I felt sick. My stomach lurched. I struggled to keep my breakfast down.
I tugged at the waxy rabbit head. Finally, I pulled it off my hand. But bits of fur and sticky melted flesh clung to my fingers.
I stared down at the waxy gray puddle on my table. A few seconds ago, that puddle had been Benny.
Swallowing hard, I took a step back. I realized the whole bedroom had become steamy hot. A hot white mist floated up from the floor. The window was completely fogged.
“Nicky? Tara? Are you here?” I called. “I . . . I need help!”
The steamy mist filled my room. I heard a low hiss, which grew louder . . . louder . . . until it sounded like a wild rainstorm. I covered my ears, but I couldn’t block out the shrill sound.
And then my mouth opened in a silent cry as I realized I was no longer alone.
A dark figure floated out of the fog–and I recognized him at once. Recognized his blond hair, his long dark overcoat. Recognized his cold blue eyes.
“How did you get in here?” I cried, my voice cracking. “What are you doing here?”
He smiled and didn’t reply. The fog settled around him. I could see damp puddles on my carpet. Streams of water trailed down my wallpaper.
Morgo lowered his eyes to the melted rabbit on my table. “That’s what I’m going to do to you,” he said, “if you don’t return what you stole.”
My mouth dropped open. My breath caught in my throat. “S-stole?”
He nodded. He stepped forward, and I felt a wave of heat move against my body. Morgo stuck a gloved finger into the middle of the melted rabbit. At his touch, it sizzled and hissed.
“You know what I’m talking about,” Morgo said softly.
“No,” I said, my whole body trembling. “No, I don’t.”
“I’m not a patient man,” Morgo said. He pointed his finger at me.
Another wave of heat washed over me. And then my face grew hot. I felt my ears start to burn. My earlobes were sticking to my face.
“No, please–!” I shouted. “Don’t melt me!”
“Then return what you stole,” Morgo said, lowering his gloved hand.
I rubbed my ears. They were still burning hot, but they hadn’t melted.
“The life pods . . . ,” Morgo said. “Return them to me–now.”
“Life pods?” I gasped. “I–I didn’t take any life pods.”
“They’re silver,” Morgo replied through clenched teeth. “They’re shaped like bullets.”
My mouth dropped open. Those things were life pods?
“It isn’t nice to steal,” Morgo said, gazing at me with his cold eyes. “I let you and your friend enjoy my haunted house. I didn’t expect you to steal valuable property. Now, give them back. Give them back now!”
I panicked. I didn’t think. “But I don’t have them!” I blurted out. “I gave them to Traci!”
I knew at once that I’d made a terrible mistake.
But who can think straight with an evil ghost in your bedroom about to melt you?
“I’ll find this Traci,” Morgo said, shoving his gloved hands into his overcoat pockets. “Time to find Traci.”
What have I done?
I can’t let him go after Traci.
“But . . . Traci can’t see you!” I cried. “I’m the only one who can see and hear ghosts.”
Morgo’s smile turned into a sneer. “Don’t worry. She’ll know I’m there,” he said. “It will be the last thing she ever knows!”From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from One Night in Doom House by R.L. Stine. Copyright © 2005 by R.L. Stine. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.