Read The Door in the Moon Online

Authors: Catherine Fisher

The Door in the Moon

BOOK: The Door in the Moon
5.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) LLC

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

USA/Canada/UK/Ireland/Australia/New Zealand/India/South Africa/China

A Penguin Random House Company

P'ublished in the United States 2015 by Dial Books

Published in Great Britain 2015 by Hodder Books

Copyright © 2015 by Catherine Fisher

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes

free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of

it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to

continue to publish books for every reader.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Fisher, Catherine, date.

The door in the moon / Catherine Fisher.

pages cm. — (Obsidian mirror ; 3)

Summary: “While Jake and Sarah are pulled through the Obsidian Mirror, landing in the violent, unpredictable time of the French Revolution, Oberon Venn must decide between staying mortal or losing his soul in the faerie realm”— Provided by publisher.

ISBN 978-1-101-60315-4

[1. Time travel—Fiction. 2. Fairies—Fiction. 3. Fantasy.] I. Title.

PZ7.F4995Do 2015 [Fic]—dc23 2014028161

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume

any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.



Title Page


Part 1

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Part 2

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Part 3

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Part 4

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Part 5

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

About the Author

Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night?

On summer nights? On sweet summer nights Wintercombe is a house of shadows!

Nothing moves in its hundred rooms but a drift of curtain at a window, and halfway along the Gallery, the gilt hand of the grandfather clock.

The cloister gate, always hung with a row of rusting iron implements, creaks very softly in the sultry stirring of the air.

And, oh my dear, the night smells wonderfully of roses!

Letter of Lady Mary Venn to her sister

moon that woke him?

Because as he opened his eyes, a low slant of light lay across them like a silver blindfold, making him turn his head aside in annoyance on the hot pillow.

Jake lay sprawled among the sticky web of his dream.

He had dreamed of a hot, dirty room.

His father had been standing in it, struggling to take off a mask—the sinister crow-beaked mask of the plague doctor. “For God's sake, Jake, help me with this, will you? I can't breathe.”

Jake had reached out. But the mask would not come away from his father's face. It was stuck. And then its eyes came alight, yellow as gold. Strange garbled words emerged from its opening beak, and his father was gone; the bird-faced creature had become someone else, and the language it spoke was a garble of clicks and warbles, some Shee-tongue of the Wood, a speech of trees and grubs and scurrying insects.

Jake snatched his hand away, cried out “Dad!”

And that one word had wiped everything away.

He was awake and the dream was lost.

It left only moonlight, and the dusty canopy of the bed above his head; he lay still, staring upward, empty and crooked, the single bedsheet all tangled around his knees and chest. He was breathing fast and listening hard, sheened with sweat, because his father was still lost, still out there, somewhere in some other time, suffering.

Worry became anger; he slipped into the familiar tormenting whirlwind of rage. It was taking them so long to control the mirror! And Venn's neglect infuriated him.

He made himself breathe out, trying to let the fear go, pushing his hair from his eyes. Then he rolled over, edged a book aside and saw the small green figures of the bedside clock.

Three fifty a.m.

A curtain drifted in the open window.

A floorboard creaked.

He whispered, “Horatio? Is that you?”

No answering chatter. That wasn't unusual. The marmoset had taken to sleeping wherever it felt like in the vast dim house; sometimes curled up cozily in the kitchen with the seven cats, sometimes swinging on the dusty chandeliers of the empty bed chambers. After all, it had plenty of choice.

From the next room came the deep growl of Wharton's snoring. Jake grinned, lay back, turned over.

Into an ice-cold circle of metal.

His heart leaped. The pistol was steady, it was deadly, it was held against his forehead by a black-gloved hand. Behind it a shadow in the darkness said softly, “Make no sound, Jake Wilde. Not even the very slightest murmur. Or I promise you I will blow your handsome little head right off.”

He wanted it to be another dream, but he knew it wasn't. He was tinglingly awake, every nerve alert, every pore of his skin prickling with the exhilaration of danger.

How many of them were there? One?

A movement to the left, in the corner of his eye, flickered across the stripe of moonlight.


Had they come in through the window? Climbed the ivy-smothered wall? His mind flicked through the options. Had Janus sent them? Were they Shee? Hardly—not with a gun.

Mortal, then.


To steal what?

The mirror.

He opened his mouth to yell. A great slab of sticky adhesive was slapped across it. His arms were grabbed and yanked behind him. He felt the tight cords scorch his wrists.

He moaned a savage curse into the pillow.

Too late.

Sarah was lying suspended in the green depths of some crystalline ocean, a dark dreamless place of infinite silence, when a voice spoke in her ear.

It was a tiny piping voice and it sounded worried. It said, “Mortal, listen, I really think you ought to wake up.”

“Why?” she muttered.

“Because something very strange is happening.”

Fish swam in and out of the words. She wondered why she dreamed of underwater, because she had never dared set foot near the sea. In her future world at the end of time, it was a poisoned, venomous place. Nothing lived there. The coral reefs were dull with dead plankton. Janus's dark tyranny had killed the world.

Her thought turned into a silver-and-blue jellyfish and pulsed rhythmically away through her brain.

She said,

The word woke her; she sat up.

The attic room was dark and hot. Through the window, wide-open, drifted the eternal whisper of the trees of Wintercombe Wood, and the distant hoot of an owl somewhere far down the valley.

“What sort of strange?” she whispered. “The baby?”

Lorenzo's wails erupted at all hours of the night.

“No. Not quite sure who.” The wooden bird sounded apologetic. For a moment she couldn't even see it; then the moon came out and the silver light showed her its tiny form, stuck with false feathers. It was perched on the wardrobe, its single beady eye turned to her. “Only that whoever they are, they don't seem to be properly mortal and they're already inside the house.”

Alarmed, she said, “The Shee?”

“Oh no. I'd certainly know if they were Shee.”

Sarah was already out of bed. She grabbed jeans and a top and flung them on. “Where in the house? Why haven't the alarms gone off?”

“Don't ask me.” The faery bird tipped its head to one side.

“The coin!”
Fear flickered through Sarah like lightning on the dark moor. “Do you think they could be after the coin?” But then, no, no, they couldn't be, could they, because no one else here even knew she had it, the half of the broken Zeus stater, the only object in the universe that could destroy the mirror. She forced herself to be calm, pulled on her shoes, stood up.

Don't panic.

The coin was safe. Hidden in a very secret place. Hidden until she could find the other half and bring them both together, and cancel the future—Janus's terrible future—before it ever even happened.

“I'm going out to take a look,” she said. “Stay here. Don't let anyone see you.”

“Don't worry.” The bird shuddered delicately. “I won't. Even the spiders on the cobwebs won't see me. They're usually Summer's spies, did you know that?”

Sarah had already moved to the door. Before she opened it, she took a breath and pushed her cropped blond hair behind an ear.

Then she stepped out into the corridor.

It was mid-June and the weather had been hot for weeks. The ancient house smelled of wax-polish and lavender and roses—of sweet mingled midsummer scents, phlox and honeysuckle. All its windows were wide, as if it struggled to breathe, as if down here in its deep combe beside the rushing river it was slowly being suffocated by the heat and pollen and the leaf-heavy branches of the trees.

The attic corridor stretched, white-painted, into the dark. She didn't put a light on, but walked softly along it to the top of the servants' stairs and stood listening, straining to pin down every tiny sound in the sleeping house.

A creak.

A murmur that might have been a voice.

She frowned. The mirror was down in the medieval part of the building, the Monk's Walk, safe behind Piers's defenses of alarms and lasers. Surely no one could get at it there. And there had been no alarm from the gates, so no vehicle could have even tried to come up the drive.

She listened again.

Tiredness came out of the night and washed over her. Briefly the green ocean slid back into her memory, beckoning and cool. The Shee bird was surely wrong—or playing some mischief.

She'd strangle the manky little thing.

Then, as she turned away, a sound came from up the spiral stairwell, the ghost of an echo. Immediately Sarah was flitting down, silent and quick, avoiding the boards that creaked, slipping through the arch at the bottom, ducking behind a great vase on its pedestal.

She peered around it.

Before her the Long Gallery, a corridor wider than a room, stretched the whole length of the house, its white ceiling frosted like a cake with patterns of pargetting, its walls lined with ancient bookcases, great vases, statues of Greek philosophers and Roman senators.

The main bedrooms were along here, Jake's, Wharton's . . . and Piers's, though she wondered if that odd creature ever had to sleep. Right down the far end was Venn's room, but she knew all too well that it would be empty, because he was rarely in the house these nights.

As she frowned with anger about that, she saw Jake's door slowly open. A sliver of light widened.

She was relieved, went to step out and say “Did something wake you too?”

Until she saw him shoved into the hallway, the shadow behind him. And the gun.

They had let him dress and pull his boots on, and Jake was glad of that because behind his fear his fury was intense, and when it came to kicking someone, he could do a lot more damage this way. He wasn't blindfolded, but the two men—he was sure now there were two of them—kept behind him, and they each had smeared their faces with dark camouflage. They wore hoods and black coats. One was bigger than the other—the tall one did the talking. They smelled oddly of oil and some vaguely familiar sweet scent.

When he was a kid, just after his mother left, he'd had a phase of sleeping fully dressed with all sorts of daft kids' weapons stuffed under his pillow. Maybe it had been from films or stuff he'd been reading then, or because of all the disturbance in his life. He'd had a constant fear that something would happen in the night and that he had to be ready for it. It never had.

Until now.

As the tall man shoved him forward, his eye caught a flicker of movement in the darkness at the end of the gallery. For a moment he was sure someone was there, but as he stared he saw nothing but shadow.

“Remember, Jake. Not a sound.” The muzzle of the gun caressed his cheek, the gentlest of reminders. “Now walk.”

They followed him along the corridor. He tried to step on as many creaky boards as he could, but Wintercombe Abbey had its own secret vocabulary of creaks and squeaks, and they rarely woke anyone used to the breathing and stirring of the ancient house.

But as he passed a windowsill a dark mass uncoiled and sat up.

The tall stranger hissed; the gun swiveled.

Jake made a squirm of alarm through his taped mouth. For a second he thought it was Horatio; then a pair of green eyes opened and stared at him intently.

“Leave it.” The smaller shadow spoke sharply. “Can't you see it's just a cat?”

“Bloody thing.”

“Hold your nerve. Look. That's the door.”

They had stopped at the door to the Monk's Walk. They obviously knew their way around the house. Jake slid a look back; the cat was watching, its fur bristling.

The taller man crouched, his long coat sweeping the dusty floor. He drew out a small tool, made a few deft arrangements to the ancient lock. It clicked, and the door swung open.

Jake swore silently. He was sure now they were after the mirror, the black obsidian glass that was the precious doorway to time. They must have a way to deal with all of Piers's security.

But the cat had seen them, and the cats—all seven—talked to Piers. With any luck, this one might be slinking along the skirting board to wake him right now. Anxiety tingled in Jake. He had to play for time. Not let this happen.

“You first.” The tall man caught his arm and thrust him through the door. Deliberately Jake stumbled into the dim interior, fell on the cold stones, and rolled away fast into the darkest corner, tugging the bonds on his wrists with furious energy.

BOOK: The Door in the Moon
5.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Brightling by Rebecca Lisle
The Big Gundown by Bill Brooks
Tracker by James Rollins
Swarm by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
An Heir to Bind Them by Dani Collins
Protecting Peggy by Maggie Price
Mithridates the Great by Philip Matyszak