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Barnes and the Brains Book 6: A Creepy Case of Vampires

Walking past the old church at twilight, Giles and Kevin see a dark figure on the bell tower. Suddenly, the mysterious form disappears in a swirl of bats...

Soon, Barnes and the Brains are on the case. Father Peter is desperate to solve his bat problem. But when Tina's invention fails, it's up to Giles and Kevin to clear the church of bats... or could it really be vampires?

Read an excerpt...


A Creepy Case of Vampires: Chapter One

"You lousy geniuses!" shouted Mr. Wallace from his doorway, wiping water and soapsuds from his face. "that's the last time I hire you three! Pests that's what you are! Pests!"

Giles Barnes hurried away from the house with Tina and Kevin Quark, clutching their tools, soaked to the skin.

"I think that's what you'd call an unhappy customer," Giles said.

"He sure seems upset," said Kevin.

"And why is that, do you think, Kevin," Tina demanded angrily. "Do you think it has something to do with what happened in his kitchen just now?"

"It was an accident," muttered her brother.

"Do you think it has anything to do with the three inches of water on his floor, and the shattered dishes and the volcano of soapsuds?"

"I told him I was sorry," Kevin mumbled.

Mr. Wallace had hired Tina and Kevin Quark's genius business to come and fix his dishwasher. It was supposed to be a simple job. But somewhere along the line, a few wires got crossed. Before anyone knew what was happening, the dishwasher had turned itself on and was spewing out water and soapsuds and dishes and glasses - and a few pots and pans too. It was like a typhoon and volcanic eruption rolled into one. By the time Tina had managed to shut it off, the kitchen was in ruins and Mr. Wallace was beside himself.

"You connected the wrong wires, Kevin," Tina told her brother.

"They all looked the same."

"There were an awful lot of wires." Giles pointed out.

"This will not be good for business, Tina said gloomily. "By the time this gets around, our brand name credibility will be seriously damaged."

As they trudged home, wet and discouraged,none of them noticed the small black pointy shapes that soared overhead in the darkening sky.


"Well, Tina's banned me from the workshop" said Kevin the next day.

"Because of the dishwasher thing?" asked Giles.

"Mr. Wallace called out parents and now we have to pay them back for all the dishes we broke. Tina got really angry with me and called me a bio-hazard."

"Look I'll chip in my share for the broken dishes. That's only fair."

Giles and Kevin were walking home past the old church at the edge or their neighbourhood. Giles had always liked this church, but not on windy evenings like this, when the trees twitched and the graveyard danced with shadows. The sun was sinking out of sight, and fog was already rolling in off the river.

"Hey what's that's on the tower?" Kevin said suddenly.

Giles looked up at the church's bell tower. It looked like the turret of a castle, with notched crenellations and slit windows all around. Even from, quite far away, Giles could clearly;y see that there someone up there.

He was a tall, hunched figure, dressed in a billowing black cape. Wisps of fog curled around him, and as he turned towards them, Giles felt his knees go watery. The man's face was like a furry black mask, with only a flash of pale flesh around eyes which, in the dying light, seemed to glitter dark red.

"You see that, Barnes?" said Kevin in a quavering voice.

"I see it," whispers Giles.

The figure stretched out a bony arm, as if pointing down at them. All at once, fog boiled up around him, and when it cleared it had vanished. But swopping around the tower was a large bat, its wings slashing through the twilight.

Without warning, a whole swarm poured from the shadows of the bell tower. Dozens of bats - maybe even hundreds - wheeled through the air, flickering over the graveyard, and then swooped down toward Giles and Kevin.

"Run!" Giles shouted.

With their shoulders scrunched up around their ears and their hands clamped over their heads, the two boys charged past the graveyard. They didn't dare to look back. They veered around the next corner, barrelled on down the street, and didn't stop running till they'd reached Kevin's house.


A Creepy Case of Vampires, copyright Kenneth Oppel


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