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Araminta Spookie 4: Vampire Brat AER
Things have been happening in Spookie House...weird werewolf and vampire things.
It all started when Aunt Tabby tripped over Sir Horace's treasure chest. Sir Horace is our best ghost. He lives inside a suit of armor and wanders around Spookie House, so you never know where he is going to turn up next. Recently I rescued his ancient treasure chest from his old castle, and since then it has been sitting in the hall because it is so heavy that no one wants to move it. I liked it being in the hall but Aunt Tabby did not. She said it smelled funny, which is true, but then so do a lot of things in Spookie House.
You probably know that Brenda, Barry, and Wanda Wizzard all live in Spookie House with me and my aunt Tabby and uncle Drac, which can be quite fun. It can also be very annoying. And this day was one of the annoying ones.
"That chest will have to go," said Aunt Tabby, rubbing her shin. "Go and get Barry to help you take it upstairs out of the way."
Barry, who is Wanda's dad, did not want to take the chest upstairs out of the way. He said he had enough smelly, heavy weights to lift as it was. But Aunt Tabby won as usual, and Wanda and I helped Barry take the chest up to the ghost-in-the-bath bathroom at the top of the stairs. There is definitely no ghost-in-the-bath there anymore, which I know because I have waited there for hours trying to catch a ghost having a bath with no luck at all. Anyway, why would a ghost want to have a bath? They don't need to, since they do not get dirty.
We had just dumped the treasure chest down beside the bath when Brenda,who is Wanda's mom, came in. Her cat, Pusskins, had been missing for three days, and Brenda was getting slightly hysterical.
"Is Pusskins in there?" she asked, pointing at the treasure chest.
"I don't think so," said Wanda. "Pusskins wouldn't like the smell."
I did not think that was true because Pusskins is a smelly cat. "Maybe Pusskins is the smell," I suggested.
Brenda gave a little scream. "Open it, open it," she yelled. So we did. Pusskins was not there. Barry took Brenda away to sit down somewhere quiet.
Sir Horace had already shown us what was in the treasure chest, but since it was open, Wanda and I took another look, just in case he had missed something interesting the first time. But he hadn't. There was no real treasure at all, just lots of papers, Sir Horace's moldy lucky rabbit's foot, and a battered old silver whistle. In fact Sir Horace had already given us the only treasure...two gold medals...which we always kept under our pillows.
Brenda spent the rest of the morning walking around Spookie House going, "Here pussy-kins, come here, my little puss-cat, come to your mummy-wummy . . ." and general yucky stuff like that. Even Wanda, who can be a bit like that herself, got tired of it. But Brenda would not stop. I think she loves Pusskins more than anything else in the world...although I suppose she might prefer Wanda a little bit more, but it would be a close call. Pusskins is not even a particularly nice cat; she likes to hiss at you if she thinks you are doing anything wrong. She is also quite fat and getting fatter all the time, because whatever Wanda may say, I know she feeds Pusskins my cheese and onion chips.
By the afternoon even Aunt Tabby was getting tired of Brenda moping around looking for Pusskins, so she said we had to help search the house. She and Brenda were going to start at the top, and Wanda and I had to start in the basement. Then we would all meet in the middle.
I like the basement of Spookie House. It is full of wiggly, winding corridors that lead to little kitchens, big kitchens, laundry rooms, larders, junk rooms, and all kinds of hidden places. A secret passage runs behind some of the walls, too. I have been down there a few times, but to get to it you have to go through a little door underneath the attic stairs right at the top of the house. Then you have to go down in a scary elevator thingy and a rickety ladder. I have often thought there must be a quicker way to get there...like a secret door somewhere in the basement too, but I have never found it.
Although I did not tell Wanda, I decided not to waste my time looking for Pusskins, who would not come to me however nicely I called her. I do not like Pusskins and Pusskins does not like me. As Uncle Drac says, the feeling is mutual. So while Wanda went off down the big corridor that goes past all the kitchens, calling out, "Pusskins, here pussy-kins," and sounding just like a squeaky version of Brenda, I zoomed off down the corridor that leads to the bat poo hatch. I was heading for Creepy Corner, where Barry keeps all the sacks to put the poo in, as I have never had time to explore there. Somehow Aunt Tabby always knows where I am and says, "I really don't know why you want to go down there, Araminta. Come away at once." But this time I knew Aunt Tabby was far away, at the very top of Spookie House. In fact she and Brenda were out on the roof, looking for Pusskins. I was safe. Well, safe from Aunt Tabby anyway.
The bat poo hatch is at the bottom of Uncle Drac's turret, where he keeps all his bats. Every day Wanda's dad, Barry, shovels the bat poo into sacks, which is why, as I turned the corner, my way was blocked by a huge pile of bat poo, and a voice said, "What are you doing here, Araminta?"Araminta Spookie 4: Vampire Brat AER. Copyright © by Angie Sage. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.