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Authors: Brad Strickland

Tracked by Terror

BOOK: Tracked by Terror
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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 ORL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Austraha), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, I I 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 ORL, England
Copyright © 2007 by Brad Strickland
All rights reserved
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Summary: Jarvey Midion becomes lost again within the pages of the Grimoire, a powerful book of spells, where he must navigate complex worlds and battle new and more evil Midions.
eISBN : 978-1-101-15336-9
[I. Space and time—Fiction. 2. Magic—Fiction. 3. Fantasy.] I. Title. II. Title: Tracked by terror.
PZ7.S9166Gt 2007

To G.K., who liked my sonnet
Dreams May Come
arvey Midion woke with a gasp and scrambled out of his bed, trying to escape the nightmare. He was twelve years old, and in all those twelve years he had never had a dream as horrible as that one. It had been about a bizarre old man named Siyamon Midion, who was some kind of evil sorcerer, and his book of dire magic spells, the Grimoire. It had been about his parents vanishing, and about Jarvey being hunted ... it was fading away, the way dreams do.
Jarvey hated nightmares. When he was younger, sometimes he'd wake up at night screaming in terror, and his parents would come rushing in. Afterward, when he realized none of the nightmare had been real and that he had scared his mom and dad for nothing, Jarvey always felt deeply ashamed.
Well, he hadn't yelled out in a long time, and the bad dreams always faded away once he was fully awake. He looked over at the red digital readout of the clock radio: 5:03.
For a few minutes he lay on his side, letting his heart slow to its normal rate and watching the minutes change. By the time 5:21 appeared, Jarvey decided he wouldn't be able to fall asleep again. The dream had upset him too much, particularly the part where his parents—
Jarvey couldn't stand to complete the thought. Instead he slipped out of bed and felt around on the wall for the light switch. For just an instant he had the sick feeling that the light was going to show something terrible, but it only revealed his room. His desk stood cluttered with books and papers left over from school, which had just wound up for the summer. A little pile of game cartridges lay on the floor beside his bed, and he remembered that he had been playing Galactic Death Run on his GameMax machine before dozing off. Yesterday's jeans, socks, and shoes lay scattered on the floor.
Jarvey quietly and quickly got dressed, not bothering with socks but pulling his sneakers onto his bare feet, and stepped out onto the darkened landing outside his room. His parents' bedroom door was closed, and from behind it came the sawing-wood sound of Jarvey's dad snoring. No evil sorcerer had spirited his mom and dad away. It was just a dream.
His knees feeling weak with relief, Jarvey went downstairs. The house lay silent. Still feeling oddly uneasy, Jarvey unlocked and opened the front door. A full moon sailed directly overhead, making the lawn a silvery, deep-shadowed sweep. Jarvey stepped outside. The familiar neighborhood spread out around him. For a second he wondered why he didn't hear any night sounds at all, and then as if in response, the cicadas and crickets struck up, a buzzing, chirping chorus. Taking a deep breath of cool morning air, even noticing the sweetish smell of recently mowed grass, Jarvey stood on the lawn beneath the moon, wondering why he had the persistent feeling that something was wrong.
Wait—shouldn't a full moon be about to set this close to dawn? But there it hung, straight overhead in a starless black sky. The silvery disk moved in a grotesque, slow dance in the sky, its outline shimmering as if waves of heated air were passing over it.
Then it glimmered into a gigantic face, an evil old man's face with cruel, deep-set eyes and a leering, grinning mouth that revealed crooked, stained teeth. “I see-ee you,” rasped a high-pitched, taunting voice.
Jarvey bolted toward the house, yelling in alarm when he realized it had disappeared. So had the neighborhood, even the lawn.
Jarvey screamed, “Mom! Dad!”
From overhead a contemptuous high-pitched cackle laughed at him, and the sneering old voice mocked, “Moom! Da-ad!” Jarvey staggered under the force of the man's grating laughter, louder than a hurricane, louder than the end of the world—
“Jarvey! Wake up!”
Jarvey flinched away from the hand shaking his shoulder, rolled, scrambled up onto all fours, and crouched there, his eyes wide and staring.
Betsy Dare drew her hand back as if she had burned herself. “What's wrong with you?”
For a moment Jarvey couldn't say anything. His heart thudded in his throat, choking off the words. “Dream,” he croaked at last, gasping for air.
But whether he meant his home had been the dream, or the transformed moon, or even being awakened by Betsy, he could not at that moment tell.
Some time later, Betsy asked, “Are you ready to try to get into another chapter?”
It was an odd thing to say, but in fact the two of them were lost in the pages of a book, and not in the way an eager reader gets lost. Jarvey had been thrown into the book by the evil Siyamon Midion, who, along with Jarvey's dad, had been one of the people named in a mysterious will. To claim his inheritance, Dr. Midion; his wife, Samantha; and their son, Jarvis, flew from Atlanta to London. It had all been real, not a nightmare at all.
And in London, Siyamon, together with a brutal-looking servant, had tricked Jarvey into coming to his house and standing in front of the Grimoire at the time of its opening. But Siyamon had miscalculated, for when the book drew him into another world, Jarvey had managed to seize it and had kept hold of it. In the strange world called Lunnon, Jarvey had met Betsy Dare, who had helped him survive, and a magician called Zoroaster, who had helped them escape. Zoroaster had told Jarvey that Siyamon had trapped his mother and father in the same way, and now they were somewhere in the Grimoire too—somewhere else, and finding them was going to be hard.
Jarvey and Betsy were in an in-between world, a half-written chapter of the Grimoire, and though they had the book, Zoroaster had warned them that the Grimoire had the dreadful power of enslaving those who used it. Worse, it took a knowledge of magic to use the Grimoire properly. Without that knowledge, Jarvey had no way of controlling which world he would land in whenever he opened the book. The only way to gain mastery of the book was to use it, and using it meant coming under its evil power.
“I'm not sure that's the best thing,” Jarvey told Betsy.
She gave a long sigh. “What else is there to do?” she demanded. Betsy had stood by him in Lunnon and had the courage of a lion, but, Jarvey had to admit, she could be really, really annoying at times. Especially when she was right.
“What if we wind up back in Lunnon or something?”
“Been there before, got out of there before. And now His Nibs ain't there, is he?” returned Betsy. “Honestly, if I had any art at all, I'd open that book in a heartbeat!”
“Be glad you didn't inherit it,” Jarvey said. Though he and Betsy were remote cousins—her grandfather Zoroaster was a Midion, like Jarvey—she evidently had been born without magic, like Jarvey's father and some others in the family. “All I've got is what old Siyamon called wild magic. Art is magic you control, but with me it just sort of happens—”
Sweetly, Betsy said, “If you don't want to find your mum and your dad, that's fine with me.”
Jarvey groaned. She was right. They had to use the Grimoire. Jarvey's parents were missing, and he and Betsy couldn't go on without food or water in the gray fog of in-between. “Okay,” Jarvey said, his throat still dry. “My parents should be trapped in the last chapter, I think. I'll try for that. Hold my arm.” Betsy grabbed hold in a tight grip, and, clenching his teeth, Jarvey spoke the magic word that would unseal the book and let him open it:
He tried to force the book open toward the end of its pages, but the Grimoire seemed to have a will of its own and fought back. Like an animal snapping its jaws, it opened as if to seize him, and a moment later he heard Betsy's shriek as the flipping pages pulled them in, spinning them as if they were in a tornado. It took all Jarvey's strength to hang on as weird lightning flashed and the book yanked him in with the sickening sense of being turned inside out.
Passage to Nowhere
arvey couldn't even force himself to yell, “Hang on!” He had felt once before the terrible power of the Grimoire, like an amusement-park ride designed by a homicidal maniac. Jarvey had tried to concentrate on finding his parents, but he couldn't keep his mind focused on that, not when the whole world felt as if it were running down a bathtub drain and pulling him with it. He heard a loud clattering and thought, Pages—that's pages turning.
In the next instant, they landed with a crash and tumbled down onto some hard surface. Jarvey had hit hard on his left side. For a few seconds he lay gasping for breath and at last sat up feeling half stunned. “Where are we?” Betsy asked.
BOOK: Tracked by Terror
6.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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