Authors: Kit Pearson
Tags: #Fantasy, #Young Adult, #Childrens
Praise for Kit Pearson
“Kit Pearson is a great talent in Canadian children's literature.”
“One of Canada's best junior fiction writers.”
“Pearson is a strong writer whose work puts to shame most of the books that kids spend so much time reading these days.”
“Kit Pearson gives young readers a strong testament of the interlocking nature and power of reading, writing and living.”
The Vancouver Sun
“Another magical tale from the master.”
“Dazzle. It's not the right word for what Kit Pearson manages to do â¦ but it's close. Closer would be a word that catches the irregular glint of light reflected on water, street lights suspended in fog, an opalescent fracturing of time and genre to create something with its own unique glow.”
“Through the vivid observation of two summers, Pearson weaves a summer out of time and weaves as well a spell over her readers.”
The Globe and Mail
“The very best in fiction for young adults. Kit Pearson does herself proud.”
The Windsor Star
“Kit Pearson's careful and exact research brings the period vividly before us.”
The London Free Press
“The woman is a brilliant writer.”
Kingston This Week
“Pearson superbly and gently captures the welter of emotions that beset a young teen who is experiencing the onset of adolescence and having to cope with its physical and emotional demands.”
“This is a writer at the top of her craft.”
Quill & Quire
“Pearson's real strength â¦ lies in her ability to convey the texture of a specific time and placeâ¦. So vividly and lovingly evoked that it is almost possible to smell the pine trees.”
AWAKE AND DREAMING
was born in Edmonton and grew up there and in Vancouver. Her previous seven novels (six of which have been published by Penguin) have been published in Canada, in English and French, and in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, China, and Korea. She has received fourteen awards for her writing, including the Vicky Metcalf Award for her body of work. She presently lives in Victoria.
Visit her website:
Also by Kit Pearson
The Daring Game
A Handful of Time
The Sky Is Falling
Looking at the Moon
The Lights Go On Again
This Land: An Anthology of Canadian Stories for Young Readers
Whispers of War:
The War of 1812 Diary of Susanna Merritt
A Perfect Gentle Knight
Published by the Penguin Group
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(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published in a Viking Canada hardcover by Penguin Group (Canada),
a division of Pearson Canada Inc., 1996
Published in Puffin Canada paperback by Penguin Group (Canada),
a division of Pearson Canada Inc., 1998
Published in this edition, 2007
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (OPM)
Copyright Â© Kathleen Pearson, 1996
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
Publisher's note: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Manufactured in the U.S.A.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication data available upon request.
Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
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Marit and Charlotte Mitchell,
who all contributed
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:âDo I wake or sleep?
he ghost was restless.
All day she'd watched the visitors to the cemeteryâjoggers, bundled-up families pushing strollers, couples having earnest conversations. Many of the visitors were on Sunday walks but others had come to visit the graves of relatives. Beside the ghost a family stood around a grassy plot, shivering in the chilly air. They spoke in solemn voices and left some flowers in a tin.
“They'll be wilted in a day,” muttered the ghost.
She watched a young man trim a holly bush in front of a marble tablet. He came every Sunday to visit his mother's grave. A growing shrub
the ghost thought approvingly.
No one had ever left anything on her graveânot a single flower. On this dank January day her plot looked especially dreary, blanketed with the dead leaves that had lain there all winter.
The ghost strode along the path overlooking the sea, then sat on a step of the war memorial to watch the sun set. All the Sunday visitors had left. Crows circled the empty cemetery, reclaiming it with jeering cries. The wind rose and bare tree branches scraped against one another. Below the ghost, across the road, tumultuous waves flung pebbles on the shore. The full moon seemed to sway in the sky like a lantern.
The ghost smiled. It's a
night, she thought. A good setting for a ghost story â¦ She always felt less lonely when she was by herself, away from people who reminded her that she was no longer one of them.
Finally it was late enough to go into the house.
HE NEVER VISITED
her former home until its inhabitants were asleep. She'd never had any evidence that people could see her; but maybe they'd hear her or somehow sense her presence if she were there in the daytime. And she didn't want to frighten anyone; she knew she hadn't been left here for that.
Her house wasn't far awayâjust across the street. The ghost melted into the wood of the door and passed through to the other side. Pausing in the hall, she listened to the hum of the refrigerator and the gurgle of the aquarium. Everyoneâall the children and their parentsâseemed to be asleep.
Then the family dog ambled out from the kitchen. But he was used to her nightly visits; he thumped his tail and went sleepily back to his cushion.
The ghost went into a room lined with books. The familiar space comforted herâshe'd known it all her life. Of course this house didn't belong to her any more. It hadn't for forty years. But she had been born here; this was where she had suffered and triumphed and dreamed.
She scanned the bookshelves and picked out a Trollope novel she'd never got around to reading. Settling into an armchair, she sighed with relief as the book drew her in.
She didn't look up until just before dawn. For the past few hours she'd managed to forget her frustration and loneliness, or even if she were alive or dead. She had been sealed in the story, as caught in the author's spell as she'd been as a child.
She leaned back and closed her eyes. Another chair had once stood in this same spotâa chair with a tall back and winged sides, where a child could curl herself small and be almost invisible â¦
HE IS NINE YEARS OLD
, sitting in that chairâher favourite chair, where she escapes to read. It's Saturday afternoon. Father is at his club. Mother has Mrs. Currie and Mrs. Roberts over for lunch. The child can hear the clink of cups and spoons in the dining-room.
She is supposed to be having a rest after her own lunch in the kitchen. But she came downstairs to look for a new book and retreated to the wing chair after she'd found one on her special shelf.
The book is called
The Princess and the Goblin
. The child sniffs its leather cover and reverently unfolds it. She carefully turns the crackly pages to the first enticing words: “There was once a little princess whose father was king over a great country full of mountains and valleys.”
Unfastening the tight straps on her shoes, she lifts her feet onto the chair and props the book on her knees. With a happy sigh she falls into Princess Irene's world.
The child is reading so intently she barely hears the hum of voices near her. At first they seem like voices on
the other side of a wallâthe wall of the story she's engrossed in. But suddenly she realizes the voices are right in the room. She freezes.
Mother will be angry that she's in the study instead of upstairs. But the chair faces the window, its high back a barricade to the three women chatting near the door. If she is extremely still they might not detect her.
“Here it is,” Mother says. “I knew I'd put it in this drawer. There you are, Muriel. I think you'll agree it's the best seed catalogue.”
“Thank you for lending it to me, Philippa,” she hears Mrs. Currie say.
“That was a delicious lunch,” says Mrs. Roberts. “We got a lot planned for the next garden meeting, didn't we? Next month it's my turn.”
They go on with thank-yous and goodbyes, but no one moves from the study. The child squirms, trying not to let a leg show. Mother's friends always take so long to say goodbyeâwhy can't they just
“What a gloomy room this is,” sighs Mother. She walks over and pulls one of the heavy curtains open a little farther. The child's heart thuds so strongly she's sure Mother can hear it; but nothing happens.
“I think it's a pleasant room,” says Mrs. Roberts politely. “All these books! What a reader Giles must be.”
“He treats this room like his private kingdom,” says Mother. “He won't let me decorate it and he complains if the maid moves anything.” She sighs again. “And now my only child is becoming just like him. Every time I
complain that she reads too much, Giles tells me to let her be. He's filled a special shelf with books for her and he's always adding to them.”