Disclaimer: I do not own the Mysterious Benedict Society.


"Constance, budge over," muttered Kate. The little girl scowled, her face illuminated by the gigantic movie screen, in front of which they sat. Constance scooted over, and Kate slipped into the row, her bucket clanging loudly. Reynie glanced apologetically at the person to his left, a cantankerous looking women. "Keep it down over there," she growled. Reynie nodded, while Sticky winced. What with Constance's antics and Kate's racket, seeing a movie could be very stressful. In fact, Reynie wasn't entirely sure what movie they were seeing, anyway. Some romantic comedy that Mr. Benedict had chosen. Sticky poked Reynie in the ribs. "What?" Reynie spoke in a low voice. "Look over there...no, the other way—yeah." Sticky shivered. "See that man? He looks exactly like Crawlings." At the word "Crawlings," Reynie felt like vomiting. Crawlings was a sinister Ten Man, whose greatest joy in life was torturing Reynie and his friends. But now that Mr. Curtain (Crawlings' boss) was in prison, the idea of him leisurely watching a movie, was highly unlikely. Reynie gazed furtively at the side of the man's head. He was bald, and wearing a black suit, but why should that mean he was a Ten man? Reynie sank back into his seat. "I don't think it's him, Sticky." Sticky shuddered. "I hope you're right." Constance threw a piece of popcorn at Sticky, then at Reynie, and the Mysterious Benedict Society was silent. Reynie tried desperately to focus his attention on the movie-"Kiss me, Margaret!"- but he continued to sneak looks at the bald man. It was improbable, but it wasn't impossible.

Several minutes passed, then the bald man stirred, and rose from his seat, stretching and smiling good naturedly at his neighbor. As far as Reynie could see, he had both his eyebrows. Crawlings was known for having one awful, wriggling eyebrow, that twitched of its own accord. The man strolled along the center aisle, and out of the darkened theater.

He did not return.

Sticky, his eyes huge and frightened, gazed at Reynie. "This doesn't feel right." Those words, already disconcerting, were made even worse when Constance dropped her bag of popcorn, looking nauseous. She leaned over Sticky and whispered to Reynie. "Where's Milligan?" Reynie jerked his head to the right. "Over there." Milligan sat low in a seat four rows back. "Why? Is something wrong?" Constance nodded, her eyes squeezed shut. "McCracken is here."

"What?" Sticky squawked, then clamped a sweaty hand over his mouth. Reynie absorbed this news. Something was terribly wrong, and the Ten Men had followed the Mysterious Benedict Society, obviously readying themselves for ambush or attack. "Listen," said Reynie, "we need to get out of here as quickly as we can." Kate, her ocean blue eyes narrowed, was ready to object. "What about Milligan?" Sticky moaned. "We need his help, too, Reynie." Reynie nodded in agreement. "Kate, get Milligan's attention, will you?" Kate slyly reached into her bucket, and withdrew her slingshot and a blue marble. Taking aim, she let the marble hurdle toward Milligan. It thwacked soundly him on the forehead. Milligan, not at all confused, stood up, his knees slightly bent, and crept the long way around the theater, so as not to attract attention to himself.

Constance, meanwhile, was whimpering and snarling, an odd combination. A part of her was deathly afraid of another encounter with the Ten Men, but another part wished she could punch them right in the nose. Milligan materialized before Kate, his brows furrowed. "What is it, Katie-Cat?" Kate gestured helplessly at Constance. "She says McCracken is here – right now." Milligan's expression hardly changed, though his shoulders tensed. "I see." He cast an appraising eye around the theater. With hardly a second's thought, he looked seriously at the children. "Follow me." Reynie, his knees weak and shivery, got up and started after Milligan. But the two, no three, things happened. The movie screen flickered and went black, Constance screamed shrilly, and someone threw Reynie a clumsy punch. Blinking away the popping stars, Reynie felt around in the suffocating dark, desperately seeking escape. Mixed with the various shrieks and yells from the audience, was a surreptitious clicking noise. Someone—was approaching Reynie with quiet, cunning footsteps.

Then, with a breath taking grip, someone squeezed Reynie's arm. Reynie did not even have time to yell. His world went white and flew apart, exploding before his eyes. People were running, screaming, calling for help. Reynie sank to the ground and knew no more.


Cliff-hanger! Hope you liked it. Please read and review!