Part One (by R.L. Stine)

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"I can't believe Alyson is having a party," Jillian said. "Her sister Marie died less than a week ago. What can she be thinking?"

Marty gazed through the windshield, driving slowly on the bumpy country road, nothing but darkness all around. "Maybe she thinks it will cheer her up. But why have a party in a farmhouse so far out of town? Nothing but empty fields for miles."

"My cell phone doesn't even work," Jillian said.

"We're not even her friends," Veronica said from the backseat. "I always thought Alyson didn't like me."

A few minutes later, they were greeted by Alyson at the door to the shabby old house and led into a candlelit front room where three other Shadyside High kids had already gathered.

"I know you all are wondering why you're here," Alyson said. Her face flickered darkly in and out of view in the yellow candlelight. "I won't keep you in suspense."

The teens all drew close to hear better. Alyson spoke in a hushed whisper.

"My sister Marie died last week," she said. "But she isn't gone for good. A woman in my family with special sight told me how to bring Marie back."

"This is crazy," Jillian whispered to Marty. Marty shrugged.

"I just have to make a trade," Alyson continued. "We're going to play a game tonight. A little competition. One of you has to die, you see. One of you has to trade your life for Marie's."

Her face half-hidden in shadow, Alyson gazed around the room. "Who shall it be? Which one of you will die to bring my sister back to me?"

"I'm out of here!" Marty cried. "Let's go!"

"Please don’t think you can escape from our game," Alyson said. "Your phones don’t work here, and there's no one around for miles and miles. I can't wait to see Marie again. So let's get this party started. Shall I explain the rules?"

. . .

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