Nightmare in 3-D
“You have to cross your eyes, Wes.”
“No, you don’t, Wes. You just have to cross one eye.”
“That’s wrong, you jerk. Just stare at the two dots until they look like three dots, Wes. Then look at the whole picture and you’ll see it.”
The “it” everybody was talking about was a stereogram—one of those pictures with a hidden 3-D image. Mr. Gosling showed us one in our sixth-grade science class today. We’re studying optics and learning about how we see things.
It was lunchtime now, and my best friend,
Lauren, and two other kids in my class were trying to give me tips on how to see stereograms. But I knew they were wasting their time.
I mushed my gravy into my mashed potatoes and slid the carrots to one side of my plate. The carrots in the school cafeteria are always soggy.
“It’s no use,” I said, pushing my glasses up. “I just can’t see 3-D.”
“You can, Wes,” Lauren insisted. “It just takes some practice. You’ll get it.”
That’s what I like about Lauren. She thinks positive. Another thing I like about her is her bright blue eyes. They look so cool under her black bangs.
“What will Wes get?” Cornelia Phillips demanded, shoving in next to me at the table.
Cornelia is one of the horrible twins who live next door to my family. Her horrible sister, Gabriella, strutted up right behind her.
Gabriella slid her tray across the table, then sat down, too. As if we’d invited them or something.
“What will you get, Wes?” Gabriella repeated. They’re both so nosy.
Then, while they waited for my answer, they both twirled their long blond ponytails. They wear
them coming out of the sides of their heads, only on different sides so you can tell them apart. Otherwise they’re alike in every gross detail. They even snort alike when they laugh.
And I hear them snorting a lot because, as I said, the twins live next door to me—on Fear Street. Everyone has stories about the scary things that happen on Fear Street. But if you ask me, the twins are the scariest things on the block!
They’re worse than the ghost that everyone says plays hide-and-seek with you in the woods—and tries to steal your body. Or that ghostly substitute teacher my friend Zack had.
I call the twins Corny and Gabby. Perfect names. Corny’s always playing dumb practical jokes, mostly on me. She’ll do anything to make me look like a total idiot.
And Gabby’s always talking. She’s the biggest gossip at Shadyside Middle School. And guess who most of her stories are about? That’s right—me. Wes Parker.
“What will Wes get?” the twins demanded together, their voices growing higher and higher.
I tried to ignore them. That’s what Lauren always tells me to do. I stared down at my plate and mashed my potatoes around some more.
When no one answered, Corny finally changed the subject.
“Did you ever see anything grosser than that cow eye Mr. Gosling dissected?” she asked. Then she wrinkled her nose and gazed at everyone. Waiting for an answer.
“We’re eating lunch, Cornelia,” Lauren reminded her.
“Yeah, I thought it was going to squirt right off the table when he cut it open,” Gabby added, ignoring Lauren.
Lauren and I groaned and dropped our forks. The twins snorted together.
“Hi, Chad.” Corny waved at Chad Miller at the next table. He’s one of the cool kids. Chad didn’t even glance at her.
“Hey, he smiled at you!” Gabby said. She twirled her hair with one hand and stuffed her face full of potatoes with the other.
Lauren rolled her eyes.
“Wow. This table is bor-ring!” Corny groaned.
“Yeah,” Gabby agreed. She reached into her backpack and pulled out a poster. She spread it out on the table, practically pushing my tray off.
Oh, no, I thought. Another stereogram. The other kids leaned over to study it.
“Can you see it, Wes?” Corny asked in a fake sweet voice.
She knew I couldn’t. I never can see them. But I stared at the poster and tried hard to see the hidden image.
“Uh-uh,” I admitted. I felt really stupid. The twins can always do that to me. “I can’t see it. I just can’t see it.”
Corny leaned across my tray. She was right in my face. “Well, then, you’d better eat your carrots.”
Gabby rolled the poster up and both twins left, whispering to each other and snorting some more.
“They think they’re a riot,” I grumbled. “Eat my carrots. Very funny.”
I gazed down at my carrots.
Gasped in disbelief.
And then let out a scream that shook the room.