Chapter 10: ONE MISSING
The invitations were printed on thick black paper and depicted a grinning skeleton holding out its bony arms in welcome.
YOU ARE INVITED
to a special
DEAD OF NIGHT
TASTE OF FEAR
Friday night at the Malice Palace.
Dress to kill.
Your celluloid hero, TFM.
Stevie gripped Vic’s hand as the wheelchair-bound heroine, after finding her father’s candlelit corpse in the poolhouse, tried to get away, wheels skittering dangerously along the edge of the pool, as the music blared and then – oh God – she toppled in---
---and then later in the other movie when that poor ventriloquist, his life having been made a misery by his upstaging dummy, wound up in a jail cell, unable to escape, as the dummy came for him … reaching, squeezing… its little wooden hands choking the life out of him …
… then the lights came up … and The Fear Master was gone.
Fear Leaders had been the only ones in the audience – Vic and Stevie; Betty and Keith – no Debbie. The Fear Master, his eyes hard behind a hockey mask, had not mentioned her.
And knowing how obsessed he was with the idea that no one was allowed to drop out, to say nothing of the fact that she had lied to him, Stevie was worried what he might have in mind for her former best friend.