Title: Graveyard School #7 – Slime Lake, a.k.a. “Protect The Environment! Or I’ll FUCKING KILL YOU!”
Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins
Cover Artist: U.S. – Cam DeLeon, U.K. – ??? [Wing: That UK cover is something else!]
Tagline: “You’ve Been Slimed!” (U.K. Version)
Summary: Don’t Go In The Water!
Marc and his twin sister, Terri, are excited about spending the summer at their uncle Nicholas’s lake house. Even though their uncle is an old grouch, Marc and Terri enjoy the lake and their summer friends in Grove Hill.
But this summer is different. Suddenly the once placid lake has motorboats, fishermen, and crowds. Even worse is the gross green slime that’s been popping up on boats and docks and swimmers. When Terri goes for a swim and doesn’t return, Marc wonders what exactly is lurking under the water…
Hey Wing, so a little good news/bad news for you. The bad news is this book doesn’t have werewolves. The good news is it’s got your other favorite thing, twins!
(Terri and Marc by zackdoesalotofstuff)
[Wing: I think you may be overestimating my excitement for twins at this point, thanks to Sweet Valley, but Terri and Marc are super cute!]
This is the first and only book in the series to have twins as the main characters, and it’s also one of the books that heavily feature a message about environmentalism.
Slime Lake was previously referred to in the last book, “Camp Dracula,” but now we’re gonna find out just how gross it really is!
This year, Marc Foster and his twin sister Terri are spending the summer at their great-uncle, Nicholas Lochmon’s, cabin on Slime Lake. Only this time, they’d be spending the vacation with just their uncle, while their parents went on a vacation of their own. It was Uncle Nicholas’s suggestion, although Marc doubted if Uncle Nicholas liked them. He didn’t seem to like anyone. Most of the time he’d be inside his tower room while Marc, Terri, and their parents did whatever. Uncle Nicholas was a pretty severe guy.
His eyes were hurricane grey but darker. His beard looked like seaweed and tangled fish nets. And he wasn’t smiling.
And he’s apparently Aquaman.
Certainly THAT can’t be foreshadowing. [Wing: WHO CARES ABOUT FORESHADOWING WHEN THERE’S JASON MOMOA?!]
Marc’s a pretty serious person as well, the complete opposite of his sister Terri, who seemed to like everyone and everything around her. She was always asking questions with a smile on her face and was impervious to sarcasm, which Marc thrived on plus his steady diet of leers and/or jeers. His attitude wasn’t at all like his father or mother’s either, which often made Marc think he was adopted. [Wing: TWINS! They look alike but they’re very different inside. Elizabeth hates Unicorn gossip but loves judging people with her group of friends; Jessica is a sociopath. Oh, wait, wrong series.]
Terri couldn’t wait to get inside her uncle’s house, excitedly asking (as if she didn’t already know) where they’d be sleeping. Every year Uncle Nicholas let them pick any room besides his, and every year Terri would ask the same question and pick the same room. As Mr. and Mrs. Foster tell the kids to be good, they expect once the two dive into Slime Lake they’ll have forgotten all about their parents. Marc turns towards his uncle’s frowning face and feels uneasy.
After dumping all his stuff in a single drawer in his room overlooking the lake, Marc puts on a bathing suit and announces he’s going swimming to which Terri asks him to wait for her. He doesn’t. Down on the rickety old dock by the lake, Marc notices his uncle has repainted his old rowboat and bought brand new life jackets. His uncle might be a grump, but he takes care of his shit. Marc reacquaints himself with Slime Lake for the first time in a year.
The water of the lake was green. Flat, opaque, almost milky green. Slime green. Even on a hot day like this one, with the sun beating down and glaring off the water, you couldn’t miss that ominous alligator green.
That was where the lake got its name.
“Slime Lake,” said Terri’s voice at his shoulder. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“No,” said Marc.
“You don’t think so?” Terri threw out her arms as if she wanted to hug the whole lake.
Terri is surprised, saying she thought Marc loved the lake too. Marc clarifies he LIKES it, wondering why their uncle always invites them every summer. Terri tries not to overthink it, saying he invites them because he’s their uncle and he’s always invited them to his house, the only house on the edge of the lake next to the wetland/swamp. On the other end of Slime Lake was The Wreck, a concession and recreation area where the kids usually hung out with their other vacationing friends from Grove Hill. The Wreck was run by one Pops, a round man with an eyepatch. Pops claimed the concession building was half of an old pirate boat he’d found buried in the swamp, a leftover from when the lake was once connected to the sea.
Terri declares she has to go swimming because of hot she is. In the middle of getting out of her cutoffs, Marc sees an opportunity and pushes Terri into the lake. She emerges alongside her shorts and one flip flop, sputtering she’s gonna get Marc good when suddenly she lurches forward in the water. Terri only has time to scream Marc’s name before she gets sucked beneath the lake, leaving behind her other flip flop. Marc immediately thinks this is a joke until Terri’s other shoe emerges and he begins panicking. Marc searches the water for any sign of Terri in the lake, but there’s nothing, no splashing, no bubbles, it’s like she was never there. Over by the shore, there’s no sign of Terri either. Marc desperately tries to fish her remaining shoe out of the water with a net, wondering what kind of fish could’-SPLASH!
The lake was as cold as it was green. The frigid water knocked the breath out of him. He opened his mouth and swallowed some water. And slime.
Lakewater had never been his favorite flavor.
Marc emerges from the water to see Terri laughing her ass off on the dock. Marc is pissed off before Terri reminds him he started out, asking how he didn’t hear her swimming under the dock or her sneaking up on him. But after a while, Marc gets used to the cold water and Terri jumps in after him for some fun. [Wing: I have swum in some strange water, but I’m having issues with the idea of swimming through all that slime.]
Later in the day, the twins take their uncle’s rowboat out to the other side of the lake to visit the Wreck, but the two of them are in for a few surprises. While rowing the oars, they notice there’s more lake slime on the paddles than usual. Terri wonders if this is a pollution problem when their boat is almost mowed down by a motorboat. The boat that speeds away is painfully white and has the words “Emerald Shores Princess” written on the bow. Terri is thrown through a loop; motorboats aren’t allowed on Slime Lake. But it’s worse when they reach the shore, because the Wreck is gone. In its place is… the Emerald Shores Recreation Area. The place has been painted in an unnaturally bright green paint, the casual pirate motif replaced by over the top gaudy commercialism. The green and white theme even extended to the picnic tables and the buoys enclosing the swimming area. A lone lifeguard wore a cap declaring “Emerald Shores” on top.
Terri feels like she’s been sucked into a parallel universe, or that Slime Lake has been taken over by aliens. Marc pinches her arm to prove she’s not dreaming and because he’s an ass. The only thing that hasn’t changed is Jaws Bennett, the boy who could eat anything (even roadkill) stuffing his face at the concession stand. [What: WHAT?! JAWS?!] The twins try to ask Jaws what happened when they meet George Quayle, a forty-something, athletic looking white man who claims to be in charge of “Emerald Shores.” Marc is immediately wary of this man behind the concession counter who explains he runs things now. Mr. Quayle doesn’t approve of Marc asking where Pops is or his referring to the area as Slime Lake. Terri, however, goes for the “honey” approach and starts by asking if Mr. Quayle owns the boat they saw earlier. Marc’s disgusted by how nice Terri is being to Mr. Spitwad, but Quayle decides to focus his attention on Terri’s perky questions like if he’s the one who painted everything.
Mr. Quayle’s smile reappeared. “It’s just the beginning,” he boasted. “There’s gonna be condos, there’s gonna be time-shares, there’s gonna be a very exclusive hotel. Why, when I’m through with the Emerald Shores, you won’t even recognize the place.”
“Emerald Shores! It’s called Slime Lake,” Marc repeated.
“Son, I can call it whatever I want… or I will, just as soon as a few details are worked out.” Mr. Quayle narrowed his pale blue eyes. “There’s a bad element around here who doesn’t understand progress. They keep talking about the environment. Fresh water, clean air. Phooey. Nothing smells as good as money, that’s what I say.”
Oh Jesus Christ he’s Looten Plunder.
[Wing: Or Drumpf.]
Plund-I mean, Quayle rants on talking about dredging the lake, doing speedboat races and water sports events and turning the lake into a big resort, no matter what anyone tries to tell him with their talk of monsters. Even if some workers were scared off by strange noises. Jaws asks who saw a monster, and Quayle slyly motions to the cheesy merchandise on the counter as the “monsters.” The kids see a barrage of crappy stuff, mugs, stuffed animals, and t-shirts all displaying the same cartoon creature. It looks like a brontosaurus with a seal’s body and big, ridiculous eyelashes (so you know she’s female). Quayle calls this creature “Emmie,” and says she lives in Emerald Lake. Quayle then starts imagining doing fake monster hunts for kids, paying someone in a costume to rock boats from time to time, wondering if he could build a theme park…
Terri exclaims the Slime Lake monster doesn’t look like Emmie, making Mr. Quayle snap there aren’t any real monsters and that Emmie’s just a gimmick to get tourists to spend their money and be happy. Terri asks if they can look around, to which Quayle exclaims she can do that and more. Buy a t-shirt! Rent a rowboat! Terri gently declines.
“Now right now. But thanks, Mr. Quayle,” said Terri politely.
“You can call me George,” he said.
“I know what I’d like to call you,” Marc said under his breath as they walked away.
“If you do, I’m gonna tell Mom and Dad,” said Terri.
[Wing: I adore the twins and their relationship and their teasing!]
The kids decide to check out the lifeguard, a young woman with blonde hair and dark green sunglasses. The woman rather curtly reveals she’s Tiffany Quayle, Quayle’s niece, and doesn’t take kindly to Marc and Terri asking about Pops. She then tells them if they ain’t gonna swim they should stop wasting her time. Marc decides to drag Terri back to their rowboat, even as Terri cheerfully waves goodbye to Quayle. Marc asks what the hell is wrong with Terri before she wonders why Pops left. Marc jokes the monster probably ate him, but Terri doesn’t think the monster would do that to Pops. Marc caps off by saying the only monster on Slime Lake is George Quayle.
At dinner with their uncle, Marc and Terri fill Nicholas in on their meeting with Quayle. Nicholas frowns as Terri asks him about the “No motorboat rule,” and the Quayles claiming Pops retired. Nicholas is contemptuous at the notion, but Marc misunderstands and thinks his uncle’s scorning the idea of retirement in general. They eat the rest of their dinner in silence, which was how Marc preferred it, but the way his uncle stared at him and Terri was giving him the creeps. If this was how every night would go, the summer would turn out to be a drag.
Later in the night, a strange, mournful sound seems to come from the lake, waking Marc up. The noise doesn’t sound like it’s coming from any animal Marc’s heard before. Marc goes to close his window, not wanting to take a chance that whatever is making the noise wouldn’t come in to his room, but then sees Terri standing on the dock outside. Marc thinks Terri’s making the noise to screw with him, so he sneaks downstairs and plans to push her into the lake. On his way down, Marc wonders why his uncle hasn’t heard the noise. Ducking outside, Marc notices Terri is still on the dock.
As Marc ducked back down, he heard the sound again.
It made him stop for a moment. It was such an awful sound. A low, horrible, mournful wailing. It vibrated in the dark air, echoing off the dark water. It sounded like something dying.
Or something that had come back from the grave.
How was his sister doing that? No doubt about it. He had a twisted sister. [Wing: Ear. Wormed.]
Marc settles on creeping up behind Terri, scaring her silly, and then maybe pushing her into the water. But Marc is the one who gets scared silly when he realizes Terri is standing completely still, eyes staring out across the lake, her mouth clamped shut. And then he hears the noise again, from right under their feet.
Marc grabs Terri and tries to wake her up before something slams into the dock and starts rocking it back and forth. Terri snaps out of her trance and Marc begins screaming for help as they make it into the kitchen. Nicholas turns the lights on, demanding to know what the hell the two are doing making so much noise. Marc tries to cover saying Terri had a nightmare about a monster. Nicholas huffs at them to go back to sleep, but as he leaves, Marc notices his uncle’s got his boots on.
And those boots have a fresh layer of green slime on them.
Marc convenes in Terri’s room a couple of hours later to discuss what happened. Terri explains she had a vague dream about talking to someone in a different language, but a language she’d never heard before. Marc is incredulous that his sister hadn’t heard anything, but Terri thinks she was only sleepwalking. Marc says she should be glad he saved her before the monster got a hold of her.
“But I thought you didn’t believe in monsters,” said Terri.
“I do now,” said Marc grimly. “I sure do now.”
Marc put himself on monster alert over the next few days, which meant he wouldn’t even go in the water out of fear of whatever was lurking beneath the slimy depths. Terri finally convinced Marc to go swimming after comparing him to a creepy lifeguard, and Marc had to admit the cool water felt good. The twins decide to race to the buoy in the water, but Marc thinks Terri cheated by grabbing his foot. Terri does it again, pissing Marc off… until he notices Terri’s too far ahead of him to have done it. But then Terri starts screaming at Marc to look out!
Marc dives under the water before he’s almost run over by George Quayle’s motorboat, and it takes forever for Marc to emerge from the lake without having to worry about the propellers slicing him to bits. Quayle starts screaming at the kids for swimming in the middle of the lake when Marc screams back swimming is what the lake is for. Terri is relieved Marc is alright when Quayle yells at them for not swimming at the recreation area. Marc counters people are allowed to swim wherever they want on the lake, and reminds Quayle motorboats AREN’T allowed. Terri goes for her charm act again, apologizing for “scaring” Quayle and complimenting him on his nice boat. Marc still doesn’t recognize Terri has Quayle eating out of her hands when he offers to give them a ride to the concession. To show there aren’t any hard feelings. He even brings them by their cabin so the twins can let Nicholas know where they’ll be and so they can get their money.
Marc’s not exactly comforted when he realizes the boat doesn’t have any life jackets. As they reach the Emerald Shores concession, Terri’s ecstatic when she recognizes their classmates from Graveyard School. Jaws, Stacey Carter, Maria Medina, Skate McGraw, Vickie Wheilson, Jordie Flanders, and even puke perfect Polly Hannah. Skate, however, is not exactly thrilled to be stuck on a lake with no decent roads for skateboarding. Jaws is worried his health conscious parents will find out the concession has *shudder* tofu dogs. And Jordie’s engrossed with a handheld video game and barely knows she’s outside. [Wing: I did not expect the whole gaggle of students to show up, and I’m delighted!]
Terri strikes up a conversation with some of the girls, where Stacey and Polly begin to argue about what Quayle is doing to the lake. Polly loves it, approving of how neat and clean Quayle’s making the area and hoping he’ll get rid of that nasty swamp. Stacey, an animal lover, is insulted, pointing out the swamp is an important wildlife habitat and Quayle’s motorboats will do damage to the fish living in the lake. Polly could not care less. Marc and some of the kids decide to use the diving tower (and takes the precaution of putting a shirt on in case he accidentally does a belly flop). On the tower, Marc spies Polly decked out in her usual pink garb, looking like a mean Malibu Barbie doll, completely at odds to everyone else’s casual dress.
Polly looked like a big pink decoration stuck to the sand. She was wearing a bright pink bathing suit. Her towel, which was spread out without a wrinkle beneath her, was spotlessly white with pink trim. She was wearing dark glasses with a pink chord. She had a beach bag, pink of course, sitting next to her, zipped tightly shut. Even her fingernails and toenails were matching pink.
If there’s one thing to say about Polly, she’s committed to a theme.
Stacey mentions she’d like to put Polly in the swamp, or feed her to Emmie. Maria mentions it’s too bad there isn’t a REAL monster. Terri adds Marc thinks there’s one, but instead of getting teased, the other kids think it sounds cool. [Wing: Dude, they attend Graveyard School. It would be weirder if there wasn’t a monster.] Maria suggests they could try and catch it, unintentionally offending Terri and Stacey who point out it’s not hurting anyone. Maria reminds them there isn’t really a monster before doing a cannonball into the water. The other kids follow suit before Vickie motions for Skate her parents have arrived to pick them up. Polly screams at Marc and the others not to drip all over her, so Marc shakes some of the water off in her direction. Jordie orders them not to get her game wet, when Polly’s sneering turns to terror as she notices something awful.
Marc, Terri, Stacey, and Maria, are covered in lake slime. Polly backs away, declaring it looks and smells like someone puked all over them. The kids try to wipe the slime off with their towels, but the sticky slime only makes a mess on their towels. Marc gets the idea of rubbing sand on the slime and then peeling it off, leaving green stains on the clothes and skin. Stacey reminds everyone the slime in the lake never stuck to anyone before, and it didn’t stink either.
When Jaws sees the slime on their bodies, he reveals this has been going on since the season began. Having been first on the lake and having spent every day at the concession, Jaws has seen Tiffany Quayle on slime patrol every morning. She has to scrub all of her uncle’s boats and the boats for rent, adding Quayle doesn’t want anyone to know about the slime problem or it could ruin his business. [Wing: Interesting that it’s only happening on this part of the lake.] Marc loudly wonders who, exactly, could be causing the problem when they’re approached by Tiffany. She’s pretty miffed because her uncle’s pretty miffed that no one’s renting his boats and that they bring their own food to the picnic area. Terri points out there’s no rule saying people CAN’T bring their own food or use their own boats. Tiffany responds by shoving a clipboard into Terri’s hands, saying it’s a sign up sheet for a canoe race. Terri asks why she’d want to sign up; Tiffany flatly responds “It’s fun.”
When Quayle shows up, Tiffany pretends to be all sweetness and light as her uncle exclaims there’ll be a big, undecided prize for the race winner. He also suggests kids can rent canoes now to practice. Terri signs up with Marc as her partner (ignoring his complaint). Stacey and Maria sign up, Jaws signs up and puts Jordie’s name down as his partner, and then Stacey adds Skate and Vickie so she and Maria don’t have to suffer alone. Quayle gives off a very good impression of Vice Principal Hannibal Lucre as he congratulates the kids on signing up. Maria wonders who died and named Quayle “King of The Lake” while Terri half-heartedly wonders if Pops sold the Wreck to Quayle.
As the sun begins to set the twins are forced to walk back to their uncle’s house, but it’s not so bad because the surroundings are pretty beautiful.
The lake, which could be seen from the trail, was still in the late-afternoon sun. Dragonflies flitted lazily near the surface of the water. A turtle slid off a flat rock into the water as they walked by.
Sometimes the trail doubled back to skirt someone’s property and went along one of the dirt roads. The roads were scarcely bigger than the trail, narrow and deeply rutted, and impassable after every hard rain.
“This place is, like, the end of the world,” said Marc.
“Yeah. It’s great,” said Terri.
But the tranquility is marred when Marc attempts to slap away a horsefly and discovers a big, ragged hole in his shirt. A hole where the slime had been. Once Terri sees Marc’s shirt and realizes what happened she starts to freak, worried her leg is about to start dissolving. Marc yanks his shirt off, but relaxes when he realizes the slime hasn’t done any damage to his skin. After they both calm down, the twins get a good laugh realizing how ballistic Polly’s gonna go when she realizes her perfect pink bathing suit and towel are gonna grow slime holes. Terri, however, realizes corrosive slime is just another example that something’s really wrong with the lake besides the horrible Mr. Quayle. Marc nags Terri about how she seems to be vying for “Miss Slime Lake” with how nice she’s been to the, no pun intended, slimeball. Terri shrugs and declares she wants to get home and bathe to make sure all the slime is gone, instead of worrying about losing an arm or leg.
Uncle Nicholas isn’t too worried about the slime situation, mentioning he hasn’t had any problems with HIS boat and assures the kids they’ll be fine. Terri took her uncle at his word, but Marc wasn’t so sure. His fears only grow that night when he wakes up, thinking he’s been bitten by a mosquito and discovering something far worse.
It bit him again in the shoulder.
He slapped at it hard.
His hand sank into the soft, dissolving flesh.
For a moment Marc couldn’t move. Then he jerked his hand back. It felt as it he were pulling it out of glue.
He bolted upright in the bed. He reached over and touched his shoulder again. Softly. Carefully.
His finger sank into the skin. It touched bone.
Marc screams and begin slapping himself in the face to prove he’s dreaming. It doesn’t look like he is when he turns on the light and he sees how bad the damage is.
He allowed his gaze to drop to his shoulder.
But it didn’t look like his shoulder anymore. His skin was melting away like rotting ice cream, oozing and dripping away from where the slime had touched him.
Marc’s screams bring Terri in, whose leg had been stripped down to the bone from the slime. Marc continues to scream until he hears someone telling him to wake up. He suddenly finds himself facing Terri, but doesn’t calm down until he turns the light on and sees his shoulder hadn’t dissolved into goo. After telling his sister about his nightmare, Marc briefly wonders if maybe Mr. Quayle has the right idea about draining the lake after all…
[Wing: That nightmare is creepy as hell!]
The next day, Terri had told all the kids about Marc’s nightmare when they decided to hang out at Nicholas’s place. That proved to be a good idea, because for some reason they didn’t have to worry about the slime like they would at the concession. Marc takes some coaxing to get into the water and finally starts to relax when Skate shows up, minus Vickie. He reports Tyson Walker’s arrived at the concession and signed up for Quayle’s canoe race, but the man wasn’t happy to learn Tyson already owns a canoe. The kids set up a water basketball game when Maria goes to grab the bal-OH SHIT SOMETHING’S PULLED HER UNDER.
Marc knows this isn’t a joke and dives under to look for Maria, but can’t find her. The kids hear something far away, and Terri takes control by getting the rowboat out and searching for where Maria’s voice is coming from. The twins manage to get Maria out of the water, who doesn’t know what pulled her underneath the water. Marc wonders if it was an undertow their uncle had mentioned, but Maria says it felt like a hand grabbed her. Maria initially thought one of her friends was joking around, but then she got pulled so quickly it couldn’t have been them. Marc and Terri are both surprised when Nicholas appears on the dock, asking Maria if she’s okay. It seems they’ve never once witnessed Nicholas on the dock or near the lake itself, making Marc wonder why his uncle lives here. Nicholas asks Maria if something bit her, which is when Maria notices faint red marks on her leg. Nicholas warns them about the undertow from an underground stream. The lake’s full of them, as well as underground caverns. Why, you could get sucked down and never come back up. Nicholas warns everyone to be careful before stomping back to the house leaving everyone wondering what the fuck just happened.
The kids briefly discuss what could’ve dragged Maria down. Stacey recalls reading about a shark that swam from the ocean up a river and ate a kid, but Marc points out Maria wouldn’t have her leg if it was a shark. Terri tries to stick to her uncle’s belief it was the undertow, or maybe some kind of seaweed snagged Maria. Marc says that could only happen if the slime turned into a ninja. Later in the afternoon, Marc and Terri continue reviewing all the weird things that have happened in the past couple of weeks. Terri tries to rationalize the events as Marc imagining stuff the night she was sleepwalking, the slime being affected by acid rain, and Maria getting snagged on the undertow. Marc asks if Terri really believes all that.
But Marc believes there IS a monster in Slime Lake, and it’s not “Emmie.”
The next day, the twins join their friends for the canoe race down at Emerald Shores. None of the other kids had told their parents what happened to Maria, and Vickie was pissed she hadn’t seen it firsthand. The concession and picnic area is packed for the race, and Mr. Quayle welcomes all these future members of the Emerald Shores Country Club to what will be the first of many fine sporting events, including regattas, Jet Ski water barrel racing, even speedboat racing! Until someone in the crowd reminds Quayle of the “No motorboats rule,” and Quayle coldly responds that rules change. Quayle finishes explaining the rules of the race before asking if anyone has questions.
“Yeah,” said Marc. “What’s the prize?”
Mr. Quayle gave Marc an annoyed look. “It’s a surprise,” he said.
“I bet it is,” Marc muttered.
Marc and Terri bring their canoe in-between Stacey and Maria’s and Jaws and Jordie’s. Jaws is eating ice cream and Jordie’s playing another game, but Stacey and Maria are dressed and determined to win. The race begins and the twins manage to pass Skate and Vickie, followed by Tyson and his partner, before catching up with Stacey and Maria. Things are going fine, until suddenly, the Carter/Medina canoe begins to tilt, and something grabs Stacey’s paddle and send it up in the air. Stacey and the kids are horrified to see the paddle is not only covered in slime, but has a big bite mark in it. The water starts to boil and bubble out of control, spinning the canoes around. People on shore start to scream and Marc has to avoid crashing into Skate and Vickie’s boat. The other racers had turned back to shore, leaving Terri and Marc to save the other four, but then Marc sees what looks like a giant eye before he’s sent into the water.
And feels something brush past his leg.
Terri hits the water next, and Skate tries to save Marc by telling him to grab his paddle and get inside the boat. Terri is clinging to their overturned canoe. The rest of the kids fought like hell to get to shore while Marc, Vickie, and Skate towed the overturned canoe with Terri back with them. Terri, however, thought the experience was amazing.
Mr. Quayle tries to tell everyone it was an unfortunate accident when Stacey holds up her half-eaten paddle and Terri exclaims the monster is real. Quayle distracts everyone by announcing free snacks and drinks at the concession, before he grabs the two girls and drags them to the side. Quayle only lets go when Stacey threatens to sue his ass. Snatching Stacey’s paddle, Quayle venomously threatens the girls.
“There is no monster,” he said. “Slime Lake doesn’t exist anymore and there is no monster. This-” he held up the paddle and gestured furiously “is just some trick to scare me away. Well it won’t work!”
“But I saw-” Terri began.
Mr. Quayle turned on her so suddenly she jumped back. His eyes blazing, he said “A trick! Trying to ruin me. And I know who put you up to it young lady. That uncle of yours. Well, wait till I’m through with him. I’ll make him sorry he was ever born!”
With that Mr. Quayle marched away.
“He seemed kinda upset,” said Skate.
Terri says she hopes there IS a monster, leading Vickie to ask what is wrong with her. Terri replies she’d rather believe it’s a monster than her uncle who’s doing all this.
For the first time EVER, Uncle Nicholas laughed when he learned George Quayle was calling HIM a monster. The kids flat out ask their uncle is he is indeed the one sabotaging the lake before. Nicholas asks if they really think he’s swimming around biting paddles and overturning boats. Terri says she saw something like a giant seal eye, and Marc gets the idea Nicholas is confirming there IS a monster. Nicholas doesn’t answer as he finished mending his fence. Of course, he adds, the monster might eat that as well.
That evening the twins were on their own for dinner, and discovered their uncle had frozen pizza available. Terri suggests putting some vegetable on their dinner before Marc adds he’s swallowed enough slime to be covered on green food for a lifetime.
“Maybe it’s not slime,” said Terri slyly. “Maybe it’s monster poop. You know, like when fish go in aquariums.”
Marc truly did think he was going to hurl.
[Wing: TERRI. YOU ARE DELIGHTFULLY DISGUSTING AND I LOVE YOU.]
Marc somehow manages to eat his pizza as they discuss what monsters really do eat. Terri points out the monster COULD have eaten them, and Maria, but didn’t, suggesting there’s nothing to really be scared of. Marc looked at his sister from the Twilight Zone, his sister who believed monsters were NICE, and told her to be very, very afraid.
The next day things did not look good. The sky was dark and so was the lake, but it was fucking hot. Things had gone quiet since the canoe race, almost like everyone was afraid of the lake. The twins stayed clear of the concession and Mr. Quayle, knowing he was NOT in their fan club. Marc remembers he heard what might have been the Emerald Shores Princess on the lake during the night, but couldn’t understand why.
Terri wondered if she could draw the monster out by swimming before finally deciding to break the boredom by going swimming. Marc tries a lame excuse that she just ate lunch, so she has to wait an hour, before trying to infect her with his yawning. Terri seems to take a nap while Marc reads his comic,but now his eyes are starting to droop… and when he wakes up, he hears a splash in the water. Terri’s no longer by his side. Terri assures Marc the water’s fine, but then Marc catches sight of movement near the swamp end of the lake. Terri refuses to leave the water.
He could see the headline now: Girl Eaten by Monster While Twin Brother Just Watches.
Marc sees what might be either a flipper or fin behind Terri and yells for her to turn around. Terri asks if it’s big and green and has pointed teeth.
Before she can scream, Terri’s pulled underneath the lake. Marc tries to follow her…
And wakes up, covered in slime, in a dark cave.
Marc recalls the last thing he saw was a monster eyeball, and mentally reviews his cover story, that he played dead so the monster would bring him to wherever it took Terri. Marc carefully tries to call out Terri’s name, not wanting to alert the monster that he’s awake. But he worries the monster is playing a game with him. Still, he has no choice but to start looking for Terri, and hopes the slime won’t dissolve his shorts in the process.
Marc keeps to the cave wall as he moves forward, not sure which direction he’s going in before he steps in water and realizes he’s found the entrance. But he’s not sure how deep the water goes, or if it leads to a dead end. Marc carefully submerges himself, trying to keep track of the depth by sticking his arm out of the water when waves begin to form. Marc realizes the monster’s returned, but before he can do anything his vision goes black again.
When Marc comes to THIS time, he’s with Terri.
AND Uncle Nicholas.
AND… well, what do you think?
Nicholas apologizes, saying this isn’t a joke Terri’s pulling. Terri thinks this is great, as she gets to officially introduce Marc to Emmie. The real Emmie. Although Emmie’s not her real name and Nicholas doesn’t approve of her being called that (but Terri thinks she doesn’t mind).
Marc saw an enormous flipper, as big as a table. Then he saw a smooth, broad chest and a long, elegant neck. The neck suddenly arched up and then down, and a head came into view.
“Aaaah!” shouted Marc in spite of himself.
The head turned toward Marc. It was big and smooth, with a slight crest on top that was folded down. Her eyes were large and seal-like. Her mouth was slightly open, and her nostrils flared as she turned toward Marc. She dipped her head toward him.
“She’s welcoming you,” said Uncle Nicholas.
Marc held out his hand. Emmie blew out on it once, then lifted her head again. She looked at Uncle Nicholas.
Uncle Nicholas nodded.
“You’re in,” said Terri. “You passed the test.”
Marc demands to know what everyone’s talking about, but Nicholas suggests they get the twins into some dry clothes first. After following a tunnel leading into Nicholas’s tower room, Marc is told everything.
It turns out Nicholas is Keeper of the Lake, a position passed down through the generations. It’s his job to guard Slime Lake and Emmie, who is the spirit of the lake. She’s one of many who represent other lakes and bodies and waters, which are connected to Slime Lake. She comes and goes like the others, but Nicholas has always had direct contact with her. Suddenly, he tells the twins they have to go back into the swamp via the caves, but he’ll explain more on the way and compliments Marc’s earlier navigating. Nicholas explained he figured now was the time to train a successor, but couldn’t tell if it would be Marc or Terri. Emmie correctly guessed the job belonged to both siblings. [Wing: Oh. My. God. This is amazing. I thought something like this was going to happen, but didn’t quite get to the Keeper of the Lake being passed down through generations. And the twins are supposed to share it. MY HEART.] But then all that business with Pops disappearing and Quayle trying to turn Slime Lake into Emerald Shores threw a monkey wrench in things. Nicholas figured it wasn’t legal but didn’t have any proof.
The twins and their uncle have found a cabin in the swamp. And from that cabin come two familiar voices. Inside is Pops, tied to a chair and being threatened by Quayle. Pops keeps refusing to sign over ownership of the Wreck and lake to Quayle. Quayle’s an angry mess while Pops is completely cool under pressure. Seeing no other option, Quayle starts to lead Pops to the Emerald Shores Princess, while the twins and Nicholas follow them. Quayle’s decided it’s time for Pops to have a little… accident. And with no heir apparent, Quayle will be able to buy the area upon Pops’s death. Nicholas steps out, asking what would happen if Pops left a will. Quayle freaks and throws the boat’s anchor at Nicholas and the twins, almost killing them as Quayle speeds away in his boat. Quayle screams the lake is his! All his! ALL-
Oh but then the boat shot straight into the air and seemed to blow up. The kids were horrified for a moment, before Emmie appeared and gently placed Pops on the ground. She then reached back and plopped Quayle on his unconscious ass. As Nicholas helps untie Pops, they start to consider what, exactly, they’ll do with Mr. Quayle…
The kids returned to the Wreck now that Quayle was officially gone. Pops had restored everything to normal and given away all the Emerald Shores crap. Things were peaceful again, and the slime had gone back to normal as well. Nicholas claimed that was Emmie’s doing as part of her effort in the War On Quayle. Nicholas explained Emmie’d been trying to make him understand both kids were suited to be Keepers, since Pops didn’t have an heir of his own. Her kidnapping the twins was to get Nicholas AND Marc to understand. Although that was also because she’d finally learned where Pops had been taken. She has a disadvantage on land and needed to alert Nicholas.
Also, that whole business during the canoe race might’ve been her fucking with Quayle, or trying to give Marc and Terri an advantage.
As the kids swim, dive, and canoe in the water, Polly whines about monsters. Terri assures her there are no monsters in the lake. Well, between the twins, there aren’t any monsters now that Quayle is gone.
Marc leaned back and folded his arms and stared out over the water. It was deep green and calm. Somewhere Emmie, whose real name Marc now knew, swam peacefully beneath the waters of Slime Lake.
I love this lake, thought Marc.
Me too, he heard her answer as she swam by.
DOUBLE SURPRISE, WING! It also had your other favorite, dinosaurs!
I give props to Stone/Thacker/Athkins that she made the Foster Twins distinctive from the other sibling teams, like David and Richie Pike and the Wolfsons. We’ll actually be seeing the Pikes again next month for “The Easter Egg Haunt.”
The only thing missing was Emmie declaring “The power is yours!”
[Wing: I LOVE THIS BOOK SO DAMN MUCH. GREAT SIBLINGS AND CREEPY DEVELOPERS AND A HERO DINOSAUR MONSTER. I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT.]
Make Your Own Slime!
Follow this simple recipe, and not only will you have green, goopey slime-you’ll have a tasty treat, too!
SLIME LAKE GUACAMOLE
- 2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 large, ripe tomato, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped red onion
- Dash of Tabasco
- Black olives, halved and pitted
- Tortilla chips
In a bowl, combine the avocados and lemon juice and mash thoroughly. Then, with a fork, gently mix in the tomato, onion, Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the black olives and serve at room temperature with tortilla chips. Refrigerate leftovers.
How to keep your slime green: Save an avocado pit and keep it in the mixture in the refrigerator.
I don’t eat guacamole, I’m a salsa person, if anyone tries this let me know how it goes.
Polly Hannah’s Wardrobe:
- Pink bathing suit, sunglasses on pink chord, white beach towel with pink trim
[Wing: Y’all, I think Polly Hannah has finally won me over. I love this terrible outfit.]