‘Half Bad’

 

You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.    half-bad-400x400-imadty4qnqcfcdxr

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

Easy.

Are you curious to know more..?

Well today we give you a sneak peek into the new YA Fiction book that’s been creating raves across the world.

Sally Green’s Debut Novel ‘Half Bad ‘is about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.  It is set in modern-day England. Witches and Humans live together. There are the Black Witches and the White Witches. The 16-year-old protagonist, Nathan is half-white and half-black. His mother is dead, and his father is the most powerful and the cruelest Black Witch in the world. Trapped in a cage and abused, Nathan has to escape before his seventeenth birthday, when he will receive three gifts from his father and his magical ability. Otherwise, he will die.

We are very excited to read this book..Hope you are too!!

Below is an extract from the Book. The book releases at a Crossword store near you as well as www.crossword.in  from 24th March 2014

 

Part 1

The Trick

There’s these two kids, boys, sitting close together, squished in by the big arms of an old chair. You’re the one on the left.

The other boy’s warm to lean close to, and he moves his gaze from the telly to you, sort of in slow motion.

‘You enjoying it?’ he asks.

You nod. He puts his arm round you and turns back to the screen.

Afterwards you both want to try the thing in the film. You sneak the big box of matches from the kitchen drawer and run with them to the woods.

You go first. You light the match and hold it between your thumb and forefinger letting it burn right down until it goes out. Your fingers are burnt, but they hold the blackened match.

The trick works.

The other boy tries it too. Only he doesn’t do it. He drops the match.

Then you wake up and remember where you are.

The Cage

The trick is to not mind. Not mind about it hurting, not mind about anything.

The trick of not minding is key, it’s the only trick in town. Only this is not a town, it’s a cage, beside a cottage, surrounded by a load of hills and trees and sky.

It’s a one-trick cage.

Press-Ups

The routine is okay.

Waking up to sky and air is okay. Waking up to the cage and the shackles is what it is. You can’t let the cage get to you. The shackles rub, but healing is quick and easy, so what’s to mind?

The cage is loads better now that the sheepskins are in. Even when they’re damp they’re warm. The tarpaulin over the north end made a big improvement too. There’s shelter from the worst of the wind and rain. And a bit of shade if it’s hot and sunny. Joke! You’ve got to keep your sense of humour too.

So the routine is to wake-up as the sky lightens before dawn. You don’t have to move a muscle, don’t even have to open your eyes to know it’s getting light, and you can just lie there and take it all in.

The best bit of the day.

There aren’t many birds around, a few, not many. It would be good to know their names, but you know their different calls. There are no seagulls, which is something to think about, and there are no vapour trails either. The wind is usually quiet in the pre-dawn calm, and somehow the air feels warmer already as it gets light.

You can open your eyes now and there’s a few minutes to savour the sunrise, which today is a thin pink line stretching along the top of a narrow ribbon of cloud draped over the smudged green hills. And you’ve still got a minute, maybe even two, to get your head together before she appears.

You’ve got to have a plan though, and the best idea is to have it all worked out the night before so you can slip straight into the plan without a thought. Mostly the plan is to do what you’re told, but not everyday, and not today.

You wait until she appears and throws you the keys. You catch the keys, unlock your ankles, rub them to emphasise the pain she is inflicting, unlock your left manacle, unlock your right, stand, unlock the cage door, toss the keys back to her, open the cage door, step out keeping your head down, never look her in the eyes (unless that’s part of some other plan), rub your back and maybe groan a bit, walk to the vegetable bed, piss.

Sometimes she tries to mess with your head of course, by changing the routine. Sometimes she wants chores before exercises, but most days its press-ups first. You’ll know which whilst still zipping up.

‘Fifty.’

She says it quietly. She knows you’re listening.

You take your time as usual. That’s always part of the plan.

Make her wait.

Rub your right arm. The metal wristband cuts into it when the shackle is on. You heal it and get a faint buzz. Then, you roll your head, your shoulders, your head again, and stand there, just stand there for another second or two, pushing her to her limit, before you drop to the ground.

 

One                             Not minding

Two                             is the trick.

Three                           The only

Four                             trick.

Five                              But there are

Six                                loads of

Seven                           tactics.

Eight                             Loads.

Nine                             On the look-out

Ten                              all the time.

Eleven                          All the time.

Twelve                                     And it’s

Thirteen                       easy.

Fourteen                      Cos there ain’t

Fifteen                          nothing else

Sixteen                                     to do.

Seventeen                    Look out for what?

Eighteen                       Something.

Nineteen                      Anything.

Twenty                                    En

Twenty-one                 E

Twenty-two                 Thing.

Twenty-three               A mistake.

Twenty-four                 A chance.

Twenty-five                  An oversight.

Twenty-six                   The

Twenty-seven              tiniest

Twenty-eight                error

Twenty-nine                 by the

Thirty                           White

Thirty-one                    Witch

Thirty-two                   from

Thirty-three                 Hell.

Thirty-four                   Cos she makes

Thirty-five                    mistakes.

Thirty-six                     Oh yes.

Thirty-seven                 And if that

Thirty-eight                  comes to

Thirty-nine                   nothing

Forty                            you wait

Forty-one                     for the next one

Forty-two                     and the next one

Forty-three                  and the next one.

Forty-four                    Until

Forty-five                     you

Forty-six                      succeed.

Forty-seven                  Until

Forty-eight                   you’re

Forty-nine                    free.

You get up. She will have been counting, but never letting up is another tactic.

She doesn’t say anything but steps towards you and backhands you across the face.

Fifty                              ‘Fifty.’

 

As If!

After press-ups it’s just standing and waiting. Best look at the ground. You’re by the cage on the path. It’s got mud on it, but you won’t be sweeping it, not today, not with this plan. It’s rained a lot in the last few days. Autumn’s coming on fast. Still, today it’s not raining, already it’s going well.

‘Do the outer circuit.’ Again she’s quiet. No need to raise her voice.

And off you jog . . . but not yet. You’ve got to keep her thinking you’re being your usual difficult-yet-basically-complying self, and so you knock mud off your boots, left boot heel on right toe followed by right boot heel on left toe, you raise a hand and look up and around as if you’re assessing the wind direction, you spit on the potato plants, look left and right like you’re waiting for a gap in the traffic and . . . let the bus go past . . . and then you’re off.

You take the dry-stone wall with a leap to the top and over, then across the moorland, heading to the trees.

Freedom.

As if!

 

Publisher: Penguin Books India

 Price: Rs 350

 You can also pre order it on http://www.crossword.in

 

Signing off for now

 Until next time Geeks.

 Happy Reading!

Crossword Bookstores

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