Chapter 10


What JC saw inside the house frightened him to death. Well, obviously not to death, but nearly-to-death. Well, okay, not nearly-to-death either, but it frightened him pretty badly. It was horrendous.

After he’d walked through the small front entryway, JC found himself in a pink living room that was crammed with all kinds of cat paraphernalia. Everything in the room was either pink, had a picture of a cat on it, was in the shape of a cat, or was for a cat. So there were pink scratching posts, pink food dishes and water dishes, cat-shaped candleholders, pink blankets with big cat faces thrown over the pink sofas and chairs, and pink lacy doilies in the shape of cat faces. Even the pink drapes covering the large windows had figures of cat on them.

But there were no actual cats in sight.

The others didn’t seem as bothered by the surroundings as JC was, so he decided to say nothing about it.

Skellii sat on the long couch and started her story: “So I was down here, minding my own business, doing my nails, see?...” and Skellii held out her skeletal fingers, which were painted red at their tips. “They match my lipstick and my skirt. Witchie made the color special for me, out of rose petals, but I call it Blood Red! Isn’t it sleek?”

“Oh, it’s something,” said Gho-Stee to be polite.

But Wolfey cried out, “What about the TCM?!!!” He was getting impatient.

“Actually,” corrected Mum-Z, “you mean just ‘TCM’ because the T in TCM stands for ‘The.’ So by saying ‘the TCM’ you’re actually saying ‘the’ twice, as in ‘the The Candy Monster’--”

“Don’t say its name!” shouted Wolfey.

“I think we’re getting off-track again,” suggested JC. And Gho-Stee and Zombi nodded in agreement.

“Oh, so I was right here, minding my own business, doing my nails, when all of a sudden I heard a CRASH! BANG! coming from upstairs. So I immediately ran...”

Then Skellii stood up, ran to the nearby staircase, and scurried up the wooden steps as if she were reliving the moment. The others followed her.

When they got to the top landing, there was a long hallway, and Skellii ran into the first room on the right. "So I ran in here!" she cried. The others were right behind her.

Now they were in Skellii’s bedroom. And so were Skellii’s thirteen cats, which came in all shapes and sizes. Some were big. Some were small. Some had long hair. Some had short hair. One had no hair at all. But all of them were black.

Skellii turned to JC and started pointing to her kitties, “Oh, these are my babies. That’s Apple, Banana, Coconut, Date, Fig, Grape, Honeydew, Ita, Jujube, Kiwi, Lemon, Mango, and Nectarine! I named them each after a different fruit.”

“Yeah, I kinda figured that out,” smiled JC.

The room itself was painted purple, and everything in it was some shade of purple, including the wooden floor, the canopy over the bed, the bedspread, the two night stands (one on each side of the bed), the desk – everything. There was even a broken, purple candlestick holder in pieces on the floor, next to the bed.

Skellii then started to pet Kiwi, a short-haired cat with a small head, long legs, and an even longer tail, “How’s my little baby?—”

Wolfey lost his patience and cried, “So what happened??!!”

“Oh, so I came in here,” continued Skellii, “and you see?” She pointed to the pieces of the broken candlestick holder on the floor. “See what TCM did? I think it came through that window, knocked the candlestick holder off my nightstand, and then ran out.”

Everyone just looked at her, waiting for her to continue, but she didn't. So Zombi said, “And then…? What happened next, Skellii? Where's the horrible part? Did the monster try to eat one of the cats?”

"That wouldn't have been so horrible," muttered Wolfey.

"Or maybe it tried eating you?…" suggested Gho-Stee helpfully.

“Oh my gosh, no!” replied Skellii. She then pointed again at the broken pieces on the floor. “Don't you see? TCM broke one of my new candlestick holders! I had just made them this morning and put them out only about a half hour ago! And just look at how pretty the other one is! The purple matches the room perfectly. This is very upsetting.”

The room was quiet for about a second, and then Wolfey cried out, “THAT’S IT?!! NOTHING ELSE HAPPENED?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”

This startled everyone, and everyone jumped, including the cats.

And as Kiwi jumped off the bed, its tail swung and knocked over the unbroken purple candlestick off the nightstand. It fell to the floor with a CRASH! BANG!

“Oh, no, my other candlestick holder!” cried Skellii.

JC, Zombi, Mum-Z, Wolfey, and Gho-Stee all just looked at the broken candlestick on one side of the bed, then at the one on the other side, and then they all just looked at one another. It was obvious what had happened, and it had nothing to do with The Candy Monster.

Finally, Zombi turned back to Skellii and said, “So, fifteen minutes ago you were downstairs when you heard a CRASH! and a BANG! just like the one we just heard?

“Exactly!” replied Skellii.

“And you thought it was The Candy Monster--”

“Don’t say its name!” cried Wolfey.

“Oh, get over it!” snapped Zombi.

“Yes, of course it was The Candy Monster!” replied Skellii. “What else could it have been?!”

Zombi took a long breath before saying, “Did it ever occur to you, Skellii, that maybe it was one of the cats that knocked over one of your new candlesticks?”

Gho-Stee added, “Maybe with one of their tails? Like we just saw?” “

Whhaaa?...” started Skellii, still confused. But then as it became clearer, she said, “Ohhhhh...”

“Did you actually SEE The Candy Monster?” asked Mum-Z.

“Well, not exactly,” admitted Skellii. “But I just thought, I mean...” and she picked up Apple, a fat, long-haired cat that liked being petted, “it never occurred to me that one of my babies would do such a horrible thing.”

“Well, I don’t think they did it on purpose,” offered Gho-Stee. “And it’s not like they haven’t broken things in the past.”

“Plus, everyone knows how vicious cats are--” started Wolfey.

“Wolfey that's enough--” interrupted Gho-Stee.

“That’s not true!” insisted Skellii. “My babies are usually VERY careful around my things. Maybe The Ca--, I mean, TCM, came through the window, and my babies scared it away!”

“Or maybe it’s exactly as Zombi described it. One of the cats just accidentally knocked over the candlestick and it had nothing to do with TCM,” offered Gho-Stee.

Skellii sighed, unsure and upset.

“Well, the important thing is that you’re okay,” said JC.

“But is she, really?” mumbled Mum-Z under his breath as he rolled his finger next to his head, indicating that she might be a little crazy.

"We have to get to Vam Pea and Franky's castle. They're waiting for us," said Zombi, as he pointed to the cat clock on the wall.

(for Chapter 11, click here)