Linda felt caught in a nightmare that she couldn’t escape from. It felt too real to be a nightmare but she couldn’t wake up.

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. As 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. As she tried to escape, she 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.”

The Dead Game by Susanne Leist



Chapter 18
Early next morning, Linda heard loud shouts coming from outside her apartment that sounded like they were originating from the beach near End House. I hope Todd is still home.
She couldn’t find Todd anywhere so she dressed quickly, with her cats peeking out at her from under the bed, and raced out to the beach. There was a loud commotion of people standing at the edge of the beach—right below End House. She was shocked to see that David was the one doing all the shouting and shrieking. He was standing beside a blanket with his hands waving in the air, his voice becoming higher and higher pitched.
She moved closer and noticed a red shoe sticking out from under a blanket that was draped over a form lying flat on the beach. David ran over. “I found the body when I was taking a walk on the beach by myself. All I was able to see was a red shoe. When I got closer, I realized that the shoe was on a dead body of a young girl. She was totally white—like all her blood had been drained from her body. Are there such things as vampires? I don’t know what to believe anymore. How many bad things could possibly happen in one town?”
Linda scanned the tight cluster of bystanders and spotted Todd talking with the sheriff and his deputy off to the side. She took David’s arm—which quieted him down somewhat—and guided him over to where they were standing. Todd walked over to David and said, “If you hadn’t found her, someone else would have.”
Sheriff Sam said, “She looks like the young photographer who’d been nosing around town this last month. She’d been asking a lot of questions about a girl who’d disappeared last year from the Oasis Hotel.”
“Maybe she’d discovered some information that had gotten her killed,” said Linda. She was concerned about the number of deaths piling up in town.
“We’ll never find out, since that girl has never been found. And the newspaper that this photographer was supposed to have been working for doesn’t even exist,” further explained Sam.
“Let me look into this. She could have been posing as a photographer, but been hired by someone else to dig deeper for answers,” said Todd. He turned to Linda. “Please take David home with you and remain in your house until I can join you. I don’t want you wandering around town without me. From now on, I’ll accompany you to and from work. Since we don’t know who we are up against, we must be extra careful.”
“I’m fine on my own. What about all the blood that had been drained from her body? Who could have done that? Have people been posing as vampires?”
“I’ll get to the bottom of this with the sheriff. Just be careful. Promise me that you’ll listen to me or else I’ll come home with you right now and never again leave your side.”
“All right, I’ll listen to you this time.”
“I think you should always listen to me…you’ll be much safer and happier that way.”




This is the picture that touches my heart. It represents the kindness that we as humans have within. It also represents the helplessness we feel at times.
The fact that someone is willing to help this helpless animal gives me hope for all mankind.