Sunday, December 11, 2011

Point Horror: Nightmare Hall #1: The Silent Scream

This is the book that started it all. Jess has just moved into the off campus dorm Nightmare Hall. She meets her new roommates Linda, Milo, Jon, Cathy and Ian, as well as the handyman Tucker. On the first night, their house mother falls down the stairs and breaks her hip, leaving the kids all alone. Ian makes the mistake of telling them the story of Gabrielle, who lived in the dorm before. She was a well liked girl, but one day came home and hung herself in her room, the same room Jess now lives in.

Of course weird things start happening. When Ian says it was a suicide, a window slams shut. When Linda calls it a suicide, the mirror in her room explodes. Jess keeps noticing cold spots in her room that no one can explain. Then she comes home and finds muddy footprints leading into her room and then disappearing.

Weird things happen to other people too. Cathy spends weeks working on a paper, only to have it disappear. She blames Milo and rips apart his room, but finds nothing. Someone sneaks into Linda’s room and rips her official swim team suit into pieces. Jess feels bad, but is distracted by her newfound crush on Ian.

Then Gabrielle’s brother shows up at the house, to pick up her old stuff. He notices Milo and reveals that he knew her in school and was a good friend. Tucker leaves Milo downstairs with her stuff for awhile. Jess wonders why he didn’t mention knowing her and Milo claims it was because they stopped being friends.

Gabrielle keeps reaching out to Jess. She appears in photos taken of her and Ian at the pizza place. Then Jess finds an old photo of her in her room and ends up buying her old books from the bookstore. She also finds a threatening letter to her, sent from someone claiming that he loved her. She wants to talk to everyone about it, but they keep blowing her off.

It all comes to a head when Jess finds herself stuck there by herself. She ends up locked in the basement by herself and someone turns on the gas. Luckily her housemates come home early and save her life. She manages to stab the person in the arm and sees a small piece of fabric hanging in the basement. Milo comes home with a tear in his jacket, matching the fabric. He gets pissed off when they blame him, saying he just found his jacket and storms off. They tear apart his room and find a typewriter matching the letter, more letters to Gabrielle and Cathy’s paper.

The whole group decides to move on with their lives and pretend it never happened. They go to a big dance and Jess and Ian spend some time together alone. He goes inside to grab her jacket and a girl stops by with Milo’s jacket. She tells her that he was with her in the library, when someone dropped off his ripped jacket. He gave her his other jacket. Jess freaks out because it means he was telling the truth.

She hears a voice in the woods behind the house and follows it to find Tucker standing there. He tells her that Milo was there and left a photo of Gabrielle behind. She believes him, until she sees a gash on his arm. Tucker grabs her, but she fights him off. He reveals that he dated her for awhile after her mom died, but then she left him to go to college. She was supposed to marry him after a year, but she started avoiding his calls and ignoring him.

Tucker fights her and suddenly the photo flies out of the stream and onto his face. It molds to his face, cutting off his nose and mouth. The others rush out to save her and the photo slowly peels off and floats away. They walk back to the house and it seems to sigh. Jess smiles, thinking that Gabrielle finally got the peace she wanted because now everyone will know she didn’t kill herself.

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