Happy Friday, readers! It is I, your librarian, with another excerpt for you. This passage includes lyrical creepiness, a haunting description of a haunted house, and one breathtakingly beautiful line, right at the end.
I loved the part, too, where Janner and Tink struck out running through the high weeds. As I read I could feel the sun on my back and the weeds on my legs. I left that part out, just to keep the excerpt short, but please do go back and read it. Don’t you love it when a book makes you feel like you’re right there in the story?
Be you friend or be you foe
Beware to all who follow
For in the catacombs below
Is hidden in the hollow
A way that leads to pain and woe
Sadness, grief, and sorrow
The hungry ghost of Brimney Stupe
Awaits your bones to swallow
So think you long before you go
Exploring here tomorrow
For an hour Janner and Tink followed the ancient lane as best they could. Each time the road began to blend into tall stretches of heather and disappear, they would search anew for the faint depression of the path in the swaying grass. The line of the forest loomed ever closer, and soon Janner was pointing to the shape of what must be the ruined structure of Anklejelly Manor.
Tink picked up his pace and soon they stood before the manor, its craggy back to the forest. The two gaping second-floor windows made Janner think of the eye sockets of a skull watching their approach. He stopped in front of a rusty iron gate that hung sad and crooked on ancient hinges. Neither brother spoke, unwilling to admit they were afraid and wondering what foolishness had made coming here seem sensible.
It was clear that the manor had once been a beautiful place. Several tall and mildewed statues of people in various poses dotted the courtyard. One was of a fat man eating a lamb chop (the sight of which caused Tink’s stomach to growl loudly, the sound of which made Janner jump an inch off the ground). Another statue nearer the house depicted a laughing woman swinging a terrified cat by its hind leg. Another statue, covered in vines, was of a weeping man scratching his large belly with a rake. Dangling from the rake handle was a cluster of stone grapes.
The roof of the mansion had long ago collapsed, and everywhere weeds and vines had begun the slow work of pulling the stones and aged timbers back to the earth.
—From chapters 18 and 20, “Stumbling onto a Secret” and “Into the Manor.”
If you’ve been reading along with us, which parts did you love best? And if you’re somewhere else in the books, that’s fine—I’d love to read your favorite lines, too!
In the forum this week, we’ve been talking about the themes we’ve found in the series, what we treasure, the meaning in names and naming, and the sneaky references Andrew’s slipped in when he thought we weren’t looking. Come join us!