Authors: R. L. Stine
Tags: #Children's Books.3-5
“When a werewolf creeps up behind you at night, he steps so silently you
can’t hear a thing. You don’t know the werewolf is there until you feel his hot,
sour breath on the back of your neck.”
I leaned over and blew a big blast of hot air onto the back of Tyler Brown’s
neck. The kid’s eyes bulged out and he made a sick, choking sound.
I love baby-sitting for Tyler. He scares so easily.
“The werewolf’s breath freezes you so you can’t move,” I said in a whisper.
“You can’t run away. You can’t kick your legs or move your arms. That makes it
easy for the werewolf to rip your skin off.”
I sent another hot blast of werewolf breath onto Tyler’s neck. I could see
him shiver. He made a soft whimpering noise.
“Stop it, Freddy. You’re really scaring him!” my friend Cara Simonetti
scolded me. She flashed me a stern scowl from the chair across the room.
Tyler and I were on the couch. I sat real close to him so I could whisper and
scare him good.
“Freddy—he’s only six,” Cara reminded me. “Look at him. He’s shaking all
“He loves it,” I told her. I turned back to Tyler. “When you are out late at
night, and you feel the hot werewolf breath on the back of your neck—don’t
turn around,” I whispered. “Don’t turn around. Don’t let him know that you see
him—because that’s when he’ll
I shouted the word
And then I leaped on Tyler and began
tickling him with both hands as hard as I could.
He let out a shout. He was crying and laughing at the same time.
I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe. Then I stopped. I’m a very good
baby-sitter. I always know when to stop tickling.
Cara climbed to her feet. She grabbed me by the shoulders and tugged me away
from Tyler. “He’s only six, Freddy!” she repeated.
I grabbed Cara, wrestled her to the floor, and started tickling her. “The
!” I shouted. I tossed back my head in an evil
Wrestling with Cara is always a big mistake. She punched me in the stomach,
so hard I saw stars. Really. Red and yellow stars. I rolled away, gasping for
Did you ever have the breath knocked out of you? It’s not a good feeling. You really think you’ll never breathe again.
Making me see stars is Cara’s hobby. She does it all the time. She can do it
with one punch.
Cara is tough.
That’s why she’s my best friend. We’re both tough. When the going gets tough,
we never crumble!
Ask anyone. Freddy Martinez and Cara Simonetti. Two tough kids.
A lot of people think we’re brother and sister. I guess it’s because we look
a little alike. We’re both pretty big for twelve. She’s an inch taller, but I’m
catching up. We both have wavy black hair, dark eyes, and round faces.
We’ve been friends ever since I beat her up in fourth grade. She tells
up in fourth grade.
Want to know how tough we are? We
it when our teacher squeaks the
chalk against the chalkboard!
Anyway, Tyler lives across the street from me. Whenever I baby-sit for him, I
call Cara, and she usually comes along. Tyler likes Cara better than me. She
always calms him down after I tell him stories to scare him to death.
“It’s a full moon tonight, Tyler,” I said, leaning close to him on the green
leather couch in his den.
“Did you look out the window? Did you see the full moon?”
Tyler shook his head. He scratched one side of his short, blond hair.
His blue eyes were wide. He was waiting for the rest of the werewolf story.
I leaned closer and lowered my voice. “When a werewolf steps out under the
full moon, hair starts to grow on his face,” I told him. “His teeth grow longer
and longer, and pointier. They don’t stop until they reach under his chin. Fur
covers his body like a wolf. And claws grow out from his fingers.”
I raked my fingernails down the front of Tyler’s T-shirt. He gasped.
“You’re really scaring him,” Cara warned. “He isn’t going to sleep at all
I ignored her. “And then the werewolf starts to walk,” I whispered, leaning
over Tyler. “The werewolf walks through the forest, searching for a victim.
Searching… hungry… walking… walking…”
I heard the footsteps in the living room. Heavy footsteps thudding over the
At first I thought I was imagining them.
But Tyler heard them, too.
“Walking… walking…” I whispered.
Tyler’s mouth dropped open.
The heavy footsteps thudded closer.
Cara turned in her chair to the doorway.
Tyler swallowed hard.
We all heard them now.
The heavy, thudding footsteps.
“A real one!”
“It’s a real werewolf!”
All three of us screamed.
“Give me a break,” the werewolf said.
Of course it wasn’t a real werewolf. It was Tyler’s dad.
“What are the three of you doing?” Mr. Brown asked, pulling off his overcoat.
He had blond hair and blue eyes like Tyler.
“Scaring Tyler to death,” Cara told him.
He rolled his eyes. “Didn’t you do that
“We do it every time,” I replied. “Tyler loves it.” I patted the kid on the
back. “You love it—right?”
“I guess,” he said in a tiny voice.
Tyler’s mom stepped into the room, straightening her sweater. “Were you
telling werewolf stories to Tyler again, Freddy?” she demanded. “Last time, he
had nightmares all night.”
“No, I didn’t!” Tyler protested.
Mr. Brown handed Cara and me each a five-dollar
bill. “Thanks for baby-sitting. Do you want me to walk you home?”
“No way,” I replied. Did he think I was some kind of wimp? “It’s just across
Cara and I said good night to the Browns. I didn’t really feel like going
home yet. So I walked Cara home. She lives on the next block.
The full moon shone down on us. It appeared to follow us as we walked,
floating low over the dark houses.
We laughed about my werewolf story. And we laughed about how scared it made
We didn’t know that it would be
to be scared next.
Saturday afternoon, Cara came over. We hurried down to my basement to play
A few years ago, my parents cleaned the basement up and turned it into a
great playroom. We have a full-sized pool table and a beautiful, old jukebox
down there. Mom and Dad filled the jukebox with old rock-and-roll records.
Last Christmas, they bought me an air hockey game. A big, table-sized one.
Cara and I have some major hockey battles. We spend hours slapping the
plastic puck back and forth at each other. We really get into it.
Our air hockey games usually end in wrestling matches. Just like real hockey
games on TV!
We leaned over the air hockey game and started to warm up, shoving the puck
slowly back and forth across the table. Not trying to score.
“Where are your parents?” Cara asked.
I shrugged. “Beats me.”
She narrowed her eyes at me. “You don’t know where they went? Didn’t they
leave you a note or something?”
I made a face at her. “They go out a lot.”
“Probably to get away from
!” Cara exclaimed. She laughed.
I had just come from karate class. I stepped around the hockey table and made
a few karate moves on her. One of my kicks accidentally landed on the back of
“Hey—!” she cried angrily. “Freddy—you jerk!”
When she bent over to rub her ankle, I shoved her into the wall. I meant it
as a joke.
I was just goofing. But I guess I don’t know my own strength.
She lost her balance and slammed hard into an antique china cabinet filled
with old dishes. The dishes rattled and shook. But nothing broke.
I laughed. I knew that Cara wasn’t really hurt.
I reached out to help pull her off the front of the cabinet. But she let out
a roar of attack—and came hurtling into me.
Her shoulder caught me in the chest. I uttered a hoarse choking sound. Once
again, I saw stars.
While I gasped for air, she grabbed the hockey puck off the game table. She
pulled her hand back to heave it at me.
But I wrapped my hand around hers and struggled to wrestle the puck away.
We were laughing. But this was a pretty serious fight.
Don’t get me wrong. Cara and I do this all the time. Especially when my
parents are out.
I pulled the puck from her hand—and it went flying across the room. With a
loud karate cry, I swung free of her.
We were both laughing so hard, we could barely move. But Cara took a running
start and plowed into me once again.
This time she sent me sailing back… back. I lost my balance. My hands shot
up as I crashed into the side of the tall china cabinet.
I landed hard. My back smashed into the wooden cabinet’s side.
And the whole cabinet toppled over!
I heard the crash of broken plates.
A second later, I fell on top of the cabinet, sprawling helplessly on my
“Ohhhh.” My cry turned to a painful moan.
I just lay there on top of the fallen cabinet, like a turtle on its back. My
hands and legs thrashed the air. My whole body hurt.
That’s all I heard Cara say.
A simple “Uh-oh.”
And then she hurried over. She reached down, grabbed my hands, and tugged me
to my feet.
We both stepped away from the fallen cabinet.
“Sorry,” Cara murmured. “I didn’t mean to do that.”
“I know,” I said. I swallowed hard, rubbing my aching shoulder. “I think
we’re in major trouble.”
We both turned to check out the damage.
And we both cried out in surprise when we saw what the old wooden cabinet had
“A secret doorway!” I cried excitedly.
We stared at the door. It was made of smooth, dark wood. The doorknob was
covered with a thick layer of dust.
I had no idea there was a door back there. And I was pretty sure that Mom and
Dad didn’t know about it, either.
Cara and I stepped up to the doorway. I rubbed my hand over the doorknob,
wiping away some of the dust.
“Where does this lead?” Cara asked, smoothing her black hair back off her
I shrugged. “Beats me. Maybe it’s a closet or something. Mom and Dad never
mentioned another room down here.”
I knocked on the door with my fist. “Anyone in there?” I called.
Cara laughed. “Wouldn’t you be surprised if someone answered you!” she
I laughed, too. It was a pretty funny idea.
“Why would someone hide the door behind a cabinet?” Cara asked. “It doesn’t
make any sense.”
“Maybe there’s pirate treasure hidden back there,” I said. “Maybe there’s a
room filled with gold coins.”
Cara rolled her eyes. “That’s really lame,” she muttered. “Pirates in the
middle of Ohio?”
Cara turned the knob and tried to tug open the door.
I guess some kids would hesitate. Some kids probably wouldn’t be so eager to
pull open a mysterious, hidden door in their basement. Some kids might be a
But not Cara and me.
We’re not wimps. We don’t think about danger.
The door didn’t open.
“Is it locked?” I asked her.
She shook her head. “No. The cabinet is blocking the way.”
The cabinet lay on its side in front of the door. We both grabbed hold of it.
Cara took the top. I took the bottom.
It was heavier than I thought. Mainly because of all the broken dishes
inside. But we pushed it and pulled it, and slid it away from the doorway.
“Okay,” Cara said, wiping her hands off on the legs of her jeans.
“Okay,” I repeated. “Let’s check it out.”
The doorknob felt cool in my hand. I turned it and pulled open the wooden
The door moved slowly. It was heavy, and the rusted hinges made an eerie
as I strained to open it.
Then, standing close together, Cara and I leaned into the doorway and peered
I expected to find a room in there. A storage room or an old furnace room.
Some old houses—like my aunt Harriet’s—have coal rooms where coal was stored
to feed the furnace.
But that’s not what we saw.
Squinting into total darkness, I realized I was staring into a tunnel.