EVE HALLOWS AND THE BOOK OF SHIVERS (BOOK 3)
Eve Hallows and the Book of Shrieks Excerpts
• Tonight, the graveyard was packed with tourists. We get a lot of them this time of year—zombies from up north. They were the rudest, most annoying creatures. And that whole brain-eating thing? I don’t care where you live, that’s just poor manners. Not to mention, they were having so much fun out there in the graveyard, which made me dislike them even more. I wanted to be out there, too.
• I crouched below the railing and held my breath. My parents stayed silent for a long time, probably trying to decide if they heard someone listening to them. Fortunately, this place made all sorts of noises at night—one of the benefits of living in a haunted castle. Even better, Uncle Mervin floated by with a book tucked under his arm, complaining to himself about how he couldn’t get any reading done with all that ruckus, and he poofed through the wall in search of a quieter location.
I eased out the breath that’d been burning up in my chest and waited for my parents to start talking again.
“Pizza?” Mom whispered. “What do you know about pizza?”
“Absolutely nothing, but that’s what they gave me. The place is called Ghoulicious Pizza.”
“You can turn into anything, and they want you to manage a pizza place?”
“They told me it was low-key, and that every human loves pizza, so chances are they won’t suspect anything.”
“And the murders?”
Hold on. Now this was getting interesting. The murders have been all over the news for the last few months. In school, the only thing we talked about more than the murders was the super-cool rock band the Ghastly Brothers—Nick Ghastly is perfectly horrible, by the way, I don’t care what Sally says.
Did my dad know who had been committing these murders? I stretched so far over the railing to listen that I nearly tipped over the side.
• The human girls directed Mom and me to a place called Halloween World—yet another small place with a big name … Great.
But when we walked inside, I nearly fainted from excitement. Each rack overflowed with clothes, and all sorts of interesting decor filled the shelves. Most impressive of all were the masks that covered the entire back wall. Some of them even bore an uncanny resemblance to my relatives back home.
A werewolf greeted us with a “Hooowl can I help you today?” At first I thought he was real, but as he came closer, I noticed the rubber fangs and thin beads of glue that held his fur in place. He reminded me of one of my uncles. He glued his fur on, too, though he did it to cover his bald spots.
• I took a deep, jittery breath and told myself, They’re only humans. You can do this. But by the time the van backed out into the street, an all-too-vivid image surfaced in my head. In it, an endless sea of torches and pitchforks waited to greet me.
• “Dad! Quick! C’mere!” I wanted him to hear how I might’ve just saved the entire monster race.
“What’s up?” Dad asked, wiping off the sauce and flour that had covered his hands like thick, gooey gloves.
“I overheard them say that work was murder. And one of them said he needed to kill time until ‘the family’ arrived. There might be more of them coming.”
“Time murders. Isn’t it bad enough they kill monsters?” I said.
“But they’re my best customers,” Dad said. “Who’d have thought they were time killers.” This last he whispered, as if concealing a curse word. “Should I call URNS for backup?”
“No. That’ll take too long. We’re gonna have to take them down ourselves,” Griff said.
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• “Remember,” I whispered, looking from Mom to Dad, “this guy is a total control freak.” My eyes focused on Mom. “Don’t let him get under your skin, because he will try.”
Mom waved me off. “Who’s the mother here? I know how to handle humans like him.”
“He doesn’t celebrate Halloween, Mom.”
“Well, it’s not my fault he’s an idiot.”
Oh, this was going to be fun, I thought.
• The day had started out great, but fell apart by lunch. To be more specific, it fell apart exactly when Stacey and her minions, Jasper and Becca, entered the cafeteria. They carried their own brand of superiority in the way they swaggered in, as if they were better than everyone else in every single way possible.
Stacey shot a wicked glance at Carly Beth and me but turned to gushy smiles when Warren walked up to her. She gave him a long kiss, which made me cringe. She was taunting me, dangling Warren in front of me like a spoiled werewolf with a new chew toy. I didn’t care. She could have Warren. I didn’t like him. At least not in that way, or so I tried to convince myself.
Eve Hallows and the Book of Shadows Excerpts
• Mom's eyes seethed with anger. “And who exactly is this he?”
“The Director,” Dad said in a whisper that I couldn't even hear—and I was sitting right next to him.
“Who?” Mom asked, crossing her arms over her chest.
Dad cleared his throat and gazed at Mom imploringly. “The Director.”
Though Mom was the one that could turn creatures into stone—petrifying she liked to call it—it was Dad's words that seemed to have that effect on Mom. Even her snakes recoiled at the sound of that name. “But he promised to—” She cut herself off and flashed a worried glance at me. Then, her gaze returned to Dad. “He promised us, Bill.”
I noticed a whole exchange going on between the two of them with their eyes, and I became angry. I hated being left out of a conversation, especially one about me. “Hello ...? Promised what?” I demanded.
Dad placed a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. “There's something you should know about The Director.”
“What?” I asked. I didn't like his coddling tone one bit. It reminded me of the way he'd told me about us moving here. And that bit of information changed my life forever.
As he decided on the words to say, his face grew increasingly pale.
“Go ahead, Bill. Tell her. She needs to know,” Mom said. She had calmed down considerably, which did nothing to help the adorable feeling of ice-cold worms squiggling through my belly. Now I knew the news couldn't be good.
Dad grabbed my hand in both of his. “Eve, you see, the Director is the Grim Reaper. And—there's really no easy way to put this, sweetheart—but when you first came to us, he wanted you dead.”
• Some goblin workers were out and about, slanting stones that had become straight or adding some additional weeds in places where the grass was neat and trim. Besides them, there weren't many creatures here, which I found a bit surprising. It was a perfect morning to be in the graveyard, and I figured there'd be more creatures around—at the very least, some brain eaters. Sure, after Halloween, many tourists headed back home and stuck around their local graves, but I couldn't recall ever seeing the place this vacant.
• A warm, numbing sensation spread throughout my body. Maybe it was just too much information, too fast, but if I'd been standing, I was pretty sure I would've fallen flat on my face. Here, I was trying to convince myself I was this important girl who would save not one but two worlds, but really, I was just a big nuisance—to everyone and everything. My parents and Sam had to leave their home because of me, and that made me feel too adorable for words.
To make matters worse, the carriage slowed to a stop in front of the Director's castle. The skeletal horse whinnied and bucked, ready to ride another lap around the mountain and probably annoyed at having arrived so soon.
Me? I could wait.
• Adorable! I must've shouted that word a thousand times during the days leading up to the “field trip.” And it didn't even have anything to do with my growing list of problems. No! That would've been an improvement. It had to do with this thing called Christmas.
My mom, ever determined to fit in with the rest of the humans, decided we needed to celebrate Christmas. But unlike a more sensible holiday—Halloween, for example—Christmas was a confusing mess. And don't get me started on that plump, red-suited, white-bearded freak. Just the thought of some stranger sneaking into my house in the middle of the night and demanding cookies and milk made me cringe!
• On the front of the building, over about a dozen huge revolving doors, rested a shiny new metal logo: THE SOURCE-EMPIRE NEWS CORP. And right below the sign, a scrolling marquee displayed the latest headlines—TWENTY-TWO CONFIRMED DEAD IN CITY'S WORST APARTMENT FIRE ... OVERTURNED BUS KILLS SEVEN ... BOY MAULED BY LION IN FREAK ZOO ACCIDENT.
“You think they have any happy news to report?” Lucy asked.
Just then, a line floated by: MAN WINS $32 MILLION IN LOTTERY ...”
“That one looks promising,” Steve commented.
“...BUT KILLED BY SUBWAY TRAIN WHILE ON WAY TO COLLECT WINNINGS.”
“Yeah, so didn't see that one coming,” he added.
I had no doubt The Source was using the newspapers business to spread fear. And by the looks, business was booming.
Eve Hallows and the Book of Shivers Excerpts
• Grandpa shrugged as if he didn't care one way or the other. He reached into his shorts pocket and pulled out an envelope. “This came for you, Bill.”
“Who's it from?” I asked, trying to read the address, but not having much luck.
“URNS,” Dad said with a noticeable amount of surprise. “Why would they send the letter to the castle? They know I'm here.”
I could tell by Grandpa's stitched brows that he could've offered an answer, but instead he said, “Open it up.”
Dad read the letter. His expression instantly went from confused to shocked. “A letter of termination? A letter of termination!”
I glanced over to Sam and whispered, “What does that mean?”
Sam shrugged. “No idea.”
Grandpa, who had excellent hearing, being a werewolf and all, responded, “It means he's been fired.”
• Sparks and lightning flashed around us. I could feel the train lift to one side, feel my muscles straining to keep my body from tumbling, and then metal screamed violently as the passenger car tore free, flipped head over, then disappeared out of sight. The next thing I knew I crashed against the ceiling while gauges below me exploded, sending glass and grease everywhere. The space filled with smoke, and I didn't know if my friends were okay or not. I got glimpses of hands and legs and sneakers through the thick haze, but couldn't make sense of it, like a dream, where flashes of the familiar appear like snapshots, but the rest is a confusing mess.
• “Wait ... wait ... wait,” I said. This was all moving in a way weird direction. “So you're like a famous actor?”
“And you play a vampire in movies?”
“But you're a vampire in real life?”
“You got it,” Marcus said.
“And I thought my life was weird,” I muttered.
“Welcome to Hollywood,” Marcus agreed.
• The scene cut to the newswoman who had, not long ago, barged into the grocery store to interview me.
“We're live in front of the Grocery King in the Poconos where a hostage situation is unfolding. One person, an unnamed elderly woman, has died. The suspect, fifteen-year-old Evelyn Hallows, also of the Poconos, is considered responsible for the death. I managed to get a word from the suspect moments ago. Here's what she had to say ...”
My angry face filled the television screen—Oh, my Jack, I looked like a maniac. Both Warren and Carly Beth glanced at me with pinched faces, then returned, with rapt attention, to the television.
The newswoman asked, “Eve Hallows, how many victims have you killed so far? Why did you take that poor woman's life? How many more innocent women and children have to die before your demands are met?”
And then there was me, looking totally and completely murderous. “I'll kill anyone. The hostages are mine! Everyone is mine! It's me you should be worried about!”
Seriously? I didn't recall saying those things ... well, most of it, at least.
• Grandma woke just after sunset. She looked gorgeous as ever, though I could see hunger in her squinty eyes as she ran her tongue back and forth over her curved fangs.
“Mom! Grandma's awake!” Sam called from the living room. He always found Grandma's attempts to empty my veins hysterical.
“Hi, Grandma,” I said, feeling like a bag of blood with hair.
“Oh, Eve!” she squealed. “So good to see you. Give your grandma a big hug.” She opened her arms wide and grinned. I didn't move.
“Don't be rude, Eve. Give your grandmother a hug,” Grandpa said, his eyes fixed on the strange and marvelous screen hanging on the wall, known as a television.
“Fine,” I groaned as I inched toward her.
“Mmm, you smell horrible,” Grandma said, panting the words. I felt a fang pinch my skin, right where the neck met the shoulder.
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