In Oasis, Florida horror lurks behind every shadow. Even in Louise’s store, the mannequins come alive to torment her.
The next morning, Louise arrived early at her store. As soon as she stepped through the doorway, she sensed that something was wrong: the air was frigid and the lights wouldn’t turn on. From the corner of her eye she noticed a shadow pass by her. She was terrified that the creeping shadows were now stalking her inside and in the daylight.
She grabbed the door handle but found that it wouldn’t budge in either direction. She stared through the door’s plate glass window and began to realize that the town was deserted. All the other stores along Main Street were still closed, except for the sheriff’s office, which was too far away to be of any help. She was all alone with no one around to save her. If she cried out for help, no one could possibly hear her.
She felt panic beginning to overwhelm her. She couldn’t breathe; it felt like all the oxygen in the room had been sucked out. She began gasping for breaths of air, but there didn’t seem to be any left in the locked store. She scanned the store for something to help her break the front window but only found the display of mannequins. She rushed over to one of the mannequins and threw it head first through the window. Sharp shards of glass sprayed across the outside pavement and fresh air flowed into the store.
She gulped in huge breaths of air and climbed through the broken glass. She threw glances up and down the streets, but couldn’t detect any signs of movement.
She ran all the way home without informing the sheriff’s office about the intruder in her store. She decided not to tell anyone what had really happened—not even the sheriff—since she didn’t know who to believe in anymore.
She didn’t believe that the sheriff had ever investigated any of the strange sightings or unsolved disappearances.
From that moment on, Louise decided not to trust anyone or to confide her fears to anyone in town ever again. She would become an island to herself: strong and self-sufficient. She didn’t even trust Todd any longer: he was too chummy with the sheriff and the original residents. She suspected that these residents were the ones responsible for the unknown creatures stalking her and all the other unexplained incidents in town.
When the call finally came from the sheriff’s office later that day to inform her of the break-in at her store, she managed to sound surprised and concerned. She even returned to the store with the sheriff to check out the extent of the damage, informing him that nothing had been stolen. She then arranged to have Tom and Edward fix the window. No one had commented on the fact that the store mannequin and the broken glass had been on the outside of the store. And this didn’t surprise her at all.
THE DEAD GAME BY SUSANNE LEIST