Goblin Secrets

Goblin Secrets by William Alexander Read Free Book Online

Book: Goblin Secrets by William Alexander Read Free Book Online
Authors: William Alexander
grand and glorious projects like rail stations. Now the gearworkers were all as cracked as Mr. Scrud, and nothing they said ever made sense. Rownie tried not to wonder what it was that cracked them all, and he tried not to imagine that it was still here, somewhere in the station. He tried not to imagine that he could hear it breathing. He was fairly certain that he could hear something breathing, something big, somewhere in the dark.
    Many pairs of bare feet smacked the stone. The sound echoed all around him.
    “Rownie-Runt!” Blotches called. It was Blotches’s voice, but the syllables sounded like Graba.
    “Stop your hiding, now,” called Greasy. He spoke like Graba.
    “I’ll be so much less angry if you come out,” called Stubble, his voice rising and falling the way Graba’s voice rose and fell. “I’ve got things to ask of you.”
    “Come out, you Changeling thing!” Blotches shouted, his voice rusty and furious.
    Rownie stayed where he was, as still as he could manage.He stopped wondering about what else might haunt the station. It was haunted by Grubs, and he didn’t think that there could be anything worse. He focused on breathing silently. He got ready to run, if he needed to run.
    Someone passed near Rownie’s bench. Rownie heard him muttering. It sounded like it might be Greasy. Rownie hoped so. Greasy wasn’t very fast. Whoever it was moved off again.
    Rownie heard pigeon wings overhead. He peered out from underneath the bench to see dark, feathered shapes pass beneath the faint glow of the ceiling. They circled. They searched.
    “Vass, are you here?” Stubble asked loudly, still in Graba’s voice. “Make light for me now.”
    Rownie heard Vass chanting, somewhere in the dark, and then it wasn’t dark anymore. Light bloomed and blinded him.
    Large clocks hung from the ceiling by great lengths of chain, like the pocket watches of giants. Each clock was also a lantern, and now every lantern burned. They swayed slowly back and forth as pigeons landed on them and pushed off again. The light that they cast made long and swaying shadows.
    Rownie watched the Grubs from underneath his iron bench. He watched them search for him in the rows ofrailcars. The mirrored, brass finish of the cars looked tarnished and old, even though they had never been used.
    He waited until he was sure that no one looked in his direction, and then he crawled away from the bench and into the shadow of a stone pillar. He crept carefully down the length of the shadow, farther into the station.
    The whole place looked like Northside, with its polished stone and precise angles. It was strange to be south of the River, but seem to be in Northside. Rownie tried not to let it bother him, because he had worse things to be bothered about, and quirks of architecture were down among the very least of his concerns—but he still found it distracting and disorienting. There was a logic to moving through Southside, and that logic no longer worked inside the rail station. Rownie had to make a gear shift in his head, and in his movements, to make sense of his surroundings and to find somewhere to hide. He had to pretend he was north of the River.
    Stubble called to him, somewhere very close by. Rownie’s insides jumped at the noise. He couldn’t tell where it was coming from. He climbed up inside one of the railcars to get quickly out of sight.
    Rows of chairs filled the inside of the car. The chairs looked soft and comfortable. They were made out of polished wood, and had faded red cushions. Small, roundtables stood between some of the chairs, with streaks of green patina across their copper surfaces. A few lanterns burned on the walls to either side, lit by Vass’s chant.
    Rownie knew that Vass had a little talent for curses and charms—or at least he knew that she bragged about it—but he had never seen her do anything so grand before. He had also never seen a sibling look at him with Graba’s look, or speak with the rhythms of

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