Authors: R.L. Stine
hy can't I get this dumb nose right?” I cried.
I always talk to myself when I'm working on my sculptures. It helps me be more creative.
But today it wasn't helping. No matter what I did, I couldn't get my life-size sculpture of Jesse right. The nose was all wrong. It made him look like a monkey.
Even though Jesse is my stepbrother, we look a bit alike. We both have pale blond hair. And we're both sort of short.
Okay, okay. We're both
In fact, when Professor Pollack, my sculpture teacher, gave me the clay to make a life-size
sculpture of myself, I had enough left over to make one of Jesse!
Last summer Mom decided I had talent in art. So she signed me up for an advanced sculpture class at Waynesbridge College. I'm twelve, so it's kind of weird going to class with college kids. At least it was weird at first. But I'm used to it now.
My mom loves everything I make. She sighs and says dopey stuff like: “Oh, Hannah, it's so wonderful to have an artist in the family.” She even turned part of our garage into a studio for me.
My studio is great. It has absolutely everything I needâa sink, palette knives, and tons of paintbrushes. I even have a full-length mirror against the wall so I can paint and sculpt myself.
The only problem with my studio is that it's on Fear Street.
So is my house. Everyone knows that scary things happen on Fear Street. Kids at school tell stories all the time about ghosts and strange creatures roaming the Fear Street woods.
I've lived here all my life, and so far no creepy things have happened to me. But I'm always watching for them.
My dog, Barky, the smallest dog on the planet, yapped at himself in the full-length mirror. Every
time Barky passes that mirror he yaps. He's cute, but he's not exactly a genius.
Want to guess how Barky got his name?
stop it? I'm trying to work,” I scolded the dog. Of course, he didn't listen.
“What are you barking at?” I shouted at him.
I jumped as the garage door rolled open with a roar.
My stepbrother Jesse burst into the garage. “My sneakers! My sneakers!” he croaked.
I spun away from my sculpture. “Jesse, what's your problem?” I demanded.
“TheyÂ .Â .Â .Â they got my sneakers!” he choked out, his face bright red.
I lowered my eyes to the garage floor. Jesse's sneakers were drenched in mud.
I swallowed hard. I knew what had happened. He didn't have to tell me. “The Burger brothers?” I asked softly.
Jesse nodded. “The Burger brothers.”
Mike and Roy Burger are two huge walruses pretending to be twelve-year-old kids. Really. They're the biggest kids in history!
And since Jesse and I are just about the shrimpiest kids in Shadyside, guess who the bouncing Burger brothers choose to pick on all the time?
You got it.
“They stomped mud on my new white high-tops,” Jesse wailed, shaking his head. “Then Mike held me down and Roy unlaced both sneakers and took the laces.”
Jesse took several deep breaths, trying to get himself together.
“Then what did they do?” I asked.
“Then they took off,” he answered. “What else?”
The Burger brothers always act fast, then run away.
“Why did they do it?” I asked. Stupid question. Because I already knew the answer. They did it because they're the Burger brothers.
Jesse shrugged. “Who knows why they did it. You know Mike and Roy. They never talk. They only grunt.”
Jesse is right. The longest sentence I ever heard a Burger brother say is “Yo.”
Jesse sloshed around the garage in his muddy, open sneakers. “I'm
of their stupid jokes. I'm
of the names they call me. And I'm
of those stupid skateboards they're always riding,” he wailed.
“Sorry, Jesse,” I replied. “There's not a lot we can do. They're big. We're small. Big kids pick on small kids. They can't help themselves. It's in their nature.”
“Well, it's not fair!” Jesse scowled. Then his face brightened. “Hey!” he shouted. “Maybe if I start working out. You know, lifting weights, getting myself really pumped up. Maybe then I could take on those Burgers!”
He stepped in front of the full-length mirror. He stuck his chest out and then curled his arms up like a weight lifter does.
I burst out laughing. I couldn't help it. Jesse didn't look much like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Actually, he looked more like a little blond mouse.
“It's not funny, Hannah!” Jesse snapped. “I have to do
Those big elephants think they're funnyâbut they're not. Last week, when they tied me to that treeâ”
I shook my head slowly, remembering. Poor Jesse. The Burger brothers tied him to the tree in our neighbor's yard and left him there. It was horrible! Even worse, the tree was covered with ants!
If Barky hadn't started barking his head off, Jesse might still be out there. Luckily, I heard his yelps and came and rescued my brother.
Jesse wasn't hurt or anything. But he still has nightmares about ants crawling all over his body. And he still itches like crazy.
“I can't wear these sneakers,” Jesse moaned. “Even with new laces.
at them!” He paced
back and forth. The sneakers made a loud sloshing sound on the concrete garage floor. “How can I get Dad to buy me new ones?”
“We'll think of something,” I replied.
But I wasn't so sure. Jesse's fatherâmy stepfatherâhates to waste money. He freaks out if we leave a light on or turn the heat up even one degree.
he'd pay for a new pair of sneakers after he just bought a pair.
Poor Jesse might be sloshing for weeks!
Jesse moved back in front of the mirror to flex his scrawny arms. I returned to my sculpture. Maybe now that Jesse stood in front of me, I'd be able to get the nose right.
I began to pick away at the clayâwhen I heard a noise outside the garage.
“Jess, what was that?” I whispered.
Jesse's arms drooped. He spun away from the mirror.
Barky perked up his ears.
This time we both heard the noise. And recognized it.
The scrape of plastic wheels on pavement.
“They're here!” Jesse cried. “Oh, no! The Burger brothersâthey're here!”
The scrape of the skateboards became a roar.
“We're trapped!” I cried. “We can't get to the house beforeâbeforeâ”
“Hide!” Jesse whispered. He dove behind the full-length mirror. I scrambled into the corner behind a stack of boxes and held my breath. Barky tore toward the open garage door, yapping and barking.
“No, Barky!” I whispered.
Too late. The little dog raced out the door. The Burger brothers had him now for sure.
“Come here, Barky! Good doggie!” I heard a tiny, shrill voice call.
“Oh, wow,” I moaned, rolling my eyes.
I crawled out of my hiding place and peered outside. Just as I suspected.
the Burger brothers.
Tori Sanders, the three-year-old from next door, was petting Barky in the driveway. Tori sat on one of those plastic Big Wheels.
wheels made that scraping sound!
“You can come out now,” I called to Jesse.
He peeked out from behind the mirror. He groaned when he saw Tori. “Well, it sounded like skateboards to me,” Jesse muttered. He crawled out and dusted himself off. “But this just proves what I'm saying. It's not fair. The Burger brothers have made me scared of
“So what can we do?” I sighed, watching Tori pet the dog. “We're stuck with Mike and Roy. We can't
them awayâcan we?”
*Â Â Â *Â Â Â *
After school the next afternoon, Jesse and I stopped home for Barky. Then we made our way to Fear Lake. Fear Lake is a short walk through the Fear Street woods. The woods are dark and creepy. But the lake is quiet and pretty.
When we arrived, the lakeshore was deserted. The bright afternoon sunlight glistened on the surface of the still water.
Jesse and I dropped our backpacks on the ground and began hunting for flat stones.
He and I have a championship stone-skipping contest. Until last month Jesse was the winner, with nine skips to one stone. Then I beat him with a super-flat stone that skipped ten times.
“Too round. Too round. Too round.” Jesse was picking up stones and tossing them back down. “Too round. Perfect!”
I rolled my eyes. Sometimes Jesse gets way too serious about the silliest things.
I bent down to pick up a smooth white stone. Above me, the sun moved behind a thick cloud. A wave of cold rushed over me.
The lakeshore suddenly grew quieter. No branches rustled. No leaves whispered in the trees.
Jesse didn't seem to notice.
I stood up and gazed around.
Yes. It had definitely grown quieter. Another chill ran down my back. The same chill I feel when I think someone's watching me.
Barky started yapping. “ARK, ARK, ARK!!”
“Barky, be quiet!” Jesse ordered.
Barky ran clockwise in little circles, barking furiously. Then he ran counterclockwise, barking and staring into the woods the whole time.
“What is his problem?” I cried. “What does he see?”
I tried to follow Barky's stare.
The low shrubs suddenly shook. A branch cracked on the ground.
It must be some kind of creature! I realized.
Barky has sniffed out a creature from the woods back there.
My eyes narrowed on the cluster of leafy shrubs.
The shrubs shook again.
Then a dark form moved out from behind them.
And I started to scream.