Posted by authorcamilson
About the Book
Title: The Peacock Door
Author: Wanda Kay Knight
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
In a magical tale of adventure, eight cousins sneak through forbidden treehouse doors, only to find themselves separated from each other and lost in strange worlds. In their quests to return home, they must unravel mysteries, escape snares and villains, find one another, and search for the elusive Oracle. The Peacock Door is a rich story of camaraderie, loyalty, love, and determination with a bit whimsy sprinkled throughout.
Wanda Kay Knight lives in the Pacific Northwest, teaches literature, strives really hard to keep up with her adventurous/competitive family, makes things out of yarn (mainly unique hats), enjoys collecting pretty rocks, and writes a lot.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grizzles and Lola:
He hobbled and wobbled when he walked as though sharp tacks protruded from the floor; his shoulders were hunched, and his head bent forward; he was ancient, no doubt about it—he was an ancient, old man. Giant folds and wrinkles covered his face; his white hair fell in large loopy whorls about his head, and they might have redeemed the face if it were not for the huge bulbous nose and the tiny squinty eyes. But the part they noticed the most was the fingers; gnarled, wrinkled fingers with long, yellowed talons for fingernails.
He twisted around and snarled at them; his raspy voice interrupted by his own heavy, noisy breathing, “Can’t you see that I am busy? I don’t like people, and I especially don’t like children. I ate the last child that came here.” He picked his tooth with a dirty fingernail. “What do you want?”
Icy Stone Steps:
A full moon had risen in the cobalt sky casting a bluish glow over the icy, snow-swept mountainside, illuminating the entire hamlet. Icicles dangled from the steep, high pitched roofs of cottages nestling here and there, jumbled together at odd angles wherever the mountainside allowed. Jagged, ice covered stone steps, cut into the mountainside, curved up and around the icicle laden cottages until finally reaching a summit—a high, flat plateau. And it was on that plateau—high overhead and overshadowing the village—that a Citadel, a snow-covered stone fortress—overwhelming with its massive and imposing presence—rose up out of the mountain as though etched and carved from the rock itself.
They stood exhaling puffs of frosty mist; entranced by the ethereal beauty of their snow laden destination and shocked by the terrible price they must pay to get there. Finally realizing the price for warmth and comfort for the night so they would have an audience with the Oracle tomorrow was a midnight climb up jagged icy stone steps tonight. It was foreboding and frigid; it was ethereal and sublime.
“We can do this,” Eleanor whispered. She slipped over and laid one arm on Ivan’s shoulder and the other on Tilly’s. Addison silently reached down grabbing Brody’s hand—and he let her do it. Claire moved over to stand beside Levi who had taken Esmé back into his own arms. He smiled a grim smile, and then he turned, planting his foot on the first jagged, icy stone step as each of the cousins formed a silent line behind him, breathing in the cold, frosty air, and preparing to follow.
Nothing, nothing at all, not the ancient tales of lore, nor the fables of old could have prepared the cousins for the imposing power or the exquisite beauty of the Citadel. It rose up out of the snow like an elaborate ice sculpture, with belfries and pinnacled towers climbing into the clouds and reaching higher than the peaks themselves.
There were arches and turrets and cupolas, and parapets and round keeps with lanterns flickering in spade shaped windows, and all of it as pristine and intricate as though carved from ice and decorated with snow.
The castle was hewn from the mountain itself, forged from the stone so that the posterior of the castle was fused into the rock face of the mountain. A high, thick stone wall with ramparts and battlements like the strongholds of old, curved around the castle, surrounding it like a giant horseshoe with the massive gatehouse setting the center and the two prongs fusing back into the mountain.
And then, all of a sudden, Gramma stopped and pointed up into the top of a mass of trees. And there it was—perched high in an ancient oak and nestled within the branches—an oddly shaped ramshackle treehouse. It was slightly askew, somewhat rickety and setting a little lopsided with uneven, peculiar angles. It was made of old wooden shingles and tin and such. Branches seemed to grow around the bottom and squeeze the sides and burst out from the top. The entire group stood still, mouths gaping open—peering up.
Levi saw the wooden ladder first and raced toward it. Immediately the others were nipping at his heels as they competed to get to the top. Grunts and ouches and “hey-stop that’s” pierced the air as each one pushed and shoved and as fingers and toes were trampled in the chaos to get to the top first. Gramma watched from the ground, and once they were all at the top, she grabbed hold of the bottom rung of the ladder and began climbing behind them.
The others smiled, nodding innocently. Gramma laughed and turned to go out the peacock door; but, as soon as she grabbed the handle, she pivoted back facing them.
A bizarre expression clouded her face. “Whatever you do,” she said, “Whatever you do—listen to me!” She pointed her finger at each of them, and after staring directly into each set of eyes, she continued. “There are journeys and treasures beyond those doors,” she said, “There are long forgotten wisps of alchemy and lost keys and crystals and mirrors of illusions; but, you must not go out any of those doors. Her voice lowered as she leaned forward. “I gotta tell you—those keys are especially hard to find. You think it’s easy; but, nooo, it is not! Everything is fine as long as you don’t go out any doors except the peacock door, right here. This is the door to use—only this one.” She patted the door.
Her voice lowered even more—almost to a whisper. “You see, kiddies, even if you’re ready to search for the keys, it’s real hard to—um—well—to—to feel them—to experience them.” She rubbed the fingers of each hand together, rotating the thumb around the fingertips. “Yeeessss, to feel them; it’s just not the time to feel them. That’s the hard part. Do you understand?”
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