Aunt Nutty attacking us wasn’t even the craziest part. That was our bizarro neighbor kidnapping us and telling us that he’s some sort of Chinese ghost.
But, I should probably start where Astrid left off.
I was looking up at the sky—because, hello? The stars were falling—when all of a sudden my freaky sister started screaming. Except it turned out that she wasn’t so freaky after all—she was screaming because she was being chased by this weird mummy-type creature.
And the really crazy thing? That mummy creature was our Aunt Nutty!
I didn’t even have time to think—I just ran blindly toward my sister. But I couldn’t get there in time! That Nutty Mummy was fast! She ducked down, grabbed Astrid by the waist, and slung my little sister over her shoulder like she was an old towel or something.
And then she ran.
I’m on the JV track team at Roosevelt High, and I still couldn’t catch them. Meanwhile, Astrid was screaming her head off and pounding on Aunt Nutty’s head and back.
I guess all that noise and pounding was kind of annoying, because Aunt Nutty bit her in the leg, and suddenly my sister was quiet.
I freaked out. Was she dead?
I put on a burst of speed and got so close I could almost touch them. But as I was reaching out, my toe hit a rock and I fell flat on my face. If Astrid hadn’t been slung over Aunt Nutty’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes, she probably would have called me a clumsy freak.
I guess she would have been right, and as I stumbled to my feet, I didn’t know what I was going to do. Aunt Nutty was way ahead of me now. How was I going to catch them?
That’s when another weird thing happened. I heard this bizarre yelling coming from behind me. I turned around, and there was Mr. Bizarro—I mean, Pizarro—running straight toward me!
Not another one!
I turned and raced away, toward Astrid. But Mr. Pizarro was gaining on me. He was pretty fast for an old guy. Closer and closer and closer, and I cringed, knowing that any second he would grab me.
He passed me!
I was so so amazed that he didn’t get me that I wasn’t paying attention, and I ran into a tree. Yup, the clumsiness was definitely taking over now.
Pizarro tackled Aunt Nutty, who went crashing to the ground, and landed in a big cactus that my mom had planted last year. Pizarro grabbed Astrid—who moaned a little, so I knew she wasn’t dead. But now I had to get her back from Pizarro! What was going on with people tonight?
I stumbled back to my feet and started running again. This time after Pizarro.
One of the shovels that Mom is always telling me to put back in the garage was on the ground, and I yanked it up, then barreled toward Pizarro, who was pretty close to his driveway by now. I was not going to let my sister be kidnapped. I was getting closer and closer, and for some reason, he actually started to slow down.
That’s when I got him. I smacked him in the back of the legs with the shovel.
He howled with pain and yelled, “Ow, kid! Do you want to get rescued or not?”
But I didn’t have time to ask, because then Pizarro was yelling, “Duck, kid!” and I hit the ground right as Aunt Nutty threw an ugly little garden gnome right toward us.
I got back to my feet and shouted, “Thanks for the garden gnome! He’s almost as ugly as you!”
I would have yelled more, but Pizarro grabbed my arm. “Insult the demon later. Get in the car now!”
Okay, maybe that sounds like a stupid question, but you’ve never seen Pizarro’s house. He has all these car parts parked out front, but as far as I could tell, none of them added up to an actual car.
“The green one!” he yelled, and I could hear Aunt Nutty getting close behind us.
The only thing that looked sort of green was this greenish gray hearse that was covered with dents, had no rear window, and a huge cracking running across the front window.
“A hearse? We’re not dead yet!”
“You will be soon if you don’t get in the car now!”
I got in, and he jumped in after, laying Astrid down in the back. “Poison in the leg wound,” he said.
“Poison?” That didn’t sound good. I turned around in the seat. “Can you fix it?”
“I think so, but you’ll have to drive.”
“What? I don’t even have a learner’s permit!”
Okay, let’s be honest here. Any other day, if someone said I got to drive, I’d be totally excited. Today, not so much. I mean, we were being chased by a crazy mummy fanged creature, and I didn’t even know how to back the car out of the driveway yet.
The only thing on my mind was sister, poison, leg wound.
“Now!” Pizarro said.
I scooted across to the drivers’ seat, and saw that the keys were already in the ignitions. I held my breath and turned the key.
The ugly, run-down car started right away.
I tried to talk myself through this. Gear. Brake. Okay.
I shifted the car to D and hit the accellerator. Zoom!
And then CRASH!
We’d gone forward. Right into Pizarro’s living room.
“Reverse, kid! And you better hope my cats are okay.”
I managed to get the gear shift to the R, then I hit the accelerator again. And just in time, too. Aunt Nutty leaped on the hood as I shot backward out of the driveway. She rolled off as I slammed on the brakes and put the car in drive. I looked around—did I want to run her over? Oh, yeah. I did!
I shot forward, but she was gone. I looked in the rear view mirror just like mom always told me to, and I saw her getting into her car on our driveway.
This is what us teenagers call “A Problem.”
I slammed my foot down onto the accelerator and we shot down the road. I’m sure I was breaking all sorts of traffic laws, and unless the speed limit was “really fast,” I was going way way over it. But I wanted to get out of there.
“How’s Astrid?” I called as I made a sharp turn, cutting the corner off of Mrs. Miller’s fence. She really wasn’t going to like that.
“Better. I’ve almost got the poison out. Keep driving.”
“I am! I am driving!” Which was pretty amazing, since I’d only driven in our driveway before. And I was so worried about Astrid that I was hardly thinking about driving. Which was bad, because I almost ran into a tree. Twice.
Fortunately, we missed the trees. And even more fortunately, we lost Aunt Nutty.
Or at least I thought we had.
I turned down Madrone Drive, this really dark street near the back of our neighborhood. I was going to drive straight through to the highway, and then give the car over to Mr. Pizarro.
The good news? I managed to get the car almost all the way to the highway.
The bad news? There was a truck. A big truck. And it was barreling straight toward us.