“Something happens when you read this. You will be changed . . . It’s. Just. That. Amazing.” Nancy Holder NYTimes best –selling author of Buffy: The Making of a Slayer.Title: Dollhouse Series No.: Book 1 Series Title: The Dark Carousel Release Date: A spine-tingling Gothic Thriller An abandoned mansion, deep in the woods. A dollhouse, filled with life-sized toys. A doorway into other realms. And girls who keep disappearing... When Cassie’s best friend, Aisha, vanishes during a school hike, Cassie sets off with Aisha's boyfriend and their friend Lacey, determined to find her. Instead, the three teens fall into a carefully-laid trap—deep into the surreal nightmare and dark secrets of the Dollhouse. Now, Cassie must uncover the mysteries of the Dollhouse and her own connection to it-- before it's too late. With the horror and otherworldliness of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and the gothic romance of A Great and Terrible Beauty, Dollhouse is a tantalizing start to a new young adult series.
A penny for a spool of thread A penny for a needle A penny for the blood so red That trickles down like treacleHeart pounding. Blood pumping. Shivering. So cold in here. Frigid air, black like oil. My chest hurts. I'm breathing too fast. I need to hurry. I clutch the hem of my dress so the stiff fabric doesn't brush against the wet cave walls. The clothes I'm forced to wear each day are these brittle, starched vintage dresses. With my free hand, I feel my way along the rough stone of the wall. Icy water drips on my fingers. The wet, dank odor envelopes me as I venture in further. I will find the way out. I have no choice. Stop. Wait. They're coming. Beings that shouldn't exist. Beings from nightmares. Beings that will - Don't panic. Be still. Listen. Did they hear me? I hold my breath. Slow my heart rate. There. Calm. Better. Much better. It's too dark to see, but I know they're coming closer. Scrape. Plod. Scrape. The sound on the stone floor sends a rush of shivers along the small of my back. Have they passed me? I can’t waste time but I need to be sure. Time . . . . I'm losing track of time, losing track of the days. I don't know how long I've been here . . . down, down in the underground dollhouse. A life-size dollhouse filled with horrors. I have to be brave. But in here, brave is bad. Bad. If we're bad, we're made to sit on the Toy Shelf. And if we're very, very bad, we're locked away in the Toy Box. The Toy Box is the darkest place I've ever known. And the Toys . . . the Toys terrify me. Beyond the Toy Box are realms that almost made me lose my mind. Realms worse than death. Even if we're good, we're made to dance until our feet blister, until we can barely stay upright. I'm beginning to forget who I was. Remember. Remembering is the only thing that will keep you whole. You are Cassandra Claiborne. You have a life outside of here. You're fifteen. You came here with Ethan and Lacey desperately seeking your friend, Aisha, who vanished in the forest near your school. Not knowing you'd be trapped, too. Remember Ethan. Ethan has been made to sit on the Toy Shelf, because he tried to fight back. He was bad. I can't find Lacey. I don't know what they did to her. The last I saw of her, she was sitting, trembling, on a chair—her face deathly white—and when I came back to get her, there was nothing but a shadow slithering across the ceiling. None of us will get out of here alive. No, stop thinking that. All is still silent. Are they gone? Yes. Gone. Go now. I take a step. There’s a sudden, sharp tug on my dress . . . .
2. DEVILS HOLE
Out of this wood do not desire to go: Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no. —Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s DreamTWO WEEKS EARLIER When we first caught sight of the dolls—hanging by strings in the trees—we should have guessed that something was very, very wrong in this forest. The strings were stretched far across the branches, in patterns like that old cat’s cradle game grandma used to play with me. The vintage dolls were slightly swaying on long, noose-like strings, with cracked ceramic faces and missing eyes. But we didn’t know and we didn’t guess. It seemed like a stupid gag to scare people. Something made by teenagers, though they would have had to climb terrifyingly high in the trees and they would have had to have spent painstaking hours to make patterns like that with the strings. I know now how wrong we were. But back then, my thoughts were on a boy and on getting a school assignment done and dusted. Ethan, Aisha, Lacey and I had been hiking through the forest to collect information about the flora and fauna for the assignment. At the back of my mind had been a nagging sense of despair—just a few months earlier, my mother had dragged me all the way across the world, from our home in Miami, Florida to this tiny, mountainous town in Australia. This place was never going to feel like home. Maybe if I’d been listening at the moment that I first entered the forest that day I would have heard a sound above the whispering and the calls of the breeze and birds in the canopy. Yes, if I’d been listening, I might have heard a clock whirr to life and start ticking.