It's later discovered that the culprit behind the spike in the beetle population is an evil grasshopper man named Vroon. I wonder what gruesome yet ironic fate he's met with at the book's climax?
"Just as Zak had hoped, Vroon was inside. But all that was left of him was his hard, transparent S'krrr shell. His eyes and the rest of his body had been eaten away."
The end. Good night, kid! Sweet dreams!
Cannibal Swamp Children
Mired in the Dagobah swamps, 16-foot-tall swamp slugs appearing from nowhere, the Arranda siblings face their final adventure in book 12, The Hunger. Not even a guest appearance from Yoda can distract readers from the horror in this one. And what is the horror?
"Two figures were rising up out of the water beside him. Zak saw two human heads covered with stringy hair, two sets of pale eyes, two gaping mouths missing several teeth, and two sets of bony arms. The skin hanging from those arms looked old and dead.
They were corpses. Human corpses.
And they were reaching out to grab him."
No, not more zombies. That would be too cute and cuddly. At this point in the series Tash and Zak have lost everyone they know, have nearly died over a dozen times, stood toe-to-toe with Darth Vader, and now they have to deal with The Children, the remains of an ill-fated exploratory group. The Children have become so emaciated by hunger that their bones can be seen outlined clearly by their skin. They claim they survive on swamp moss and the occasional bit of meat if they get lucky.
LucasfilmThey can't even eat bugs, because the bugs are trying to eat them.
At one point, a member of the Arranda's crew becomes injured, so The Children offer their homestead as a shelter while they provide medical attention. The rest of the crew are invited to sit at the fire and share in The Children's meal. Zak is about to dig into his bowl of stew when a silver ring floats to the surface.
"He suddenly realized why the Children had started finding food just after their arrival.
The smuggler on guard duty had been killed, and soon the Children had prepared a feast.
The next smuggler had gone down in the spider battle. Then the Children had cooked more food.
Traut had been wounded. His arm had been cut off, and then his leg. Each time, the Children had cooked more food."
Zak investigates but he's knocked unconscious and wakes up in a makeshift cage. Of all people, who should be captured in the cage next to him: Boba Fett. The legendary bounty hunter was captured by a bunch of starving Children, officially killing your mental image of Boba Fett as the most badass guy in the galaxy.
I wasn't joking with that overrated comment earlier.
Fett and Zak break out and lead The Children on a mad dash through the swamp. The Children force the chase into the cave where their parents left their last records detailing the failures that sunk their mission.
Triggered by motion, a video plays on a nearby screen. Zak, Fett, and The Children alike are frozen in their tracks as they watch the story told by The Parents.
"Zak saw the survivors, starved into madness, turning on a corpse. He and Galt and the other Children could clearly see how horrified the parents were by their own acts. What they had done was a last, desperate attempt to save their children. It was the act of beings so hungry they had lost their minds. As the parents fed their starving children, they cried."
The Children are so transfixed by their parents' anguish that they forget their prey entirely. They cannot survive on their own. They cannot be allowed to continue as cannibals. The captain of the crew agrees to take them on her ship, to find somewhere for them to live.
As the series ends, a few questions remain unanswered. Will The Children fall back on their instincts once more? Will the Arranda kids ever find a planet that does not try to kill them? But most importantly, did the twelve-year-olds reading this ever sleep through the night again?
Kristen Mohr has encountered many more nightmares in the library since then. She has a Masters degree in Information Science and a mental archive of facts from Cracked.
For more check out The 7 Most Accidentally Horrifying Children's Characters and 6 Creepy Things You Never Noticed About Famous Kids Cartoons.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out 5 Ways 'Little Mermaid' Is The Most Terrifying Disney Movie - Obsessive Pop Culture Disorder, and watch other videos you won't see on the site!
Also follow us on Facebook. Boo!