Nightmare Hour

Nightmare Hour by R. L. Stine Read Free Book Online

Book: Nightmare Hour by R. L. Stine Read Free Book Online
Authors: R. L. Stine
estate office.”
    â€œMom…you mean you’re just going to leave me here?”
    â€œJilly, there’s nothing for you to do in town. Besides, you’ve got piles of homework, remember?”
    â€œHow can I do homework?” Jillian asked. “There’s no desk.”
    â€œThen watch TV.”
    Mrs. Warner grabbed the car keys and hurried out the door.
    â€œPlease, Jillian. I’ll be back in a few hours, and we’ll get some dinner. Why don’t you go exploring? There might be some real treasures left in these rooms.”
    â€œYeah. Sure.” Jillian rolled her eyes and closed the door to the room.
    Jillian read her government textbook for a while. But the wooden chair was hard and uncomfortable. She slammed the book shut. “I’m so bored,” she sighed, climbing into the creaking bed. She settled back and shut her eyes. “So bored… This is so not fair… ”
    The floorboards groaned under Jillian’s shoes as she made her way down long, dimly lit halls. The air felt damp and smelled of stale cigarette smoke.
    She opened doors and peered into rooms. But most of the lights didn’t work, so she couldn’t see much.
    Humming to herself, Jillian turned a corner. She held her breath and listened. What was that sound? Was it the cat padding down the hallway?
    Jillian listened carefully.
    She heard the sound again. A fluttering sound? A bat?
    I think I’ll go back to my room, she decided. I’ve explored enough.
    But which way was back?
    She had turned too many corners, wandered down too many long, dark halls with identical doors along both sides.
    She heard the fluttering sound again. Closer this time.
    A chill tingled the back of her neck. There had always been bats in her nightmares, flying at her, hissing, red eyes glowing, brushing their veiny wings against her face.
    Jillian turned and began hurrying down the hall.
    Did I come this way? Did I?
    She stopped when she heard the cough.
    Priscilla? Yes! Great! She’ll lead me back to my room.
    She heard another cough. Then the creak of floorboards. She spun around. “Priscilla? Priscilla? It’s me--Jillian Warner.”
    No reply.
    Then she saw a sliver of light seeping from under the door of a room at the end of the hall.
    Another chill ran down her back.
    â€œPriscilla? Are you in there?” Jillian walked up to the door and pressed her ear against the dry wood.
    â€œPriscilla…” she called out again.
    A man’s voice, deep and sharp: “ GO AWAY !”
    It’s not Priscilla, Jillian realized with a gasp.
    â€œGo away! Please!” the man shouted from the other side of the door. “Just go away!”
    â€œBut--but--” Jillian sputtered, confused. “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
    She leaned against the door to hear the man’s reply. To her shock, the door flew open. She tumbled into the room.
    A young man stood hunched over a bed, covering it neatly with a dark blue quilt. Papers and books were stacked on a small desk in the corner.
    â€œP-please go away” he whispered. His red-rimmed eyes gaped wide.
    â€œWho are you? What are you doing here?” Jillian cried again. He seems more frightened than I am, she thought.
    The man took a step back, stumbling over a leg of the bed.
    â€œMy name--it’s James,” he replied, clasping his hands together tightly. “Please go away. For your own good. Please--before it’s too late.”
    â€œI don’t understand,” Jillian said, crossing her arms in front of her to stop from shaking.
    James swept a hand nervously through his greasy, tangled hair. “Listen carefully. I’m warning you--leave this inn before tomorrow night!”
    He looked so frightened, so pitiful, that Jillian felt braver. “I’m not going anywhere unless you tell me why.”
    James uttered a sharp cry and gestured wildly with both hands.

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