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Authors: Brad Strickland

Curse of the Midions

BOOK: Curse of the Midions
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Table of Contents
A division of Penguin Young Readers Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, NY 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
(a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road,
Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre,
Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany,
Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Copyright © 2006 by Brad Strickland
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Strickland, Brad.
Grimoire : the curse of the Midions / by Brad Strickland.
p. cm.
Summary: In London with his parents, twelve-year-old Jarvey Midion is introduced to
the Grimoire, a powerful book of spells that transports him to a strange place
and time where danger lurks around every corner.
eISBN : 978-1-440-67840-0
[1. Fantasy. 2.Time and space—Fiction. 3. Magic—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.S9166Gr 2006

For Rebecca,
who loves tales of enchantment
Welcome to Hag's Court
Jarvis Midion was worn out after the long, long overnight airplane flight from Atlanta to London. His head ached from the rattling of the Underground car into which his family trooped early in the morning. Usually Jarvey was most cheerful in the morning, but lack of sleep made him crabby. Now he had the grumpy thought that the three of them were marching along the sidewalk like a pathetic circus parade with their suitcases trundling along behind them. “There it is,” his father said, pointing to a building ahead. It stood in the dark corner of London called Hag's Court.
It wasn't much of a hotel, in Jarvey's opinion. It was a weather-beaten brick building, with a pub on the ground floor. The pub's signboard showed a warped, dwarfish, leering creature over the name of the place, the Spriggan. The hotel itself didn't even have a lobby, just an odd-shaped nook with a counter where a chubby-faced woman with frazzled red hair had Jarvey's father sign the register.
“Just the three of you, then, ducks?” asked the woman with a smile that showed enormous front teeth.
“Just the three,” his father agreed. “I'm Cadmus Midion, this is my wife, Samantha, and this guy here is our son, Jarvey. He's just turned twelve.” He ruffled Jarvey's brownish blond hair, brushing it up into spikes, and Jarvey frowned in annoyance.
The woman looked startled, but then gave him a smile. “You're here on holiday, then?”
Jarvey's dad shook his head. “Business, and a sad business at that. Last week I received a letter telling me that my great-grandfather Thaddeus Midion had died in London, and we've flown over for the reading of the will.”
“Oh, I'm so sorry. Very old, was he, then?”
“I honestly don't know,” Jarvey's dad confessed. “To tell you the truth, I didn't even know I
a great-grandfather until the letter came. But I suppose he must have been pretty old. I'm thirty-four myself, so he couldn't have been very young!”
The woman turned around and fumbled inside a set of dark cubbyholes for a key. “Here we are,” she said brightly. “I'll put you in rooms five and six, shall I? It's a lovely set, two bedrooms and between them a bath
en suite,
quite large. Let me lead you up to it, you'll never find it else.” She chuckled. “We've lost Yanks in the mysterious winding halls. Some say it's the mischief of the Spriggan that misleads them!”
“What's a Spriggan?” Mrs. Midion asked curiously.
“Well, it's a kind of evil spirit, isn't it?” the woman replied with a chuckle. “Like a pixie, or sprite—like Puck in Shakespeare's play, you know. Causes mischief, the Spriggan does, sours milk, breaks mirrors—with me, he steals my keys and lays them down just anywhere!”
Jarvey caught the quick, almost frightened look that his mother gave to his father. Mr. Midion pursed his lips and glanced at his son, silently shaking his head:
Don't say anything,
the look said.
The woman didn't notice any of this as she led them up a gloomy, narrow, twisting stair. They went around corners and past closed doors, struggling with their three suitcases, until she stopped at the very end of the passage. “Here we are!”
She unlocked the door of Number 5 and flattened herself against the wall so they could squeeze past. The room boasted a big canopy bed with a small round bedside table sporting a chunky white telephone and an old-fashioned wind-up alarm clock. A single narrow window looked out into the green branches of a tree.
“Bath is just through there, and the smaller bedroom is beyond it,” the woman said. “Have a lovely time, then, and if you need anything at all, my name is Mrs. Macauley, but please call me Grace.”
As soon as she had closed the door, Jarvey dropped his suitcase. “I wish I could have stayed home.”
“You'll love London,” Mrs. Midion said. She was just an inch taller than Jarvey, and her light brown hair looked frizzed and tired after the long flight. Her brown eyes pleaded with Jarvey to be pleasant.
“Maybe I've got a Spriggan following me,” Jarvey returned.
“That's just superstition.” His dad sounded very sure of himself.
“Then why am I always in trouble at school?” Jarvey asked.
“You're tired,” Mrs. Midion said. “You should have slept on the plane. Go check out your room.”
“Okay.” Jarvey lugged his suitcase into the passage between the rooms and reported, “The bathroom's about the size of my closet!” The bedroom on the far side was half the size of his room at home. He set his suitcase down and walked back into his parents' room.
The tiny TV there was showing the morning news, with a blond man and a dark-haired lady soberly talking about cricket or something. “You'd better unpack,” Mrs. Midion said. “Then please catch up on your sleep so you won't be so cranky when we go sightseeing.”
“I don't want to sleep,” Jarvey grumbled. He didn't add
because that's when the bad dreams come,
but the thought lingered in his mind.
“You're just grouchy because you're sleepy,” his dad said.
His mom tried to smooth Jarvey's rusty brown hair, without much success. “Try to enjoy yourself,” she said. “We have to go to the reading of the will tomorrow, and then we'll spend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday exploring London.”
“But baseball tryouts are Friday,” Jarvey said.
“Coach Brock knows you have to be away,” his dad said. “Make the best of it.”
“But I wanted to be the pitcher. After last season—”
“I know, I know,” his father said. Dr. Midion put his hand on his son's shoulder. “You had some bad breaks after that one great game. But if I can give up teaching summer session, then you can give up a couple of days of baseball practice. Besides, we may get rich from this! What if my mysterious great-grandfather Thaddeus was an eccentric billionaire? Maybe when we get back I can even buy a baseball team!”
Jarvey grunted. His dad had an irritating way of being upbeat about everything. His dad loved to spend hours reading, but Jarvey always wanted to be outside, and he would rather be out on a baseball field than doing almost anything else. Odd things didn't happen on the baseball diamond—well, anyway, not so many of them.
Jarvey felt a yawn coming on and tried to stifle it, but that only made his jaw joints ache. Finally he couldn't keep it in. His mom chuckled. “Playing games all night on your GameMax.”
“Did not,” Jarvey muttered. “Power pack went dead halfway through Galactic Death Run 3000.”
His father sighed. “Son, this is a golden opportunity for you. You can see a new city and maybe soak up a little bit of learning. This is London, Jarvey! This is where Shakespeare wrote his plays and George III planned the war against the Americans during the Revolution. Where Winston Churchill kept the country together even when the Germans were bombing it during World War II. It's a place of heroes and history, Jarvey! The Tower of London goes all the way back to Roman times. You won't find anything that old in Bayesville, Georgia!”
“What about the dirt?” Jarvey shot back. “I'll bet it's just as old as London dirt!”
His dad laughed. “I'll concede the point. But cheer up, son. It'll be fun. You'll see.”
Jarvey couldn't help yawning again. While he had sat slumped by the dark window of the transatlantic jet, his mom and dad had snoozed away. Maybe they were right. Maybe if he slept for an hour or so he'd feel more human.
Back in his room, Jarvey kicked off his Nikes and peeled off socks, jeans, and red T-shirt. The shower sputtered out a thin stream of tepid water. He showered, then toweled off, pulled on some shorts and a clean white T-shirt with BAYESVILLE BOMBERS stenciled on it, and then slipped between the sheets.
He was asleep before he knew it.
One of the dreams came: The July day a year ago, when the Bombers were up against the Center Street Chargers, the day he was so angry.
In the dream, Jarvey felt a strange sense of dread. It had happened halfway through the third inning. Once already he had struck out, and he had done a miserable job out in left field. His game was off that day. He had overrun an easy fly, missing it by five feet, and then had fielded a wildly bouncing grounder only to drop the ball.
The Charger pitcher was a tall, rangy kid with a mean face who grinned as Jarvey stepped up to bat. “Easy out!” the pitcher behind him had called.
Somehow the first two pitches, high and just inside the strike zone, flew by with no time passing. Jarvey didn't even hear the umpire call the strikes. The pitcher was winding up. Jarvey felt anger at himself building—what was wrong with him today? He should do better than this, should be able to—
Something struck Jarvey in the face, hard enough to sting, and he heard everyone yelling. He stood dazed. The ball, the ball—
Was vanishing over the fence.
Jarvey became aware that he was holding the stump of the bat. The rest of it lay in shattered splinters.
“Run the bases,” the umpire ordered, and Jarvey began the jog.
The first baseman gave him an unbelieving stare. “How'd you do that? I didn't even see you swing!”
Jarvey didn't answer. He couldn't. He had not swung.
BOOK: Curse of the Midions
5.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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