Click here to Download These Deadly Games PDF Book by Diana Urban having PDF Size 6.2 MB and No of Pages336.
Lately, Mom struggled to squeeze much of anything between all the extra shifts she took to cover the bills. Still, the late-night screaming matches she used to have with my drunk of a father were even more craptastic. I’d gotten good at distracting Caelyn from those. When they started a few years ago, she’d slip into my room and crawl into my bed, and I’d helplessly clutch her skinny.
These Deadly Games PDF Book by Diana Urban
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Trembling body close as we listened to them hollering. But then I started sticking huge headphones on her head and playing Mario Kart until it was over. She remained silent, refusing to look at my friends as they streamed out the front door, even when Akira gave her arm a friendly poke.
Caelyn’s messily braided auburn curls created a frizzy halo around her face in the dawn light, and her thick purple glasses magnified her huge hazel eyes, identical to mine except for the fact that all she could see were blurred blobs. She’d begged Mom for contacts, but Mom said she had to wait until she was sixteen. Though it wasn’t like contacts would be any cheaper when she turned sixteen.
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“Let’s go.” Not bothering to zip my coat, I dashed down the front walkway to my car, a decade-old Prius Dad left me as a parting gift—well, more of a bribe, actually—before moving to Las Vegas. Caelyn and I hadn’t heard from him since, which honestly suited us fine. After a few minutes, someone’s phone buzzed nearby. I glanced around, but nobody moved to check theirs. Was it mine? I thought I’d silenced it.
We were allowed to keep our phones with us as long as we kept them silenced and tucked away during class. Mr. Richardson was staring at his presentation, waiting for some animation to load. A quick peek wouldn’t kill anyone. I dug my cell from the front compartment of my backpack and surreptitiously dropped it onto my lap. Sure enough, there was a notification on my screen.
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An0nym0us1 sent you a message. Huh. The notification showed the app’s logo—a silver serpent wrapped around a red microphone. I didn’t recognize it. Curious, I tapped the notification and unlocked my phone. “Danny, no!” Mom yelled. Caelyn’s eyes were trained on the screen as she dropped a trail of bananas behind her kart, like she didn’t hear any of it.
But when our parents crashed against my bedroom door, she heard. Her eyes widened and welled with tears. I tugged her close, burying her face in my chest as Mom protected us from the monster booze turned Dad into. This is it, I thought. This is the night he’ll finally turn his fists on us. My heart pounded in terror, and helplessness sucked the air from my lungs. If Mom couldn’t stop him, I certainly couldn’t.
I wasn’t strong enough. There was nothing I could do to protect my baby sister from such inexplicable rage. That’s how I felt now, my pulse thrashing in my ears as I awaited An0nym0us1’s instructions. The image of Caelyn bound and gagged burned in my memory. If this was real … if she was tied up, alone with some psychopath in some isolated place … she must be terrified.
And there was no way to know where she was. No way to save her, to assure her that everything would be okay. There was absolutely nothing I could do—except play her kidnapper’s game. Thinking fast, I shoved the answer key deeper into my bag and whipped out my math binder. “Yeah. I’m not feeling well, so I’m heading home early. I just wanted to drop off my homework first.” These Deadly Games PDF Book
I tried to keep my voice steady as I found yesterday’s homework assignment, which I’d rushed through between classes earlier this morning before my world turned upside down. It was probably mostly incorrect, but that was the least of my worries. She frowned. “Oh, honey, you could’ve just handed it in on Monday.” She took it from me and glanced over the sheet, her frown deepening.
“In fact, maybe you should take the weekend—” “Cool, thanks.” I snatched back the paper. “I’d better go! Really not feeling well.” We sat on our sleeping bags in front of the couch as Zoey watched an anthropomorphic snowman serenade us, entranced like she didn’t already know every word.
Matty and Randall were in their own little universe playing some card game, while Akira and I toyed with Zoey’s new LEGO set. I sorted the pieces while she built a castle sans instructions, her skills boggling my mind, as always. Brady leaned over, reaching for a stack of colorful blocks, but Akira swatted his hand away. “Don’t! You’ll ruin it.” He pouted and backed off. These Deadly Games PDF Book
First, I had to preheat the oven. The dials on the fancy retro oven range might as well have controlled a spaceship. Mom tried teaching me to cook after Dad left and she took more nursing shifts, but I’d managed to botch even the most basic dishes. I’d tilt runny eggs into a plate, afraid to overcook them, or boil pasta for too long, letting the noodles get bloated and mushy.
Instead, we stocked up on takeout or frozen meals. The microwave, I could handle. Baking, on the other hand, seemed like rocket science. One of the middle knobs went up to 500—that must’ve been for the oven. I dialed it to 350 and peered through the oven window. Um. I guess that worked? Now for the ingredients.
We had eggs and butter in the fridge, and fortunately, Mom was organized—all the baking supplies were in the same cabinet above the stove, even a sealed bottle of vanilla extract. I pulled out Mom’s favorite green mixing bowl and an aluminum baking tray and laid out the ingredients on the counter. These Deadly Games PDF Download
Once, during a visit to Grandma Rose’s when we were little, Caelyn and I discovered an old rotary phone still working in the basement. We started dialing random numbers, fascinated by the archaic wheel. Somehow it turned into a competition to see who’d get more people to pick up. We giggled into our palms as people shouted, “Hello? Hello?” But then Caelyn dialed 911 before I realized what she was doing.
“This is 911—” I’d heard the operator say before grabbing the phone and slamming it into the receiver. “Why’d you do that?” I’d asked Caelyn. Chief Sanchez hunched over the counter, sniffing the tray of brownies I’d brought upstairs after a pair of paramedics whisked Matty away. They’d detected a faint heartbeat. Gave him a large dose of epinephrine.
But he remained unresponsive, and they wouldn’t let any of us in the ambulance with him. Akira went into eternal optimist mode, trying to convince us all he’d be fine. But how could she possibly know that? God knew what was really happening. Now we gathered in my kitchen, Sanchez dominating the space, tall and broad-shouldered, with side-swept ebony hair flecked with gray, and a dark, scruffy goatee. These Deadly Games PDF Download
A gun protruded from his holster, black as night. Did it bother him to carry death on his waist? Did it weigh him down? My eyes kept fluttering to it, just like they had that time at Food Xpress last year. Sanchez had gotten in line behind me as Mom unloaded groceries from our cart onto the belt at Randall’s register, clutching a wrapped sandwich and a Coke bottle, scrolling through his phone.
I’d reflexively glanced at his gun, feeling a stab of unease. “I was upstairs in the office, and your dad was in the living room with Nessa, setting up Netflix for her.” Mrs. Lewis spoke in a voice so low she was almost whispering, though nobody was close enough to overhear. “And all of a sudden, the front door crashed open. There was yelling. So much yelling.
The police were screaming for your dad to put his hands up. And Nessa was screaming bloody murder.” She visibly swallowed and glanced down at her six-year-old daughter curled up beside her, head practically buried in Mrs. Lewis’s armpit. “By the time I got downstairs, he was already having a heart attack—well, cardiac arrest, I guess. These Deadly Games PDF Download
But, my God, seeing those officers pointing their guns at your father as he collapsed—I thought they’d shot him. I’ll never get that image out of my head.” She clasped her forehead. Randall cupped his mouth, eyes darting back and forth really fast, like he was trying to picture the scene she described. I imagined gangly, balding, cheerful Mr. Lewis—always cracking dad jokes and teasing his kids— crumpled on the floor in agony. My fault.
We compiled a list of classmates who might have a grudge against us— people like Dave Wisla, the quarterback who’d flipped out when Randall imitated him strutting down the hall; Lucia Ramirez, who I’d humiliated at our esports team tryouts; Maddy Curtis, who’d been dejected after asking Matty to Homecoming.
We split the list among us, and each sent emails asking for help on our homework with a link to a screenshot of the assignment. Randall DMed the troll a link to a picture of his middle finger. Our jaws collectively dropped when Lucia’s IP matched the troll’s. And I was twenty bucks richer. Akira understandably didn’t want to come with Zoey and me when we cornered Lucia at her locker the next day (let’s be real—Zoey did all the talking. These Deadly Games PDF Free
But Lucia denied everything. I figured confronting her would be enough to stop her from trolling us again, even if she didn’t fess up and apologize. And as furious as I was, guilt soured my stomach. I’d been a bitch to Lucia at tryouts. This was, in a way, my fault. In one fluid motion, I turned off the engine and scrambled to pick up my phone, making lots of scraping and scuffling noises to hide the absence of the engine noise.
Not bothering to see if the screen was cracked, I stuck the phone into my jacket pocket, blinding An0nym0us1 if they were watching. Who was I kidding? Of course they were watching. I tiptoed back into the kitchen and out the back door as fast as I could. The floodlights blazed again as I dashed back to shrubberies at the edge of Akira’s lawn.
For a moment, I gripped my knees, catching my breath, then slinked toward the front of the house to get a clear view of the driveway. It was dark. The floodlights above the garage door hadn’t turned on. No car had turned in to the driveway. Akira’s parents weren’t home. My phone buzzed. I pulled it from my pocket.
A crack splintered from the corner of the tempered glass screen protector from the drop in the garage, slashing through An0nym0us1’s latest message. The way she’d acted on FaceTime at the hospital reminded me of when we used to play Among Us on our phones. The game was simple: Crewmates raced to complete tasks around a spaceship while an Impostor, pretending to be a Crewmate, committed murder and sabotage.
After each murder, we’d guess the Impostor’s identity and throw someone off the ship. If we were right, we won. If the Impostor blended in too well and we were wrong, there’d be another round of tasks, murder, and finger-pointing. Whenever Zoey was an Impostor, she’d be the first to hurl accusations, trying to throw everyone off her scent.
But whenever she was a Crewmate, she’d quietly watch everyone argue, trying to suss out the Impostor. She was so predictable, I hated when she was an Impostor—her rounds were too easy to win. Back in the hospital, she acted like an Impostor. Overly vocal. Quick to suggest theories.
So I turned from Dylan, blinking away my tears. “No, it’s fine.” I twisted off the plastic mug and cap and inhaled the rich scent, triggering a memory of hiking the trails near Hanover Lake with Dad, our Sunday morning tradition. I loved the fresh pine tree smell, the satisfying crunch of dead leaves under my boots, the way the sun shimmered off the lake like scattered crystals when we topped Mount Morgan.