There’s something about today’s excerpt that I love, and it’s not just that it reminds me of my girlhood in the Hollows. Something about the fog changes the sound of the passage in my ears, even when (particularly when) I’m reading to myself silently. Do you know what I mean?
Janner woke to a world shrouded in fog.
It draped the ground, creeping up from the river and collecting in eerie pools around tree trunks and depressions in the land, coursing between the rickety buildings that made up the settlement of the clan of the East Bend. The structures were made of planks and shutter boards, leftovers from the ravaging of Skree at the end of the Great War. They reminded Janner of Peet’s tree house, but unlike Peet’s castle, these buildings were shabby and unkempt, constructed without imagination or care. Stranders slept in or near the shacks, nothing for their beds but dirt, no pillows but their dingy hair and dirty arms. Beyond the shacks, deeper in the fog, squatted the cages.
Janner could see nothing inside them, and the iron gates hung open. The Strander children had been so timid when they approached the camp the night before. May we come near? the girl Maraly had asked, and they hadn’t approached until Claxton gave his permission. Why were the children so careful around the adults? And where were their parents?
Then he realized Tink was gone. The rest of the company lay fast asleep by the ashes of the fire, but Tink was nowhere to be seen. Janner scrambled to his feet.
In the trees to his left, he heard voices, then a giggle. Tink appeared out of the fog at a trot, holding a leather ball under his arm. Janner breathed a sigh of relief and waved. Tink waved back, put a finger to his lips, and vanished into the fog again.
Janner tiptoed away from the fire and followed Tink into the fog. Before he had taken two steps, Maraly materialized out of the mist like a ghost. Janner gasped and braced himself for a fight—the girl had a wild, mean look in her eyes.
Out of the fog flew the ball Tink had been carrying. It smashed into the side of Maraly’s head, and she staggered sideways, scooped up the ball, and disappeared into the fog again, whispering, “Kalmar! I’ll get you. You can’t outsmart Maraly Weaver.”
Discussion: What was your favorite passage this week?
Activity: Write a poem about fog.
Play Tackleball! Download the book club kit for North! Or Be Eaten for the official rules. You can find the kit on our Book Club Kits page. 🙂