This is one I read some of the time. It’s actually from a story that hasn’t been published for the Kindle or Nook yet.
This story takes place on a school field trip to a nearby museum of science and natural history.There’s a mummy exhibit there, which freaks Peter out…but the mummy seems harmless enough, locked away in its plastic display case.
During the field trip, Dill has something go wrong (which I can’t reveal because it’s a spoiler), and Peter, Dill, and a new friend they’ve made have to hid out in a broom closet.
Unfortunately, a blizzard blows into town, and everyone leaves the museum except for a security guard, who finds the kids and takes them into his office to call the police.
The the lights go out. And they hear a THUMP, THUMP, CRACK.
The guard goes to investigate, and while he’s gone, Peter calls the police.
“What’d he say?”
“I think they’re coming,” Peter said.
“What about your Grandfather?”
“Oh man,” he said, and dialed again.
As the line rang, Dill whispered, “Uh, guys…?”
Peter looked up, the phone still at his ear. All the way down at the other end of the hallway, the guard appeared from around the corner and emerged into the red emergency lighting.
At first Peter sighed in relief, until he realized that something was wrong.
The guard was standing straight up, yes, but he wasn’t walking. His feet dragged behind him rather than taking steps. His arms hung limply at his side, his hands empty and open. His head was up, but the eyes stared blankly forward. The overall effect was like seeing a ghost floating slowly into view.
And there was something sticking out from behind his head that reached past the corner of the doorway. It looked like a brown board, straight and strong, with lines crisscrossing it in every direction.
“Uh…sir?” Peter called out, timidly at first, then louder. “Mister, are you okay?”
The guard didn’t answer.
Instead, he slumped forward and THUD hit the carpeted ground like a sack of rocks.
The thing that had been extending from behind his head was an arm. Peter knew this because he could see the hand now. It must have been holding up the guard underneath his collar.
Even at this distance, he could see the frayed edges of the bandages and the tiny points of bones poking out of the bandaged fingers.
Suddenly the phone stopped ringing, and a gruff voice spoke far away. “Hello.”
Peter was barely able to croak out the words, “You have to come get us.”
“The mu…mummy…” Peter said, trailing off, as the thing itself stepped into the shadows.
It was tall and thin, impossibly thin. Its arms and legs were little more than a few inches across at their widest, wrapped tightly in spirals of cloth. The worst was the stomach…because there was no stomach. The chest was joined to the pelvis solely by the spine, a long, spindly, knobby column of bone. Everything else was gone: muscle, flesh, internal organs – gone. Scraps of bandages hung in tatters from the ribcage like tentacles from a jellyfish.
And everything about its posture was wrong. It was unevenly balanced, with one shoulder up higher than the other. Its hips were tilted, one above the other, and the left leg looked like it was just barely hanging on to the rest of the body. More than anything, it resembled a poorly-made marionette that dangled on invisible strings, body parts swaying back and forth, threatening to fall apart with the barest touch.
But most disturbing was the head. The entire upper half of its skull remained bandaged, just as Peter had seen it in the sarcophagus. There were no eyes, or depressions where sockets should have been. However, a portion over the mouth had unraveled, and the lower jawbone jutted grotesquely from the cloth.
The overall impression was like some horror from the deepest ocean, or a burrowing monstrosity from miles underground – someplace eyes were not needed, but teeth were.
“Oh…crap…” Dill whispered.
The thing stepped forward – actually, it almost fell forward. Its leg swung like it had a heavy weight attached to the foot. It paused for a second, and then the other side of its body lurched forward in jittery, shambling movement.
Return to List Of Excerpts
01 Introduction To The Characters
02 In The Garden At Night
03 In The Woods
04 The Swamp Monster
05 The Mummy
06 The History Paper (funny!)
07 The Test (funny!)
08 The Mannequins