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Authors: Laura Dower

Return of Mega Mantis

BOOK: Return of Mega Mantis
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Published by the Penguin Group
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Text copyright © 2009 by Laura Dower. Illustrations copyright © 2009 by Grosset & Dunlap. All rights reserved. Published by Grosset & Dunlap, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014. GROSSET & DUNLAP is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. S.A.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2009001250
eISBN : 978-1-101-14947-8

For Papa.
—Laura Dower
To the hardest worker I know . . . I love you, Mom.
—Dave Schlafman
I sleep like a rock. But this morning, I heard a noise so loud and so strange that I thought my house kerploded. My eyes popped open.
The first thing I saw was my six-foot poster of Chomp-O the Magnificent.
“Aaaaah!” I cried and slipped off the bed. I landed hard on the floor. Good thing it was covered with dirty laundry and tube socks.
I glared at Chomp-O.
“Thanks for scaring me, bud,” I said, pulling myself back onto the bed.
For the past few days I’ve heard noises like weird squeals and clanks coming from far away. But this noise seemed closer, like it was right in our backyard.
Mom and Dad think I need to get my ears checked. They don’t hear anything. And my sister Rachel says she hears the same stuff I do, but she’s not a reliable witness. Rachel claims there are imaginary voices coming from her stuffed dolls and bears.
My Chomp-O Souvenir Digital Clock read 5:23 AM, as in
almost morning
. It was way too early to start the day for real.
I scrunched down under Cowboy Pete. That’s my favorite comforter. I’ve had it since I was three, and it has holes everywhere, but Pete makes me feel safe.
I wanted to fall asleep again, but my mind was racing. I expected to hear the weird noise again. But all I heard was the gurgle of my fish tank.
There was no going back to sleep now. I clicked off the alarm clock.
There’s a very good reason why I am so freaked out by all these strange noises. It all comes down to one thing: B-Monsters.
B-Monsters are the fake-looking monsters with weird names that step on cities with their enormous claws and breathe laughing gas all over.
Lately, I have those monsters on the brain—big time.
Reason #1: I live in Riddle, otherwise known as home to the Bs. Oswald Leery lives here, too, smack-dab in the middle of Riddle. He’s the famous director who invented B-Monster Vision, a special 3-D filming process. He lives in his own creepy castle, way up on top of Nerve Mountain.
Reason #2: My parents own the Drive-O-Rama out on Route 5. That’s where all of Leery’s original B-Monster movies were screened for the first time. My grandparents were actually
with Leery. Mom brags that she delivered me inside the Drive-O-Rama’s Snack Shack during a midnight showing of Oswald Leery’s classic,
Martian Mayhem
Reason #3: Three weeks ago, I learned the most incredible secret ever.
B-Monsters are really and truly
It all started at a special library screening of
. I only went because Ms. Shenanigans, our librarian, said we’d meet the real Oswald Leery up close. What a scam! Instead of Leery, we got his assistant, Walter. Later, we found out that Leery never even intended to come to the screening. He just wanted to set up a few fifth-graders from Riddle Elementary—including me, Jesse Ranger, Stella Min, and Lindsey Gomez. So he had Walter recruit us for this B-Monster-butt-kicking group called Monster Squad. Walter told us Leery’s B-Monsters were coming to life each time an original movie reel was shown. He needed us to kill the B-Monsters, destroy the movie reels, and, while we were at it, save the world.
No sweat, right?
I would never have believed this were possible if I hadn’t seen a real B-Monster with my own eyes. Right after we formed the squad, we met a green, gooey one: Slimo! At one point, I was up to my eyebrows in green monster snot, and let me tell you, Slimo does
smell too good.
But together, the Monster Squad got the goo and saved our science teacher, Mr. Bunsen, at the same time. Then we shredded the original
reel. Too cool!
Somehow, our differences made us work well as a group. Jesse Ranger is the brains. He’s so smart he can read a book and write a book report at the same time. Stella Min’s our squad muscle. Everyone at school calls her Ninja because she’s not afraid to take on anything; not even a slimy B-Monster. Lindsey Gomez is the squad clown. Her jokes are bad, but we all laugh. I think Lindsey is here for comic relief.
And then there’s me. I’m the B-Monster almanac. Name a movie and I can name the theme song, supporting cast, and license plate number on the getaway car.
“Damon! Get it in gear, son! School!”
Dad was calling from downstairs. The Chomp-O clock read 7:42 already. Time sure flies when I’m thinking about the Bs.
There were now only twenty-three minutes left to dress, eat, brush, and motor over to the Riddle Elementary School bus stop with my warthog of a little sister, Rachel.
I quickly got up, yanked a T-shirt over my head, and laced up my black high-tops. Walking to the door, I heard something. It stopped me cold.
I dashed to the window to check it out.
But there was nothing in the side yard. I couldn’t see the front yard. Was there something in the field
our house? I needed time to explore.
But there was no time.
The bedroom door flung open and my little rat of a sister just stood there in her pink fleece, smirking.
“Rachel!” I grabbed for the doorknob. “The door will stick!”
“You’re in big trouble!” Rachel whined with that na-na-na voice she always gets. “Dad’s extra-grouchy and now you’re late and you better get ready—”
“And you better
get out
!” I yelled. I bent down, picked up a shoe, and threw it at her. Unfortunately, I missed.
Rachel stuck out her tongue. “I’m telling!” Then she made this throw-up face and pointed at my head. “Eeeeeew! There are bugs on your head!”
Just hearing the word made my pulse race.
I spun around to the mirror and held my breath.
Sure enough, two big, fat flies were sitting on my head!
Bzzzzzzzzzt! Bzzzzzzt!
A regular kid would have shaken those flies onto the floor and stomped until they were a puddle of bug. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I am not
when it comes to bugs.
“Get them off!”
I waved my arms in the air. “OFF!”
The startled flies buzzed up to the ceiling.
That was when I saw the
flies. There must have been twenty huddled together on the outside windowpane.
“Look at the flies!” I cried. “We have to get Dad!”
“Race ya!” Rachel cried, running for my door. She darted ahead of me and pulled the door shut.
It was too late. The door was stuck closed. I was trapped with the bugs.
“Go get Dad,” I cried.
Bzzzzzzzzzt! Bzzzzzzt!
I looked at the ceiling and then at the window. There were now at least
more flies on the window in addition to the fat two inside my room. I felt woozy. The bugs appeared out of nowhere. It was just like the time Slimo appeared in my bathroom out of nowhere . . .
Did that mean we were about to get another B-Monster—with wings this time?
Nervously, I backed away from the window and huddled in the corner of the bedroom, far away from the flies.
“Daaaaaad!” I wailed as loudly as I could. “Help! Bug!”
All at once, my bedroom door flew open again. Dad rushed in waving a super-sized fly swatter.
“Let me at ’em!” Dad cried, swatting like a swashbuckler. Unlike me, Dad isn’t scared of anything. I guess you get superhero nerves of steel when you screen scary Bs for a living.
BOOK: Return of Mega Mantis
9.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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