SNATCH A STORY
CHAPTER TWO · CAPTAIN ·
It was as if someone had sucked all the light from the room and the only thing Gabe could see was a hulking figure silhouetted in the doorway. He wore a long black cloak, but it wasn’t the kind you could buy at Pierson Drug right around Halloween. It was a real cloak made of fancy velvet, and it wasn’t just black, either. It was the color of midnight if you were way out down some country road on a starless, moonless night.
Ollie growled low and deep, a growl that should have been reserved for some wild jungle beast. He sank into a crouch, like he was readying himself to spring, and every black and brown hair stood up in a three-inch-tall mohawk down his back.
And this was the same dog who usually hid from houseflies and once let an escaped kitten named Prancer chase him across the Bentons’ farm. Gabe would have chided him for forgetting his good manners, but he figured he might have growled, too, if he’d been a dog. He didn’t like the way the stranger’s hood rippled, like it was caught up in an invisible wind.
“Who are you?” Gabe said.
It dawned on him that it might be Elmer from the Pump ’n’ Save playing a practical joke. He did have a tendency to jump out from behind the gas station counter wearing a Darth Vader mask and scaring Gabe’s classmates silly. But it also struck him that Elmer had never once been to his house, and he nearly always broke out laughing halfway through trying to hide.
“This isn’t funny,” Gabe said, but before the words had left his mouth, Ollie lunged. Gabe tried to grab him, but the dog was too fast. He collided with the stranger and sank his jaws into that cloak, tearing it clean from the stranger’s head.
Gabe couldn’t have been more shocked if he’d tried, because the stranger wasn’t Elmer or an axe-wielding murderer or anybody he could have expected.
THE WICKED READ
By Kimberly Ventrella
Published by Scholastic
In retrospect, it was foolish to save that chicken. On the roof. In the middle of a thunder storm. But what choice did Gabe have? After falling off the roof, Gabe wakes up in a room full of tearful neighbors. To his confusion, none of them seem to hear Gabe speak. It’s almost as if they think he’s dead. But Gabe’s not dead. He feels fine! So why do they insist on holding a funeral? And why does everyone scream in terror when Gabe shows up for his own candlelight vigil? Scared and bewildered, Gabe flees with his dog, Ollie, the only creature who doesn’t tremble at the sight of him. When a mysterious girl named Wynne offers to let Gabe stay at her cozy house in a misty clearing, he gratefully accepts. Yet Wynne disappears from BoneHollow for long stretches of time, and when a suspicious Gabe follows her, he makes a mind-blowing discovery. Wynne is Death and has been for over a century. Even more shocking . . . she’s convinced that Gabe is destined to replace her.
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KIM VENTRELLA is the author of THE SECRET LIFE OF SAM, HELLO, FUTURE ME, BONE HOLLOW and SKELETON TREE. Her works explore difficult topics with big doses of humor, whimsy and hope. Kim has held a variety of interesting jobs, including children’s librarian, scare actor, Peace Corps volunteer, French instructor and overnight staff person at a women’s shelter, but her favorite job title is author. She lives in Oklahoma City with her dog and co-writer, Hera. Find out more at https://kimventrella.com/or follow Kim on Twitter and Instagram (@kimventrella).