The Cellar

by A. J. Whitten

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780547232539
  • ISBN-10: 0547232535
  • Pages: 288
  • Publication Date: 05/02/2011
  • Carton Quantity: 24

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About the Book
About the Author
  • About the Book
    Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster.

    But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she’d ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she’s dating the living dead before it’s too late for both of them?

  • About the Author
  • Excerpts

    Chapter 1

    Some days, Meredith, I just . . . I just wish it was me who
    died,” my sister said that Tuesday morning in early September.
     I stared at Heather. At sixteen she was a younger version of
    me, with darker hair and browner eyes. I was only ten months
    older than her but some days felt like a decade older.
     I must have heard her wrong. She talked so softly now, I
    was always hearing something other than what she reallysaid.
    “You . . . you what?”
     “I just said I wish it had been me. That’s all.” Heather
    shrugged. Then she poured a crapload of Cocoa Pebbles into
    the new white bowls Mom had bought the week before.
    They were ridiculously giant bowls. One day my mother
    brought them home and, two seconds later, threw out all
    our old dishes. The ones I reallyliked,the yellow ones with
    the blue flowers, the same ones I’d been eating out of since I
    was four.
     That’s what she did now. Spend money. In the past six
    months she’d bought a lot of things we didn’t need. I was sure
    her Visa was going to start smoking at any second. A psychiatrist
    would have a lot of reallygood
    analysis for why.
     Too bad the only shrink my mother went to see was
    named Neiman Marcus.
     Our Aunt Evelyn, my mother’s older sister, had moved in
    six weeks ago with her twin sons and taken over as mom. She
    was the one who made dinner, who did the laundry, who
    pecked over us like a worried hen all day. Her twin boys — Ted
    and Tad, but we called them Tweedledee and Tweedledum
    because we were pretty sure they shared a solitary brain cell —
    didn’t do much more than go to school and play basketball.
    They were both seniors and already had full rides to some
    midwest university that liked them dumb, tall, and able to
    dribble. They had already left for school that morning, probably
    for one of their early scrimmages.
     “Pass the milk, will you?” Heather said.
     I held on to the two-percent.It was pretty much the only
    thing I had a hold on right now. My life, which used to seem
    so perfect, had become totally distorted. Everything I’d thought
    meant something — my friends, yearbook, school — now rang
    empty and cold. I kept waiting for some normalcy to come
    back, like the tulips my dad and I had planted in the front
    yard last year. Except the squirrels stole the bulbs, and only
    three of the twenty pink flowers encored.
     Maybe it was a sign. Like those big yellow billboards on
    the highway screaming at you to lose fifty pounds or quit
    smoking. The signs you ignore until it’s too late and all of a
    sudden, you’re lying in a hospital bed, on the wrong end of
    a scalpel.
     I pushed away my cereal. Wished Aunt Evelyn hadn’t
    gone to her Bible study this morning so we could have had
    bacon and eggs instead. Maybe then Heather wouldn’t have
    been in such a weird mood. “Heather, you can’t just say
    something like that. I mean . . .”
     “What?” She let out a sigh and sat back, turning her face
    away. When she did, the long curtain of her brown hair
    shifted slightly, exposing the scar that ran from her forehead
    to her chin, as if her face had been cut in half.
     It almost had. By a four-door sedan that had crumpled
    like a tuna can.
     Leaving Heather a bloody mess, and killing Dad.
    In two seconds, the Willis family had gone from being
    typical suburbanites — mom,dad, two daughters, living in a
    four-bedroomranch — to a tragic statistic. The psychiatrist
    we talked to would quote numbers at me and Heather, as
    though that would make us feel better. As if being part of a
    group of one point five gazillion kids whose parents had
    been killed in car accidents in the past two decades was some
    kind of top one hundred Facebook group we should join.
     “What were you going to say?” Heather asked.
     I opened my mouth, but nothing wise came pouring out.
    If I’d had anything smart to say, I’d have said it six months
    ago, when Heather was lying in a hospital bed and my mother
    was standing in a funeral home picking out a casket.
     So I passed the milk. We sat there and ate in silence.
     Ever since the “incident” — which was what everyone
    called it, as if one innocuous word could turn the crappiest
    day of our lives into something more palatable, like throwing
    cheese on broccoli — Heatherhad fallen into a dark pit.
    The perfect student had to be dragged to school. To soccer
    practice, where she was about as useful as a shrub in the
    middle of the field.
     I’d become the star student. Me, the one who had barely
    passed Geometry, and that was only because I’d begged Mr.
    Sanders to have mercy on me. Instead of my mom pushing
    us to be on the honor roll, my crappy C average became the
    new norm in our house. Yearbook layouts became the talk
    around the table, because I was the only one talking about
    what I did. Not that Mom plugged in any better than a
    faulty toaster, but at least we were all here.
     Yeah, that was what I’d call it. Existing in a bubble of silence,
    punctuated with the scraping of spoons against stupid,
    huge bowls.
     What we needed more than anything right now was
    something new. Something big. Something to wake us up.
     A movement outside the window caught my eye. A flash
    of red. The roar of an engine starting. I put down my spoon
    and crossed to the window. In the next driveway, gray smoke
    curled out of the exhaust pipe of a cherry red Camaro, one
    of those sports cars that screamed, Look at me! I hated those
    things because they made stupid people drive too fast and
    take risks that caused accidents that shouldn’t have happened
    otherwise. Behind the wheel sat a guy dressed in
    black, tall and thin, wearing sunglasses. White ruffle-
    edged curtains that hadn’t been there yesterday hung in the windows
    of the two-story Victorian, and a wicker rocker sat on
    the porch. “Hey, when did someone move into the house
    next door?”
     “Mer, that place has been abandoned for as long as we’ve
    lived here. Mom can’t give that place away.” Our mother
    was a real estate agent. Her trademark sign said Bringing
    You and Yours Home, now wasn’t on the lawn next door
    anymore. The house next door had been one of her few
    failures. Old and rundown, left to rot by the old lady who’d
    lived there for, like, five hundred years, the place hadn’t sold
    or been rented in years. “Who would want that piece of
     “Well, somebody did. And now they’re living there.
    Look.” I pointed out the window.
     Heather let out another sigh — sighing had become her
    thing lately — and got to her feet, slowly. She shuffled over
    to the window, pretended to look, then turned away.
     “You didn’t look.”
     “I did.”
     “You didn’t.” I grabbed her arm, spun her around, and
    held her at the window until she actually raised her head
    and looked past her wall of hair. “Look. People.”
     “Not ‘people.’ One person.” She huffed. “Big deal. I’m
    going to school.”
     Again, she’d shut me out. I shouldn’t care or let it bother
    me. It wasn’t as if I didn’t have my o...

  • Reviews
    Praise for The Well:

    "[A] propulsive horror yarn. . . . Fright fans will be plenty satisfied with the homicidal happenings."--Booklist
    "Overall, this is at once frightening and a bit campy, making this a guilty—but still gratifyingly gross—pleasure for horror fans."--Bulletin