Title: Graveyard School #16 – Don’t Tell Mummy, a.k.a. “Morton Explains It All”
Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins
Cover Artist: Mark Nagata
Summary: Please Don’t Feed The Mummies…
Take a Graveyard School class trip to the museum with Park and his friends. Sneak away from the others. Rattle the dinosaur bones. Jump out and say “Boo!” to the museum guard. Play a little hide-and-seek. But whatever you do, don’t go near the mummies. One of those mummies isn’t wrapped right, as Park found out just before he disappeared…
Now we’ve reached a real treat in the Graveyard School franchise, and while it’s not one of my all time favorites I can understand why it’s so great. In this book, we’re introduced to one-shot character Morton who might be the franchise’s Ensemble Darkhorse. How do I know this?
I can say I was the person who created the Graveyard School wikipedia page AND the TV Tropes page, but some time later some person added entries and tropes pertaining to Morton. I know it wasn’t me, and it amazes me that Morton had some fans out there despite how obscure this wonderful series is. But it’s easy to see why because Morton’s awesome. She’s sarcastic and take charge and doesn’t take anyone’s bullshit.
Come everyone, come with me as we appreciate Morton.
Oh and Wing get ready for a surprise appearance from someone we haven’t seen since 2017.
[Wing: I love the sound of Morton, and I already wish she wasn’t just a one-shot.]
It’s the day of the big sixth grade class field trip at Graveyard School but things are getting off to a shaky start. Skip Wolfson is having flashbacks to his near death experience in the School Bus Zone from way back in “The Tragic School Bus” and is having a hard time getting on the bus. Park Addams tells Skip to move it, as he’s already cranky from getting attacked by his locker. This being Graveyard School, Skip thinks Park’s being serious until Park explains his books fell out. [Wing: I mean, that would be one way for a locker to attack.]
To give Skip some incentive, Park reminds him if he doesn’t get on the bus and misses the field trip he’ll have to stay at school… with Dr. Morthouse. Park finally loses his patience and shoves Skip, which catches the rather gleeful attention of Vice Principal Hannibal Lucre. Lucre eagerly asks if the boys are fighting, and seems almost disappointed when Park and Skip explain they weren’t. They were just, you know, paling around. Goofing off. Being buddies.
Recombobulating himself, Lucre cheerfully adds he certainly “Hopes” the boys weren’t fighting because otherwise they’d have to miss the big field trip and you know what that means…
At the thought of being trapped in close quarters with Dr. Morthouse, Park and Skip hurry they asses on the bus. Park throws himself into the nearest seat, much to the annoyance of the current occupant who does NOT appreciate his tone of voice or lack of manners.
A hand shot out and grabbed a fistful of Park’s jacket. He felt himself raised off the seat. He turned his head and found himself eyeball to eyeball with his seatmate.
“Adapt,” she growled. “Or become extinct.” Her English had a faint, unidentifiable accent. [Wing: I LOVE HER.]
Park’s eyes widened. Not only was his seatmate a girl he didn’t recognize, but she was also wearing the shortest hair he’d ever seen on anyone who wasn’t bald or on MTV.
“Who are you?” Park demanded.
The girl let go of him, and he bounced down onto his seat.
“Morton,” said the girl. “Who’re you?”
“Morton?” asked Park.
“You’re Morton too?” said the girl.
“No! My name’s not Morton.”
“Oh. Too bad.”
Oh my God.
“Park? Your name is Park? Like, let’s pack a picnic and go to the park? Interesting,” she said. The way she said it, Park knew she meant weird.
“It’s really Parker, and it’s my father’s name,” said Park. “And who ever heard of a girl called Morton?”
“You just did,” she said. She laughed suddenly. Her laugh was as gravelly as her voice.
OH MY GOD.
Lucre begins to drone on about the rules of conduct for the field trip to the Museum of Archives and Natural History, Park began to focus on Morton and her interesting getup.
She was pretty short to be so strong. She was wearing faded, baggy overalls and scuffed, intricately tooled cowboy boots. The blue sweater she wore under the overalls was almost as faded as the overalls. Old-fashioned, wire-rimmed glasses magnified her eyes, which were so dark brown they looked almost black. In contrast to the rest of her outfit, she had on heavy, elaborate dangling earrings that glittered hypnotically with every movement of her head.
Park’s older sister would have killed to be allowed to wear earrings like that to school. Or anywhere, thought Park.
Morton can’t help but comment on Lucre’s Lucricity, but Park mentions he’s pretty normal for Graveyard School. Somehow, Morton doesn’t get what he’s referring to so Park has to shed light on all the gross, nasty stuff that goes on within those hallowed halls. He almost comes close to mention his ordeal with the last lunch lady who just happened to serve up-LALALALALALA PARK DOESN’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT. [Wing: Awww, Park, you’re okay. THat was a long time and many other creepy adventures ago.]
Not to mention the abandoned and probably haunted graveyard behind the school. Morton’s not impressed when Park realizes Morton is somehow new to all this. Is she a new student? No one mentioned anything about a new addition to the sixth-grade class. Morton mentions she’s been around for a while, but Park definitely would’ve noticed her among his classmates. Unless…
She’s a fifth grader! That’s it! Which is why she’s so shooooooooooo-why Park hadn’t seen her before. Now Park wants to know how Morton got in on the sixth grade trip a year early instead of waiting with the other little kids. Morton’s insulted as Park says she counts as a little kid if she’s not a sixth grader, to which she declares she’s probably older than him. Maybe older than that!
At first, Park thinks Morton got held back a year, but she doesn’t understand what he’s implying and says her parents wanted her on this trip. Wow, her parents must’ve pulled some major strings to get Dr. Morthouse to allow her on this trip.
While the school bus leaves the area and heads for the museum, Park can’t help but feel bad for Morton. He’ll be out of Graveyard School for good by summer, [Wing: What, no, this is not okay, I’m not ready for them to move on.] but she’ll be stuck for one more year. Well, for today they get an escape even if it’s the boring old museum. Park didn’t know this trip to the museum would be Graveyard School business as usual until it was too late.
Upon arrival at the museum, Park is dismayed to learn the outing’s use of the buddy system will partner up everyone with their seatmate. Not liking the idea of getting stuck with Morton but afraid of getting on Lucre’s bad side again, Park can’t argue with the vice principal. Skip’s partnered with David Pike and expresses his sympathy, but Park tells him to go bus himself off. Morton quickly tells Park to get his ass in gear so they can get this trip over with.
Lucre assigns Park and uh, you there, to Ms. Camp’s group. Thankfully Ms. Camp’s one of the few Graveyard School teachers you could consider normal, even if she was somewhat scatterbrained. While searching for a pencil (and not remembering she tucked one behind her ear) Ms. Camp’s assisted by puke perfect Polly Hannah because that’s what a GOOD student does.
Ms. Camp explains the kids will be checking out the dinosaur exhibit and the new Egyptian display while Polly’s hoping they’ll get to see the precious stones. After all, her mom always says a girl can never have too many diamonds. While boasting about getting diamond earrings for her 16th birthday in the future, Polly’s told by class financial whiz Christopher Hampton that gold is a more reliable investment.
Funnily enough this book proceeded “The Fright Before Christmas” but it took me a year and a half to get to it.
Polly whines she already got gold earrings when her ears were pierced since you apparently need to wear gold ones to avoid infection. Morton can’t believe Polly has the gall to call those drill bits stuck in her lobes “Earrings.”
“You call those earrings? Those little bitty pieces of gold?”
Polly spun around, ready to trash Morton. Her eyes focused on Morton’s earrings, and the words died on her lips.
Morton effortlessly being all
Ms. Camp shushes everyone to remind them not to get separated from their buddies by dropping a thinly veiled threat about the consequences before introducing them to the tour guide, Mr. Halsey. Halsey’s basically a direct-to-video knock off of Arnold Schwarzenegger (Because it was the 90s, you see!) and flatly promises a lot of fun adventures for everyone starting with the Hall of Terrible Lizards.
[Wing: My favourite. My. Favourite.]
As Polly whines about wanting to see the jewels, besties Stacey Carter and Maria Medina congratulate Morton on how she shut Polly down before asking who she is. Park explains Morton’s a fifth grader and the girls compliment her on her amazing haircut.
“I wish my parents would let me get my hair cut like that,” said Maria.
“It’s a wig,” said Morton.
“A wig?” said Stacey, startled.
Morton burst out laughing.
“Oh,” said Stacey.
“Fifth-grade humor,” said Park. He rolled his eyes.
Maria said, “I thought it was pretty funny.”
“Thank you,” said Morton. She raised one eyebrow at Park with a smug expression.
Park crossed his eyes and pretended he was putting his finger up his nose.
“Sixth-grade humor?” asked Morton.
YOU JUST GOT SHOT DOWN, PARKWARD.
The group is led to the dino exhibit and Morton comments on how old the museum must be. Apparently, her parents take her to a lot of museums. Upon entering the hall filled with replicas and bones of different dino species, Mr. Halsey jokes if man lived side-by-side with the dinosaurs it might’ve been mankind who went extinct instead. David Pike, from past experience, doesn’t appreciate the joke.
While Halsey points out some dinosaurs previously seen in “Jurassic Park,” Morton cracks another joke at Parkington’s expense.
“Hey! If you lived back then, what would your name be?”
“What?” said Park.
“Jurassic Park! Get it. Jurassic Park.” Morton pointed at Park.
“I get it, I get it,” said Park. Both Stacey and Maria cracked up. Park sighed and shook his head. Fifth-grade humor, he said to himself.
[Wing: I love her. I love her. I’m delighted by her.]
Park looks up at the fiberglass reconstruction of a pterodactyl hanging from the ceiling and thinks it’s cool, but David feels uneasy. He’s practically walking in circles keeping the room under surveillance like he expects one of the dinosaurs to come alive…
Which is what happens when, as Park tries to fight back a sudden sense of sleepiness, he looks up again to see the pterodactyl is now SPINNING AROUND THEM IN THE AIR. A wing grazes the ceiling and other tourists have to get out of the way to avoid the plaster. Park thinks for a moment he sees the dino’s beak open and close when one of the wires is torn from the wall. People start running out of the hall except for Morton, who’s standing perfectly still refusing to accept this is happening when Park pushes her out of the way before the pterodactyl crushes her!
Polly immediately jumps on the chance to say if they’d visited the jewel hall first this wouldn’t have happened while everyone else gets their bearings. Stacey helps Maria and Morton thanks Park for saving her. Park moves closer to the fiberglass wreck of the pterodactyl, wondering what made it fall like that. Upon further inspection, he sees the broken ends of the wires which previously held it up appear to be… melted? Park burns his fingers as he sees the wires have indeed been heated up enough to melt and are still soft looking. How could that happen?
Halsey confers with another guard while Ms. Camp makes sure everyone in the group is together. Shockingly the Hall of Terrible Lizards is now closed, but Halsey promises the museum will treat everyone to lunch to make up for this disaster. Polly threatens to have her mom sue the museum, while Jaws Bennett (The Boy Who Could Eat Anything, Even Roadkill) whined about wanting to eat now.
Looking back at the wrecked dinosaur display, Park wonders what could’ve made it wig out. David wonders if maybe it was trying to come back to life. Park’s starting to get annoyed; first Skip was paranoid about buses, now David’s acting edgy about fake dinosaurs. Is there a gas leak or what? [Wing: PARK. You go to GRAVEYARD SCHOOL. Why are you always so confused when people freak out about weird things?]
Stacey warns Park to hurry up before he and Morton get into trouble. Park realizes Morton’s wandered off and tries to get her attention when he sees her asking another guard some questions. Worried Ms. Camp’s gonna make good on her veiled threat Park tells Morton to hurry up. Morton’s not scared in the least of whatever Ms. Camp will do and is annoyed by how boring Mr. Halsey is for a tour guide. Losing patience, Park grabs Morton’s sleeve to hurry her along and she does NOT appreciate getting pawed at. She’s much stronger than she looks.
Park and Morton join the rest of the group in the Cave of Diamonds, checking out various geodes, jewels, and pieces of meteorites. As Halsey drones on about the Farthingale Diamond and the Gordon Garnet, Park can’t help but wonder if their guide used to be a teacher but was so boring he lost his job or something. Park’s more focused on keeping an eye on Morton so she doesn’t wander off again. Thankfully Polly’s attention is on a pearl and gold necklace owned by Bloody Mary. Park wonders, considering Bloody Mary had a tendency to execute anyone who didn’t join her religion, would she’ve been best friends with Polly?
Park turns back to the big, blue and white Farthingale Diamond and Morton’s attention seems focused on something when a voice says it’s haunted. The person who’s talking seems to be sketching the jewels on a big notepad when Morton asks if she meant the diamond is haunted.
“Oh, no,” said the woman, looking up at last, her eyes glittering as brightly as the diamond. Park noticed that she was dressed in the same color as the velvet in the diamond case, deep midnight blue. A midnight-blue cape hung from her shoulders almost to her ankles. Even for tourist fashion, Park thought, it was a little extreme.
Jokingly, Park figures the woman’s implying the museum is haunted since they almost got killed by that pterodactyl. The woman seems intrigued at the thought Park and Morton were almost killed while Morton clarifies it was an accident. Morton turns back to checking out the other displays when the artist stands up, and the way her shadow falls over the Farthingale Diamond creeps Park out. Looking over her shoulder at Park and Morton, the woman doesn’t even blink.
“All jewels of any real worth are haunted,” said the woman softly. “Some are haunted only by human greed. Others are set in a greater human darkness.”
Swallowing hard, Park managed to say, “What are you, some kind of fortune-teller?” But his voice didn’t sound convincing, even to his own ears.
The artist shifted her gaze from Park to Morton. “Hauntings,” she said. “How humans fear them! But there are things worse than ghost, now-aren’t there?”
Then she was gone.
…holy shit, Wing I think we just saw the beta version of Aunt Mab. [Wing: Things worse than ghosts, huh? This makes me love Morton even more, obviously.]
Maria asks who Park was talking to while Morton seems to be in some sort of trance, looking at the jewels. Park explains she was just some weirdo talking about ghosts and haunted jewels and something in the museum. Maria, in spite of how many times she’s insisted ghosts don’t exist (again despite, you know, Graveyard School) says a museum would be the perfect place for a ghost to hang out. Considering it’s full of dead things.
When the group leaves the gem room, Park lags behind to ask the security guard if the museum’s haunted. The guard immediately says that rumor’s unfounded, but Park tells her he never mentioned any rumors. Park asks if people have been talking about the museum being haunted for a while when the guard clarifies she meant the museum’s NOT haunted. Park stares the guard down, using his expertise from years at Graveyard School to ask for specifics. Which room does it hang in, is it headless or does it drip blood?
The guard blinks first.
She quickly warns Park to stay away from the second floor’s west wing before zipping back to standard guard mode and nudging Park in the direction of his group. Realizing he’s not getting more answers, Park heads back to Morton and the others…
Just in time to learn they’re heading for the west wing.
Unfortunately, Park somewhat desperately tries to convince Ms. Camp maybe Polly Hannah’s suggestion they take a break isn’t a bad idea. What if another accident happened? Ms. Camp assures Park nothing else will happen and Halsey insists what happened in the dino exhibit was a freak accident. Never happened before. Never.
“Park is a chicken, Park is a chicken,” whispered Skip.
Park gave Skip a dirty look. “Bus off,” he snarled.
Park turns to Morton for support since she heard what the guard said too, but Morton ignores. Yet is she checking out the emergency exits? Morton asks Ms. Camp where the group is going next.
“To our doom,” said Park.
Morton continues to ignore Park and clarifies she wants to know what exhibit they’re heading to next. Halsey appreciates the question and explains they’re going to the new Egyptian exhibit on loan from the National Museum of Archaeology. As Stacey and Maria converse about mummies, Park reflects on all he’s learned about them from movies and in school. He asks Halsey if, you know, this wouldn’t happen to be one of those cursed exhibits right? The kind where anyone who invades the tomb dies a horrible, messy horrible death? Anything like that?
Halsey almost shits himself as he denies no, no, NO! Cursed? What curse? Haunted? There is absolutely no substance to that unfounded rumor at all that their Hall of the Pharaohs is in any way haunted!
Park tries to point out he never asked about it being HAUNTED as Stacey tells him to get a grip, Ms. Camp tells him to get in the elevator, and Morton’s acting like she has no idea who he is. After joining the front of the group, Park sarcastically thanks Morton for her lack of help. Park asks if it wasn’t the least bit suspicious Halsey denied the museum’s haunted when Park never asked him if it WAS. Morton counters it IS a bit suspicious, but it only proves people have been discussing it and NOT there’s an actual ghost.
Park makes a list of the following:
- The class is almost killed by a haywire pterodactyl.
- A guard says the museum’s haunted.
- Halsey denies it’s haunted when Park asked if the Egyptian exhibit was cursed.
Morton answers with the following:
- The pterodactyl was an accident.
- The guard was repeating gossip.
- Halsey’s dealt with the gossip and denied the haunting exists before anyone else asked.
- You’re pissing her off, Park.
This level of reasoning is possible only for Morton. What do you think, everyone?
Upon reaching the entrance to the Hall of the Pharaoh, Halsey explains this was the tomb of King Pet, a lesser king like Tutankhamen. The group has to wait until another tour group exits, since the exhibit was designed for limited access (security reasons) and because it’s a near exact replica of the actual tomb.
The walls seemed to close in on Park immediately. He knew it was all a fake, that the drawings and paintings on the cut stone were imitations, knew that the pictures of Egyptians hunting, boating on the Nile, reclining in chairs and at feasts, holding ceremonies at court weren’t real. But they made him uneasy.
And although the corridor was well lit, the turns and angles made shadows. The voices of his classmates grew hushed as they shuffled along, reading the descriptions of the scenes on the walls and listening to Mr. Halsey’s drone.
Park stopped in front of a drawing of a boy with straight black hair and black bangs beneath an elaborate headpiece showing that he was royalty. The boy’s eyes were dark and elongated with kohl. His chest was bare under an ornate gold breastplate. He had one arm drawn back, clutching a spear as he confronted a huge beast.
Park is impressed by the scene, but Morton calls bullshit. Like, hello, you think back then people didn’t have public relations people and spin doctors to improve their image? You think the leading family wouldn’t come up with blatant nonsense to make themselves look good to the people?
Park realizes he never thought of it that way before.
“You know who gets to write the history books? The people in charge,” said Morton.
[Wing: I love her. And she’s right.]
Polly’s checking out an elaborate gold bracelet apparently once worn by the queen, saying she’d just about die to have a bracelet like that. Maria’s more than happy to follow Polly’s wish.
Passing a hallway marked “Fake Passageway” Halsey talks about the way tombs and pyramids were booby-trapped against robbers and trespassers. Park figures if that didn’t stop them, the curses probably did the trick. Thinking about if tombs had rats in them to finish off whoever survived the booby traps, Park turns towards Morton. He can’t help but notice the way her earrings are dangling. Swinging. So hypnotically…
Park turns away, fighting to stay awake, and focuses on a nearby painting that seems disturbingly familiar in some way. With a young prince and a slightly older princess. In a moment, Park is horrified as the painting silently comes alive!
Park jerked his head back as the water under the boat parted and a giant crocodile exploded into the air. Its jaws snapped as it thrashed, rocking the boat, almost swamping it.
The mouth of the princess opened in a silent scream. She staggered, then pitched out of the boat, straight into the mouth of the enormous beast. Her arms flew out as the mighty jaws clamped shut on her. It shook its head savagely, and blood splattered the boat, the river, the prince. Drops of blood and water lashed Park’s face.
Then the crocodile was gone, as swiftly as it had come, pulling the princess under the surface of the water. The waves were crested with blood. The prince began to shake with silent-then abruptly loud-laughter.
Park screams and crashes into Morton, getting everyone’s attention. Ms. Camp’s losing her patience before Morton claims Park just tripped and fell but he’s fine now. Not really buying that, nevertheless Ms. Camp doesn’t push it and asks Park to be more careful. Park quickly asks if Morton saw what happened on the wall. Morton turns to see the painting has returned to normal, no blood or crocodiles. She does notice that the prince is pretty ugly, but nothing else.
Park quickly declares he saw the painting come to life and watched the princess get eaten by an alligator. Morton corrects him on how alligators don’t live in Egypt, and has no amusement to share when Park explains how the prince pushed the princess off the boat. Leaning closer towards the painting, Morton narrows her eyes and loudly answers all she sees is one really ugly and really LITTLE boy.
Having had enough of Morton and Ms. Camp and whatever the hell’s going on in this museum, Park decides to leave. Ignoring Morton calling after him, Park ducks out of sight before she catches him. At that point, Morton declares she’s had enough of Park’s idea of fun and orders him to get back out before he’s in big trouble. Park’s pretty shocked by how much of a control freak Morton sounds like right now. She’d give his older sister a run for her money.
Morton orders him to come out and Park decides to spook her by jumping up and yelling “Gotcha!”
She punches him. [Wing: Her fight or flight is well into fight, and I love her.]
Park says that’s something of an overreaction, and Morton seems surprised that she’s found Park.
“Who did you expect? King Pet?” asked Park.
Morton looked wildly around.
Morton says they should return to the group before they get in trouble, but Park refuses. He wants to go home, expulsion from Graveyard School be damned. Morton argues it’ll be safer to stay in the group, and just as Park asks what she means by that the museum lights go out.
Park’s afraid to move, opting to stay where they are so the group will find them. Morton says they should head for the class now, even in the darkness. Park points out there are those fake passageways, but Morton reminds him they’re blocked for safety. Conceding defeat, Park agrees but tells Morton to go first.
She doesn’t move.
Park yanks on her sleeve and asks if she’s chicken, when he accidentally tears it. Park apologizes, but she doesn’t answer and now he’s getting worried. Holding the coarse piece of clothing in his hand, Park wishes Morton would speak when he suddenly has an image of a mummy in his mind. Something moves in the dark, and for a moment Park smells something sweet.
Park gagged. Then he opened his mouth and shouted, “Morton!” as loudly as he could.
“Morton’s gone,” said a low voice. Something grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him violently around.
He was being wound up-wound up like a mummy.
“No! Let me go!” he shouted. “Helllllp. Help m-”
A strip of cloth covered his mouth.
Something spoke, close to his ear.
“Looks like you’re all tied up,” the voice said.
Park struggles as the mummy ties him up in bandages. He manages to kick the mummy, who lets out an angry roar as Park escapes. Keeping one shoulder to the wall, Park tries to keep himself upright knowing if he falls over he’s doomed. Motivated by the fear of Morton being captured, Park attempts to search for help when he feels something tugging on the bandages he’s trapped in. Realizing the mummy wants to finish the job, Park hits upon an idea and starts to twirl around in order to unwrap himself.
Finally free of the bandages, Park hears another defeated roar and is left stumbling in the dark passageway. The mummy follows after him and Park can feel the ground shaking underneath him when he hurls himself behind a piece of rock just as the lights go back on.
Morton stands over Park telling him to wake up, figuring he must’ve fainted. Park bolts upright and panics, but Morton doesn’t seem to notice and attempts to drag him back to the group. She claims she was trying to find him in the dark and says if they don’t rejoin the class Ms. Camp is gonna make them stand with her for the rest of the trip. Park, for once, thinks abject humiliation is necessary for their survival against whatever’s shambling around in the museum. He babbles about a “Mummy monster” yet Morton believes he only hit his head and might have to see a doctor.
The closer they get to the group, the more Park’s bearings return and he coherently tries to explain to Morton all about his Close Encounter of the Mummified Kind. Morton says the only thing she witnessed when the lights were turned back on was Park. No mummy. Park can’t believe this as Ms. Camp calls for order so Halsey can continue their journey into the Hall of King Pet. Meanwhile, Park tries to convince Morton he was attacked.
“It really happened. I was stalked by a mummy who wanted to dress me up like his twin brother.”
“Do mummies have brothers?” asked Morton.
Park doesn’t appreciate the humor, especially since Morton’s life is equally at stake. Morton tries to calm him down, figuring this has all been one long bad day and the stress got to him. He hit his head and had kind of a bad dream. And she’s not going to back him up if he tries to tell Ms. Camp. Faced with the idea of no one believing him, of this trip haunting him for the rest of sixth grade, it’s too disturbing a notion to contemplate. While Ms. Camp does another head check, Park reviews everything that’s happened and has to wonder:
Is he losing his mind, or would he have been truly better off stuck with Dr. Morthouse?
Halsey leads everyone into the recreated burial chamber of King Pet, featuring four large sarcophaguses and mummy pots used to store mummified animals (much to Stacey’s disgust). He mentions the word sarcophagus means “Flesh-eating stone,” which grosses Maria out but impresses Skip.
Park surveys the tomb with all its display cases of jewels and jars, chests and baskets, papyrus strips adorned with hieroglyphics. Polly tries to touch an open chest of jewelry before Halsey points out the security system. The ceiling is dotted with different individual lights shining on the displays. If anything crosses those beams of light the alarm is set off. Halsey does mention the museum gift shop’s got jewelry replicas for sale, but Christopher warns Polly they’re not a good investment.
Halsey continues to describe how odd it was the archaeologists discovered three other people mummified alongside King Pet, with not much information on who they were. Though they assume these people must be Pet’s family.
Park begins to wonder if the mummy that attacked him came out of one of those sarcophaguses during the black out when the security system was down. For once, Morton looks to be on the same wavelength when she directly asks Halsey a similar question. If the museum lights go out, do the security lights go out too? Maria jokes all Polly has to do is turn out the lights, then she can help herself to all the jewels she wants.
Now Park fears if the mummy is still out of his tomb. Or even worse, what if more than one sneaked out during the power shortage? But then a new problem occurs when Park notices the look on Ms. Camp’s face. She’s not looking at him, she’s looking at Morton who’s… sneaking away? Where’s she going?
And then the lights went out again.
“Nobody move!” bellowed Mr. Halsey.
Park’s got no intention of sticking around. He knows Morton’s a part of whatever’s going on in the museum, so where she goes, he goes. Calling after Morton in the darkness, Park crashes into one of the jewelry baskets and knocks its contents onto the ground. The alarm doesn’t go off on account of the blackout while Halsey holds up a cigarette lighter to offer some meager illumination. The glow of the flame is just enough for Park to make out Morton so he can follow after her through the tomb doorway.
Unfortunately, the passageway is pitch black and Park experiences first hand the expression “As dark as a tomb.” He smacks into a wall and attempts to call after Morton, but decides against it. He realizes Morton’s trying to get away from him, and he might alert whatever tried to tie him up in bandages. It’s then Park realizes he absentmindedly grabbed a piece of jewelry when he knocked into that basket, but figures he can put it back later.
If he survives.
Ms. Camp leads the rest of the kids out of the tomb exhibit, wondering why the museum keeps it so cold. Park waits until everyone’s left to emerge from his hiding spot behind a large jar. He contemplates telling Ms. Camp that Morton’s missing; there’s safety in numbers, after all. But Ms. Camp would never believe a mummy was after them, and between that or having to deal with Dr. Morthouse’s wrath, Park chooses the former.
Unfortunately, Park is so lost in thought he doesn’t immediately hear the shuffling noise behind him.
He jerked around, expecting the worst.
He got it.
This time, by the faint and receding glow of the lighter Mr. Halsey held up, Park saw it.
The mummy. It loomed out of the shadows toward him, trailing ribbons of old, dirty cloth.
The mummy came closer. Closer.
Park’s eyes widened. Its eyes had an eerie, unnatural glow. And it was wearing a hat – a baseball hat!
The mummy held up one strangely distorted finger to where its lips might be. “Shhh,” it breathed.
Oh my God I love it when they invoke the cover artwork in the book itself.
Park attempts to scream, but the mummy is faster than he expected and clamps a bandaged hand over Park’s mouth while everyone else leaves. Park’s fear gives him the strength needed to break free of the mummy’s grasp, but it doesn’t react save for watching Park. He begins to ask what he ever did to piss the mummy off so much, but the mummy only laughs. It’s the same laugh Park heard when the image on the wall came to life.
Park uses all his Graveyard School and baseball training to evade the mummy’s capture, but makes the mistake of looking over his shoulder as he flees. The mummy’s gone. Park’s panicking, wondering where the mummy’s hiding when Morton reappears, holding a candle.
The candlelight made her face look hollow, and much older. She didn’t look like Morton, the slightly weird fifth grader.
Morton tells Park they’ve gotta get out of here, but Park first wants to know where she went and why. Park insists Morton heard him calling her before when he pulls out the heavy jewelry he grabbed before. Maybe he could use it as a weapon. Park demands to know who Morton is, raising the jewelry in his hand when he notices the way Morton’s earrings glitter in the candlelight. Morton’s eyes are glittering in the candlelight too.
The same way the mummy’s eyes glittered.
And in the candlelight, Park realizes the jewelry he’s holding is an earring almost identical to the ones worn by Morton.
Believing Morton’s the mummy, Park charges her and knocks the candle out of her hands. If she can’t see him, maybe she can’t get him. But what if she could see in the dark? What kind of powers do mummies have? Park charges into the darkness, banging against the walls as he tries to find his way out.
Park then thinks he’d be safer if he closed the door to King Pet’s tomb to keep Morton out until help arrives or the lights go back on. They’re sure to look for him when they realize he’s missing, right? Park finds the tomb from the faint glow of the EXIT sign and struggles to close the heavy door before Morton finds him. He finally manages to get the tomb door closed.
It was the most beautiful sound Park had ever heard, even sweeter than a home-run ball against the wood off his favorite Louisville Slugger.
Morton demands Park let her in, but he’s not letting that happen… until he remembers there are three other mummies in the tomb. Which sarcophagus did Morton come out of? Not helping is the red light from the EXIT sign casting a bloody glow on everything. He thinks if he can figure out how Morton got out of her sarcophagus he can prevent it from happening again. But which one should he pick first?
After fixing the overturned jewelry basket, Park approaches one coffin and for a moment imagines a vampire bursting out. He prays he’s not dealing with those too. A pity Jeep Holmes wasn’t on this trip. Park opens the heavy sarcophagus to get to the mummy case inside, wondering if this is King Pet’s.
Park had a sudden vision of the coffin opening and a hand shooting out to clamp on his wrist. He quickly pulled his hand back. He pointed at the mummy case.
“Stay,” he ordered.
Park can’t help but laugh until he notices the face on a mummy case propped up opposite from another mummy case. The face is almost EXACTLY like Morton’s. Park remembered how Morton told him she’d been around for a while. Like, maybe thousands of years? Why was she bothering HIM, though? He hadn’t even met her until this morning. But then something crashes into a display case and before Park knows what’s happening, Morton’s mummy case pops open and he’s thrown inside!
Park can hear laughter from outside the mummy case, but bizarrely the voice then tells Park “You’re it.” He pounds on the inside of the case, screaming at the mummy to let him out and actually fight him. Park’s not sure how long it’ll be before he’s found, or how much air he’s got left. Trying not to panic but finding it hard not to, Park believes salvation’s arrived when he can hear the tomb door opening. Realizing there’s a possible savior out there, Park starts screaming for help and the mummy case opens…
Thanks to Morton.
Park doesn’t stick around to thank Morton out of fear of what she’ll do next. Morton grabs his ankle and pleads with him to stop, but Park breaks free. However, Morton’s not giving up so easily and forces Park to shut up and stand still because she’s got something important to tell him. Park stammers he saved her life earlier from that dinosaur, and of course Morton does appreciate it. That’s why SHE is trying to save HIM now.
But as hard as it is to believe, Morton tells Park a pretty big secret:
She’s a mummy.
Park can’t help but laugh his ass off, exclaiming Morton’s… not wrapped right. 😀
Park gestures to the picture on her coffin, but Morton gets offended saying that looks NOTHING like her. That’s a portrait based on her in a ceremonial wig, after all. But then Morton hears something outside the tomb, so she snuffs out her candle and shushes Park. Morton quickly tells Park they have to hide and makes him get back in the mummy case until it’s safe.
Park struggles against the mummy case, but Morton’s stronger than she looks of course. He starts taunting her, saying she’s a fashion disaster and Polly Hannah’s got a better wardrobe than she does. Finally, it looks like the lid’s opening and Park’s ready to let Morton have it.
If only she was still here.
Instead, Park’s facing a thin boy he’s never seen before. When Park asks where Morton is, the boy wonders WHERE she comes up with these ridiculous names. As to who HE is, why, he’s “Morton’s” cousin. As he gets closer to Park, Park smells his breath and recognizes the scent from earlier when he was tied up. And he realizes it’s the same boy from the wall painting! Park now understands this kid’s the one who was stalking and harassing Park all day, not Morton. Morton’s cousin says it was fun.
“Fun? I could have been smothered in that stupid mummy case.”
“But you didn’t,” said the boy. He took a step closer. “At least not yet.”
Park asks what happened to the bandages and baseball hat. Moron’s cousin shrugs, figuring that look got really old really fast. Thank God museums have all kinds of wardrobes to rummage through. Park asks how he made the dinosaur freak out and what he did to the wire. Morton’s cuz explains he simply melted the wire; it’s a trick that apparently came with the mummified life. Cuz claims, if you concentrate hard enough, you can do anything.
Park tries to stall, asking Cuz who he really is while wondering where the hell Morton went to. Cuz claims he’s not so stupid; he’d know if someone was behind him and there’s not. Heightened perception’s another thing that comes with being a mummy.
And yet he fails to realize when Morton silently appears behind him.
Park then asks why Cuz is picking on him. Simple.
“You helped Morton,” said the mummy. “I don’t like Morton.”
“And I don’t like you!” cried Morton, throwing herself with all her might against her cousin’s back.
Morton shoves her cousin into the mummy case, and Park helps close it up. Yet for a moment Park might be psychic as Cuz’s hand reaches out of the case and tries to grab him before Morton throws herself against the lid to close it on his arm. Morton and Park use all their strength to keep Cuz inside as he threatens to get even with her before he finally stops struggling.
Now that the dust has settled, Morton explains she’s King “Pet’s” daughter. She’s not entirely sure how she woke up, but it happens a lot over the years. Apparently, the art of mummification has been GROSSLY misunderstood by modern scholars. There’s a lot they don’t know about how it’s really done and she doesn’t really have time to explain. Morton ended up at Graveyard School when her family was being transported to the museum. She woke up in the truck and wanted to take a look around, but Cuz locked her out before she could sneak back inside. Thankfully no one noticed she was missing.
Morton was trying to make her way back when she stumbled upon the kids getting ready for the trip, so she blended in with the crowd and slipped onto the bus. She just hopes her parents don’t find out what she’s been up to. Park promises not to… tell Mummy. *Snerk*
Morton doesn’t appreciate the joke older than the pyramids. Park then asks about her cousin, exclaiming his breath’s enough to kill a moose. Morton doesn’t know what a moose is, so Park explains it’s sort of like a camel. She explains she used to call him Camel-Breath, and his dad is her uncle, the royal embalmer. They were always pretty weird. They recap all the shit he did today, Cuz’s twisted sense of humor. Park tries to ask where Morton went previously when Cuz attacked him the first time, but she only mentions how maybe her uncle did some weird experiment and that’s why she and everyone else keep waking up.
Only, *Yawn*, boy Morton’s been up for a long time. She needs her beauty sleep and doesn’t really appreciate all of Park’s questions. Crankiness does that to a mummy. She’ll answer Park’s questions some other time, saying he’s always welcome to drop in when he’s in her neck of the desert as she gets back in her case.
At that point the lights in the museum turn back on, and Park has to hurry before the guards catch him and accuse of him of trying to rob the joint. Apparently lots of people are running around the museum, so Park uses that frenzy to find and rejoin the other sixth graders before he gets in trouble.
Jaws is disappointed they’re not getting a free lunch after all, while Park tells everyone how Morton’s parents “Picked her up early.” While everyone’s herded onto the bus, Park wonders if Morton’s the one who restored the museum lights. What else could she and her cousin do? He still had a lot of questions, and he swore he’d be back to get them answered.
That night, once the guard has fallen asleep, it’s back to business as usual between Morton and Camel-Breath.
She raised her hand and knocked on the lid of the mummy case. “Knock knock,” said softly.
“Who’s there?” a hollow voice asked.
She grinned. “Morton,” she said.
“Morton who?” The door of the case flew open.
Morton eyed her cousin. She grinned even more broadly. “Morton says… you’re it!” she said. She punched him on the arm and took off.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE.
Many years in the future, another royal tomb had been discovered.
No one knows how he did it. How he seemed to have knowledge of entirely unknown tombs and burial chambers no one else had ever heard of. So many lost pharaohs had been found thanks to him. But now he needed to be alone to verify something with his latest discovery.
He smiled and nodded when he saw the surface of the mummy case, as if it was just what he’d expected. He bent forward and rapped lightly on the it with his knuckles.
“Knock knock,” he said.
A voice creaky from long disuse spoke. “Er… who’s there?”
Parker Addams, world-famous archaeologist, leaned close to the mummy case. “Morton sent me,” he said.
AWW PARK AND MORTON REMAIN PALS
Some people have felt there was romantic undercurrents between these two, but I really hope, unless Morton’s body was somehow able to age, it never went farther than when they were both kids because I DO NOT NEED THAT MENTAL IMAGE.
Seriously though Morton was indeed great and I wonder how everyone else felt about her.
[Wing: Awwwww, I love her, and I love that Park became an archaeologist, and I love that they stayed friends for so long. I could use a ton more Morton, she’s funny and sarcastic and just all-around great. Her cousin was pretty boring, though.]
Activities Section: Word puzzle to reveal a mystery monster which is a cyclops
Polly Hannah’s Wardrobe:
- Gold earrings, faux rabbit fur headband