Title: Fear Street Sagas #15 – Door of Death, a.k.a. “Guess Who’s Coming To Backwards Supper?”
Author: Eric Weiner
Cover Artist: Karen Chandler
Tagline: He won’t go back to the grave alone…
Summary: No one believes the Halloween legend about old Jake Fear. But Amy Burke does. In terrifying visions, she saw Jake Fear rise from the grave and kill her two best friends.
She knows this is no tall tale. Jake Fear is coming tomorrow night. But Amy doesn’t know that he plans to take her back to his grave… as his ghost bride.
[Wing: I won’t remove someone’s content warning because that is a very personal thing to use, but I want to clarify that there is no sexual abuse of young children addressed in the story or this recap. A drastic age difference that involves a teenager on one end, yes.]
This was requested by Getting_GB at my insistence to make up for the delays around “Night of the Goat Boy.” Ironically this is my first full official Sagas recap even though Fear Street Sagas was my favorite of the Fear Street spin-offs.
“Door of Death” happens to have been ghostwritten by Eric Weiner, who was also the writer for “Heart of the Hunter” which Wing recapped back in 2017. [Wing: Oh the rise and set of the full moon of my joy with that book.] It’s also the second Sagas book to take place during Halloween, the first being “House of Whispers.” They’ve also got two completely different protagonists both named “Amy.”
In terms of continuity “Door of Death” doesn’t make sense due to it taking place in Shadyside during the 1850s. Jake Fear’s said to have lived his entire life in Shadyside, like at least six or seven decades, and he’s been shunned because the Fear Family’s rumored to be cursed. This… doesn’t make sense because A: Simon and Angelica Fear moved to Shadyside after the Civil War ended in the 1860s, and were the first of the Fears to settle IN Shadyside. Followed by B: Jake’s using the “Fear” version of the family’s last name even though Simon altered the spelling from “Fier” in the 1820s.
That’s what happens when you allow a bunch of ghost writers to control a historical horror spin-off and you didn’t think out a family tree well-enough in advance.
This book hits differently in the wake of #MeToo due to the plot being about an older guy getting fleeced by his wife, who’s also young enough to be his granddaughter. Like… yikes. I’ll talk about it more during the actual recap.
[Wing: This isn’t a criticism of Jude’s comment above, and I haven’t yet read the recap to know what he says about it later, but I wanted to say that I have heard a lot of “after #metoo” lately, and I get frustrated with the idea that things after #metoo are all that different than before. These things always happened! People didn’t talk about it and still don’t, for a lot of reasons! It happening whether we hear about it or not is part of the point of #metoo!]
Jake Fear’s Journal
Shadyside, October 1, 1853
Jake Fear was dying, and as he was dying several things became clear to him. Like the ugly truth that a pretty young woman could’ve never loved an ugly old man like him, but desperation can blind people to the obvious.
The people of Shadyside shunned Jake Fear for his entire life. They said he came from a cursed family, that he himself was cursed. Jake accepted this shunning, and was used to being alone in the stone house his family had built, reading his books, tending his orchards. Of course he didn’t have any magic powers. He didn’t curse people, or summon ghosts or demons to torment people. His lands weren’t tainted by the devil’s power. But people believe what they wanted to believe.
And Jake had wanted to believe that beautiful Cassandra Ryan, only 17 years old, actually loved him. Newly immigrated from Ireland, Cassie Ryan met Jake the day she asked to buy a bushel of apples from him. Jake would’ve given her anything she wanted. She visited Jake often, asking him questions about himself and of Shadyside. Cassie wanted to know everything about Jake, and after three months the two were engaged to marry.
A week before the wedding, Cassie seemed depressed about something. She told Jake it felt like a dream; it didn’t seem like she was truly marrying Jake. Oh if only she had something, anything, as a token to prove Jake’s love for her. But no, it was a silly thing to ask and Cassie felt ashamed the question left her lips.
Jake didn’t dare ruin the surprise and explain he had commissioned a gorgeous wedding ring made of sapphires and diamonds. He didn’t have a lot of flashy, expensive shit. The only thing he could give Cassie was the deed to his house and lands.
Which is just what he did, crossing out his own name and writing “Cassandra Ryan” on the papers. So now everything Jake owned belonged to Cassie. The ultimate act of love. And for a month everything was like a dream…
Then it became a nightmare.
Okay in past circumstances I would’ve felt bad for Jake because who the fuck couldn’t see Cassandra was planning to fleece him the moment she voiced her “worries.” But when she’s 17 and he’s in his sixties, that shit doesn’t sit right. We’re supposed to feel bad because Jake’s lonely due to being shunned, but pairing him off with a teenage girl only makes him come across like a real creep if not an outright pedophile.
Like, forgive me for going off on a tangent but I’ve been involved with discussions about this on twitter for a while. There are a lot of freaks out there who bend over backwards trying to defend DC’s Deathstroke the Terminator in regards to him repeatedly fucking teenage mercenary Terra in Teen Titans: The Judas Contract before she lost control of her powers and accidentally killed herself. These arguments consist of pointing out Terra wasn’t a good person and “it wasn’t rape” because he didn’t force himself on her, and, like, rational people keep stating:
- Terra could’ve done horrible stuff and her getting raped by Deathstroke aren’t statements which invalidate each other
- He’s old enough to be her father and he repeatedly had sex with her
- Even if she consented that doesn’t change the fact it’s still rape because HE’S OLD ENOUGH TO BE HER FATHER
So they keep clinging to the idea that because Terra was a bad guy that somehow invalidates or overshadows Deathstroke manipulating her and fucking her on a regular basis before she died. In short, they say SHE is worse than HIM.
We don’t need stories about creepy old white men falling in love with teenage girls who eventually screw them over. We don’t need THAT narrative in the middle of all the Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump scandals of the word.
Amy Burke spent the October 30th evening at her friend Bridie Padgett’s house. The gang was all there. Bridie, Amy’s best friend and an easily superstitious girl, as well as:
- Richard O’Connor, Amy’s main squeeze. It was just last year that Richard made Amy his gal after years of teasing. With that roguish grin and fearless green eyes, Richard made Amy’s heart flutter.
- Giles Laughton, Richard’s best frenemy. With a pointed nose resemble a fox, Giles was as much Richard’s comrade as he was adversary. The two were constantly trying to show one up.
- Everett Dawson, Amy’s harmless guy friend. His bespectacled, chubby face made him seem like a squeamish owl.
So we have asshole, other asshole, and NERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRD.
The quintet of friends sat in Bridie’s darkened sitting room, dimly lit by a small fire in the hearth. Amy couldn’t believe how easily it was to turn the room so sinister, so foreboding.
Richard had gathered everyone at Bridie’s home to discuss something important. Tomorrow was Halloween, also known as All Hallow’s Eve and Samhain back in the old country. The old country being Ireland.
(FYI, for those who don’t know, Samhain’s not pronounced “Sam-Hane.” It’s pronounced “Saa-wen.” Which is something you think the Halloween franchise would’ve looked up) [Wing: Psh, don’t let facts get in the way of a good story, come on now.]
More importantly, tomorrow officially makes it a year since old Jake Fear died.
Bridie’s glad Jake Fear died when he did. According to her, he was an awful, cruel man who liked to mutter under his breath and stare at people. Even animals were afraid of him. Amy mentioned her mother believed Jake was angry at the world, which Richard stated might be true. That is, Jake’s STILL mad at the world.
Yeah Jake’s been dead and buried for months, but all he’s done is writhe and fester within his grave. His anger intensifying at the world that shunned him. If anyone’s brave enough to walk past the cemetery late at night, they might’ve heard Jake moaning in his grave. Moaning, whispering, calling out the same three words.
CHEATERS NEVER PROSPER
Bridie figured that made sense. Jake Fear said that all the time when he was alive. Why would he stop saying it now? But the thought of ghosts being real scared Bridie. She was scared of a lot of things, while Amy knew for a fact that ghosts, goblins, and ghouls weren’t real. Because Amy doesn’t know she’s in a Fear Street book. [Wing: Now I want to read about a character who does know she’s in a Fear Street book and how she handles that mess.]
Even though Amy claimed Richard was trying to spook everyone with a scary story, he retorted people HAVE heard things happening in the graveyard. Why, the miller saw SOMETHING which freaked him out so badly he hadn’t left his house in days.
Everett, ever the sensible, ever the squeamish one, said they’d take Richard’s word for it and avoid the cemetery. He clearly didn’t want to keep talking about Jake Fear, but Richard had more to say. Since tomorrow’s the one day of the year when the dead can return to the land of living, Richard’s certain this is the day Jake Fear’s been waiting for.
“Even now he is beginning to dig himself out of his grave. Because tomorrow night is the one night his ghost can take his vengeance!”
Bridie was terrified, Giles found this delightful, and Amy put on a brave face. Though secretly even she was a bit unnerved by Richard’s tone. Amy told Richard to please get on with his story; they all had to get ready for the big Halloween barn dance tomorrow evening. [Wing: We don’t have nearly enough Halloween barn dances these days.] Richard blithely stated he had nothing else to say, as only Jake Fear would be the architect of the tale’s gruesome ending. And now he must be away.
Amy couldn’t believe this. Richard dragged everyone to Bridie’s to scare them with a five-minute horror story and then wanted to leave. He wasn’t even gonna walk Amy home! Ugh, Amy just HAD to fall for a tsundere – blowing all hot and cold and whatnot.
But that’s what made Richard irresistible.
And also what made me glad I’m asexual.
Richard claimed to have “important business” to attend to, then motioned to Giles. Giles saluted Richard, and Amy was filled with dread once again. For years, Richard and Giles warred against one another to gain the crown of Prankster Supreme on All Hallows’ Eve. The only thing more foreboding than the prospect of the two pulling pranks was the idea of them pulling pranks TOGETHER. It was like teaching a bear how to use a machine gun, or bees how to harness fire. It looks cool but then you’ve got bears shooting up picnics at Jellystone National Park and people getting stung to death by flaming bees. [Wing: As if the bees would sting when they had flamethrowers at their disposal.]
Amy wasn’t sure how Giles could top last year’s stunt when he somehow got Farmer Scroggin’s cart on top of his barn. A chill went down Amy’s back when Giles asked Richard if tonight’s events would be as entertaining as he promised. Richard preemptively promised Amy she wouldn’t be a target, but that wasn’t all Amy had to chide him on. I mean, Richard WAS getting on in years. By God he was practically 18! In those days that meant you were due for a midlife crisis. Couldn’t Richard step back and let the younger boys pull off their ill-conceived shenanigans? Richard argued he had to protect his crown as King of All Hallows’ Eve.
Hey, I didn’t vote for him!
Oh but Everett, you can take Amy home.
Amy’s all “I’m a modern woman, I can walk MYSELF home,” and Richard was all “Sure babe.”
“With Jake Fear’s ghost about to burst from the grave, I would feel more comfortable knowing you are not alone.”
Even when Stine’s not writing the book the guys are SUCH charmers.
Richard asked if Amy would meet him by their usual spot. You know the one I mean. Amy knew he meant the tree by the creek where they had their first kiss. A girl always remembers her first time. Amy said she MIGHT meet him, which Richard took as confirmation anyway. Oh and he wanted some of Amy’s buttermilk biscuits as his after-breakfast salvation. [Wing: Dirty.] Apparently Richard’s mom loathed baking because she sucked at it. If not for Amy, Richard would’ve starved to death a long time ago. [Wing: …oh. Shame, he meant literally.]
Now Giles was hurt. He NEVER got to have any of Amy’s biscuits, even though they brought all the boys to the yard.
I’m going to Hell for that one.
After Richard and Giles departed from Bridie’s home to do God knows what, the silence was painful. Amy always felt awkward when Richard made plans with her in front of Everett and Bridie. She knew Everett had feelings for her, and Bridie still didn’t have a boyfriend of her own.
Putting on her coat, Amy reached into her pocket and felt the comforting reassurance of the letter she kept with her at all times. It was the only love letter Richard ever sent her. Her most prized possession.
Bridie asked if either of them believed Richard’s story about Jake Fear. Everett didn’t, and hoped the boys weren’t planning on tricks for the three of them. Last year, Richard and some guys knocked over Everett’s outhouse… while he was using it.
And besides, Everett knew even if Richard DID promise Amy he wouldn’t prank her, and he DID break his promise, she’d forgive him. Richard could pull all kinds of shit and Amy would forgive him. Amy couldn’t argue against Everett and Bridie because they knew they were dead to rights.
Called out, Amy swore a solemn vow that if Richard broke his promise and pulled any tricks on them she would make him sorry he was ever born.
Everett gave her a wry smile. “I think it more likely that Jake Fear’s ghost will return.”
Hey you guys could both be right.
Bridie had enough talk of Jake Fear, but reminded Amy they also had plans for Halloween. Namely, Bridie asked Amy to help her perform a “Backwards Supper.”
According to legend, one performs a “Backwards Supper” on All Hallows’ Eve by serving and eating an entire supper backwards. Supposedly, a person would receive a vision of your future husband if done correctly.
…I shit you not, this is an actual thing. Only it’s more commonly known as a “Dumb” Supper. “Dumb” in the sense meaning “mute” or “silent,” because the entire meal has to be eaten without saying a word.
Read more about it here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/what-is-dumb-supper
[Wing: I’ve not heard of the version where you have to be silent the entire time, but I’ve always loved the idea of a backwards supper.]
Amy thought it was silly, but if she performed it would she see Richard’s face?
Outside, the night sky was even darker thanks to the new moon. Usually Amy was fond of walking through Shadyside at night, but the bitter cold and black sky made everything seem unseemly. With winter on the way, the leaves on the trees were all brown, withered, and dead. The ground was hard as a rock thanks to a late evening frost. The bare tree limbs looked like skeletal hands. Even the lantern Everett held didn’t really help matters, as it made him look pale and ghostly. [Wing: Love this setting.]
Everett had to admit it was likely Richard’s story did get to him a little, but Amy swore she’d protect him. Why, if Jake Fear popped up she’d give him a good what for in the shins, she would.
Even though Everett and Amy were the same age, Everett always seemed much older due to his seriousness. He wasn’t “handsome,” but he was cute and dependable. Sometimes Amy wished she was attracted to him instead of Richard.
Well now Everett had something he wanted to ask Amy. You see, Amy, he, that is to say, well, with Richard, and you know, it’s just, oh dear he’s just delightfully befuddled and nervous in that quirky way you can tolerate.
That was when Amy realized they weren’t alone.
Right in the middle of the road, there were two large, dark ghostly eyes.
Burning eyes that seemed to float in the darkness.
Staring right at them!
Oh but wait it’s only a bull.
OH SHIT IT’S A BULL.
Wait why would a bull be out in the middle of the road.
That’s when Amy got angry as she remembered Richard and Giles stating they needed to leave “For business.” And after Richard swore she wouldn’t be targeted by his pranks.
[Wing: Er, there’s an even more logical reason for the bull to be in the middle of the road, which is that he broke through a fence. It happens pretty often.]
Even if they weren’t dealing with Jake Fear’s ghost, Amy and Everett knew a bull was still dangerous and could gore either of them. Amy told Everett to remain calm as they slowly stepped around the bull, but immediately ran for it when the bull looked like it was going to charge. [Wing: I’m pretty sure that’s one of the worst things you can do with a bull.]
Amy and Everett weren’t much of a couple of runners, but did manage to escape the bull. They later encountered the rest of the farm animals Richard and Giles no doubt set free. The two didn’t stop until the village square was in their sights. After they stopped to catch their breath, Amy and Everett looked back on what just happened and tried to joke about it.
Then they started to laugh.
Then Everett blurted out his love for Amy!
After he realized there was no going back, Everett talked about how he always thought of Amy and the ways it was practically painful. He then asked Amy to MARRY him!
Ugh Everett acted like such a “Nice Guy” as he spoke of providing well for Amy with his plans to become a doctor. And even if Amy didn’t love him now, maybe in time she would grow to love him.
Moving on, Amy tried to let Everett down as gently as she could. She didn’t have plans to marry anyone just now and she valued Everett as a friend, but her heart belongs to the other asshole-I MEAN Richard.
Before either of them had enough time to stew in that awkwardness, Amy heard shouting from the village square and saw the lights of multiple lanterns. Ugh, what ELSE did Richard and Giles fuck up?
Amy and Everett hurried into the town square and saw almost everyone who was everyone milling about. It was practically a shindig of the stars. You had the baker, the tailor, the sawyer, even the butcher’s wife! It was like the Met Gala, but for Shadyside. [Wing: If only we got thematic costumes, too.]
Near a tree, Amy saw three of her mom’s friends fretting over something. Mrs. Flanagan, Mrs. O’Hara, AND Mrs. Sullivan all seemed worried. Worried for AMY, that is. Yes, they believed things were looking grim for Amy’s friends. Mrs. O’Hara recalled how something similar happened back in the old country (the old country being Ireland, you see). The night before Halloween, someone posted a list on the doors of the local church.
Every person on that list was found dead the next day.
It doesn’t matter what you do. If your name was on the dead man’s list, you were a goner.
Unnerved, Amy headed towards the church to see this list everyone was scared off. At night, the sacred building appeared menacing and dreary. It loomed over Amy like a harbinger of doom. Before Amy could reach the front of the church, she bumped into Pastor Martin who was NOT a happy man right now. The pastor was joined by the local constable, Ebenezer Howell (I just realized we never name our kids Ebenezer anymore, do we?), [Wing: #bringbackebenezer] and he was just as peeved.
Aside from this list that was the talk of town, SOMEONE dug up Jake Fear’s grave. The pastor and the constable were both certain it was one of the youths, or as Cousin Vinny would call them, the youts.
Amy immediately thought of Richard’s supposed ghost story, when the constable pointed to the church doors where Amy saw the list. On one of the doors, someone nailed a ratty piece of parchment against the wood. The list held four names.
- Henry Gray – The blacksmith
Below the names:
CHEATERS NEVER PROSPER
And it was signed Jake Fear.
Amy looked like she saw a ghost as she backed away from the list. Everett tried to figure out what was happening; Jake Fear apparently dug himself out of his grave, wrote a list of names, and nailed it to the church door. Mrs. Flanagan (speaking with a voice filled with doom), said this was “Jake Fear’s revenge.”
Revenge against WHAT?
I-I’m not sure Mrs. Flanagan was using that word correctly.
Amy and Everett both suspected Richard was behind all this, but played dumb with the constable and the pastor claiming they didn’t have a clue. Of course Amy was disgusted at the thought of Richard desecrating a grave but she weren’t no snitch. RIGHT, EVERETT???
Pastor Martin told the crowd to go home, but they WILL catch the perpetrators for sullying their beloved church and their beloved graveyard. Why, it’s getting so a fella can’t even be put in the ground without some hooligans digging them up for their secret Satanic drug raves.
As soon as they got away from the scrutinizing eyes of the villagers, Amy made Everett swear not to tell anyone about what Richard supposedly did. That accomplished, Amy returned home to now face the scrutinizing eyes of her own parents. Mr. and Mrs. Burke heard about what was going on and wanted to know if Amy knew anything. Amy was well aware of her parents having reservations about dating Richard, and she figured they’d jump all over the chance to stop her from seeing him ever again.
Yeah Amy you’re kinda prioritizing the wrong thing. You’re like 16, there’s a whole world out there and a whole bunch of assholes you could also be dating besides Richard.
Well Amy swore that she didn’t believe Richard was responsible for stealing Jake Fear’s body or putting up that list. Even as she asked why Richard or Giles would put their own names on that paper, her dad pointed out they could’ve done it to divert suspicion. Amy couldn’t even look her dad in the face as she professed Richard’s innocence.
That night Amy couldn’t sleep. She kept tossing and turning, thinking about the list and the names of her friends and her worries they might be doomed. How could she prove the list was only a joke?
Jake Fear’s Journal
October 10, 1853
Jake wasn’t feeling too good since his last journal entry. Yet the pain wracking his body was nothing compared to the pain when Cassie introduced him to Owen Compton.
Who was Owen Compton?
Why, Cassie’s husband of course.
That day, Cassie brought to the house a man who wasn’t much older than her. He demanded to know what Jake was doing, trespassing on HIS property. Jake was at a loss for words wondering who this shithead was, when Cassie held up her hand. The gold wedding ring Jake gave Cassie was gone, replaced by a platinum ring.
Owen held up his hand, revealing the deed to Jake’s property and where it once said “Cassie Ryan,” it now said “Cassie Ryan COMPTON.” Beneath it was “OWEN COMPTON.”
OH WOW SHE MARRIED HIM FOR HIS MONEY WHO COULD’VE POSSIB-LIE SEEN THAT COMING?????
Cassie coolly and easily told Jake she’d gotten an annulment for their marriage, then got hitched up with Owen. Her belongings were now Owen’s belongings, which included Jake’s house, his orchards, and all of Jake’s money.
The last thing Jake remembered was screaming like an animal before he blacked out. When he came to, Owen had the constable and was demanding Jake be arrested. The constable proved useless to Jake, pointing out it WAS Owen’s name on the deed without a shred of disgust at Cassie and Owen’s shamelessness. Jake tried to turn to Cassie for help, hoping this was all a bad dream. She, of course, wanted nothing to do with Jake. Cassie blithely confessed to manipulating Jake to get his money, viewing him as a disgusting old man.
I mean he IS since, y’know, he married a teenager. Seriously why did Cassie have to be a TEENAGER for this plot to work, Weiner could’ve made her older.
After that, Jake recalled grabbing a vase and attacked Owen again.
Jake later woke up in the town jail, wrapped in bandages with a broken leg. Jake demanded a lawyer, and because the legal system in America was a joke then as it is now, it was a week before that happened. The legal representative squirmed being near Jake, saying he “Never represented a man who was cursed, before.” [Wing: I can’t wait to say this to a client.]
Jake didn’t have much to look forward to even if he DID get out of jail and pursue legal action against Cassie and Owen. While Jake was in jail, the newlyweds sold Jake’s house and land. Which were then mysteriously destroyed in a fire.
Things only got worse from there…
REALLY, this whole sequence isn’t working.
[Wing: It’s not working really well, but I much prefer the journal entry breaks than, say, Bad Guy POV breaks.]
Back to Amy in 1854.
Amy managed to get a little sleep, and as she woke up it took a moment before everything the night before came flooding back to her. Jake Fear. The list. The almost certain suspicion Richard and Giles were behind these disturbing events.
Shaking, Amy got up, got washed and dressed (in a blue dress Richard favored) and went to go see Bridie. After that, she needed to see Richard.
Like three hours later Amy was waiting for Richard at their usual spot, complete with the basket of homemade biscuits she’d promised him. Richard was known for showing up when he felt like it, and usually it didn’t bother Amy. But usually there weren’t things going on like graverobbing and threatening list making, so, y’know.
Amy kept trying to tell herself this was all a poorly conceived joke executed by Richard and Giles. Richard would show up and he’d be just fine. There was nothing to worry about, certainly not a dead man exacting carnage from beyond the grave.
That’s when Amy heard the voice calling her name.
Even though she looked around and saw no one approaching, out in the open.
She heard the voice again, and when Amy looked behind the old oak tree she saw nothing.
That’s when the voice said it was time to die!
Oh no wait it’s just Richard up in the tree. DAMN IT RICHARD!
Amy seethed with anger as she looked up and saw Richard sitting in the branches, a big ol’ shit-eating grin on his face. Ha. Ha ha. Like so the funny. A regular Hogan Hero. A real Benny Jokerman.
Of course Amy couldn’t stop herself from smiling just a bit when Richard asked if she thought he was Jake Fear back from the dead, doing the Shamblin’ Gait before it was popular. Needing to remember to be angry, Amy swore she’d scare Richard good.
That’s when they started smoochin’. Amy’s bonnet fell from her head, her long, golden curls cascading from her bun as Richard held her in his big, strong arms. Their lips locked in an insurmountable torrent of pleasure, and that’s when he threw her down and they-[REDACTED BECAUSE WOW THAT’S NASTY.] [COME ON GUYS YOU’RE IN PUBLIC YOU DIDN’T EVEN PUT NEWSPAPER ON THE GROUND!] [THAT HASN’T EVEN BEEN INVENTED YET!] [UNSOLICITED OPINIONS ABOUT MISOGYNY IN THE VIDEO GAME COMMUNITY?????]
No seriously they just kissed, when Amy finally worked up the nerve to call Richard out on his prank the previous evening. Why, Richard O’Connor guilty of a misdeed? Amy reminded Richard he promised she wouldn’t be a target and Richard tried to laugh off her concerns. It was one harmless little prank. It’s not like Amy or Everett were in actual danger. Old Blackie the Bull was nearly twenty years old, he couldn’t harm a fly even if he wanted to. [Wing: Eh, pretty sure he still has a fair few harm-causing years left in him based on standard bull lifespans.]
That really hurt, Amy. Do you not trust Richard?
Amy continued on, stating even if Blackie was too old to hurt anyone, digging up Jake Fear’s grave crossed a line. Richard openly admitted to letting those livestock free with Giles, but the two of them had nothing to do with Jake Fear or that list. In fact, Richard was jealous of whoever did steal Jake’s body. It’s all anyone in town was talking about, alongside the list.
When you lose your crown as the King of Pranksters and you don’t even know who did it, that stung.
Amy grew a bit fearful, insisting Richard HAD to be the one who dug up Jake Fear and made that phony-baloney list. Right? Because, if Richard didn’t do it, and Giles didn’t do it, then…
No. No Amy knew deep down Richard was still lying to her and made her displeasure known. I mean, telling that story about Jake Fear rising from the dead and then hours later Jake’s body vanishes from the graveyard?
It’s not like Amy was scared or anything. It was all a joke. Why, Amy’s only worried because of how Bridie tended to act. She was so sensitive, y’know? She once cried after breaking a mirror. Seven years bad luck.
Richard swore on his word of honor he had nothing to do with th-HOLY SHIT WHAT WAS THAT SCREAM?!
Amy went pale when she realized that scream sounded like it came from Bridie! Though Richard told her to stay where she was, Amy followed after him as the two ran to determine where that scream came from. On the other side of a cluster of birch trees, the two saw a dark red puddle on the frozen October ground. Upon the realization this might be blood, Amy ran forward following the trail of blood splatter until she reached…
Her lifeless body strewn over a tree stump, her clothes dirty and torn, blood dripping from her neck and splattered over her dress. Amy threw herself forward trying to get Bridie to move, but Richard knew it was pointless. Giving up, Amy began to sob in Richard’s arms before he told her they needed to leave.
Because whoever killed Bridie was probably still around.
Was that a twig snapping?
Amy and Richard left Bridie’s body and ran back to their meeting spot at the tree. No one seemed to be foll-OH SHIT GILES!
The two lovers returned to their usual meeting spot, only to find Giles’ lifeless body suspended from a rope around his neck on one of the branches.
The life seemed to drain from Richard as he stumbled toward his dead friend’s body, swaying ever so slightly in the cold wind. Amy believed this was Jake Fear’s handiwork, that he was killing off the people on his list. If he got rid of Giles and Bridie, that meant Jake was next! They have to get away from Shadyside! Richard, Amy, and the headless man who just grabbed Richards’s shoulder-WAAAAAAAAAAT?
In front of Amy stood a man in a black suit, with no head!
The headless attacker threw Richard out of the way and went straight for Amy, drawing out a silver blade and jamming it deep into Amy’s chest! Richard begged for mercy, crawling away on his hands and feet as the killer lurched forward. The monster yanked Richard by the hair and held the knife up to his throat as Richard pathetically babbled about doing anything.
Wow Everett, you really sold the whole “Merciless monster” routine didn’t you?
Amy told Everett, a.k.a. the headless monster, to dial it back. She assured Richard it was just a joke. Everett pulled down the collar over his head, while they were soon joined by a very much alive Bridie. Giles found this all hilarious, but asked for help out of the harness rigged up to look like he’d been hanged.
Man, Bridie, what would your mom say if she knew you wasted all those tomato preserves?
And honestly Richard, don’t you recognize a trick blade when you see one?
[Wing: Thought about putting a clip here, but decided it was a Knives Out spoiler and took it back.]
Richard could hardly believe this was all down to trick HIM, but Bridie would have none of it. He started everything by scaring them with that Jake Fear story, and then that shit with the farm animals and the list. You had it coming. And it was all thanks to Amy, the mastermind behind the scheme. She spent most of the early morning colluding with Bridie, Everett and Giles before she went to meet Richard. Everett planned to use his headless costume for the barn dance, but believed this was a worthy cause. In Giles’ case he required HALF of the biscuits Amy prepared for Richard. That was the cruelest cut of all. [Wing: I am dying.]
Now it was time to act like a big boy and admitted Amy thoroughly scared the shit of you, Richard. Richard not only admitted he was scared, he was impressed! Amy practically scared the life out of him! He could’ve never conceived of such a trick!
Truly these two were meant for each other.
As everyone laughed about the joke, Amy thought she would remember this perfect moment for the rest of her life.
Jake Fear’s Journal
October 30, 1853
Jake’s life was utter hell, and he believed it would be over soon. At least he hoped so, do to the burning pain that ripped him apart inside. The lawyer managed to get him out of jail, reasoning to a judge that Jake was too old and sick to be a threat to anyone.
Life in jail might’ve been better then life on the street. No one wanted anything to do with Jake. Kids even threw things at him. Of course this was due to him being a Fear and not because he married he a teenager. Eventually, the pastor took pity on Jake and let him live in the toolshed behind the church. He gave Jake food to eat and changed Jake’s bandages daily.
One day, who showed up but none other than Jake’s ex and her new hubby. Dressed like a couple of total tools (Owen wore a dove gray suit with a top hat and an ivory-tipped cane; I didn’t know pimp chic was in style in the 1850s), Owen and Cassie apparently showed up for no other reason than to brag about Jake’s impending death.
Cassie revealed Jake’s suffering would end pretty soon because she’d been the one to set it up. She’d been discreetly poisoning Jake while they were living together, and was satisfied to see the poison working rather well.
Jake wasn’t gonna take it and cursed Cassie.
“With my last bit of strength I sat up. “I curse you, Cassie Ryan Compton,” I rasped. “Cheaters never prosper, nor shall you. I will hunt you down from beyond the grave if necessary, you and every one of your kind. May darkness and pain, sickness and terror, follow you all the days of your life!”
Back in 1854, everyone was good friends again and promised to meet up for the barn dance later in the night. Amy and Bridie headed for Bridie’s place to prepare their Backwards Supper, but the autumn gloom made the trek through the woods feel sinister. Foreboding. All those pranks were making the girls feel like someone was watching them.
Bridie was still worried about Jake Fear, even though she knew Richard and Giles were responsible for that. Right Amy?
What do you MEAN Richard said he wasn’t responsible?! You ASSURED Bridie at her house that morning it’d either been Richard or Giles or both of them!
Amy tried to calm Bridie down, figuring SOMEONE had to steal Jake’s body even if it wasn’t Richard or Giles. It was someone’s sick idea of a joke, Bridie. There’s nothing to worry about.
Bridie wasn’t convinced. The older people in the village believe the legends, and they’re certain Jake Fear came back. Why the miller’s wife told Bridie’s mom she SAW Jake last night. Mrs. O’Hara said she witnessed Jake nailing the list to the church doors with a nail from his own coffin. He pounded the nail into the door with a rock, and at one point he missed and crushed his hand! But he just went on bashing that rock against the nail.
Oh shure, Bridie. And Amy figured Mrs. O’Hara went right up to Jake, bid him a good evening, and asked about what he’d been up to since he died. Y’know, small talk.
‘Good day to you, Jake Fear. You’re up awfully late.’ ‘Aye, Mrs. O’Sullivan, I had to get out of my grave and come put up this little list.'”
Amy asked Bridie to review who was on the list. Aside from Bridie, there was Richard, Giles, and at the top was town blacksmith Henry Gray. Amy didn’t know Henry very well, but she knew her friends well enough to figure none of them were cheaters.
There was nothing to worry about.
By the time they reached Bridie’s house, she was feeling a little better. But if they going through with the Backwards Supper, they needed to make sure Bridie’s mom didn’t find out. Mrs. Padgett didn’t approve of such foolishiousness. God knows it was a bitch preparing the stew – backwards, mind you – that morning in secret.
So, for a Backwards Supper, total silence was required. As Amy and Bridie prepared and ate their meal backwards, they couldn’t utter a single word to each other. Or they wouldn’t receive visions of their future husbands.
Walking backwards, Amy and Bridie retrieved the bowls and silverware from behind and set the table. They had to be careful not to bump into each other. Amy thought this was silly, but Bridie was tight-lipped and practically scowling. She REALLY wanted this to work. It was admittedly kind of soothing to eat a meal in total silence. Just having Bridie’s company was enough to put Amy at ease. Small talk wasn’t necessary between such good friends.
I’m the same way in a lot of situations. When I was with my grandpa, either sitting in his living room or visiting him at the nursing home, I didn’t really speak that much. I’m not much for empty small talk. Just being in the room with him was enough for me.
[Wing: Being able to be silent around someone without it becoming an uncomfortable thing is one of the things I treasure most in relationships (familial, friend, romantic, whatever).]
I’m just glad they didn’t have to eat the meal backwards like that one South Park episode.
By the time they were finished, Amy and Bridie started laughing. Even Bridie had to think part of this was ridiculous, but she still really wanted a vision of her husband.
So, why was the room suddenly getting darker? And colder?
And… who was that standing in the corner of the room?
Why couldn’t Bridie see him?
Amy tried to focus on the vision before her, but as the figure materialized before her eyes, Amy grew horrified. Before her was not the handsome visage of Richard O’Connor. It was the rotted corpse of Jake Fear.
She was looking at a tall, thin old man with a face like a skull, and matted, long white hair. He wore a long black coat, tattered and caked with filth.
Jake Fear grinned at her, revealing rotting, yellowed teeth.
“That’s right,” he said, stepping closer. She could smell his stale, putrid breath. “I’m your future husband, love. And there’s nothing you can do to change it. Before this night is out, I will come for you, Amy Burke. And you will be mine.”
So yeah, he’s a child rapist. You’re all reading this, right?
[Wing: No, he’s not, and I think labelling something like this as child rape weakens the treatment of actual child rape and pedophilia. He is a ghost (at least as far as Amy is concerned) (or I guess a zombie, as Jude calls him below, though I thought him a specter still at this point) threatening a living teenager. Could this go to a sexual threat place or implied ghost rape? Yes. Would that be the rape of a child? No.
This is as good a spot is any to say that an age gap does not automatically equal pedophilia or rape.]
So we got love potions and very strong implications of bestiality in Heart of the Hunter, and zombie rapists. Wow, Weiner’s really got a theme going on.
Amy couldn’t choke out a scream. She stood there, frozen in fear. Eventually the vision of Jake Fear vanished. Bridie tried to get Amy’s attention, frightened by Amy’s expression. Amy tried to recompose herself and convince Bridie she was only fooling. Though it was clearly for her sake more than Bridie’s.
That’s when the second vision started.
Bridie believed Amy was joking “again,” but Amy stumbled around, grasping her head in pain. It felt like a church bell went off inside her skull. Amy found herself trying desperately not to plunge into the darkness, when the darkness abated and she was lost in a vortex of color.
Things finally cleared up, and Amy found herself in front of the shop owned by the town blacksmith. It was as though she was trapped in someone else’s head, being forced to go inside the shop despite her terror. She could smell the metal, felt the heat on her face.
She heard the screaming, too.
Amy found herself in the back room where Henry Gray worked, the burly blacksmith screaming for help. Heat blasted from the forge as Amy watched Henry try to free himself from the vise he used for work. Invisible hands turned the handle on the vise, crushing Henry’s head! Amy could do nothing as the vise tightened against the blacksmith’s head, his eyes practically bulging from the sockets.
As she heard a voice scream “CHEATERS NEVER PROSPER,” Amy Burke watched as Henry Gray’s burst open. Blood and gray matter splattered on her face.
[Wing: That’s fucking horrifying.]
Back in Bridie’s home, Bridie desperately tried to get Amy to stop screaming when Amy’s out-of-body experience finally ended. Mrs. Padgett, who’d conveniently been upstairs this whole time doing God knows what, entered the room asking what was wrong. Seems while Amy was in her trance, she was screaming “CHEATERS NEVER PROSPER” over and over again.
Bridie and her mom helped Amy up and gave her water, which seemed to wash out the horrible taste from Amy’s mouth? Rust? Blood? Amy told Mrs. Padgett she “only got a little dizzy,” which Bridie saw as proof Amy was tricking her.
Still trying to collect herself, Amy told Bridie she’d see her later for the barn dance. Also thanks for the backward supper. Bridie was all “Ix-nay on the upper-say in front of om-may” but it was too late. Mrs. Padgett demanded to know if the girls were fooling around with such foolish foolicitness? Not that she BELIEVES in that sort of thing, you understand. But, y’know, kids can get frightened by such things. Why, look what happened to poor Amy here!
Amy didn’t head for home. She made a beeline straight to Richard, who was, um, “milkin’ the cow” at the moment. By which I mean he was actually milking his family’s cow. Because as we all know, masturbation wasn’t invented until the 1960s by lesbian Satanist hippie communists. [Wing: d y i n g]
At least that’s what they taught us in Catholic school.
Amy told Richard her fear that Henry Gray was dead, tried her best to convince him this wasn’t a joke and she believed the people on Jake Fear’s list were going to die. Richard didn’t believe her. Well, he didn’t think she was fooling him but he didn’t believe her claims about any visions. Amy wouldn’t back down, and had to beg Richard to go with her to the town forge to either find Henry’s mutilated body or see that he’s perfectly okay.
The two rode into town on the back of Richard’s house, Thunder. Despite being so close to Richard, her arms wrapped around his strong waist taking in the scent of his unbridled masculinity, all Amy could think about was Henry Gray’s head exploding like a pumpkin. As soon as they reached the metal shop, Amy was too scared to go inside. Richard went in ahead of her, but it seemed to take forever for him to return. After calling his name several times, Amy finally went inside.
In the back of the shop, Richard was standing in the very room where Amy witnessed Henry Gray’s final moments on Earth. Just Richard. Standing in front of a blood-soaked anvil.
However, there was only blood on the anvil. No brains, or bits of flesh, or skull. Just blood. Richard hypothesized that Henry probably injured himself, bled on the anvil, and went to get medical attention. Amy thought Richard was a fool; what if the reason Henry’s body wasn’t here because at this very moment it was being disposed of? Jake Fear might’ve already buried it and they had no way of knowing. But Amy didn’t believe the local constable would be of any help. Would he go looking for a dead man supposedly killed by ANOTHER dead man?
With nothing else to do, Amy and Richard were about to leave when Richard stopped to grab a few nails for his father. No he wasn’t going to leave any money; Henry Gray overcharged everyone on their purchases. He was a cheat.
And you know what they’ve said about cheaters, right Amy?
That’s when Amy remembered how the blacksmith had indeed cheated her own father by not giving him the proper change after they shoed their own horse. Henry Gray was a cheater. And Henry Gray was dead.
So what could Giles, Bridie, and Richard have done to be deemed cheaters?
Richard brought Amy home, promising to see her later that evening for the big barn dance. Amy tried to avoid her parents and somehow found the strength to make it to her room before collapsing on her bed. She was exhausted in every sense of the word, and terrified for the lives of her friends. How many hours passed when her mother called out and said they were leaving for the barn dance?
Amy regretted not going with her parents, because now she was home alone. At night. In the dark. She wasn’t alone for much longer when again her mind was lit afire and she was lost in a typhoon of color and light. Suddenly, Amy was standing outside the house of Constable Howell.
Of course the stuffy cop wasn’t heading out for the big barn dance. Which made him a perfect target for dear Giles. Situated in the branches of a tree located near Howell’s home, Giles used a heavy metal button tied to a string to play a variant of “Ding Dong Ditch.” Giles swung the button to knock on Howell’s window, then yanked it back up. The constable got up multiple times trying to figure out who was vexing him, but never noticed the foxy youth hiding in the tree. [Wing: Man, they really had to work for their pranks in the olden times.]
When Giles decided he had enough, he dropped down from the tree. Amy watched as Giles pulled out a small knife and began carving something into the bark of the tree. In the darkness she could just make out Richard’s name.
Why that no good-! Giles probably pulled a bunch of different pranks throughout town and left a signature of Richard’s name at each of them! He was framing Richard! That, that no good, four flushing, banjo-snatching chea…
Heeeere we go, because as soon as the word sprung to Amy’s mind she heard that same awful voice saying those three awful words. Amy was helpless to watch as Giles got to act out the tree scene from Poltergeist but with… different results.
The tree’s limbs came alive and wrapped themselves around Giles’ body, trapping him. As they entangled around Giles’ neck and choked the life out of him, the branches began to grow and invade his head. Amy helplessly witnessed vines invading Giles’ mouth, nose, and ears, digging into the space beneath his eyes. A vine snaked its way deeper in until Giles’ eyeball popped out of the socket like a cork. [Wing: FUCK THIS BOOK IS A LITTLE BIT HORRIFYING. That cover does not do it justice.]
Amy sat in her darkened dining room, waiting for the next vision to traumatize her all over again. When she heard a loud knocking at her front door, Amy was certain Jake Fear had come for her. Having abandoned all hope, Amy opened the door for the sake of ending her suffering quickly.
Too bad Amy’s suffering was going to be prolonged, because instead of Jake Fear she found herself facing Richard and Bridie. Before she opened the door, Amy could hear the two whispering about something. Bridie seemed angry about something with Richard, but their chattering stopped when Amy called out their names.
Richard wore a black mask coated with fake jewels while Bridie was dressed like a queen. Don’t worry guys, Amy had a perfectly good excuse for why she didn’t put her costume on.
“Where is your costume?” [Richard] asked.
“Aren’t you going to get dressed for the dance?” Bridie asked.
“Giles is dead,” Amy told them.
Richard and Bridie thought Amy was joking until she explained everything she saw in her last vision. Just talking about made Amy vividly recall being there, seeing the vines violate Giles’ skull as they crushed the life out of him. Richard didn’t believe Amy, but Bridie did. Now she was even more terrified than Amy, because Bridie’s name was next on the list. Jake Fear would be after HER now!
Amy rushed to stop Bridie from collapsing on the floor while Richard kept trying to act like “the rational one.” Between Amy and Bridie, the two had clearly lost their wits as far as Richard was concerned. Amy challenged Richard to show her that Henry Gray and Giles were both still alive. While Richard stated they’d most likely find the two at the barn dance alongside the rest of Shadyside, Amy knew they’d never find either.
Alive, that is.
Amy put on a different dress and combed her hair, but she refused to wear a costume and felt sickened by Richard’s jovial mood. The outside air did nothing to comfort Amy; it was even colder than usual.
Bridie gave Amy a nervous glance. “It’s so cold out,” she said.
Amy nodded. This night, she thought, it is going to cut us all open.
It took them less than half an hour to reach the barn dance. Sure indeed, almost everyone in Shadyside was attending. Kids were playing in the hayloft or bobbing for apples while the adults danced and talked and played instruments while noshing on sweets and cider. The sight of all those costumes disheartened Amy; it’d be so much difficult to prove Henry and Giles were dead if she couldn’t tell who was who.
That’s when Jake Fear asked Amy to dance!
While Amy found herself facing a man with white hair and worms crawling on his face, it wasn’t the real Jake Fear. Good ol’ Everett outdid himself once again in the costume department. Since he couldn’t reuse his headless guise, [Wing: …why not?] he came dressed as Jake Fear himself. Like it, Amy? It took forever to glue the worms onto the mask.
Oh, Henry Gray? Yeah he’s probably around here somewhere. And Everett swore he saw Giles at some point.
As soon as Amy finished recapping her grisly visions, Everett felt sickened and ashamed. Had he known about what Amy witnessed he would’ve never worn his costume. Richard had enough of this and tried to convince everyone for the spillionth time that no one had died and Jake Fear wasn’t a ghost seeking vengeance. Forgot about all this crap and let’s get totally shitfaced-I MEAN, let’s dance!
Despite Amy’s protests, Richard dragged her onto the dance floor. As Richard twirled Amy around and the cheerful fiddle music continued, Amy began to lose herself in the festive spirit.
Maybe she HAD imagined everything.
Maybe everything would be okay.
Maybe Bridie isn’t being led away by a familiar looking stranger in a dark cloak.
Amy broke free of Richard and tried to get Bridie’s attention, just as Bridie was led out the door of the barn by her mysterious companion. The stranger slowly turned to face Amy, who recoiled in horror as she found herself facing Jake Fear. The REAL Jake Fear.
Amy stared at Jake Fear. He wasn’t wearing a silly costume like Everett’s. This was the real thing. Matted white hair. A face like a skull. Death-white skin, black, putrefied lips. Eyes glowing with evil, burning red with fire.
Jake grinned at Amy, showing a row of rotten teeth. His tongued flicked out like a snake’s.
Despite her rising need to vomit and desire to run away, Amy forced herself to keep moving out of fear for Bridie’s wellbeing.
Jake Fear grinned. “You,” he whispered. “I have been waiting for you, my love!”
KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS, YOU FREAK.
Jake pointed in Amy’s direction and it felt like Amy was being thrown to the floor. Richard and Everett found Amy but by then, Bridie and Jake Fear were gone. Amy didn’t care if they were looking at Amy like she’d lost her mind, she forced them to leave the barn so they could rescue Bridie.
By the time they got outside the barn, no one could see Bridie anywhere. Even when Everett tried to reason someone else could’ve dressed up like Jake Fear, Amy wouldn’t listen. She knew it was the real deal and she didn’t care if they didn’t believe her. Just as Richard started patronizing Amy, she spotted Bridie in the distance waving towards them. Bridie started running, and Amy followed her.
As Amy ran, she passed by several boys dressed in devil costumes and felt frightened by them. Even though she knew they were children.
The night felt alive with demons.
Amy couldn’t figure out where Bridie was running to, until she realized they were on the edge of the Shadyside cemetery. She watched as Bridie pulled open the metal gate and headed into the graveyard, or as Pastor Martin called it once, “The house of the dead.”
Would that be the video game or the movie adaption by Uwe Boll?
Amy wandered through the rows of gravestones trying to figure out where Bridie was. She couldn’t even tell where the gate was. But Amy could tell she was close to Jake Fear’s grave. Amy found herself being drawn to the opened grave, even though she felt as though she might be attacked at any moment. A stubborn part of herself wanted to believe this was all an elaborate prank like Richard kept suggesting.
OH MY GOD AMY DON’T GO NEAR THE FUCKING GR-too late, Jake grabbed her by the throat. Jake Fear’s rotted, cold hands wrapped around Amy’s throat as he promised they’d be together forever. When they both heard Richard calling Amy’s name, Jake decided they’d have to wait a little longer before their marriage was consumated.
Jake Fear gave a low laugh. “I will have to save you for later,” he said. Then he pressed his rotting lips against hers in a grotesque kiss – and released her.
[Wing: Blargh. The sexual threat portion of this curse and story does not need to exist at all. It adds nothing to the tension or the characterization or the horror.]
Amy felt as though the life had been sucked out of her when she heard Richard, Everett, AND Bridie. Bridie had no memory of what happened between the barn dance and getting to the cemetery. Amy frantically explained what just happened, but Richard refused to believe it was Jake Fear.
Even when Everett pointed out the red marks on Amy’s neck as proof someone definitely tried to strangle her. Amy refused to go home or go back to the barn dance. She was more determined than ever to keep Bridie safe from Jake Fear.
Richard got to his limit and decided to “come clean.” Yes, he was indeed the one who dug up Jake Fear’s grave. AND made the list. It was all him.
Amy (and literally all of us) could tell Richard was lying in order to get Amy to calm down. She refused to believe him. And she knew how to prove it.
Amy still had with her the love letter Richard sent her, her good luck charm. Having a sample of his handwriting, they could compare it to the writing on the list. That would prove Richard didn’t do it. Why should a little thing like the list being kept in Pastor Martin’s office in the church stop them?
(At least, Everett’s dad reported he heard the pastor had the list in his office)
Why was Richard perfectly fine with this idea? What did he have up his sleeve?
Amy was disturbed by how cheerful Richard acted as the four headed for the dark church. He even sang to himself. All Amy could think of was the feeling of Jake Fear’s lips pressed against her, and the smell of his rotted flesh and breath on her body.
Once they reached the entrance to the rectory, the four had to figure out how to get inside. Suddenly, Amy was filled with a terrible sense of cold dread. She was certain that Jake Fear lurked inside the church, waiting for them.
First she wanted to go in the rectory. Now she doesn’t wanna go in the rectory. Boy, Richard just can’t catch a break with these wimin types, huh Wing? Richard wasn’t gonna let a locked door stop him from proving this was all a prank, and was thankful for the windows being unlocked. Everett pleaded they wait until morning to compare the list and letter, but Richard wouldn’t have it. They were finishing this tonight.
Amy tried to get Richard not to go inside, but she couldn’t admit that Richard wrote the list and staged all of this. The person who wrote that list was waiting for them inside the rectory. Well Richard figured he’d meet that person soon enough.
Richard managed to find an unlocked window on his first try. He pulled Everett and Bridie inside. To Amy, it was like they were being pulled into the maw of a gigantic, dark beast.
Heading down the darkened hallways of the church, Amy wondered how Jake Fear would kill them all? A knife? More vines? Or would he rip them apart with his bare hands? Keeping her hands on the cold walls of the hallway, Amy hoped she didn’t find herself touching Jake Fear’s cold flesh.
UGGGGGGH THIS IS GIVING ME TOO MANY MENTAL IMAGES I DON’T WANNNNNNNNNNNNNNT!!!!!!
Heading up a staircase, Amy could just make out the portraits of the previous pastors on the walls. It seemed as though the eyes of the portraits glowed red in the dark, following Amy’s every move and grinning hideous smiles. The smell of rotted flesh assaulted Amy’s nostrils and by the time everyone reached the second floor, Amy was sobbing. [Wing: Valid response to religion sometimes.]
Bridie told Amy at least HER name wasn’t on the list. She didn’t have to worry about Jake Fear killing her. No, Bridie and Richard got THAT honor.
Yyyyyeah Bridie why don’t you stop talking.
Oh hey where’d Richard go?
Richard called out from a nearby room, and when the others found him Amy was horrified by the sight of his glowing red eyes!
No wait he lit some candles NEVER MIND!
Richard found the list in the pastor’s desk, and told Amy to bring over her letter to compare the handwriting. Here Richard’s just gonna hold the candles closer so everyone can get a good lo-oops doopsie, is Amy’s letter on fire?
Oh no! Richard better swipe that off the desk and stomp it out before the flames spread! That’s it Richard, stomp it into the floor! Smear it around until it’s nothing but a stain! Yay the fire’s out and the letter’s completely destroyed! Guess you’ll just have to take Richard’s word for it, huh Ams?
Amy felt angrier than she’d felt all day and night. Richard destroyed something she treasured in order to stop her from rightfully convincing everyone that Jake Fear had murdered Giles and Henry.
While Amy was staring daggers at Richard, Bridie noticed something strange. Why did Pastor Martin draw a line across Giles’ name and Henry’s name?
The foursome crowded around the list and saw the two names both had red lines drawn across them. Amy saw this as definitive proof of the two being dead. However, while Richard was finally convinced of the murders he didn’t believe Jake Fear was the culprit. What if it was PASTOR MARTIN doing all this? I mean REALLY Amy, what makes more sense, that a dead man or a living man killed Giles and Henry?
Everett just wants to get da fuck out of there, because they might be in the house… of a MURDERER.
They were about to leave when they heard a sound.
A small sound.
A scratching sound.
The sound of an invisible hand slowly scratching out Bridie’s name in blood.
Richard still, STILL, tried to reason it was a trick. Invisible ink that reappears after a certain amount of time.
Yeah no one believed it.
Amy couldn’t figure out why Bridie was on this list to begin with. Bridie wasn’t a cheater!
The doors then burst open and a horrid gust of cold wind blew out the candles, plunging the room in total darkness. Someone screamed and the four friends were left stumbling around in the darkness. Amy fumbled in the dark trying to get her bearings when she began to hear sobbing. As she grabbed onto, Amy realized it was a doorknob. She tried to pull the door open but it was locked.
And somehow, Bridie was on the other side of the door!
Bridie tried to open the door and Amy hurried inside, trying to figure out how to protect her. Shivering from the cold, Bridie was terrified by how another gust of wind manifested despite the window in the room being shut.
Amanda Benson had that very same problem, y’know.
The window being closed became a non-problem when the glass exploded. Trying to avoid the shards from the broken window, Amy and Bridie heard Jake Fear’s horrid voice screaming about cheaters never prospering, when BATS!
HUNDREDS OF BATS FLYING INTO THE ROOM!
Bridie huddled on the floor as Amy tried to make it to the door, but the key was gone. She groped around on the floor trying to avoid the wings and claws of the bats when she found herself looking up at Jake Fear.
“Hello, love,” he said softly. “Did you miss me?”
He kicked her aside with one flick of his foot.
Amy flew through the air and smashed hard into the wall.
Cassandra should’ve cut this fucker’s dick off when she had the chance.
Amy tried to crawl over to Bridie, begging Jake to leave her alone while Bridie pleaded for her life. Getting up, Amy began to charge at Jake when he held a knife against Bridie’s throat. They now had a Shadyside standoff, Jake waiting for Amy to make a move as he kept the blade at Bridie’s neck.
When suddenly, Bridie ducked and sunk her teeth into Jake’s leg! Ho shit! Amy watched as Bridie tried to attack Jake, biting into his rotting flesh and ripping off a chunk. Bridie spat out flesh and worms as Jake moaned, dropping the knife. Amy leapt forward and grabbed the knife, screaming at Bridie to run as she stabbed Jake over and over again. Digging the knife into Jake’s heart, Amy watched as black, ooze-like blood spurted out. Jake’s blood splattered against Amy’s face, blinding her. The knife remained lodged inside Jake’s heart. [Wing: This book is gloriously gory sometimes.]
Amy knew she was fucked when she saw Jake smiling.
“Killing a ghost is not so easy, love,” he told her.
And then he pulled out the knife.
Okay so he’s doing a Freddy Krueger.
Amy watched in disgust as Jake began to pull open his chest as Amy backed away, trying to find the door to get out. As Amy’s hand found the doorknob, Jake’s knife found Bridie’s stomach.
Gutting Bridie, Jake jammed the knife deep into her torso and then yanked it all the way up to her chin. Bridie’s blood drenched Amy and Jake, as Amy watched Bridie’s organs spill out onto the rectory floor. Jake just kept at it, ripping up Bridie’s body and her steaming hot insides.
That left one on the list.
Amy managed to get out of the room and down the stairs, into the arms of Richard and Everett. And where the FUCK were you two?!
The teen trio didn’t stop running until they were far down the road, before Amy broke down sobbing in Richard’s arms. Richard and Everett both believed Jake Fear murdered Amy. God knows she was wearing plenty of Bridie on her dress. That’s when they heard the sound of Richard’s name being scratched off the list.
Amy told Richard they had to get away, hide him somewhere, but Richard knew there was no hope.
“Where does one go to escape the dead?”
Richard told Amy and Everett to save themselves, asking Amy how she hadn’t figured it out yet. Amy screamed she wouldn’t leave Richard. Right, EVERETT, she asked as Everett was trying to slink away?
“We will live together or we will die together!” Amy called defiantly into the darkness.
Besides, Amy and Everett weren’t on the list.
The list that had Bridie and Richard on it.
The list of cheat-THEY WERE FUCKING, OKAY AMY?! SNOGGING! MAKIN’ OUT! ROGERING IN THE BUM! POLISHING THE CREAM STICK! SIGINING THE LEGISLATURE! BUMPIN’ UGLIES! DOING THE HORIZONTAL! DOGGY STYLE! OKAY AMY?! DO YOU GET IT NOW?!
YOUR BOYFRIEND’S BEEN FUCKING YOUR BEST FRIEND!
I… don’t know what came over me.
Amy’s on the verge of tears as Richard explains that he’s been seeing Bridie behind Amy’s back for months. Bridie was jealous of their relationship, and Richard doesn’t know why he did it. However, maybe if they weren’t being hounded by a zombie child rapist, Amy would’ve had more time to process this. But no matter this betrayal, Amy certainly didn’t believe that Bridie deserved to die. Nor did she think Richard deserves it, desperately shouting she forgives Richard and thus he’s not a cheater.
Yeah like that would work.
But before the three teens could make it back to the village, Jake Fear appeared before them with gifts. In his hand was Bridie’s wet, glistening heart. Amy watched as Jake sank his teeth in her best friend’s heart, ripped off a piece, and then threw the rest at them. [Wing: Fucking hell, this book. I love parts of it.]
Amy, Richard and Everett were forced to run back to the rectory since Jake would’ve probably killed them before they reached the village. They pathetically had the idea of barricading themselves inside the rectory, but their attempt to block the door proved futile against Jake’s inhuman strength.
Trying to hide inside another room, Richard set about lighting a silver candelabrum and prepared himself for Jake’s entrance. As Jake called out Richard’s name, the wraith then shoved his hand through the office door in order to unlock it. Once Jake entered the room, Richard held the lit candles against Jake’s face and set him on fire. For added measure, Richard violently beat Jake back with the candelabrum. Too bad Richard’s adrenaline was running out, so Amy grabbed a letter opener from the pastor’s desk and charged forward.
While Amy stabbed and stabbed, Richard found new strength and brought the candle holder down onto Jake’s head. Jake Fear’s skull cracked open, exposing his rotted brain. A greenish-black mass began to drip out of the open skull.
That’s when Jake hugged Richard.
Amy screamed at Jake to let Richard go, stabbing his arms as Richard’s flesh burned alongside Jake. She could smell Richard’s living flesh being roasted, a horrible, sickly-sweet scent as Richard wailed in agony. No matter what, Jake wouldn’t let go until Richard was engulfed in flames. Richard begged Amy to stop but she wouldn’t, even as she began to burn.
Jake finally let Richard go and Amy threw herself on top of him, trying to smother Richard’s flames. It did no good and Amy had to let go before she was burned alive as well. She turned her attention back to Jake, thinking she had to kill him to save Richard. While Jake laughed and laughed, he held a burning hand towards Amy as if beckoning her to dance. It was time for their bond of unholy matrimony.
Amy ran at Jake with the letter opener when he grabbed her throat with his good arm. Everett was useless; he fainted against a bookshelf. Amy tried to free herself and gouged out both of Jake Fear’s eyes. She shoved the letter opener deeper and deeper into Jake’s eye socket until the hilt pressed against his face.
Miraculously Jake finally let go of Amy’s neck and stumbled backwards. Jake sank to the floor as the flames sizzled out, leaving behind a smoldering, mutilated corpse.
Amy’s relief vanished as soon as she Richard’s charred body, screaming in despair as she held Richard towards her. With the last of his strength, Richard managed to open his eyes and whispered “My love” before he finally died. Amy sat there for what seemed like an eternity, Richard’s head in her lap, when Everett finally woke up.
Amy didn’t blame Everett for not helping. There was probably nothing he could’ve done, anyway. The two began to leave, departing from the burnt remains of Richard O’Connor and Jake Fear. Just outside the rectory door, Everett asked how Amy had the courage to keep attacking Jake. Amy pointed out her name was never on the li-OH SHIT JAKE’S BACK!
No wait it’s Pastor Martin, back from the barn dance.
Hooligans! Ruffians! What have you and your friends been doing, making a mess of the church! Oh wait’ll you see what punishment is in store for you two pranksters!
The thought of a “severe punishment” from Pastor Martin, in light of everything that just happened, caused Everett to break down in a fit of hysterical laughter. Unamused, Pastor Martin grabbed Amy and Everett and pulled them back inside the church. He wanted to see just what mischief they’d been up to…
As dawn approached, Amy tossed and turned in bed. Pastor Martin had seen the remains of Richard and Bridie, as well as Jake Fear’s body, and knew there was no way Amy and Everett could’ve done this. He promised to handle things from here, and brought Amy and Everett back to their homes.
Amy was pretty much numb when her mother tearfully revealed that the bodies of Henry Gray and Giles were located a few hours ago. Well, Amy just didn’t have the strength to tell her mom about Bridie and Richard. Everyone would find out soon enough.
In bed, Amy practically sobbed as she wished with all her might for Richard and Bridie and Giles to be alive. She didn’t care about Richard and Bridie’s cheating. That seemed like nothing, now.
Thoughts of her friends were quickly replaced as Amy’s head throbbed with pain. Suddenly, she was seeing grinning ghouls and skeletal creatures dancing around her. Dressed in white and dancing, holding out a veil and a bouquet of flowers.
Leading her down an aisle to Jake Fear.
Crying out, Amy wrenched herself out of bed. She felt dead. She died when Richard and Bridie died. Her soul was gone.
Digging into her pocket, Amy realized she had Jake Fear’s list. Unfurled it. Looked at the four names written and scratched off.
Now there were five names.
Amy watched as new letters began to appear, spelling out Everett’s name. She thought back to this morning, and how Everett helped Amy trick Richard. I guess that made Everett a cheater, too.
Sigh. Poor Everett. Amy could almost imagine his screams as his name was quickly scratched off on the list. But she figured she’d be seeing him soon. And Giles. And Bridie. And Richard.
As soon as Amy’s name appeared on the list, she heard the front door bang open.
It’d be rude to be late to her own wedding.
Can’t keep hubby waiting.
Wow this really didn’t age well at all. I mean, if you just take all the splatter and gore at face value and not think about the implications too much it’s a somewhat enjoyable horror story.
I wasn’t that far off about Jake pulling a Freddy Krueger, because that’s pretty much what he is minus the dream aspect. Fuck I can easily imagine Robert Englund as Jake, but this whole thing with the bridal part of the story is so fucking disgusting. Like with Freddy Krueger, I can’t get behind the idea of Jake as a villain to root for because of all the sexual implications between him, Cassandra, and Amy. Not as a sex abuse survivor myself.
But even if we go with the idea that we aren’t supposed to like Jake because he’s the villain, I’d like to know why the FUCK wasn’t the story about him getting revenge on Cassandra and Owen? That wouldn’t make it any less gross because, again, she was 17 and he was old enough to be her grandpa, but they build up this whole thing about how Cassandra cheated Jake and murdered him in cold blood. But instead of her featuring into Jake’s escapades as a ghoul, he goes after a bunch of random people that had nothing to do with him or Cassandra. [Wing: It’s really strange because his death happened so recently. If the story of Amy and her friends had been set later (perhaps in 1953 if you really want to tie in an important anniversary), it would make more sense because Cassandra and Owen would be dead themselves and Amy and friends might better work as replacements then.]
I wrote down an idea for a short story involving Cassandra and Owen’s whereabouts either before or after the deaths of Amy and her friends. Jake would’ve killed both of them, but specifically went out of his way to tear off Cassandra’s finger for her wedding ring to give to his “new bride.”
It’s also rather convenient that out of the entirety of Shadyside, there was only one other person on the list who wasn’t an associate of the main character. Like somehow everyone else in Shadyside is squeaky clean aside from these five teenagers and the town blacksmith. [Wing: Damn those cheating blacksmiths.]
I did appreciate how Amy was willing to do whatever it took to try and save Bridie and Richard. Her willingness to overlook the two screwing behind her back was a slight breath of fresh air. Yet maybe they could’ve gone with Richard dying before Bridie. We saw that glimmer of Bridie trying to fight back after spending almost the entire book on the verge of a breakdown, but then she’s immediately killed. Amy, on the other hand, went fucking ballistic on Jake and I was there for that.
So, uh. Happy Halloween, I guess.
[Wing: Deliciously gory at times, at the very least.]