THE DEAD GAME SERIES

I stroll past the storefronts,

tinted windows mirroring the fading sunlight.

I descend the steps to the beach,

soft sand trickling through my toes.

The sky turns black,

the clouds a dark gray.

The waves thrash in a demented dance,

and the wind propels me forward.

I race to Main Street,

palm trees bowing in unison.

Howling winds toss garbage cans,

and debris coats the streets.

The windows hang broken and twisted,

glass crunching beneath my feet.

The saddest sight is the church.

The once-white church stands charcoal-black.

The Dead are here.

The games have begun.

DARK PARADISE

A more beautiful place cannot be,

It faces the waves of the dark sea.

White sand and quiet beaches galore,

You can’t ask for anything more.

Life is perfect as can be.

Come and frolic with me.

Tourists visit from far and wide.

Oasis is Florida’s pride.

Beware when The Dead descend.

We can no longer pretend

This is a perfect place to be

As The Dead rise up from the sea.

Darkness brings flying creatures and death.

Beware that this won’t be your last breath.

THE DEAD GAME

by Susanne Leist

WHO WILL SURVIVE?

Candles in basement

Are you invited to a party?
Can it be at End House?
A deserted house at the edge
Of the forest in Oasis, Florida.
People have disappeared from this house,
Never to be seen or heard from again.
Are you going to this party?
I admire your courage.
Your tenacity.

I will tell you what you may expect.
No one will answer your knock on the door.
The door will open by itself,
Inviting you to step inside.
Flickering candles and gargoyles line the staircase.
Your group will divide into two.
The first group will follow the staircase candles.
Your group will follow the flickering
lights in the right hallway to the basement.

Which group will find the elusive host?
Who will survive to tell the tale?
Only I know.
For I am one of The Dead.
We love our games.
Welcome to THE DEAD GAME.

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MEET ME IN MAINE – The Perfect Backdrop

It’s time for chapter two of Meet Me In Maine, book one of The Blue Harbor Series. Our heroines arrive at Blue Harbor, eager to see their new home. The town meets their expectations but with a deadly twist.

Chapter 2

After three brief stops and seven hours of driving, we rolled into Blue Harbor. Once we’d crossed into Maine, the traffic had thinned. A blanket in alternating shades of red, yellow, and green draped over the hills on either side of the open road. Instead of crowded sidewalks, traffic jams, and tall buildings, grass and groves of trees filled my vision. A salty breeze from the window swept across my face, and the tension eased from my body. Freedom smelled divine.

Scarlett said, “We’ve arrived,” sporting an eager smile on her face.

“I hope the people are friendly.” The sign on the highway welcoming us to Blue Harbor passed my window.

She glanced at me, her long brown curls lifting in the warm breeze. “I’m sure they are.”

I checked the visor mirror. Almond-shaped green eyes stared back at me as I patted my straight blonde hair in place. Stop worrying, I told myself. Everything will be fine. Martin will never find me; he won’t even miss me.

“Did you say something?” 

“Nope.” I folded the visor, reaching for the map spread open between us. “Do you need directions to the apartment?”

“I memorized the street map.” She threw me a saucy wink.

After exiting the highway, Scarlett followed the road past sculpted lawns and well-maintained homes painted in vibrant colors, the quiet streets turning busier once the harbor came into view.

“I bet the town was more congested during the Labor Day weekend.” I stared through the window at the people strolling the sidewalks, smiling as they greeted one another. Two men, sitting on rocking chairs on the front porch of a barbershop, nodded hello to us. Hope blossomed in my heart as I smiled back at them. 

“I heard Blue Harbor was a madhouse of tourists last weekend.” Scarlett changed lanes to pass the double-parked cars. Beyond the colorful shops, turquoise water shimmered beneath a cloudless sky as boats of various sizes coasted along on its choppy swells. She turned a corner, slowing the car to check the addresses before parking in front of a red-shingled, two-story house. “We’re here.”

As we stretched our legs on the sidewalk, a white puppy ambled toward me and sniffed my leg. He nuzzled my hand with a wet nose when I bent to pat his head. “Hi, boy. You’re adorable.”

“He’s a girl, but she is adorable,” a deep voice replied. “Her name is Stella.”

I raised my face to light-blue eyes. The sandy-haired man grinned and extended his hand. “Hi, I’m David Hunt.”

I straightened and took his hand. “I’m Elizabeth Reading.”

Scarlett cleared her throat. “Don’t forget me.” She pointed to herself. “Scarlett Harding.”

His gaze glued to mine, he asked, “Are you moving into the rental?”

“Yes.” Not able to meet his direct stare, I shifted my focus to his cleft chin and chiseled cheekbones. “How did you know?” 

“The rent sign and the fact you have luggage stored in your car.” He nodded to the backseat.

“That’s right, Sherlock.” Scarlett pushed past me. “Hi.” She eyed David with a mischievous grin. “We’re moving in today.”

“Let me help you.” David handed the leash to me before rushing to open the car door and unloading the bags to the sidewalk.

“We have more luggage in the trunk.” Scarlett sauntered to the front steps. “I’ll find the owner.”

“Where are you from?” he asked, piling bags in his arms.

“New York City.” I crouched beside the puppy, who licked my hand.

After depositing the baggage on the porch, David descended the steps and hunched beside me. “I see you’re a dog-lover. Is your friend a dog-lover? Maybe she can babysit.”

“Babysit?” I swallowed. “Do you have children?”

“No.” A chuckle rumbled deep in his throat. “I’m not married.” He straightened to his full height, between 6’ 2’’ or 6’ 3’’, revealing broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and sculpted muscles beneath his white T-shirt. “We’ll need a babysitter for Stella if I take you to dinner.” A shy smile appeared between an enticing set of dimples. 

“You’re taking me to dinner?” One last pat on the puppy’s head, and I rose to my feet. “Are you asking me or telling me?” I refused to date another aggressive man.

“Asking. I’m not usually so forward.” He cleared his throat. “Is tomorrow evening too soon?” His blue eyes twinkling, David shifted closer, letting his fingers graze my cheek. “I must work on my technique… I’m rusty.” He dropped his hand to his side. “I should have waited to ask you.”

“That’s okay,” I replied. “Are you divorced?” He seemed sweet, but there had to be something wrong with him: no one was as perfect as they appeared.

He stepped back. “No. I’ve been busy with my practice.” He stared into the distance. “My last relationship ended a few years ago.”

“Are you a doctor?”

“No. A lawyer.” His attention drifted back to me. “Why are you smiling?”

“I’ve just ended a relationship with a bossy doctor.” I wiped sweaty palms on my jeans. “I’ve sworn off doctors.”

“Then I’m happy I didn’t attend medical school.” He grinned. “My parents… both doctors… were eager for me to follow in their hallowed footsteps.”

“Do you enjoy the law?”

He smiled, dimples emerging again. “Yes, I do.”

Scarlett called my name from inside the brownstone. 

As I headed to the front steps, David whispered in my ear, “Is that a yes for dinner?”

Am I ready for a date, or is it too soon? I turned to him, hesitating before nodding.

A grin crossed his face as he climbed the stairs and hurried to open the door for me. “That was the answer I was hoping for.”

When we stepped into the narrow hallway, David nodded to the door standing open to our right. “That’s the owner’s apartment.”

Scarlett strolled through the open doorway with a tall redhead trailing behind her. “You have a spacious apartment.” Scarlett turned her companion. “Is the rental as large?”

“All the apartments are the same size,” the redhead replied in a bored voice, but as soon as she spotted David, she became animated, batting heavy-mascaraed eyelashes at him. “David, are you visiting me?” She crossed the hall to stand at his side, sliding an eager arm around his.

“No, Bella.” He stepped back, removing his arm from hers. “I’m helping Elizabeth and Scarlett with their luggage.”

Bella glanced at me with an annoyed frown.

Scarlett grabbed my arm. “Let’s check the apartment.” As we crossed the hall, she whispered, “Bella doesn’t trust you because she sees you as competition for David. But he can’t keep his eyes from you.”

Bella’s voice took on a sugary tone behind us. “See me before you leave, David.”

“Sure, Bella,” he replied before shutting the apartment door.

Scarlett said with a chuckle, “Good riddance.”

I walked into a room flooded with sunlight from the large kitchen window straight ahead, highlighting the yellow cabinets and white granite island with a cheerful glow before settling its translucent rays across the gray suede couch and chairs. 

“Isn’t this an awesome apartment?” Scarlett asked before disappearing into the hallway to the right of the kitchen.

As Scarlett investigated the two bedrooms, we followed the narrow hallway to a small den. David joined me at the window overlooking a compact lawn. “I’m happy I walked Sally on this block today. I got a feeling.”

“A feeling?”

He grinned. “I get those.”

“What other feelings do you get?”

“Let me see.” David paused as he took my hand, his thumb rubbing the inside of my wrist. “I have a feeling you’ll enjoy the French cuisine at the restaurant I picked for tomorrow evening.”

I gave a nonchalant shrug. “Everyone likes French food.”

“They make a delicious chocolate mousse.” 

“They do?” I swallowed. “Mousse is my favorite dessert.”

“I’ll store that information for future use.” David winked before handing me the puppy’s leash. “I’ll get the luggage.”

Scarlett rushed into the den, her eyes sparkling with mischief. “Wow. David is handsome and nice. I’m happy you found him. Well, he found you.”

“Is he acting too pushy?”

“No. David likes you.” She watched me with a concerned expression. “Don’t worry, David is not Martin.”

“Okay.” I exhaled the breath I was holding. “I like him.”

She chuckled. “So does Bella.”

I frowned. Forcing Bella from my mind, I said, “We should help him with the bags.” Then I remembered Stella, who was watching me with soulful brown eyes. 

“I don’t need help,” David whispered in my ear.

I twirled to him. “You’re finished?”

“I move fast.”

I followed him to the bags piled high in the living room. “Yes, you do.”

“I believe Stella needs a walk.” He took the leash from my hand. “Can I pick you up at 8 o’clock tomorrow? I have a late client.”

“That’s perfect.”

David lifted my chin with his finger. “See you tomorrow.” He nodded to Scarlett before leading Sally through the doorway.

Scarlett pouted. “You met a cute guy right away.”

“Dumb luck?” I quirked an eyebrow.

“Lizzie, one thing you’re not is dumb.” She laughed.

“Let’s unpack, then we can order pizza.” I marched toward the bags. “Maine must have pizza places.”

“We passed a few.” Scarlett wound her long, brown curls into a ponytail with a scrunchie. “You noticed nothing but David.”

I grinned. Freedom felt divine.

THE PERFECT NIGHT FOR A PARTY

It’s a magical night for a party.

Beautiful couples dance

between the glass statues.

Fancy gowns drape the perfect bodies.

The glasshouse shimmers in the moonlight.

The party is perfect.

A little too perfect.

THE DEAD GAME

THE DEAD AND GONE



I should have listened to my heart’s song,
Listened to reason and right from wrong.
I’m now trapped in this horror of despair,
Waiting for death to take me in its arms.

The shadows are growing larger,
Surrounding me from all sides.
There’s nowhere to run or hide
;
I will stand strong against the tide.

He’s here.
I can feel him.
He’s come back for me.
No one is safe from his wrath.

The cold wraps around my body.
My hair drips icicles down my neck.
I shiver in dread of my future.
My future as queen of The Dead.


THE DEAD GAME

The Story Behind THE CLUB at Disney World in Prey for The Dead

A small town on the coast of Florida offers tourists white-sanded beaches, blue skies, and an opportunity to vacation with the elite of society. Too bad the rich and famous include creatures of the night. How did this happen, you might ask?

While vampires inhabit every country in the world, they blend peacefully with humanity. In Oasis, Florida, the human inhabitants have no idea vampires or hybrids, which are a part vampire/ part human mix, live in their midst. 

In recent years, the world’s vamp population has been threatened by a rogue group of vampires with bloodlust running through their veins. THE DEAD have infiltrated the vamps of Oasis and wrestle for control. They want to rule the world.

Linda, her best friend, Shana, and their group of young friends learn of THE DEAD. They join forces with the vampires and hybrids of Oasis. They travel undercover to an exclusive club in Disney World with the two hybrids, Todd and Sam, to locate THE DEAD’s base of operations. 

Why did I choose THE CLUB at Disney World for the vampires’ base? Is there such a club in Disney where its members are the elite of society?

Yes. There is. It’s called CLUB 33. Walt Disney created the club in Disneyland in the New Orleans section. It sits behind a door with the number 33. A door that resembles all other doors on the quaint streets. If you are lucky enough to be invited by a member, you will walk through the doorway to an elegant entranceway. The hosts will greet you and take you to one of the parlors, where you may peruse the showcases of Walt Disney’s favorite things. Maybe Mary Poppins’ umbrella or a speaking parrot sitting above a clock. The adventure continues in the dining room, where toots of steamboats provide the aura of being in New Orleans. 

You can climb the staircase or use the old elevator.

Visit the showcases of Disney memorabilia. 

Disney 33

Once I read of CLUB 33, a club that is forbidden to me, I became obsessed with knowing more. The more I learned, the more I wanted to give it to my vampires. I used the images in my mind of CLUB 33 in Disneyland to create THE CLUB in Disney World. And wait until you see what they do to THE CLUB. You will never look at Disney World the same way again.

And guess what? I read CLUB 33 opened in Disney World. Too bad. I had my club first or what’s left of it.

ALIVE AT NIGHT

The wood floor creaks.

I slowly turn around.

Where are The Dead freaks?

I hear no other sound.

The lights flicker.

Can the rumors be true?

I feel sicker.

The Dead will take me too.

I can see their faces.

Dark eyes stare at me.

They take their places.

I’ll never be free.

I run through the hall,

But I’m running in place.

I give up and fall.

A grin covers his face.

He leers at me.

Eyes glowing bright red.

A sight to see.

I flee toward my bed.

He lifts me in his arms.

We fly into the dark night.

I won’t fall for his charms.

The Dead come alive at night.

THE DEAD GAME

A HORROR STORY

We stand alone in this bleak hall.

There won’t be dancing at this ball.

Time to leave this creepy place.

We must quicken our slow pace.

But since this is a horror story,

We will not be leaving with glory.

THE DEAD GAME SERIES

AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT

Sunset brings shadows with the night,

Birds of prey springing into flight.

As a hue of red paints the night air,

A high-pitched howl sounds too near.

Residents hide behind locked doors,

As trails of blood seep through the floors.

The mansion rumbles with laughter,

Loud music reaches each rafter.

Gargoyles watch as quiet as a mouse,

As limousines line a path to the house.

At the harsh stroke of midnight,

Dancers freeze in the moonlight.

THE DEAD GAME

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