The Last Apprentice: Fury of the Seventh Son (Book 13) Joseph Delaney. The thirteenth—and . Joseph Delaney for online ebook. The Last Apprentice: Fury of . Read "The Last Apprentice: Fury of the Seventh Son (Book 13)" by Joseph Delaney available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first. The Last Apprentice series is soon to be a major motion picture, Seventh Son, starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, .
|Language:||English, Portuguese, Japanese|
|Genre:||Health & Fitness|
|ePub File Size:||22.84 MB|
|PDF File Size:||10.34 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Registration needed]|
The Spook's Apprentice: Book One (The Wardstone Chronicles) . DOWNLOAD PDF '"I've just given birth to a baby boy," she wrote, "and he's the seventh son of a seventh son. with it, and one of them ran back to get the mason, the boggart, in a fury at being trapped under the stone, began to attack Billy's fingers. Editorial Reviews. From the Back Cover. The book will haunt you. It's an international bestseller. But DON'T READ IT AFTER DARK! Tom has everything he. The Last Apprentice: Fury of the Seventh Son (Book 13) and millions of other books are available for instant access. view site eBook | view Audible audiobook.
A stunning conclusion to the acclaimed series! Tom Ward has battled boggarts, ghasts, witches, dark gods, and the most terrifying creatures to roam the earth. He's allied with the witch assassin Grimalkin, with a powerful boggart, and with Alice.
And he has kept one step ahead of the Fiend, the most evil being in the world. Now he will vanquish the Fiend once and for all. But it will require a terrible sacrifice: It's a suspenseful thrill ride that's "spine-tingling" Publishers Weekly and "anything but tame" Horn Book. But don't read it after dark! He is a former English teacher who lives in the heart of boggart territory in Lancashire, England.
His v We want your feedback! The Spook nodded towards it. The cross on the lower right is the Roman numeral for ten, which is the lowest grading of all. Anything after six is just a ghast. Remember, the dark feeds on fear. We left the village and continued south. Right on its edge, where the cobbled street became a muddy lane, there was a small church. It looked neglected - there were slates missing off the roof and paint peeling from the main door. His hair was white and it was lank, greasy and unkempt.
His dark clothes marked him out as a priest, but as we approached him, it was the expression on his face that really drew my attention.
He was scowling at us, his face all twisted up. And then, dramatically, he made a huge sign of the cross, actually standing on tiptoe as he began it, stretching the forefinger of his right hand as high into the sky as he could.
An anger that seemed directed towards us. So I just followed him south, carrying his heavy bag and thinking about what my mam had written in the letter. She was never one to boast or make wild statements.
Usually she just got on with things and did what was necessary. But I knew there was something else that made me different. As we walked, the last of the morning clouds melted away and I suddenly realized that there was something different about the sun. The Spook must have been thinking almost exactly the same thoughts because he suddenly halted in his tracks, looked at me sideways and gave me one of his rare smiles. Did he always go to Chipenden on the first day of the spring, and if so, why?
So I asked him. We winter on the edge of Anglezarke Moor and spend the summer in Chipenden. We lived there until my father moved us to Horshaw.
Without further delay we changed direction, heading north-east towards the distant hills. They always looked to me like huge sleeping beasts, but that was probably the fault of one of my uncles, who used to tell me tales like that. At night, he said, they started to move, and by dawn whole villages had sometimes disappeared from the face of the earth, crushed into dust beneath their weight. The wind was getting up as well, tugging at our clothes as we gradually began to climb and hurling birds all over the sky, the clouds racing each other east to hide the summits of the fells.
So it was late in the day when we approached Chipenden, the light already beginning to fail. By then, although it was still very windy, the sky had cleared and the purple fells were sharp against the skyline. There were names such as Parlick Pike, which was the nearest to Chipenden; others - some visible, some hidden and distant - were called Mellor Knoll, Saddle Fell and Wolf Fell. When I asked my master if there were any wolves on Wolf Fell he smiled grimly. I like to keep my distance from the folk who live there.
They prefer it that way too. It was a lonely life. You ended up working by yourself. There were a few stunted trees on each bank, clinging to the hillside against the force of the wind, but then suddenly, directly ahead was a wood of sycamore and ash; as we entered, the wind died away to just a distant sigh. It was just a large collection of trees, a few hundred or so maybe, that offered shelter from the buffeting wind, but after a few moments I realized it was more than that.
Far above, I could hear the distant breath of the wind, but within the wood the only sounds to be heard were our boots. Everything was very still, a whole wood full of trees that were so silent it made a shiver run up and down my spine.
It almost made me think that they were listening to us. Then we came out into a clearing, and directly ahead was a house. It was surrounded by a tall hawthorn hedge so that just its upper storey and the roof were visible. From the chimney rose a line of white smoke. Straight up into the air it went, undisturbed until, just above the trees, the wind chased it away to the east.
The house and garden, I noticed then, were sitting in a hollow in the hillside. It was just as if an obliging giant had come along and scooped away the ground with his hand.
I followed the Spook along the hedge until we reached a metal gate. The gate was small, no taller than my waist, and it had been painted a bright green, a job that had been completed so recently that I wondered if the paint had dried properly and whether the Spook would get it on his hand, which was already reaching towards the latch.
Suddenly something happened that made me catch my breath. Before the Spook touched the latch, it lifted up on its own and the gate swung slowly open as if moved by an invisible hand. Comes in quite useful in our line of work.
There was a steep staircase to the right and a narrow flagged passage on the left. I like my food piping hot! Herbs were growing in big pots on the wide window ledge and the setting sun was dappling the room with leaf-shadows. In the far corner a huge fire was blazing, filling the room with warmth, and right at the centre of the flagged floor was a large oaken table.
On it were two enormous empty plates and, at its centre, five serving dishes piled high with food next to a jug filled to the brim with hot, steaming gravy. I helped myself to large slices of chicken and beef, hardly leaving enough room on my plate for the mound of roasted potatoes and vegetables that followed. Finally I topped it off with a gravy so tasty that only my mam could have done better.
I was full of questions but I was also tired, so I saved all my energy for eating. I nodded, almost too full to speak. I felt sleepy. Wondering who could have moved them, I climbed the stairs to bed. This new room had space for a bed, a small table with a candle, a chair and a dresser, but there was still lots of room to walk about in as well.
And there, on top of the dresser, my bundle of belongings was waiting. The bed was pushed right up along the wall beneath it, so I pulled off my boots, kneeled up on the quilt and tried to open the window. Although it was a bit stiff, it proved easier than it had looked. I used the sash cord to raise the bottom half of the window in a series of jerks, just far enough to pop my head out and have a better look around. I could see a wide lawn below me, divided into two by a path of white pebbles that disappeared into the trees.
Above the tree line to the right were the fells, the nearest one so close that I felt I could almost reach out and touch it. I sucked in a deep breath of cool fresh air and smelled the grass before pulling my head back inside and unwrapping my small bundle of belongings. As I was closing it, I suddenly noticed the writing on the far wall, in the shadows opposite the foot of the bed.
It was covered in names, all scrawled in black ink on the bare plaster. Should I add my own name or wait until the end of the first month, when I might be taken on permanently?
For a few moments I wondered what Billy was doing now, but I was tired and ready for sleep. The sheets were clean and the bed inviting, so wasting no more time I undressed, and the very moment my head touched the pillow I fell asleep. When I next opened my eyes, the sun was streaming through the window.
I thought it was probably the breakfast bell. I felt worried then. Had it really been the bell downstairs summoning me to breakfast or a bell in my dream? How could I be sure? What was I supposed to do? So, deciding that I probably had heard the bell, I dressed and went downstairs right away. On my way down I heard a clatter of pots and pans coming from the kitchen, but the moment I eased open the door, everything became deathly silent.
I made a mistake then. In fact the kitchen was chilly and, worse than that, it seemed to be growing colder by the second. My mistake was in taking a step towards the table. No sooner had I done that than I heard something make a sound right behind me. It was an angry sound. There was no doubt about that. It was a definite hiss of anger and it was very close to my left ear.
So close that I felt the breath of it. The Spook had warned me not to come down early and I suddenly felt that I was in real danger. As soon as I had entertained that thought something hit me very hard on the back of the head; I staggered towards the door, almost losing my balance and falling headlong. I ran from the room and up the stairs. Then, halfway up, I froze. There was someone standing at the top.
Someone tall and menacing, silhouetted against the light from the door of my room. I halted, unsure which way to go until I was reassured by a familiar voice. It was the Spook. He was wearing a black tunic and grey breeches and I could see that, although he was a tall man with broad shoulders, the rest of his body was thin, probably because some days all he got was a nibble of cheese.
He was like the very best farm labourers when they get older. Some, of course, just get fatter, but the majority - like the ones my dad sometimes hires for the harvest now that most of my brothers have left home - are thin, with tough, wiry bodies. Let that be a lesson to you, lad. Next time it might be far worse. Some never learn that. We walked east, squinting into the early morning sun, until we reached a wide lawn.
There were gaps in it, and directly ahead was the wood. The path of white pebbles divided the lawn and vanished into the trees. The grass was longer at the edge of the lawn and it was dotted with bluebells. I like bluebells because they flower in spring and always remind me that the long, hot days of summer are not too far away, but now I hardly gave them a second glance. The morning sun was hidden by the trees and the air had suddenly got much cooler.
It reminded me of my visit to the kitchen. There was something strange and dangerous about this part of the wood, and it seemed to be getting steadily colder the further we advanced into the trees. They were about as musical as my dad, who used to start singing as we got to the end of the milking. If the milk ever went sour my mam used to blame it on him. The Spook halted and pointed to the ground about five paces ahead. The grass had been cleared and at the centre of the large patch of bare earth was a gravestone.
It was vertical but leaning slightly to the left. On the ground before it, six feet of soil was edged with smaller stones, which was unusual. But there was something else even more strange: I counted them twice just to be sure.
What is it? Got it first time. Notice anything unusual? So I just nodded. He smiled and patted me on the shoulder. They buried her on unhallowed ground outside a churchyard not too many miles from here. But she kept scratching her way to the surface. It makes people feel better. That way they can get on with their lives in peace. My heart was hammering away in my chest, threatening to break out any minute, and I was trembling from head to foot.
What could be worse? I wondered, but I knew he was going to tell me anyway. Just keep well away after dark. All witches are different but some are really stubborn. Still bound to her bones, a witch like that tries hard to get back into the world. Human babies sometimes have the same trouble.
So stay well away. Let me hear you say it There are worse things than getting your ears boxed. Far worse. Still, he had other things to show me so I was spared more of his scary words.
He led me out of the wood and strode towards another lawn. He halted about ten paces short of a large stone which lay flat on the ground, close to the roots of an oak tree. It covered an area a bit larger than a grave, and judging by the part that was above ground, the stone was very thick too.
I tried to appear confident. Iron usually does the trick. But the thing under there could slip through iron bars in the twinkling of an eye. Look closely at the stone. I nodded. Bottom right is the Roman numeral for one. As I mentioned, we use grades from one to ten. Remember that - one day it might save your life.
A grade one could easily kill you. Cost me a fortune to have that stone brought here but it was worth every penny. The Spook smiled. A small fire had been made up in the grate and two plates of bacon and eggs were on the table. There was a freshly baked loaf too and a large pat of butter. Then the Spook leaned back in his chair, tugged at his beard and asked me an important question. The breakfast had been well cooked.
It was only when we were outside that the grin finally faded. Gets them every time. It was a surprise, to say the least. Who would have credited that he had one cooking and cleaning for him? I felt the difference right away.
The birds were singing and the trees were swaying slightly in the morning breeze. It was a happier place. We kept walking until we came out of the trees onto a hillside with a view of the fells to our right. In fact the view extended right to the summits of the nearest fell. The Spook gestured towards a wooden bench to our left. I did as I was told and sat down. For a few moments the Spook stared down at me, his green eyes locked upon mine. Then he began to pace up and down in front of the bench without speaking.
He was no longer looking at me, but stared into space with a vacant expression in his eyes. He thrust back his long black cloak and put his hands in his breeches pockets then, very suddenly, he sat down beside me and asked questions. You see, there are as many different types of boggart as there are types of people and each one has a personality of its own. Having said that, though, there are some types that can be recognized and given a name. Sometimes on account of the shape they take and sometimes because of their behaviour and the tricks they get up to.
Then he handed it to me. It was a bit of a disappointment to open it and find it full of blank pages. The Spook had already begun the lesson and he was talking very fast. Most are dogs but there are almost as many cats and the odd goat or two. And whatever their shape, hairy boggarts can be divided up into those which are hostile, friendly or somewhere between. Then, to make things worse, witches are a real problem in the County. And remember, not all witches are the same.
They fall into four rough categories - the malevolent, the benign, the falsely accused and the unaware.
However, just then he paused. I think he must have noticed the dazed expression on my face. Or "benign" either. Otherwise look out! I had a mother once and I trusted her, so I remember the feeling well.
Do you like girls? So watch out for the village girls. Especially any who wear pointy shoes. Jot that down. Still, what choice did I have? He watched me write, then asked for the book and pen. Just write anything you learn today under one of those four headings. But now for something more urgent. We need provisions. Remember that everything goes inside my sack. The butcher has it, so go there first.
Soon I was walking through trees again, until at last I reached a stile that brought me onto a steep, narrow lane. There were at least a hundred cottages, then a pub, a schoolhouse and a big church with a bell tower.
There was no sign of a market square, but the cobbled main street, which sloped quite steeply, was full of women with loaded baskets scurrying in and out of shops. He seemed to know every single one of them by name and they kept laughing loudly at his jokes, which came thick and fast. Nobody paid me much attention, but at last I reached the counter and it was my turn to be served.
The butcher reached behind the counter and pulled out a large sack. When I glanced behind, they were looking everywhere but at me. Some were even staring down at the floor. I gave the butcher the silver coin, checked my change carefully, thanked him and carried the sack out of the shop, swinging it up onto my shoulder when I reached the street.
The provisions there were already wrapped so I put the parcel in the sack, which was now starting to feel a bit heavy. There were seven or eight of them sitting on a garden wall. When I came out of the shop they were still there and now, as I began to climb the hill, they started to follow me. Six brothers had given me plenty of practice at fighting. I heard the sound of their boots getting closer and closer. They were catching up with me pretty quickly but maybe that was because I was walking slower and slower.
They caught up with me about a dozen paces before the stile, just at the point where the lane divided a small wood, the trees crowding in on either side to shut out the morning sun. It was a loud, deep voice accustomed to telling people what to do. There was a hard edge of danger that told me its owner liked to cause pain and was always looking out for his next victim.
I turned to face him but gripped the sack even tighter, keeping it firmly on my shoulder. After all, some of the boys looked half starved and there were a lot of apples and cakes in the sack. At that moment something happened that took us all by surprise. There was a movement in the trees somewhere to my right and we all turned towards it. There was a dark shape in the shadows, and as my eyes adjusted to the gloom, I saw that it was a girl.
She was moving slowly towards us, but her approach was so silent that you could have heard a pin drop and so smooth that she seemed to be floating rather than walking. It seemed like a question but the tone in her voice told me it was a command. Ever listened to a clock when the next tick seems to take for ever to follow the last tock? Well, it was just like that until, very suddenly, the girl hissed loudly through her clenched teeth.
Then she spoke again. Be gone, be quick or be dead! They were terrified and close to panic. Their leader turned on his heels and immediately fled down the hill with the others close behind him. I felt like a mouse paralysed by the stare of a stoat about to pounce at any moment. I knew the words would come out wrong. She was probably about my own age - if anything slightly younger. Her face was nice enough, for she had large brown eyes, high cheekbones and long black hair. She wore a black dress tied tightly at the waist with a piece of white string.
But as I took all this in, I suddenly noticed something that troubled me. But I stood my ground, determined not to run like the others. A cake and an apple will do for now. Back where I came from, most people shivered even at the thought that the Spook might be in the neighbourhood.
I thought at one point that she was going to hiss at me through her teeth. I stared back at her, trying not to blink, until at last a faint smile lit up her face and she spoke again. Whoever she was, her name had been enough to scare the village lads.
That was the end of our conversation. When I got back, the Spook checked the contents of the sack carefully, ticking things off from a list.
I always order extra in case they ask for some. The Spook raised his eyebrows. A spook depends a lot on that because it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. Whether or not your instincts can be relied on. Still, I knew he really meant had I met any girls and I knew I should have told him about her.
Especially with her wearing pointy shoes. I made lots of mistakes as an apprentice and that was my second serious one - not telling the Spook the whole truth.
The first, even more serious one was making the promise to Alice. The Spook taught me fast and made me write until my wrist ached and my eyes stung. It was a gloomy spot and there, hanging from a branch, was a rope.
I looked up and saw a big brass bell. They come down here and ring that bell. Then we go to them. I always went to bed tired and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. It started on a warm, sunny morning, when the Spook told me to put away my notebook and led the way towards his southern garden.
He gave me two things to carry: It can be the result of a storm or maybe even an earthquake. Then boggarts get stuck in the same place for years and we call them "naturally bound". Not unless you happen to get too close to one. Sometimes, though, they can be stuck in awkward places, close to a house or even inside one.
Then you might need to move the boggart from there and artificially bind it elsewhere. Health was better, lives were longer and everyone was happy and content. The old knowledge was unimportant. Keeping warm and eating was all that mattered. When the ice finally pulled back, the survivors were hunters dressed in animal skins. Darkness was all-powerful.
Leys are really lines of power far beneath the earth. Secret invisible roads that free boggarts can use to travel at great speed. Not being welcome makes them angry.
They play tricks - sometimes dangerous tricks - and that means work for us. Then they need to be artificially bound in a pit. Even in the shade it was too warm to be digging and it took me hours and hours to get it right because the Spook was a perfectionist.
After digging the pit, I had to prepare a smelly mixture of salt, iron filings and a special sort of glue made from bones. It can end the mischief of troublesome boggarts. In fact salt and iron can be useful in lots of situations. It was like painting but harder work, and the coating had to be perfect in order to stop even the craftiest boggart from escaping. He had me digging two practice pits a week, which was hard, sweaty work and took up a lot of my time.
It was a bit scary too because I was working near pits that contained real boggarts, and even in daylight it was a creepy place. I noticed that the Spook never went too far away though, and he always seemed watchful and alert, telling me you could never take chances with boggarts even when they were bound. The trouble was that although the Spook said he had lots of maps upstairs in his library, it seemed I always had to do things the hard way, so he started me off by making me draw a map of my own.
At its centre was his house and gardens and it had to include the village and the nearest of the fells. The idea was that it would gradually get bigger to include more and more of the surrounding countryside. It was only then that he started to show me his own maps, but he made me spend more time carefully folding them up afterwards than actually studying them. I also began to keep a diary. The Spook gave me another notebook for this, telling me for the umpteenth time that I needed to record the past so that I could learn from it.
So I just shrugged. Would you like to do the same? The trouble was, the more I smiled the more miserable the Spook looked. I left for home within the hour. It was a terrible job. From what the Spook had told me, apart from the loneliness, it was dangerous and terrifying. Nobody really cared whether you lived or died. Well, next spring was a long time off, so what good was that? Could I really put up with working there for the rest of my life? Next I started to think about what Mam would say.
So the hardest part would be telling her and watching her reaction. So the next day I only stopped once, to bathe my feet in a stream, reaching home just before the evening milking. As I opened the gate to the yard, Dad was heading for the cow shed.
When he saw me, his face lit up with a broad smile. I offered to help with the milking so we could talk but he told me to go in right away and speak to my mam. He seemed a little bit cool. Well, to be honest, he was more cold than cool. His face was sort of twisted up, as if he were trying to scowl and grin at the same time. Why else was he suddenly so unfriendly? The trouble with you is that you only think about yourself.
Think of poor Dad. He loved that tinderbox. I knew he was wrong. Dad had wanted me to have the tinderbox, I was sure of it. It was a job neither of us liked much. They were big, hairy, smelly pigs and always so hungry that it was never safe to turn your back on them. Despite what Jack had said, I was still glad to be home. As I crossed the yard I glanced up at the house. The back door was always jamming because the house had once been struck by lightning. The door had caught fire and had been replaced, but the frame was still slightly warped, so I had to push hard to force it open.
If the light was too bright, it hurt her eyes. Mam preferred winter to summer and night to day. I put on a brave face and pretended to be happy but she saw right through me. I could never hide anything from her.
I shrugged and tried to smile, probably doing even worse than my brother at disguising my feelings. That was always a bad sign. Nobody of my own age to talk to. There was a long pause before Mam spoke and I could hear Ellie sweeping up in the next room, singing softly to herself as she worked.
In the meantime, stop complaining. Why should it be any different for you? Why does it have to be me? They walk a twisted path, taking money for accomplishing little. The last hope. Someone has to do it. Someone has to stand against the dark. Not even breakfast. That ought to cheer you up a bit.
The rabbit stew smelled delicious and my mouth began to water. Nobody was a better cook than my mam and it was worth coming home, even for just a single meal. With a smile, Mam carried across a big steaming plate of stew and set it down before me. As soon as Mam went upstairs, Ellie came into the kitchen. Then she looked down at my generous plate of food.
I finished it all without once coming up for air, finally wiping my plate clean with the last big slice of freshly baked bread.
I can sort him out easily enough. As my mam once said, Ellie could twist Jack round her little finger. Your new job worries him. But the work a spook does frightens people. It makes them uneasy. But Jack said that on the day you left, you went straight up over the hill into the wood, and that since then the dogs have been uneasy. Mam was the last person I saw before I left. We were alone in the kitchen and she gave my arm a squeeze and told me that she was proud of me. It rained all the way back to Chipenden, and when I arrived, I was cold, wet and miserable.
But as I reached the front gate, to my surprise the latch lifted on its own and the gate swung open without me touching it. It just felt creepy. I knocked at the door three times before I finally noticed that the key was in the lock. As my knocking had brought no response, I turned the key then eased the door open.
I checked all the downstairs rooms but one. Then I called up the stairs. There was no answer so I risked going into the kitchen. There was a fire blazing in the grate and the table was set for one. At its centre was a huge, steaming hotpot. I was so hungry I helped myself and had almost polished off the lot when I saw the note under the saltshaker. Gone east to Pendle. As usual, the butcher has my sack, so go there first.
Pendle was a big fell, almost a mountain really, far to the east of the County. That whole district was infested with witches and was a risky place to go, especially alone. I was so pleased that, just before leaving the table, I spoke out loud, using the words that my dad said every Sunday after lunch.
So, feeling right pleased with myself, I set off for the village to pick up the provisions. Some village lads were leaning against the wall nearby.
Remembering what the Spook had said, I walked straight up to them. Mr Gregory said that you can have an apple and a cake each. Their eyes opened so wide that they almost popped out of their sockets and each muttered his thanks.
At the top of the lane someone was waiting for me.
To my surprise she shook her head. I need you to keep your promise. I need some help. A promise is a promise and I remembered making it. So what else could I do but keep my word?
Once more her face lit up into a really broad smile. She wore a black dress and had pointy shoes but that smile somehow made me forget all that. Still, what she said next set me worrying and quite spoiled the rest of the day. Not unless she had work for the Spook, but somehow I doubted that. Far above, the last rays of the sun were bathing the summits of the fells in a faint orange glow, but down below amongst the withy trees it was grey and full of shadows. I shivered when I saw the girl because she was pulling the rope with just one hand yet making the clappers of the big bell dance wildly.
Despite her slim arms and narrow waist, she had to be very strong. She stopped ringing as soon as I showed my face and rested her hands on her hips while the branches continued to dance and shake overhead.
We just stared at each other for ages, until my eyes were drawn down towards a basket at her feet. There was something inside it covered with a black cloth. She lifted the basket and held it out to me. Curious, I reached inside to lift the black cloth.
It was growing darker by the minute and I was starting to feel nervous. Mother Malkin, the live witch the Spook kept in a pit in his garden. Is it right to treat an old woman so badly? Her favourite cakes made by family. Just something to keep up her strength against the cold. Gets right into her bones, it does. All the best arguments seemed to belong to her.
Three cakes for three nights. Give her the first one tonight. Then she disappeared into the deepening shadows. I knew what the Spook would say.
There were two things that made me go into the darkness of the eastern garden, where he kept the witches. The first was my promise to Alice.
So I had little choice. Doing that to a dead witch seemed reasonable, but not to a live one. What harm could it do just to give her three cakes? The Spook had told me to trust my instincts, and after weighing things in the balance I felt that I was doing the right thing. The only problem was that I had to take the cakes myself, at midnight. I approached the eastern garden carrying the basket. For one thing, my eyes have always been pretty sharp at night.
And for another, it was a cloudless night and the moonlight helped me to pick out my way. As I entered the trees, it suddenly grew colder and I shivered. By the time I reached the first grave, the one with the stone border and the thirteen bars, I felt even colder.
That was where the first witch was buried. She was feeble, with little strength, or so the Spook had said. No need to worry there, I told myself, trying hard to believe it. Making up my mind to give Mother Malkin the cakes in daylight was one thing, but now, down in the garden close to midnight, I was no longer so sure.
The Spook had told me to keep well away after dark. There were all sorts of faint sounds. The Spook had told me that the other two witches were about twenty paces further on, so I counted my steps out carefully. That brought me to a second grave which was just like the first one. I got closer, just to be sure. There were the bars and you could see the earth just beneath them, hard-packed soil without even a single blade of grass.
This witch was dead but was still dangerous. She was the one who had been buried head downwards. That meant that the soles of her feet were somewhere just below the soil. As I stared at the grave I thought I saw something move. It was a sort of twitch; probably just my imagination, or maybe some small animal - a mouse or a shrew or something.
I moved on quickly. What if it had been a toe? Three more paces brought me to the place I was looking for - there was no doubt about it. Again, there was a border of stones with thirteen bars.
There were three differences though. Firstly, the area under the bars was a square rather than an oblong. Secondly, it was bigger, probably about four paces by four. Thirdly, there was no packed earth under the bars, just a very black hole in the ground. I halted in my tracks and listened carefully. I noticed it when it stopped though. Suddenly everything was very still and the wood became unnaturally quiet.
You see, I had been listening to try and hear the witch and now I sensed that she was listening to me. The silence seemed to go on and on for ever, until suddenly I became aware of a faint breathing from the pit. That sound somehow made it possible to move, so I took a few more steps till I was standing very close to its edge, with the toe of my boot actually touching the stone border.
At that moment I remembered something the Spook had told me about Mother Malkin What if a hand came out of the pit and grabbed my ankle? Wanting to get it over with, I called down gently into the darkness. Are you there?
Customers who bought this item also bought
Are you listening? My fingers closed upon one of the cakes. It felt sort of soft and squishy and a bit sticky. I pulled it out and held it over the bars. I should have gone back to the cottage immediately but I stayed for a few more seconds to listen. There was a movement in the pit, as if something were dragging itself along the ground. And then I heard the witch begin to eat the cake. I thought some of my brothers made unpleasant noises at the table but this was far worse. It sounded even more revolting than our big hairy pigs with their snouts in the swill bucket, a mixture of snuffling, snorting and chewing mixed with heavy breathing.
That night I found it very hard to sleep. I kept thinking about the dark pit and worrying about having to visit it again the following night. I only just made it down to breakfast on time and the bacon was burnt and the bread a bit on the stale side.
Not only that, the milk was sour. Could it be because the boggart was angry with me? Had it spoiled the breakfast as some sort of warning? Working on a farm is hard and that was what I was used to. So what could I do but go for a walk? I decided to explore the fells, firstly climbing Parlick Pike; at the summit I sat on the cairn of stones and admired the view. It was a clear, bright day and from up there I could see the County spread out below me, with the distant sea an inviting, twinkling blue, way out to the northwest.
The fells seemed to go on for ever, great hills with names like Calder Fell and Stake House Fell - so many that it seemed it would take a lifetime to explore them. Nearby was Wolf Fell and it made me wonder whether there actually were any wolves in the area.
Wolves could be dangerous and it was said that in winter, when the weather was cold, they sometimes hunted in packs. It made me realize that being up on the fells after nightfall would be quite scary.
Not as scary, I decided, as having to go and feed Mother Malkin another of the cakes, and all too soon the sun began to sink towards the west and I was forced to climb down towards Chipenden again. Once more I found myself carrying the basket through the darkness of the garden.
This time I decided to get it over with quickly. Wasting no time, I dropped the second sticky cake through the bars into the black pit. It was only when it was too late, the very second it left my ringers, that I noticed something that sent a chill straight to my heart.
The bars above the pit had been bent. Now the centre ones were almost wide enough to get a head through. They could have been bent by someone on the outside, above ground, but I doubted that. The Spook had told me that the gardens and house were guarded and that nobody could get in.
Perhaps the same one that made the meals. So it had to be the witch. She must have climbed up the side of the pit somehow and begun working at the bars. Suddenly the truth of what was happening dawned inside my head.
The cakes were making her stronger. I heard her below in the darkness, starting to eat the second cake, making the same horrible chewing, snuffling and snorting noises. I left the trees quickly and went back to the cottage. For all I knew she might not even need the third one. First I had to find her.
Thinking it would be faster to ask directions, I went down into the village. It seemed to be their favourite spot. Perhaps they liked the smell. I know I did. Freshly baked bread has one of the best smells in all the world.
That was probably because this time the big lad with piggy eyes was with them. Still, they did listen to what I had to say.
Why was it that everyone seemed to have heard of her but me? They lived with something just as scary though. It looked like a man but it was really big, with too many teeth to fit into its mouth.
He said that back then, during that long winter, people never went out after dark. It had been deserted for years and nobody ever went there.I sited that little pile of wood until it burst into flame, just long enough to light the candle.
Know what you have to do?
The Spook's Apprentice: Book One (The Wardstone Chronicles)
Not only that but in the first book she gave Tom a scratch that made him hers. This allows her to accomplish great feats of magic without the use of spells, with only her thoughts. Some struggled desperately so that the branch above them bounced and jerked, while others were just spinning slowly on the end of the rope, pointing first one way, then the other.
The Bronze Key Magisterium 3. And I bore him six sons so that I could have you. I gave the butcher the silver coin, checked my change carefully, thanked him and carried the sack out of the shop, swinging it up onto my shoulder when I reached the street.
- RAVEN AND JOHNSON BIOLOGY PDF
- THE TRIAL OF DEDAN KIMATHI PDF
- THE PRACTICE OF COMPUTING USING PYTHON PDF
- ARC REACTOR THEORY EBOOK
- THE LAST HELLION BY LORETTA CHASE PDF
- POWER OF THE PSALMS BOOK
- ALONG FOR THE RIDE EPUB
- JAVA EE 7 PERFORMANCE TUNING AND OPTIMIZATION EBOOK
- POOL OF RADIANCE ATTACK ON MYTH DRANNOR EPUB DOWNLOAD
- LEAD GUITAR LESSONS PDF