The Five Masks of Dr. Screem

The Five Masks of Dr. Screem by R. L. Stine Read Free Book Online

Book: The Five Masks of Dr. Screem by R. L. Stine Read Free Book Online
Authors: R. L. Stine
back. The giant insects came running toward me. They reached out their spindly front legs, ready to grab me.
    I knew I had only seconds to act.
    I turned to the bush. So thick. I couldn’t find an opening.
    The thread over my hands was unraveling. I tugged at it. It was amazingly strong.
    I had a crazy idea. Frantically, I pulled off a length of the thread. With a desperate heave, I tossed one end to the top of the bush.
    I got lucky. It caught.
    As the insects closed in, I took a running leap at the bush. And gripping the thread in both hands, I swung myself out of their grasp. I landed on the top of the bush — and dropped to the other side beside my brother.
    Peter jumped back, startled.
    We both stood there, hiding behind the solid row of bushes. Inside the insect mask, my face was drenched in sweat. My whole body tingled. Patches of sticky webbing clung to my arms and chest.
    Would the ugly mantises come leaping through the bushes?
    If they did, they would capture us. Peter and I were too winded to run anymore.
    I listened hard. Listened for their tapping footsteps, their
eeh eeh eeh
    But no. Silence.
    I stared through the eyeholes of the mask. I felt cold all over. Pure, cold dread.
    But still … silence.
    I turned — and gasped. I blinked several times, trying to focus my eyes.
    Then I grabbed Peter by the shoulder and spun him around. “Look,” I said. “Peter — where
we? The trees are gone. We’re not in the woods. Where has everything gone?”
    “It — it’s so dark,” Peter murmured. “So totally dark.”
    We were standing nowhere.
    I mean, there were no trees. No houses. No moon in the sky.
    No sky
    I couldn’t see the ground we were standing on.
    I spun around. The long row of bushes was gone. Just the inky darkness everywhere.
    My ears rang from the silence. A deep hush all around.
    “Peter,” I whispered, “I don’t … like … this.”

    My body shook. Inside the mask, my teeth began to chatter.
    And then the blackness was dotted with grays. I saw mysterious shapes float in front of me. The wind returned, and I heard the crackling swirl of dead autumn leaves.
    I heard the rumble of a car. And a low
hoot hoot
. An owl?
    Yes. Trees formed out of the darkness. A street. A street I recognized.
    A tall, smooth hedge with a house behind it. And I knew the house.
    Bella’s house.
    “We’re back,” I said. I let out a long sigh of relief.
    Peter danced up and down. “We’re back! We’re back!” He slapped my shoulder. “That was
    “Huh?” I jumped away from him. “Are you
? Do you want to be a caterpillar insidea cocoon? Or eaten by a giant praying mantis?”
    “But we’re okay!” he cried. “We made it!”
    “We’re not finished,” I reminded him. “We have four more masks to go — remember? And if we don’t get them by dawn, we may never see Mom and Dad again.”
    That took the smile off his face. “Okay. What’s the next mask?” he asked.
    I turned to Bella’s house. The curtains were drawn in the front window. The front light was out. The house was dark.
    “I don’t believe it,” I said. “Did she leave?”
    “Forget about her. Let’s look for the mummy mask,” Peter said. “Bet I know where it is.”
    He turned and started trotting along the sidewalk. I hurried after him. “Peter, where are you going?”
    “The History Museum,” he said. “My class had a field trip there last week. They’ve got a bunch of mummies on display.”
    I leaned into the gusting wind. “What makes you think the mask will be there?”
    “The insect mask was down on the ground with the insects,” Peter replied. “I think the masks will tell us where they are hidden. Can you think of a better place for a mummy mask?”
    Maybe he was right. We’d soon find out.
    The History Museum stood next to the Public Library four or five blocks from our school. Theywere on a wide street with tall old trees leaning over both sides.
    A small grassy park, called

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