George was still watching me. Boldly I looked back at him. Despite his superiority of title, wealth, sex, and age, the words of an eighteen-year-old girl in a sprigged cotton dress had impressed him.
"I have a better idea than cards," he said.
His gaze -- penetrating, intelligent, accustomed to his own superiority -- never left my face. None of us spoke. George sat forward in his chair. "Shall we all follow Mary’s excellent example," he suggested, "and spend this evening in the company of spirits?"
"Capital idea!" exclaimed Polidori. Then, with a frown, "But what do you actually mean, George?"
"I mean ghost stories," said George. "Let us each tell one, here in the darkness, with the storm raging outside."
My heart was on fire. Many things I had not understood before had linked themselves effortlessly together. Nightmarish visions, dreams that had dogged me day and night for years. The power and glory of the storm. The idea that a scientist might make a creature more monstrous than any God has devised. The earth-shattering possibility that life itself could lie in the ferocity of those sky-sparks that even now crackled their way across the heavens.
Excerpted from Angelmonster by Veronica Bennett. Copyright © 2008 by Veronica Bennett. Excerpted by permission of Candlewick, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.