Being as vague as possible, page 262 made me want to cry (Really odd spot, too), I think Ghastly did the sweetest thing ever for Elsie (Favourite part), I like Tanith better evil (which I assume is weird...) And my favourite quote is...
"What do you know," Ravel said, breathing a little faster, "Skulduggery's silly little code actually works."
I laughed at Val's misfortune on more than a few occasions, and... I'm really sorry about the Epilogue. I completely called it, two years ago and everything, but...
I don't think I want to be right.
Okay, so, some of you may know that on Tuesday the 14th of August at 4:30pm, Derek Landy will be at the Mosman Pages&Pages for a public signing.
I was going to attend that, but I can't, because of an important school event.
So I couldn't go to a signing. I was... Mortified. I really was.
But, when I told my school librarian, she said she would call a school he's going to during the day, to see if she could get 10 girls from my school, there when he was.
And I got the confirmation yesterday. Just because I couldn't meet Derek, my AMAZING school librarian organised for myself and nine others to go meet him.
And thirdly, here is some reading for you guys to do, if you so wish.
It was dark. Something was coming. Coming for her, she could feel it. She was running blindly, running into branches, through puddles and over rocks. She could hear it behind her, pounding along. She looked back through instinct, even though she couldn’t see. The path narrowed and branches snagged at her body, her legs and her hair. She lifted her arms to protect her face and somehow got her foot lodged in a tree root. She sprawled into the dirt, rolled onto her back and scrambled back into a tree. The thing lumbered up to her and raised its fists. She could taste its rank scent on her tongue. She cowered below it as the monster brought its fists down.
Sparky Braginski woke up screaming for the fourth night in a row. It was the sixth time that fortnight and the thirty-second time since she had moved into the apartment, two months earlier. She was drenched in sweat, yet her skin was cold and clammy. She had kicked her sheets off during her fitful sleep. She stood and made her way to her bedroom window, rubbing her eyes with one hand and opening the curtains with the other. She leaned on the windowsill and looked out. She was in the third from top floor of a building outside the Milsons Point train station. She had a spectacular view, and it had helped her calm down after a nightmare on more than one occasion. She could see The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House behind it. She watched the cars drive up and down the bridge, and boats sail under it. The moon was a waning crescent, and cast a small beam of reflected light across the harbour. She shivered and walked into her little kitchen. She checked the time as she opened the fridge. It was 11:43pm when she reached into her fridge and pulled out her water bottle. She took a sip, shut the fridge and brought the water bottle with her when she sat on the couch. Her gaze drifted around the room. Her apartment wasn’t furnished, but she was proud of it. Her job at the Australian Sanctuary paid her rent, and at the age of twenty-two her job was quite respectable at the aforementioned work place. She was one of the nameless agents who were generally used to protect, siege and research. It would lead to bigger and better things eventually, she knew. Her mind flashed to back when she was fourteen. She remembered her old friend, Nixion Strange, saying that she would make a good Elder or Grand Mage. She laughed, even if Sparky was material for that job, she knew that it could a few hundred years before she got the job. Providing she lived that long. She sipped at her water again, and glanced at her phone. She looked back and saw her address book.
Sparky looked through her contacts, recognising names of people she hadn’t seen in years. She could picture faces and hear voice to match each person. It was people like Lynxia Lost, or Ivy Animosity. All of the contacts were up to date, unless someone had moved in the last six days. Her eyes flew over the contact of Flame Phoenix, and she shut the book. She stared at the cover. Could she call one of them? Maybe they’d help her with the reoccurring nightmare issue. But, then again, she had left unannounced seven years ago. Not leaving the smallest scrap for them to track her with, would they still be as warm as they had been? Would they give her the helping hand she needed when she asked for it, looking over the fact that they, together, had probably lived through hundreds of hardships without her help?
She checked over a phone number for the third time and dialled. She waited until a familiar voice came through the device.
‘Hello, this is Luciana. I’m probably at work, and I’ll get back to you when I can. Leave a message after the tone.’ There was a beep. Sparky hesitated. This was risky. She breathed out slowly and started.
‘Hey, Lu, it’s… It’s Sparky.’ She paused, ‘I-I’m not sure what to say now, I’m not even sure if you remember me. If you’re there, could you call back? I-I mean, if you have a moment to spare, or- or something.’ She stopped again, gathering her thoughts, ‘I… I hope you’ve been well.’ Sparky hung up and sat on the sofa once again. She waited for the phone to ring again, and as she waited, she slipped off to sleep again.
* * *
Luciana walked into her room and pressed the flashing button on her phone that indicated she had a voicemail waiting for her. She sat and began to pull one of her boots off when the message started. She had it all the way off when Sparky’s voice spoke.
‘Hey, Lu,’ the message churned out. Luciana dropped the boot. ‘No.’ she thought. The message continued.
‘It’s… It’s Sparky.’ Luciana pulled her second boot off and prepared to throw it at the phone.
‘I-I’m not sure what to say now. I’m not even sure if you remember me.’ Luciana blinked and the boot slid out of her hand. She blinked again and a lone tear rolled down her cheek. She sat, frozen and listened to Sparky’s message. The message finished and Luciana stood. She picked up the phone and held her thumb above the delete button.
* * *
Sparky was in the dark again. She was always in the never-ending dark. No one was chasing her, but everything was deathly quiet. She attempted to step forward and her foot hit a wall. She stumbled back in surprise and found herself pressed against another wall. She held her arms out and pressed her hands against two more walls. She was trapped, she was trapped and she didn’t like it. A voice appeared in her head.
‘You tried to get help. Don’t do that again. You’re a part of our plans, Braginski, and you need to follow them. Why you tried to get help from there is a mystery, and it isn’t of my concern to pursue it. Just don’t do that again. Someone might get hurt.’ A shrill ringing filled the air.
Sparky woke with a start to the sound of her phone ringing. She grabbed for it.
‘Hello?’ she said, hoping it was who she thought.
‘Hello Sparky.’ There was a silence.
‘Lu?’ Sparky said.
‘Don’t call me that. Yes, this is Luciana. What do you want?’
‘I… Wait. Should I apologise? Should I explain myself? Should I tell you where I am? What do you want me to do?’
‘I want you to tell me why you chose to call now.’
‘I chose now because I need help.’
‘Did you ever think we might’ve needed your help? Did you take into consideration how we would’ve felt after you vanished off the face of the earth? Sparky, we came to the conclusion that you’d died. Did you even think about us till now?’
‘I did think you may have needed my help. I’ve been dizzy with guilt on more than a few occasions because of these things. And I did think about you. Every day. How could I forget? How could I do that?’
‘You managed to leave pretty easily.’
‘Leaving was easy. Thinking was like trying to move sand with a sieve. I never stoped thinking about how you’d be, how you were, how you are, what you might be doing.’
‘Okay then. Where are you?’
‘What have you been doing?’
‘I finished school. I have a job at the Sanctuary.’
‘What do you need help with?’
‘Um, it’ll probably sound like I’m over reacting, but I’ve been having these reoccurring nightmares. And, just now, someone spoke to me while I was asleep. Told me I was part of some plan. And I couldn’t mess things up by asking for help.’
‘You’re paranoid. Thanks for wasting my time.’
‘Wait! Wait! They’re all the same! Every dream except for that last one! And they’re all connected! It’s pitch black every time. I’m always running. The terrain changes. Sometimes it’s a desert, a forest, a jungle. Please hear me out!’
‘Good bye, Sparky.’ Luciana hung up.
Sparky put the phone down and scowled. What more had she expected? She checked the time and found it to be 8:00am. It was also Sunday, her day off. She picked up an apple and bit into it, her brow furrowed in concentration. She walked back into the living room, picked up her address book, her mobile phone and her keys, and left the apartment. She took the lift to the garage and walked to her car. An electric car, naturally. She buckled in and drove out.
Sparky pulled up outside of the building. She flicked through the book and nodded. She looked back at the run-down structure and shrugged. She stepped out of the car and walked around the house, inspecting it. From a distance, the house looked very uninteresting. Vines on the walls, broken windows, even a nice touch of graffiti. In all truth, it looked pretty much the same close up, to the untrained eye. But Sparky’s eye was most certainly trained. This was her job. She counted cameras, sensors and alarms. She walked back to the front lawn and looked at the house, clicking her tongue.
* * *
Zathract Mist walked up his footpath and sensed that something was wrong, almost immediately. He opened the door to his house, his house that was shabby on the outside, and immaculate on the inside. He saw the person sitting on his staircase, held up his hand to stop them from moving or saying anything. He placed his case on the ground, took his gloves out of his pockets and pulled them on. He walked a few feet through a small adjacent corridor and slipped his coat off. He hung it over the back of a chair and then faced the intruder.
* * *
‘How did you get into my house without setting any alarms off?’ he asked. Sparky shrugged.
‘Best friends with the most skilled thief in Australia. You pick up a thing or two.’
‘Fair enough.’ Zathract said, leaning against the chair, ‘How have you been?’
‘Alright.’ He replied. They looked at each other for a long time. Sparky broke the silence.
‘You never were one for conversation, were you Zathy?’ she said. He chuckled.
‘No, I suppose not. I assume I should ask you. Why are you here?’
‘I’m here because I need help.’
‘Why find me? Why not someone else?’ he queried. Sparky laughed softly.
‘I never lost you, Zath. I tried someone else. They refused me. I figured visiting someone’s house would be more successful.’
‘Do you work at the Sanctuary?’
‘Why haven’t I seen you?’
‘Because, unlike you, I have a very low and unimportant job on the totem pole.’
‘I still should’ve seen you.’
‘I’m good at going around unnoticed. That’s mostly what my job relies on.’ She said. There was another long silence. Zathract straightened and folded his arms.
‘What do you need help with?’
Zathract’s reaction to Sparky’s incredulous story was unexpected, at the very least. When she had finished, he had remained silent for a while, obviously in deep thought.
‘You know,’ he said eventually, ‘If you didn’t seem so convinced, I wouldn’t believe you. I do believe you, as well. I’m not sure how I can help though.’
‘He did tell me not to go looking for help. I think this alone will cause some damage to his plans.’
‘Hey, this is your dilemma. What do you propose we do next?’ he asked. Sparky sighed.
‘I think it’s time to round up the old gang.’
Zathract was called off to work and said that Sparky could stay at his house, seeing as it was larger than hers. She had thanked him and pulled out her phone. She knew who she had to call first, but she couldn’t say she wasn’t scared. She held the phone to her ear and waited for them to pick up.
‘Hey Ivy, long time, no see, eh?’ Sparky said.
‘You seem to be mistaken. One, I don’t have friends, and you seem to be addressing me as one. Two, people shouldn’t have my phone number and come up as ‘Blocked’. It doesn’t work like that. So, who are you and why have you called me?’
‘It’s a lot easier to have someone’s phone number if you were given it. This is Sparky. I’m blocked because I can’t afford to have people calling me at random.’ She answered. There was a crackling, and the line cut out as a blue orb of energy appeared in Zathract’s living room. The orb retracted and Ivy Animosity delivered a punch into Sparky’s jaw so hard that it sent her into the wall. Sparky rubbed her chin and lifted her eyebrows briefly.
‘Good to see you too…’ She muttered. Ivy scowled.
‘Give me one good reason not to pull your head off your shoulders.’
‘If you did that I’d die.’
‘Who said I didn’t want you dead?’ Ivy asked, folding her arms.
‘Psh, Ivy, if you wanted me dead, I’d be dead by now.’ Sparky said. Ivy relaxed.
‘Hello Sparky.’ Ivy said, smiling.