R. L. Stine: Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps #1)
Josh and I hated our new house.
Sure, it was big. It looked like a mansion compared to our old house. It was a tall redbrick house with a sloping black roof and rows of windows framed by black shutters.
It’s so dark, I thought, studying it from the street. The whole house was covered in darkness, as if it were hiding in the shadows of the gnarled, old trees that bent over it.
It was the middle of July, but dead brown leaves blanketed the front yard. Our sneakers crunched over them as we trudged up the gravel driveway.
Tall weeds poked up everywhere through the dead leaves. Thick clumps of weeds had completely overgrown an old flower bed beside the front porch.
This house is creepy, I thought unhappily.
Josh must have been thinking the same thing. Looking up at the old house, we both groaned loudly.
Mr. Dawes, the friendly young man from the local real estate office, stopped
near the front walk and turned around.
“Everything okay?” he asked, staring first at Josh, then at me, with his crinkly blue eyes.
“Josh and Amanda aren’t happy about moving,” Dad explained, tucking his shirttail in. Dad is a little overweight, and his shirts always seem to be coming untucked.
“It’s hard for kids,” my mother added, smiling at Mr. Dawes, her hands shoved into her jeans pockets as she continued up to the front door. “You know. Leaving all of their friends behind. Moving to a strange new place.”
“Strange is right,” Josh said, shaking his head. “This house is gross.”
Mr. Dawes chuckled. “It’s an old house, that’s for sure,” he said, patting Josh on the shoulder.
“It just needs some work, Josh,” Dad said, smiling at Mr. Dawes. “No one has lived in it for a while, so it’ll take some fixing up.”
“Look how big it is,” Mom added, smoothing back her straight black hair and smiling at Josh. “We’ll have room for a den and maybe a rec room, too. You’d like that – wouldn’t you, Amanda?”
I shrugged. A cold breeze made me shiver. It was actually a beautiful, hot summer day. But the closer we got to the house, the colder I felt.
I guessed it was because of all the tall, old trees.
I was wearing white tennis shorts and a sleeveless blue T-shirt. It had been hot in the car. But now I was freezing. Maybe it’ll be warmer in the house, I thought.
“How old are they?” Mr. Dawes asked Mom, stepping onto the front porch.
“Amanda is twelve,” Mom answered. “And Josh turned eleven last month.”
“They look so much alike,” Mr. Dawes told Mom.
I couldn’t decide if that was a compliment or not. I guess it’s true. Josh and I are both tall and thin and have curly brown hair like Dad’s, and dark brown eyes. Everyone says we have “serious” faces.
“I really want to go home,” Josh said, his voice cracking. “I hate this place.”
My brother is the most impatient kid in the world. And when he makes up his mind about something, that’s it. He’s a little spoiled. At least, I think so. Whenever he makes a big fuss about something, he usually gets his way.
We may look alike, but we’re really not that similar. I’m a lot more patient than Josh is. A lot more sensible. Probably because I’m older and because I’m a girl.
Josh had hold of Dad’s hand and was trying to pull him back to the car. “Let’s go. Come on, Dad. Let’s go.”
I knew this was one time Josh wouldn’t get his way. We were moving to this house. No doubt about it. After all, the house was absolutely free. A great-uncle of Dad’s, a man we didn’t even know, had died and left the house to Dad in his will.