||1.96 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||7.53 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
By Laura Kasischke. Every year, there were stories told around the campfire. At the center of it, a thin branch always blazed with a thousand pine needles, which turned red, then exploded, one by one—each a quick hiss followed by shriveling. The spicy smell of white pine drifted out of the darkness of the national forest. Bug spray. Damp moss. The gooey blackened melodrama of roasted marshmallows. Year after year, the stories were the same—gruesome and spooky and true —and a few of the girls kept their hands over their faces during the telling:.
First, there was the babysitter who went upstairs late one night because she thought she heard the children jumping on their beds and found them instead in the bathtub with their throats slashed. Then there was the mother who got a phone call from her daughter. There was the girl who was dared at a slumber party to write a love note to Satan, sign it in blood, and burn it—she thought it was funny—and who was found in the morning naked, hanging from a jump rope in the garage.
The ghost of a French explorer who creeps up behind campers in the Blanc Couer National Forest when they wander off the path to pee. And the little boy who fell out of a tall pine and broke his neck and now amuses himself by pushing people out of trees. The man who tied heavy chains around the body of his wife after he killed her, tossed the body off a bridge into Lake Michigan, then came home and found her sitting in his La-Z-Boy—smiling, soaking wet.
A girl who, with two friends, sneaked out of Pine Ridge Cheerleading Camp in a little red sports car one summer afternoon, and smiled at a couple of boys in a rusty station wagon. The red Mustang, like a small shiny thought dipped in blood, sped between two walls of white pine that extended as far ahead as the eye could see and as far behind as the rearview mirror could contain. My name was Kristy Sweetland, I was seventeen, and it felt as if someone had cut this particular path out of the Blanc Coeur National Forest for me—a narrow winding river of tar so smooth, my tires traveling over it sounded like nothing but breath and kisses, kisses and breath.
The top was down. The stereo was on. Beside me, my best friend, Desiree, had her ankles crossed on the dashboard, her polished legs shining in the sun.
Behind us, a girl from camp whose name was also Kristi although hers ended in an i , was holding onto her red hair, making noises. This is ridiculous. The sky was clean and blue and crossed with frothy jet trails and meandering clouds. As we drove, the breeze made a smothering whoosh around us, and the air smelled like a Pink Pearl eraser I used to keep on my desk in elementary school—immaculate I used to hold that eraser to my nose when I was bored, breathe in the dense pink dust, which had rubbed away hundreds of my mistakes and still smelled clean.
It was fun, driving on a day like that, slicing straight through the nothing, turning it into wind. My car was fast and flashy. It had a white vinyl interior and a silver horse on the hood. I was also young and pretty, beside her, behind the wheel of my red car, and I knew it. They looked at me, too, when they were done looking at her.
Desiree and I had been best friends since kindergarten. At school, in the hallways, the other kids looked nervous when we laughed. It felt powerful, being pretty—but I also wanted to be good. I believed in God. And in Jesus. And in Pretty is as pretty does, which my stepfather used to say whenever I stood in front of the mirror too long. Could pretty do anything? Under some circumstances I supposed it could be a noun. But I tried to be humble, and nice, anyway. God bless you!
It was a bounty, what came along with being friendly and pretty at the same time. No one expected it. If you could do it and make it look sincere—be nice to the ugly girls, smile at the losers and the geeks, talk to them in the cafeteria as if they were normal people, invite a few of them to your parties even though your friends would stick their fingers down their throats and pretend to gag when you read the invitation list—the rewards were endless.
Miss Congeniality, the assistant principal called me when he passed me in the hallway. And I got good grades, not because I was so smart, but because I studied hard and paid attention in class. I could carry a tune, sort of, and was elected president of the choir. Brad Bain was adopted, and everyone knew it because his brothers were tall and blond and athletic and he was short and dark-haired and pigeontoed.
He simply wanted to know. Look, the red-headed Kristi in the backseat called up to us. Desiree looked at me, rolled her eyes, but I nodded into the rearview mirror at this Kristi, whose mirrored sunglasses reflected mine reflecting hers reflecting mine. It was a tone that made Desiree want to kill her, I knew, but made me want to do what she said. It seemed as though it would be much less trouble to keep her happy than it would be to deal with the aftermath of making her mad. It spilled flames all over, and my stepfather aimed the garden hose at it until it sizzled out.
It had simply been left in the sun too long, I was told. A few days later I found a bit of blackened paper in my sandbox that had drifted over into our yard. I glanced at Desiree. We needed gas anyway. And candy. Okay, okay, I said, and made a fast left into a gas station, which had appeared so suddenly at the side of the road I almost missed it.
Whoa, Desiree said, holding onto the dashboard and leaning into my shoulder as I turned. Some warning next time, Speedy? A muffled bell rang as I ran over the black hose that was stretched between gas pumps. It was always like that, stopping after driving fast in my convertible.
There was a moment when it was embarrassing: Oh. Flushed and winded, hair wild, sometimes still shouting, having not yet noticed that you no longer needed to scream to be heard—abruptly returned to the regular world. The old man was wearing a navy blue jumpsuit with the name Lute embroidered on the pocket. In the backseat, the redhead was pawing at her hair, trying to put it back where she wanted it, and Lute, unscrewing my gas cap, said to her sympathetically, You can buy yourself a little comb in there, sweetheart, nodding at the station.
Without the sunglasses, the chrome dazzle of the gas station parking lot was blinding. I had to shield my eyes with my hand. The only thing I could look at directly was the parking lot, its black tar gone soft in the heat.
On its surface, several small black pools of oil swirled with pastel scarves, and the shadow of my body cast itself over those shadows. Overhead, there was a long, sharp cicada chirr. It paused and surged, surged and paused, sounding as if it were coming from the phone lines—frenzied, electrical, a thousand hysterical mothers chattering in the sky. A bald man was kneeling at its left tire—filling it, or praying to it.
The bus had been left running, and to pass it I had to walk through a dieseled curtain of exhaust. In the plate-glass window of the gas station, wavering through that film of fumes, I could see my reflection—an image of myself layered over with baby blue stenciled letters:.
In that glass, I was see-through, and floating around inside my body were gas pumps, an ice machine, and a few cans of Valvoline.
Still, my reflection was solid enough that I could see myself—my hair a dark mess, my halter top white as a sail. Through my transparent shoulder I saw the brief gem of his Bic make a stab at the air, while all around me the metallic buzz of cicadas droned, the electric knife of their whining sliding around my flesh. The cabin was cold and dewy, dappled with early morning sun shining weakly through the trees, and it smelled of shampooed hair—yards and yards of it, enough strawberry-scented hair to fill a hundred bushel baskets.
That screaming thing, whatever it was, was not in my hair, or inside my head, or on my pillow, but was clinging to the window screen, scanning the cabin with its weird mechanical eyes, its round mouth-hole buzzing oooh-aaah, oooh-aaah.
Upload Sign In Join. Create a List. Download to App. Length: pages 2 hours. Description They were seventeen with perfect tans and perfect bodies. They planned on a joyride in a convertible on a hot summer day. They planned on skinny-dipping in a beautiful, secluded lake. They planned on making it back to camp before anyone noticed they were gone.
What they didn't plan on was being followed by two guys in a beat-up station wagon Their day soon takes a drastic turn—all because Kristy Sweetland smiled at the wrong time, in the wrong place, at the wrong boys. Now the girls feel prying eyes on them all the time—during pep practice, on the path through the woods, outside the window of their cabin.
The boys are stalking them, leaving threatening notes on their beds, and watching their every move. Related Categories. Bill Every year, there were stories told around the campfire. A handful of bats slapped across a dark-blue sky. The sky was punctured with stars.
Year after year, the stories were the same—gruesome and spooky and true —and a few of the girls kept their hands over their faces during the telling: First, there was the babysitter who went upstairs late one night because she thought she heard the children jumping on their beds and found them instead in the bathtub with their throats slashed.
And this: A girl who, with two friends, sneaked out of Pine Ridge Cheerleading Camp in a little red sports car one summer afternoon, and smiled at a couple of boys in a rusty station wagon.
ONE 1 The red Mustang, like a small shiny thought dipped in blood, sped between two walls of white pine that extended as far ahead as the eye could see and as far behind as the rearview mirror could contain. I was the driver.
Hmm, the blurb sounds cool. But yeah I'd expect a good horror story too. I would pick up this book if I had just read the synopsis. Bummer, that is not as scary as you would expect. Post a comment I love comments!
By Laura Kasischke. Every year, there were stories told around the campfire. At the center of it, a thin branch always blazed with a thousand pine needles, which turned red, then exploded, one by one—each a quick hiss followed by shriveling. The spicy smell of white pine drifted out of the darkness of the national forest.