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Authors: R.L. Stine

The Betrayal

BOOK: The Betrayal
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The Betrayal

The Betrayal

R.L.STINE

SIMON PULSE

THE BEGINNING …

“You cannot do this!” Susannah Goode shrieked, fear choking her throat. “You cannot do this to us!”

The officers roughly dragged Susannah and her mother to the door. She heard surprised murmurs as they passed through the commons. Whispered questions.

The prison loomed ahead, a low clapboard building behind the meetinghouse.

“Why are you doing this to us?” Susannah cried, the words bursting from her throat. “Why are you dragging us from our home?”

Benjamin Fier stopped on the path. His voice was low and steady. His eyes locked onto Susannah's.

“You two will burn before the week is out,” he said.

D
ON'T MISS A SINGLE NIGHT

#1: Moonlight Secrets

#2: Midnight Games

#3: Darkest Dawn

AND THESE OTHER CHILLING TALES FROM FEAR STREET:

All-Night Party

The Confession

Killer's Kiss

The Perfect Date

The Rich Girl

The Stepsister

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

First Simon Pulse edition August 2002

Copyright © 1993 by Parachute Press, Inc.

Originally published as an Archway Paperback in 1993

SIMON PULSE
An imprint of Simon & Schuster
Children's Publishing Division
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
www.SimonandSchuster.com

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

Printed in USA

20

ISBN-13: 978-0-671-86831-3

ISBN-10: 0-671-86831-4

eISBN-13: 978-1-439-12034-7

ISBN-13: 978-0-671-86831-4

FEAR STREET is a registered trademark of Parachute Press, Inc.

THE FIER FAMILY TREE

Village of Shadyside
1900

The fire roared like thunder. Above the choking clouds of black smoke, the night sky brightened with a wash of angry scarlet.

The flames tossed and crashed like ocean waves, rolling over the blackened mansion, pouring out every window, sweeping up the walls and over the roof until the house was nothing more than the dark core of a raging fireball.

Staring down at the fire from the low hill that overlooked the wide lawn, Nora Goode pressed her hands over her ears. But even with the fire's roar muffled she could hear the screams.

The screams of those trapped inside the blazing Fear mansion.

The screams of everyone she knew, of everyone she loved.

“Daniel! Come out!” Nora cried, her small voice buried under the avalanche of terrified shrieks, anguished moans, and the unending roar of the spreading flames.

“Daniel, I'm here! I am alive! I ran out! I escaped the fire!” Nora shouted. “Where are you? Are you coming out too?”

The flames roared louder, as if to answer her.

Nora's entire body trembled in dread.

She lowered one hand to the amulet on a chain around her neck.

The fire had already blazed for more than an hour. Daniel wasn't coming out. No one was coming out.

Only minutes after the fire had begun, the Shady-side volunteer fire fighters had pulled their horse-drawn water truck onto the lawn of the mansion. But the flames had already swallowed up the entire house.

Their faces revealing horror and awe, the fire fighters stood by helplessly and watched with the other townspeople who had gathered on the low hill, huddling in small groups, their faces red in the light of the flickering blaze.

“You're not coming out, are you, Daniel?” Nora said. “I'll never see you again.”

She shut her eyes. But even with her eyes closed she could still see the angry red and orange flames tossing across the inside of her eyelids.

Squeezing the small round pendant tightly, Nora sighed. This silver amulet with its sparkling blue jewels held in place by a silver three-toed claw, like those on a tiny bird's foot, had been given to her by Daniel Fear as a token of his love.

“It is all I have left of you, Daniel!” Nora wailed.

Voices rose around her, close by, louder than the thunder of the flames. Nora opened her eyes and turned her gaze on the horrified faces of the people from the village. They clung together, as if frightened for their own lives.

“The fire will burn forever!” a bearded man cried, his face scarlet, the flames reflected in his eyes.

“Look at the house,” a frail woman a few feet from Nora cried, pointing. “It is covered with flames, but it does not burn!”

“It looks as if the sky is on fire!” screamed a little girl, hiding her face in her mother's dark skirt.

“I always knew this place was evil,” the bearded man declared, shielding his eyes with one hand. “I always knew the Fears would come to no good.”

“They burned up inside their house,” someone said.

“May their evil perish with them,” another person added.

“The firemen did not even try to put it out.”

“They could not put out
this
fire. It is not an ordinary fire. It is not a fire from this world.”

“The evil of this house feeds the fire.”

“The house is cursed! The ground is cursed!”

“No! Please … stop it!
Stop it!”
Nora shrieked.

Unable to shut out their voices, she began running toward the house. Her cloak flapped behind her as she stumbled down the hill and over the lawn.

Slipping on the dew-wet grass, she could feel the heat of the fire on her face. Strange shadows flickered over the lawn, black against the reflected scarlet light.

“Daniel, why is your family so cursed?” Nora cried as she ran. “What kind of evil brought you and your family to this fiery end?”

Nora's long dark hair floated wildly above the flapping cloak. As she ran, she held her arms out as if ready to embrace the flames.

“Who
is
that?”

“Where is she going?”

“Somebody stop her!”

Alarmed voices rang out from the crowd.

Panting loudly, Nora raised an arm to shield her eyes as she ran. She could feel the precious silver amulet bobbing against her throat.

“Daniel, are you in there? Daniel?”

“Somebody stop her!”

“Has she gone mad?”

“Who
is
she? Is she a Fear?”

The voices finally faded, drowned out by the crackle and roar of the blinding red-orange blaze.

It's so hot, so hot! Nora thought. She loosened the cloak and let it fall.

I feel as if I am running into the sun! Now I feel as if I am on fire too.

She stopped, choking on the hot smoke.

Where am I?

She gazed into the flames and suddenly realized she was standing in front of a window. The window of the grand ballroom.

The tossing flames made the window glow.

“Ohhh!” Nora moaned in horror as the faces inside came into view. Faces among the flames.

Nora's breath caught in her throat as she stared through the window at the wriggling dark bodies.

Are they dancing in there? Dancing with the flames?

No.

Their faces were twisted in agony. Their dark bodies writhing in pain.

She saw screaming women, flames rolling up from their hair.

She saw the tortured faces of young men, dark holes where their eyes should have been, their clothing wrapped in fire.

Who
are
these people? Nora wondered, unable to turn her eyes from the ghastly nightmare inside the house. Why are they in the ballroom? Why aren't they consumed by the flames?

Why don't they
die?

And then Nora's eyes focused on a figure in the center of the writhing, screaming crowd. A young girl. Wearing a long maroon dress and an old-fashioned cap.

Nora gasped as the girl raised her head and their eyes met.

The girl's eyes were eggshell white. Glowing white.

As Nora gaped in horror, she saw the girl's mouth open wide into a tortured scream, a scream of rage, of unbearable pain.

Then Nora noticed that the girl's hands were tied behind her. Tied to a tall wooden pole.

The girl was tied to a stake.

And now her dress was billowing with fire. And the flames were rising up to her face, up to her long blond hair. The cap burst into flame then.

Struggling against the stake, the girl shrieked as she burned.

Then, with a low explosion, the flames hid them all behind a rippling yellow curtain.

The window burst, glass shattering and flying out. The fire's roar rumbled over her.

And still Nora stood motionless, staring where the screaming girl had been, staring into the wall of flame, staring, staring into the bright, dancing horror….

PART ONE

BOOK: The Betrayal
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