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Gustav Gloom and the People Taker (9781101620748) by Adam-Troy Castro

Gustav Gloom and the People Taker (9781101620748) by Adam-Troy Castro

Author:Adam-Troy Castro
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Publisher: Penguin USA
Published: 2012-10-11T21:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER TEN

THE GALLERY OF AWKWARD STATUES

Gustav Gloom didn’t have the time to stop and explain, but it would take less time than not stopping to explain. So he spoke quickly.

“That shadow I mentioned before, Lord Obsidian? He’s not satisfied with shadows having a world of their very own and a few houses like this in your world. He wants to conquer the Dark Country, declare himself king, then invade your world and take over. He won’t be satisfied until shadows walk around like people, and all the people of the world are dragged along the ground after them like shadows.”

Fernie had to admit that didn’t sound like much fun at all. At the very least, it would be hard to stay clean. “But how was any of that made worse by what happened upstairs?”

“Before now, he would have wanted the People Taker to get you just because he wants prisoners and slaves. But once your shadow showed that she was able to keep you from moving, you became something he could learn from, something that can teach him what he needs to know in order to get what he wants. We have to get you out of this house and back home before he can find you.”

Fernie hugged herself for warmth even though the air around them was neither warm nor cold. “You’ll keep looking for Harrington?”

Gustav looked offended. “I wouldn’t dream of not continuing to look for Harrington.”

Fernie did something she didn’t expect to do: She wrapped him in a tight hug.

Gustav took to being hugged about as well as a tree would, except that a tree would not have given the impression that it might have preferred to run away. Nor would any tree have made as many attempts to figure out what to do with its arms.

Come to think of it, Gustav didn’t take to being hugged even nearly as well as a tree would.

Fernie released him, wiped her eyes, and said, “Okay. The way out. What comes next? The Too Much Sitting Room?”

“First the Gallery of Awkward Statues and then the Too Much Sitting Room and then just one flight of stairs to the parlor, where it’s just a short walk to the front door.”

None of that sounded as bad as hallways that doubled as garbage chutes and misty bedrooms with shadow dinosaurs in them. “Okay.”

They fell into an uncomfortable silence as they walked, Gustav thinking about whatever a boy raised by shadows thinks about, and Fernie wondering if she’d ever see her home again. Aside from all the corridors and rooms visible in the murk high above their heads, there didn’t seem to be any walls in sight. The room was just an endless plain, knee-deep in swirling darkness, offering no obvious way out except for picking one featureless spot in the distance and heading for it in the hope that it might turn out to be a somewhat less featureless spot than the featureless spot where they were.

Gustav said, “There’s the first one.”

He pointed at a mountainous white shape, still little more than a speck in the distance.



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