Greetings from Madame Sidler! This week I read chapters 42-47 of North! Or Be Eaten. By now I suppose my fellow readers have picked up on my appreciation for creepy passages. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that I enjoy creeping in secret passages. Perhaps that’s why people call me creepy? Hmm. Let’s not dwell on that. At any rate, here is an excellent creepy passage.
When yellow light from the strike of the match filled the chamber, Janner was so shocked by what he saw that he wouldn’t have been surprised if his heart leapt up his throat, out of his mouth, and landed with a splat on the dirt floor.
Someone sat against the opposite wall, staring at him.
She was dressed in rags, her skin leathery and caked with grime, and her eyes were bottomless pits set in the wrinkled landscape of her face. She looked familiar, which told Janner she must be one of the hags of Tilling Court.
He dropped the match and everything went black.
She laughed. It was a dry, papery laugh, a dead crackle.
“Child,” she whispered.
Janner was too terrified to move. He imagined her crawling toward him in jerking movements, those wide, black, spidery eyes able to see him in the dark somehow. Fangs bumped and growled in the house above. He wondered which was worse: capture by the Fangs or the wet stink of the hag in the cellar.
“Child,” she whispered again, louder.
Janner closed his eyes and tried to shut out the world. When he heard the woman grunt and drag herself across the floor toward him, his breaths came in short, desperate gasps. His head seemed to thicken; bright points of light danced across his eyelids.
Her hand touched his foot, and Janner tried to scream, but his voice made no sound. The stars burst into fiery colors, and he had the sensation of falling slowly upward and into the dreadful, silent well of space.
—From chapter 46, “The Strander Burrow.”
What was your favorite passage this week—from the book club reading or anywhere else? Post it in the comments!
This week in the forum, there’s a new thread about songs of lament. There are also all kinds of other conversations—names, favorite characters and quotes, Andrew’s sly sneakery, the First Well, and more. Feel free to strike up a conversation on any Wingfeathery topic that interests you!