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Book written by echocat

The Key to the Forest

Two brothers, about to uncover a BIG secret...

"That's not exactly how that works.”

“Okay, so? Works for me.”

“You're not supposed to turn it up that-”

Sparks flew out of the light bulbs and they shut off all of a sudden. It was very dark in the garage and neither boy knew where the door was.

“-loud. Gosh dang it!”

“I hate this. Where's that power box thing?”

Strycker Wayne pulled out a small flashlight from his pocket and shined it directly into his younger brother's eyes. 

“Strycker! Stop!” Rybeck pulled his hands up to cover his eyes after he set down his shiny blue electric guitar.

“I told you so. You shouldn't have turned all the volumes up all the way, it blew out the power!” At age 14, Strycker was extremely practical, organized, and focused- the opposite of his brother Rybeck.

“Let me use that thing,” Rybeck said quickly, snatching the flashlight out of Strycker's hands and making his way across the garage. Rybeck was a bit more spontaneous and wild than his older brother. Only a year younger than Strycker, Rybeck had
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his own rock band with a couple of his friends. They practiced in the garage on Fridays, but luckily today was Tuesday.

“Ugh. Let's go find Mom,” suggested Strycker, and he opened the door leading out of the garage and into the house.

“Hey Mom! The power’s out!” Rybeck ran through the house, looking for Mrs. Wayne. 

Strycker lingered at the doorway for a second, wondering if he should follow his brother or stay in the dark room. Rybeck had taken the flashlight and Strycker was alone in the dark again, creepy-looking shadows filling the space between him and his brother.

Over in the other room came a loud crash and then a string of swear words. 

“Rybeck! Shut up! Mom doesn’t want you using those words,” Strycker called, marching down the hall in the direction of the noise. 

“Whatever, Stryck. I’m fine. Mom’s at the grocery store anyways, I just remembered that.”

“Phew.” Strycker sighed, a sigh of relief, and then reality hit him. They would have to get the power back on before Mrs.
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Wayne arrived at home. This was not the first time that Rybeck had blown out the power, in fact, it had just happened last week. 

“Now, where is the- oh, here it is!” The lights flickered and came back on, and Rybeck sauntered out of the storage closet, looking very happy. 

“Great job, champ. Now let’s go do something.”
    “Hmm… we could play Truth or Dare,” whispered Rybeck ominously. 

A huge grin crossed Strycker’s face and his dark eyes shined. “Okay. Truth or dare, Ry?”

“Um, dare. I’m not chicken like you are,” teased Rybeck. 

“Go up in the attic,” said Strycker. “The far right corner.”
    Rybeck went pale all of a sudden. “N-no way. That’s haunted.”

The far right corner had a trunk, only a trunk. The trunk was filled with very old dolls of all shapes, materials and sizes- china dolls, cloth dolls, glass dolls, rag dolls…
    When he noticed his brother’s expression Strycker grinned wider. “Oh, you’re chicken? I win then.”
    Rybeck’s least favorite thing, in all the world,
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was to lose. He loved winning and made it his goal each day to win at least one thing. 

“We can go together,” he muttered, “and I’m not chicken.”

Strycker walked to the end of the hall and pulled the stairs down from the ceiling. He climbed up them into the unused, dark, and very dusty attic, and he waited for his brother to come up. Rybeck emerged a second later, still pale as a ghost and his hands were shaking. 

“Be glad you didn’t choose truth,” Strycker said as he stepped gingerly over a wooden dollhouse. “That would have been the ultimate humiliation.”

“So what? I would have won anyway.”

“You can’t win Truth or Dare, stupid.” 

“Blah, blah, blah. I know- Hey! What’s that?” Rybeck stopped walking and pointed to a shadowy cardboard box right in the center of the room. It appeared to be a plain box, without writing, tape, or any sort of marking. 

“Oh wow!” Strycker and Rybeck both instantly forgot about their conflict as they gathered around the box at a distance.
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Award this author for a well-written and beautiful follow-up. The two story parts blend seamlessly together.

Plot twist

Award this author for a very awesome unexpected radical change in the expected direction.