Give Me a K-I-L-L: New Excerpt

Packed with screams and guaranteed to send a shiver up your spine, Give Me a K-I-L-L is a terrifying installment in R. L. Stine's bestselling Fear Street series (available April 4, 2017).

The cheerleading squad at Shadyside has always been strong, but now there are rumors that lack of funds may mean the end of cheerleading at Shadyside. That would be a shame for Heather Wyatt, who has just transferred from her old school, where she was a star, and is eager to join the squad. There’s only one other girl who stands in her way—rich, spoiled Devra Dalby, who is also trying out for the one open slot. The competition to join the squad is anything but friendly—and it ends in murder. Will Heather make the squad—if there's even a squad anymore—or will she end up dead?

1.

Gretchen Page stroked a brush through her straight blonde hair as she pressed the phone to her ear with her free hand. She tried parting her hair in the middle and letting the sides fall to her shoulders. Then she brushed some forward to see what a row of bangs might look like.

Gretchen couldn’t look into a mirror without knowing her hair was her best feature. If only her olive-colored eyes were spaced a little farther apart, not so close to her nose, which she considered short and too cute and not at all elegant. And then there was that tragic tiny cleft in her chin.

She ranked herself a seven, which was good enough to be the prettiest cheerleader at Savanna Mills High. But now she was starting at Shadyside High, ten times the size of her old school, and how could she compete? There wasn’t even a Sephora in Savanna Mills!

“I miss you, too, Polly,” she said, fumbling the phone against her ear. She set down the hairbrush, turned away from the mirror with a sigh, crossed the bedroom, and perched on the edge of her bed. “Starting a new school junior year is the pits.”

Gretchen leaned back against the big, plush Hello Kitty pillow her Grandma Hannah had given her when she was eight. A lot of the stuffing had oozed out, but she couldn’t bear to part with it. Grandma Hannah was the only relative she liked.

“I always call you when the nightmares start,” she told Polly. “Talking to you always makes me feel better. Yes, I had one last night. It’s so sad. It was so real, so totally vivid … I couldn’t tell if I was dreaming or not.”

Gretchen sighed. “I woke up drenched in sweat. And my jaw hurt from gritting my teeth. Thank goodness I can always call you.”

She shifted the phone to her other ear. “No, I haven’t made any friends here,” she said.

Gretchen and Polly Brown had been inseparable—like sisters—back in Savanna Mills. Their friendship went well beyond being cocaptains of the Hawks cheerleading squad.

“How could I make friends in only two weeks? The kids here aren’t unfriendly. But they’ve all known each other for ages. I’m the only outsider.”

She tugged at a string on the bedspread, listening to Polly’s purr of a voice. She pictured Polly—round-faced with freckles and curly copper-colored hair. Polly looked about twelve—but she had a deep, sexy voice that seemed to come from deep in her throat.

“So your new school is really big?” Polly asked.

“The first few days, I couldn’t even find my homeroom,” Gretchen told her friend. “That’s how big the school is. I mean, it’s on three floors and it stretches on forever. It’s like as big as the mall back home. Some kids drive from class to class!”

She listened to Polly’s low chuckle. Gretchen wasn’t known for her sense of humor. In fact, she was earnest and serious most of the time. But she always knew how to make Polly laugh.

“I guess it’s nice to have a fresh start,” Gretchen said, shifting the phone to her other ear. “And I understand why Mom had to move. I mean, after Dad left, she had to do something.”

“True,” Polly murmured. Polly never liked talking about serious, real-world troubles. She really was like a twelve-year-old in more than just looks.

“She got a really good deal on this house,” Gretchen continued. “The real estate woman said because it’s on Fear Street. I don’t really get it. It’s a perfectly nice street, with awesome old houses and lots of trees and big front yards.”

She shifted the phone again. She realized she was squeezing it so hard, her hand ached. “My room is huge,” Gretchen continued. “I even have my own bathroom, believe that? No more sharing. But I guess Fear Street is a big deal here in Shadyside. I haven’t had a chance to Google it.”

A cool breeze fluttered the curtains at the open bedroom window. The air chilled Gretchen’s skin, an early sign of fall. Clouds covered the sun, and a gray shadow swept across the bedroom floor.

“Of course, I’m dying to make the cheerleading squad,” Gretchen told Polly. “But I’m totally tense about it. Everything is so big and serious here. The high school has a real stadium behind the parking lot. Not what we had—bleachers set up on the grass.”

Gretchen snickered. “No, everyone isn’t rich here. It’s a normal place. But they take their football seriously. The Shadyside Tigers were All-State last season. And the cheerleaders went to the state tournament and got an Honorable Mention.”

“With you on the squad, they’ll do better than that,” Polly replied.

Gretchen sighed. “I’m not so sure about that. I’ve been so tense about it, I’ve been practicing after school all week in my backyard, believe that?”

Before Polly could answer, Gretchen’s mom strode into the room, her eyes on the phone in Gretchen’s hand. “Who are you talking to?”

Mrs. Page was tall and trim and athletic-looking. Back in Savanna Mills, she played tennis at her club almost every afternoon and spent at least an hour in the gym six or seven days a week.

She had short blonde hair, darker than Gretchen’s, with stylish white streaks back through the sides, a broad tanned forehead, high cheekbones like a fashion model, and dark green eyes.

She was young-looking for forty-three, but Gretchen saw that the divorce and all the trouble back home had aged her. She had dark circles under her eyes, a tiny network of wrinkles on both cheeks, and even her eyes had lost some of their sparkle.

Mrs. Page made up for the change with too much makeup and too much bright orange lipstick. At least, that was Gretchen’s harsh opinion.

Her mother strode quickly up to Gretchen. She wore a turquoise crewneck T-shirt over white tennis shorts that showed off her thin legs. “Gretchen, who are you talking to?” she repeated.

“None of your business,” Gretchen snapped. The words came out louder than Gretchen had intended. She ended the call.

Mrs. Page let out a short gasp. “Oops. Sorry.”

“Go away,” Gretchen said, making a shooing motion with her free hand.

“I was just asking a simple question, Gretchen.”

“Mom, what don’t you understand about the words go away? Stop hovering over me like a drone!”

“Gretchen, think you might be overreacting a bit?”

“You can’t treat me like an infant, Mom. I’m a person. I’m entitled to a little privacy. You can’t barge into my room and—”

“I just want you to get off to a good start here,” Mrs. Page said, suddenly breathless. She tugged the turquoise T-shirt down over her shorts. Then she ran both hands back through her short hair. “I don’t think asking who you are talking to on the phone is a very big invasion of your privacy. Seriously.”

Gretchen softened her glare. She nodded. “Okay. Maybe I overreacted a little.” She shrugged. “Whatever.”

She and her mother had always had what her mother called a difficult relationship. The simple fact was they hadn’t gotten along since Gretchen was two and learned the word no.

Mrs. Page tried to show how much she cared about her daughter by involving herself in everything Gretchen did. Gretchen felt constantly smothered. The more she tried to push her away, the more Mrs. Page clung to her.

At least, that was Gretchen’s side of the story.

And now that her dad had flown the coop, it was much worse.

Mrs. Page softened her expression, too. “Would you like to talk about why you overreacted?”

“Would you like to get out of my way?” Gretchen snapped. She pushed past her mother and crossed the room to her closet. She pulled out a silky maroon hoodie and swung it over her shoulder.

“Where are you going?” Mrs. Page asked.

“To school,” Gretchen said, checking herself one more time in the dresser mirror.

Her mother followed her to the bedroom door. “But it’s Saturday, dear.”

Gretchen sighed. “I know, Mom. I have an appointment. With the cheerleading coach.”

“Gretchen, just wait a minute,” her mother insisted. “Just give me a minute, okay?”

Gretchen spun around in the hall. “Mom—I’ll be late.”

“Are you sure you want to be a cheerleader right away?”

“Excuse me? You know how important this is to me, right?”

“I’m just saying…” Mrs. Page hesitated. “Don’t you think you should settle in first?”

Settle in?” Gretchen’s words burst out high and shrill. “You’re joking, right? You can’t be serious, Mom. Settle in? That had to be a joke.”

Mrs. Page took a few steps back, as if retreating. “I’m only thinking of what’s best for you, dear.” She shook her head. “That’s all I ever do. I just want things to go right for you. I’m not your enemy. We have to be friends. With your father gone, we have to try harder, don’t you agree?”

Gretchen sighed again. “You’re right, Mom. Bye.” She pounded down the stairs, taking them two at a time, and out the front door.

As she climbed behind the wheel of her mother’s blue Camry, the nightmare lingered in her mind. The knife … the blood … the screams …

She clenched her jaw tightly. Pounded the wheel with both fists.

“Got to get past this,” she said out loud. “Got to put it all behind me. Time for my fresh start.

 

Copyright © 2017 R. L. Stine.

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R.L. Stine is one of the bestselling children’s authors in history with more than 400 million books sold to date. In 1989, Stine created the Fear Street series, one of the bestselling young adult book series in history with 80 million copies sold worldwide. He is also the author of the bestselling children’s series Goosebumps, which began in 1992 and has sold 300 million copies around the world. The Goosebumps series was made into a feature film starring Jack Black as R. L. Stine.

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