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Authors: Brad Strickland

Tracked by Terror (16 page)

BOOK: Tracked by Terror
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Like the creatures that had pretended to be his parents, Henge was melting.
No, not melting, but reshaping. His nose grew longer, his eyes deeper, and Jarvey found himself looking at the face of old Siyamon Midion. Somehow Siyamon had invaded Henge's body and was speaking through him like a ventriloquist manipulating a dummy. “What are you doing, Henge?” his voice snapped. “Why is it taking so long?”
Henge groaned, and then answered himself, in his own voice: “Master, the boy has learned some art. He is devious.”
“You have more power than any boy. Use it! Bring me the book! Quickly!”
Like a mask dissolving away, Siyamon's features faded into Henge's angry face. He seemed weak, tottering on his feet. He half staggered to one of the walls and leaned against it. “Boy! Where are you? What have you done? Show yourself and end this quickly, or it will be worse for you!”
Why hadn't Siyamon remained? Was it that he couldn't attack Jarvey himself? Or was he ... was Siyamon afraid of him? Jarvey felt his heart thundering. Did he have more power than he thought? Was Siyamon actually frightened of facing him one-on-one?
But Siyamon had been right. Henge was some kind of magician, and if Siyamon had taught him, he had to know more magic than Jarvey did. Jarvey suddenly realized he needed help. He couldn't face Henge alone. Mentally he began to call for help, not saying anything aloud but repeating a name over and over in his mind, imagining himself shouting it: “Betsy. Betsy! Betsy!”
And something was happening. The mist was flowing back. Henge saw it too, and for the first time his ferocious expression faltered. He looked—he looked afraid.
Betsy! Betsy! I need you! Betsy!
“What are you up to?” Henge was still glaring from side to side. “You can't hide in fog, you fool. This is my illusion!” Henge barked a command, but the fog merely thickened.
Jarvey could still see Henge's form, outlined in that flickery red light, but Henge evidently couldn't see at all. He stumbled forward, his hands stretched out, feeling his way.
Jarvey felt something, an electric sensation, like a shock. It hurt, and he yelled out without meaning to. He saw the red silhouette of Henge's head swing around toward the sound...
And the fog condensed, shrank in on itself, and took on shape, and a second later it had become Betsy, her face terrified.
But she held the Grimoire clutched in both arms.
Henge yelled in triumph and lunged forward. Jarvey was closer. He grabbed the book, shoved Betsy aside, and as Henge reached him, Jarvey opened the Grimoire. “You're caught!” he shouted, holding the book open but facing away from him, facing Henge.
Henge didn't even have time to cry out. Some force seized him, pulled him forward, and his body flowed into the book, fast as a bolt of lightning. Everything went dark, but Jarvey kept his grip on the book. By feel, he turned the whole block of pages. “Last chapter for us! I'm writing it!” he yelled. “Betsy! Me! Somewhere safe!”
A moment or a hundred years later, Betsy, her clothes from Haimish Midion's world bedraggled and ragged, looked around and said, “It's very green, isn't it?”
Jarvey had just managed to hang on to the Grimoire, despite the sensation of being ripped right out of the world in which Henge had trapped him. “It's supposed to be,” he said. He gave her a weak smile. “You held on to the book.”
“Someone had to,” she returned. “I was in that kind of billowy fog, sort of with you but not at the same time. I mean, I kept getting glimpses of you. You were in this horrid place where these awful
were wearing masks and pretending to be your parents.”
Jarvey asked, “Where were you?”
Betsy shook her head. “I dunno. I think I was nearly with you. In between, sort of I could sort of see a house, with walls and doors and all, but they were like, I dunno, like pictures painted on fog, if that makes sense. I could walk right through the walls, and you couldn't see me for the longest time. I kept trying to make you hear me.”
“I finally did. You sent me a kind of birthday card. Thanks.”
Betsy shrugged. “What now?”
“Now we get strong,” Jarvey told her. “We can have whatever we need here. But I have to practice. I can't free my parents without fighting Siyamon. And I don't think I could win a fight with him, not yet, not even with the Grimoire. I can sort of do magic now. I have to learn to be good at it.”
“Do you think you can do it? Learn magic? Control the book, and not let it trap you?”
Jarvey sighed. “I don't know, but I have to try.”
Betsy bit her lip. “My grandfather,” she said. “He'll help you if you can call him here.”
Jarvey nodded. “Zoroaster is a good man. I'll call him here, if I can. But you'll help too, and that means a lot.”
“I'll do what I can.” Betsy looked around, her eyes wide with wonder. “Only—what world are we in now?”
“The very last chapter in the book. A new world. Mine.”
“Oh. It's not very large, is it?”
“That's because I've just started to write it,” Jarvey said. “It will get bigger. But I began with this.”
They stood on a level green piece of earth, suspended in empty space. Stars shone above them—and below them too. It was as if they were traveling through the galaxy on a flat green spaceship, Jarvey thought.
Except this patch of green would grow to be as much world as they needed. It would give them room to prepare for the final battle.
“It's lovely,” Betsy said. She kicked the white rubber marker. “But what is this thing? And why are we on a little hill?”
“It's the pitcher's mound,” Jarvey said. “And this is what we call a baseball diamond.”
BOOK: Tracked by Terror
8.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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