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The Legend of the Batbark Woods
Author's note: PLEASE READ THIS! I'd really like your opinion! If you like this book, that's great! When I wrote this, everyone said it was really good. But now I'm starting to wonder about it. It's at a sixth grade writing level and I'm starting to think I should rewrite it in a better way. If you've read Infinity and seen its writing style, you know what I mean. This book will still have the same characters and some of the same events when it's rewritten. Most of it will probably be the same. So tell me what you think. SHOULD I REWRITE THIS BOOK?
THE LEGEND OF THE BATBARK WOODS
PART ONE: KATRINA GOES MISSING
There is a forest, hidden deep in the small town of Misty River that can be accessed by a purple coffin, one guarded by a spider tree, in fact. This is the story of when three young kids set foot in the purple coffin…and embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. This is the legend of the Batbark Woods.
Fourteen-year old Miles walked downstairs and saw his dad, a businessman working at a company called MichaelsCo, sipping some hot coffee. Miles’s twelve-year old sister, Katrina, followed behind Miles.
“Bye, dad! We’re goin’ to school!” Miles replied to his dad.
“Okay, see you two later. I’m gonna be at a meeting when you two get home, so don’t be surprised if I’m not there. If you need anything, just call, you hear?” Miles’s dad explained.
“Yeah, Dad. I got it,” Miles answered.
“See ya later!” Katrina exclaimed, and they both walked out of the house to the bus stop.
Miles’s father had explained earlier on that the weather was going to get very soggy and wet in the afternoon, but Miles didn’t bring a raincoat. Right now, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the beautiful morning sun shone brightly. Miles wasn’t sweating it that much.
Miles’s best friend, Randall, was standing at the bus stop. “Oh, hey, guys! Wonderful weather we’re havin’, eh?” Randall exclaimed.
“Yeah, whatever…so you heard about that Michael kid disappearing?” Miles said to Randall. “Katrina really liked it that he just vanished off the face of the earth.”
“Yeah…I heard that kid was pretty mean,” Randall replied, “and did you see that photo of ‘em on the news? Yikes! I have never in my life seen yellower teeth than that!”
“I’m glad that he’s gone! I never want to see him again!” Katrina exclaimed.
The bus pulled up in front of the three kids. Miles, Katrina, and Randall went up the steps and into the bus. Katrina sat with her friends, Rachel and Tammy, while Miles and Randall sat in an empty seat together.
“Y’know, I also heard that one lady, Mrs. Hammerton…I heard that she claimed she saw a vampire in her backyard,” Randall said.
“Oh, really?” Miles replied.
“Yeah…she thought it was a girl…the vampire bit into her son’s arm…then Mrs. Hammerton grabbed her son away from the vampire and got in her car and drove away as fast as she could. She saw her house literally explode when she was driving away!”
“Yeah…she called 911 on her cell phone. That so called vampire must’ve bitten into her son’s arm pretty hard because her son was taken to the emergency room.”
“Wow! Is he okay?”
“No. He died last night.”
“Heh…just kidding! The boy’s fine! He’s just got an injured arm. I can’t see how that could kill somebody.”
“I mean…really! Like…one of the heaviest tires in the world rolled on my arm and I didn’t even flinch!” Miles stared at Randall with a smirk. “What?” Miles still stared. “All right…I did flinch…but just a little…okay, a lot…all right, I admit…I screamed, held my arm, and flailed around like a crazy person.”
“Well, that’s probably what I would do if my arm was run over by a tire.” Miles replied.
About ten minutes later, the bus pulled up at Misty River Prep. Miles and Randall got off the bus and went inside the school to get to their classes. Miles went into his classroom and sat down at his desk. Everyone was talking and chatting away until the teacher came in and said, “Everybody quit down!” The talking didn’t end immediately, but everyone stopped talking at some point.
“We are starting a new unit today,” the teacher replied. She wrote down three words on the chalkboard: young adult literature. Almost everyone in the class groaned and moaned.
The teacher paced slowly in front of the chalkboard. “I know you students aren’t very appreciative of this unit,” the teacher commented, “but I know as you go on, you will love it.”
“Oh, yes I will!” Miles replied, his fingers crossed behind his back. Most of the students saw that his fingers were crossed and giggled.
The teacher didn’t see that his fingers were crossed, so she smiled and continued. “Now, as you all know, Halloween is coming up…” she was interrupted by everyone in the class cheering. She waited until they were done with a scowl on her face. “…and we will be reading an old, old scary story.” She wrote its title on the chalkboard. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, or as some call it, the Legend of the Headless Horseman.”
Miles absolutely hated scary things. He was five when he saw his first horror movie, and it was enough to give him nightmares even up to the moment he turned fourteen. Well, it’s just a stupid legend, Miles thought. There’s no way it’s true!
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is also involved with a man named Ichabod Crane. I’ll give you all a grammar and reading booklet. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is on page 54. Read the whole thing and then answer the questions on page 68 on a separate sheet of paper. Do numbers 6 through 9 only. Now I want this room nice and quiet for the time you are doing this. If it’s not done by the time we stop, it will be homework. Please begin.”
Miles opened up to page 54 and saw a big underlined title: ~THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW~. He read about Ichabod Crane, the unfortunate man who was a victim of the Headless Horseman, and about the Headless Horseman, a haunting man with a hole where his head should be and always rides a horse. It was said in the story that the Headless Horseman threw deadly pumpkin missiles at his targets.
Miles kept thinking, It’s just a stupid legend. There’s no way it’s true! He was wrong. It was true. And it would start one of the biggest adventures he would ever have.
Later that day, Miles and Katrina walked out of the grand school doors and began their long walk home. There were dark clouds coming in, and Miles knew that he and Randall had been wrong about the weather. He knew it was going to pour on them.
“So…how was your day?” Katrina asked Miles.
“Kind of boring…we had this new unit in homeroom today. It’s called Young Adult Literature…but they don’t provide us with good, fast-paced, adventure books like Peak, or Percy Jackson, or the Legend of the Batbark Woods. They give us folk tales and legends and stuff like that. Then we have to answer these stupid questions about the stories.” Miles explained.
“My day was…well…typical. Everyday stuff… same old, same old…the only thing new that happened today was that we got a substitute teacher…and that sort of is typical…”
“Well, it looks like the walk home won’t be typical. It looks like it’s going to pour on us.”
Katrina looked up at the dark clouds building up. But there was more to the abnormal homeward walk than just the storm clouds. Miles and Katrina had no idea what they were about to plunge into on the way home.
As Miles and Katrina walked on, they were growing more and more cautious about the weather. It didn’t rain on them for a long time, but they were still very, very cautious. The storm was showing rotation, and they didn’t want to be caught up in it on the way home.
On their way to their house, they saw Mr. Reed and Mr. Rivarez, two of Miles’s dad’s best friends. They talked to Mr. Rivarez a little bit before continuing with their walk.
“I heard there’s quite a bad storm comin’ through Misty River. It’s been tornado-warned!” Mr. Rivarez exclaimed.
“What?” Miles asked. Katrina’s eyes widened with fear.
“Yeah! I’m getting inside as soon as I can! There’s been baseball-sized hail reported!”
“Uh-oh! We’d love to stay and chat, Mr. Rivarez,” Miles replied, even though he really didn’t feel like talking, “but we gotta find shelter! C’mon, Katrina.”
Miles and Katrina were running along the road now. They reached a curve under a steep dirt hill, and saw a tunnel. The clouds up above had been the blackest Miles had ever seen.
“C’mon. Let’s hurry into that tunnel!” Katrina exclaimed as it started to sprinkle. Lightning flashed. Thunder boomed. Miles’s and Katrina’s brown hair whipped in the strong winds. Clouds of dust started flying around. Miles and Katrina got into the dark tunnel just as soon as it started pouring rain and a large chunk of hail slammed into where they had just been.
“Wow!” Miles exclaimed. “This is one heck of a storm!”
“Listen to all that hail and rain hitting the roof of the tunnel!” Katrina replied excitedly.
That was when it happened. Miles heard a small neighing sound outside…mixed in with the sound of horrific laughter. He was surprised that he could hear the sound above all the rain and hail.
“Did you hear that?” Miles asked Katrina.
“What noise?” The neighing and the laughing continued.
“That!” Now Miles and Katrina were both very cautious. They looked around the dark tunnel, but found nothing. They couldn’t find the source of the disturbing sound anywhere. Still, they both felt an unsettling presence outside of the tunnel.
Then, Katrina looked at the other end of the tunnel, and her eyes grew wide. Her bag slipped off of her shoulder. Her heart nearly stopped.
“What?” Miles asked, but then he too found what Katrina was so afraid of. A man on a horse was outside the tunnel, along with two other figures. Miles and Katrina backed up, but soon found they were caught. If they went outside, they would be killed by the large hail. If they stayed in the tunnel, they would be caught by those three mysterious figures. They were completely trapped.
As the man on a horse approached, Miles noticed that he didn’t have a head. There was a hole where his head should’ve been. It became clear that the man was the Headless Horseman. The two figures following him were armed knights.
Miles and Katrina only stared as the horse trotted towards them. The Headless Horseman had a belt with flaming pumpkins on it. Two were red, two were yellow-orange, two were green, and two were blue. The blue pumpkins burned the brightest and were the most dangerous. The fire blazing from the red pumpkins was the dimmest and the least dangerous.
The Headless Horseman took a red flaming pumpkin from his belt and another one appeared in its spot. He threw the flaming pumpkin at the two children. Katrina dashed to the side, but Miles wasn’t quick enough. The pumpkin hit right in front of Miles’s feet, and Miles flew outside the tunnel. He slid under a tree and finally stopped unconscious. Luckily, the tree sheltered Miles from the falling rain and hail. Miles didn’t even notice as the Headless Horseman grabbed his sister’s shoulder.
Miles and Katrina were falling. Miles fell farther below Katrina. They were both falling so fast that the clouds went by in a blur. The height was unimaginable. The beautiful sun shone through the clouds, but Miles didn’t have time to think about it. His mind was racing with thoughts of horror as he descended.
Miles thought it was the end, until he atheistically started floating in the air. He was safe. But he was only thinking about his safety until Katrina zipped past him, still falling. She screamed as she disappeared into the clouds…never to be seen again. All of a sudden, a loud crack broke the silence.
Miles awakened. He thought about the loud crack at the end of his dream. Then he heard it again, and it was coming from above him. He looked up, and to his horror, the tree that had sheltered him from the rain and hail was falling down.
Miles quickly shot up and ran out of the way of the falling tree. It crashed to the road, tons of large chunks of hail spilling from the top of it. Miles would’ve been pelted by hail, but it had stopped raining, and the clouds were a dim gray color.
Miles began to think that it had all been a dream, and that Katrina was right behind him, standing in that dark tunnel.
“Katrina?” Miles replied. “I’m okay!” There was no reply.
“Katrina?” Still no reply.
“KATRINA!!!” Miles shouted. There was still absolutely no answer. With anger, anxiousness, and frustration Miles turned around to find…that Katrina was nowhere in sight.
“No…” he said his eyes growing wide. He sprinted towards the tunnel and searched everywhere. He searched every corner, every side, he even looked up at the ceiling once or twice thinking some crazy thought that Katrina might be there. Of course she wasn’t.
The only three things that Miles found were one of Katrina’s pink sandals, a shattered red pumpkin—the one the Headless Horseman had thrown at Miles—and a torn piece of paper with the letters F-A-M-I-N on it and half an E after it, with made him think the paper said ‘FAMINE’.
But these clues got him no closer to the whereabouts of Katrina.
The news spread quickly, considering that Miles and Katrina were the children of the CEO of MichaelsCo’s right-hand man. MichaelsCo was one of the most successful businesses in the area, and the CEO had drummed up some suspicion from others, because he, Mr. Michaels, never EVER showed his face under any circumstances. Why was that?
Miles ran on the sidewalk of his street and saw that his dad had beaten him home (no surprise there, due to the fact that he had lost consciousness). Miles pounded as hard as he could on the door, and his dad came quickly.
“Miles!” Miles’s dad exclaimed. “Why don’t you knock on the door a little less hard? And…where’s Katrina?”
“I don’t know.” Miles croaked.
Miles’s dad narrowed his eyes at Miles. “What do you mean you don’t know?”
“Katrina and I were walking home. We saw that it was going to pour on us, and we ran into this one tunnel. Then, I heard a sound, and some headless guy on a horse and two other wackos ran in the tunnel and knocked me out. When I woke up, Katrina was…gone.”
Miles’s dad’s eyes widened and he ran straight to the phone. Miles knew he was going to call 911 right away.
Normally, a child gone missing would spread a lot of news, but this one spread much more for two reasons:
1: Katrina was the daughter of the right-hand man of the CEO of MichaelsCo, the most successful business in the area, and Miles was his son.
2: Miles reported seeing the Headless Horseman and two knights before Katrina went missing, and this news spread the word rapidly around the U.S.A.
Not only Misty River knew about this, but so did the whole entire U.S.A. Miles and his dad were swarmed by reporters every day, whom asked a very large amount of questions, which were easily answered.
“Do you know where that little girl is?”
“No, and she’s twelve, so I hardly think of her as a little girl.”
“Are you going to search for her?”
“We’ve already gotten dozens of search parties set up. Besides…it probably would be dangerous.”
“Do you believe that the Headless Horseman really attacked your kids?”
“Um…not really…no offense, Miles…but I’m sure the Headless Horseman is just a myth. My kids could have mistaken the horrible man for the Headless Horseman.”
Miles and his dad were invited to a candlelight vigil for Katrina. The place was packed with people who lived miles away from Misty River. Everyone lit their candles as a large picture of Katrina was laid against a wall.
Everyone laid by the picture a bouquet of flowers, a stuffed animal, or another one of their most prized possessions.
After the vigil was over, Miles and his dad drove home in their truck, trying not to burst out in tears.
Miles and his dad both got out of the truck. They hadn’t said anything too each other on the way home, and Miles finally broke the silence.
“We’ll find her,” Miles replied quietly, “I promise.” Miles and Miles’s dad stood on opposite sides of the truck.
“We’ll try.” Miles’s dad said.
The two walked inside and hung up their coats. It had been a sad, sad evening at the séance, and Miles and his dad could hardly bear any more. If they stayed any longer than they did, they would start bawling uncontrollably.
“Dad…” Miles said again, “I’d look for her…if…you’d want me to.”
Miles’s dad looked at Miles. “I’m sorry…but it would just be too dangerous.”
“Do you even know what it’s like to have one of the best younger sisters ever just…vanish into thin air? Dad, I want to look for her.”
“Miles, we’ve already got tons of search parties looking for Katrina. Don’t worry, they’ll find her.”
“No promises, I’ll bet.”
“Um…that’s right…no promises…um…”
“So you’re not exactly sure if those search parties you sent out will find Katrina, huh?”
“No…I didn’t mean that…I just…”
“Dad, I’ve got to go and look for her!”
“I don’t want you to help all right?! I want you to be safe and not end up like Katrina!” Miles was startled by how his dad had shouted at him. His dad continued calmly. “Miles…sorry…it’s just too emotional…”
“Listen, Miles. We’re working hard. We’re doing all we can to find Katrina. I’m just not sure how it will turn out.”
“I know, Dad. I’ll bet I could help out.”
Miles’s dad paused for a moment, and then said, “I care about you, Miles. You’re the best son any parent could ever have…and even better, you’re very loyal to your little sister, which almost never happens. But I don’t want to lose you like we lost Katrina. I want you to stay with me…here. I know she’ll be found. I can feel it.”
Miles’s dad put his hand on his son’s shoulder and looked at the digital clock in the kitchen. It was 11:46. “We’d better get you to bed.” he murmured. “You’re probably very tired.”
Miles paused, and then nodded very slowly. Miles and his dad hugged each other, and then Miles went upstairs to his bedroom.
Miles was in a swampy area with many dead trees around him. He ran between roots and dodged sharp rocks.
“KATRINA!!!” he shouted. He entered a very swampy, muddy clearing with wet leaves all over the ground. In the middle of the clearing was his sister.
“Katrina!” Miles exclaimed with excitement and happiness.
He ran towards Katrina and hugged her tightly when he got to her. But Katrina seemed to be interested in a different thing…right behind Miles. There were large pointy scales sticking out of the water, and then the scales plunged back into the swamp with a splash.
Now both Miles and Katrina were paying attention to only the sinister sound. Then, a great, big, muddy monster with jagged teeth sprang out of the swamp, splashing a huge wave of mud all over Miles and Katrina, knocking them backwards. Miles, his clothes covered in mud and dirt, rolled in the swamp, then peeked out at Katrina.
She was lying in the swamp on her back unconscious. She was also enveloped in mud. The monster lunged out of the swamp again, causing another humongous splash. Now Miles and Katrina were both entirely covered in mud.
Miles stood up, wiped mud from his eyes, and watched in terror as the creature flew up in the air, and then did s dive-bomb straight towards unconscious Katrina. Miles ran towards her, but it was too late. The creature plummeted straight down on Katrina…making a third splash bigger than any of the others. The mud wave hit Miles and he was carried away, screaming and shouting in complete and absolute horror.
Miles shot up from his bed with a start. He fell off the bed and landed on his back. The dream he had just had was so startling it pained to think about. He lay there, on his bedroom floor, for ten minutes, until he finally got back into bed, afraid to go to sleep.
Katrina was not the only victim. It was said earlier that two of Miles’s dad’s best friends were Mr. Reed and Mr. Rivarez…and there had been word that Mr. Reed had been found dead…and witnesses said he was killed by a mysterious, headless specter.
Now Miles’s dad was even more emotional, and Miles caught him crying four times that day.
“I…can’t believe this…” Miles’s dad sobbed. “First Katrina…now Mr. Reed…”
It was yet another very emotional day. Now there were two victims, and people were also investigating the so-called vampire attack on Mrs. Hammerton and her son. This strange sequence of events was now the highlight of news in the U.S.A….the vampire attack…the disappearance of Katrina…and the death of Mr. Reed.
There was also the mysterious disappearance of the boy that Katrina hated, Michael. Miles remembered Katrina acting so gleeful and happy about it, and he missed her even more.
“I don’t know who I miss more,” Miles’s dad murmured sadly, “Mr. Reed or Katrina.”
Miles and his dad had already done their share for Katrina, by going to the séance. Now they had to go to a funeral for Mr. Reed at 11:00 the next morning. That morning, Miles and his dad drove to Mr. Reed’s funeral. Mr. Rivarez and Michael’s mom were in the truck with them. Michael’s mom didn’t look nearly as nasty and misbehaved as Michael.
“I’m sorry…Michael was just a little immature…” she said in a shaky voice. “I’m saddened to lose him…but he was misbehaved…and he didn’t brush his teeth very often…but…he’s my son…and I would still do anything to get him back…”
“Mr. Reed was very kind,” Mr. Rivarez said.
The truck pulled up in front of the Misty River Church where the funeral would be held. There were many other vehicles parked at the church, too. Mr. Reed had been a very successful businessman, and dozens of people had appreciated his work. That’s why it was so crowded at the church.
As Miles, his dad, Michael’s mom and Mr. Rivarez entered the church, Miles felt something against his leg. He looked down and found that he had walked against a wooden pole that had been put behind a shrub. Miles pulled it out and found that it was a broom. Why would somebody hide a broom behind a bush when it really wouldn’t matter to anyone?
Miles sauntered into the church. Michael’s mom and Mr. Rivarez sat in the middle row of seats, and Miles and his dad sat next to each other in the second row to the front.
Miles glanced behind him and saw a mysterious lady sitting three rows behind him, with white lip gloss, a white headdress, white sunglasses, a white jacket and a black shirt, and black boots, all shining very brightly. She seemed to have been staring at Miles for a long time. Miles turned around, and after a moment, he felt something hit him. It was a piece of paper. He opened it, and it said:
WE HAVE YOUR SISTER
He looked backwards again and saw the mysterious lady nodding at him with a small smirk. Miles narrowed his eyes at the lady, and then turned around slowly and faced the altar in front of him, until four men entered the church, carrying the coffin with Mr. Reed inside.
Everyone in the church, including Miles and his dad lowered their heads for Mr. Reed…everyone except the mysterious lady. Instead, she stuck her foot out in the aisle of the church. One of the men carrying the coffin tripped at fell, making the coffin fall with him. The coffin opened and Mr. Reed’s body tumbled out on the aisle floor.
The noise made everyone stare at the incident in the aisle. Miles looked at the mysterious lady and saw that she was smiling a very disturbing smile.
The men who had been carrying the coffin were now arguing over who had to pick up the body. To Miles’s surprise, Mr. Reed’s body was completely unharmed.
Then, all of the sudden, the mysterious lady pointed away from the body and shouted in a shrill, panicky voice, “LOOK! Over there!” This fooled everyone in the church including Miles…and while nobody was looking Mr. Reed’s eyes opened. But they weren’t the normal blue eyes that he always had. These eyes were much, MUCH different. These eyes were huge, glowing, and red.
When everyone found out that there was nothing where the mysterious lady had pointed, they all looked back at where the body was…or…where it had been. Mr. Reed’s body had vanished.
“What the…?” one of the men who had been carrying the coffin exclaimed.
“Everybody search for Mr. Reed!” another man shouted. Everyone began searching—in the open coffin, under the seats, in the corners of the church…but nobody expected him to be on top of the altar…except maybe the mysterious lady because she had a very, very big smile now.
When somebody started looking where the mysterious lady was looking, they gasped. People started looking and they gasped, too. Soon, everybody in the church was either gasping at what was on the top of the altar, screaming, or backing away. Some people backed over their seats and flipped into the row behind them. There was Mr. Reed, on top of the altar, with his huge glowing red eyes.
“Mr. Reed!!!” Miles’s dad exclaimed. Miles had wandered into the middle of the aisle and was now staring in horror at Mr. Reed.
People continue to yell, scream, and back away.
“He was dead just 5 seconds ago!!”
“HE’S AN UNDEAD ZOMBIE!!!!”
“Back away! Back away!”
“Look at those eyes!”
Then, all of a sudden, Mr. Reed’s arms started glowing. Now the mysterious lady was cackling horribly. The arms of Mr. Reed glowed so bright people had to shield their eyes. Then, when the light dimmed, the sleeves of Mr. Reed’s suit were on the floor beneath the altar, burning. Now when people looked up at Mr. Reed, they gasped and screamed even more. Some people darted out of the church.
Where Mr. Reed’s arms had been were two huge hairy wings. Miles was horrified, but he didn’t move. Mr. Reed tore off his suit and his face…which had really just been a costume. He was really Moth Man.
Miles could only stare as people screamed and ran.
“Miles!” Miles’s dad shouted. Moth Man swooped down from the altar…heading straight for Miles.
“MILES!!!” Miles’s dad screamed again. Moth Man was almost to Miles. Miles’s dad grabbed Miles’s arm and pulled him back in the row of seats. They collapsed on the floor, just missing the monster.
Miles shot up and watched the Moth Man soar through the aisle. People raced frantically to get out of the church. People who were too slow ducked to avoid the monster as it passed them.
But unfortunately, it didn’t turn out the same way for Mr. Rivarez. The Moth Man grabbed onto the back of his suit and lifted him up into the air.
“HEY! PUT ME DOWN!!!” Mr. Rivarez punched the monster, but it was no use. The Moth Man flew through the enormous glass window above the entrance/exit of the church. Glass shattered as the monster soared away. The window broke and enormous chunks of glass pelted everyone beneath it. Miles and his dad were both in the 2nd row to the front, so they were out of the glass shower’s range, and they didn’t get hit. Neither did a lot of other people, but still, it was terror to watch.
Finally, the glass stopped falling. Everyone who had been hit by the jagged glass lay on the ground. The mysterious lady had strangely disappeared, and every single person in the church was in complete, utter shock.
Misty River Church had a parking lot crammed with police cars, ambulances, and news vans. This had been the 5th haunting incident in a row in Misty River, and Miles was the one who was most shocked. The message the mysterious lady had given him was very startling, and he had so many questions to ask the mysterious lady about.
Where did you get this?
How’d you disappear after you gave the message to me?
Why were you laughing about Mr. Reed turning into Moth Man?
Miles couldn’t ask that lady now. She was gone, and it turned out she wasn’t a friend of Miles anyway.
Miles reviewed the damage that had been done. The glass window above the entrance/exit to the church was completely destroyed. Mr. Rivarez had been snatched away by Moth Man and his whereabouts were unknown, as were Katrina’s and Michael’s. 12 people had been injured, 3 critically. Everything was going downhill for Miles and his dad.
Miles decided that attack had been enough. He decided he was going to find Katrina.
Miles packed stuff he might need in his backpack. He packed chocolate candy bars, some leftover strawberries, and whole wheat bread. He also packed two of his favorite books, a flashlight, extra batteries for the flashlight, and books about monsters, vampires, witches, and the Headless Horseman.
Miles figured he was all set, except for some extra help. He decided he would go to Randall’s house and ask him to help him.
Miles went downstairs and saw his dad sitting at the dining table.
“Hello, Miles,” his dad said quietly. Miles just walked towards the front door.
“Miles?” Miles’s dad turned around and saw Miles walking out the door. He immediately got up and walked out the door behind him. When he got out, he shouted firmly at his son. “Miles!!”
“What are you doing?” his dad asked.
Miles turned around and faced his dad. “I’m going out for her.”
Miles continued on walking until his dad exclaimed, “MILES! I won’t let you go!” It was evening, and the sky was turning dark blue.
“Dad, I have to.”
“No. You get right back here RIGHT NOW, young man!”
“Dad, I’m going.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Dad…you miss her too. A lot. I know you do. And you would do anything just to get her back…wouldn’t you?”
Miles’s dad paused. Then he nodded.
“I’m going whether you like it or not. I promise I’ll come back.”
Miles’s dad sauntered forward to Miles, and when it looked like he was going to grab him and drag him back in the house, he hugged him.
“I hope you do,” Miles’s dad replied in a shaky voice.
When Miles and his dad stopped hugging, Miles said, “I love you, Dad,” and then walked away.
Randall was alone in his house when the doorbell rang. He opened the door and there was Miles.
“Hey, Miles!” Randall replied. “Sorry about your sister, dude.”
“It’s okay. Actually…”
“Hey, did you hear? Some dead guy turned into Moth Man and carried another guy away! Pretty wacky, right?”
“Yeah…I was there. I almost got killed. Now about my sister…”
“Grab your backpack and get the stuff we’ll need. We’re going to find Katrina. Your parents home?”
“They’re on vacation. They won’t be back in two weeks.”
“Okay…then get started on packing!”
Randall packed up some comic books, his iPod, a football, a bag of chocolate-chip muffins, and garlic bread.
“Garlic bread! You’re a genius!” Miles exclaimed.
“Uh…how does packing up garlic bread make me a genius?” Randall inquired.
Miles pulled a book about vampires out of his backpack. “It says here that a vampire’s weakness is garlic! We could use that garlic bread to kill vampires!”
“You really think we’re gonna encounter vampires on our way to rescue Katrina?”
“Duh. There’s already been one vampire attack, one Headless Horseman attack, and one Moth Man attack. If there are all these monsters around, we’re bound to encounter vampires.”
“Yeah…I didn’t think of it that way.”
“So, I’ve got everything packed. What about you? Are you good to go?”
“Um…yeah! I’ve got everything packed.”
“Then let’s go.” And with that, Miles and Randall walked out the door.
The two boys went into the forest next to the dark tunnel where Miles and Katrina had encountered the Headless Horseman. Miles and Randall walked downhill a narrow path.
“I think we’re gonna have to be pretty careful over here.” Miles cautioned. The two boys trekked through the forest all night, and only stopped to eat some of the food they had packed, or go to the bathroom.
“Can we sleep now?” Randall asked groggily. “I’m tired.”
“That’s the problem,” Miles replied exhaustedly. “I’m tired, too, but we forgot to bring sleeping bags.”
“I don’t they would fit in our backpacks anyway.” Randall said.
As the first lights of dawn shone, Miles and Randall sat down to rest.
“My feet hurt,” Randall complained.
“Don’t worry. We’re gonna stop here for a while.” Miles murmured.
Randall got up and walked in front of Miles. “I don’t care if we didn’t bring sleeping bags. I’m going to sleep and you’re not gonna say anything about…” Randall didn’t get to finish his sentence before he collapsed to the forest floor, asleep. That’s how exhausted he was.
Miles sat on the hard rock for about forty-five minutes. During that time, he ate one chocolate bar, one strawberry, and read his books. It said that werewolves’ weaknesses were things made of silver. Miles was lucky his watch was made of that, and he was wearing his watch. Vampires’ weaknesses were garlic, which made Miles thankful that Randall had packed garlic bread. Unfortunately, it didn’t say what the weakness for any of the other monsters was.
Miles also read one of the two fiction books he packed for fifteen minutes. After that, Randall yawned and woke up.
“I’m right here. I wanted to let you sleep a bit.”
“Did you find Katrina?”
“No. Of course not! I’ve been sitting on this rock waiting for you to wake up the whole time. Do you really think I found Katrina?”
“You’re really tired, aren’t you?”
Randall finally stood up and looked at the book Miles was reading. “What’cha reading?” he asked.
“Oh…I brought two books with me, Among the Brave and Tunnels. I’m reading Tunnels right now.”
“Mmm…you didn’t touch my comic books, did you?”
“Okay, then shouldn’t we keep going?”
“Yeah, it’s just a really good book.” Miles and Randall wandered more. They didn’t see civilization for hours, nor did they find one trace of Katrina.
Miles and Randall each had half a chocolate-chip muffin on the way and half a candy bar. Randall also ate a piece of his garlic bread.
“Don’t eat that whole thing.” Miles replied. “Remember, we’re gonna need it.”
By 2:00 in the afternoon, the forest was getting extremely foggy. Miles and Randall could hardly see a thing. Also, every single tree around the two friends was dead.
“I have a feeling Katrina might be close.” Miles replied.
“Hey, look!” Randall exclaimed as he pointed to a mysterious shape in the fog. Miles and Randall walked towards it and saw that it was a purple coffin with the shape of a dead tree on it.
The two boys didn’t even notice as a dead tree behind them rose from the ground. Miles and Randall heard the tree after a while and turned around slowly. Their eyes growing wide, they backed away from the tree.
The tree had eight roots, which it used as legs, and two extra roots which it used as pincers. It was a spider tree.
“Look out!!” Miles yelled, but it was too late. The spider tree slammed one of its legs on the ground, knocking Miles, Randall, and the purple coffin backwards.
The coffin opened, revealing that there was nothing in it. Miles took this by surprise, but then saw that there was something in it. It was a metal pad with 6 buttons on it: a purple one shaped like a dead tree, a blue one shaped like a full moon, a bright green one shaped like a pumpkin, a turquoise one shaped like a house, a dark green one shaped like a clawed hand, and a red one shaped like a hurricane.
“Randall!!!” Miles shouted. He looked behind him. Randall was dodging the spider tree, which was swinging its branches at Randall.
“Hey!!” Miles yelled. He ran towards the spider tree. He pushed Randall out of the way. Then, the spider tree lifted one of its legs out of the ground and slammed Miles with it. Miles flew into a large rock and landed on the ground.
“Get up! GET UP!!” Randall screamed. Miles and Randall ran away from the spider tree as it swung at them again.
“Do your books say what a demon tree’s weakness is?!?!” Randall inquired frantically as he ran.
“No, it doesn’t!”
Miles and Randall hid behind a dead tree. The spider tree wandered around, looking for the two boys.
“Randall, listen,” Miles whispered. “That purple coffin…I peeked inside it. There’s no body in there.”
“Oh, sure!!” The tree turned its attention to where Randall had shouted that.
“I’m serious. It doesn’t! Don’t be so loud. The tree’s looking for us. Anyway, it has 6 buttons in it. I don’t know what they do, but we could check it out. Maybe it’ll get us away from here.”
“Well…I’m not sure…but we should try.”
Just then, large wooden pincers smashed the sides of the tree Miles and Randall were hiding behind.
“C’mon!!!” Miles shouted. Right in front of them was the purple coffin. Miles grabbed it and ran to a nearby boulder. He put the coffin against the boulder and opened it. The spider tree was gaining on them.
“Get in!” Miles yelled to Randall. Randall hopped in the coffin and Miles followed him. Then he closed the door. Surprisingly, it could fit two people, but these two boys were pretty skinny, so you could see why.
“Man, it’s pretty cramped up in here!” Randall exclaimed.
“Never mind that! We have to…” The spider tree slammed into the coffin before Miles could say another word. The purple coffin flipped in the air, then landed with a thud on the ground. Miles landed on the button pad, and heard a loud BEEP!
He had pressed a button, the purple one shaped like a dead tree to be exact.
The spider tree hit the coffin again, knocking Miles unconscious.
PART TWO: THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN
Miles climbed the steep, molten rock hill in search of his sister Katrina. The ground burned his feet and it hurt to walk. Then, he saw a figure on a narrow rock bridge. It was his sister.
“Katrina!” he shouted.
“Miles!” Katrina shouted. The two ran towards each other with open arms. They met on the middle of the rock bridge and hugged each other tightly.
“You don’t know how long I’ve been trying to find you!” Miles exclaimed to Katrina excitedly.
Suddenly, there was a deep rumble, and lava burst out of the rock wall. It flowed in all directions and soon covered the entire lower part of the cavern. Miles and Katrina were on the bridge, but it was slowly breaking off.
“C’mon, Katrina!!” Miles yelled. He grabbed her hand and they both climbed up the bridge together. Then, the bridge collapsed, and Miles fell onto the molten rock floor. He quickly shot up, and to his horror he realized he had accidentally let go of Katrina’s hand.
When he looked down to see if Katrina were in the lava, she was on a rock, slowly moving into a lava whirlpool. She screamed as the rock went into the whirlpool. Miles knew he would never see her again.
Then, all of a sudden, the whole cavern started rumbling even more.
“MILES!!!” An unknown voice shouted. Miles recognized this voice. It sounded a bit like Randall.
“MILES! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!!!”
“MILES!!! WAKE UP!!!” Randall screamed in Miles’s ear. Miles awakened with a jolt. The dream had been so terrifying, as the other two had also been.
“Finally!” Randall exclaimed, startling Miles. “You’ve been asleep for ten minutes since we stopped, and that whole time I was trying to get you to wake up! You hit your head pretty good there!”
“What do you mean ‘since we stopped’?”
“After you pressed that big purple button, the coffin started flying like a roller coaster! I could feel it! I almost threw up on ya, you know, so you better thank me that I didn’t!”
Miles looked at the purple button shaped like a dead tree. It was glowing. “Where…where are we?” Miles inquired.
“I have no idea,” Randall answered. “The whole time you were asleep I never even dared to open that door.”
“Well, if we don’t open it we’re never gonna get closer to finding Katrina, are we?” Miles replied.
“Then let’s open it,” Miles opened the coffin door and revealed a large forest. It was exactly alike to the one they had just been in, with dead trees all around, but luckily the spider tree was nowhere in sight.
Miles and Randall stepped out of the purple coffin. It was badly banged up and covered in dirt.
“Miles? Can ya come over here?” Randall replied. Miles walked over to Randall.
“Which way do we go?” Randall asked. The two friends were standing by a wooden pole with five arrows nailed to it, pointing in five different directions…WITHOUT LABELS.
“Um…how about we try this direction?” Miles suggested, pointing in the direction the third arrow from the bottom was pointing.
Miles and Randall decided to go that way.
“Man, I do not like this place at all. It gives me the creeps!”
“Oh, yeah, and like that place we were in before didn’t give you the creeps.”
“Look, just think of how scared I am! I absolutely HATE scary things! I just want to find my sister and then rocket back home!”
“I’ve just stepped foot in this place and I already hate it. Just think of how much worse things might get!”
And things did get worse.
Miles and Randall had wandered in the haunting forest for hours. They have munched on two strawberries each, a half of a chocolate bar each, and Randall had a tiny piece of garlic bread. He also unwillingly gave a chocolate-chip muffin to Miles, who was so hungry he wolfed it down in one bite.
They still had plenty of food left, but it was taking forever to find Katrina. Miles and Randall lay down in a hidden clearing and slept for eight hours. When they awakened, they were energetic enough from their nice sleep that they could continue to venture around the forest and try to find Katrina.
They never did find Katrina for a very long time though. They looked in every place they could find and still no trace of Katrina.
These failures and mishaps continued for one whole day, and in case you’re wondering, they didn’t stop there.
Miles and Randall had been walking around the woods for hours, searching for some place Katrina might be.
“Okay, the only reason I teamed up with you to search for Katrina was because you seemed really stressed out about it, and your sister was like the nicest person on the whole planet.” Randall explained.
“You know, this might sound crazy, but I’m just about to give up on this search.” Miles replied halfheartedly.
“This forest is so thick and empty…I don’t think she could be anywhere.”
“Wait…you’re giving up on your sister?”
Miles sat down on a rock with a grim look on his face. “It’s over, Randall. I don’t think we’re gonna find her. And worse, I don’t know how we’re getting back ourselves.”
“Great…I can’t believe it. Not only is Katrina gone, but we’re gonna be gone soon, too!”
That was when they heard a large BOOM coming from their right.
“What the…?” Miles stammered. Miles and Randall tiptoed to their right and looked through the tall, skinny, dead trees.
There was a small wooden hut on the other side of the trees. And they heard wild cackling and ungodly grunting from the hut, which when the two sounds are mixed together, it’s not very pleasant to hear.
All of a sudden, Miles shot up. “We should search that hut over there.”
Then, a burst of smoke spewed out from the hut and there was more ghastly cackling and grunting.
“That place does not sound pleasant, Miles. I would rather take my chances back there.” Randall pointed backwards to the rest of the woods.
“Katrina just might be in there!” Miles exclaimed. “We’ve gotta check.”
Miles and Randall tiptoed towards the small, rugged hut. They tried as carefully as ever not to make a noise as they entered the hut.
It had only two small rooms and one very dirty hallway. The room that was bigger than the other had a cauldron in it, and a small fireplace. There was also a dusty dining table with two rugged chairs across from each other. At the end of the hallway was a hook with the only clean thing in the hut hanging from it: a sharp, shining sword. There was also the doorway into the smaller room, which only had a small, dusty bed in it and a broken mirror.
The bigger room had a cackling witch and a grunting ogre inside it.
“Get down!” Miles whispered to Randall. “Those two don’t look like our friends. We wouldn’t want to catch us.” Miles and Randall lay on the hallway floor, peering through the cracks at the ugly pair.
“Well, I’ve got that last shipment of humans to the town. Now let’s just sit down and relax.” the witch exclaimed.
“The last shipment of…what?” Randall whispered.
“I do not like the sound of this,” Miles said.
“What did she mean ‘the last shipment of humans’?”
“I don’t know, but I’ll bet it’s another reason we don’t wanna get caught.”
“Bah…that famine is taking over the entire forest. I don’t see how we’re going to be able to capture any more.” the ogre grunted, not knowing that two were in that very hut.
“So, what do you like, hobo tea, or lady luncheon?” the witch asked the ogre.
“Hobo tea?” Randall whispered.
“Lady luncheon?” Miles murmured.
“Oh, I would much prefer that…uh…what’s the one with the lady?” the ogre replied.
“Lady luncheon it is!” the witch cackled.
“Miles,” Randall whispered, “I’ve got the feeling these guys want us for dinner.”
Miles looked over as the sword dangling from the hook at the end of the hallway. He got up and carefully started walking towards it. The floor creaked and cracked…which the witch and the ogre easily heard.
“Miles, what are you doing?” Randall replied. “You’re gonna get us all killed!”
Miles carefully took the sword off the hook.
“Miles…” Randall looked behind him and saw the witch and the ogre staring straight at him. “MILES!!!”
Miles quickly grabbed the sword and turned around in time for the witch to say, “Impedius camenta!!!” Miles ran straight through the rugged hallway wall. He was lucky it was that weak. Instead of hitting Miles with her horrible spell, the witch hit the mirror, which instantly turned into stone.
Randall crawled after Miles as the ogre pulled out his ax.
“RANDALL!!!” Miles screamed. Randall turned around and saw the ogre swinging his ax. He quickly got up and ran towards Miles, just missing the ax.
“Fiarei smokiraffa!!!” the witch shouted another spell. A fiery serpent erupted from her hand and soared around the room, burning almost everything.
Miles ran around and stabbed the witch, who in pain quickly lost control of the fire snake. It zigzagged around the room setting everything it touched on fire. It hit the ogre, who was knocked on the ground.
The fire spread around the house. Both the witch and the ogre were screaming and moaning in intense pain.
Miles grabbed the sword and saw that Randall was trapped in the corner of the room. In front of Randall the ogre was being burned to death.
“Randall! Jump over here!” Miles shouted. Randall reviewed all the flames and destruction around him. He leaped over the ogre and landed by Miles’s side.
The two boys quickly ran outside the burning hut as the witch uttered her last spell.
“Akkirea…exploda…” the witch replied weakly. But she failed to hit the boys with her spell and hit the wall of the hut instead.
Miles and Randall disappeared into the woods as the small hut exploded behind them.
Miles spent fifteen minutes of his walk with Randall staring at the gleaming sword he had used to apprehend the witch. He was going to keep it with him this entire time he was in the woods. He strapped it to his backpack in case he would need it, which he would of course.
Miles and Randall wandered for another hour. Miles munched on two strawberries and a candy bar, and Randall ate a tiny piece of garlic bread, a chocolate-chip muffin, and a strawberry.
Randall also took out his iPod and listened to some music. Miles read a little bit of Tunnels along the way.
When the two boys were bored of what they were doing, they sat down on a rock and ate a little more. They also talked about what the witch and the ogre had said.
“That part where the witch said ‘the last shipment of humans’…that kind of got me. I mean, do they really ship humans around this run-down forest?” Randall replied as he took another bite of a chocolate-chip muffin.
“And another question is, what do they ship them for? I have one guess…and if I’m right we have to try not to get caught. Because if we do, they’ll make cheeseburgers out of our livers.” Miles explained.
“Please don’t talk about that while we’re eating.”
“Spaghetti out of our hair,”
“Miles, I mean stop grossing me out!!”
“Gumballs out of our eyeballs,”
Randall dropped his half-eaten chocolate-chip muffin on the forest floor and stood up in front of Miles.
“I am not kidding, Miles!” Randall yelled. “If you say one more word about that subject, I’ll…” Randall stopped short and stared at the rock Miles was sitting on.
“What?” Miles said. Randall backed away from the rock. Miles looked down at the rock and his eyes grew wide. He dropped his half eaten strawberry and sprang up.
A face was forming in the rock.
Miles and Randall both screamed and fell over. They were just about to run when two vines shot up from the ground and wrapped around their feet. The vines pulled them closer to the rock.
“Speak your problem.” the rock replied. Now Miles and Randall were even more startled.
“We…uh…thought that if…uh…anybody here saw us…since we’re humans…we…would be…eaten…” Miles stammered, still frightened.
The rock pondered this. “Humans are taken from the other world.”
“The other world?” Randall asked.
“The human world,” the rock answered. “Humans are taken from there, then they are brought to town where they are turned into food by the Amethyst Cauldron.”
“The Amethyst Cauldron? What the heck is that?” Miles inquired, becoming less scared somehow.
“The Amethyst Cauldron is a magical cauldron that can do anything, but it only responds to a certain spell.” the rock explained.
“What spell?” Miles asked.
“I do not know. They have a town ceremony almost every time humans are turned into food by the Amethyst Cauldron. They throw humans in, food comes out.”
“Whew, I thought it would be more disgusting and graphic!” Randall exclaimed.
“That’s why they took my sister.” Miles replied.
“The Headless Horseman attacked me and kidnapped my sister, Katrina.”
“I meant ‘who is your sister’, but still, I’m guessing you want to know what the Headless Horseman has to do with the Batbark Woods.”
“What’s the Batbark Woods?”
“The forest you are in right now, obviously. Now, the Headless Horseman,” Both Miles and Randall nodded. “Very well. The Headless Horseman owns the Batbark Woods. He is the ruler, with his right-hand man, the King of the Werewolves, and the Head Witch.”
“So he leads all the attacks on humans?”
“Wait, what about the legend about the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane?” Randall asked.
“Ah, yes…that was a long time ago. Ichabod Crane was captured and brought here. He was turned into food and eaten a long time ago.”
“That’s what they do to humans?” Miles asked.
“Oh my, gosh…Randall, we’ve gotta get to town before they eat Katrina! Can you tell us where town us?”
A third vine popped out of the ground and pointed towards a dirty, rugged path that Miles and Randall hadn’t noticed before. “Town is that way.” the rock muttered.
“Thanks. You can let us go now,” Miles replied. The vines didn’t budge.
“You can let us go now!” Miles said again, a little more firmly.
“I will only let you go…for a price,” the rock said grinning.
“What kind of price?” Randall asked.
The rock stared at Miles’s arm. “Your arm looks very juicy and sweet,” the rock replied. “If you let me have it for dinner…I will let you go.”
Miles’s eyes grew very wide as the rock opened its mouth. Twelve jagged wooden teeth grew on each side of its mouth. The rock was pulling Miles in.
“MILES!!!” Randall shouted. “USE YOUR SWORD!!!”
Miles reached for his backpack and unstrapped his sword. Then, he frantically sheathed the sword straight into the rock just as its wooden teeth were nibbling on Miles’s leg.
The rock’s face disappeared, and the vines went back beneath the forest soil. Miles pulled his sword out of the rock. There was a hole in the rock shaped like a sword tip where Miles had sheathed the sword.
“Okay…spider trees, witches and ogres, and talking predator rocks…the next chance I get I’m outta here!” Randall exclaimed.
Miles got up and said, “I know that rock tried to eat me…which is a little unusual…but you heard what it said! The things that live here…they make food out of people! If we don’t hurry to town, Katrina could become a double-decker cake with strawberry frosting!”
“Still, next chance I get to leave, I’m doin’ it.” Randall replied.
Miles let Randall walk ahead of him for a tiny bit, and then he shouted, “Nobody leaves until we rescue Katrina!” and followed behind.
Even though the rock had tried to eat Miles—and probably would’ve tried to eat Randall next—it had been right.
While Miles and Randall continued on walking, they saw a sign that said:
SEE THE FAMOUS MAYOR OF GHOSTLINE
THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN
THE OFFICIAL BATBARK WOODS TOWN ACHIEVEMENT PROGRAM, OR OBWTAP, HAS DECLARED GHOSTLINE A FIVE-STAR TOWN!
COME ON DOWN TO
5 MILES AWAY FROM WHERE YOU’RE STANDING
Miles and Randall saw that the mayor of Ghostline was the Headless Horseman—as it said on the sign—so they trekked on to the town.
On the way, Miles spotted an abandoned newspaper stand. He picked up a newspaper. It was torn and only showed part of the text, but he still read it. On the front headline, it said:
FAMINE STRIKES BATBARK WOODS
Local towns in the forest known as Batbark Woods have been suffering a severe famine. This shortage of humans has been the reason for several deaths in many towns.
Another newspaper headline read:
HUMANS SPOTTED IN WOODS
News has struck the media of Batbark Woods that two teenage humans have been spotted in Batbark Woods and are at large. If you find these two teenage boys, capture them and send them to Ghostline to be turned into food. One human has light skin, brown hair, a brown jacket, and a turquoise shirt. The other has dark skin, black hair, a black shirt, and blue pants.
REWARD: 50 MOON COINS
“The first headline says it was printed 10 days ago, and the second one was printed just yesterday.” Randall observed.
“Somebody must’ve seen us while we were walking.” Miles replied grimly.
The two boys wandered around for ten minutes before finally reaching a very rickety bridge. It looked like the most unstable bridge they had ever seen, and below it was a devilish crevasse that looked to be miles deep.
“Okay, I am not going on that bridge!” Randall exclaimed.
“Well, if you want to go around, be my guest, but take a good look before you choose.” Miles explained, pointing to the way around the crevasse which was covered in skulls.
“Um…” Randall said after looking at all the skulls, “bridge it is,”
“Wait! I just had a thought!”
“What if there are more skulls under the bridge than there are around?”
Miles stared at Randall for a moment, and then said, “Come on. We’re goin’ on the bridge.”
Miles took his first step, and the wooden board he stepped on immediately was broken. Miles quickly shot backwards onto the ledge. The board dropped into the darkness of the crevasse. About 45 seconds later, Miles and Randall heard a CRACK from where it had landed.
“That took a long time for it to land.” Miles replied nervously. “But there’s no time to waste. Katrina’s in danger.
Miles stepped on the board in front of the gap where the other board had just fallen…and that board fell too. Miles quickly grabbed onto the string tying the boards together, and one of the wooden poles holding the bridge cracked.
“Miles!!” Randall shouted. He grabbed onto the wooden pole that was about to break, but it was no use. The pole broke, and Miles and Randall were both hurled into the crevasse.
Miles was hanging onto a weak string, and Randall was hanging onto a wooden pole tied to the rest of the bridge by a string. Their lives were hanging by a thread…literally.
Then, the other wooden pole on the same side of the crevasse broke, and Miles and Randall swung to the ledge on the other side. Luckily, they were under the other side of the crevasse, which made their job a lot easier because all they had to do was climb up the bridge, which was now more like a ladder. The unfortunate part was that both wooden poles on the other side of the crevasse were slowly breaking.
Miles scrambled up the bridge/ladder and tumbled onto the ledge. He looked down at Randall, who was still climbing.
“C’mon!!!” Miles yelled. The wooden poles were almost broken.
“Hurry up!!!” Miles shouted. Then, the wooden poles broke. Just as the entire bridge started plummeting into the darkness below, Randall started screaming.
Fortunately, Miles grabbed his hand in time. Miles struggled to pull Randall up onto the ledge, but they made it. Randall rolled over on his side. Miles watched as the last of the broken bridge disappeared into the darkness.
“That…gasp…was intense…” Randall replied.
“Oh…like nothing we’ve been through has been intense.” Miles said.
“I didn’t say that!”
The two boys walked away from the crevasse and continued their search for Katrina. Then, twenty-five minutes later, they heard sounds of horses clopping and bells ringing.
They looked over a hill and saw the town of Ghostline. They absolutely could not see why it was a five-star town. Maybe the monsters saw it that way.
“Wow…this town has a five-star rating?” Randall exclaimed. “Compared to any other town, this town is a cute, little ladybug.”
“Or an ugly, little ladybug,” Miles corrected as the monsters in the town gathered around a podium. There were trumpets playing and monsters gathering around the podium. An ogre hopped up on top of the podium.
“Wait…listen to this! It could be important!” Miles whispered to Randall.
The ogre announced, “And without further…uh…ado, I here…here…hereby introduce…uh…you to…to…the…” A witch ran on top of the podium and whispered something in the ogre’s ear. The ogre continued. “…oh, yes! The…uh…Headless Horseman!!!”
There was even more confetti, trumpets, and cheering as a man without a head riding on a horse got onto the stage—the Headless Horseman.
“Thank you!” the Headless Horseman exclaimed, which struck Miles and Randall as surprise, considering he didn’t have a head. “Thank you, thank you!”
“I have a feeling there’s gonna be a lot of ‘thank you’s,” Randall replied, “so let’s get this over with. Where do you think Katrina is?”
Miles reviewed the ugly town. “Well, if monsters eat humans…then our best bet would be…” Miles saw two best bets in the town: a bakery, and a deli. “There’s a bakery and a deli here. We should try both of them. We’ll try the bakery first.”
“How do you figure it’s the bakery or the deli?”
“Well, if they eat humans, then shouldn’t they have some place to put them before they BAKE or SERVE them as food?” Miles shuddered at the thought of that. “Bakeries and delis are place for food! Now let’s go!”
Miles and Randall tiptoed out from behind the hill they were hiding behind and snuck towards the bakery. Randall peeked in a window and found that there were two vampires inside, enjoying a snack.
“Stop, Miles!” Randall cautioned, just as Miles was going to walk through the front door. “Not everyone went to the Headless Horseman’s town meeting over there.”
“What do you mean?”
“There are two vampires in there. What are we gonna do if we can’t sneak through the front door?”
“Maybe there’s a back door that leads into the kitchen. We could try that.”
“But then we’ll be seen by the monsters at the town meeting! What’re we gonna do then?”
Miles looked at the side of the bakery, then he looked back at Randall. “There are two windows on the side of the bakery. One leads into the main room, where the vampires are, and the other leads into the kitchen. I peeked to make sure there was nobody in the kitchen, and it’s all clear. We could sneak into the kitchen window, and I could see if Katrina’s in the bakery. If the vampires notice us, use your garlic bread to stop them.”
“I like garlic bread.”
“If we stop the vampires and save Katrina, you can go back home, and there’ll be plenty of garlic bread for you.”
Randall thought of a way to convince Miles not to use up the garlic bread. “If we use the garlic bread on the vampires…won’t that…uh…be wasting food?”
Miles stared at Randall. “What is the number one reason we came here?”
“To…find and rescue Katrina?”
“Exactly,” Miles and Randall tiptoed to the side of the bakery, and then slipped in the kitchen window. Miles looked to the door from the kitchen to the main room to make sure the vampires hadn’t heard them. The two vampires were still eating and chatting away.
“We made it.” Miles whispered, sweat dripping down his forehead. “Here’s the plan. I’ll sneak through the door and look for Katrina. You look out the back window and find out what they’re doing at the town meeting.”
Miles crawled to the door while Randall shuffled to the back window. Miles was about to open the door when he noticed something. In the crack between the bottom of the door and the floor, Miles could see the legs of one person lying behind the counter. They had pink sandals…but were missing one. Katrina!
Back with Randall, the town meeting was taking an interesting turn. Randall listened as the Headless Horseman announced more and more.
The Headless Horseman announced, “As you all know, a deadly famine had struck the peace and tranquility of the Batbark Woods.”
Randall muttered under his breath, “Yeah, real peace and tranquil.”
The Headless Horseman continued on. “So we are planning to lead a battalion into the human world! We will capture every last human and have a feast that will go on for millenniums! It will start tonight, and each and every one of you is going!!!” There were more cheers from the crowd.
Randall’s eyes grew wide. “I don’t like the sound this.” he said.
“But first,” the Headless Horseman replied, “I know you’re all hungry.” This statement made the most cheers erupt from the crowd. “All right, my right-hand man, the King of the Werewolves, and the Head Witch, will bring upon the podium…THE AMETHYST CAULDRON!!!” Tons and tons of cheers erupted from the large crowd of monsters as a purple, shiny cauldron was placed upon the podium.
“The Amethyst Cauldron,” Randall whispered.
“Bruno,” the Headless Horseman continued, “the bakery owner, will now bring forward the first human to the cauldron from the bakery!” A large vampire man, whom Randall thought to be Bruno, waddled to the front door of the bakery.
“Miles!” Randall whispered back to Miles. “Don’t open that door! The bakery owner is coming in!”
Miles opened the door just a crack and nodded at Randall. Then, he looked back just as Bruno came in. Miles saw that the person with pink sandals was indeed Katrina. Luckily, Bruno didn’t grab Katrina. He grabbed a large man with a blue, rugged jacket in front of Katrina. Bruno dragged the unconscious man out the front door.
Miles breathed a sigh of relief, and then carefully opened the door a crack more so that he could crawl out and grab Katrina. Unfortunately, the two vampires noticed this.
Randall was still paying close attention to the town meeting. Bruno laid the unconscious man on the podium, just beneath the Amethyst Cauldron.
“Now, Head Witch…do the spell.” the Headless Horseman instructed. The Head Witch nodded and faced the Amethyst Cauldron.
Then, the witch uttered, “Superiora infriftica!” Immediately, great white sparks shot from the witch’s hands, electrifying the cauldron. The King of the Werewolves lifted the unconscious man off the ground and the witch uttered another spell:
“We are in a hungry mood…
Turn this human into food!”
The King of the Werewolves roared and dropped the unconscious man into the Amethyst Cauldron. The man disappeared into a portal inside the cauldron. A white light appeared from the Amethyst Cauldron, and then…KA-BOOM!!!
Randall jumped. Miles jumped. The two vampires who were tiptoeing to see what was behind the counter jumped.
A wave of dust erupted from the cauldron, blowing inside the bakery. Randall coughed and coughed, and then looked back outside. Everything was still.
Then, food littered the ground. Monsters cheered. Turkey legs, pastries, hot dogs, cakes…tons of food fell on the ground…all made of the unfortunate man who had been thrown into the Amethyst Cauldron.
“There’s more where that came from!” the Headless Horseman shouted excitedly. “Bring in the next human!”
Miles heard him say this, and to his horror, he realized that the next human was Katrina.
The clock was ticking.
Miles and Randall both knew now that the Amethyst Cauldron was a deadly weapon…and the monsters were going to use it on Katrina next.
Miles quickly grabbed Katrina’s hand and then glanced above the counter. The two vampires were there, staring down at Miles.
“Hello, boy,” the girl vampire said with an evil grin.
Randall was still back in the kitchen. He remembered the spell the witch had said and decided he would need to remember it. He got a permanent marker out of his backpack and wrote the spell on the palm of his hand so that he wouldn’t forget it.
Miles stood up, carrying Katrina in his arms. The girl vampire smiled and motioned for Miles to come to her while the boy vampire just stood in front of her with a toothy grin.
Miles grabbed his sword and held it out in front of him just as Bruno entered the bakery.
“STAY BACK!!!” Miles shouted at the vampires. Bruno rushed forward to apprehend Miles, but he wasn’t quick enough. Miles slashed his sword at Bruno’s chest, making Bruno tumble to the ground.
The two other vampires sprang into action. They both lunged at Miles, who ducked and dropped his unconscious sister. The boy vampire knocked Miles’s sword out of his hand. The sword skittered to the corner of the room.
It was a riot in the bakery. Katrina and Bruno lay on the floor next to each other.
Miles quickly darted for his sword, but the boy vampire blocked his way. Miles had only one thing to do.
“RANDALL!!!” he shouted as the girl vampire lunged at him. Randall looked back from the window and jogged towards the door to the main room.
“What is it?” Randall asked anxiously, opened the door. He tripped over lifeless Bruno and fell on the ground. The garlic bread fell out of his pack. Randall quickly picked it up as the two vampires screamed and yelled.
“Garlic!!!” the girl vampire screamed. Miles quickly crawled towards the garlic bread and picked it up. The boy vampire lunged at Miles from behind.
“Miles! Look out!” Randall yelled. Miles tore a piece of garlic bread off and held it up in the air. When the boy vampire was inches away from hitting Miles, Miles put his hand down and let go of the garlic bread. He ducked so that the vampire wouldn’t hit him. The boy vampire swallowed the garlic bread and rolled across the floor. Screaming and howling, he turned purple and slowly disintegrated.
That was when the girl vampire lunged. Miles tore off another piece of garlic bread and hurled it at the girl vampire. She swallowed it, and slid across the floor. She too turned purple and disintegrated.
Miles and Randall slowly stood up. Miles bent down and lifted Katrina on her feet, although she was still unconscious.
“All right…we got Katrina…now let’s go!” Randall exclaimed.
Miles looked behind the counter. There were more people there, and two of them were Mr. Rivarez and Michael.
“We’d better take them, too.” Miles replied, pointing at the two.
“Wait…Michael? We’re taking him? I thought your sister hated him!” Randall said.
“Well, Mr. Rivarez is my dad’s best friend, and Michael’s just a kid. We can’t let them die.” Miles explained. “Here’s the plan. We’re gonna get outta here. I’ll carry Katrina, and you carry Mr. Rivarez and Michael.”
“Why do I always have to do all the work?” Randall swung Mr. Rivarez and Michael over his shoulders. They were both unconscious, but not dead.
Miles and Randall were about to run out the door, carrying Katrina, Mr. Rivarez, and Michael, when the Headless Horseman entered the bakery in front of them.
“Bruno, where are…” Then he caught sight of Miles and Randall. “HEY!!!” Miles and Randall ducked as the Headless Horseman swung his sword at them. The two boys exited the bakery, not at all letting go of Katrina, Mr. Rivarez, or Michael.
The Headless Horseman rode on his horse after them and shouted to the rest of the monsters, “EVERYONE!!!AFTER THEM!!!”
The chase was on.
The King of the Werewolves and the Head Witch sprinted forward after Miles and Randall, clutching the Amethyst Cauldron.
“Superiora infriftica!!!” the witch shouted. Randall’s eyes grew wide at the sound of that horrible spell.
“RUN FASTER!!!” he yelled. Then, the Head Witch shouted the next spell:
“There are two boys carrying three,
Make those boys unable to see!!!”
Miles thought it was over, but then he thought of an idea. The witch had said BOYS, not GIRLS. That meant the spell didn’t work on Katrina! But Miles had to act fast.
He screamed as loud as he could at Katrina, “KATRINA!!!!WAKE UP!!!!”
That was enough. Katrina awakened with a start as a humongous light erupted from the Amethyst Cauldron. It enveloped Miles and Randall. When it was gone, they couldn’t see a thing.
“What the…? Where am I?” Katrina muttered groggily.
“I CAN’T SEE!!!I CAN’T SEE!!!” Randall screamed.
“Katrina! Tell us where to go!” Miles instructed, zigzagging this way and that.
“Where are we…?” Katrina murmured. “Miles…is that you?”
Then, Miles heard the witch say “Superiora infriftica!” again, activating the Amethyst Cauldron. Then, the witch shouted:
“Our enemies put up quite a fight!
Destroy them with a big, bright light!”
Miles knew he and Randall had to find which way to go…and fast. But before the two boys could do anything, they felt tree branches in front of them.
Before Miles and Randall knew it, they were tumbling down a steep, leafy hill. Miles let go of Katrina, and she started rolling, too. Mr. Rivarez and Michael fell off Randall’s shoulders. Now the five were all rolling down the hill.
Above them, the bright light the witch had made burned trees and knocked them to the ground. They just missed the five rolling down the hill.
Finally, Miles, Katrina, Randall, Mr. Rivarez, and Michael rolled to a stop in a clearing under the hill, all unconscious as smoke from the burning trees covered the clearing.
Smoke was everywhere.
Miles slowly opened his eyes and found himself in the clearing he had rolled into, along with his sister, his best friend, and two other people, Mr. Rivarez and Michael.
Miles thought he was having another dream that would have an unfortunate ending for Katrina again, but then he remembered what had happened and sat up.
Katrina lay unconscious next to him, Randall was behind him, and Mr. Rivarez and Michael both lay next to Randall. They were all waking up.
“Mmm…where am I…?” Katrina muttered. “Miles…is that you?”
“Katrina!” Miles exclaimed. “You’re okay!” The brother and sister hugged each other now that they were united once again.
Randall sat up. “Hey…you found her!”
“Uh, Randall? You were there! Don’t you remember finding her in that bakery?” Miles inquired.
Randall stretched out. “Uh…I don’t remember much. All I remember is…oh, yeah.”
Miles looked up at all the smoke surrounding them. “It sounds like the town monsters have gone back to their usual business. This smoke should shield us from getting seen, but we’ve still gotta get out of here.”
Miles, Katrina, and Randall got on their feet, just as Mr. Rivarez and Michael woke up.
“Oog…where am I?” Michael inquired, and then he saw Katrina. He shot up immediately and all the exhaustion was drained from his eyes. “WHAT?! SHE--!”
Miles quickly covered Michael’s mouth so that he couldn’t say anything. “Don’t say a word! We’re still in danger!”
“Huh?” Michael said. “In danger from what?” Miles had forgotten that Michael had been unconscious the whole time.
“Great…HE’S here? I thought since you went missing that would be the last time I would ever hear from you!” Katrina exclaimed angrily.
“MISSING? What are you talking about? I was declared MISSING? That’s ridiculous! Sure, I have no idea why I’m here, but I was never declared missing…and why do you have to be here?” Michael complained, gritting his yellow teeth.
“I dunno…same as you!”
“WHAT? You’re agreeing with me? All right, I have to think of a good excuse for being here so that my reason doesn’t have to be the same as hers!”
“Stop!” Mr. Rivarez demanded, stepping between the two kids. “Miles’s father has told me that you guys fight a lot! You’ve got to stop!”
“Yeah…it’s a matter of life-and-death! If you yell loud enough, we could get caught!” Randall warned.
Mr. Rivarez stared at Randall. “Um…who told you it was a matter of life-and-death?”
Katrina inquired, “Who exactly are we gonna get caught by if we yell too loud?”
“The monsters! Up there!” Miles exclaimed. “They tried to kill us once already, and I guarantee they could do it again!” Unfortunately, Miles and Randall were the only people out of five that knew all about the monsters.
“Okay, where did you come up with all this monster crap?” Michael asked.
Miles sighed. “We’ll explain.” He looked up at the thinning smoke. “But we’ve gotta get out of here before the smoke disappears or we’ll be seen! Now c’mon!”
The group of five trekked back out into the forest, with Miles and Randall explaining everything they had been through. Miles and Randall told the other three about the spider tree, the purple coffin, the Amethyst Cauldron, and everything else. By the end, everyone really knew what was going on, except for Michael, who had been busy picking at his scabs the entire time.
“Wow,” Mr. Rivarez replied, putting his hands on Miles’s and Randall’s shoulders. “I hadn’t realized you boys had been through so much.”
“And it was all for that little dirtbag,” Michael said, still picking at his scab.
Katrina glared at Michael. “Well, at least I don’t pick my scabs!”
Michael stopped picking his scab and looked up. “Neither do I,” he lied, glaring at Katrina.
Katrina looked at Miles. “So those monsters are leading an army into our world because of a famine?”
Miles nodded. “And worse, they’ll probably have the Amethyst Cauldron with them. The Amethyst Cauldron can do anything anybody wants…as long as they utter as certain spell…which I forgot.”
“Don’t worry…it’s right here.” Randall replied, showing Miles his palm.
“All right, Randall!” Miles exclaimed with a smile.
“Uh, Miles? Randall? Which way do we go?” Mr. Rivarez asked from up ahead. Miles, Randall, Katrina, and Michael caught up with Mr. Rivarez and saw that the dirt road branched out in two different directions.
“Hmmm…I think it’s time we split up.” Miles replied. “Randall and I will go this way,” Miles pointed at the path that went directly forward, “and Katrina, Mr. Rivarez, and Michael will go that way.” He pointed at the path that went a little to the left.
“What?!? I’m with KATRINA?!?!” Michael screamed.
“Okay! Okay…fine! Katrina’s coming with us!” Miles explained. Katrina rushed over to Miles’s side. Miles walked over to Mr. Rivarez. “You’re in charge of Michael,” Miles replied. “Don’t let him get too loud. You’ve got to be extra quiet in this forest, you hear?”
“Okay,” Mr. Rivarez said.
“If you see a purple coffin with a picture of a dead tree on it, open it and get inside with Michael. I’ll bet it could fit you two. Randall and I pressed the purple button shaped like a dead tree to get here…”
“When you open the coffin, you’ll see a button pad with 6 buttons on it. Randall and I pressed the purple button shaped like a dead tree to get here, so pressing it again would probably get you back. It might take you a while to find your way through the forest from there on out, but I think you could make it.”
“Thanks for the info.”
“Oh, and one last thing…” Miles pulled five candy bars…the last five candy bars he had…out of his backpack and also pulled out ten strawberries. He also convinced Randall to give him three chocolate-chip muffins. Miles gave all this food to Mr. Rivarez. “You and Michael would never survive without food.”
“Thanks, Miles. I appreciate that.”
“So remember…find a purple coffin, open it, press the purple button, or the button that will be glowing. Then, try to find your way through the forest. If the dead trees become alive on the way, you’re on the right track. Good luck.”
“Good luck to you, too.”
Mr. Rivarez grabbed Michael and they trekked off along the left path. Miles, Katrina, and Randall walked along the other path.
Their chances of survival were grim.
Grim their chances of survival were, as was said before.
Miles, Katrina, and Randall had little food as they wandered along the rugged trail of the Batbark Woods. They had no candy bars left, eighteen strawberries, seven chocolate-chip muffins and one loaf of garlic bread. They knew they would run out of food very soon.
“The last thing I remember is something really hard hit me in the head.” Katrina replied. “Then I blacked out. I think it was either a piece of hail or horse’s hoof.”
“Yikes!” Randall replied.
“So you guys are true about the Amethyst Cauldron thing? And how the monsters have been chasing you?” Katrina asked.
“Yup,” Miles muttered. “They were going to turn you into food when you were unconscious.”
Randall pointed to a wanted sign with Miles’s and Randall’s pictures on it. “Yeah! How do you think that got here?”
Then, all of a sudden, a wolf face grew in the wanted sign. Miles, Katrina, and Randall stared in horror. The wolf wanted sign let out a tremendous howl that made the trees shake. Miles, Katrina, and Randall all covered their ears.
After that, a breeze came and blew the wanted sign away. The trio of kids stood there in horror.
“You think it was calling for backup?” Randall inquired nervously.
“I don’t know,” Miles replied, “but we’ve gotta keep on moving. C’mon!”
And so, the trio moved on, having no idea what was ahead of them.
PART 3: MONSTER INVASION
The wolf wanted sign’s howl echoed in the three kids’ minds as they trudged along the forest trail.
One thing that the trio noticed along the way was that the trees had changed farther along the trail. Their bark had changed from smooth and flat to rough and jagged. As Miles saw the sharp bark on the trees, it reminded him about the horrible dream he had had about the mud creature slaughtering Katrina.
Miles, Katrina, and Randall unfortunately hadn’t brought anything to drink, and were dying of thirst. Miles squeezed eight of the eighteen strawberries they had left so that juice would come out. He emptied the juice into a now empty plastic bag that used to have candy bars in it. The bag was filled enough for the three kids to take turns sipping the juice once in a while, but there still wasn’t a lot, and it didn’t help their thirst very much.
And even worse, if Miles, Katrina, and Randall didn’t get out of the Batbark Woods by sundown, the monsters would attack Misty River and there would be nothing the kids would be able to do about it. They were the only ones who knew about the monster invasion besides Mr. Rivarez. Michael hadn’t been listening when Miles had explained everything, so he didn’t know either.
“My feet hurt,” Katrina complained, “Can we stop for a minute?” Miles looked at his silver watch. It was 4:42. The trio couldn’t waste time at all, knowing that monsters were about to invade their hometown, but Miles didn’t argue. He too was tired, thirsty, and his feet hurt.
The three children sat down and a stone. Randall watched very carefully at the stone to make sure a face didn’t grow in it.
“I’m so thirsty,” Katrina replied. “Maybe when we get back up, we could search for a lake to take a drink out of.”
Miles stifled a small laugh, but he wasn’t in the mood for it. “After being in this forest, I wouldn’t take any chances. A sea monster could fly out of the water and bite your head off.”
Randall sniffed some smoke in the air. “Miles…do you smell something?”
Miles smelled the smoke, too. So did Katrina. It was coming from somewhere behind them.
The trio turned around and looked everywhere. Then, they saw smoke coming from behind a patch of dead shrubs.
Miles stepped over the rock and tiptoed towards the dead shrubs. He carefully pushed the shrubs out of the way and looked behind them.
There was a clearing with a destroyed hut in it. It was burning. Most of the walls had been toppled over and only a small fraction. A small fireball was still whizzing around the wreckage. It looked sort of like a snake. Miles knew somehow that he had been here just hours before.
“Hey, guys,” Miles replied back to Katrina and Randall. “We might get out of here in no longer than a day.”
“But by tomorrow, the monsters will have invaded! There’s nothing we can do!” Randall said.
Miles looked back at Randall with a scowl on his face. “I…thought…you know…this is the witch’s hut we were just at a few hours ago.”
“You mean the hut with the witch and the ogre inside?”
“Miles, it took about a day and a half to get there from the purple coffin! How are we ever going to find our way back before the invasion starts?”
Miles was about to say something when something behind Katrina and Randall caught his attention. Katrina and Randall turned around and they saw it too. There was the Headless Horseman, followed by the King of the Werewolves, the Head Witch, and two knights.
“There they are! AFTER THEM!!” the Headless Horseman roared. Katrina and Randall shot up from the rock they were sitting on and sprinted along the trail. Miles got onto the trail and followed behind.
The three kids ran and ran. That was when the dead trees turned into bats.
Pieces of bark from the dead trees starting flying off, always nearly hitting Miles, Katrina, or Randall.
“LOOK OUT!” Miles shouted. The pieces of bark turned into wooden bats and started swirling around above the trio.
The Headless Horseman threw a yellow flaming pumpkin at Miles, Katrina, and Randall. It hit the ground just behind their feet, causing a big blast and knocking the three forward.
Luckily, there was a downhill trail up ahead, making the kids roll along the trail and stay ahead of the monsters. When they stopped rolling, they got up and started running again.
The wooden bats had gone up into the sky and were now forming a tremendous tornado. The bats flew upward, and then plummeted downward towards the kids, still in tornado form.
Miles dove out of the wooden tornado, but Katrina and Randall weren’t quick enough. They started being carried up into the air. They were caught.
Miles looked back and saw that the monsters were slowing down in front of the tornado. The Head Witch still had the Amethyst Cauldron in front of her, and Miles got an idea.
“Superiora infriftica!” Miles screamed. Huge sparks came out of Miles’s hands and hit the Amethyst Cauldron. He was in control now.
He thought of a rhyme to say to make the Amethyst Cauldron do his bidding, then thought of one that could get him, Katrina, and Randall away from the monsters and right where they would need to be.
“Our enemies are falling for a trick!
Make these bats into a flying broomstick!”
The bats joined together and flew in random positions. Katrina and Randall fell to the ground unharmed. Soon, the bats had disappeared, and in their place was a broomstick hovering not even two feet off the ground.
The monsters took advantage of this moment and charged, but they were no match for the three kids.
Miles, Katrina, and Randall got on the broomstick—which fortunately could seat three people—and shot up in the air, away from their enemies.
You couldn’t exactly say that the view of the Batbark Woods was beautiful. Miles and Randall had seen much more things than Katrina and none of those things they saw had been beautiful except for maybe one or two things.
Miles was obviously not the most experienced broomstick rider, (maybe even the least experienced) but he got the hang of it. He knew now that the direction in which you leaned was the direction the broomstick would go. He had a couple close calls when he was flying, but the three kids were all okay.
Miles, Katrina, and Randall had been flying for minutes searching for a purple coffin somewhere on the ground. Then, behind them, two witches came flying on their broomsticks, too.
“Hang on!” Miles yelled to Katrina and Randall. The three kids streaked across the sky as fast as lightning on that broomstick. The witches shot many spells at the kids, but none hit them.
A witch flew up close to Miles unstrapped his sword and slashed the witch with it. The witch fell off her broomstick and plummeted into the woods below. One down, one to go.
But the other witch didn’t let the kids stop her. She shot a spell at the trio, and a blazing ball of lightning hit their broomstick. Miles, Katrina, and Randall were sent plummeting into the woods on their flaming broomstick.
They all screamed as they flew into a cave and landed on rock-solid ground. This little impact on the ground caused a small rumble, which made part of the unstable rock ceiling collapse. Miles, Katrina, and Randall were stuck in the cavern.
Miles got up and couldn’t see through the blackness. “Guys! Where are you?” Miles asked.
“Over here!” Randall yelled.
“I’m right here!” Katrina shouted.
There was a small light coming from a hole in the rock pile. Miles grabbed his flying broomstick and tore two small twigs off of it. He used the small light as a work light and tried as best as he could to see what he was doing. He rubbed the two twigs together until a small fire was made. He picked up his broomstick and walked over to Katrina and Randall. The dim light from the torch let him see the two children. He kept the other twig in case the fire burned out and he would need to rub the twigs together again.
“Great! Just great!” Randall complained. “We’re stuck in here! Which way do we go now?”
Miles walked forward. He saw the darkness behind Randall and knew he, his sister, and his best friend would have to go there. He shuddered at the thought of his dream about the lava-filled cavern.
“I guess we’re gonna have to go there,” Miles answered in a shaky voice.
And so the trio trekked through the cavern with the light of Miles’s torch guiding the way. The three kids had been through a lot, and there was still more to come.
Miles, Katrina, and Randall heard shrieks and moans in the darkness of the cavern, which sent a chill up their spine.
The three kids sat down on the dirt and ate some food. Miles took a look at his watch. It was 4:59. It wouldn’t be long before the invasion.
So the kids continued on, trudging through the terrifying cavern. Then, all of a sudden, Katrina collapsed.
“Katrina!” Miles exclaimed. He rushed towards her. So did Randall.
“It doesn’t look like she’s hurt.” Randall muttered, breathing heavily.
“So…thirsty…” Katrina murmured. Miles quickly got out the plastic bag with strawberry juice in it, and found that it was nearly empty. He poured the tiny amount that was left into Katrina’s mouth, but even that didn’t seem to revive her. She was dying of thirst.
Miles lifted Katrina over his shoulders and ran.
“Where are we gonna find some water before Katrina dies?” Miles inquired. Then, he and Randall heard some water dripping ahead of them.
Katrina’s eyes popped wide open. She stumbled off Miles’s shoulders and sprinted through the darkness.
“Wait! Katrina! Where are you going?” Miles shouted. Miles and Randall ran after her.
They entered a chamber with glittering blue crystals and a small underground lake in it. The lake looked like it was swirling a bit…like a whirlpool.
The two boys entered just in time to see Katrina trip on a log that was sticking out of the ground. She fell and slid across the rugged bank. She fell into the small lake with a splash.
Miles and Randall knelt over the edge of the water, looking for the shape of Katrina. Then, without warning, Katrina sprang out from under the water. She was being pulled under by the current.
“Katrina! Grab my hand!” Miles shouted. He reached out his hand. Katrina swam and breathed as hard as she could, but she was still being pulled under. Miles’s mind raced for an option.
Then he remembered the twig. He grabbed the spare twig he hadn’t used for a torch and reached it out across the water. Katrina tried to grab it, and after many tries, she finally did. Miles tried as hard as he could to pull Katrina out of the water.
Randall pulled Miles back and also tried as hard as he could. With the extra pull, Katrina safely let go of the twig and crawled onto the bank. She was soaking wet and shivering.
“The water is freezing,” she said quietly. “Could I have a jacket or something to warm me up?”
Randall looked at Miles, who was still wearing his light brown jacket.
“No, no…” Miles muttered, “This jacket makes me look good…I’m just kidding!” Miles took off his jacket and gave it to Katrina who wrapped it around her freezing self in less than a second.
The trio continued through the cavern and got out of it five minutes later. On Miles’s watch, it was 5:16.
They were running out of time.
Katrina still hadn’t recovered from her very recent water experience. Even with Miles’s jacket on, she was still freezing cold. Miles felt sorry for her.
The three friends walked along the trail, finally out of the cavern, but still wondering if they would get anywhere. They ate a few times in the next hour and as a result…one strawberry left. Other than that one strawberry, their food amounts were zero.
Unfortunately, when it comes to food, there is competition. The three kids continued to brawl over who got the last strawberry until, in desperation, Randall threw the strawberry down a steep, leafy hill.
The three kids now had no food, and it was 8:23. There was still no sign of a purple coffin anywhere. Miles was losing his common sense due to lack of food and forgot to use his flying broomstick. He and his friends were losing their minds each minute.
“Where are we?”
“Who are you?”
“What were we talking about?”
“Where’s the coffin…or whatever?”
The three kids thought it was over by 8:34 until Miles tripped over a vine.
“Wah…what was that?” Miles replied drowsily. He saw that there was a small batch of blue grapes attached to the vine. He lifted it off and ate a berry. Instantly, he was recharged. His common sense came back, along with the sweet taste of food that hadn’t been with him for quite a while.
“Guys, taste this!” Miles replied. He plucked two berries off the batch and gave Katrina and Randall each one. They both popped it in their mouths absentmindedly. Then, they too were completely restored.
“Wow! W-what is th-this stu-stu-stuff?” Katrina inquired, still shivering cold but managing a weak smile.
“I don’t know,” Randall answered, “but it made me feel AMAZING!!!”
“Hmmm,” Miles mumbled, “Before we start searching for the purple coffin…I’m guessing there’s more where that came from! C’mon!”
The three kids followed the long, prickly vine until they reached a clearing filled with the berries that had made them feel so good. They couldn’t believe their eyes.
Miles had been right—there was more where that came from—and a lot more! Miles, Katrina, and Randall stared into a clearing filled with tons and tons of sweet, sweet berries, all colored in different colors and all so unique, but not in taste. Each and every berry had the same amazing taste that had revived the three kids. The trio didn’t even have second thoughts before they jumped into the berries. These were the only things in the terrifying world of the Batbark Woods that made the kids feel so great.
The trio picked up as much of the berries as they could carry. Katrina decided they could name the newly found fruit ghostberry, and so they did.
After a while, they left the clearing and Randall said, “Looks like it’s getting pretty dark. What time is it?”
Miles reluctantly glanced at his silver watch, knowing it wouldn’t be long before the invasion.
It was 8:50. He was absolutely right.
Back at Ghostline, the town was in an uproar about Miles and Randall. The two boys had now killed four monsters in the world of the Batbark Woods: the unfortunate witch whom Miles had stabbed, the unlucky ogre who was burned to death, and the two vampires whom had eaten their weakness: garlic.
The Headless Horseman supervised the ghostly town. Everywhere he looked, there were monsters preparing for battle. There were ogre blacksmiths preparing swords, witches practicing their spells, and much more.
The King of the Werewolves walked to the Headless Horseman, along with the Head Witch.
“Status report?” the Headless Horseman inquired.
“It is 8:51,” the Head Witch answered. “We’re almost prepared for battle. When do we leave?”
“The whole army is leaving at 10:00 sharp. We’re going to capture every single human being in our way.”
The King of the Werewolves growled and roared briefly several times.
“He’s asking about the two young wanted teenage humans.” the Head Witch translated.
“Oh, yes,” the Headless Horseman muttered. “Well, no human must be wasted. We’ll kill them both and toss them into the Amethyst Cauldron to be turned into food.”
“Sir, if I may speak for a second,” the Head Witch murmured, “on behalf of our entire army…you should take notice that even though the Amethyst Cauldron can do powerful things…it’s very, very fragile. Do you mind if I ask one of our blacksmiths to…”
“Improve the cauldron?” the Headless Horseman finished for her. “No, no…it cannot be destroyed. We’ll have eight powerful guards surrounding it so that it can’t be destroyed. The humans will have no chance of slicing it up.”
“So I take it the army is well prepared?” the Head Witch replied.
“Just enough,” the Headless Horseman answered. “But we’ve still got some other monsters from the other five worlds joining us. Our army of 1,012 will be greatly raised to a very high number.”
“How long until they get here?”
“They are not slow. They will probably get here around 9:30 PM.”
“That’s quite a bit faster than you can get around by walking.”
“I know it is. So everything is in tip top shape here. And if anything goes wrong…” the Headless Horseman pulled a glowing green ball out of his pocket. “…I’ll unleash my beast.”
Miles, Katrina, and Randall zipped across the sky flying on Miles’s broomstick. The ghostberry had helped them immensely, even though Katrina was still shivering cold.
Miles looked down into the dark forest. He couldn’t see anything. Everything in the forest at night was as a mystery as Miles, Katrina, and Randall getting home in time.
The trio’s food amounts had increased rapidly though, because of how much ghostberry they had smuggled from the clearing they had just been in.
It was 9:09 PM. Miles didn’t know this, but the monster army would leave at 10:00. They had 51 minutes.
“When are we gonna find a purple coffin?” Randall inquired. “We’ve been flying for--!”
“LOOK OUT!!!” Katrina interrupted. Miles turned his attention back to in front of him and saw that they were about to fly straight into a flying, purple coffin. It was gently lowering to the ground.
Miles quickly zipped up on his broomstick and just missed the descending coffin.
“Hey…there it is!!!” Randall shouted enthusiastically.
“W-we’ve got to follow it d-down there!” Katrina exclaimed excitedly.
As the three kids plummeted down to the ground on their flying broomstick, they saw that dozens of other purple coffins were also floating to the ground.
“How come there’s so many?” Randall inquired as they hit the ground just before the purple coffin they had been following.
“It’s the invasion.” Miles muttered grimly. “The original army probably called for backup.”
The three kids hid behind the coffin as two monsters, a werewolf and a skeleton, walked out of the coffin. When the monsters disappeared into the forest, Miles, Katrina, and Randall stepped into the coffin. They could all squeeze into the coffin, but it was a tight fit.
Miles closed the coffin door and there was a long silence.
“So…how do we get back again?” Randall inquired.
Miles looked at the glowing purple button shaped like a dead tree on the button pad. “If we pressed that button to get here, maybe pressing it again will bring us back.” Miles pressed the button.
The coffin lifted off the ground and headed back to the three kids’ home world. Miles and Randall weren’t happy with the tight fit, but Katrina appreciated it, due to the fact that she was still freezing cold and this warmed her up.
Then, the coffin finally landed. Miles opened the door, and there was the same forest, with all the dead trees. But…one tree was missing.
Miles and Randall noticed that the spider tree had vanished. They didn’t know how, but they didn’t have time to think about it. It was 9:15 PM and the monsters would be invading in 45 minutes. Miles, Katrina, and Randall all hopped onto the flying broomstick and took off.
They would recognize Misty River easily. It was a town that was 30 miles away from another town that you couldn’t see from that view. So Misty River would obviously be the only town in sight for miles.
The trio flew above the trees, which went from dead and scary-looking to nice, leafy alive trees. This sight filled Miles with joy. The beautiful-looking trees were a sign that they were getting close to Misty River.
Finally, they flew under a sign that looked unbelievably familiar. The broomstick flew under a large sign that read:
The three kids flew above the nice, peaceful town for a few minutes, and then finally landed in the group of suburbs where Miles, Katrina, and Randall lived.
The three kids sprinted across the sidewalk. Miles clutched the shiny sword and the wooden broomstick in his hands.
“Where are we going?” Randall asked, but he didn’t need an answer. He immediately recognized the front yard of Miles’s house. Miles felt like he was at a place he hadn’t been to for a long time.
Miles’s dad’s car was in the driveway, so Miles knew his dad was home. Miles jogged up the front porch steps. He was out of breath and so were Katrina and Randall, whom were both right behind him.
Miles rang the doorbell and heard his dad shout, “GO AWAY!!!” It was the saddest sound Miles had ever heard. He had been away from home for a long time now…or it seemed. He had only been gone for at least two days, but for both Miles and his dad, it had seemed at lot longer.
Miles rang the doorbell again and his dad screamed, “I SAID GO AWAY!!!” Miles didn’t listen and he rang the doorbell several more times.
He heard his dad walk across the floor and mutter, “Listen, my daughter disappeared, my son went out to look for her and they both haven’t come back yet…isn’t it enough to…!” Miles saw his dad look out the window and stop in mid-sentence. Miles grinned and waved at his dad.
Miles’s dad just stood there in silence for a good three minutes (which wasted precious time, because it was now 9:21) and didn’t hesitate after that.
He darted from the window and fumbled at the door so hard he almost knocked it down. When he finally opened the door, he ran towards Miles and gave him a hug so big Miles almost suffocated.
Miles’s dad was so happy that he started crying. “I wanna hug you and strangle you at the same time.” Miles’s dad muttered to Miles.
“I know, Dad,” Miles replied, “I guess that’s what being a parent it is.”
Before Miles could explain everything, Miles’s dad ran inside and grabbed the phone.
It wasn’t long before news crews, police, and just regular residents of the town swarmed the house. Miles got a chance to tell his story, but no one believed him.
Miles’s dad said that Miles, Katrina, and Randall were a mess. The three of them took a shower and got back outside with Miles’s dad and the reporters. Katrina had grabbed a different jacket from her dad’s closet. It was black and much too big for her, but it was warm and cozy, so she wore it. Miles got his own light brown jacket and put it on.
Miles looked at his watch. It was 9:54. There were only six minutes left. He, his sister, and his best friend had made it back to Misty River, but they still hadn’t convinced everyone about the invasion.
And they didn’t have that much time left. Not much at all.
10:00. Time was up. The minutes had come and gone for Miles. He heard the Town Hall bells ringing the change in time. Miles looked above the woods. He adjusted his eyes a bit better and saw dozens and dozens of tiny dots descending slowly. He knew they were the purple coffins. The army had almost arrived.
Miles pushed through the crowd and walked towards Katrina and Randall. Katrina was no longer shivering, which was good. But there were other matters at hand.
“I could just see the purple coffins flying over the forest.” he said grimly. “The army’s coming.”
“Oh, no…” Katrina muttered. “If they bring the Amethyst Cauldron, we’re done for!”
“I can’t believe this! The media is interested in stories of missing kids suddenly being found, and they’re not interested in stories about the Headless Horseman and his pals attacking the kids several times and almost stopping them from escaping!” Randall exclaimed.
“This is bad,” Miles murmured.
Randall exclaimed, “Yeah! And to make matters worse, I can’t find any garlic bread in your house!”
“To kill vampires?”
“No…to eat! What else would I use it for?”
“Miles,” Katrina replied, “You’re the one with the weapons. You can fight them, and we’ll help if you need it. But…I don’t know how just three kids are going to beat an entire army.”
“Hey…aren’t they with us?” Randall inquired, pointing at the large crowd.
“They don’t even know about the invasion. They could try and attack, but they’re not ready.” Katrina answered.
Miles looked up as clouds covered the moon. A strange wind blew that made a chill go up Miles’s spine. The army was coming a lot faster than he expected.
“I have a hunch that the monster army’s getting close.” Miles whispered.
“I’m scared,” Katrina murmured.
“Oh, yeah…like you haven’t been scared at all!” Randall replied.
“I need to tell everybody…whether they believe me or not!” Miles said. He turned around and faced all the cameras and microphones. He was swarmed with even more questions from the reporters that this time were not easily answered.
“How do you feel now that you’re home?”
“Um…could you excuse me? I have to…”
“Do you think it’s true that a monster army is about to invade?”
“Yes! In fact, that’s…”
“Do you have any comments on…?”
“STOP!” A number of reporters turned and looked at Miles. “This is serious! We have to…!”
He didn’t get to say another word before a large crash was heard in the forest, followed by a loud cackling.
“It’s them,” Katrina replied quietly. Everyone watched in awe and horror as the trees in the forest started changing. Their leaves shrunk and shrunk until there was nothing left but bare, dead trees.
When the last of the trees finally died, a large number of monsters charged out of the forest. They were far away, but they were coming fast.
Miles grabbed his broomstick and flew off. Katrina and Randall just stood there for a moment, and then ran.
The monsters were coming out of the forest from three directions. Wherever anyone went, there was no escape. The only way out of Misty River was the docks at the edge of the river, but they were closed for the night.
As Miles soared over the town on his broomstick, he could see a glint of lavender from the enormous crowd of monsters heading for the town. A werewolf and a witch ran on either side of it. They were bringing the Amethyst Cauldron.
Miles did a dive-bomb on his broomstick to the ground. The army moved in separate directions, all doing their own horrible things.
Miles saw his back up in front of Miles’s house. The Headless Horseman had confronted Miles’s dad and was about to throw a blue flaming pumpkin at him. Luckily, Miles showed up in the nick of time. He soared straight into the Headless Horseman, making him drop his blue flaming pumpkin.
As Miles flew away, his dad picked up the pumpkin. He was surprised at how even though it was burning, it didn’t hurt him. He kept it.
Miles was still soaring on his broomstick when he saw the Amethyst Cauldron below. He wondered how in the world he was going to stop the army if they had the cauldron. Then, he heard the witch utter the key spell to activating the Amethyst Cauldron, and he got an idea. If he could say a rhyme that would destroy the Amethyst Cauldron, then the cauldron would do his bidding. It would shatter itself into a million pieces. And even better, if it was destroyed, its power would be released. With it shattered into a million pieces, the monster would not be able to get a request from it any longer. Miles would use their own weapon against them. It was a genius plan, but it would be risky.
Miles did a dive-bomb down into the street and was about to utter the spell.
“Superior…!” He was cut short. The King of the Werewolves had jumped into the air and grabbed onto Miles’s broomstick. Miles was flying out of control.
The two soared straight above the Amethyst Cauldron and were now flying away wildly.
“NO!!!” Miles shouted. He tried to go back, but the King of the Werewolves was preventing him from steering the broomstick.
The broomstick crashed against the ground and Miles and the King of the Werewolves were both sent tumbling off of it. Miles raised his fist as if he were about to punch the King of the Werewolves when the king roared with fear in his voice and crawled backwards, away from Miles.
Miles realized his fist had the watch made of silver on it. He took the watch off and threw it in front of the King of the Werewolves. The king roared even more as Miles got back on his broomstick and flew towards the Amethyst Cauldron.
The Headless Horseman stood next to the cauldron. He would’ve been smiling a very pleasant smile if he had a head.
“Everything is going well,” he said to the Head Witch who was standing right next to him. “The Amethyst Cauldron is under top security. We even have witches soaring through the skies guarding it.”
The Head Witch scanned the people running and screaming and monsters attacking. “Yes…yes. I am sorry for what I said earlier. The Amethyst Cauldron cannot be destroyed. We will win.”
“You don’t have to apologize, Miss Head Witch. It wouldn’t really change anything at all. We would still win.” the Headless Horseman replied.
“Cap’n Horseman!” a witch riding on her broomstick yelled to the Headless Horseman.
“What is it?” the Headless Horseman shouted back at her.
“That boy on the broomstick over there is going for an aerial attack! He might destroy the Amethyst Cauldron!” the witch shouted in a shaky voice.
“No problem,” the Headless Horseman muttered, his horse trotting forward. “I’ll take care of him.”
The Headless Horseman grabbed a yellow flaming pumpkin and threw it at the boy on a broomstick, who was obviously Miles. Miles tried to dodge the pumpkin, but it was too late.
The flaming pumpkin hit the back of the broomstick Miles was on and there was a large yellow burst. The broomstick rocketed forward and before Miles could say anything, the broomstick flew aimlessly away from the Amethyst Cauldron.
Miles soared up and down on his broomstick. He wasn’t in control of it anymore. Whenever he leaned in one direction to make the broomstick go that way, the broomstick disobeyed his command.
Before Miles knew it, he was sent tumbling through the big, wooden doors of Town Hall. He stumbled off of his broomstick and skidded across the tile floor until finally coming to a stop.
Miles ran back to his broomstick and saw that small yellow flames were crackling on the back of it. He put them out with his light brown jacket.
He was about to hurry out the door and start his plan when the Headless Horseman trotted in on his horse. Miles carefully unsheathed his sword.
“Ah, you’re the boy who was seen wandering in the woods.” the Headless Horseman murmured as he too unsheathed his sword. “We would’ve made an excellent dish out of you.”
“Why can’t you just leave us alone?” Miles exclaimed. The two were now walking in a circle, facing each other with their swords in front of each other. There was no doubt that a swordfight was about to begin.
“Ah, you’re just never going to get our lifestyle, are you?” the Headless Horseman said.
“Yeah,” Miles answered. “I’m never to get how you monsters are so weird and stupid!”
The Headless Horseman charged. Miles, being an inexperienced swordfighter, didn’t know what to do. When Miles’s brain finally registered, he swung his sword. A loud banging sound was caused when the two swords clanged together.
The Headless Horseman reminded Miles of cavalry in a battle, but the Headless Horseman was much more experienced and skilled. Miles was lucky he had even made a strike without dying.
The Headless Horseman charged again from behind, and Miles ran up a stairwell to his right.
The Headless Horseman swung his sword again, just missing Miles as he was running up the steps, his sword in one hand and his broomstick in the other.
The Headless Horseman got to the top of the stairwell and saw (even though he didn’t have eyes) Miles jumping over a big wooden table with at least twelve chairs set next to it.
The monster grabbed a green flaming pumpkin and threw it at Miles. It just missed, and hit the window nearly twenty feet in front of Miles. A moderate green explosion occurred, destroying the window and blasting away part of the wall, making a hole.
This was a perfect exit route for Miles. He sheathed his sword, jumped onto his broomstick, and flew out into the night just missing another swipe of the Headless Horseman’s sword.
Katrina and Randall stood below just in front of Town Hall, watching Miles with awe.
Miles soared above the Amethyst Cauldron, dodging a couple of witches’ spells, and uttered the magic words.
“Superiora infriftica!” Miles shouted. The Amethyst Cauldron was activated. Miles thought of a spell, and then finally decided:
“The power of the Amethyst Cauldron releases!
Blow the cauldron up into a million pieces! Oh man, I hate rhyming…”
That did the trick. Miles watched on his broomstick as a large lavender light emerged from the Amethyst Cauldron. The monsters guarding the cauldron sprinted or flew away as the light rocketed back down on the cauldron.
Miles watched as the light blew the Amethyst Cauldron into thousands of tiny pieces.
Pieces of amethyst skidded across the ground. The Amethyst Cauldron had exploded, and Miles, Katrina, and Randall were all smiling. For a moment, they thought they had won.
A large purple wave erupted from the explosion and started destroying almost everything in its path. Witches were knocked off their broomsticks and their broomsticks were knocked to the ground.
The wave weakened as it got to Miles. It also undid everything in the town that had been requested from the Amethyst Cauldron. So the moment the wave reached Miles, his flying broomstick turned into a bunch of wooden bats.
Miles fell through the flock of bats and landed on the ground with a thud. He had lost his broomstick. Now all he had was his trusty sword.
He looked up at the hole in the Town Hall wall. The Headless Horseman was standing in it, and if he had a head, his expression would be a glare more disturbing than any other.
“You have destroyed the Amethyst Cauldron,” the Headless Horseman said loud enough so that Miles could hear from that far away. “And now…I’m going to destroy you.”
The Headless Horseman flung the glowing green ball out of his pocket. It was about to hit Miles when it floated in mid-air. Katrina and Randall backed away from the glowing green ball.
Then, something started forming around the glowing green ball. It looked like a rib cage. Then, more features were added like skeletal arms, skeletal legs, and bony wings. Then there came the final touch: the skeletal head of a dinosaur. It was a pterodactyl skeleton.
Miles ran away from the creature as it roared a blood-curling roar and charged straight towards Miles.
Miles ducked as it soared overhead and grabbed a lone broomstick lying on the pavement. He got on it and rocketed into the air.
The pterodactyl skeleton tried to chomp on Miles, but he quickly got out of the way and streaked across the night sky and into the dead forest. The pterodactyl skeleton followed behind. Katrina and Randall wondered if they would ever see Miles again.
This was a terrible situation. The three beings staying at town hall, Katrina, Randall, and the Headless Horseman who still stood in the hole in the wall, didn’t know who would come back alive. If Miles came back, Katrina and Randall would be the ones cheering. If the pterodactyl skeleton was the one who came back, the Headless Horseman would be cheering.
Miles sped through the forest on his new flying broomstick, dodging trees and branches. The pterodactyl skeleton followed behind him, toppling over every tree it ran into.
When Miles thought the creature would get him, he soared straight up into the air and over the forest. The pterodactyl skeleton came out after, destroying many trees.
A piece of bark pierced the green glowing ball in the pterodactyl skeleton’s rib cage and the creature roared in agony. Miles watched as the bark kept piercing the ball, in effect hurting the creature. Finally, the bark fell from the ball, and the pterodactyl skeleton returned to its duty.
No problem, Miles thought. I know what to do.
With a plan well thought out, Miles plummeted downward straight towards the pterodactyl skeleton. He knew his plan might not work, but he had to destroy the creature.
As Miles flew closer to the bony mouth of the pterodactyl skeleton, the creature opened its mouth wide. Miles began sweating even harder.
Then, the creature’s long, jagged teeth lowered onto Miles. But luckily, Miles had just made it.
As the pterodactyl skeleton roared in triumph, Miles streaked down the skeleton’s neck and into the rib cage. The creature turned, and Miles accidentally ran into one of its bones.
The broomstick fell below and lay on one of the creature’s bones, perched very precariously. It was obvious that the broomstick might fall.
The sword almost fell down with it, but Miles grabbed it at just the right time. He wasn’t going to let the sword go. It was vital to his plan.
Miles glanced at the glowing green ball straight in front of him. If he was lucky, he could jump all the way to the glowing green ball and stab it with his sword.
Miles prepared himself, and then leaped from the bone.
It was like a dream, and as Miles was in the air, his mind was racing with different thoughts coming at him each short second that passed by.
Will I make it?
I don’t think I will!
I’m gonna make it!
What about my broomstick?
Miles was about to fall below the glowing green ball when…SHHAAAKKK!!! He sheathed his sword into the ball, which made the pterodactyl skeleton cry out in agony once again.
The longer Miles had his sword in the ball, the more the ball glowed. The sword was sticking in the ball, holding Miles up, but he knew that it wouldn’t for long. Miles weighed the sword down, and it was slowly slipping from the ball.
Without thinking, Miles let go of the sword. He tumbled onto the bone his broomstick was on and grabbed the broomstick. As he descended, he quickly got on his broomstick and soared away. The pterodactyl skeleton exploded above him.
Miles saw his shining sword falling from the ball of smoke and grabbed it just as it was about to drop below him into the forest.
Miles had destroyed the pterodactyl skeleton. He had only one more challenge to face.
That challenge was the Headless Horseman.
Katrina, Randall, and the Headless Horseman stared anxiously at the horizon, waiting to find out who would come back.
Then, out from the forest, came a young boy flying on a broomstick. It was Miles.
Katrina and Randall cheered and clapped as Miles soared over their heads and rocketed straight towards the Headless Horseman who was moaning and complaining about Miles’s victory over the pterodactyl skeleton.
Miles and the Headless Horseman both unsheathed their swords as they collided into each other. Miles broomstick slid against the floor along with Miles.
Miles stood up and swung his sword at the Headless Horseman. Their swords clanged against each other and there was a long swordfight.
Katrina and Randall stared up into the hole in the wall, trying to find out what was happening.
Then, the Headless Horseman struck Miles’s sword so hard it flew out of Miles’s hand and landed in the grass below. Miles was backed up to the hole in the wall. The Headless Horseman’s sword was pointing straight at Miles. The Headless Horseman also pulled a green flaming pumpkin off his belt. Miles was trapped. He had no place to go. He was finished.
Then, a voice from outside shouted, “HEY!!!” Katrina and Randall turned. Miles turned. The Headless Horseman gazed past Miles’s shoulder at a man running on the front lawn of the Town Hall.
The man was Miles’s dad, with the blue flaming pumpkin still clutched in his hands. He pointed a finger at the Headless Horseman. “IF YOU LAY ONE FINGER ON MY SON…I WILL…I’ll…”
The Headless Horseman paused for a moment, and then threw the green flaming pumpkin up into the air. He trotted away on his horse as Miles just stood there, staring at the flaming pumpkin that was about to land at his feet.
“MILES!!!” Katrina screamed, but it was too late.
The pumpkin exploded and Miles was sent flying out the window. Bricks toppled over on where he had just been, and he landed in the grass on his back unconscious.
“NO!!!” Miles’s dad screamed.
The Headless Horseman laughed and laughed as Miles lay on the grass. Katrina and Randall were both in shock.
A wave of anger rushed over Miles’s dad, and he hurled the blue flaming pumpkin.
It was said earlier in the book that the blue flaming pumpkin seemed to be the most powerful of them all, and it was.
The blue flaming pumpkin landed on the marble floor. The Headless Horseman tried to get down the stairwell, but it was far too late now.
A huge cloud of blue smoke burst out of every window in the Town Hall. Katrina and Randall quickly dragged Miles out of the way of the explosion. Randall clutched Miles’s sword tightly as the Town Hall exploded.
The Headless Horseman was enveloped in blue smoke and the ceiling collapsed on top of him. The monsters saw that their leader had been killed and they all retreated back to the purple coffins. Katrina, Randall, and Miles’s dad watched as the monsters disappeared into the dead forest. As they got farther away, the leaves grew back on the trees. Even though the trees were now alive again, you couldn’t say that everything was back to normal.
Katrina, Randall, and Miles’s dad sauntered away from the wreckage. Katrina forced Miles up to his feet even though he was unconscious and they all walked back to Miles’s house.
Miles woke up. Light shone through the bedroom window. Birds were chirping away outside. He was still in his clothes from last night.
Miles looked around with tired eyes. He was in his room. Everything was okay. All the books, all his CDs, and all his belongings were neatly organized just like he’d kept them.
He began to think everything—the purple coffin, the Headless Horseman, the monster invasion—was all a dream.
Then, he looked outside, and he was reassured. The outside world didn’t look anything like his neat and organized room. Trees had been torn down, lampposts and traffic poles had been toppled over, and there were ambulances, fire truck, police cars, news vans, and people everywhere.
Miles felt sore. He struggled to get out of bed. When he got into the living room, he saw that Katrina, Randall, and Miles’s dad were all sitting in chairs watching the news. Katrina and Randall sat together on the couch, and Miles’s dad was relaxing in a cozy armchair.
“Miles!” Katrina exclaimed when she saw Miles up and about. She ran over and hugged him. Miles hugged her, too.
“Hey, he’s okay!” Randall replied. “We were beginning to think you wouldn’t wake up any time soon.”
“Yeah, it’s okay,” Miles muttered. “How long was I out?”
“You were knocked out between when you were blasted out the hole in the Town Hall wall, and when you just woke up right now.” Randall explained.
“What…I thought that was a dream…”
“It can seem that way sometimes, my friend. I’m just glad you’re okay.”
Miles’s dad walked over to Miles and hugged him. Then he started speaking.
“I said earlier one day that you were crazy going out to search for Katrina. Now I’m just thinking about…how much I appreciate what you did and how stupid I was being. But…now I’m learning that sometimes I’ve got to stop being so protective about it. I’m learning that a few times in the future…I’m going to have to let you do what feels right to you. Even if I might have any objections to it.”
“Thanks, Dad,” Miles replied with a smile.
The monster attack was all over the news. Randall turned off the TV.
Then he turned to Miles’s dad. “I’m starved.” Randall said glumly. “Could you whip us up something to eat?”
“Sure,” Miles’s dad said. “I’m positively sure that we’ve all had a hard time in the past couple days.”
“Duh,” Miles, Katrina, and Randall all said at once.
“All right…what do you…?”
“Wait!” Randall replied. Then, he hurried through the hallway and brought back his and Miles’s backpacks. He opened them, and tons of ghostberry spilled out.
“These are some berries Miles, Katrina and I found in the forest!” Randall exclaimed. “Who wants some?”
Miles and Katrina raised their hands in less than a heartbeat. “I guess…uh…I could try it.” Miles’s dad said.
“All right then!” Randall answered. “There’s enough for everybody!”
And so as the four ate the ghostberry, the sun shone above Misty River. Luckily, Mr. Rivarez and Michael had both made it out of the forest, and had just walked past Miles’s house.
It would take a long time to repair everything, but Miles, Katrina, Randall, and Miles’s dad were just eating away.
Later that night, Randall went back home. Miles and Katrina waved good-bye and then went to their rooms to go to bed.
As Miles walked into his room, he noticed that the gleaming sword he had used for so many things was rested on the coffee table next to his bed.
He grasped it and got into bed. He would go almost anywhere from now on with his sword, and he would need it a lot in the future.
LOOK OUT FOR THE SEQUEL: THE KING OF THE WEREWOLVES