The robot, now standing fully upright, was even larger than Murph had guessed. It towered towards the ceiling, casting a giant black shadow across the mosaic floor. Its head was a huge drill, and each of his arms was tipped by a pair of large metal pincers which looked more than a little dangers. And nestled in a chair-like structure attached to the robot’s broad chest was the owner of the high pitched, reedy voice.
“You want a story?” she said. “Janelle’s going to test-run her machine. Report on that.”
“I don’t do human interest,” Germaine said. “What about David? Everyone’s saying he went home for some family thing, but that seems bullshit. You guys are dating or something, right? Where is he?
“I thought you just said you don’t do human interest,” Stevie replied, walking faster.
It must have been somewhere in amongst all these thoughts, worries and questions that Frank had fallen asleep, because she suddenly woke up.
It was dark. The landing light was off.
She reached out with her foot under the covers as she always did when she woke in the night. There was no heavy, warm, snoring-purring lump down the end.
She got out of bed and crept over to the window. She slipped herself under the curtain and looked out.
She could see stars and she could tell that the moon was out, full or nearly full.
The throaty kraa-ing of ten thousand ravens flooded the air like a terrifying aria. Fionn’s fingers itched for the rock he had left behind, anything that might keep a bird or ten from pecking his eyes out. “I supposed you should explain this.”
The Diviners climbed through a back window, letting themselves into the shuttered Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. The beams from their flashlights traveled across what had once been home but now seemed unfamiliar. The glare gave the library’s spiral staircase an otherworldly haze and reflected off the stuffed grizzly bear’s lifeless gaze.
I give him a doubtful look, and the unicorn pillow flies at my head. I slam it back, and he grins, slides off the bed, and smacks me full force. I grab for it but miss, and he hits me again twice before letting me catch it. St. Clair doubles over in laughter and I whack him on the back. He tries to reclaim it, but I hold on and we wrestle back and forth until he lets go. The force throws me onto the bed, dizzy and sweaty.
St. Clair flops down beside me, breathing heavily. He’s lying so close that his hair tickles the side of my face. Our arms are almost touching. Almost. I try to exhale, but I no longer know how to breathe. And then I remember I’m not wearing a bra.
A few seconds passed. She sat down on the dock beside me.
“When I was your age,” she said, “I tried something similar with my parents.”
“Miss Peregrine, I really don’t feel like talking right now.”
Sometimes Miss Peregrine couldn’t be argued with.
There are too many worlds in my head – Palomino High School, The Store, the Gathering- all with their own confusing laws of nature, gravitational strengths, and speeds of light, and really all I want to do is reach escape velocity, bust out into space, and form my own planet tweaked just how I want it.
Planet Frank. Invitation only.
Kiersten makes a face. “This game is vile. And I’m starving.” She’s sitting next to me on our basement sofa and shifts closer to nudge my knee with hers. Kiersten lives an hour away and doesn’t usually spend her Saturdays with us, but her girlfriend is teaching in Japan for six weeks and she’s at loose ends.
“Come on, pause your ridiculously buff alter ego and get some lunch with me.”