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Authors: R. L. Stine

Red Rain: A Novel

BOOK: Red Rain: A Novel
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Contents

Prologue

Part One

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Part Two

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Part Three

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Part Four

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Acknowledgments

About R.L. Stine

Reading Group Guide

For Jane

But Zeus sent from heaven a show’r of blood-stain’d rain. In sign of many a warrior’s coming doom.

—The Iliad

Prologue

B
y morning, the hurricane had passed. But not before destroying every home, every building, every life on the island.

Lea lowered her hand from her eyes and waited for them to adjust to the yellow-gray glare. The light reminded her of a sickroom, a hospital room, that chilling light that carries no warmth at all.

No clouds in the sky, but the sun was hidden, lost behind the swirling dust and mist and chunks of dirt that clogged the air.

The light feels dirty.

Now, two dogs began to wail. Not in pain. Howling a mournful song. Sharing the horror of what they saw.

Lea took one step, then another, concentrating on keeping her balance.

Stay on solid ground. Don’t stumble and fall off the edge of the earth, into the ragged piles of death. Keep moving and you won’t be buried here.

Lea’s thoughts were a jumble. No way to straighten them out, not with the dogs howling and the children crying, and the corpses all witnesses, all of them, lying so still and watching the living in silent accusation.

Her sandals sank into a deep puddle of cold water. She kept walking. Ahead of her, she could hear the rush and roar of the waves. She was walking to the beach without realizing it.

The winds and thundering rains had burrowed deep trenches in the sand. Lea stumbled and slogged through them, not seeing them, paying no attention to the mud and wet sand that invaded the bottoms of her jeans and clung like wet plaster to her legs.

The sweaty mist carried by the wind off the raging waves didn’t revive her. It seemed to blind her even more, as if she were stepping into a whirling, warm cloud, swallowed by it, vanishing. The roar drowned out the howls of the dogs. Drowned out everything, even its own sound. A kind of noisy hollow silence Lea never knew existed.

The beach was soaked and soft,
soft as quicksand,
she thought. And as her sandals sank deep into the muck, she pictured herself sinking down . . . down . . . until she disappeared forever into a dark, quiet world.

In the water, a canoe bobbed crazily, upside-down. Something pale and flimsy tossed on the waves. Was it a sail? A bedsheet?

Something crunched beneath Lea’s sandal. She stopped with a gasp. She pictured a human hand. “Oh no.”

She lowered her eyes to the sand. Tentacles. A pile of wriggling creatures. She jumped back. Struggled to keep her balance. No. They weren’t moving.

Salt air off the ocean made her eyes water. When she could finally focus, she recognized them. Starfish. Dozens of them. Stiff and already dry. A pile of a hundred dead starfish, trailed by hundreds more, a long line all down the shore. They must have been washed from the sea by the storm.

Lea bent to examine them. She had never seen so many starfish. Never imagined so many would travel together. Travel together to their deaths.

She picked one up. Prickly. Nearly as hard as a seashell. She turned it over in her hand. The arms so stiff. As if it had never been alive. She dropped it onto the pile.

This has to be a symbol of bad luck
.

But how can the luck get any worse?

She was still leaning down, her eyes trailing the long line of starfish corpses, when she felt the first warm drop on the back of her
neck. She brushed it away with the palm of her hand and stood up.

A high wave crashed onto the beach, more violent than the others, sending up a spray of white foam before retreating. Lea felt another warm drop, this time on her forehead.

She took a step back from the ocean, shoes squishing on the mucky sand. A soft patter made her gaze around.

It had started to rain. She felt a few warm taps on the top of her head, another on her forehead. She raised a palm and felt warm raindrops on her skin.

Gazing up, she saw only white glare. No rain clouds. But the raindrops made a
pit-pit-pit
sound on the sand all around her. And the shoulders of her sweater were already wet. And her hair—

She uttered a soft cry and squinted into the falling rain. Something strange. Something not right. Like the dead starfish all gathered in a line on the shore.

Something wrong with this rain. The brightness of the sky and the darkness of the raindrops . . .

Very wrong.

Lea began to shiver. So unnatural. The darkness of the raindrops . . .

As the storm grew stronger, it became easier to see that the raindrops were red. A shimmering deep scarlet.

“Holy shit,” she murmured. “It’s raining
blood
!”

She raised both palms and watched the red raindrops bounce onto her skin. Fascinated and horrified, she didn’t move. Stared at her hands as the red drops trickled down her palm. She lifted her eyes to the raindrops falling all around her.

Red . . . As if the blood of all who had died here last night was raining down on her. The blood of all the victims pouring doom over the island, a final terrifying drenching good-bye.

It soaked her hair and poured down her face. Bloodred raindrops pattering down from a cloudless sky.
A blood rain.

Where had she heard that phrase before?

Yes. She had read about a blood rain in southern India several years ago. For real. The sky had opened up and red rain poured down on a village. And the people were terrified. Lea remembered.
They were frightened that the red rain was the onset of the world’s end.

Now sheets of rain fell, driven by the gusting winds off the ocean.
Like red curtains, blowing and parting and closing again.

Yes. Red curtains of rain all around her.

So wrong. So unnatural and wrong.

And as the billowing blood curtains appeared to part, two boys came stepping out. Two blond-haired boys with bright blue eyes, walking solemnly side by side.

Identical blond boys, wavy hair brushed straight back off their broad, gleaming foreheads, bare-chested and barefoot, wearing only ragged, torn white shorts stained by the red raindrops.

Their faces glowed pink. Not a healthy pink but a reflection of the red rain falling around them. They gazed straight ahead at Lea, unblinking, faces drawn, their expressions stern, wooden, unreadable.

Angels,
she thought, unable to move, forced to stare back at them.
Like blond angels
.

Two angels floating out from a curtain of blood and horror.

How strange to see these two rays of light appear from all this darkness. Strange even for this island of mystery.

Pale chests and arms, white as angel feathers. Hands tucked into the pockets of their stained shorts.

Glowing figures, they moved in unison, walking together lightly over the soaked sand. Blue eyes locked on Lea. Closer.

Until Lea was forced to cut the spell. She blinked a few times. Then, squinting harder at them, she called out, shouting over the roar of the dark rain, “Can I help you?”

PART ONE

Two Days Earlier

1

BLOG POST

BY LEA HARMON SUTTER

Travel_Adventures.com

(April 10)
Well, here I am on this island everyone calls mysterious and frightening, and I hope you are as curious as I am to find out if any of the stories are true. I tend to be skeptical. I have a bunch of older brothers who loved making up stories to terrify me, and I quickly learned not to believe any scary story anyone ever told me.

I suppose it’s odd to begin a travel blog by saying that no one comes here. But before I can begin to describe the unique charms and dark mystique of Cape Le Chat Noir, I really have to start with that fact.

No one comes here.

Of course, no one really believes the island is cursed. But there are too many frightening stories from its past to ignore. The dozens of Spanish ships that mysteriously sank off the island shores in the 1600s? The rumors of dark-magic rituals? The stories—that many believe to this day—of the living dead walking the island in broad daylight?

If you are an adventure traveler like me, those all seem like
good
things!

But the fact is, no one has paid much attention to this island of whitewashed shacks, tall pine forests, fishing villages, and eccentric islanders—despite the fact that you can almost reach out and touch the place from the Outer Banks beaches of South Carolina.

Located a hop, skip, and a splash from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, vacationers have avoided Cape Le Chat Noir like—shall I say it?—a black cat crossing their path.

For you history nerds, here’s the 411: The island was annexed by the English sometime around 1650. They had little interest in it. Too small and too far from the mainland. Most English settlers chose the Roanoke Colony to the north (and we all know how that worked out).

Small groups of nomadic American Indians found their way to the island. Spanish pirates arrived later, sometimes unhappily, because they watched their ships go down just offshore.

Yes, this part of the ocean is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. You can Google it. Don’t bother to look for a
reason
why all the ships sank. No one can tell you. But this was the beginning of the island’s bad reputation.

BOOK: Red Rain: A Novel
5.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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