Horrors of the Black Ring is the 18th book in the Goosebumps Series 2000 series.
A wisecracking Anthony Gonzales is fooling with heroine Beth Welch into thinking that the brakes of his bike have malfunctioned, as he careens wildly down the sidewalk towards her and her sister, Amanda. Beth falls for it, apparently this happens a lot though. Such as when he claimed her cat was dead, even when it was not. Beth does not stick around too long however, finding a small bird with a broken wing in need of help.
She saves the little birdy, but this makes her late for school. However, her teacher is very understanding about the situation. Beth then notices Miss Gold sporting a new ring with a large black stone neatly arranged in the center. Beth thinks she sees an angry-looking face within the jewel but when she asks about it, Miss Gold clarifies it is only an illusion caused by a natural flaw in the jewel.
Later in art class, Beth gets close to her crush, Danny Jacobs, by asking for him to model hands for her. Anthony teases them by making kissing sounds, which causes the two boys to fight.
Later at lunch, Danny sits with Beth to discuss ideas for the big forthcoming Spring Carnival when Miss Gold simultaneously discovers an ominous message written on the chalkboard: "THE CARNIVAL IS DOOMED." As Miss Gold starts to tremble, Anthony walks by the classroom and it is noted that he has chalk dust all over his hands...
During the weekend, Amanda tries to get Beth to help her arrange her Barbies from the most to least attractive. Beth argues that she does not have time to play with dolls, as she must rush to the school to help prepare for the doomed carnival. Soon after, a mysterious person calls Beth on the telephone and warns her to stay away from the carnival. But she is not frightened by the call and heads to school anyway.
Inside the school's art room, she and Danny find a total mess, with paint splattered everywhere and every canvas and sheet of paper in complete disarray. All the paintings which were to be sold at the carnival have been wrecked-- all except Anthony's rude painting of Beth.
That next week at school, Miss Gold cancels class and sends all her students to the art room to make replacement art. As the rude picture of Beth was the only one not stolen or damaged, everyone else paints rude pictures of Beth so as to ensure their artwork will not be ruined later.
That afternoon, Danny and Beth make cookies in the Home Ec room, only to have the dessert mysteriously ignite while in the oven! The children flee the smoke-filled room just in time to catch Anthony walking by the room, as it catches fire. Due to what happened, the entire school floods the carnival's food tables with bake sale goods the next day. Beth takes a bite from one of these treats, feels something disgusting inside, and throws up all over her shoes. Turns out someone baked insect larvae into the desserts!
Miss Gold is having somewhat of a meltdown now. She is sitting in her chair, while fiddling with her black ring, muttering "maggots" over and over. When asked what else could go wrong, Miss Gold ominously replies with a response.
Before the carnival begins, Danny gets cocky and eggs Anthony on to try and hit his target in the dunk tank. Anthony then proceeds to hit the target, causing Danny to sink into the tank. Unfortunately for Danny, the tank is filled with boiling water. Despite the extreme temperatures, Danny is okay! But he has passed out from the heat...
Later at home, Amanda jumps out of a closet as a cry for attention and Beth promises to take her to the carnival, as long as Amanda does not change her mind while they are there.
Once at the carnival, Beth has to work the ticket counter for a little while and has Anthony watch over Amanda in the mean time. Beth tries to sell a carnival ticket to a mysterious stranger wearing a dark robe, but this reaper did not bring his coin purse. The cloaked figure explodes all the lights in the gym and proceeds to wreak some highly unlikely havoc on everyone inside!
Wasps descend upon them, tables catch on fire, and so fourth! The cloaked figure kidnaps Amanda and carries her over his shoulder towards the carnival entrance but the mysterious stranger is tackled by a policeman and reveals the figures true identity: Miss Gold!
Miss Gold insists she was forced to do the deeds and is led away in handcuffs by the police. Beth finds Miss Gold's black ring on the gym floor and then places it onto her own finger. Later, this leads to her having a dream sequence...
Later in the Hospital Beth sneaks inside to visit Miss Gold, who freaks out when she sees her wearing the ring. Miss Gold screams at her to take the ring off. But Beth does not and instead leaves in order to let her teacher just rest.
Over time, Beth begins exhibiting undesirable and aggressive traits brought about by her new accessory. She even tears off Anthony's bike lock, dismantles his bike, and breaks his sunglasses. But that is not enough bad behavior for the possessed Beth. She also throws a nerdy child into a locker, she snaps the legs off Amanda's Barbie dolls, puts slugs in her sister's sauce, and replaces her shampoo with corn oil.
But her weird acts are not limited to blood relations, as Beth also sneaks into the school's kitchen and drops a live mouse into a vat of vegetable soup.
Sometime later, Beth is feeding that broken-winged bird from earlier in the novel when Danny shows up and reminds her about the bike-a-thon she agreed to participate in. Beth does not want to go though, as she is afraid the ring will make her do something very dangerous or bad.
At the bike-a-thon, the ring tells her to cut everyone's brakes, but Beth instead rushes home to remove the ring for good! While looking for metal cutters in the garage, she sees her injured bird has died...
But, Beth decides she cannot just concentrate of such a sad thing right now. She cannot waste time thinking about it and has to focus on the ring. Beth tries to cut off her ring with metal cutters. But the evil face grows huge and emerges from within the ring as smoke pours into the garage! The face tells Beth he needs to inhabit a human body now but Beth refuses to just hand her body over to the face. She grabs a saw and prepares to cut off her finger, only to try pulling it off a final time, in which it pops right off! She reasons that without the big head inside the ring, it just weighs less.
Beth slips the ring onto the dead bird and the evil face is sucked back into the jewel. She buries the dead bird/jewel-head in the backyard, as the book comes to an end...
Sometime later, Amanda manages to acquire a dangerous, similar talisman of her own...
|Goosebumps Series 2000|