Thank goodness Gretchen McNeil wrote us this guest blog post, inspired by her new book TEN. Now, whenever we’re in a similar situation, we’ll know exactly what to do and successfully avoid a most-certain death.
TEN SUREFIRE WAYS TO SURVIVE A TEEN HORROR NOVEL
By Gretchen McNeil
1. DON’T TRESPASS.
You know that creepy house at the end of the street with a ten-foot fence around it that says “DO NOT ENTER”? Yeah, that’s not an invitation for you and five of your besties to slice through the barrier with Dad’s wire cutters and roll a keg in there for an impromptu house party. Aside from the obvious dangers, like black mold and rotting floor-boards, there’s a good chance that something’s waiting for you in the basement, firing up a chainsaw.
2. DON’T EXPLORE.
Speaking of strange houses, why is it that the first thing folks want to do in a creeptastically abandoned building is go exploring? Attics, basements, closets, and bookcases all hold secrets you don’t want to know. Which leads to . . .
3. DON’T INVESTIGATE.
That mysterious moaning noise coming from upstairs? Yeah, that’s not going to be Publisher’s Clearing House with a million-dollar sweepstakes prize for you. It’s not a scantily clad supermodel or a family of adorable puppies. So instead of heading up that dark staircase, turn around and run. For reals.
4. NO POWER = BAD TIMES.
Flip on the light switch and nothing happens? Oh, that’s okay. I have my handy-dandy flashlight. Follow me, guys. It’ll be fine! No, no, it won’t.
5. DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE.
Let’s face it: No one should be answering a phone that rings in a strange house. How is that a good idea? Oh, I just stumbled into this empty house on a dark and stormy night after my car mysteriously broke down at the end of the driveway, how about I answer this ringing phone? Yeah, no. It’s no one you want to talk to. Trust me.
6. DON’T VOLUNTEER.
Seriously, this is the best way to get yourself killed. Psychopaths LOVE a volunteer. I’ll walk through the dark forest and find help. Dead! I’ll swim to shore and find help. Dead! I’ll eat drink that water and see if it’s safe. Dead! Word to the wise: Don’t be a hero.
7. DON’T SPLIT UP.
How is this ever a good idea? Hey, there’s something weird going on here. Let’s split up and isolate ourselves, making each of us a vulnerable target. Yeah, great idea! Also, if someone tells you to “wait here,” ignore them.
8. DON’T HAVE SEX.
This really should be a given, even without the context of, say, flesh-eating zombies on the loose. Why do people think an empty field, a backseat of a car parked on a lonely road, or a filthy, abandoned house is just the perfect spot for a romantic interlude? Save it for prom night.
9. CHECK FOR A PULSE.
You know that ax-wielding madman you just emptied an entire magazine of bullets into? You might want to check for a pulse before you nonchalantly wander off, confident you’ve killed the bugger and have absolutely nothing left to worry about. Which leads to our last tip . . .
10. DON’T LET YOUR GUARD DOWN.
The worst thing you can possibly do is assume for even a fleeting second that you’re safe. Because odds are? Your nightmare is just beginning.