And that was just a daydream. Curses to you, Stine. CURSES. Dierdre is actually in her room, sitting at her desk. To calm down, she plays with a Koosh ball. I loved those things when I was a kid. Now I just associate them with Rosie O'Donnell. Anyway! Dierdre's mind turns to all the horrible things that have happened at Fear Park: Paul's death, Mr. Gunther's lion tragedy, the House of Mirrors explosion that killed 12 people, and Jared and his friends dying "mysterious" deaths. The park has been closed for a month while the police investigate, but Mr. Bradley plans on opening as soon as possible because he's an idiot. Robin Fear should have killed him and spared the innocents who had to die instead. Seriously, what will it take for this jackass to realize that these horrible things are NOT going to stop? Dierdre doesn't think the park should reopen EVER and goes downstairs to tell her father. As if he'll listen. She calls for him and walks from room to room, but there's no sign of him. Then she hears a strange noise coming from the bathroom. Don't interrupt--the john is a sacred place! Her father bursts out of the bathroom, making choking noises and clutching at his throat. Dierdre is a little slow on the uptake and just stands there like a deer caught in headlights. Finally she asks her dad if she should call 911. Like he can answer! He's choking, you moron! As Dierdre stares in horror, her dad opens his mouth and pulls a long brown worm out of his throat. And another and another. Sick. These books are notorious for making me gag.
Of course the little worm stunt was the devious work of Robin Fear. He's sitting at home in his beloved library, laughing at the thought of Mr. Bradley choking. Robin is pissed as usual because Fear Park is reopening in a few days and he's feeling pretty defeated. But not to worry--he'll be up to his usual bullshit shenanigans soon enough. Meghan enters the room and asks him what he's doing. He lies and says it's a protection spell. Meghan says she's tired of him constantly worrying about the Bradleys. Is she a fool or is she a fool? Robin puts on the innocent act that he has become so skilled at: "So many innocent people have died because of my father. I feel responsible, Meghan. I feel that I have to do everything I can to make sure that more innocent people dont die at Fear Park." Yeah, that's right...go ahead and blame it all on your DEAD father. Meghan sighs and says she's sick of being immortal; she wants to age like a normal person. Wow. A lot of people would kill for immortality. Robin is sick of something, too--Meghan's complaints. He wraps his hands around her neck to choke her, but realizes that she can't die. So instead, he tells her that as soon as he's sure the park is safe from the Fear curse, they can grow old together. You're both 80 years old so I think it's safe to say that ship has already sailed. Meghan is satisfied with that, but Robin doesn't plan on doing anything he promised her: "At least she still believes me, still trusts me, he thought, returning her kiss. But I no longer need her. I'll find a way to kill her--after I destroy Fear Park forever." Harsh. And I don't think he's ever going to destroy the park. If he really wanted to, he would just burn the damn thing to the ground. Or kill Mr. Bradley. I don't know why I'm suggesting things to a fictional character...
Dierdre is in the office a few days later when the anonymous caller rings again: "You don't know the truth about Robin Fear. I'm coming to see you. I'm coming to tell you about Robin." Stop tying up the damn phone line, freakshow! Either tell her "the truth about Robin Fear" or shut up. I hate creepy unknown callers. Her father is still alive, but in a coma. And Fear Park is still up and running; everything except the Ferris wheel, of course. Speaking of the wheel, what happened to those people that were trapped on it? Oh well. Guess they're not important enough to mention ever again. Robin bursts in and asks about her dad. She updates him and says she's on her way to the hospital now. She also tells him that the park has to stay open because the Bradleys don't have a dime and she mentions the anonymous caller. They finally part ways and as Dierdre leaves, she spots the red-headed boy. He's just standing there grinning at her like some maniac. Interesting. *sigh* Not really.
Dierdre is at the hospital visiting her father. It's been about two weeks since he arrived at the hospital and has shown no signs of improvement. She's shocked when she glances up from her post beside Mr. Bradley's bed and sees Robin standing in the doorway. He's just as surprised as she is--he wanted to be alone when he murdered her father. Dierdre is still pretty cold toward him which pisses him off because that never would have happened if Gary hadn't entered the picture. Robin leaves a few seconds later and in the parking lot, he sees Gary. Oh great. "Gary, in a pale blue muscle shirt and denim cutoffs, leaned casually against the car hood. His long red hair caught the light of the sun. His whole head glowed as if on fire." Is that the uniform of every guy in Shadyside? Always with the denim cutoffs! Robin uses this opportunity to cast a spell. A construction crew is on site and Robin's plan is to use his magic to cause one of the huge dumptrucks to shower Gary with a heavy mountain of gravel. Robin hears screaming and assumes it worked even though his vision was skewed by the purple smoke. But no--Gary is perfectly fine and when Dierdre exits the building a moment later, they leave together. The screaming Robin heard was two workers arguing with one another. Yawn. As Robin is about to leave, a bulldog-ish man grabs him and accuses him of trying to steal his car. Robin finally convinces the guy that he wasn't doing anything and the guy lets him go. But Robin is pissed and wants to pay him back: "I'll glue his skin to the car so that it cannot be removed. He and his car can stick together for the rest of his life." Wow. What a psycho. But Robin doesn't go through with it and leaves.
"Dierdre's new friend" has told her all she needs to know about Robin Fear. Yes, the book just says that it's her new friend; it doesn't mention anyone specifically which means that it isn't Gary. Unless Stine is screwing with us. Oh well. Dierdre is horrified at the thought of all the terrible things Robin has done. She can't believe she ever let such a creep near her. And then this chapter ends. What a waste of space.
Back at Robin's mansion, he and Meghan are repairing the damage they did to one another. They apologize for tearing each other's faces off and then Robin says ONCE AGAIN that after he is finished playing Superman and protecting the Bradleys, he will make Meghan mortal again. They discuss what happened earlier with the fighting and Meghan says "I'm a pretty good wrestler." For an 80 year old, yeah, you're pretty good. Robin says that he is going to the park and just before he leaves, he asks Meghan if she remembers anyone named Gary from their past. She does--Gary Barth. And he had long red hair. SCORE?
Dierdre is sitting in the office when Robin pops in. She has a sudden urge to stab in the chest with a letter opener, but manages to control herself, much to my disappointment. He wants to go for a walk, but she really doesn't want to. He persists and she finally relents. They end up on the path that leads to the animal preserve which just can't be good. Dierdre breaks away from him in a panic and runs which pisses Robin off. He runs after her for a bit, but gets tired and sinks to the ground. As he sits there, he thinks about how he fell for Dierdre and those feelings are the only thing that has kept him for burning the park to the ground. Romantic I guess? He suddenly feels very old and disappointed in himself because he failed his father. He looks up and spots Dierdre nearby so he takes his chance and grabs her. She's freaked out, but pretends that they were just racing and she won. Liar. She buys some cotton candy and eats while Robin chants and the purple smoke appears. She offers him some of her cotton candy and he responds by shoving it in her face. Manners much? She laughs it off, but stops when the sticky candy spreads over her entire face. It covers her entire head, tightening until she can't breathe. Robin says "I'll get help!" and runs off laughing. He stops and turns back to watch Dierdre die. But that doesn't happen--Gary comes up, throws some water on Dierdre, and helps her up as the cotton candy dissolves. Ok then. Robin runs up and pretends that he was so worried and ran to get help. He really is a fabulous liar. Then he looks at Gary and demands to know who he is. Dierdre speaks up and says that she and Gary dated last year and broke up, but now they're back together. Robin doesn't believe a word of it and skips home to find a spell that will eliminate Gary. Oh happy day!
The next morning, Robin confesses over breakfast that he's been neglecting Meghan. He tells her that he wants her to meet him at the park tonight at the Hatchet Show. She doesn't want to for the obvious reasons (i.e. painful memories). She says she thinks it's very sick that people find it entertaining. Those kids who were killed were her friends and she doesn't like the memory of them to be degraded. Meghan's mood changes when she asks Robin if it was his father who caused those kids to kill one another and Robin confesses that it was. She asks if that's why he feels guilty and he says yes. Whatever. But she eventually agrees to meet Robin later. Of course. Later, he convinces Dierdre to meet him at the show also. He tells her to bring Gary because he has a big surprise for both of them. I'll just bet he does...
That night, Dierdre and Gary make their way to the Hatchet Show. Gary doesn't wanna be there, but Dierdre says that Robin has something to show them. Oh God. Robin comes up a few minutes later with Meghan in tow. There are introductions and they all take their seats. Unfortunately, this particular show isn't being performed by actors. The dead kids are stumbling around the set in a cloud of purple smoke. "Dierdre could see every detail of their decaying faces. She could see the rotting green skin. The dark, empty sockets that once held eyes. She could see the worms curling out of the open nostrils. The swarms of bugs crawling from the holes where the ears had been. The matted hair. The gaping rips and holes in the scalp where gray bone poked through. And the smell! The foul, putrid, sour smell. The smell of dead rotting meat. Of insects and decay..." Death ain't pretty. Dierdre freaks out and grabs onto Gary. Meanwhile, the dead kids are falling apart. A boys arm falls off, someone else's head falls off and bounces against a tree. They start to move toward Robin, Dierdre, Meghan, and Gary. Meghan starts crying because she's afraid they're going to kill her. But they kill Robin instead! They chop him to bits and pieces with their hatchets. Afterward, Meghan jumps up and hugs Dierdre: "Thank you! Thank you, Dierdre for helping to set me free at last! I couldn't have done it without you." Good one, Stine. Turns out Meghan was plotting against Robin all this time; she wanted revenge for what he did to her friends back in 1935. And to think I thought she was a moron!
Dierdre gazes at the dead kids who are now riding the rides. Yes, there are corpses climbing on the rides. Wow. Sadly, they don't get to enjoy it for long. The purple smoke forms and when it clears, they're gone including Meghan. Dierdre explains everything to Gary. She's relieved that the curse is finally broken. The last few lines: "What was that soft sound behind them as they walked? Was it the whisper of voices thankfully, peacefully, returned to their graves? Or the echo of the calliope--soft happy music from the carousel?"
Conclusion About The Trilogy As A Whole? Not bad. Much better than most of these books albeit ten times more violent.