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I use processes that are most common among my peers to select my books. I usually have one of my parental units, usually my mom, to go out and look for books. This is the way it happens because up until now I had no mode of transportation. I have faith in my mother to make a good choice; she usually does, for she knows most of my likes and most of my dislikes. This is how its been for a long time, but at least she can pick some pretty interesting books. Three unfamiliar words/unfamiliar usages Alighieri meaning hell or some hellish place Ironmongery heavily tooled, worked, and strangely shaped iron The seller of the lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm in a green town in Illinois, in late October.
The lightning rod salesman calls to the boys and asks if their folks are home, they say no. He asks if they have any money, the boys shook their heads. He then asks them their names. William Halloway and Jim Nightshade the boys reply. The boys begin to tell their story on how they were born only minutes apart around Halloween. The lightning rod salesman decides to give the boys a rod for free because, he feels a storm is coming and its going to hit Jims house. The contraption was covered in ancient dialects, the language of the storms. He goes on about the storm that is going to hit.
Its going to be no ordinary storm, the lightning rod salesman says. He says his name is Tom Furry and for the boys to hammer it high on the roof. Tom totes his bag of contraptions and walks on as the boys nail the rod up. The boys head down to the library for their weekly run. They get to the library and Jim heard some strange music off in the distance. Wills dad meets the boys there; he works as a janitor and is quite old. The boys looked at some dinosaur books, they all discuss the books that they have picked and they head for home.
They are upset that the storm is not coming because; they wanted to see the house get hit by lightning. Charles Halloway wants to run home with the boys, but he stops himself. He thought, Will runs because running is its own excuse. Jim runs because there is something up ahead. Yet they run together. He wonders why the boys are together because they are complete opposites.
He tries to place it, but cant. He heads to the bar for a drink, talks to some people about things, and what was a long time ago. The boys get down town and take their time. The shop lights are on and people are scurrying about. Will comments, Folks run like they thought the storm was here! It is. Jim shouted, Us. Then the city became dead as they rounded the cigar shop.
They saw Mr. Tetley and said, Hi. They heard something far away on the wind, but couldnt say what it was. They see Mr. Crosetti crying, as they run by. Jim and Will sell Licorice and cotton candy, they stop to talk to Mr.
Crosetti about the smells, they cant agree on where it comes from. Charles heads for home whistling Christmas songs. He passes a store with two sawhorses with a block of ice on them and a man leaving the shop waved to him, he had hairy palms on his hands. Charles reads a sign for a carnival inside, and its written in bold, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE WORLD. He did not believe it, it was nothing but frozen river water to him yet he stared long and hard at the block. Jim stopped at the corner of Hickory Street where he saw Will. This is the street where they used to steal apples, plums, and apricots, but the thing happened, it changed the houses, the taste of the fruit, the air. The street changed from houses, trees, plums, apples, and apricots, to one house with a window, than a stage with actors.
The boys looked in through the window, they dont know whats going on, and everything is changing around them. They jump down from the window, Jim suddenly had two library books in his hands, but the boys had not been to the library. Will got a head of Jim and Jim yelled at Will to slow down. Then Jim disappeared, Will just kept running for home, telling himself not to look back. Halfway to home Jim caught up to Will and said no one was home. Then a piece of paper came blowing towards them.
They let it go fluttering in the wind, but it came back to them. The paper read, COMING OCTOBER TWENTY-FOURTH!!COOGER AND DARKS CARNIVAL!! Which was tomorrow. The boys read all the names of all the acts, the made-up names of the carnies, and freaks. Then the wind whipped the paper from their hands. They dont believe the paper. They hear a strange music, smell cotton candy, and licorice, but carnivals dont start at night, only at sunrise. The boys get home and say good night. Will sees his parents in the house doing their usual things, cooking, and knitting.
Then it hit him, how small and insignificant they all were in such a huge world, and they were at the mercy of it. His mother is happy, he doesnt know why. He sees his father, all that is there is a blur of a man, nothing more of him. His dad makes insignificant jokes, but all Will can think about is the carnival. He goes up stairs to his room and puts his ear to the wall to listen to his parents. A man with posters comes up and informs Wills parents about the carnival. They were surprised, as they read over the names.
Will thought to himself, There is something going on. He saw the same paper that they had earlier in his tree and it read, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE WORLD. He hides under his covers and just remembers he has Jims books. He keeps saying to himself that there cannot be a carnival because they do not come this late in the year. Jim lay in his bed noticing he still had his library books in his hand. Thinking about what his mother once said, that he almost died when he was three.
A boy who talked less and smiled less as the years increased. The trouble with Jim was, he looked at the world and could not look away, and when you never look away all your life, by the time you are thirteen, you have done twenty years taking in the laundry of the world. He sits there and talks to his mother about things. Jim looks out his window for the storm; he feels it and decides to take down the rod to see what will happen. Just after midnight the lightening rod salesman looks through a store window where he saw a block of ice. Inside of it was the most beautiful woman in the world just sleeping, trapped in the ice, forever young. The lightening rod salesman remembered to breath. White moths are tapping against the storm windows. Long ago traveling in Rome and Florence, he had seen women like this, kept in stone instead of ice and in Louver, he found women like this kept in paintings rather than ice.
He wonders the color of her hair, how tall is she and what color are her eyes. But he new the color of her eyes even if she did not open them. He enters the cold store, moths tapping at the window. Midnight, Will heard something. He sat up in bed. Across the way, Jim sat up also.
Simultaneously they both lean toward their windows. They thought they heard a calliope. A train appeared, the engine, coal-car, and numerous cars that followed. The engine? The boys were puzzled. Simultaneously both boys vanished coming back with binoculars. The engine? No other train like that since 1900? The rest of the train is all odd, its the carnival train. The boys listened; it sounds like church music.
The boys think, Why would a carnival train have church music? Jim shouted out his window, Lets go watch them set up! Will hollered back. The boys described the train as a funeral train while they slide down the drainpipes after it. Will cried, Jim wait! Jim was a kite with the string cut, running after that train. Will catches up as they are yelling at each other. Jim said, There is no one playing the music. Watching closely as the train crosses the bridge.
Will said, No jokes. But they both looked at the calliope pipes and heard the music but no one was playing it. They continue to chase after the train. Jim and Will had heard train whistles before. They had heard none like this before. The protests of a million people dying, their moans and groans before death.
The train stops in a meadow, it was silent like it was dead, no movement, no life. A man came out and made a gesture and the train came to life. Workers popped out of nowhere with animals. Once everything was all put up, all the workers and all the sounds, the life disappeared. Everything was black and white. Charles Halloway stood in the open library window, he saw the boys and said their names, as was puzzled why they were out at three AM.
The boys think about how dead the carnival was. Charles saw the moonlight glimmer off the mirror maze in the far distance. He thought he would go there, and then he thought, he wont go. He said, I like it. I dont like it, he said. He left for home; he passed the empty store window.
Inside stood two abandoned saw horses, between lay a pool of water. In the water was ice and in between the ice floated strands of hair. It was like the carnival was built by shadows and was one itself. White moth wings lay on the inside windowsill of the store. Wills dad was puzzled and questioned Will about three AM and wondering why the train had come at that time. They both thought it was a special hour.
Women never wake then but men in middle age know that time well. Charles is yelling at Will. Regardless, Will should have never been out. Charles questions why things are the way they are trying to understand everything about men and women correlating to three AM. The sun was up; both boys peered from their windows then raced to see if the carnival was there. They questioned if last night was a dream.
The carnival was there. It was like any other carnival alive and colorful with people about but this does not answer what they saw last night. It was nowhere near the horrors they had seen the night before. Jim and Will met their seventh grade school teacher, Miss Foley. They asked her if she had heard anything last night. She said, No. The boys were reluctant to let her in the mirror maze.
All the hair stood up on the back of the boys necks as they entered the mirror maze to search for Miss Foley. She was walking blind: the boys called for her but they only found cold glass. They eventually find her. She is all shaken up because she saw someone in the maze that looked like a younger her that got trapped in the ice and couldnt get out and disappeared. It was now sunset at the carnival and Jim had vanished. They had spent all afternoon on rides and playing games, and then Jim just vanished.
Will found him in the mirror maze. Jim was just standing there not moving. Will grabbed him and hauled him out of the maze. Jim was freaking out, acting like a nut, and talking of some unseen wonder. Once he was in the cold air of the outside, he snapped out of his trance. He said he saw the same as Miss Foley but wouldnt say exactly what.
They head for home agreeing to come back tonight and agreeing that they will always watch out for each other. Together they tripped over a leather bag. Will looked around and kicked the bag. It clanked. It had dawned on them that it had belonged to the lightening rod salesman. Jim reaches in and pulls out the strangest lightening instruments. They both look to themselves and Jim says, The storm never came.
But he went. They both question where and why did he leave. People, said Jim dont leave their whole life laying around, this is everything that old man owned. They question that it must be something important. They decide to go look for him at the carnival and they hurry back to it, thinking of people with hot food and bright rooms. The boys come across a merry-go-round with a sign that says it is broken, but the boys dont believe in signs, and it does not look like it is broken to them. They hop on, since it is the only ride that they have not been on.
A man from the machinery picked them up and said the ride was out of order, then a voice said, Put them down. The boys proclaimed themselves to be just curious. The man said his name was Dark. The other mans name was Cooger. Dark handed Jim a card that changed colors and the words moved on it. It now read, OUR SPECIALTY: TO EXAMINE, OIL, POLISH, AND REPAIR DEATH WATCH BEETLES.
Then the card turned into a dead brown beetle. The boys played to the two men, making them do magic. Jim was in awe; Mr. Dark was producing pictures and illustrations. When the two men said that the show was over and the carnival was closed until seven, then Dark gave Jim a card to ride the merry-go-round for free when it was fixed. They ran and hid in a tree.
Jim wanted to go home but Will persuaded him otherwise. They watched as the merry-go-round started, it was running backwards and playing the terrible calliope. Mr. Cooger, who was on it, started to melt away, he got younger and younger. He was now twelve. The boys were scared.
It was now completely dark, the boys were running, Jim said the merry-go-round went around twenty times. They see someone up ahead; they duck behind a tree, the person moved on. They tried to understand what had happened and tried to make it sound believable to themselves. They continue running up to Miss Foleys house. They see someone staring out the window. Her nephew.
They believe he is Mr. Cooger because of his eyes; they are Mr. Coogers. They believe there is some evil hiding in her house. The boys argue whether to go in. Will says, Lets not, just call her to warn her. They want to see the boy.
Miss Foley answers the door and invites the boys in. Will is a little shaken but Jim drives on to confront the boy. Will confronts Miss Foley as if he is going to tell her about the merry-go-round, but he said, Mr. Crosetti, the barber, was dead. That some people told them and there was a sign in the window. She introduces her nephew to the boys.
Jim extends his hand and says to the boy, You look familiar. The boy does not know what to do. They all just stare at each other. The boys decide to go home and meet at the carnival later. They agree it was Mr. Cooger and Will had figured out the awful calliope that was constantly played.
It was the funeral march played backwards. Two suppers were waiting in two houses. One parent yelled at Jim, two parents yelled at Will. The boys run in their mind how they are going to explain to Miss Foley that her nephew is no nephew. Wills dad went to confront him, but all he said was, Be careful. Will wondered if his dad smelled the panic and heard the music. Will tried to raise Jim but he would not get out of bed.
Will feared for Miss Foley. Will thinks of his father. Also all the things that boys like him and Jim would do to contact each other and to have fun. Will is waiting to receive some signal from Jim meaning the carnival, Miss Foley, Mr. Cooger, and or the evil nephew. Will is getting worried, no signal came: he wondered what Jim was thinking about. The mirror maze, what had he seen and what did he plan? Will stirred restlessly. Will thought he had heard something at 10:35 PM.
He saw Jim climbing down his drainpipe. Will hurried down after him, Will caught up to him at Miss Foleys house. They worry about Miss Foley. Jim felt the thing in the window above, which had suddenly vanished, was pulling him. He could bear it no longer. Jim leaped forth, Will grabbed his arm and stopped him.
Will scared the crap out of Jim, he tells Will to go home. They argue a bit and fight beating each other up. They noticed Robert on the porch and he ran inside. Then he ran back outside, leaped the porch rail, and landed feather soft on the grass. He threw gold and jewelry at Jim and Will. Robert screamed for the Police.
He threw more jewels at them and kicked over two trashcans to make a ruckus. Jim and Will bolted but that is just what Robert wanted, now no one will believe the boys about carnivals, or carousels, not about mirrors or evil nephews, not about anything. The boys were afraid of what Robert might do. They kept running. The boys run to the carnival grounds chasing the nephew. They have to stop him, not to let him get near the merry-go-round.
They cant let him get older and bigger. By the time Will got there, the merry-go-round was spinning to life. It was going forward. When the boys got up to it the nephew was one year older then they. The boys got to the control box. They fought over it and the controls.
Will got electrocuted and hit the switch handle. Lightening jumped into the sky. Will and Jim were launched backward by the blast. They watched as the evil boy wrestled with the merry-go-round as it ran wild out of control. He climbed to the outer edge of poles when the control box exploded knocking the carousel back and the boy hit his head, blood came forth. The carousel went around fifty plus times.
Will and Jim were freaking out, all the explosions, the lightening storm, but no one came. The switch box finally blew itself out, the carnival lights went out and the carousel wound down. The boys approach it. They saw a mummified body, which was about 130 in the burning wreckage, all old and shriveled in its clothes. They call the Police and take them to the body of Mr. Cooger but he was not there.
They go searching through the tents. They all go into a tent. It was the freak tent. They were all there playing cards, just sitting around. The door looked familiar to the boys. They see Mr.
Cooger strapped into an electric chair. The Police and the Medics go over while the midget jumps up. It was the lightening rod salesman. They had turned him into a midget. The Freaks were doing their acts, trying to frighten them. The Police were ready for anything.
Mr. Dark shows up, he invites and welcomes them. Putting the Police and Medics in a trance with his magical illustrations. They all jumped forth as Mr. Dark put 100,000 volts through Mr. Cooger.
Everyone watched as the old corpse sat there burning as Mr. Dark willed it to come alive. The old man came to life in flame and spark. The boys were yelling but no one heard them. Even the Freaks ran off. The fried corpse said to the Police that it was a trick he played on the boys acting like he had fallen and died, that this misunderstanding was an accident.
The boys wanted to go home. Miss Foley fears the mirror is in her house. She does not even consider the nephew to be hers, she felt ever since he came to her that he did not belong. She had figured out that the nephew had thrown the jewelry onto the lawn to get rid of the boys that would accompany her to the carnival. The nephew had pushed the carnival on her with the carousel admit one ticket still on the mantle. She calls Mr.
Halloway and asks to meet him in the Police Station. The medics could have sworn that Mr. Cooger was dead when they first got there. Jim and Will gave the Police false names and had them drop them off at different houses. The boys head for home, thinking of how they can explain this to the Police or anyone. But for everything that has happened relating to the carnival, there was a logical excuse, except for the illogical, which had happened, and no one would believe it.
The boys get into another argument over each others actions at the merry-go-round. They saw Miss Foley and Wills dad in the Police Station talking to the Police. Miss Foley was talking about how she was robbed, and if the boys were innocent, where are they. Will popped up and said, Right here. Mr. Halloway walked the boys home. They agreed to go back to Miss Foleys tomorrow to look for some more of the stolen property, and the boys agree not to sneak out for the next month.
The boys had confessed to robbing Miss Foleys place. That way by confessing, the Police would go easy on them and besides no one would believe their story anyway. Wills dad did not believe the boys were guilty and said he would believe their story. Will agreed to tell him in a couple of days. Will asks his father if he is a good person. His father said, Yes, and asked if that would help him when times get worse.
It will help, Will said. They get into a discussion of thought and beliefs, and philosophical ideas. His father asks him since when he thought being good meant being happy Will said, Since always. Since I learn to know otherwise, he said. They talk of growing up and growing old. They talk about the man with the biggest smile an act the happiest is carrying the biggest load of sin.
And men do love sin, he tells Will. Dont look at the things you missed out on or the things that went bad, youll go crazy, just think of the good times, happiness and so on, because thinking of bad things wont bring you good ones, he later added. The ....
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