Master of the macabre David Lubar is back with Check Out the Library Weenies, his ninth collection of Weenies Stories. Here are thirty more scary stories for the middle grade audienceperfect for both avid and reluctant young readers who like a few chills and a lot of laughs.
Don't be a weenie. Read these stories. If you dare!
“Fans will be shivering and laughing...evilly." Kirkus Reviews on Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies
“With its mix of humor and chills, this collection is a sure bet for fans of R. L. Stine's Goosebumps series and reluctant readers.” Booklist on Wipeout of the Wireless Weenies
“Whoever thinks the short story is dead, or that kids don't like short stories, hasn't talked to any real live kids and hasn't read the latest in this popular series.” School Library Journal on Attack of the Vampire Weenies
#1 In the Land of the Lawn Weenies and Other Misadventures
#2 Invasion of the Road Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
#3 The Curse of the Campfire Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
#4 The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
#5 Attack of the Vampire Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
#6 Beware the Ninja Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
#7 Wipeout of the Wireless Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
#8 Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
#9 Check Out the Library Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
About the Author
DAVID LUBAR created a sensation with his debut novel, Hidden Talents, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. He is the beloved author of many books for teens and young readers including the Nathan Abercrombie series, the Monsterrific Tales, True Talents, Flip, Extremities, the Weenies short story collections, and Character, Driven. He lives in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Read an Excerpt
HOW TO SLAY VAMPIRES FOR FUN AND PROFIT
Johann was, at the moment, an unwilling patron of the Fedderville Public Library. His parents had dragged him there because they wanted to hear a local author speak about her trip to the South Pole. Johann had no interest in poles or local authors. He had no interest in books, either, until he spotted the faded gold letters on the faded brown spine of a thin volume jutting slightly from a shelf in a far-off dusty corner of the second floor of the library, where he'd wandered, looking for something to amuse himself. He read the title twice, since the first reading left him with the impression he'd misread the words. But no, they were just what they'd seemed on first glance: How to Slay Vampires for Fun and Profit.
Johann was always ready for fun. He was also in favor of profit. He pulled the book from between its shelf mates. Somebody messed up, he thought, as he noticed that the books on either side were volumes of poetry written by some guy named Byron. Obviously, the book had been misshelved. No matter. It was in his hands now. He sat on the floor and started reading. He was halfway through the book by the time his parents tracked him down. Their annoyance at having to hunt for him was balanced by their joy at seeing him enthralled by a book for the first time in his life. Both parents, upon reading the title, assumed it was a work of fiction.
Johann continued to read in the car. He finished the book that evening, sitting on the living room couch. He now knew how to lure vampires, trap them, slay them, and sell their ashes for an amazing sum. He'd vaguely known that slain vampires disintegrated into ashes, but he'd no idea there was a market for those powdery remains. The book listed the addresses of several places that would buy them, and Johann checked the Internet to make sure those places were real.
Since the task of slaying vampires was not a solo occupation, Johann enlisted the aid of his friends Cameron and Luis. He told them all about the fun they'd have, but he didn't mention the profit. That money would be all his.
Cameron and Luis shared Johann's dark nature, so they were easily persuaded to join the venture. It helped that Luis had a supply of sparklers left over from the Fourth of July. Those were an important component in the slaying part. Their burning light, apparently, could transfix a vampire once several common chemicals were added to the existing mix. It also helped that Cameron's father was a passionate gardener, with a fondness for the larger varieties of tomatoes. Heavy duty tomato stakes were easily converted into weapons for plunging into vampire hearts.
Throughout the preparation phase, Johann searched all around the town, and all across any countryside within range of a lazy bicyclist, for a site to which he could lure the vampires. The book stated that three to five victims was a reasonable number to expect, though there had been reports of slayers harvesting as many as a dozen. Johann knew he'd do well above average.
Fortunately, human blood was not required to bait the trap, though Johann was pretty sure he could convince Cameron to donate a small quantity if he egged him on with taunts about cowardice. Cameron was easily manipulated. But his blood wouldn't be needed. According to the book, fresh beef would do, mixed with an assortment of herbs and spices that were not difficult to obtain. Johann chose the middle school gym for the site of the slaughter, because he knew how to get inside the building, even when it was supposed to be locked.
Once the vampire slayers reached the gym, they set out the bait in the darkened, cavernous room. Johann opened the book to the spot he'd marked, illuminated the page with his phone, and read the chant that would help lure the vampires.
As the last word died in the darkness, the vampires came. Silent, half human in form, half smoke, they entered the gym. Five! Then six! Then seven! Then eight! Male and female, they approached the bucket. Johann held his breath, hoping those drawn by the chant and the scent would exceed the dozen mentioned in the book. Soon enough, they did. A dozen came, followed by two more. And then, a final straggler arrived. There were fifteen in all, now fully solidified from their smoke-edged transitionary bodies, forming a ring around the bait in its bucket on the floor, staring down, as if waiting for a command.
It's a record! Johann's mind flashed between thoughts of fame and thoughts of riches. Both would be his. Maybe he could even write his own book.
Flanking him, Luis and Cameron trembled visibly. Not Johann. He felt steely calm, and eager to get started. The book was true to its promise. This would be fun. He hefted the plastic bag that lay at his feet, savoring the weight of the stakes and picturing the thrilling leap into action that would mark the start of the slaying. He would move through the vampires like a hero in a blockbuster movie, skewering their undead hearts.
"Light it," Johann whispered to Luis, when it seemed likely no more vampires would arrive. The first sparkler, specially prepared to ignite easily, hissed like a serpent and threw glowing sparks that pierced the darkness. Luis lit two more sparklers from the first one, and handed them to his fellow vampire slayers.
Johann tucked the book under his arm and raised his sparkler. "Yield!" he shouted, approaching the vampires. "Kneel before me!"
One vampire knelt, just as the book had described. He bowed his head and said, "Yes, my master. I will do your bidding."
Master! Johann loved the feeling of power the word sent through his body.
The vampire next to the kneeling one smacked him on the shoulder. The kneeling vampire rose. "I was just messing with him," he said.
The vampires laughed. The sound struck Johann like a stab to the gut.
"Sparklers ...," one of the vampires said. "How could anybody believe something so ridiculous?"
Johann felt more stabs of fear. This time, the jabs pierced his lungs.
"How could anybody believe we could be trapped?" a vampire to Johann's left said. "What fools these mortals be!"
"Oh, that's original," a shorter vampire said in a mocking tone.
This set off a round of chatter.
"Kneel!" Johann shouted, not yet understanding that he was the one who'd been hunted, lured, and trapped. Though he'd been caught with bait far more devious and subtle than a slab of beef dripping with cow's blood. He took a step forward. Luis and Cameron remained frozen where they stood, clutching their useless sparklers.
Instead of kneeling, the vampires leaped onto their victims. It was their turn for fun, and for feasting. As Johann's life drained away, the book slipped from beneath his arm.
A vampire snatched it before it could hit the floor.
The vampire who had knelt picked up a dying sparkler and waved it in a figure eight. "I used to love these things."
"Me, too," another said.
After the feast, the vampires, half smoke again, and half undead flesh, drifted away from the gym. One of them carried the book to another library, in another town, for the next clueless fun seeker to find. Because, whether you're a human or a vampire, it's nice, sometimes, to get your meal delivered.CHAPTER 2
COME BACK SOON
"I'm a total failure," Dad said. He slumped to the floor of the garage — which also served as his lab — and drooped his head like he was offering his neck to an executioner. "I've let the whole family down, Bianca. I wouldn't blame you if you abandoned me."
Dad has a bit of a dramatic side. That's okay. Everyone has flaws. But he's super smart. He's a genius, actually. I knew he'd been working on a top secret invention. He'd kept hinting that he was about to reveal it, and dazzle the world. He'd actually invented some pretty cool things, but nothing that could really be called dazzling. Still, it was awesome that he could come up with ideas for things that didn't exist.
I'd been hanging out in the driveway, keeping an eye on my little brother, Tyler, who was pedaling his tricycle in wobbly circles, but I'd gone inside when Dad let out the sigh that came before his cry of despair. I sat on the floor next to him, slumped my own head parallel with his, and then turned it so we were face-to-face. Or, actually, face to side of face.
"Tell me about it," I said.
Dad reached up, fumbled around for a second in a box at the edge of the work bench behind him, then plucked something out. "This is what I've spent the last six months working on," he said.
I studied the object in his hand. It was a clear disk of plastic, about twice the size of a silver dollar. I could see thin lines etched in it, like electronic circuits, and a tiny silvery disk in the center that might have been a battery. "It's pretty," I said.
"It's a failure," he said.
I waited for more information, but he remained silent and sad. Finally, I asked, "What does it do?"
"It's supposed to be a time machine," he said.
Now he really had my full attention. "That's pretty awesome." I pictured myself leaping back through the centuries to have a conversation with Martha Washington or Joan of Arc.
"It would be, if it worked," he said.
I had to agree with that. And I guess I understood why Dad was moping. I tried to decide whether to suggest ice cream or a trip to the park. Both had the ability to cheer Dad up. As I was looking for a way to combine those things, even though they were in different directions, Dad said, "What good is it to go back such a short distance, and so briefly?"
I'm embarrassed to say it took me a moment to realize what I'd just heard.
"Wait!" I shouted, when the meaning of Dad's words hit me. He hadn't failed. He'd succeeded. "You can travel through time! That's amazing."
"Fifteen seconds," he said. "Maybe I can get it up to twenty, if I put in another month's work. But the fabric of time is too resilient to allow for traveling farther into the past than that. It's like jumping off a cliff when you're tied to a very short bungee cord. You travel a brief distance, and then you snap right back. I thought I could figure a way around it, and travel decades, or even centuries, into the past. But everything I tried has failed. I just can't get beyond that limit. And you can only stay in the past for about five seconds."
"Dad!" I said, grabbing his shoulder. "You invented time travel!"
I said it again, shouting the words, as if a higher volume would break through the wall of gloom he'd erected. "Tyler!" I shouted at my brother. "Dad invented time travel!"
Tyler didn't seem impressed. "Watch me!" he shouted back as he pedaled past the open door of the garage.
"In a minute." I turned my attention back to Dad.
"A minute," Dad said, echoing my words. "I can't even go that far."
"Can I try it?" I asked.
"Sure. It's safe. I tested it pretty thoroughly." He leaned over and placed the disk on the floor. "Step on it with either foot."
I got up and placed my right foot on the disk. It made a sound between a hum and a whoosh. And then, as the sound faded, I leaped back in time, to a quarter minute earlier. I didn't feel anything strange. Not at first. It wasn't like flying or falling. Time travel, itself, didn't produce any sensations.
The realization that I'd traveled back to where I'd been, on the other hand, hit me pretty hard. I saw myself sitting there, talking to Dad. My jaw dropped, and my stomach felt as if I'd just swallowed emptiness. I was standing in the past, watching myself! But by the time I focused on the scene in front of me, and accepted that I'd traveled through time, I'd snapped back to the present.
"That was ... it was ...," I stumbled around, searching for a way to describe the experience, and finally settled for, "Whoa!"
"Unfortunately, that's about as impressive as it gets," Dad said.
Something puzzling popped into my mind. "How come the me who was sitting there didn't see the me who'd traveled back in time?"
"Because, for the you who was sitting there, the you who traveled hadn't traveled yet," Dad said.
"That doesn't make any sense."
"Welcome to time travel," Dad said. "It's senseless and limited. I can't believe I spent so much time working on it."
One corner of his lips twitched, like he was close to smiling. I guess he realized it was strange to talk about time spent working on time travel. But then, his face grew sad again.
There had to be more to his invention than that. I stepped off the disk. "Can I do it again?" I wanted to take another look at the recent past.
"It's reusable," Dad said.
The second time, I was prepared for the shock of transition, and turned all my attention to watching the scene in front of me. It was slightly later than before. That made sense, because I'd also jumped back from a slightly later time.
I was less disoriented on this trip. But I was a whole lot more awestruck on my return. It didn't matter how long it lasted, or how far you could go. My dad had invented time travel! I'd bet a lot of really smart scientists believed that was impossible.
I needed to convince Dad to stop being so hard on himself, and get back to work. There had to be a way he could turn this into a useful invention. But that couldn't happen while he was moping and feeling like a failure.
As I opened my mouth, I heard the horrible screech of brakes. Not car brakes. These were ear-wrenching truck brakes that sounded like the shriek of a mechanical monster yanking out one of its own ribs.
"Tyler!" Dad and I both shouted.
I looked out at the driveway, my heart jamming itself halfway up my throat. Tyler wasn't there. We ran to the street, and saw something that yanked my heart the rest of the way up my throat and flung it far away. Tyler and his tricycle were crumpled into a mangled mess in front of the truck.
"No!" Dad raced toward him.
This was all my fault. I was supposed to be watching him. I had to fix things. I sped back to the garage and grabbed one of Dad's time machines. Then, I threw the disk out the garage door onto the driveway. Gasping for breath, I rushed outside and stepped on the disk, desperate to save my little brother. I'd throw myself between him and the truck, if I had to.
I went back in time, but not far enough. The accident had already happened, more than fifteen seconds ago.
"No!" I shouted. I couldn't let things end up this way. I had the power to go back in time. Somehow, I had to be able to use that to save Tyler.
I staggered as a powerful idea hit me. It was outrageous. But it had to work.
As Dad knelt by my brother, and the truck driver opened his door, I ran, again, into the garage. This time, I grabbed the whole box of disks. I dropped one on the floor, right in front of me, and stepped on it.
The instant I arrived fifteen seconds into my past, I tossed down another disk, one giant step ahead of me. Before I could snap back to the present, I jumped onto the second disk. If I was right, I was now almost half a minute into the past, not counting the time it took to move to the second disk. I wanted to glance outside, but I knew I just had a few seconds to make my next leap. I tossed another disk, and stepped on that one. And another, moving as far as I dared with each disk, making my way to the driveway. I heard the screech of brakes, again. I'd reached that first terrible moment. But I had to go back even farther. I ignored the sound and kept tossing disks. And I kept listening for what I needed.
Finally, I heard tricycle wheels on the street in front of me.
I tossed another disk.
I heard tricycle wheels in the driveway!
I tossed three more disks, one at a time, moving forward a few feet in space and backward almost fifteen seconds in time with each hop. Finally, I reached the point where Tyler was still pedaling in circles around the driveway. I made a guess about where he'd been fifteen seconds before that, threw the disk there, and stepped on it.
My guess was good. I traveled to a spot right next to him.
There was no time to think. I pushed him off the tricycle, onto the grass. Then, I grabbed the handlebar, twisted my upper body, and flung the tricycle as far and as hard as I could, like an Olympic hammer thrower.
As the tricycle left my hands, I was jolted back to the present, in a series of hops.
Dizzy, disoriented, and out of breath, I was back where I'd started when I'd stepped onto the disk in the garage, in my second attempt to save Tyler. But Dad was there, too. He was glaring at me as he delivered a lecture. Dad never yells at us, but he was coming pretty close to that right now. Not that I could blame him. As far as he knew, I'd just acted like the world's worst big sister and biggest bully.
Tyler, his face streaked with tears, was clutching Dad's leg.
"There had better be a good explanation for your actions," Dad said.
"There is," I said, after my trembling body had calmed down enough that I could grab a breath and talk. "A really good one."
I knew Dad would understand when I explained that I'd erased an unbearable tragedy from our lives. And I knew he'd be thrilled his time machine could be used to travel more than just a short hop into the past.
Before I could even start my explanation, he pointed to the box in my hand. "You did something with those disks."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Check Out The Library Weenies"
Copyright © 2018 David Lubar.
Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
How to Slay Vampires for Fun and Profit,
Come Back Soon,
All That Glitters,
Gordie's Gonna Git Ya,
Off the Beaten Track,
The Sword in the Stew,
The Doll Collector,
Physics for Toons,
The Heart of a Dragon,
Searching for a Fart of Gold,
On One Condition,
Check Out the Library Weenies,
The Running of the Hounds,
A Boy and His Frog,
Romeo, Romeo, Wherefloor Argle Roblio?,
My Family History,
When Death Comes Calling,
2D or Not 2D,
Mummy Misses You,
Watch Your Grammar,
I Can't Quite Put a Finger on It,
A Word or Two about These Stories,
Reading and Activity Guide,
Starscape Books by David Lubar,
About the Author,