Title: Fear Street Super Chiller #12 – High Tide, a.k.a. “Wave Race: Blood Storm”
Author: R.L. Stine
Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt
Tagline: A lifeguard’s job can be murder…
Summary: Blood on the water…
Adam Malfitano still has nightmares about the night his girlfriend, Mitzi, died. He sees the blood. He sees her in the water. He is a lifeguard, and he can’t save her. He wakes up screaming.
Even worse, he has begun to see Mitzi while he is awake. He knows it is impossible… but she looks so real. He can see her face decaying. What does she want from him? Why won’t she leave him alone? He tried to save her – doesn’t she know that?
IT’S SUMMERTIME AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS GONNA HEAD DOWN TO THE BEACH GONNA DO SOME BEACHY THIIIIIIIIII-
I, I’m so sorry for that.
Anyway, for the first day of summer I proposed doing a recap for one of the summertime Fear Street novels. I picked “High Tide” because I’ve re-read this one a few more times than the other Super Chiller books, but apparently my memory was shoddy because WOW. The narration is shared by two characters in this book and one of them is about as frustrating as Darryl Hoode from the “Fear Hall” books. Had I remembered him I would’ve suggested something else, but I’d already re-read the book for the recap. And I’ll be honest, the big fight scene at the end is fucking ridiculous and amazing.
And as a special note, for the first time ever I will be using the phrase “The Muffin Man,” a time-honored Point Horror tradition, to refer to a character in an incredibly frustrating segment since they’re never referred to by name.
[Wing: Happy summer! Happy birthday, Sister Canary! Happy Needlessly Dramatic Cliffhanger Chapter Endings. (I assume, I haven’t read it yet at this point.]
Adam Malfitano was zooming across the waves on his water scooter with his girlfriend Mitzi behind him. Adam was working as a lifeguard at Logan Beach this summer, and it’s where he and Mitzi got together. Mitzi was having a blast and told Adam she wanted to go faster, so he obliged like any good boyfriend would. Eventually, Adam had to head back to shore since his break was about to end, but had enough time for one more pass through the water, much to Mitzi’s delight. The water turned out to be a bit rockier than Adam expected and Mitzi fell off. No problem, Adam can simply turn arou-OH SHIT MITZI’S TOO CLOSE TO THE SCOOTER!
Adam was too late to avoid hitting Mitzi, and could feel the scooter running over her body in the water. [Wing: JESUS THAT IS HORRIFIC. And what a great way to open the book, actually. Kudos, Stine.] Adam watched as Mitzi began to bleed into the waves from a gaping wound in her head. He jumped off the scooter and dived into the water, trying to stop Mitzi from drowning. Yet the blood was making her slippery and Adam couldn’t hold onto her. The pain of her wound was making her freak out, and she desperately tried to cling to Adam even though she was dragging them both under the water. [Wing: Her panicking and dragging him underwater is realistic. The blood making her slippery when she’s in the middle of the damn ocean is bullshit.] It was then Adam heard a horrible sound and realized the scooter was coming back, only the protective hull on the front had cracked and the propeller blades were exposed. Adam tried to swim away, but the scooter ran over his leg and sliced it open. Then it cut his arm. From far away he heard Mitzi begging him to save her as she helplessly floundered in the water. All Adam could was hold onto Mitzi as he felt they were sinking deeper and deeper, realizing they were going to drown.
Adam began to scream over and over again they were going to die when he heard a voice telling him to stop. Adam looks up to see his roommate, Ian Schultz, standing above him. Adam’s in the same apartment with the same roommate he had last summer at Logan Beach. It all comes back to Adam as he remembers Mitzi’s been dead for a year, explaining to Ian he had the same nightmare about the two of them being killed. Adam explains Mitzi’s death had been an accident, that she’d fallen off the water scooter and he accidentally struck her when he turned it around. He tried to save her from drowning, but it was too late. However, the water scooter never went berserk and sliced him up like it does in his nightmares.
Adam blamed himself for Mitzi’s death for the longest time. He wonders if he’s going to keep having these nightmares for the rest of his life, even though his psychiatrist Dr. Thall has gotten him to understand Mitzi’s death was an accident. Ian suggests Adam should switch psychiatrists, obviously not thinking much of the “Great” Dr. Thall’s abilities. The man’s been on TV a lot, but Ian thinks a lot of the doctor’s new ideas and proposals for psychiatry are “Wacko.” Adam wants to stick with Dr. Thall, which is good because he’s gonna need a doctor because HIS LEGS ARE GONE!
The following day, Adam explains to Dr. Thall how he hallucinated his legs were gone. Dr. Thall is worried because they both thought Adam was done with these hallucinations. Adam recalls when he thought his arms were gone, and when he looked in the mirror and thought his eyes had been eaten away by fish. [Wing: Well Stine has certainly brought the horror in this book. Damn, good work, Stine.] Dr. Thall asks if anything troubling or upsetting has happened to Adam in the past few weeks, anything that could’ve triggered these hallucinations. Adam wonders if it might have to do with being back at the same place where Mitzi died. Dr. Thall proposes Adam could quit being a lifeguard if being at the beach is what’s causing the hallucinations, but Adam wants to face this instead of hiding away from it. Still, Dr. Thall is sure something’s going on in Adam’s head and tells him to stay aware, truly aware, of what’s going on around him. Maybe his subconscious is trying to tell him something.
After finishing his session, Adam hurries to Logan Beach for his lifeguard duties. He doesn’t want to keep Sean Cavanna, the other lifeguard, waiting. Adam explains while Sean’s a joker who can be a lot of fun, he also tends to bitch a lot and he has a seriously frightening temper when he’s angry. Adam doesn’t want to be late because he doesn’t want Sean on his case. However, Adam does have a minute to stop and chat with Leslie Jordan, a girl he’s going out with this summer. The two sit in front of the coffee shop where Leslie works and they joke about what it would be like to just live on the beach and not have to worry about anything, no jobs or nothing. Leslie promises to call Adam later and they kiss before he departs. But on the way to the beach, Adam notices someone familiar. Mitzi! For a moment Adam believes she really is alive and the entire year has been nothing but a bad dream. Mitzi turns around, and Adam is horrified by her rotted, water-logged face. Adam screams in horror as Mitzi’s skull face grants a hideous, broken-toothed smile.
This piece of absolute shit. I’m keeping these parts of the recap short and concise because I, I just don’t have the energy.
Sean is watching Alyce Serkin on the beach. Sean does this every day and claims the only reason he got a lifeguard job in the first place was because he could watch her and her smokin’ hot bod. [Wing: Gross.] Noticing there’s not many people in the water Sean jumps off the lifeguard station, sneaks behind Alyce and “Playfully” grabs her. Alyce orders Sean to stop being an animal and let her go, but Sean barks he knows Alyce loves it when he grabs her like this. [Wing: GROSS. Somebody run him over with a water scooter.] After he finally lets her go, Alyce tells Sean she’s done with the beach so Sean asks what they’re doing later tonight. Alyce informs Sean she’s already got plans with someone else, and Sean grabs her demanding to know who she’s going out with. He even threatens to kill whoever she’d go out with, but Alyce doesn’t believe him. She does get madder when she finds out Sean’s not on his break and is fucking around with her when he’s supposed to be doing his job. When Adam shows up, Sean thinks with disgust at how he’s giving Alyce such “Admiring looks” and is “Playing the sympathy card” when he mentions he had a doctor’s appointment.
Sean continues to act like a dick by suddenly screaming a shark has killed a girl in the water. Adam is legitimately frightened and is only barely able to stammer he’ll get the life preserver before Sean starts laughing. Alyce tells Sean to back off as she asks Adam if he’s okay, remembering what happened with Mitzi. As Alyce leaves, Sean still thinks they’re going out tonight even after Alyce reiterates she made plans with someone who’s NOT him. Sean believes Alyce is joking, kind of, stubbornly insisting she’s nuts about him. But the idea that she’s going out with someone else infuriates Sean, which leads to an incredibly uncomfortable discussion with Adam. Sean goes on about his jealous temper and anger control issues, how in high school he found out this girl he was going out with had a date with someone else. Sean goes into detail on how he followed them and then he beat the shit out of this poor guy, almost killing him, no matter how much Adam asks Sean to stop talking. When Sean finally finishes, Adam is all:
Sean calmly responds it’s because he saw how Adam looked at Alyce.
WHAT THE FUCK EVER, DIPSHIT.
Heading back to his apartment, Adam couldn’t forget the look on Sean’s face as he threatened him without threatening him. He’s known about Sean’s anger issues but he never knew they were THAT bad. Adam enters the rented apartment and finds Ian chillaxing on his day off. While the two eat a freshly ordered pizza they compare notes on their plans for the evening. Both of them have got dates tonight, and Ian asks to borrow Adam’s car just like he borrows everything Adam owns. Adam relents since he doesn’t really need to drive for tonight’s date, but gets annoyed when Ian borrows his jeans. [Wing: … that seems weird.] Ian’s surprised to hear Adam’s not going out with Leslie, though. Adam points out he’s not dating Leslie exclusively, but Ian responds does Leslie know that? Turns out she’s got a temper too. The thought reminds Adam of Sean again, but he tries to focus on simply having a fun time after how stressful the last couple of days were. While Adam’s in the bathroom, he hears the phone ringing but Ian doesn’t pick it up. Annoyed, Adam exits the bathroom and sees Ian’s dead body sprawled on his bed.
Adam can hear the phone ringing in the background as he tries to figure out what to do. Luckily, it turns out this was another hallucination and Adam was only looking at Ian’s rumpled clothes on the bed. Getting his head together, Adam answers the phone to discover Leslie’s on the other end. Leslie asks why Adam took so long to answer and he tries to coherently explain he had another hallucination. Leslie’s worried Dr. Thall isn’t being much help to Adam. Leslie offers to come over and hang out with Adam, but Adam turns her down saying he wouldn’t be good company since he’s not feeling well.
And of course doesn’t mention he already has a date with someone else, but hey he isn’t feeling well for real so that’s kinda the truth!
Jesus Tapdancing Christ.
OKAY ANYWAY just as Adam’s about to head out his stomach grumbles. Still feeling hungry he grabs an apple from the counter and watches in horror as it shrivels up and transforms into a rotted skull in his hand. Adam watches as the little skull begs in Mitzi’s voice not to let her drown.
NO ONE FUCKING CARES ABOUT YOU SEAN
Sean shows up at Alyce’s rented summer cottage, swiping some wildflowers growing by the door, and expects her to be ready for a date she wanted no part of. Sean’s greeted by Alyce’s roommate Kathy, who explains Alyce can’t hurry up because she already left for her date. Sean demands to know where the fuck Alyce is until Kathy mentions Alyce might be at the movie theater just to get him to leave. Sean stomps away and proceeds to search for Alyce, wanting to know who she’s cheating on him with so he can destroy the guy. Sean’s a barrel of laughs all the way to the movie theater, stealing someone’s parking space and then threatening them when the guy complains. Sean’s ready to scope out the lobby from across the street, waiting for when the movie ends when he finds Alyce. And she’s with, with, THE MUFFIN MAN.
Sean can’t believe Alyce is on a date with THE MUFFIN MAN. He thought THE MUFFIN MAN was his friend, but instead he’s been betrayed by THE MUFFIN MAN. Sean is ready to murder THE MUFFIN MAN and doesn’t even care as he runs into traffic, but he loses Alyce and THE MUFFIN MAN. He does run into Leslie, who disappointingly confirms she did indeed see Alyce going out with THE MUFFIN MAN. Sean’s so angry that when he bumps into a random teenager, Sean grabs the kid, throws him into an alley and brutalizes him. Leslie tries to stop Sean, screaming he’s about to kill the guy. [Wing: And why isn’t Sean now in jail for assault? HUH?]
The next day, at the lifeguard station, Sean is still pissed off about Alyce and THE MUFFIN MAN. He thinks about how Leslie managed to pull him off the teenage boy he beat up, and how he gave the kid fifty bucks to keep his mouth shut. [Wing: Kid, turn him in. That’s not nearly enough money to keep your mouth shut.] Sean thinks about THE MUFFIN MAN all while setting up flags for the high tide warning, explaining to a young woman that it’s advised not to go in the water while it’s high tide but you can swim at your own risk. Sean suddenly notices Adam talking with two young women and being all buddy-buddy with them, and he gets angry again. He wonders how Adam can be laughing like that, how Adam can’t even look at him when Adam realizes Sean’s staring at him. After all, didn’t Sean make it clear how dangerous he is?
Why the fuck are you not in jail, Sean.
Adam saw how tense and angry Sean looked and wondered what his problem was. It was making it hard for him to be excited about running into Joy Bailey and Raina Foster. Joy and Raina went to Shadyside High with Adam, and he dated both of them a few times (not at the same time, mind you) but he was never boyfriend and girlfriend with either of them. It’s cool though, because they’re able to joke about how Adam “Broke their hearts” without it getting creepy and awkward. Joy and Raina are super delighted to see Adam again and mention they were just talking about him the other day. The girls are now college roommates and have both got summer jobs in Shadyside starting next week, so they’re vacationing at Logan Beach to relax first. Ian shows up and Adam introduces him to the girls as they reminisce about their high school shenanigans. Turns out Joy even went out with reoccurring character Gary Brandt (apparently after he broke up with Suki Thomas following “The Overnight”).
Unfortunately, when Adam recalls he only dated Raina once before he graduated, he’s reminded of Mitzi again. The girls recognize Adam’s brief shift and assure him they’re only joking about how he broke their hearts. Ian can’t believe what a superstud Adam was when Adam snaps out of his funk. He suggests having dinner with Joy and Raina later that evening and heads back to the lifeguard station. However, Sean’s still SUPER grumpy about THE MUFFIN MAN but Adam doesn’t know that. Adam’s scared for a moment, but Sean says nothing and stomps away. Confused, Adam’s attention turns toward the rest of the beachgoers, hearing Joy and Raina having fun, before he notices someone irresponsibly riding a water scooter too close to the shore. Adam’s worried the person driving the scooter will crash on the rocks near the shoreline and starts yelling at him to stop. Adam runs into the water screaming his head off when he sees the person driving the water scooter is HIMSELF.
At his next session with Dr. Thall, Adam’s going over how he made a ginormous ass of himself because of his hallucination. His one comfort is in knowing Joy and Raina hadn’t seen him. Adam asks if he’s going crazy, but Dr. Thall doesn’t believe that. Adam screams what the problem is then; Mitzi’s been dead for a year, what else is he supposed to do? Dr. Thall is certain something happened with Mitzi that Adam must’ve forgotten or blocked out because his mind is obviously trying to tell him something about Mitzi’s death. Dr. Thall mentions he has a few experimental procedures he’s working on, to which Adam responds he’s up for trying anything if it’ll make this shit stop. [Wing: I see no way in which this will go terribly wrong.]
Later that night, Adam’s out with Joy and Raina at the Sea Shanty for dinner and dancing. Instead of dancing with one of them at a time, the girls are happy to dance with him together. I’m honestly kind of amazed these two are willing to have fun simply spending time together with Adam instead of fighting over him, which leads me to believe Joy and Raina are actually girlfriends and/or they’re up for a three-way. [Wing: It’s a sad state of affairs when either of those options is more believable than just friends being cool about it, but that is exactly how it goes in Stine’s work. Also, I ship them. Get you some threesome action, girls.] Adam’s focusing on having a good time while he can before Dr. Thall starts one of his proposed procedures, and even spots Ian on a date with a girl he’s never seen before. Unfortunately for Adam, he’s also found Leslie and she’s pretty pissed off.
Adam fears Leslie’s gonna make a scene and approaches her before she gets to Joy and Raina. Leslie calls out Adam for lying about his date the other night and for not telling her he was going out with Joy and Raina. Adam tries to explain his other date wasn’t anything serious, but Leslie really doesn’t want to hear that. She’s angry Adam doesn’t seem to care about her feelings at all and threatens to find a way to pay him back for hurting her. Adam asks what she’s going to do, but she doesn’t answer.
Sean’s still pissy with Adam the next day and orders him to set up the flags for another high tide warning. Adam has no idea what Sean’s problem is while he sets up the warning flags, but decides to ignore it because it’s not worth Sean going ballistic on him. Joy and Raina show up and are super relieved to know Leslie didn’t murder him last night, but that’s what happens when you cheat on your girlfriend. In fact, they think Adam should be careful or Leslie might send him a real… dynamite package in the mail. Huh? Huh? It’s funny because letter bombs!
Adam does feel bad about what happened with Leslie, and her threat, so he doesn’t feel like joking about it. The girls understand. Adam explains to them what the warning flags mean and advises them to be really careful if they do decide to go in the water. Heading back to the lifeguard station and Sean’s lovely company, Adam gets back to work keeping watch and gets startled when he hears someone scream. Thankfully it’s only some little kids fighting over a plastic pail. But then the REAL emergency begins when Adam sees Joy and Raina too far out in the water, waving their arms and screaming for help!
Adam tells Sean they need to help the girls, but Sean’s gone. The bastard went on his break without telling Adam! Adam has no choice but to try and save both of the girls but has no idea how he’ll manage. Adam rushes into the water, almost losing sight of Joy and Raina when both of them go under. Someone on the shore sees a pair of hands reaching above the waves, but only one pair. With the life preserver, Adam swims towards the girls but it’s worse than he thought. Joy is completely frantic and panicking while Raina seems to have passed out. Adam tries to get Raina to wake up but she’s totally out of it, and he can’t get Joy to calm down long enough for her to listen to his instructions. Joy keeps screaming and grabbing Adam, begging him not to let her die, while Adam fears Raina’s going to drown first because of how unresponsive she is. With no one else to help him, Adam’s got no choice but to rescue Raina first and tells Joy to hold onto the life preserver and he’ll come back for her. Joy pleads with Adam not to leave her but he’s worried Raina will definitely die if he doesn’t get her out of the water first. That doesn’t stop Joy from grabbing Adam in an attempt to get him to save her, almost dragging all three of them down into the water. Adam manages to get them up above the wave and starts swimming to the shore with Raina under his arms. Adam drags Raina to the shore while the other beachgoers watch. Raina starts coughing and spewing up sea water as Adam goes back for Joy.
By the time he gets to the spot where the girls had been, Joy is gone.
Adam wakes up in his apartment, Ian standing over him and asking if he’s okay. Adam begs Ian to tell him what happened with the girls was another hallucination, but Ian confirms it wasn’t. Everyone saw Adam trying to save Joy and Raina, but he had to make a choice between them and saved Raina first. The head lifeguard brought Adam home, but Adam was in a total daze and doesn’t remember. Adam believes he’s murdered Joy like he murdered Mitzi, but Ian tells him it’s not his fault. He did the best he could and he managed to save Raina. The head lifeguard and the people at the beach thought it was brave. He wouldn’t have been in that position if Sean hadn’t ditched Adam.
Ian offers to stay home from his date to comfort Adam, [Wing: I kind of ship them, too.] but Adam wants to be alone and doesn’t even care when Ian borrows his windbreaker. Ian apologizes for how Adam seems incapable of getting a break, and while left alone Adam starts thinking about how Joy’s dead body is floating out there in the ocean somewhere. He keeps remembering her horrified, panicked face begging to be saved. Hell, he’s so tense he can’t even look at himself in the mirror when he gets a phone call. The voice on the other end, barely a whisper, tells Adam he’s gonna pay for what he did to them before hanging up. Adam couldn’t recognize the voice but is sure it was either Sean or Leslie since they’re both pissed at him.
Adam decides he has to get out of the apartment and goes for a walk, even though it’s dark and foggy out. Of course, Adam’s not alone as he hears someone approaching him in the gloom. Joy! Adam sees Joy appear before him in the fog, and he starts screaming she’s not real. Joy starts to whisper it’s Adam’s fault she drowned, and Adam closes his eyes saying she’s just another hallucination. When he looks up, Joy’s gone and he feels proud of himself for having confronted his hallucinations. But since when do hallucinations leave footprints in the sand?
Adam returns to the apartment, trying to figure out who he really saw outside since it couldn’t have been a hallucination. Yet he’s so exhausted Adam goes to sleep and has another nightmare about Mitzi’s death. Only this one’s different. He sees Mitzi on the water scooter, but Adam’s not the one driving it. Someone else is driving the water scooter but Adam can’t make out their face as Mitzi falls over. Adam tries to save Mitzi after she gets injured by the scooter, but can’t find her as the water turns blood red. Adam begs and screams for Mitzi to forgive him for not being able to save her in time when Adam wakes up and realizes he’s not alone.
Thankfully it’s just Ian, but unfortunately, Adam’s dream has started to slip away from him and he can’t remember what made it so different. Ian suggests Adam should see Dr. Thall as soon as possible. Adam still struggles to remember what made the dream so different the next morning when it’s gray, foggy, and raining. No work for Adam today, but no reprieve from his thoughts on Mitzi and Joy. Adam decides on doing grocery shopping since there’s barely anything decent in the fridge, and figures he can stop by and see Leslie at work to try and apologize for his past actions. On the way out, Adam receives another phone call warning him to be careful and he’ll know who the caller is soon enough.
In the coffee shop, Adam finds Leslie and she’s still mad at him. Adam tries to apologize for not being upfront about his date the other night, but she’s not interested in his apologies about that OR his evening out with Joy and Raina. Leslie explains she cared about Adam and feared he was getting worse with the nightmares and hallucinations, and then she found out he lied to her and was out having fun with someone else. How does he expect she would feel? But now Adam’s starting to get angry too, figuring he thought Leslie might cut him SOME slack after another girl drowned because of him. Now Leslie’s concerned and confused, asking what Adam’s talking about. Adam explains to her about Joy’s drowning, but then asks how she couldn’t possibly know? Leslie reveals there’s no mention of Joy’s death in the paper nor was it mentioned on the news.
Adam’s thrown through a loop. Did Joy really die? Ian told him it wasn’t a hallucination, didn’t he? Adam’s stammering, trying to give Leslie the details but she can’t follow what he’s talking about. Adam needs to get out of there, angering Leslie all over again when he doesn’t coherently explain to her what’s wrong. On the way out of the coffee shop, Adam hears a voice in the fog asking why he let her drown. Adam pleads with Joy to show her face as he cries over and over again he tried to save her. Adam tries to search through the fog to find Joy but comes up empty-handed. Adam goes back to look for Leslie to talk to her about what just happened, but she’s gone too. Defeated, all Adam can do is finish his grocery shopping like he planned…
And comes home to find a butchered seagull, wrapped in one of his sweatshirts, in his bed with a note saying the same thing will happen to him.
The next day the sun is shining and Adam heads to work. He knows the seagull wasn’t a hallucination, neither was the bloody note or the phone calls. Adam’s trying to figure out if it’s Leslie, Sean, or Joy’s ghost doing all this when he sees Raina at the lifeguard station. Raina starts thanking Adam for saving her life, confirming that whole thing happened for real as well. Adam tells Raina Joy’s death hasn’t been mentioned in the news and he was afraid he’d imagined the whole thing. Raina tells Adam they have to talk later about what happened. She can’t talk now, because it would be easier to show him later. Show him what? Raina advises Adam to meet him at the dock at 7 PM tonight.
Raina runs off, leaving Adam more confused than ever. Up in the lifeguard station, Adam finally confronts Sean about his negative attitude but Sean tells Adam he’s got nothing to say to him. Adam lays into Sean about not cutting him some slack because of what happened with Joy, how Adam feels like his life’s falling apart and now he’s got someone leaving dead animals wrapped up in his clothes. Sean seems surprised at the mention of the seagull wrapped in Adam’s sweatshirt before saying he’s going on break. Adam wonders if Sean was faking his response to hearing about the seagull, and spends the rest of the day on edge whenever he hears shouting.
Heading back to the apartment, Adam’s in for a big surprise when he finds someone in his bedroom holding a butcher knife and his mattress all stabbed up. The figure tries to hide in Adam’s closet and a fight ensues before Adam realizes the intruder is SEAN! I typed as if I was surprised. Adam struggles to pin Sean to the floor and makes him drop the butcher knife as he demands to know why the fuck has Sean been stalking him like this. Sean says this has nothing to do with him until Adam lists off all the crap Sean’s done to him, the phone calls, the dead bird, stabbing his mattress with a knife. Sean finally admits he’s never been after Adam. This whole thing’s been about Ian because Ian’s the one who went out with Alyce that night! GASP IAN IS THE MUFFIN MAN!
Sean’s been trying to pay back Ian for stealing Alyce. He thought Ian answered the phone during those calls and he thought that was Ian’s sweatshirt he wrapped the bird in because he saw Ian wearing it. The note never referred to Adam by name. Sean’s been acting cold towards Adam because he thought Adam knew Ian was going out with Alyce and was laughing about it behind Sean’s back. Adam tries to calm Sean down, telling him Ian’s not looking to make Alyce his girlfriend and adds he saw Ian going out with someone completely different. Ian just likes to go out with lots of girls, and he likes to borrow stuff that belongs to other people. [Wing: … Stine are you making an unsubtle and terrible metaphor there?] Sean remarks Alyce isn’t a thing which is pretty fucking rich coming from him. [Wing: Oh god, you were, and also, SEAN FUCK OFF YOU TREAT HER LIKE A THING ALL THE TIME.] Adam brings up that story Sean told him about the guy in high school and advises Sean to get his anger under control. Adam suggests Sean goes home and relaxes, and promises to talk to Ian for him.
Adam then remembers he has to meet Raina at the dock since it’s almost 7. He hurries down to meet her and sees she’s pretty upset about something. Raina explains she couldn’t talk at the beach because Adam deserved to hear it from both of them… at which point Joy reveals herself, alive and well.
Adam thinks he’s hallucinating again, telling Joy to go away when Raina tells him it’s okay. Joy hugs him and begs for forgiveness for what she did. More confused than ever, Adam demands to know what is going on. The girls start to explain and apologize how the whole drowning scene was a set up concocted by none other than Dr. Thall. [Wing: HO. LY. SHIT.] He contacted Joy and Raina and got them to go along with his ridiculous plan to shock Adam into really remembering what happened last summer. He even got Ian to help out with it. They sincerely thought they were helping, but the girls couldn’t stand lying to Adam after seeing what the guilt was doing to him and understand if he’s gonna hate them forever. Adam is too shocked to even be mad, but thinks to himself he DID say he was willing to try anything.
Upset and shaken, Adam runs away from the girls and tries to figure out where he can go. By the dock, he sees a water scooter tied to the side, unties it, and heads out into the water as Joy and Raina beg him to come back. Adam’s thoughts are a complete mess when, the further he gets out into the sea, he sees another water scooter heading towards him. It’s another hallucination of Mitzi, only she’s not riding with Adam. She’s riding with IAN. And that’s when it all comes back to Adam.
MITZI WAS ON THE WATER SCOOTER WITH IAN THAT DAY.
Adam bitterly reminds himself how Ian likes to borrow things, even girls, so why should Mitzi have been any different. But while the image of Mitzi disappears, the water scooter’s still coming towards him and he realizes Ian’s real. Adam screams he remembers what happened, which Ian was afraid of and declares he can’t let Adam go back now. The two argue about what happened last year when Ian took Mitzi for a ride on Adam’s water scooter. She fell off and he hit her head as he turned around. But instead of trying to help Mitzi, Ian freaked and cowardly left Mitzi to die in the sea. When he got back to shore and told Adam what happened, Adam grabbed the scooter and tried to save Mitzi, but it was too late.
Ian remembers how Adam circled around and around in the spot where Mitzi died, trying to find her. By the time Adam got back to the shore he was hysterical. He was blaming himself for Mitzi’s death since it was his water scooter and since he didn’t get to her in time. So Ian decided to convince Adam it WAS all his fault, that he was the one who hit Mitzi. Even, Adam points out, after all those nightmares and hallucinations he had. After all that time and money he wasted going to Dr. Thall. AFTER IAN LET ADAM THINK ANOTHER GIRL DROWNED BECAUSE OF HIM. Ian whines it was hard for him too because he was always afraid Adam would remember and then adds he didn’t think Adam would believe him even if he told the truth. Adam screams Ian never tried to tell him so how the fuck would he have known? But Ian’s decided he has to get rid of Adam.
Ian guns the water scooter and slams into Adam’s, knocking him into the ocean. Adam’s forced to submerge himself to avoid getting sliced up by the scooter’s propeller, but he can’t stay underwater forever. Mitzi’s death was an accident, but Ian’s determined to kill this time. And Adam’s also gotta worry about his own water scooter running around without him on it. Adam fears Ian will wait until Adam’s completely drained of his energy in order to kill him, which means Adam has to take him down. He dives under the water again, waiting to see when Ian’s scooter will pass by, and then grabs Ian by the leg and yanks him into the sea. The two start to fight underneath the water with the water scooters buzzing around above them. The two are broken free of each other when a strong wave hoists them up and down, and Adam watches as Ian desperately tries to get away from one of the scoot-OOOH IT JUST SLICED OPEN HIS LEG! [Wing: This is such a tense, entertaining scene. Damn, Stine, you are on fire in this book.]
Ian’s now begging Adam to save him after just trying to drown him, and because Adam’s a class act (well mostly a class act) he does.
Adam managed to drag Ian back to shore, where he was taken away in an ambulance. Adam bitterly thinks to himself what a hero he is for saving the guy who turned his life into a nightmare. Joy and Raina try to comfort Adam, and he tells them not to feel guilty about they did for Dr. Thall since it technically did work. On the way back to his car, Adam runs into Sean and Alyce, who are apparently going to work on their relations-ALYCE NO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD YOU CAN DO BETTER HE KILLED A FUCKING SEAGULL! [Wing: ALYCE NO. STINE, NO. THEY DON’T HAVE A RELATIONSHIP. THEY HAVE A STALKER AND AN ASSHOLE WHO WON’T LEAVE HER ALONE. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING WHY MUST YOU BURN EVERYTHING AT THE LAST SECOND WHY?]
Anyway, Sean mentions he’s considering seeing Dr. Thall before Adam returns to his apartment. He’s surprised to find Leslie there, who mentions she heard about what happened with Ian and asks if he’s okay. All Adam wants to know is if Leslie’s real or not, so she kisses him in response.
God, I have no idea why the fuck Stine allowed Sean to have P.O.V. chapters when he added nothing to the plot except making it super creepy and uncomfortable. That whole part where Sean saw Alyce out with Ian was badly set up and felt like a cheat the way Sean kept referring to Ian as “Him.”
For some reason, I kept remembering Alyce had a P.O.V. chapter as well, but I think I was confusing this one with “The Dead Lifeguard.” Dr. Thall has to be one of the most unprofessional therapists out there to employ gaslighting for the sake of recovery. I’m disappointed Adam had the whole thing with Leslie regarding that date, but I do feel bad for him considering he spent a whole year on therapy appointments, having nightmares and hallucinations, for something he didn’t do.
Joy and Raina are great though, in spite of their hand with Dr. Thall’s scheme.