On October 2nd, Lauren Oliver released her newest middle grade adventure, The Spindlers!
As part of the Halloween Character Booktacular, Lauren wrote an exclusive Halloween scene featuring the characters from The Spindlers, which was originally posted on Once Upon A Twilight!
It was perhaps to be expected that an argument broke out about who must be the caterpillar’s rear end, and who got to be its head.
“I’m older,” Liza told her brother Patrick matter-of-factly, “And that means I get to choose.”
“Not fair,” he said. And then, in a wail that steadily increased in volume. “Not faiiir! Not faaaaiiiir!”
Their mother, who was busy trying to sort out whether last year’s leftover Halloween candy was still edible, barely glanced up. “Let Patrick be the head, Liza,” she said, then winced as she attempted to bite into a peanut chew. She held a hand to her cheek. “I think I chipped a tooth,” she said, but it came out “I fink I chipped a toof.”
Patrick tried to swipe the caterpillar’s head–which was a vivid green, and crafted from cardboard and tissue paper, with two halves of a red rubber ball for eyes and curled gardening wire for antennae–and Liza held it out of his reach.
“If you’re the head, that means you’re the brains, too,” she said. “And you can’t be the brains, because you don’t have any.”
Patrick kicked her in the shins. Liza said a bad word and was sent to her room for a half an hour. And in the end, Liza’s mother cut another red rubber ball in half and quickly refashioned the caterpillar’s rear end so that it, too, could be a head, even though Patrick complained it looked like a butt with a pair of eyes and Liza moaned that no one–NO ONE!–had ever heard of a caterpillar with two heads.
Their first stop was Mrs. Costenblatt’s house, where they received three irregularly wrapped pumpkin spice cookies and a snickers bar a piece. They moved systematically down the block, threading between children wearing monster masks and–to Liza’s disgust–pink flouffy princess costumes and several ghoulish vampires, which would have been Liza’s first choice had her mother not been deathly afraid of blood, even the fake kind. As Liza expected, every grown-up who answered the door looked alarmed at seeing Parick and Liza’s costumes and confused when she explained they were a two-headed caterpillar.
“I told you there was no such thing,” she told him, as they neared the end of the street.
“Is too,” he said.
“Is not!” she insisted.
“Is too,” he said. “Look.”
They were standing in front of a rusted gate with a large No Trespassing sign attached to it. Beyond was a garden grown wild with a riot of rhodendron, long brown grasses, and trees with branches as bare as gnarled fingers. It was the only garden on the block that wasn’t as neatly trimmed as a mustache, because it was the only house on the block that was uninhabited and, according to local legend, haunted. Liza could just see a bit of a blackened roof, stiff as the top of a witch’s hat, and a single window, missing its glass.
Liza followed the direction of Patrick’s pointed finger. And she saw, curled on top of a large brown leaf, flat as a palm, just on the other side of the gate, a vivid green caterpillar. It appeared to be trying to move in two directions at once, and as she bent closer to look, she detected a thin reedy voice saying:
“This way, you blistering idiot!”
And another voice: “It’s this way, you gruesomely grotesque grub!”
Liza’s breath caught in her throat. The caterpillar was talking. This in itself did not surprise her, because she had read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and knew that such a thing could happen.
But this caterpillar was talking from two separate heads.