- Pages: 400 Pages
- Series: The Bone Spindle
- Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
- Imprint: Razorbill
- ISBN: 9780593625569
An Excerpt From
The Cursed Rose
Fi knelt to get a better look. It wasn’t a message at all. Instead, Fi ran her fingers across childlike drawings carved into the stone. Crosshatches and grooves showed where careless little hands had scraped something dull and metal over and over into the hard rock.
There was nothing special about the pictures themselves. They were just like the ones Fi had scratched into the dirt with sticks, mostly rabbits and dogs and other animals, but there were hundreds of them, painstakingly scored into the stone line by line. Fi’s stomach did a little flip-flop as she thought of the monster born in the shape of a girl, locked in a tower. How many figures were carved into the walls—hundreds? How many years would it have taken a lonely child to carve them? And could it really have been the Spindle Witch?
Fi traced a crow with an over-wide smile and then stood up with a shiver. She didn’t have forever to look around. A spinning wheel sat by a large open window so tall Fi thought she could stand upright in the frame. Beneath it lay a basket brimming with tangles of gold, which Fi assumed was unspun thread. There was an armoire on the other side of the room, and next to it a vanity with a tall rectangular mirror.
She headed to the armoire but was distracted by the movement of her fractured reflection in the mirror. The glass was scarred by long cracks that ran its entire length, splintering her image into an unsettling patchwork. Her broken reflection turned with her as she moved toward the vanity.
Only three things sat on the smooth surface: a little dish stained the deep red of the Spindle Witch’s lips, an ancient brush with a tarnished silver handle, and a gleaming pair of scissors. There was something important here, Fi thought, her hand hovering over the scissors. This was a clue, and her brain was desperately trying to put it together.
She reached up to tug on her ear, distracted. Dread slithered through the pit of her stomach, a foreboding feeling she couldn’t place until she realized that her reflection hadn’t moved when she did.
Fi’s head shot up. Her reflection was gone, and there was someone else in the mirror.
A figure with dark brown hair that fell around him like a tangle of spider threads sat on the other side of the vanity. He reached out, almost as though his hand would stretch through the fractured glass. "You have something of mine," he whispered. A strange smile twisted his lips as he lifted his face just enough for her to make out his features. One deep green eye fixed on her, the other closed under a crisscross of scars marring his tan face.
Fi leapt back, adrenaline pounding through her veins. Something of his? Even as fear prickled her skin, her mind was whirring. The man inside the mirror—could it be . . . ?
Then, all at once, the man surged forward, his long hair wild, his face so close his scratched-out eye reflected in every crack of the broken mirror.
"Get out," he warned, his expression dark and sinister.
Fi felt as though those words had knocked the breath out of her. She stumbled back.
"Get out!" the man said again, and this time something slammed into her, like a gust of wind that hurled her backward.
A gasp ripped from her throat as she plunged toward the wide-open window. She tripped over the basket, and the backs of her knees hit the edge of the rough stone sill. She made one last desperate effort to catch herself, grabbing at the edge of the window as her back arced over the dizzying drop. The high wind whipped at her hair, and she felt like a thread as thin as the one from her dream was all that held her up.
The last thing she saw was the dark-haired man smiling in the broken mirror. Then she felt phantom hands on her shoulders, shoving her out of the tower into the empty air.