Nighty-Nightmareby James Howe, Leslie Morrill
An overnight camping trip! Not Harold's idea of fun. Too many mosquitoes, ticks and cockleburs. But when the Monroe family set out, their faithful dog Harold was with them, mostly because he remembered that camping could also bring s'mores and toasted marshmallows. Howie, the other family dog, and Chester the cat were also included in the trip. Only Chester thought… See more details below
An overnight camping trip! Not Harold's idea of fun. Too many mosquitoes, ticks and cockleburs. But when the Monroe family set out, their faithful dog Harold was with them, mostly because he remembered that camping could also bring s'mores and toasted marshmallows. Howie, the other family dog, and Chester the cat were also included in the trip. Only Chester thought the idea was completely insane. The woods, he informed Harold, were not only full of cockleburs and ticks, but of spirits, evil spirits who prey on the innocent. And on this, the worst night of the year -- St. George's Eve, when all spirits are set loose -- who knew what could happen.
What Harold knew was that Chester was a well read, over-stimulated cat, full of weird ideas. He did not take Chester's worries too seriously. He had s'more to think about. But then, the Monroes set up camp near two strange men and their even stranger dog, and things began to happen that made even Harold wonder. Could Chester be right?
This begins a long night, full of terrors and alarms, full of Chester's horrifying tale of how Bunnicula, the vampire bunny, was born and came to America, full of storms and a total sense of danger; and at the end came surprises that even Chester could not have predicted.
Once again, the Monroe family may be the victims of evil forces or only of Chester's strange imagination. But whichever, the result is suspenseful and very, very funny.
Read an Excerpt
When the Monroes arrived right after us, the man by the fire looked up.
"Well, howdy," he said. "You folks out camping?"
"We...we thought we'd camp over there," Mrs. Monroe said, pointing to a sandy patch near the water's edge. "That is, if you don't mind."
"Mind? Heck, no. We never do get to see people in these parts. I'm Bud. And that there is Spud."
Spud, I thought. How fitting.
The Monroes introduced themselves and us. Spud looked everybody over, turned the knife in his hands, and spat on the ground.
"Nice-looking animals you got there," Bud said, wiping his hands on the back of his jeans. "Yes'm. Nice looking. Now, you take Dawg, he's seen better days. He cain't help it, he's been around by life, and sometimes he jes gets downright mean and orn'ry. But he's a good dawg, Dawg is."
"That's your dog's name?" said Mr. Monroe. "Dog?"
"Dawg," said Bud.
He flipped the fish in the frying pan. Spud spat. Dawg dragged himself to his feet and, drool and all, headed in our direction.
"He looks a little like Max," I commented, trying to cheer myself by bringing to mind a friendly bulldog of our acquaintance.
"Yeah, the way a rattler looks like a garter snake. Happy Saint George's Day," Chester said, and the hairs continued to rise all the way down my back.
"What kind of mutt do you call yourself?" Dawg growled as he came closer. His teeth were stained and pitted like old linoleum.
"Nonviolent," I said, hoping he wouldn't catch the tremor in my voice.
He snorted, sending a waft of rancid breath my way, and started to circle me, sniffing. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's this humiliating sniffing routine that passes for a handshake in the dog world. I wouldhave suggested that he "give me five," but I was a little too nervous. Besides, I didn't have the feeling Dawg was the kind of old dog who was keen to learn new tricks. In fact, I didn't have the feeling Dawg was too keen at all.
"Watch this," he said, when he'd tired of sniffing. He sauntered over to the campfire, stopping only when he was so close that his mangy fur took on a red glow. I exchanged puzzled glances with Chester and Howie, wondering what it was we were supposed to be watching.
The Monroes, meanwhile, had moved down the slope to their campsite. Bud, who had gone back to his fish, ignored Dawg, while Spud just stared off into space, slowly turning his knife in his hands. After a moment, Dawg barked. The two men looked up and Bud started to shout, "Lookee, Spud. Hot dawg! Hot dawg!" His wild laughter made him sound like a demented goose. From the way Dawg and Spud curled their lips, I gathered that this was meant to be a big joke. Suddenly, I had the feeling I knew how prehistoric cavemen might have entertained themselves. I decided maybe television wasn't such a bad invention after all.
"Gee, Uncle Harold," Howie said, "What do you think?"
"I think Chester's right," I replied. "The woods are full of spirits tonight."
"Stupid spirits," I said.
Chester mumbled something, but I couldn't hear him over the sound of the can opener in the distance. Dinner was about to be served, and I wasn't going to miss it.
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