Read The Mirk and Midnight Hour Online

Authors: Jane Nickerson

Tags: #Teen & Young Adult, #Historical Fiction, #United States, #Civil War Period, #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Fantasy, #Historical, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Sword & Sorcery, #Horror, #Paranormal & Fantasy

The Mirk and Midnight Hour

BOOK: The Mirk and Midnight Hour
4.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

THIS IS A BORZOI BOOK PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 2014 by Jane Nickerson
Jacket art copyright © 2014 by Mark Owen/Trevillion Images

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, New York, a Penguin Random House Company.

Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House LLC.

Visit us on the Web!
randomhouse.com/teens

Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at
RHTeachersLibrarians.com

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Nickerson, Jane.

The mirk and midnight hour / Jane Nickerson. — 1st ed.

p. cm.

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey is spending the Civil War with a new stepmother and stepsister and her young cousin when she comes upon a wounded Yankee soldier, Thomas, who is being kept alive by mysterious voodoo practitioners.

ISBN 978-0-385-75286-2 (trade) — ISBN 978-0-385-75287-9 (lib. bdg.) — ISBN 978-0-385-75289-3 (e-book)

1. United States—History—Civil War, 1861–1865—Juvenile fiction. [1. United States—History—Civil War, 1861–1865—Fiction. 2. Family life—Mississippi—Fiction. 3. Vodou—Fiction. 4. African Americans—Fiction. 5. Soldiers—Fiction. 6. Slavery—Fiction. 7. Mississippi—History—Civil War, 1861–1865—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.N55812Mir 2014
[Fic]—dc23

2012050893

Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.

v3.1

To Carol Trost, my mother,
who has always thought I could do
anything in the world
–J.N
.
Cover
Title Page
Copyright
Dedication
Epigraph
 Prologue
 
1
Too Many Bodies
 
2
A Letter from the North
 
3
A Secret Between Twins
 
4
A Wedding in April
 
5
Relationships
 
6
Final Departures
 
7
Expanding the Circle
 
8
Expansion
 
9
A Bit of a Bully
10
Dallying
11
Complications
12
Jubal and Miss Ruby Jewel
13
Protection
14
The Robbers Lair
15
The Soldier
16
An Accident
17
The Course of True Love
18
Being Different
19
Sparrow
20
Circle of Enchantment
21
A Betrothal
22
How Bizarre
23
Firelight
24
Too Many Secrets
25
Awakening
26
Jitters
27
Dark Deeds
28
Convalescence
29
Fighting Fire
30
Forgotten and Remembered
31
The Last Lodge Visit
32
Fighting Fire with Fire
33
Holding On
34
Ever After
Acknowledgments
About the Author
And pleasant is the fairyland
,
But, an eerie tale to tell …
Just at the mirk and midnight hour
The fairy folk will ride
.
FROM
The Ballad of Tam Lin
             
HE WAS ALREADY DEAD
. Maybe. He had been grievously wounded—he had expected to die anyway—but they did something to him that sucked out the rest of his feeble life and will, except for the tiny spark of soul that hunkered mutely deep inside. That’s why he thought of them as vampires.
They half carried, half dragged him to the fire and bade him kneel. The drumming began and his heart thumped with the drums and he was in the flames and in the beating. A blade flashed before his eyes. Silver. Beautiful. Someone called out a question, and the answer—“Raphtah”—swallowed him. He knew nothing more. He was already dead.

“There are too many bodies,” I said under my breath.

“Of course there are,” Laney called from the other side of the wall. (She was keeping baby Cubby away from unpleasant sights. In case he remembered.) “And this is a drop in the bucket compared to how many busted-up soldiers there are. Y’all are going to wipe each other out before you’re through. Why’d you need to come look at them again anyway?”

I ignored the question. “What I mean is, the count’s wrong. Last night, when they first laid them all out and pinned their toes, there were only eighteen. Now there’s nineteen.” I shuddered as I brushed away a fly that tickled my forehead.
Don’t think about where it might have been
. These men lying in the grim, gore-puddled courthouse yard, who had been carried out feetfirst from the makeshift hospital inside, were dead less than twenty-four hours, yet the buzzing already sounded loud and angry within the blankets.

“Probably you counted wrong. You couldn’t see so good in the dark. Or someone else died later and they brought him out.
Whatever. It doesn’t matter.” Cubby whimpered and Laney sighed. “Come on. I’ve got to get home and feed this child.”

It had been a long day for her. Bouncing and jiggling a fat baby was more exhausting than one would think. But I couldn’t hurry away. A heavy sorrow weighted my legs as I paced slowly down the row of blanket-wrapped bodies laid side by side, waiting for the wagon to take them for burial. Each was somebody’s tragedy.

“I counted right,” I said. “I had a lantern and was careful. I copied down the dead men’s names from their tags so I could say a prayer for each and in case no one else recorded them. And no one else was fixing to die soon. Dr. Hale assured me. That’s why I thought I could leave after the other nurses came in from Mobile.”

The yard hadn’t always been grim. In former times, before the yellow hospital flag flew from the courthouse rooftop, deep pots of geraniums and marigolds had lined the walls. The containers were still there, most with shriveled, blackened plants drooping inside. Someone had tossed an amputated arm into an empty flowerpot. A freckled hand reached from it, looking so natural it was as if some farm boy crouched inside, about to clamber out. Once, I would have felt extremely queasy at the sight. However, the past intense days of nursing the wounded from the big battle near Shiloh Church, in Tennessee, had altered my sensibilities. I had knelt in enough pools of blood and bathed enough ragged red flesh to be only slightly queasy now.

BOOK: The Mirk and Midnight Hour
4.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson
Brooklyn & Beale by Olivia Evans
Fighting To Stay by P. J. Belden
The XOXO New Adult Collection: 16 Full Length New Adult Stories by Brina Courtney, Raine Thomas, Bethany Lopez, A. O. Peart, Amanda Aksel, Felicia Tatum, Amanda Lance, Wendy Owens, Kimberly Knight, Heidi McLaughlin
Bastion Science Fiction Magazine - Issue 4, July 2014 by R. Leigh Hennig, Hannah Goodwin, Peter Medeiros, Robert Quinlivan, Eleanor R. Wood, George S. Walker, Alex Hernandez
Primal Force by D. D. Ayres
Perfect for You by Ashelyn Drake