EXCERPT: 'Dare Me'

"Dare Me" by Megan Abbott (Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown; July 2012) Photo Credit: Handout

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Prologue

 

"Something happened, Addy. I think you better come."

The air is heavy, misted, fine. It's coming on two a.m. and I'm high up on the ridge, thumb jammed against the silver button: 27-G.

"Hurry, please."

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The intercom zzzzzz-es and the door thunks, and I'm inside.

As I walk through the lobby, it's still buzzing, the glass walls vibrating.

Like the tornado drill in elementary school, Beth and me wedged tight, jeaned legs pressed against each other. The sounds of our own breathing. Before we all stopped believing a tornado, or anything, could touch us, ever.

"I can't look. When you get here, please don't make me look."

In the elevator, all the way up, my legs swaying beneath me, 1-2-3-4, the numbers glow, incandescent.

The apartment is dark, one floor lamp coning halogen up in the far corner.

"Take off your shoes," she says, her voice small, her wishbone arms swinging side to side.

We're standing in the vestibule, which seeps into a dining area, its lacquer table like a puddle of ink.

Just past it, I see the living room, braced by a leather sectional, its black clamps tightening, as if across my chest.

Her hair damp, her face white. Her head seems to go this way and that way, looking away from me, not wanting to give me her eyes.

I don't think I want her eyes.

"Something happened, Addy. It's a bad thing."

"What's over there?" I finally ask, gaze fixed on the sofa, the sense that it's living, its black leather lifting like a beetle's sheath.

"What is it?" I say, my voice lifting. "Is there something behind there?"

She won't look, which is how I know.

First, my eyes falling to the floor, I see a glint of hair twining in the weave of the rug.

The stepping forward I see more.

"Addy," she whispers. "Addy . . . is it like I thought?"

From "Dare Me" by Megan Abbott. Copyright (c) 2012 by Megan Abbott. Excerpted with permission from Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown and Company.

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