Down we go to the nether reaches of End House.

Where darkness is an ever-changing display.

Of traps, cages, and deep water.

Mazes to confound the curious.

Bottomless pits for the adventurous.

And wild animals for the animal lover.

Will we ever see the light of day?

The house is alive and is winning the game.





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Creepy, creepy, scary.

This can become hairy.

The house is haunted and dark.

I came on a simple lark.

But now that I’m here,

I’m frozen with fear.

A party is to be held for us all,

But to evil creatures we might just fall.

Down to the basement we go,

This is silly even I know.

Saws are swinging up ahead,

Looking to chop off a head.

Traps are falling from the low ceiling.

My wet feet are losing all feeling.

We are standing in a pool

And I feel like a big fool.

We should have gone when we had a chance.

The creatures will make us sing and dance.

The Dead have a morbid sense of humor.

Should have listened to every rumor.

Goodbye to one and all.

I see the bouncing ball.





Pray for us tonight
As we enter the house.
Candles light the way
Through the heavy darkness.
Our hearts beat as one
While the front door slams shut.
We’re locked in this sham,
A party held for none.
Gargoyles grin at us
From their posts on the stairs.
Candles lead upstairs
And down to the basement.
We must get out now,
Time is at a standstill.

THE DEAD GAME — The Journey into Hell and Beyond

Face to face.
Eye to eye.
A growl.
A  whimper.

The whimper belongs to me.
I’m David,
One of the invited to the party
at the deserted End House.

Too many obstacles.
Too many ways to die.
Circular saws and sharp cages.
Wild animals stalking their prey.

We must find a way out.
Tom and Edward had fled through a doorway
And vanished for good.
Half our group is exploring upstairs.

My group is trapped in the basement,
Which is filling rapidly with water.
Three closed doors wait for us.
I can hear the animals behind door #3.

Whom to trust?
Who are my friends?
Are some of them my enemies?
I must be careful.

Louise is trembling with fear.
Mike is determined to find a way out.
He doesn’t care about Louise
Or anyone else.

The dark room of animals is small and creepy.
Tigers are leaving their cages.
There’s the door knob.
It’s moving.

Maybe someone is trying to save us.
“Hey guys, I’m checking out the door.”
It’s stuck and the door is too heavy.
“Come on and help me open it.”

Between the three of us,
We finally open the door.
Time to escape.

A long and slippery staircase
Down to the beach and rocks.
Creatures are flying at us,
Trying to knock us into the ocean.

What could possibly happen next?




How does a simple invitation to a party
Become the catalyst for The Dead’s games?

We arrive at End House in our party clothes,
Not suspecting the horrors that lie in wait.
The door bell gongs through the empty rooms
As a cold wind pushes us inside.

Candlelight flickers down the right hallway
And up the gargoyle-protected staircase.
We stand huddled together in fear,
Afraid to take another step into the unknown.

Two groups search the house for the missing host,
But no signs of a party can be found.
The empty rooms yield no people,
Only the smell of fear and the dying.

My group trudges down the basement stairs.
All too soon we are trapped behind the locked door.
The basement floor is filling with water.
What was once dry is now wet and cold.

Clanging noises fill the thick air around us,
Revealing cages with sharp metal spikes.
They descend from the ceiling by chains,
Converging on Edward who’s trapped in the pool.

Tim screams in despair over his roommate
And jumps into the dark water to save his friend.
He falls face first into the black water
As circular saws descend to join the game.

Edward dodges the deadly devices,
Bringing Tim to safety on the opposite side.
They disappear through a doorway
That quickly dissolves back into the stone wall.

I refuse to play this game any longer.
I must escape from this so-called party.
I will try one of the three new doors
That have appeared on the opposite wall.

The third door yields a round bricked tower 
With a gated opening at the top.
I slowly climb the sharp bricks,
Using my hands and feet to pull myself up.

A loud noise comes from above.
The gate is crashing down to one side.
Of course, it’s the side that I’m clinging to.
I close my eyes and say a quick prayer.

The heavy gate somehow misses me,
Loosening dozens of bricks on its way down.
I could’ve been swatted like an ant,
But for some reason I’ve been spared. 

Mike refuses to check any more doors
After the one he checks yields a bottomless pit.
It’s all left to David to open the last door
To find a possible escape from this hell hole

Our games have just begun.





The Haunted Mansion Awaits?
The Dead Game by Susanne Leist is a psychological thriller set in the small town of Oasis, Florida where Linda Bennett and her friends embark on a haunted house expedition. Her clique of entrepreneurs include Todd Morrison, a roguish fellow who easily navigates among the different factions within the community. Only Linda perceives the fact that Todd and the enigmatic Father John may know something more about the town than meets the eye, and the traumatic events to follow serve to confirm her darkest fears.

The author raises the bar in the Stephen King haunted house genre by combining an illusory backdrop to the standard demon-filled storyline. We are introduced to the evil Wolf, whose Dead subculture threatens to overwhelm those who trespass upon their perimeters. Yet Leist weaves an element of surrealism into the tapestry, creating scenes where each area of the property and room in End House appears to lead into a different dimension. Walls that reach into the sky and floors that lead into the netherworld are just some of the enhancements that Leist has built onto End House, and Wolf and his vampires arrive just as the protagonists appear to teeter on the brink of madness. It is rare when the environment is nearly as overwhelming as the evil that lurks within, but Leist has clearly made this happen in this page-turner.

This is an intriguing spin on the supernatural genre, definitely something to curl up with on book night. The Dead Game by Susanne Leist is a well-crafted novel you won’t want to miss.




house on shore

Chapter 40

That night Linda found herself caught in a nightmare that she couldn’t escape from, even when she willed herself to open her eyes. She was afraid that it wasn’t a nightmare, but a sinister game that had gone wrong. She didn’t know how she’d gotten herself into it or how she was ever going to get out.

     The nightmare had begun with Linda passing through the magical door at the diner—but it wasn’t the diner anymore; it was a remote house that she’d never seen before. The house was dark and dreary like End House, but it wasn’t End House.

     She heard the sounds of waves crashing against the house. She couldn’t believe that she was a prisoner in another house by the ocean. She didn’t know where she was or what day it was. She didn’t even remember how she’d gotten here. She just remembered following the little girl through the door: she’d been curious to see what was on the other side.

     On the other side of the door, Linda found herself at the same carnival that the little girl from the village had visited, except this carnival was much louder and the people were leering at her, trying to force her into their tents. The fat man was waving his pudgy arms at her as he got closer and closer. A clown came at her with his balloons and howled at her. A man began throwing his knives in her direction, but luckily, kept missing. She ran away and ran behind the tents to the colorful booths of the carnival.

     She chose the Fun House. She stepped into a room full of mirrors that made her multiple reflections appear distorted and unreal. She couldn’t figure out why she’d run into the Fun House: if in every horror movie the victims were always portrayed as being terrorized there. She hoped this wasn’t another game of The Dead. She was determined to locate an exit, but found only mirrors and more mirrors; they made her dizzy. Her distorted reflections stared back at her; as if they were distinct entities, united against her, instead of her own creations.

     She ran until she crashed head-first through a mirror, into a dark place with no beginning or end. The whole experience felt unreal to her—as if she were lost in a different dimension. Behind this mirror, she encountered a man with a white mask and empty holes for eyes, laughing at her. When he touched her arm, she realized that he was real and not just a reflection.

     She fled from the laughing man, going deeper and deeper into the dark unknown. She looked back and noticed creatures following close behind her. Some were bats and some were dark shadows, but all were reaching for her. She hoped that these weren’t the same shadows from town that had been haunting her for weeks.

     She hit something hard and fell down. So maybe this place did have an end. She raced away with her hands out, hoping to find the mirror that had caused her to enter this dark hell. Ahead of her in the distance, she glimpsed a shiny surface. After she got closer, she realized it was the mirror, patiently waiting for her. I hope this wasn’t a trap.

     She decided to step through the mirror and worry about the consequences afterward. She had always been afraid of the dark. She wondered how these creatures knew her fears—unless it wasn’t real, but just a figment of her imagination. She stuck her hand out and found that it flowed right through the glass. She followed her hand and crawled through the mirror.

     She found herself back in the house by the sea. She was in the main hall, looking up at a long flight of stairs. She raced up the stairs and ran through the deserted rooms. The house was empty of any people or furnishings. All she could hear were her heels clicking on the shiny wood floors.

     Fearing that she was caught in an endless loop like the one at End House, she hurried back down the stairs, all the way down to the basement. Since the top two floors were empty, she decided to try the basement—even though basements were also popular in horror stories, which was exactly what she was in.

     The basement was empty. The floor she was standing on began to rotate around and around. She reached up to grab hold of something to help her climb off the revolving circle, but there was nothing: the walls were wet and slippery. She tried to escape but found herself falling deeper and deeper into the dark hole. The only thing she remembered before she lost consciousness was the sound of a man’s evil laughter as he chanted the words over and over, “It’s not over. I’ll be back.”


A party in a remote house.

Imagine the fun we’re going to have.

A surprise party just for us.

It’s dark inside.

But look at the staircase,

sweeping upward.

It has creepy, gargoyle posts.

Look over there!

Candles are lighting

the right hallway.

Let’s follow them.

Where will they take us?

I guess we’re going

down to the basement.

Now we’re in trouble.

The basement door just

slammed shut behind us.

It’s locked.

We might as well go

down the stairs.


Why are my feet are wet?

I’m standing in

a pool of cold water.

What’s that noise?

It sounds like machines

are about to fall on us.

Oh no!

Cages are descending

from the ceiling.

They have pointy edges.

Circular saws are

sweeping across the water.

Looking for heads to chop off.

Tom is down!

He’s submerged in the water;

his skinny neck exposed to the saws.

We’re in a dark hell

or The Dead’s version of hell.

The saws are moving closer to us.


The Dead leave no survivors.







Light the candles.

Follow me through

the empty corridors.

Past dark rooms.

Down a long flight of stairs.

To the dungeons below.

Where shadows await us.

Waiting for company.

To wile away their empty hours.

Perhaps a game or two for us to play.

A game to lighten their boredom.

A pool of water appears before us.

Cages descend from above.

Their pointy edges facing us.

Circular saws soon follow.

What kind of hell are we in?

What kind of game are we playing?

Come closer to find out.

The Dead love to play.






The house is in a run-down area.

From the outside looking in,

I can’t see any lights or

signs of life.

There are screams and shouts

coming from other old houses in the area.

But this house has a deserted look to it.

Like no one has crossed its threshold in years.

But I have to enter.

A note has been sent to me

from someone trapped inside.

But why me?

I don’t know anyone from around here.

I’m all alone.

No one wanted to accompany me.

Am I signing my own death sentence?

Most probably I am.

But I move one foot in front of the other

as I slowly enter the dilapidated house.

The upstairs rooms appear to be empty shells,

where windows and walls have fallen in disrepair.

All there is left is the basement.

I open the door and could only see darkness.

And an awful rotting smell emanates from below.

I’m not going in. Enough is enough, I’m out of here.

A hard push from behind has me falling down the steep

steps to land on the cold, hard basement floor.

I look up at the the only source of light—

the light filtering through the opening of the door.

I can’t see anything or anyone.

Then the door slams shut.

The light is taken away from me.

Now all I can see is darkness.

Then I hear strange squeaking noises

and I feel creatures scurrying across my arm.

They must be rats. I hope they’re not hungry.

I crawl away from the sounds and hit something.

It has an arm and a leg. It feels like a person.

The person isn’t moving or breathing.

I feel around some more and locate his other limbs.

But something is wrong. He has no head.

There’s no blood anywhere, which is strange

considering the head’s been chopped off.

Then I heard groans coming from behind the body.

I could see shadows rising up from the ground.

They looked like people, but without heads.

I begin to crawl back to the stairs to get as far

away from these creatures as possible.

A hand reaches toward me and catches my foot.

It begins to pull me farther into the darkness.

I start screaming and shrieking.

The creatures seem to be getting angry.

They stand up and lurch toward me.

I’m out of control. I’m yelling at them

to leave me alone. I begin throwing objects at them.

I find a crow bar and throw it at a huge figure.

He goes down and begins to cry, “Stop, please stop.”

He sounds human.

The light turns on. I look around.

I’m looking at a room full of zombies, but

they are just staring at me.

The one I hit is sitting on the floor moaning to himself.

One zombie stands up and takes off his head.

Underneath the mask, I was face to face with the cutest boy from school.

“What’s going on?” I shriek at him.

“It is supposed to be a fun prank but it went wrong. No one is supposed to get hurt. It is a Halloween prank.”

“The prank is only on me?” She asked.

“Yes, I’m sorry. No one else was brave enough to join you.”

“I guess it wasn’t such a good idea,” she said.

“Well, if you agree to be my date to the Halloween dance, then it wouldn’t have been for nothing.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No, I’m serious. We’d be great fun together.”

He looks at her with his big blue eyes and she is lost.

“I don’t even know your name.”

“My name is Brian and you’re Annie.”

“Hi Brian. I guess it’s a date.”

“Come Annie and help us clean up before we get into trouble. Then we could go somewhere to discuss the party.” He takes her hand.

After the clean-up, she goes with Brian for coffee and donuts. She can’t believe how lucky she is even though she’d been almost scared to death. She still doesn’t know why the most popular boy in school wants her. Is there more to this prank that she didn’t know about yet?