“Umm, I’ll take a lemon sherbet,” Jasmine said, looking at the menu.
“Me too,” said Ariel.
“I’d like a rainbow sherbet with a cherry on top,” said Nicky, licking his lips.
“Great. Nice choice,” said their waitress. She wrote down their order and walked away. She wore a nametag that said “Rachel.”
“Doesn’t she sound familiar,” Nicky whispered. “Almost like Robomom.”
“I know,” Jasmine said. “Maybe someone turned her back on.”
“Yeah,” said Ariel. “We should have burnt her up or something.”
“But why was she turned on so quickly?” Nicky said. “We left her just a few minutes ago.”
“I don’t know,” said Jasmine. “We’ll have to find out.”
Nicky thought about the recurring dream he had about a huge bat chasing him. He shuddered, but before Ariel could ask him what was wrong, Rachel walked back to the kids’ table, holding a tray with three bowls of sherbet.
“Here’s your order,” she said, glaring at Nicky, her eyes needles of anger.
“Thank you,” said Nicky, ignoring her. The kids ate silently. Nicky realized that he forgot to bring money.
When they finished, Rachel walked back to their table. “Do you want anymore?” she asked.
“No,” Jasmine said.
“OK,” Rachel said. “That will be $3.75.”
“Um, we don’t have any money,” said Nicky sheepishly.
“How dare you!” Rachel bellowed furiously. Customers from other tables were beginning to stare.
“Run!” yelled Nicky as the twins pushed the table towards Rachel.
“Don’t let them escape!” yelled Rachel. Three bloodhounds blocked the doorway.
“Trapped!” Jasmine said.
“No we’re not!” Nicky yelled, turning away from the doorway.
The kids ran as fast as they could, with Rachel close behind them. The customers clapped. They thought the commotion was some kind of public performance art.
“Stop clapping you fools,” yelled Nicky, throwing a banana peel at a bald man’s head.
“Hey,” the man yelled, wiping his forehead with a napkin.
“What a weirdo,” Ariel laughed.
“I agree,” said Jasmine.
“Why are you talking about that?” said Nicky frantically. “We’re on the run from Rachel, also known as ROBOMOM!”
“You’re right!” Ariel said. “I forgot.”
“Well you shouldn’t have,” Nicky said. “How can you forget about our dangerous situation?”
Ariel started to reply, but she was interrupted by a crash. Rachel had taken a vase out of her pocket (now she looked much thinner), and thrown it at the three kids.
“Oh man! I missed those bratty kids!”
“AAAHHH,” the kids screamed. “Somebody help us! Don’t just stand there staring!” The kids smashed a window with a chair, making a big hole in the glass.
“Come on,” Nicky yelled, jumping out the window. The twins ran after him.
“Come back here!” Rachel screeched. “I’m not done with you guys!”
“Help us!” the kids screamed, as Rachel followed close behind.
“She’s really fast,” Nicky said. “We need to go faster.”
“Hey look,” said Jasmine. “There’s a house over there.”
The twins ran to the house and knocked on the door. As an infant, Nicky had always been told to stay away from strangers, but he suspiciously followed them anyways. The door opened and a girl stood there wearing a purple skirt and a blue t-shirt with Hawaii Rules printed on it in green. “Can I help you?” the girl asked.
“Oh my god,” whispered Ariel. “Isn’t that Matilda?”
“I think so,” whispered Jasmine. “This is the place where the ship landed.”
“Um, excuse me,” said Ariel. “But can you let us hide in here? We’re being chased by an evil machine called Robomom. At least, that’s what we think. She’s chasing us for no reason.”
The girl thought for a long time. Finally she said, “Fine, but I warn you, try to be quiet, my mom is sleeping and if she sees you guys, well, she’ll get really mad. By the way, I’m Matilda.” She let the kids inside.
This house is very small, Nicky thought. The living room had a blue couch and a small TV. Sitting on the table was a purple vase with a single daffodil in it. The wallpaper was coming off and the walls had long wide cracks in them. There was only one small bedroom and one bathroom. The kitchen looked like it hadn’t been cleaned for a century. The T.V was on and a reporter was talking about a robbery at Bobby Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor.
“Wow this place is a dump,” whispered Nicky.
“This is the weirdest house ever!” whispered Ariel.
“Not as weird as our house,” whispered Jasmine.
“True,” Ariel whispered back.
“What are you whispering about?” asked Matilda.
“Uhhhhhh, about how nice your house is compared to ours?” Jasmine said, rolling her eyes.
“Yeah,” Ariel and Nicky said nodding their heads. As soon as they stopped nodding, they heard a loud ringing. “What was that” asked Nicky.
“Oh, that’s just the phone.” Matilda said. “I’ll answer it.” She picked up the phone and walked into the kitchen.
As soon as Matilda was out of earshot, Nicky said. “I didn’t even notice the phone. By the way, nice save Jasmine.”
Ariel and Jasmine nodded, then Ariel screamed: “Nicky! Behind you! Knife! Matilda!”
Nicky turned around and saw Matilda holding a knife above his head. “Ahh!” Nicky screamed. “Runnn!”
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” bellowed a large a woman who appeared from the doorway to their right.
“Ugh,” Matilda said, “Uh, we’re writing a play involving my friends Andy, Katie, and Kelly,” Matilda began to sweat. “Right?” She glared at Nicky.
“Right,” Nicky said frantically, the twins glaring at him.
“This better be safe,” Matilda’s mom said. “We can’t afford to be sued, especially after that incident.”
“Blah blah blah!” Matilda said, lowering the knife.
“Shut your mouth,” Matilda’s mom said. “Besides, what play is this?”
“Uhh, a school play,” Nicky said. “Matilda is going to pretend to kill me.”
“You may rehearse in here, but be quiet,” Matilda’s mom said, walking back to her bedroom.
Matilda cornered Nicky and the twins.
“Run,” Nicky yelled, seizing three wooden sticks resting against the cracked walls. He threw two of them to the twins and they caught the sticks expertly.
“Let’s fight back!” said Nicky swinging the stick over Matilda’s head.
“Stop,” Matilda yelled, dropping the knife. “Hear me out.”
Nicky froze, his stick was an inch away from Matilda’s head.
“Don’t listen to her!” Ariel said, swinging her stick out toward Matilda.
“Stop!” Jasmine said. She held on to her sister’s arm. Ariel halted.
“Tell us your story,” Nicky said, dropping his stick, Ariel’s stick took its place next to Matilda’s head.
“Well,” Matilda said. “I was walking down the street one day when a shiny-headed woman kidnapped me and put me in a big, orange backpack. She locked the zippers together so I couldn’t escape. I managed to open the backpack a bit so I could breath. She took me to an old gray house. She tied me to a chair and told me that she was my real mom.”
Matilda shuddered so hard that Nicky thought her brain would shoot through her ears.
“I didn’t believe her so I made her prove it and she did,” said Matilda. “I am a robot.”
Ariel snorted, “Yeah right. That is the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard!”
“It’s true,” Matilda said.
“Prove it,” said Ariel.
“Fine I will.” She led them to the attic that she called her room.
Ariel lowered her stick. Matilda’s room was small. Pink wallpaper covered the walls and posters of ponies were tacked up on the closet door. An open bag of Lays potato chips and a lamp shaped like a cat sat on a desk in the corner. Next to the desk was a bed with floral print blankets and star-shaped pillows. It looked like a honeymoon suite. Something caught Nicky’s eye. It was sticking out from behind one of the posters. He removed the poster, revealing a series of buttons. “Ooh! What does this button do?” Nicky asked, pressing the button. The walls started shaking. The walls turned over, revealing another room.Tons of bottles sat patiently on a metal shelf, while a metal bed with straps around it slept. There lay a sink and used gloves next to a pair of tweezers. It was a huge laboratory.
“What’s this all about?” Ariel said, her eyes opened wide.
“This is my real room,” Matilda said. “That one was just so that my other mom wouldn’t worry.”
“Well, let’s see the evidence,” Ariel said.
Matilda led them to an old computer sitting on a small desk in a dark, dusty corner. They were both covered in cobwebs. Matilda turned it on and pushed some buttons. She opened the desk and took out a minidisk. She inserted the disk and waited. Five minutes later, a document appeared on the screen. Matilda clicked on it, revealing a bunch of other documents. Matilda clicked on the one that said “Unlimited Proof.” Rows of documents appeared. Matilda clicked the one that read “My Mother.”
“Observe,” said Matilda. A box appeared and she clicked the “play” button. On the screen Matilda was walking down a street, then Robomom put her in a large bright orange backpack, locked it and carried it into an old broken down gray house. Matilda squirmed and tried to break free. Robomom dropped it and pushed it around until Matilda stopped kicking. She took Matilda out and tied her to a chair.
“Young one,” she said dramatically. “I am your real mother.”
“Yeah right,” Matilda said.
“Yeah. I am,” the woman said, not detecting the sarcasm in Matilda’s voice.
“Prove it,” Matilda said.
The woman took a screwdriver from her pocket and unscrewed Matilda’s stomach. Matilda looked inside her stomach and gasped at the tangle of screws and wires.
“Are you are a robot?” Matilda asked. The woman nodded. The screen went blank.
“One question,” Nicky said. “Who was taping this video?”
“My mom is a robo-fanatic,” Matilda said. “She has cameras all over her house and I stole this footage for some reason, maybe to remind me how much I hate her.”
“She told me to kill you,” Matilda said. “I don’t want to kill you. From now on, I’m on your side, if you believe me of course.”
“One moment,” Nicky said.
Nicky and the twins huddled in the corner to discuss the situation. Finally, they broke up. “Okay,” Nicky said. “You’re in.”
Matilda handed out some walkie-talkies shaped like cell phones. “It’s so that if we get caught, then they won’t be suspicious,” Matilda said.
“Why would walkie-talkies be suspicious,” Nicky asked. “And why not just use cell phones?”
“They might think we’re up to something,” Matilda replied. “And cell phones not only cost too much, but they take too long to dial.”
“Okay, then how do you talk into them?” Nicky asked.
“Just press 1 as you talk,” Matilda said.
“Cool,” said Jasmine.
“First we need a plan,” Ariel said.
“I have one,” Matilda said. “Jasmine, hold on to a screwdriver and we’ll lead you to Robomom. I’ll lure Robomom out and when I say NOW, Nicky and Ariel will tie her up and tape her mouth. When we finish, you come out and unscrew all the screws you see and we will get on my jet and drop the pieces around the world.”
“Yes!” Jasmine said. “I get to kill her.”
“Hey, no fair! I want to kill her too!” Ariel whined.
“Too bad, too sad!” Jasmine said.
“Let’s get to work,” Nicky said.
“Robomom lives in an old gray house,” Matilda said.
“We know,” Ariel said. “We used to live with her.”
“Then you know what it’s like to rub her feet,” Matilda said. All four kids shuddered.
“Let’s go,” Nicky said. The kids ran to the front of the lab and pushed the red button.
Matilda hung the picture in front of the buttons. “Mom, we’re going outside!” Matilda yelled.
Matilda’s mom grunted. The kids ran outside.
“First we must get the props,” Jasmine said.
“Let’s go,” Matilda said, pulling out a small coin purse.
At the store, the kids bought a rope, a screwdriver, and a roll of tape. They walked back to Matilda’s house.
“Where’s the jet?” Ariel asked.
“Behind the house,” Matilda said. They walked behind the house.
“Whoa!” Nicky said. “I can’t believe your mom didn’t notice that!”
“She doesn’t go outside,” Matilda said. “I do the shopping and stuff.” They climbed into the jet. “3, 2, 1 blastoff,” Matilda said. The ship blasted silently into the air.
“I thought jets were loud,” said Ariel.
“I kind of fiddled with it so it’s quiet now,” Matilda said. When the ship landed, Matilda pushed a button before she got off.
“What did you do?” Nicky gaped, seeing not a jet but a few trees.
“The camoflauge system works, doesn’t it?’ Matilda said
“Let’s go,” Ariel said. They walked to the old gray house.
“Hide!” Matilda said. She knocked on the door. Robomom came out of the house. “Hey mom, I killed those brats like you told me to, so can you play with me? You promised you would,” Matilda said.
“Oh, all right, Robomom said. She limped out into the yard.
“Why are you limping?” Matilda said.
“One of those brats managed to unscrew an important screw in my leg,” Robomom said.
“Now!” Matilda yelled. Nicky and Ariel jumped out and tied up Robomom.
“What’s this?” Robomom asked.
“Sorry mom,” Matilda said, taping her Robomom’s mouth.
Jasmine came out and unscrewed Robomom’s head. Matilda cut the ropes with a pocketknife. Jasmine unscrewed every screw she could find. Matilda took out a garbage bag and shoved all the pieces into the bag. Pulling the bag behind them, the kids ran into the trees. Matilda turned the trees back into a jet and took off.
About the Authors
Sharon is ten years old. This is her third published book. She is also the author of Travel pictures and The Aliens. She enjoys playing four square with her best friend Christie.
Christie is ten years old. This is her fourth published book. She is also the author of Like a Maze, Like a Cherry on top, and The Aliens. She enjoys playing four square with her best friend Sharon.