Connor and his best friend Emily Zinman are bored one day and decide to visit a local yard sale held by a bitter old man named Mr. Zarwid. Mr. Zarwid accuses the two kids of being thieves and to retaliate, Connor steals a deck of cards. Connor, Emily and another friend named Kyle Boots examine the deck and learn it's a game called "Be Afraid". Before they can play, Mr. Zarwid shows up at Connor's front door asking about the cards, but Connor lies, saying he has no idea. As the kids play the game, a dwarf creature named Zel escapes from the game. Not only that, but things continue to get stranger as their next door neighbors end up ransacked by knights on horseback.
The kids decide to play the game some more the next day and more strange things continue to occur. This includes bringing a dragon to life. But when Connor puts the cards away, the dragon vanishes. One card falls out of the card box, depicting Mr. Zarwid, which the kids realize is an anagram for "Wizard". But when they try to give the deck back to Mr. Zarwid, he says they've learned too much and he sends them into the game of Be Afraid. After escaping creatures named Jekels, they end up attacked by plant creatures named Stelks. But before the story can progress, the book tells the reader:
The story then focuses on a kid named Mark, who is upset the story he's reading doesn't have an ending. Mark finds the deck of Be Afraid cards and he and his sister Amy are sent into the game where they eventually run into Mark, Emily and Kyle. The kids end up confronted by Krell only to eventually fall over a cliff. However, the book changes to another protagonist, so the fate of Connor and company is left unknown.