Authors: R. L. Stine
Tags: #Children's Books
NIGHT OF THE
Goosebumps - 07
(An Undead Scan v1.5)
“Mmmmm! Mmmm! Mmmmm!”
Kris Powell struggled to get her twin sister’s attention.
Lindy Powell glanced up from the book she was reading to see what the problem was. Instead of her sister’s pretty face, Lindy saw a round, pink bubble nearly the size of Kris’ head.
“Nice one,” Lindy said without much enthusiasm. With a sudden move, she poked the bubble and popped it.
“Hey!” Kris cried as the pink bubble gum exploded onto her cheeks and chin.
Lindy laughed. “Gotcha.”
Kris angrily grabbed Lindy’s paperback and slammed it shut. “Whoops—lost your place!” she exclaimed. She knew her sister hated to lose her place in a book.
Lindy grabbed the book back with a scowl. Kris struggled to pull the pink gum off her face.
“That was the biggest bubble I ever blew,” she said angrily. The gum wasn’t coming off her chin.
“I’ve blown much bigger than that,” Lindy said with a superior sneer.
you two,” their mother muttered, making her way into their bedroom and dropping a neatly folded pile of laundry at the foot of Kris’ bed. “You even compete over bubble gum?”
“We’re not competing,” Lindy muttered. She tossed back her blonde ponytail and returned her eyes to her book.
Both girls had straight blonde hair. But Lindy kept hers long, usually tying it behind her head or on one side in a ponytail. And Kris had hers cut very short.
It was a way for people to tell the twins apart, for they were nearly identical in every other way. Both had broad foreheads and round, blue eyes. Both had dimples in their cheeks when they smiled. Both blushed easily, large pink circles forming on their pale cheeks.
Both thought their noses were a little too wide. Both wished they were a little taller. Lindy’s best friend, Alice, was nearly three inches taller, even though she hadn’t turned twelve yet.
“Did I get it all off?” Kris asked, rubbing her chin, which was red and sticky.
“Not all,” Lindy told her, glancing up. “There’s some in your hair.”
“Oh, great,” Kris muttered. She grabbed at her hair, but couldn’t find any bubble gum.
“Gotcha again,” Lindy said, laughing. “You’re too easy!”
Kris uttered an angry growl. “Why are you always so mean to me?”
“Me? Mean?” Lindy looked up in wide-eyed innocence. “I’m an angel. Ask anyone.”
Exasperated, Kris turned back to her mother, who was stuffing socks into a dresser drawer. “Mom, when am I going to get my own room?”
“On the Twelfth of Never,” Mrs. Powell replied, grinning.
Kris groaned. “That’s what you always say.”
Her mother shrugged. “You know we don’t have a spare inch, Kris.” She turned to the bedroom window. Bright sunlight streamed through the filmy curtains. “It’s a beautiful day. What are you two doing inside?”
“Mom, we’re not little girls,” Lindy said, rolling her eyes. “We’re twelve. We’re too old to go out and play.”
“Did I get it all?” Kris asked, still scraping pink patches of bubble gum off her chin.
“Leave it. It improves your complexion,” Lindy told her.
“I wish you girls would be nicer to each other,” Mrs. Powell said with a sigh.
They suddenly heard shrill barking coming from downstairs. “What’s Barky excited about now?” Mrs. Powell fretted. The little black terrier was always barking about something. “Why not take Barky for a walk?”
“Don’t feel like it,” Lindy muttered, nose in her book.
“What about those beautiful new bikes you got for your birthdays?” Mrs. Powell said, hands on hips. “Those bikes you just couldn’t live without. You know, the ones that have been sitting in the garage since you got them.”
“Okay, okay. You don’t have to be sarcastic, Mom,” Lindy said, closing her book. She stood up, stretched, and tossed the book onto her bed.
“You want to?” Kris asked Lindy.
“Want to what?”
“Go for a bike ride. We could ride to the playground, see if anyone’s hanging out at school.”
“You just want to see if Robby is there,” Lindy said, making a face.
“So?” Kris said, blushing.
“Go on. Get some fresh air,” Mrs. Powell urged. “I’ll see you later. I’m off to the supermarket.”
Kris peered into the dresser mirror. She had gotten most of the gum off. She brushed her short, hair back with both hands. “Come on. Let’s go out,” she said. “Last one out is a rotten egg.” She darted to the doorway, beating her sister by half a step.
As they burst out the back door, with Barky yipping shrilly behind them, the afternoon sun was high in a cloudless sky. The air was still and dry. It felt more like summer than spring.
Both girls were wearing shorts and sleeveless T-shirts. Lindy bent to pull open the garage door, then stopped. The house next door caught her eye.
“Look—they’ve got the walls up,” she told Kris, pointing across their back yard.
“That new house is going up so quickly. It’s amazing,” Kris said following her sister’s gaze.
The builders had knocked down the old house during the winter. The new concrete foundation had been put down in March. Lindy and Kris had walked around on it when no workers were there, trying to figure out where the different rooms would go.
And now the walls had been built. The construction suddenly looked like a real house, rising up in the midst of tall stacks of lumber, a big mound of red-brown dirt, a pile of concrete blocks, and an assortment of power saws, tools, and machinery.
“No one’s working today,” Lindy said.
They took a few steps toward the new house. “Who do you think will move in?” Kris wondered. “Maybe some great-looking guy our age. Maybe great-looking twin guys!”
“Yuck!” Lindy made a disgusted face. “Twin guys? How drippy can you get! I can’t believe you and I are in the same family.”
Kris was used to Lindy’s sarcasm. Both girls liked being twins and hated being twins at the same time. Because they shared nearly everything—their looks, their clothing, their room—they were closer than most sisters ever get.
But because they were so much alike, they also managed to drive each other crazy a lot of the time.
“No one’s around. Let’s check out the new house,” Lindy said.
Kris followed her across the yard. A squirrel, halfway up the wide trunk of a maple tree, watched them warily.
They made their way through an opening in the low shrubs that divided the two yards. Then, walking past the stacks of lumber and the tall mound of dirt, they climbed the concrete stoop.
A sheet of heavy plastic had been nailed over the opening where the front door would go. Kris pulled one end of the plastic up, and they slipped into the house.
It was dark and cool inside and had a fresh wood smell. The plaster walls were up but hadn’t been painted.
“Careful,” Lindy warned. “Nails.” She pointed to the large nails scattered over the floor. “If you step on one, you’ll get lockjaw and die.”
“You wish,” Kris said.
“I don’t want you to die,” Lindy replied. “Just get lockjaw.” She snickered.
“Ha-ha,” Kris said sarcastically. “This must be the living room,” she said, making her way carefully across the front room to the fireplace against the back wall.
“A cathedral ceiling,” Lindy said, staring up at the dark, exposed wooden beams above their heads. “Neat.”
“This is bigger than our living room,” Kris remarked, peering out the large picture window to the street.
“It smells great,” Lindy said, taking a deep breath. “All the sawdust. It smells so piney.”
They made their way through the hall and explored the kitchen. “Are those wires on?” Kris asked, pointing to a cluster of black electrical wires suspended from the ceiling beams.
“Why don’t you touch one and find out?” Lindy suggested.
“You first,” Kris shot back.
“The kitchen isn’t very big,” Lindy said, bending down to stare into the holes where the kitchen cabinets would go.
She stood up and was about to suggest they check out the upstairs when she heard a sound. “Huh?” Her eyes widened in surprise. “Is someone in here?”
Kris froze in the middle of the kitchen.
They both listened.
Then they heard soft, rapid footsteps. Close by. Inside the house.
“Let’s go!” Lindy whispered.
Kris was already ducking under the plastic, heading out the doorway opening. She leapt off the back stoop and started running toward their back yard.
Lindy stopped at the bottom of the stoop and turned back to the new house. “Hey—look!” she called.
A squirrel came flying out a side window. It landed on the dirt with all four feet moving and scrambled toward the maple tree in the Powells’ yard.
Lindy laughed. “Just a dumb squirrel.”
Kris stopped near the low shrubs. “You sure?” She hesitated, watching the windows of the new house. “That was a pretty loud squirrel.”
When she turned back from the house, she was surprised to find that Lindy had disappeared.
“Hey—where’d you go?”
“Over here,” Lindy called. “I see something!”
It took Kris a while to locate her sister. Lindy was half-hidden behind a large black trash Dumpster at the far end of the yard.
Kris shielded her eyes with one hand to see better. Lindy was bent over the side of the Dumpster. She appeared to be rummaging through some trash.
“What’s in there?” Kris called.
Lindy was tossing things around and didn’t seem to hear her.
it?” Kris called, taking a few reluctant steps toward the Dumpster.
Lindy didn’t reply.
Then, slowly, she pulled something out. She started to hold it up. Its arms and legs dangled down limply. Kris could see a head with brown hair.
A head? Arms and legs?
“Oh, no!” Kris cried aloud, raising her hands to her face in horror.
Kris uttered a silent gasp, staring in horror as Lindy lifted him out of the trash Dumpster.
She could see his face, frozen in a wide-eyed stare. His brown hair stood stiffly on top of his head. He seemed to be wearing some sort of gray suit.
His arms and legs dangled lifelessly.
“Lindy!” Kris called, her throat tight with fear. “Is it—is he…
Her heart pounding, Kris started to run to her sister. Lindy was cradling the poor thing in her arms.
“Is he alive?” Kris repeated breathlessly.
She stopped short when her sister started to laugh.
“No. Not alive!” Lindy called gleefully.
And then Kris realized that it wasn’t a child after all. “A dummy!” she shrieked.
Lindy held it up. “A ventriloquist’s dummy,” she said. “Someone threw him out. Do you believe it? He’s in perfect shape.”
It took Lindy a while to notice that Kris was breathing hard, her face bright red. “Kris, what’s your problem? Oh, wow. Did you think he was a real kid?” Lindy laughed scornfully.
“No. Of course not,” Kris insisted.
Lindy held the dummy up and examined his back, looking for the string to pull to make his mouth move. “I
a real kid!” Lindy made him say. She was speaking in a high-pitched voice through gritted teeth, trying not to move her lips.
“Dumb,” Kris said, rolling her eyes.
dumb. You’re dumb!” Lindy made the dummy say in a high, squeaky voice. When she pulled the string in his back, the wooden lips moved up and down, clicking as they moved. She moved her hand up his back and found the control to make his painted eyes shift from side to side.
“He’s probably filled with bugs,” Kris said, making a disgusted face. “Throw him back, Lindy.”
“No way,” Lindy insisted, rubbing her hand tenderly over the dummy’s wooden hair. “I’m keeping him.”
“She’s keeping me,” she made the dummy say.
Kris stared suspiciously at the dummy. His brown hair was painted on his head. His blue eyes moved only from side to side and couldn’t blink. He had bright red painted lips, curved up into an eerie smile. The lower lip had a chip on one side so that it didn’t quite match the upper lip.
The dummy wore a gray, double-breasted suit over a white shirt collar. The collar wasn’t attached to a shirt. Instead, the dummy’s wooden chest was painted white. Big brown leather shoes were attached to the ends of his thin, dangling legs.
“My name is Slappy,” Lindy made the dummy say, moving his grinning mouth up and down.
“Dumb,” Kris repeated, shaking her head. “Why Slappy?”
“Come over here and I’ll slap you!” Lindy made him say, trying not to move her lips.
Kris groaned. “Are we going to ride our bikes to the playground or not, Lindy?”
“Afraid poor Robby misses you?” Lindy made Slappy ask.
“Put that ugly thing down,” Kris replied impatiently.
“I’m not ugly,” Slappy said in Lindy’s squeaky voice, sliding his eyes from side to side. “You’re ugly!”
“Your lips are moving,” Kris told Lindy. “You’re a lousy ventriloquist.”
“I’ll get better,” Lindy insisted.
“You mean you’re really keeping it?” Kris cried.
“I like Slappy. He’s cute,” Lindy said, cuddling the dummy against the front of her T-shirt.
“I’m cute,” she made him say. “And you’re ugly.”
“Shut up,” Kris snapped to the dummy.
“You shut up!” Slappy replied in Lindy’s tight, high-pitched voice.
“What do you want to keep him for?” Kris asked, following her sister toward the street.
“I always liked puppets,” Lindy recalled. “Remember those marionettes I used to have? I played with them for hours at a time. I made up long plays with them.”
“I always played with the marionettes, too,” Kris remembered.
“You got the strings all tangled up,” Lindy said, frowning. “You weren’t any good at it.”
“But what are you going to
with this dummy?” Kris demanded.
“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll work up an act,” Lindy said thoughtfully, shifting Slappy to her other arm. “I’ll bet I could earn some money with him. You know. Appear at kids’ birthday parties. Put on shows.”
“Happy birthday!” she made Slappy declare. “Hand over some money!”
Kris didn’t laugh.
The two girls walked along the street in front of their house. Lindy cradled Slappy in her arms, one hand up his back.
“I think he’s creepy,” Kris said, kicking a large pebble across the street. “You should put him back in the Dumpster.”
“No way,” Lindy insisted.
“No way,” she made Slappy say, shaking his head, his glassy blue eyes moving from side to side. “I’ll put
in the Dumpster!”
“Slappy sure is mean,” Kris remarked, frowning at Lindy.
Lindy laughed. “Don’t look at me,” she teased. “Complain to Slappy.”
“You’re jealous,” Lindy said. “Because I found him and you didn’t.”
Kris started to protest, but they both heard voices. Kris looked up to see the two Marshall kids from down the block running toward them. They were cute, red-headed kids that Lindy and Kris sometimes baby-sat for.
“What’s that?” Amy Marshall asked, pointing at Slappy.
“Does he talk?” her younger brother, Ben, asked, staying several feet away, an uncertain expression on his freckled face.
“Hi, I’m Slappy!” Lindy made the dummy call out. She cradled Slappy in one arm, making him sit up straight, his arms dangling at his sides.
“Where’d you get him?” Amy asked.
“Do his eyes move?” Ben asked, still hanging back.
eyes move?” Slappy asked Ben.
Both Marshall kids laughed. Ben forgot his reluctance. He stepped up and grabbed Slappy’s hand.
“Ouch! Not so hard!” Slappy cried.
Ben dropped the hand with a gasp. Then he and Amy collapsed in gleeful laughter.
“Ha-ha-ha-ha!” Lindy made Slappy laugh, tilting his head back and opening his mouth wide.
The two kids thought that was a riot. They laughed even harder.
Pleased by the response she was getting, Lindy glanced at her sister. Kris was sitting on the curb, cradling her head in her hands, a dejected look on her face.
She’s jealous, Lindy realized. Kris sees that the kids really like Slappy and that I’m getting all the attention. And she’s totally jealous.
keeping Slappy! Lindy told herself, secretly pleased at her little triumph.
She stared into the dummy’s bright blue painted eyes. To her surprise, the dummy seemed to be staring back at her, a twinkle of sunlight in his eyes, his grin wide and knowing.