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Clayby David Almond
Synopses & Reviews
He arrived in Felling on a bright and icy February morning. Not so long ago, but it was a different age. I was with Geordie Craggs, like I always was back then. We were swaggering along like always, laughing and joking like always. We passed a Players back and forward between us and blew long strings of smoke into the air. We'd just been on the altar. We were heading for Braddock's garden. We were on Watermill Lane when a red taxi rattled past us. Black fumes belched from it. The sign at the top said it was from down at the coast.
"What's that doing up here?" said Geordie.
A bit of communion wafer was still stuck to my teeth. I poked it free with my tongue and swallowed it, then drew on the cigarette again.
"God knows," I said.
The taxi stopped fifty yards away, outside Crazy Mary's house. Crazy came lolloping out with her red hair flying. She had a big flappy flowery dress and tartan slippers on. The kid got out of the taxi. He pulled a battered brown suitcase after him. Crazy paid the driver; then the two of them headed for her front door. She looked back at us. She tried to put her arm around the kid but he twisted away and went inside. Crazy followed him and the door slammed shut.
The taxi driver leaned out of his window as he went past.
"What you two nebbing at?" he said.
"Nowt much," I said.
"Why don't you nick off back to Whitley Bay?" said Geordie.
"Aye," I said. "Nick off, Fishface."
And we laughed and belted on towards the garden yelling, "Fishface Fishface Fishface "
We went through the ancient iron gate, ducked through the thorns, splashed through the edge of the clay pond, went into the quarry, went into the cave. There was writing on the wall again. We held matches up to it. All it said was 'We're watching you. Your doomd, ' then a big black X. Somebody had tried to draw a skull as well but it looked like they'd given up because they were too useless.
I wiped dirt over it all.
Geordie sharpened his knife on a stone.
He pointed it at me.
"Soon there'll be a proper battle," he said.
"Aye," I said.
"It'll be just them and us," he said.
I shivered. I tried to laugh.
"The Battle of Braddock's Garden," I said.
I looked out at the sheer craggy quarry walls, the thick weeds, the deep clay pond, the ruins of Braddock's house above. The sparrow hawk flew out from its stony nest and flapped up into the open sky.
"Who was that at Crazy's?" I said.
"God knows," he said. "Wouldn't like to be him, though, holed up with that loony."
He took a syrup of figs bottle out of his pocket and lobbed it over. It was half full of the wine that he'd stolen after Mass that morning. I screwed the top off and swigged and smacked my lips. The wine was sticky and sweet and you could soon feel the little bit of dreaminess it brought.
"Pinching altar wine's a sin," I said.
We laughed and snapped some sticks, getting a fire ready.
I pointed to the ground.
"You'll burn in Hell, George Craggs," I said.
"Naa," said Geordie. "Not for that. You go to Hell for p
The developing relationship between teenager Davie and a mysterious new boy in town morphs into something darker and more sinister when Davie learns firsthand of the boy's supernatural powers. Reprint.
Fourteen-year-old Davie and his best friend, Geordie, are altar boys at their local Catholic Church. They’re full of mischief, but that all changes when Stephen Rose comes to town. Father O’Mahoney thinks it would be a good idea for Davie and Geordie to befriend him—maybe some of their good nature will rub off on this unhappy soul. But it’s Stephen who sees something special in Davie.
Stephen’s a gifted sculptor. One day as Davie looks on, Stephen brings a tiny figure to life. It’s a talent he has, the gift of creation—and he knows that Davie has this talent, too. Davie allows Stephen to convince him to help bring a life-size figure to life—and Clay is born. Clay is innocent, but Stephen has special plans for him.
What has Davie helped to unleash on the world?
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
\David Almond lives in England with his partner and their daughter.
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