You need a lot of stuff for an Awful Ambush. And most of the things I needed were--bats. Lots and lots of bats. So I went off to Uncle Drac's turret to catch as many as I could. I'm pretty good at catching bats, as I always help Uncle Drac with them whenever they escape. Aunt Tabby hates bats. She thinks that they are going to nest in her hair, but no self-respecting bat would want to go anywhere near Aunt Tabby's hair, as it is stuffed full of hairpins.
They would be bat-kebabs in five seconds flat. Anyway, I found my bat sack and soon I was crawling very carefully along a rafter at the top of the turret. Uncle Drac was fast asleep, snoring in his sleeping bag, which hung from the rafters and swayed with each snore. There was a crowd of bats fast asleep all around him, although I don't think the bats were snoring. Or perhaps I just couldn't hear them. Maybe bat snores are too high- pitched for humans to hear. "Here, bats, " I whispered, and scooped up as many as I could and stuffed them into the sack. The bats didn't mind; they liked my bat sack. Well, all except Big Bat, who does not like anything, as he is a grumpy old bat.
But I really wanted to have Big Bat in the ambush since I figured he would be pretty scary.
I grabbed him when he wasn't looking, and he squeaked really loudly. Uncle Drac stopped snoring and snuffled a bit in his sleeping bag, and I froze. I really didn't want him to wake up, as I knew he would not let me have any of his precious bats, even if they were going to save the house from a lot of stupid people who wanted to take it away from us. Uncle Drac's bats are more important to him than anything else in the world. When I had enough bats, I took them all down to Sir Horace's room and left them roosting in the dark. They looked really happy. The next thing I needed for the Awful Ambush Kit was . . . Strawberry Jell-O. This was more difficult, as I had to go back into Aunt Tabby's territory.
I had to get to the fourth- kitchen-on-the-right-just-past-the-boiler- room. I zoomed by the boiler room at top speed, and I didn't see Aunt Tabby anywhere, although there was a large pile of soot in the corner, so I knew she'd be around soon to sweep it up. In no time at all, I was in the fourth- kitchen-on-the-right-just-past-the-boiler- room and had found what I was looking for--a giant box of mix for Extra-Sticky Strawberry Jell-O. I had made two buckets full of strawberry Jell-O and was slowly slopping my way along the basement corri- dor with them when, sure enough, I heard Aunt Tabby. "Is that you, dear?" she called out. I don't like it when Aunt Tabby says "dear" like that, -90- through gritted teeth. It always means trouble. I sped up as fast as I could, but it was too late. You can never escape Aunt Tabby, however hard you try. As I splashed past the open door to the boiler room, the large pile of soot spoke to me. "Well done, dear, " said the pile of soot. "It's very sweet of you to clean your bed- rooms. It makes such a difference if people see a nice clean house. I just hope they get to see a nice clean boiler as well.
"The pile of soot shook itself, and I could see it was really Aunt Tabby with a broom. "You know, I have a funny feeling that these people will be just right for the house, " she said. I stomped off with my buckets. "Funny feeling, " I muttered. "I'll show them a funny feeling all right. " I soon had all the other stuff for the Awful Ambush. I had:
Q a large bag of assorted spiders Q a big pile of pillowcases Qa massive tub of strangled ghost squealers Q a huge box of balloons Q a giant bag of flour QQQ
I took it all down to Sir Horace's room and dumped it in a big pile in the middle of the floor. Phew. And then someone coughed. I jumped about six feet into the air and nearly fell into a bucket of Extra-Sticky Strawberry Jell-O. "Hello, " said Edmund. "You shouldn't go creeping up on people like that, " I told him, "especially if you are a ghost. Someone could hurt themselves. " "But Sir Horace told me to come and help you, " Edmund said. "He said that there were some people coming who were going to put him in a dust bin with some bicycles and make him into cat food. But I do not understand why they wish to do this. " "It's because of the Tabitha, " I told Edmund. "Ah, " said Edmund, "I see. "
After that Edmund was really helpful. First we got the "ghosts" ready-- Edmund blew up the balloons and I put the squealers in. I tied a slipknot around the ends so that I could set them off quickly. I put the balloons in the pillowcases and poured flour over them, then I opened the fireplace and Edmund wafted the "ghosts" out onto the balcony. Next I scooped all the spiders out of the spider bag and hung them from the bars of the balcony. It was perfect--they dangled just above the place where people always stopped with their mouths wide open.
Last of all I carried out the buckets of Extra-Sticky Strawberry Jell-O and set them up on the edge of the balcony. We left the bats sleeping in Sir Horace's room until they were needed. Then Edmund and I sat down behind the buckets and waited.
We were ready for anything.
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