Wednesday, October 26, 2011

YA Spooktacular - Party Time Including a TRICK

Welcome to another stop for the second annual YASpooktacular, hosted by Frenzy of Noise and Wicked Awesome Books.

This year, there are three stories written by some of your favorite authors that will be posted throughout the week. Each story is a choose your adventure, where you get to decide what path to send the character down. Sometimes you live, sometimes you die, and sometimes you fall into a pit of no return.

There are also some TRICKS or TREATS scattered throughout the story, where you can enter to win prizes and get bonus points toward the prize packs. The prize pack for (enter your story # here) will be up tomorrow! On Halloween day, the grand prize pack will be posted. You can click the banner above to see a full list of the YASpooktacular prize packs! (the link to Frenzy of Noise Spooktacular page will be included in the email and updated daily.)

Author bio:  
Among other things, I was an English major in college and so I know that I’m supposed to write things like,”Ilsa J. Bick is<fill in the blank>.” Except I hate writing about myself like I’m not in the room. 

Helloooo, I’m right here … So let’s just say that I’m a child psychiatrist (yeah, you read that right) and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, ebooks and novels. 
Believe me, no one is more shocked about this than I … unless you talk to my mother.


You can find Ilsa on Twitter, on her blog, and on Goodreads:


You can pick it up at the beginning by clicking on the banner!  


Ilsa J. Bick – THE END YOU DESERVE




Before we go any further, I’ve got something to say to you.

Yes, you, outside the page, on the other side of this screen, I’m talking to you, so listen up. This is important.

You think you’re so special. You think that because you hear my voice and see what’s happening in your head that everything you imagine somehow belongs to you. It’s natural, I guess. What
becomes in your mind must seem as if it can’t have been born from anyone or anywhere else.

But I got news for you. This is my story. Those last four words are mine. So are all the sentences and paragraphs and what’s in these pages.

Which means that
she’s mine. So are Michael and Des and Stace—and you, too.

And here’s why.

Take me out of the equation and all that’s left is a blank page. No story. Nothing to imagine. No voices in your head.

I own you. I am your beginning and your end. Everything you are is because of me.

I can end this—and you—anywhere I want, at any time.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

#

“Wait, wait, hold on,” you said. We hunkered on the cold concrete slab that was the Crazy Mexican’s excuse of a basement. We always met down there because it was the only place in that wreck where you didn’t have to worry about going through rotted floorboards.

For another, well . . . because that’s how I wrote it, where my story had to happen. So there we were: you huddled in a parka because your skimpy French maid’s costume wasn’t worth beans in the cold; me in my standard uniform of jeans and a sweatshirt, gloves in my left hip pocket and another, more uncomfortable bulge in the right; a flashlight; and the Stoli, already half-gone, that I’d liberated from the parental units.

And my story, of course, the one I wrote expressly for you.

I watched you press the paper to your forehead like a psychic taking a reading. “Don’t tell me,” you said. “Let me guess. I hit . .
Michael. No, no . . . wait . . . how about Des? Or . . . I know, I know . . . how about I spike my dad?”

“That doesn’t make sense.” I tipped the bottle to my mouth but kept my lips shut tight while doing the whole Adam’s apple, fake swallow thing. It was a trick I’d picked up watching CSI and NCIS. Besides, I always was good at pretend. “Why would I write your dad into a burning garage? What would he be doing there in the first place?”

Duh.” You backhanded the pages. They scattered over the concrete like the crap cards of the worst round of Texas hold’em you’d ever played. “That’s just the problem, right? Like the story makes any sense at all? I mean, I’m going to fire up a weed-whacker and use the handle to knock out glass? Without turning it off first?”

“I thought it read pretty well.”

“It’s crap. I can’t turn that in. Get real. Grayson’ll give me an F. He’ll say we copied
Harry Potter or something stupid.”

“J.K. Rowling doesn’t use a weed-whacker.”

“Oh, my
God, would you stop being so literal? You know what I’m saying. And vaulting over broken glass? With my bare hands? Not even Jason Bourne could do that.”

“Oh. Okay. I see.” I paused. I probably looked a little hurt, but I was really going for dismay with a dash of chagrin. Like, I was
such an idiot and just couldn’t bear to let you down. To be honest, I had worked hard on that damn thing, shaping the story, striving for the right effect. Casting you as this kick-ass heroine was . . . I don’t know . . . a memorial, I guess: some cool fantasy to replace the reality that was you.

Just as I had chosen us to end in the derelict set way back in the woods off 38th: the one with a million
No Trespassing signs that always looked streaky with what everyone said was blood when you shone your high beams just right.

The house we all called The Crazy Mexican.

#

Search
Crazy Mexican House and Sheboygan. Go on. I’ll wait.

See? Told you.

Now, the story about just what happened at the Crazy Mexican changed depending on who did the telling. Some said drugs. Others said bad blood. More than a couple believed it all came down to betrayal: to cheating boyfriends and jilted lovers. (I could relate.) A few even claimed it was the
house what done it.

Whatsamatter? You have doubts? Tell you what: you go and look. By yourself. At night. Go on. What, you scared? Go on, you big baby. Yeah, that’s it. Good. Now, stand right there and shine a flashlight at those busted-out windows. Yeah . . . like that.

Now.

Tell me those aren’t eyes there. I dare you.

So maybe it was the house. I don’t know. But that house was me: the place I ran the movies in my head of all the ways I would make all of you—every last miserable one of you—pay.

And the house was ours, hers and mine, because we were buds, cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-die best friends even though I knew, first-hand, that she was never as good as the stories she told with a perfectly straight face to adults, to teachers, to the other kids at school. To me.

That girl was a master. She had everyone fooled.

Well . . .

Almost everyone.

#

“So if the story’s no good,” I asked, “what do I do?”

“What do you think?” You made a grab for the bottle. “Do it again.”

“Again? Now? The whole thing?”

“Well, hello, it’s due tomorrow,” you said, coming up for air. Your voice had gone all strangled, as if your throat just couldn’t let go of the words. Tottering to your feet, you stood, swaying a little, your fingers still locked round the neck of that vodka in a stranglehold. Honestly, you should’ve dressed up as Jack Sparrow. “Maybe not
all over again. Just, you know,” and then you gestured grandly, like Johnny Depp, “give me a fitting end.”

“And what’s that?” I asked.

“For me?” You had to think about that one, but your brain wasn’t working all that well by then. I could practically hear the gears grind. “I say I pass out then wake up, just, you know . . . before.” You hiccupped. A second later the air fumed with the stink of overripe fruit. “Write it from my perspire . . .
pershspeh . . .”

“Perspective?”

“Yeah.” Your eyes were beginning to slew, ticking back and forth. I thought you had, maybe, another minute, possibly two. One Klonopin and my mom passed out in a half hour and I’d ground up, what, ten? Fifteen? Not enough to kill you. Not that way, at least. “That. Only it’s all things
I feel.”

“You mean, “ I said, slowly, as if sounding it all out for the first instead of the thousandth time, “like the rope slipping around your neck.”

“Rope.” You wagged your head. “Yeah. Rope. I like that.”

“A rope . . . it’s rough,” I said. “It cuts into your skin, and as it tightens, saws through. There’s blood, and you can hear your heart banging in your ears . . .”

“Yeah,” you said, your lips slipping in and out of a grin, “
yeah.

“And then, all of a sudden, your air’s just
gone. You feel this big bolt of panic right in your chest, all the way into your stomach, white and cold, and then you go wild, you panic, you claw at the rope . . .”

“My chesh,” you slurred, “my
chesh . . .”

“Burning,” I said. “The worst fire you’ve ever felt. Your fingers are scrabbling, tugging, tearing. You feel this hot pain as your nails break, and now you’re kicking, your legs are starting to jitter because you can’t get any air, you can’t, and there’s nothing you can do and you know, you know, you
know you’re going to die—”

“Yeah.” You were staring, mouth slack, eyes wide, just the way little kids do when you tell them a particularly good story; I remember that. You listed, first right then left then right again because you were stumble-down drunk and about to land on your ass. “Thash . . . thash good, thash
good . . .”

“I know.” I pushed to my feet. No sense you falling and knocking yourself out. “But there has to be a why.”

“A . . .” Your face creased with a dull kind of confusion. “A
why?”

“Sure. What do you think would be reason enough to kill you?”

“Uh . . .” You let out a little bubbly giggle as your knees hinged and you began to sag. “
Beeshidoudame. You’re the writer.” A second later: “Gawd, I am shhhoo wasted . . .”

“Yes, I am and yes, you are.” I moved, fast, hooking my hands under your arms. This close, I could smell you: not just the sharp fruit of booze and the salt of your sweat but the scent that only you—being you—wore. No one else at school would dare. You had that kind of power.

“And here’s the why. Are you listening?” I whispered into your ear. “It’s because of my sin
.

“Wuh . . . wuh?”
Your eyes rolled. “Wash you say? Your shin?”

“No, not mine. Wake up. Listen to what I’m telling you.” I gave you a little shake. I needed you conscious just a little while longer. “Michael didn’t stop to change. After he saw you, after you and he were together . . . he never went home.” I waited a beat, watching you try to process this then said, almost gently, “You bitch. It was your perfume:
My Sin.”

I saw the moment you finally understood, the way your eyes went a little buggy. “N-no,” you gulped. You even tried to pull away. “
N-n-no . . .

“But yes,” I said, reaching around and drawing out the rope from my right hip pocket. “Oh, yes.”

#

Aw, what’s the matter? You need me to draw you a map? I already wrote it down once. Just flip back a page if you weren’t paying attention. Besides, going over it all again is a little bit of a bore, to tell the truth. Not only have I already written her end once before, I imagined it long before you read it. I knew every twist, every turn, and just how much pressure I would use for how long and how wonderfully my arms would ache because strangling someone who’s fighting so hard to stay alive—killing your treacherous best friend—takes some real elbow grease.

Anyway, I’ve got to go now. I’m done with this page and my story. You’ve served your purpose, and I’m done messing around with you. So this is the end.

Well, the end
so far.

Because Michael . . .

Well.

Wouldn’t you like to kn


You’ve reached the end to this branch of the story. Go back to the beginning at Reading Teen (http://readingteen.net/)

Or back up a few steps by going to Overflowing Shelf and taking a different path (http://overflowingshelf.blogspot.com/)

Make sure you visit Lisa M. Potts (http://virginsheets.blogspot.com/) tomorrow and enter to win the prize pack for story 2!

And visit http://www.wickedawesomebooks.com/ or http://www.frenzyofnoise.net/ on October 31st to enter the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY for a ton of books and a ton of swag!!


You can order Ilsa J. Bick's books at the following places:
********
And now - I have a TRICK for you!
TRICK: Monster Match-Up 
Prizes:
After Obsession by Carrie Jones & Steven E. Wedel and Jones' NEED series-themed shirts (one Team Nick and one Team Astley)
Just click on the Trick or Treat button above and it will take you to the form to fill out!
 
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