The Stolen Heir by Holly Black EPUB & PDF – eBook Details
- Author Name: Holly Black
- Book Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Young Adult Fantasy, Fae, Fiction, Fairies
- ISBN #
- Edition Language: English
- Date of Publication: January 3, 2023
- File Format: PDF / EPUB
- PDF / EPUB File Size: 1.6 MB
The slant of the moon tells me that it’s half past ten when my unsister
comes out the back door. She’s in her second year of college and
keeps odd hours. As I watch from the shadows, she sets down an empty
cereal bowl on the top step of the splintery and sagging deck. Then she
glugs milk into it from a carton. Spills a little. Squatting, she frowns out
toward the tree line.
For an impossible moment, it’s as though she’s looking at me.
I draw deeper into the dark.
The scent of pine needles is heavy in the air, mingling with leaf mold
and the moss I crush between my bare toes.
The breeze carries the smell of
the sticky, rotten, sugary dregs still clinging to bottles in the recycling bin;
the putrid something at the bottom of the empty garbage can; the chemical
sweetness of the perfume my unsister is wearing.
I watch her hungrily.
Bex leaves the milk for a neighborhood cat, but I like to pretend it’s me
she’s leaving it for. Her forgotten sister.
She stands there for a few minutes while moths flit above her head and
mosquitoes buzz. Only when she goes back inside do I slink closer to the
house, peering through the window to watch my unmother knit in front of
the television. Watching my unfather in the breakfast nook with his laptop,
answering email. He puts a hand to his eyes, as though tired.
In the Court of Teeth, I was punished if I called the humans who raised
me my mother and father. Humans are animals, Lord Jarel would say, the
admonishment coming with a breathtakingly hard blow. Filthy animals. You
share no blood with them.
I taught myself to call them unmother and unfather, hoping to avoid
Lord Jarel’s wrath. I keep the habit to remind myself of what they were to
me, and what they will never be again. Remind myself that there is nowhere
that I belong and no one to whom I belong.
The hair on the back of my neck prickles. When I look around, I note an
owl on a high branch, observing me with a swivel of its head. No, not an
I pick up a rock, hurling it at the creature.
It shifts into the shape of a hob and takes off into the sky with a screech,
beating feathered wings. It circles twice and then glides off toward the
The local Folk are no friends to me. I’ve seen to that.
Another reason I am no one, of nowhere.
Resisting the temptation to linger longer near the backyard where I once
played, I head for the branches of a hawthorn at the edge of town. I stick to
the dimness of shadowed woodland, my bare feet finding their way through
the night. At the entrance to the graveyard, I stop.
Huge and covered in the white blooms of early spring, the hawthorn
towers over headstones and other grave markers. Desperate locals,
teenagers especially, come here and tie wishes to the branches.
I heard the stories as a kid. It’s called the Devil’s Tree. Come back three
times, make three wishes, and the devil was supposed to appear. He’d give
you what you asked for and take what he wanted in return.
It’s not a devil, though. Now that I have lived among the Folk, I know
the creature that fulfills those bargains is a glaistig, a faerie with goat feet
and a taste for human blood.
I climb into a cradle of branches and wait, petals falling around me with
the sway of the tree limbs. I lean my cheek against the rough bark, listening
to the susurration of leaves. In the cemetery that surrounds the hawthorn,
the nearby graves are more than a hundred years old. These stones have
weathered thin and bone pale. No one visits them anymore, making this a
perfect spot for desperate people to come and not be seen
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