Johnny forgot his own fear and brushed frantically at the awful things, gagging as they puffed into the sickening powder. "Come on!" he shouted. "We gotta get away from here!"
Wordlessly, the professor lurched to his feet, locusts falling from his arms. He wiped his face, threw a handful of the wriggling locusts to the ground, and staggered forward. Johnny pushed at his back, and Sarah pulled his hand in front. They reeled across the line where death began and life ended --
And with a whir that sounded like distant buzz saws, the cloud of horrible dead insects roiled away, flying back toward the house. Not a single one remained on them, although all three friends hysterically slapped at their arms and faces until they realized the nasty things had vanished, leaving behind only gray smears of greasy powder.
"Thank you," gasped the professor, leaning against a maple. He shivered. "I believe you probably just saved my life. Ugh! That was like being attacked by an army of tiny little flying mummies! I can still feel them creeping over my skin." He took a deep breath. "I'm going to have about three boiling hot baths in disinfectant soap as soon as I get home. Those monstrosities have left me feeling defiled."
"L-look," said Sarah. "Oh, my gosh, look at the house!"
The professor made a strange, startled sound in his throat. Johnny stared, not believing his eyes. The desiccated locusts had swarmed all over the front wall of the house, but now they had arranged themselves into lines. The lines created ragged capital letters. And the letters spelled out an eerie warning:
THE FERGUSON BOY IS MINE