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Authors: Guillermo Del Toro,Daniel Kraus

Trollhunters

BOOK: Trollhunters
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Copyright © 2015 Stygian LLC

Illustrations by Sean Murray

Cover design by E. M. Gist

All rights reserved. Published by Disney • Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. For information address Disney • Hyperion, 125 West End
Avenue, New York, New York 10023.

ISBN 978-1-4847-1086-9

Visit
www.hyperionteens.com

Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright
  3. Dedication
  4. Epigraph
  5. Prologue
  6. Part I
  7. 1.
  8. 2.
  9. 3.
  10. 4.
  11. 5.
  12. 6.
  13. 7.
  14. 8.
  15. 9.
  16. 10.
  17. Part II
  18. 11.
  19. 12.
  20. 13.
  21. 14.
  22. 15.
  23. 16.
  24. 17.
  25. 18.
  26. Part III
  27. 19.
  28. 20.
  29. 21.
  30. 22.
  31. 23.
  32. 24.
  33. 25.
  34. 26.
  35. 27.
  36. 28.
  37. 29.
  38. 30.
  39. 31.
  40. 32.
  41. Part IV
  42. 33.
  43. 34.
  44. 35.
  45. 36.
  46. 37.
  47. 38.
  48. 39.
  49. 40.
  50. About the Author

To my children and the time of dreams and hope.

May it last us all a little longer.

—GDT

For Craig Ouellette

—DK

They call me Troll;

Gnawer of the Moon,

Giant of the Gale-blasts,

Curse of the rain-hall,

Companion of the Sibyl,

Nightroaming hag,

Swallower of the loaf of heaven.

What is a Troll but that?

—Bragi Boddason the Old, ninth-century poet

You are food. Those muscles you flex to walk, lift, and talk? They’re patties of meat topped with chewy tendon. That skin you’ve paid so much attention to in
mirrors? It’s delicious to the right tongues, a casserole of succulent tissue. And those bones that give you the strength to forge your way in the world? They rattle between teeth as the
marrow is sucked down slobbering throats. These facts are unpleasant but useful. There are things out there, you see, that don’t cower in holes to be captured by us and cooked over our fires.
These things have their own ways of trapping their kills, their own fires, their own appetites.

Jack Sturges and his little brother, Jim, were oblivious to all this as they sped down a canal bed on their bikes in their hometown of San Bernardino, California. It was September 21, 1969, a
perfect day from a vanished era: the dusk light spilled over the peaks of Mount Sloughnisse to the city’s east, and from the nearby streets the boys could hear the buzz of lawn mowers, smell
chlorine from a pool, taste the hamburger smoke from somebody’s backyard grill.

The high walls of the canal kept them secret and provided perfect cover for their gunfights. That afternoon, as usual, it was Victor Power (Jack) versus Doctor X (Jim), and they swerved around
piles of rubble to take shots with their plastic ray guns. Victor Power, also as usual, was winning, this time decisively because of that new bike: a cherry-red Sportcrest so new the birthday
ribbons were still attached. Jack was thirteen that day but rode his present as if he had been riding it all his life, up suicidal banks, through grasping weeds, sometimes without hands so that he
could fire off a particularly good shot.

“You’ll never catch me alive!” cried Victor Power.

“Yes, I will!” panted Doctor X. “I’m going to…wait…hey, Jack, wait up!”

Jim—or “Jimbo” as his brother called him—pushed his thick glasses, broken but taped together with a Band-Aid, up his sweaty nose. He was eight and small for his age. Not
only was his battered yellow Schwinn a lesser bike than the Sportcrest, but it was so large that Jim had yet to discard the training wheels. Dad had sworn to Jim that he would grow into it. Jim was
still waiting for that to happen. In the meantime, he had to stand up on the pedals to really make it go, which made it difficult to shoot his ray gun with any accuracy. Doctor X was doomed.

The Sportcrest shot through a pile of litter. Jim followed moments later, training wheels squeaking, but when he saw the crumpled milk carton, he swerved around it. The face of a smiling little
girl had been printed on the side of the carton along with the words
LOST CHILD
. It gave Jim the creeps. This was how they advertised missing children, and there were a lot of them.

It had been a year earlier when the first kid had disappeared. San Bernardino had organized search parties, rescue teams. Then another kid went missing. And another. The town tried for a while
to search for each one. But soon it was a child missing every other day and the adults couldn’t keep up. That had been the scariest part for Jim, seeing the resignation in the faces of the
sleep-deprived parents. They had surrendered to whatever evil was taking their children, and when they poured milk for their families, they tried to ignore the faces on the sides of the cartons
stamped with those dreadful words:

HAVE YOU SEEN ME?

The last count Jim had heard was 190 missing kids. The number would have seemed like fantasy if not for the evidence he saw everywhere: a higher fence around the school, larger numbers of
parents patrolling the playgrounds, the police crackdown on kids being on the streets after dark. It was unusual that Jim and Jack would be allowed to be out on their bikes this close to sundown,
but it was Jack’s birthday and their parents couldn’t say no.

Jack had wasted no time in making a single improvement to his bike. He had taken his transistor radio and fixed it with wire to the shiny red handlebars. Then he had turned it on as loud as it
could go, and their entire afternoon had been orchestrated to the bounciest songs of the day: “Sugar, Sugar,” “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “Proud Mary.” You
wouldn’t think those songs would be the perfect sound track for the laser-blasting volleys of Victor Power and Doctor X, but they were. As long as Jim could keep his mind off those milk
cartons, this just might be the best afternoon of his whole life.

Up ahead on Jack’s bike, the radio changed to a new song: “What’s Your Name?” by Don and Juan. It was a love song, not Jim’s favorite, but for some reason the
wistful crooning captured the mood of the dying day. The sun was going down fast, school started up again the next day, and this final half mile of riding might be the last flare of summer before
fall classes snuffed it like a candle.

Jim squinted into the sun. He could make out Jack pedaling so fast that birds threw themselves out of the way, not to land until they had gone south for the winter. Jack whooped and dry leaves
danced in the Sportcrest’s wake. In just a few seconds, Jack would pass under the Holland Transit Bridge, a monolith of concrete and steel. A couple of cars were traveling across it up above,
but beneath were shadows so deep and dark they made your eyes hurt.

He had to catch up to his brother. When they got home, he wanted it to be as equals, Jack and Jim Sturges, instead of the perennial winner and loser, Victor Power and Doctor X. Jim stood on his
pedals and pushed with all of his might. The training wheels protested—
SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK!
—but he kept on cycling his legs, willing them to be longer and stronger.

When he looked up again, Jack was gone.

Jim could see the Sportcrest lying beneath the bridge, silhouetted by the falling sun, its handlebars bent and the front wheel still spinning. With the bridge coming up fast, Jim reversed the
direction of his legs and his Schwinn came skidding to a halt a few feet outside the bridge’s shadow. He straddled the center bar and panted, searching for his brother in the blackest
corners.

“Jack?”

The Sportcrest’s front wheel kept spinning, as if the ghost of his brother still pedaled.

“Come on, Jack. Don’t be dumb. You’re not going to scare me.”

The only response came from Don and Juan. Echoes twined their sweet harmonies into an eerie wail:

“I stood on this corner, / Waiting for you to come along, / So my heart could feel satisfi-i-i-ied
.…

With muffled firecracker pops, the streetlights next to Jim switched on, one after another, filling the canal with a yellow sodium glow. That meant it was night: there was no more time to fool
around.

“If we don’t get home right now, Dad’s gonna ground us for weeks. Jack?”

Jim swallowed, stepped off his bike, gripped his ray gun in his sweaty palm, and walked alongside the bike until he was within the bridge’s darkness. There it was ten degrees cooler, and
he shivered. The training wheels turned slower now, but still complained:

SQUEAK. SQUEAK. SQUEAK.

He came upon the Sportcrest. The front wheel was beginning to slow its revolutions. Suddenly, he felt as if that wheel were Jack’s heart, and if it stopped moving, his brother would be
gone forever.

Jim peered into fathomless shadow. Ignoring the drip of moisture, the scurry of what might be rats, the thud of car tires passing overhead, and Don and Juan’s death moans, he raised his
voice.

“Jack! Come on! Are you hurt? Jack, I’m serious!”

He cringed at how the words reverberated back. The yellow streetlights, the violet skies, the clammy temperature, the mocking echoes of his panic—how had the transformation from dream to
nightmare happened so fast? He spun around, looking into one shadow, then another, faster and faster, his chest hitching with sobs, his cheeks burning with fear, when he thought of the one
direction he hadn’t yet looked.

BOOK: Trollhunters
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