Read The Fairy-Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1) Online

Authors: Michael Buckley

Tags: #YA, #Fantasy

The Fairy-Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1)

BOOK: The Fairy-Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1)
8.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life hasn't been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother—a woman they believed was dead! Granny Reid reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a history book that documents magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy-tale detectives. Their first case? A roller-coaster ride of an adventure to stop a giant from destroying their new hometown.

 

The dense forest branches
scratched at their faces and arms, but Sabrina and Daphne couldn't stop running, though they had long since passed the point of exhaustion. Fear was fueling each step now.

Another thunderous bellow rang in the distance, followed by the terrible sound of falling trees and shrieking animals.

"We have to find a way to stop it," Daphne cried between gasps.

Sabrina knew her little sister was right. But how? They were two children versus a vicious monster.

"I'll think of something," Sabrina said, dragging her sister behind an enormous oak tree for a much-needed rest. Sabrina squeezed her sister's hand to reassure her, while she forced oxygen into her own burning lungs. Her words were empty. She didn't have a plan. The only thing going on in her head was the thumping of blood roaring through her eardrums. But it made no difference. It had found them. Splintering wood and damp soil rained from the sky as the tree they stood next to was violently uprooted.

The two girls looked up into the horrible face above them and felt hot breath blow through their hair.

What's happened to our lives?
Sabrina wondered. When had their world become unrecognizable? And what had happened to her, the eleven-year-old girl who only two days ago had been just an orphan on a train?

Chapter 1 

TWO DAYS AGO

m going to die of boredom here,
Sabrina Grimm thought as she looked out the train window at Ferryport Landing, New York.

 

The little town in the distance seemed to be mostly hills and trees next to the cold, gray Hudson River. A few two- and three-story brownstone buildings huddled around what appeared to be the town's only street. Beyond it were endless acres of evergreen forest. Sabrina could see no movie theaters, malls, or museums, and felt using the word
town
to describe Ferryport Landing was a bit of a stretch.

Worse than the town was the weather. It was raining, and rain always made Sabrina melancholy. She tucked her long blond hair behind her ear and turned her head away from the window, promising herself that she would be strong and not let her sister see her cry. She had to be the strong one; after all, she was almost twelve years old.

Not that Daphne would have noticed her tears. Sabrina's seven-year-old sister had had her face pressed against the window throughout the two-hour trip. Daphne had marveled at each ugly little spot on the map they rolled through, taking a break from the view only to ask the occasional question about their destination.

"Do they have bagels in Ferryport Landing, Ms. Smirt?" Daphne now asked the woman sitting across from them. Ms. Minerva Smirt was the girls' caseworker. She was a pinch-lipped, humorless woman in her late fifties. She had had her hooked nose buried in a book for the entire train ride. Sabrina knew she was reading only so she wouldn't have to talk to them. Ms. Smirt looked up at Daphne with an annoyed scowl and sighed as if the question was more than she could bear.

"Of course they have bagels. They have bagels everywhere," Ms. Smirt snapped.

"Not on the moon," Daphne replied matter-of-factly as she returned her gaze to the window.

Ms. Smirt snarled, which caused Sabrina to snicker. Watching Daphne drive Ms. Smirt crazy was one of Sabrina's favorite pastimes. Smirt had made a mistake when she chose a career working with children, Sabrina thought, especially since she didn't seem to like them. Ms. Smirt complained whenever she had to touch their sticky hands or wipe their runny noses, and reading bedtime stories was completely out of the question. She seemed to especially dislike the Grimm sisters and had labeled them rude, uncooperative, and a couple of know-it-alls. So, Sabrina was sure it was Ms. Smirt's personal mission to get the girls out of the orphanage and into a foster home. So far she had failed miserably. She'd sent them to live with people who were usually mean and occasionally crazy, and who had used them as maids, house sitters, or just plain ignored them. But this time she had gone too far. This time Ms. Smirt was sending them to live with a dead woman.

"I hope you don't bother your grandmother with all these ridiculous questions!" Ms. Smirt said curtly, which was how she said most things to Sabrina and Daphne. "She is old and cannot handle a lot of trouble."

"She's dead! I've already told you a million times, our grandmother is dead!" said Sabrina.

"We did a background check, Sally," Ms. Smirt replied. "She is who she says she is."

"My name is Sabrina." Sabrina sighed.

"Whatever. The orphanage would not release you into just anyone's custody," said Ms. Smirt.

"Oh really? How about Ms. Longdon, who swore her toilet was haunted?" said Sabrina.

"Everyone has their quirks."

"Or Mr. Dennison, who made us sleep in his truck?" Daphne chimed in. '

"Some people love the great outdoors."

"Mr. and Mrs. Johnson handcuffed us to a radiator!" Sabrina cried.

"Dwell on the negative if you choose," said Ms. Smirt. "But you should be grateful. There is not much of a demand for rude little girls. Imagine how embarrassed I was when I heard what you said to the Keatons!"

"They locked us in their house for two weeks so they could go on a cruise to Bora-Bora," Sabrina said.

"I think it was the Bahamas," Daphne said.

"It was Bermuda, and at least they brought you back some nice T-shirts from their trip," said Ms. Smirt. "Anyway, it is all water under the bridge now. We found a
real
relative who is actually eager to take you into her home. But to be honest, girls, even if she was an imposter I would hand you over to her. We have run out of families who want you." With that, Ms. Smirt put her nose back into her book. Sabrina looked up at die- title. It was called
How to Get the Love You Want.

"What's an imposter?" Daphne asked, not bothering to turn her head away from the view through the window.

"It means someone who is pretending to be someone she's not," Sabrina said as she watched the rain outside. It had been raining the day her parents disappeared. That was over a year and a half ago, but it still made her heart ache. She remembered rushing home that afternoon with a report card safely tucked inside her raincoat. Excited about her As in math and English and her B in Science (and a little disappointed by her C-minus in gym), she had proudly taped it to the refrigerator for everyone to see. It had seemed odd that her parents weren't home from work, but Sabrina didn't worry until Daphne's kindergarten teacher called to find out why no one had picked up the little girl. That night the girls slept in their parents' bed, waiting for them to come home as thunder and lighting crashed in the sky around their apartment. When the social worker came three days later to take them away, it was still raining, and Sabrina's report card was still hanging on the refrigerator awaiting its praise. For all Sabrina knew, it was still there.

The police had started an investigation. They searched the family's New York City apartment for clues. They interviewed neighbors and coworkers. They dusted for fingerprints and filed reports, but they found nothing. Henry and Veronica  Grimm had simply vanished into thin air. Months later the police found their abandoned car. The only clue was a blood-red handprint on the dashboard. The police assured the girls that the print was not blood, only paint, but they still had no leads. Their investigation had come to a dead end. Meanwhile, the orphanage where the girls had been taken began an investigation of its own, searching for next-of-kin, but came up as empty as the police. No aunts, uncles, grandparents, brothers, sisters, or even distant twice-removed cousins existed. The girls' parents had always told them that they were all the family they would ever need. So naturally, the girls were shocked when a woman claiming to be "Grandma Grimm" applied for custody.

Now the train pulled into the station and Daphne turned away from the window, cupped her hand over Sabrina's ear, and whispered, "Do you think that she could really be our grandmother? Dad said she died before we were born."

"Not a chance," Sabrina said as the train came to a stop. " Don't worry, we'll be gone before the crazy old bat knows what happened."

Passengers got up from their seats and took their bags down horn the luggage racks above. They tossed half-read newspapers onto the coffee-stained floor and headed for the doors. A conductor announced that Ferryport Landing was the last stop.

"Ladies, let's go!" Ms. Smirt ordered, causing Sabrina's stomach to flip-flop. She didn't want to meet the imposter posing as her grandmother, but Ms. Smirt wasn't one to argue with. The old crone had a reputation as a pincher and she had left more than a few nasty purple bruises on back-talking orphans. Sabrina stood up on her seat, dragged their two tiny suitcases down from the storage racks above, and followed Ms. Smirt and Daphne off the train.

The late November rain was bitingly cold. Daphne began to shiver, so Sabrina wrapped her arm around her sister's shoulders and held her tightly as they stood with Ms. Smirt on the crowded platform.

"When you meet her you had better be polite or there is going to be trouble," Ms. Smirt said. "No sass, no back talk, stand up straight, and act like young ladies for once, or so help me I'll—"

"Ms. Smirt?" A voice interrupted the caseworker's threat. The girls looked up to find a chubby old woman standing in front of them. She was dressed in an ankle-length, navy blue dress with a white knitted shawl around her shoulders. Her long, gray hair was streaked with red, hinting at its original color, and she wore it tightly tucked under a matching navy blue hat with an appliqué of a big fuzzy sunflower in the middle. Her face was a collection of wrinkles and sagging skin. Nevertheless, there was something youthful about it. Perhaps it was the old woman's red cheeks and clear, green eyes.

Next to her stood the skinniest man Sabrina had ever seen. He had a full head of untamed platinum hair and enormous, watery eyes buried beneath eyebrows that were in desperate need of a trim. He wore a dark pinstriped suit that was several sizes too big and held a wide umbrella in one hand and his hat in the other.

Ms. Smirt gave the girls a hard pinch on the shoulder, which acted as a warning to behave, and, Sabrina suspected, a last opportunity to inflict some pain.

"Yes, Mrs. Grimm. It's us," Ms. Smirt said, forcing her usual frown into a smile.

"Sabrina? Daphne?" the woman cried with a hint of a German accent. "Oh, you are both so beautiful. What little darlings! I'm your Grandmother Grimm." She wrapped her chubby arms around the girls and hugged them tightly. The girls squirmed to escape. But the old woman was like an over-affectionate octopus hugging them and kissing them on their heads and shoulders.

BOOK: The Fairy-Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1)
8.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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