Creep street you make it.., p.1
Creep Street: You Make It Happen, p.1John Marsden
John Marsden is one of the new breed of Australia’s writers for young people: lively, fresh, provocative. Many young readers actually turn off the TV and leave their computer games to go and read John’s books. And, for a number of them, they’re the first books they’ve voluntarily read.
For those who love to read, and for those who hate to read, Creep Street will make it happen.
Also by John Marsden
So Much to Tell You
The Great Gatenby
Staying Alive in Year 5
Out of Time
Letters from the Inside
Take My Word for It
Looking for Trouble
Tomorrow . . . (Ed.)
For Weddings and a Funeral (Ed.)
This I Believe (Ed.)
Prayer for the 21st Century
Everything I Know About Writing
Secret Men’s Business
Marsden on Marsden
The Tomorrow Series
Tomorrow, When the War Began
The Dead of the Night
The Third Day, the Frost
Darkness, Be My Friend
Burning for Revenge
The Night is for Hunting
The Other Side of Dawn
The characters and events in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
First published 1996 in Pan by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited
St Martins Tower, 31 Market Street, Sydney
Copyright © John Marsden 1996
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.
National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication data:
Marsden, John, 1950–.
These electronic editions published in 1996 by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd
1 Market Street, Sydney 2000
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
All rights reserved. This publication (or any part of it) may not be reproduced or transmitted, copied, stored, distributed or otherwise made available by any person or entity (including Google, Amazon or similar organisations), in any form (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical) or by any means (photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise) without prior written permission from the publisher.
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Visit www.panmacmillan.com.au to read more about all our books and to buy both print and ebooks online. You will also find features, author interviews and news of any author events.
This book is dedicated to Jane Blythe, Rebecca Breen, Vanessa Busacca, Rebecca Dunne, Jessie Ellis, Amy Gianfriddo, Sofia Goumas, Stephanie Harper, Betul Kasikci, Jordanna Lanyon, Nicole Le Sueur, Ferahi Mahmut, Jessica Mociak, Eve Murfet, Grace Nicastro, Linda Painter, Alissa Plowman, Marvina Tranchina and Melia Wong.
Thanks for the laughs, folks . . . guys . . . women of the nineties . . .!
I’m missing you already.
About the Author
Also by John Marsden
t’s your new house. You’re standing on the footpath looking at it. It’s like, mega! The old house was the size of a caravan compared to this. So your parents have worked their butts off for twenty years just to pay the deposit! So the bank owns the whole place except the front doorstep and a bit of the carpet! That’s cool. That’s why you chose your parents in the first place: so they can give you everything you’ve ever wanted.
You walk to the front door. The drive’s so long it takes you ten minutes, but you finally get there. You step onto the verandah. Hmm. You nearly stepped through the verandah. The floor’s got more holes than a tennis net. Seems like this house might need a bit of work. You just hope you won’t be the one who has to do it.
You take a look to the right and a look to the left. In both directions you see new houses. Lots of bricks. Grey bricks, pink bricks, red bricks, brown bricks. Neat lawns. TV aerials. Nice little trees. You take a look back at your house and sigh. Old faded timber, broken windows, ivy growing up the walls: three storeys of decay. You take a look at the garden. Blackberries, weeds, a dozen dead trees, and grass as high as your nostrils.
You have to be honest. It is a bit of a mess.
But, no doubt about it, it’ll be exciting exploring this new place. You just don’t know where to start. You stand there trying to decide. The house looks interesting, but so does the garden, with its wilderness of plants. It’s hard to know which one you should go for first. Should you check out the garden, or go back inside and investigate the house?
ou start to fight your way through the garden. It’s not easy. Seems like no-one’s been in here for twenty years. And it’s a big garden. Everything around here is big. This garden isn’t so much a garden, more a rainforest. It doesn’t need a whipper-snipper so much as a slasher-basher.
Suddenly something springs out at you from the bushes and you leap backwards. If there’s a world record for jumping backwards you just broke it.
You get to the backyard. Down the end is a whole lot of old sheds that look interesting. At least the grass isn’t so long here and you can see where you’re going. But before you decide what to do, something else happens. Again something leaps out at you from the bushes and again you leap backwards in shock. Only this time it’s not a cat. It’s a person.
Yes, it’s a girl about your age. She’s wearing blue jeans and a grey T-shirt, with a message printed on it. It says: ‘Lick it like you like it.’
She looks at you for a few minutes without saying anything. You stare right back at her.
‘Who are you?’ she asks.
‘Who are you?’ you say.
‘I asked first,’ she says.
You hesitate, not sure whether to be friendly or not. She looks OK, but on the other hand, what’s she doing in your garden?
he garden looks interesting, sure, but there’s a nasty greyness stealing over the sky that says a storm isn’t far away. So you decide you’ll check the house out before you do anything else.
You go back indoors. You walk down a long corridor that seems to be going through the middle of the house. The further you go, the darker it gets. Not just dark, but cold too. And there’s a smell, a strange smell, like a rubbish tin where you dumped some leftover chicken a few weeks ago, and it still hasn’t been emptied.
When you get to the end of the corridor you’re faced by two sets of stairs, one going up and one going down. Both are old and rickety, both look like they haven’t been used in a while. Both are laced with cobwebs. One obviously leads to the cellar, the other could go anywhere. Which stairs are you going to take?
ou think you can trust her so you tell her your name. She tells you her name too. It’s Stacey.
‘Where are you from?’ you ask.
‘Number 23. Where are you from? I haven’t seen you round here before.’
‘Uh, my parents just bought this place,’ you explain.
Stacey’s mouth opens. She’s wearing braces on her teeth. In fact, she’s got so much metal in there, you could hook your TV up to her. You’d get a pretty good picture.
‘They . . . they bought it?’ she stammers.
You think she must be stunned at how rich you are and you smile modestly.
‘Hey,’ you say, ‘don’t let it bother you. We’re just regular people. Treat us the same way you would anyone else.’
‘You . . . you bought it?’ she says again.
‘Do you have a problem with that?’
‘But . . . but . . . are you sure your parents know what they’re doing?’
This is a tough question. Your parents seem to have so little idea of what they’re doing that it’s given you a lot of sleepless nights. But you don’t like to admit that to a complete stranger.
‘Sure they do,’ you say casually. ‘Of course they do. They always know exactly what they’re doing. Always. Absolutely. Everything. Exactly, believe me.’
Stacey just stands there. She’s still staring at you like there’s a funnel-web spider up your left nostril.
‘Why, what seems to be the problem?’ you ask.
‘I . . . I don’t know,’ she stammers. ‘I don’t know if I should tell you.’
You also start to wonder if she should tell you. There are some things it’s better not to know, like your middle name, your Maths grades, and what your parents actually did in order to bring you into the world. You pause, wondering. Does Stacey know something that you don’t want to know?
hould I really be doing this?’ you ask yourself. ‘No,’ you answer, but because you’re an idiot you keep going. You put one foot on the old rickety staircase, then another foot, then a third foot. Oh no, that can’t be right. You haven’t got three feet. You look down at the feet on the step and start counting. One, two, three. Something’s wrong here. The first foot is yours, definitely yours. It’s your right foot, and a very nice foot it is too. And the one next to it, that’s your left foot. You’d recognise it anywhere. But the one next to that, that big brown hairy one with the long yellow toenails . . . that’s not yours. That’s definitely not yours.
You look up. You’re not sure that it’s a good idea, but you look up. And there, standing right next to you in the gloomy light, towering about three metres over you, is a huge smelly hairy red-eyed creature with arms as long as your legs and legs as long as your body. It looks a bit like a bear, but you’ve never seen a bear with huge pointy fangs and bloody foam dripping from its mouth. It’s breathing like a hot-air balloon with asthma. You scream and take a giant leap. Before you know it you’re at the bottom of the staircase and through the cellar door. You grab the big heavy oak door and go to slam it shut, but the scary creature is right behind you and he grabs for the door with his big hairy paws to stop you. It’s a photo finish: will you get the door shut in time?
hope you know you’re trespassing,’ you say. ‘This is private property.’
‘Well, you’re trespassing too,’ she says.
‘That’s where you’re wrong. My parents have just bought this house.’
‘Oh have they? Well, I’ve got news for you. This house has the worst reputation in the neighbourhood. It attracts weirdos. The last three people who lived here were all complete jerks, and no-one wants to come near the place now.’
The way she talks makes you really mad. She’s the first person you’ve met in this street, and she’s so insulting!
‘Why don’t you just get out of here?’ you say. ‘We’re busy. Come back some other time, like next century.’
You walk off angrily towards the house. She follows, about twenty metres behind. But when you step up onto the verandah you see your mother with another lady. ‘Oh there you are, dear,’ your mother says. ‘We were talking about you. Look who I’ve found living next door: my old school friend, Melia Cunningham. Isn’t that lovely. We’re going to see so much of each other. Come here and say hello.’
‘Hello, Mrs Cunningham,’ you say. Not that she looks too lovely to you. She’s dressed all in black, except for her scarlet fingernails. Her hair’s a weird purple colour and around her neck she’s wearing a silver dagger. It’s flashing so sharply in the sunlight that it hurts your eyes and you have to look away.
‘Hello, dear,’ Mrs Cunningham says. ‘Oh and look, there’s my daughter, Stacey. I just know you’re going to be great friends.’
You don’t have to look around. You know exactly who Stacey is. You don’t feel you’re going to be such great friends. But the adults are looking at you, waiting for you to say the right thing. You’ve got a look on your face like someone who’s swallowed a handful of earwigs. But your mother says: ‘Well, say hello to Stacey, darling.’
There’s a lot of things you’d like to say to Stacey, but ‘hello’ isn’t one of them. The pressure’s on, though. The silence can’t go much longer.
ou start to mount the rickety staircase, peering above you as you climb, trying to make out some details through the cobwebs and the gloom. The stairs seem to go on forever, up and up and up. The air feels musty and stale.
When you get to the top you find a ladder and a trapdoor. You hesitate. It’s hard to know what to do. Is it going to be safe up there? But you don’t want to turn back now. You climb the ladder slowly, then balance at the top and put your hand on the trapdoor. Gingerly you push it up. It squeaks and creaks and groans, but it does open.
Step by step you go on up into the room. It seems like some sort of attic. There’s a window that’s covered with grime and dust and more cobwebs, but it lets a bit of light in. You stand there looking around you. It’s actually a series of attics, because you can see other rooms stretching away to your right. There’s stuff everywhere. Boxes, trunks, chests, rolls of carpet, furniture covered in white sheets. You
K, don’t tell me, then,’ you say. You know that nothing’s more certain to work than the old ‘I don’t want to know anyway’ line. But Stacey’s different. She immediately turns away and says, ‘Oh good, I was hoping you wouldn’t ask.’
Whoops. Seems like you miscalculated. ‘Er, hang on a sec,’ you say. ‘Look, if it’ll make you feel better to tell me, I guess I don’t mind.’
‘No, no really, it’s quite OK,’ she says.
‘No, no really,’ you say. ‘It’s not good to bottle things up. The counsellor at my old school kept telling us, “Talking always helps.”’
Stacey turns back to face you and stares you right in the eye. ‘I hope you’ll be really happy here,’ she says. ‘I sure do hope you will be. And if you ever need help, I just live over the road there, OK?’
Creep Street: You Make It Happen by John Marsden / Young Adult / Fantasy have rating 3 out of 5 / Based on18 votes