Read The Sisters Grimm: Book Eight: The Inside Story Online
Authors: Michael Buckley,Peter Ferguson
Tags: #Characters in Literature, #Detective and Mystery Stories, #Magic, #Brothers and Sisters, #Children's Lit, #Books & Libraries, #Juvenile Fiction, #Legends; Myths; Fables, #Mysteries & Detective Stories, #Fiction, #Books and Reading, #Humorous Stories, #Family, #Fantasy & Magic, #Children's Stories, #Sisters, #Siblings, #General, #Characters and Characteristics in Literature, #Mystery and Detective Stories
THE SISTERS GRIMM
THE INSIDE STORY
ALSO BY MICHAEL BUCKLEY:
BOOK ONE: THE FAIRY-TALE DETECTIVES
BOOK TWO: THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS
BOOK THREE: THE PROBLEM CHILD
BOOK FOUR: ONCE UPON A CRIME
BOOK FIVE: MAGIC AND OTHER MISDEMEANORS
BOOK SIX: TALES FROM THE HOOD
BOOK SEVEN: THE EVERAFTER WAR
BOOK EIGHT: THE INSIDE STORY
NERDS: NATIONAL ESPIONAGE, RESCUE,
AND DEFENSE SOCIETY
NERDS: M IS FOR MAMA’S BOY
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data has been applied for and may be
obtained from the Library of Congress.
Copyright © 2010 Michael Buckley
Illustrations copyright © 2010 Peter Ferguson
Published in 2010 by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher. Amulet Books and Amulet Paperbacks are registered trademarks of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Printed and bound in U.S.A.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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For two very good editors,
Susan Van Metre and Maggie Lehrman
This book was the most difficult of the series to write, even with the considerable help of the geniuses who came long before me. First, thanks to Carlo Collodi’s masterpiece
The Adventures of Pinocchio
, and also to Sir Richard F. Burton’s translation of
The Arabian Nights
, L. Frank Baum’s
Wonderful Wizard of Oz
, as well as Rudyard Kipling’s
, Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and Lewis Carroll’s
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The Annotated Brothers Grimm
, edited and translated by Maria Tatar, was also essential to this writing. Unfortunately, there are tales I used whose authors have faded from our collective knowledge, but their spirits visited me and I thank them for their timeless stories.
I want to thank my editors, Susan Van Metre and Maggie Lehrman, for their incredible patience. Without their many, many, many extensions (and efforts to prevent my nervous breakdown), I would not have been able to finish. I also want to thank everyone at Abrams for their incredible support, including Michael Jacobs and Howard Reeves, the marketing and sales departments, and my publicists, Jason Wells, Mary Ann Zissimos, and Laura Mihalick. Much thanks to Chad Beckerman for his amazing vision and talent.
There is also my agent and wife, the amazing, talented, and beautiful Alison Fargis of the Stonesong Press; my good friend Joe Deasy, who reads and rereads these books; my family; my good friend Josh Drisko, who keeps me laughing at myself; and Mary Brown, Jessie Harper, and Erica Alicea at Starbucks #11807 on Smith Street in Brooklyn.
But above all, thanks to my son, Finn, who inspires a million stories with every smile.
THE SISTERS GRIMM
THE INSIDE STORY
HE FIRST EXPLOSION
sent Sabrina flailing backward to the floor of the ancient tomb. Her head slammed against the stone and her sneakers were blasted off her feet. Before she could stand up, there was a second explosion. The noise rattled her eardrums and a blast of wind scorched her face, neck, and hands. But the third explosion was the one that really frightened her. It split columns in two and churned the ground like a pot of boiling water. Fissures formed, allowing skin-searing steam to escape from deep below. Along with it came an unearthly concoction of lights and sounds and colors. It wasn’t a mist or a fog—it was alive, made from something old and angry. It spun into a whirlwind and surrounded Sabrina’s ragtag crowd of would-be heroes
“This is not good!” Daphne shouted over the din. “We have to stop it.”
“Be my guest!”Sabrina cried. “If you haven’t noticed, I don’t have any magical powers. I’m not an Everafter. I’m just a girl from New York City.”
Sabrina searched her mind for an idea, a notion, a plan—but there was nothing. Why was she drawing a blank? This wasn’t her first end-of-the-world scenario. She had always managed to find a solution before. Where were all her brilliant ideas when she needed them?
There was a fourth and final explosion, and something inside the odd swirling gases began to pulsate. A loud, pounding rhythm, not unlike a heartbeat, filled Sabrina’s ears. The light and sound and color formed into a single being with eyes like a bottomless pit and a smile that chilled her bones
It was too late. He had his freedom and Sabrina could feel the world trembling
THREE DAYS EARLIER
(OR HALF AN HOUR . . . IT’S ALL IN HOW YOU LOOK AT IT)
aphne, I don’t think we’re in Ferryport Landing anymore,” Sabrina Grimm said. Without waiting for an answer, she grabbed her sister’s hand and ran back to the wooden farmhouse. Once inside, she slammed the door shut and leaned against it. The farmhouse was small and rustic, with dirt floors and shabby furniture—three chairs, a rickety table, two tiny beds, an iron stove, and a frayed rug. What little light managed to slip through the windows was overwhelmed by shadows, and there was a thick cloud of poverty hanging over everything. To call it a house would have been generous. It was more like a shack.
“I’m OK,” her sister’s voice called back. “They’re singing for us.”
Sabrina clambered up atop one of the beds, where Daphne stood. Her little sister was wearing a yellow dress and pushing a pair of creaky shutters open in order to peer out into the sunshine. She smiled brightly, her eyes filled with curiosity. Sabrina envied Daphne’s attitude. Her sister was much better at adapting to the twists and turns to which the two sisters were often subjected. She seemed to lack suspicion or worry, but Sabrina had a never-ending supply. Unfortunately, Daphne also lacked the necessary wariness their lives often required.
“Get away from the window,” Sabrina scolded.
Daphne giggled and then bit down on the palm of her hand. It was a quirky habit that came out when she was very excited or very happy. From the look of the bite mark she now had, it appeared she was both. “We’re here. We’re actually here!”
“Where’s here?” Sabrina asked as she climbed down from the bed and slowly opened the front door again. A breeze swept into the shack, swirling a cyclone of dust on the floor. Standing on the stoop outside was a very short, very chubby old woman who resembled a baked potato stuffed in a white dress. Accompanying her was a trio of equally tiny men. Each had the face of a cherub, except for their bushy white beards and untamed eyebrows. None was taller than three feet, and all were dressed in matching blue suits and pie-tin–shaped hats. Behind them, Sabrina could see a town square lined with little round houses the same color as the tiny people’s suits and hats. The square had a road leading away from it paved with yellow bricks. A Yellow Brick Road.
Sabrina slammed the door in their faces. “We’re in Oz!”
“I know! It’s awesome.”
“No, Daphne, it’s not awesome. All the people from Oz are crazy!”
“I know how much people from Oz annoy you, but think about it. We’re actually in the Land of Oz, or I guess, we’re technically in the story of Oz. I didn’t believe it was possible when Mirror told us about the Book of Everafter, but he was telling the truth. We’re inside a book of fairy tales!”
Sabrina bristled at the mention of Mirror’s name, and a wave of sadness swept over her. She felt her throat tighten as she fought back tears. She never wanted to hear that man’s name again.