Genre: YA Horror/Thriller
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Date of Publication: 3.13.2018
Number of pages: 243
Word Count: 66k
Cover Artist: Sam Shearon
Tagline: High school can be a real killer
Break a mirror
Walk under a ladder
Step on a crack
Innocent childhood superstitions…
But someone at the Trask Academy of Performing Arts is taking things one deadly step further when the campus is rocked with the deaths of some of its star students.
Layna Curtis, a talented, popular senior, soon realizes that the seemingly random, accidental deaths of her friends aren't random—or accidents—at all. Someone has taken the childhood games too far, using the idea of superstitions to dispose of their classmates. As Layna tries to convince people of her theory, she uncovers the terrifying notion that each escalating, gruesome murder leads closer to its final victim: her.
Will Layna's opening night also be her final bow?
“Stop turning off the lights!” Alice yelled to the doors, to the person she didn’t see but knew must be there. She hoped it was Daniel, or someone she knew.
The lights continued to go out. Alice felt a physical weight press upon her at the thought that her keys were so far from her, now in a sea of darkness.
They were also near the exit. She felt like a child again, when she was afraid to stay at her grandparents’ house. It was there her grandfather, the father of her mother, had threatened to put her in the basement if she was a bad girl. It only took one time for him to show her how the darkness crept up the stairs from the damp, dirt floor for her to be silent, and good, each time. It seemed even now that she could smell the musty air of Pawpaw’s basement.
The light above her went off. Everything was cloaked in darkness, save for the pale shafts of moonlight that fell in from the skylights above.
“Damn,” Alice mumbled. She grabbed her bag, opened it, and shoved her hand around the contents. She pulled out a mini flashlight and turned it on. Its small halo of light was barely enough to illuminate more than a few feet in front of her, but it was all she had. She took her first hesitant step forward, only to be stopped by a sudden flash of lightning. It was followed by a crackle of thunder that simmered before exploding into a boom that she felt.
Alice looked up. She couldn’t see the first drops of rain, but she could hear the noise they made when they hit the glass high above her.
The darkness and the coming storm coalesced into something which found its way under Alice’s skin. She was upset, she was scared. But she needed to get her keys and get out of there.
Through the intermittent thunder and lightning, Alice stepped forward, guided by the glow of her flashlight. She focused on the bright red letters of the exit sign ahead of her. She looked to her left. The darkness overcame even the bookcases that were only a few feet away. It made her wonder what might be hiding. What waited to get her.
Alice shook her head. “Get a grip.” But she hated having to do this. Of course, there was nothing behind her, nothing around her. But at the same time, she could be wrong.
A burst of air hit her from behind. Something rushed past her.
“Who’s there? Who is that?” She scanned the area with her flashlight.
There was no reply but thunder. Alice turned back, accelerated her pace, and ran to her goal, the keys ahead. Finally, she made it. She bent down to pick them up and saw the cat was no longer on them. She manipulated the keychain and keys around in her hand as if she could somehow find the white fluff of the cat. It was futile. The cat was gone. It had been torn off.
Alice had had enough. She ran to the exit and yanked on the doors. But they were locked. She pulled on them, harder. They would not give.
“No!” she yelled as panic rose within her. She stepped to the thin window next to the door and pressed her face against it. She could barely see anything through the antique, bubbled glass and the streaks of rain that came down harder and harder.
“Damn.” She looked at the keys in her hand, then back to the hallways she had traversed in the dark. She turned toward the door again and tried to see out the window. A flash of lightning illuminated the outside, but there was no one to be seen.
When the lightning faded, and the thunder stopped its song, she backed an inch away from the glass and stared at her own reflection.
And that was when she saw the distorted, twisted mask of the killer pop up behind her.
About the Author:
Thommy Hutson is an award-winning screenwriter, producer, and author who is considered the foremost authority on A Nightmare on Elm Street. A graduate of UCLA, Thommy also wrote and produced critically acclaimed genre projects such as Scream: The Inside Story, Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy, More Brains! A Return of the Living Dead, His Name was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th, and Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th.
Thommy was born and raised in New York but now resides in Southern California with his husband and their cat.