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Authors: R.L. Stine

Bad Moonlight

BOOK: Bad Moonlight
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Contents

Prologue

Part One: Songs

Chapter 1: Off A Cliff

Chapter 2: What's Wrong With Me?

Chapter 3: I'm Warning You!

Chapter 4: First Kiss

Chapter 5: First Blood

Chapter 6: Scratch Scratch

Chapter 7: A Moonlight Run

Chapter 8: A Body in the Park

Part Two: Cries

Chapter 9: A Song For Dee

Chapter 10: Like an Animal

Chapter 11: Kit Dies

Chapter 12: A Surprise in the Closet

Chapter 13: Make it Stop!

Chapter 14: Billy Dies

Chapter 15: Very Worried About Danielle

Chapter 16: A Big Secret

Part Three: Howls

Chapter 17: Out Of The Band

Chapter 18: The Killer

Chapter 19: Thirsty

Chapter 20: Night Visitor

Chapter 21: Bad News

Chapter 22: Danielle Goes Hunting

Chapter 23: A Surprise in the Trunk

Chapter 24: Billy Knows

Chapter 25: A Howl in the Woods

Chapter 26: Who Can She Trust?

Chapter 27: No Escape

Chapter 28: A Surprise at Home

Chapter 29: Big Plans For Danielle

Chapter 30: Help

Chapter 31: No Escape

Chapter 32: Moonlight Wedding

Chapter 33: Bad Moonlight

About the Author

Prologue

A
half-moon shimmered hazily in the supermarket window, a pale reflection of the bright moon high in the night sky. The automatic door buzzed as Danielle Verona stepped into the glare of fluorescent light inside the store.

She shivered and rubbed her bare arms. The store air conditioner must be turned up to superfreeze, she thought. Danielle wore a sleeveless blue midriff shirt, white short-shorts, and sandals. I'd better stay away from the frozen foods section, she decided.

She caught a glimpse of her reflection in a silvery display case. Her round, dark eyes stared back at her. She pushed back her straight brown hair, streaked with blond.

I'm so thin and shapeless, Danielle thought, frowning at herself. I look twelve instead of eighteen.

A sudden, sharp pain in her back made her spin away from her reflection. “Cliff—stop it!” she snapped. “Do you have to use your head as a weapon?”

Her ten-year-old brother grinned at her. Headbutting was his new hobby.

“Stop running into me like that. I'm going to be black and blue!” Danielle declared angrily.

“You're a wimp,” Cliff said. “I hardly touched you.”

“Give your sister a break,” Aunt Margaret scolded, pushing the grocery cart up to them. “Danielle just got home, Cliff. She's tired. She doesn't need you giving her a hard time.”

“Yes, she does,” Cliff insisted, still grinning. He was built more like their father—short and chubby, with a babyish round face. His straw-colored hair was shaved short on the sides, brushed back long on top.

“Here—you take the cart,” Aunt Margaret said sharply. She shoved it toward Cliff. “Why do I always get one with a wheel that sticks?”

Cliff grabbed the handle of the grocery cart and zoomed away. He ran full-speed down the aisle, the cart zigzagging wildly from side to side.

“Cliff—look out!” Aunt Margaret shouted. She turned to Danielle. “He's so excited to see you,” she confided softly.

Danielle rolled her eyes. “He sure has a strange way of showing it!”

They watched Cliff whirl the cart around and come clattering back toward them. “He's not used to your being away for two weeks,” Aunt Margaret said. “But I'm so glad it's working out for you, dear.”

She was a small but sturdy woman. Sharp-featured. Beaklike nose. Pointed chin. With her bleached red hair, steely blue eyes, and heavy red lipstick, Danielle's aunt looked tough. Hard.

When Danielle's parents had died almost three years before, Aunt Margaret had moved across the country to take care of her and Cliff. Danielle hadn't seen her aunt in years, and she'd been unsure about how they'd get along. But Aunt Margaret turned out to be a wonderful, loving mother to Cliff and Danielle.

She put a hand on Danielle's shoulder. “You're so cold!”

Danielle shrugged. “I didn't exactly dress for the arctic!”

They started walking slowly down the first aisle. Vegetables on one side, fruit on the other. At the end of the aisle a young man in a white apron was spraying the lettuces with a hose, making them glisten.

“Did you think of a name for the band?” Aunt Margaret asked, dropping a bag of carrots into the cart.

“Yuck! Carrots!” Cliff complained.

“Not yet,” Danielle told her aunt. “Caroline wanted to call us the Musically Challenged. We all thought that was pretty funny. But Billy thought it was too negative.”

“Billy is the leader?” Aunt Margaret asked, tearing
off a plastic bag. She bent to select some baking potatoes from a basket on the floor.

“Your band reeks,” Cliff commented. He tapped Aunt Margaret's shoulder. “Can we buy candy?”

“No,” Aunt Margaret replied quickly. Then she changed her mind. She stood up and dropped the potatoes into the cart. “Okay. Go, Cliff. Go pick out some candy. I'll take the cart.”

“All right!” he cried happily. He deliberately bumped Danielle hard, nearly knocking her over, as he sped off down the aisle.

“What a character,” Aunt Margaret muttered. She turned to Danielle, her tiny eyes studying her niece. “You look tired.”

Danielle sighed. “Two weeks on the road. Bumping along in the van. Playing tiny music clubs.”

“I'm so glad you're doing it,” her aunt said. “I'm glad you decided to try the band instead of going straight to college. You need a year to be out on your own, to travel around and have some fun before going back to school.”

“Well, I
am
having fun,” Danielle told her. “And Caroline and I have become really close friends.”

“Caroline is the piano player?” Aunt Margaret asked.

“Electronic keyboard. And she sings backup,” Danielle replied. “Making a new friend has been really nice. And the band has been getting pretty good crowds. But I sure do miss having home-cooked meals. All week I was thinking, if I have to choke down one more greasy hamburger . . .”

Aunt Margaret chuckled. She had a quiet, dry laugh that sounded more like a cough. “Well, tonight is your choice night,” she said. “You decide. I'll make anything you want for our special late dinner.”

“Hmmmm . . .” Danielle narrowed her dark eyes, thinking hard. “What do I want?” She smiled. “Oh. I know. That special chicken you make. You know. With the pineapples. Sort of oriental?”

“Okay. You've got it,” Aunt Margaret replied.

“And mashed potatoes,” Danielle added. “I've been thinking a lot about your mashed potatoes.”

“You're a weird child,” Aunt Margaret teased. “But mashed potatoes it is.” She wandered off down the aisle, struggling to push the three-wheeled cart.

Danielle shivered. Why do they keep it so cold in here? she wondered. Do people buy more food when they're half-frozen?

She made her way down the back aisle, searching for Cliff. In the soaps and detergents aisle, she thought she saw a friend from Shadyside High. She hurried up to him and was about to call out—when he turned around. A stranger.

Danielle moved past him, avoiding his glance.

The aisles blended together. The harsh fluorescent light from above gave everything a green tinge. The shelves of jars and cans, the displays, the shoppers all seemed too bright, too sharply focused. Not real.

She walked on. The harsh light flashed in her eyes. She shivered again. The frigid air made goosebumps rise up and down her arms.

“Danielle—what are you
doing?”
Cliff's shrill voice broke through her thoughts.

“Huh?” She glanced down at the package in her hand.

A package of raw beef. From the butcher's shelf.

The package had been ripped open, Danielle saw. She was squeezing a hunk of raw, purple meat in one hand.

Her mouth was full. She swallowed the raw meat she had been chewing. It felt cold and slimy as it slid down her throat.

“Danielle—why are you eating that? What's
wrong
with you?” Cliff cried in alarm.

“I—I don't know!” Danielle stammered, feeling the cold red blood running down her chin.

PART ONE

SONGS

Chapter 1

OFF A CLIFF

“J
oey—please slow down,” Danielle pleaded.

The van bounced over a deep pothole in the highway. The bags and instruments strapped to the top thudded against the roof.

“I'll slow down if you'll come up here and sit on my lap,” Joey declared.

Danielle could see his grin in the rearview mirror. “No way!” she told him. “Stop being such a jerk, Joey. We don't want to be pulled over again.”

He let out a high-pitched laugh and jammed his foot down on the gas pedal. The van roared and shot forward, tossing Danielle back against the seat.

“Joey—!” Oh, what's the use, she thought unhappily. He thinks it's so cool to drive fast. He isn't going to change.

Joey let out a happy cry. His curly black hair fluttered behind his head in the rush of air through the open van window. Even though it was night, he drove with his sunglasses over his eyes.

Danielle sat between Caroline and Mary Beth in the second seat. “I give up. He's just impossible,” she murmured to them.

“You girls must be jammed tight back there!” Joey shouted over the roar of the wind. “Come on. Who wants to sit on my lap?” Wheeling around a curve, he patted his leg.

They ignored him.

As always.

Headlights from an oncoming truck swept over the van. Danielle shielded her eyes. She bumped against Caroline as Joey swerved the van sharply to the right.

BOOK: Bad Moonlight
10.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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