Authors: R. L. Stine
I grabbed Hat's sleeve when I saw the moving shadows near the trees. “Look!” I whispered, my heart pounding. I pointed across the clearing.
But I didn't need to point. He saw them, too. We all saw them.
Courtney and Denise were facing the other direction, unaware that something was happening behind them.
I stared hard, holding my breath, keeping low behind the weeds.
I saw a dark figure moving slowly toward the tree house.
The I saw another figure behind it. It seemed to be pulling itself up from the mud.
A third figure staggered into the light.
The three Mud Monsters!
Kevin and his friends had come through for us!
Courtney and Denise still didn't see them. Courtney was leaning on the tree house wall, peering through the binoculars.
Denise was aiming the flashlight in the other direction.
I could see Kevin and his friends clearly now. They looked great!
Their heads were covered with wet, dark mud. Their clothes appeared tattered and decayed.
Dripping mud, they staggered forward, like zombies, with their arms outstretched.
Closer. Closer to the tree house.
I silently urged Courtney and Denise.
Turn around â and start screaming your heads off!
But Courtney and Denise still didn't turn around. They still had no idea the three gruesome Mud Monsters were sneaking up behind them.
I turned and glanced quickly at my three friends. Molly and Charlene were frozen like statues, their mouths wide open, their eyes bulging, enjoying the show. Hat stared without blinking. Watching gleefully. Waiting.
We were all waiting for our two victims to realize the Mud Monsters were approaching.
Suddenly, as I stared at the three staggering Mud Monsters in the clearing, I heard a rustling sound behind me.
Crackling twigs. The scrape of shoes against the ground.
Low murmuring voices.
“Huh?” With a gasp of surprise, I turned back.
And saw three
Mud Monsters standing behind us!
“No!” I tried to scream, but my voice came out a choked whisper.
Hat, Molly, and Charlene spun around as the three new Mud Monsters moved closer.
And I recognized Kevin in the middle of them.
“K-Kevin!” I stammered.
“Sorry, punk,” Kevin whispered. “But we had a flat tire.”
“Are we too late?” Kevin asked.
I didn't reply. I couldn't.
I turned back to the clearing. The three Mud Monsters were staggering right behind the tree house. Their sunken eyes peered out from the wet mud that dripped down their faces.
And then I saw more of them. I saw arms poking up from the dirt. I saw mud-covered heads appear. More and more bodies rose up silently from the marshy ground.
Dark figures, dripping with thick mud, pushed themselves up and began staggering across the clearing. Their bare feet slapped the mud as they walked.
There were dozens of them now. Skinny, scraggly, twisted, mud-drenched bodies, all lurching toward the tree house. Dozens. And dozens more, pulling themselves up from under the ground.
“Run!” I screamed, jumping out from behind the weeds. “Courtney! Denise! Run!
They hesitated. Then they finally saw the hideous monsters.
Courtney's shrill scream rang out through the trees.
She screamed out in terror. Again. And then again.
She and Denise were both screaming.
It should have been our big moment, our triumph.
But it wasn't.
The two girls screamed in shrill horror.
And then I realized we were
Their feet smacking wetly over the ground, the Mud Monsters staggered forward.
I saw Courtney and Denise leap to the ground.
And then I saw them running, screaming in terror as they ran.
And then I was running, too. Running through the dark trees. Running from the woods.
Running. Running. Running from the mud-covered monsters I knew I'd never forget, no matter how far I ran.
Well, that all happened two weeks ago. Two long weeks ago.
The horror is over. It's all behind us.
But I still don't go out much. I really don't like to leave the house.
Neither do my friends.
Yesterday, Kevin asked me if I wanted to see his Mud Monsters video. It's all edited and finished, he said.
I told him no thanks. I really don't want to watch it.
I've been very nervous and tense since that night in the woods.
My friends have been nervous and tense, too. We're all totally stressed out.
Except for Courtney.
You know what Courtney has been doing? She's been bragging to everyone that she was right. That there really
monsters in the world.
Courtney's been bragging to everyone how she proved there are real monsters because she saw them.
She's worse than ever.
My friends and I, we'd really like to give Courtney a good scare.
We'd really like to scare Courtney once and for all.
But we can't. We're just too scared.
About the Author
Q & A with R.L. Stine
Must Have Mud
Teaser for Slappy New Year
Teaser for Return of the Mummy
Bonus material written and compiled by Gabrielle S. Balkan
R.L. Stine's books are read all over the world. So far, his books have sold more than 300 million copies, making him one of the most popular children's authors in history. Besides Goosebumps, R.L. Stine has written the teen series Fear Street, the funny series Rotten School, as well as the Mostly Ghostly series, The Nightmare Room series, and the two-book thriller
R.L. Stine lives in New York with his wife, Jane, and Minnie, his King Charles spaniel. You can learn more about him at www.RLStine.com.
Of all the animals Eddie thinks will scare Courtney, which would you rather be trapped in a small space â like a classroom locker â with: a snake, a bumblebee, a tarantula, or a Saint Bernard?
R.L. Stine (RLS):
I would choose to be in a classroom locker with all four of them. The snake would eat the bee. The Saint Bernard would sit on the tarantula and the snake. And I'd be perfectly safe.
Mr. Melvin tells Eddie's class that people have always believed in monsters. Are there any old monster legends that you would like to write about?
When I was in China, kids told me legends about dragons. I'd love to do a book about dragons someday. Did you know that in China, dragons are good â not evil?
Lots of people are easily spooked like Eddie. Do you have any advice for people who are often scared?
RLS: Yes. Don't turn on the TV news!
What do you do when you finish a book? Do you celebrate in any way?
RLS: Yes, I usually take ten minutes off and go crazy. Then it's time to start the next book.
Have you ever appeared in one of the Goosebumps TV episodes? If not, would you want to?
RLS: I do introductions and closings to many of the hour-long TV shows. In Night of the Living Dummy II, I do an intro with a dummy of MYSELF. I dare you to pick which is me and which is the dummy.
In Goosebumps HorrorLand #18:
Slappy New Year!
shy Shawn Klaven thinks Slappy the ventriloquist's dummy is his only friend. Would you ever want Slappy as a friend?
RLS: Would you want a friend who insults you day and night, forces you to be his slave, then spews green goo all over you?
To find out who R.L. Stine bases his characters
on, pick up
RETURN OF THE MUMMY
and look in the back of the book!
Courtney is right. Because of the tarantula's small poison glands, its bite doesn't hurt much at all â about as much as a bee sting. Here's a collection of other interesting and bizarre spider facts â including what THEY are afraid of.
WHAT A WAY TO GO
One might say that a visit from the female spider wasp is the spider's greatest fear, and here's why: The spider wasp stings a spider, paralyzing it but keeping it totally alive. She then digs into the spider and lays an egg into the body cavity. This way, when the egg hatches, the baby wasp will have fresh food, in the form of a paralyzed spider.
Arachnid (spider) + phobia (fear) = arachnophobia, an abnormal fear or loathing of spiders
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Some people in the South Pacific eat cooked spiders as a snack and say that they taste nutty and sticky â kind of like peanut butter!
With no incisors, canines, or molars, spiders can't chew their food. But they do have fangs, and they use these to inject venom into their prey. This toxin transforms the insides of an insect into a liquid goop that the spider can suck right up, leaving an empty shell behind.
The Australian funnel web spider is one of the most venomous spiders in the world.
LEAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT
Like your own home, spiderwebs get dirty and damaged â some spiders even make a new web every day. But instead of repairing the web, a spider will eat it and simply make a new one!
Tarantulas can have a legspan of 11 inches â that's as big as a dinner plate!
STUCK ON YOU
The six-eyed, yellow-and-black spitting spider immobilizes its prey by spraying it with jets of glue. The glue squirts from the spider's fangs and sets quickly, pinning the victim to the ground.
Spiders lay between 2 and 1,000 eggs, depending on the species.
Spider silk is fantastic stuff: The tensile strength of some types is like steel. But unlike steel, dragline silk is lightweight and stretchy, which would make it excellent for building things â if only we could get enough spiders together to mass-produce the material.
There are more than 35,000 species of spiders. And ALL are carnivorous!
How well do you know Goosebumps? Could you survive any of these horrible fates?
1. At the end of
NIGHT OF THE Living DUMMY,
Lindy and Kris defeat Mr. Wood by â¦
a. chasing him under a steamroller.
b. letting their dog chew him to bits.
c. covering him in Monster Blood.
2. When Carly Beth puts on her hideous Halloween costume in
THE HAUNTED MASK,
she is shocked to become â¦
a. very, very angry.
b. very, very strong.
3. What happens to Evan's cocker spaniel, Trigger, after he eats a little of the bright green goo from Wagner's Novelties & Sundries in
a. All of the dog's hair falls out.
b. He becomes paralyzed.
c. He doubles in size.
THE HORROR AT CAMP JELLYJAM,
the repulsive King jellyjam is defeated when he â¦
a. is buried in Brussels sprouts.
b. suffocates from his own foul smell.
c. is set on fire.
HOW I GOT MY SHRUNKEN HEAD,
Mark uses Jungle Magic to â¦
a. shrink Kareen, Carolyn, and Dr. Hawlings to the size of mice.
b. un-shrink his own head.
c. heal himself from ant bites.
6. What doesn't Sam wish for in
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR?
a. That Judith had met the Crystal Woman instead of Byrd.
b. For Judith Bellwood to disappear.
c. For her team to win the basketball game.
7. What frightening thing happens during the Coffin Cruise ride in
ONE DAY AT HORRORLAND?
a. The passengers are attacked by spiders.
b. Luke and Lizzy are trapped inside.
c. The bottom of the coffin falls out.
THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY'S TOMB,
Gabe is surprised when Sari â¦
a. saves him from scorpions.
b. pushes him into the scorpion pit.
c. hides in a mummy sarcophagus.
9. What happens when Greg takes his own picture in
SAY CHEESE AND DIE!?
a. He gets into a terrible car accident.
b. He falls down the stairs.
c. Nothing: Greg never takes a picture of himself.
ANSWERS 1: A, 2: A, 3: C, 4: B, 5: A, 6: C, 7: B, 8: A, 9: C.
Aside from housing Mud Monsters, there are many surprising uses for mud. Here are five unusual ways mud is used in the world of sports, beauty, and even food.
As part of its Hard Corps Race Series, Camp Pendleton in Southern California hosts the World Famous Mud Run, a 10K run with hills, tire obstacles, river crossings, two 5-foot walls surrounded by mud, a tunnel crawl, a slippery hill climb, and a 30-foot-wide mud pit. There's a 2-hour, 45-minute time limit on the completion of the course, so keep your mud-pie making to a minimum.
Fancy spas all over the world offer mud baths to highend clients. But they don't use just any mud from the side of the road; they have their own secret recipes that include peat, volcanic ash, and mineral water. Some people like these warm mud baths for their antigravity-like feeling. Mud baths were first used to treat arthritis, but many people think there are many other benefits.
Your local health food store probably sells mud â in the form of clay powder â and it's going to get rubbed in your face. Here's a facial mask you can make in your home: Mix together 1 tablespoon dry clay with 1 egg yolk, Â¼ of a mashed avocado, and enough witch hazel to create a smooth texture. Spread over your face, being careful to avoid eyes, nostrils, and mouth, and let dry for about five minutes before washing off with warm water.
Because they don't have sweat glands, pigs rely on mud to keep them cool and protect them from the sun. However, if your little brother tries to use that excuse to explain his own mud-seeking ways, he's not telling the truth!
A nutrition expert at the Yale School of Medicine said that the binding effect of clay could cause it to absorb toxins, making it possible for people to eat certain foods that have always caused upset stomachs in the past. But don't try this with dirt from your backyard â you need a certain type of clay.
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The adventure continues in the world's scariest theme park!
My name is Ray Gordon and I'm twelve. My brother, Brandon, is nine, but people think that he's older than I am.