Something little and black scuttled across the floor. The door creaked and cracked for a moment before it was still. Dust poured through the flashlight beam. Something scratched and scratched in a corner. I tiptoed further in and felt spiderwebs breaking on my brow. Everything was packed in tight--ancient furniture, kitchen units, rolled-up carpets, pipes and crates and planks. I kept ducking down under the hoses and ropes and duffel bags that hung from the roof. More cobwebs snapped on my clothes and skin. The floor was broken and crumbly. I opened a cupboard an inch, shined the flashlight in, and saw a million woodlice scattering away. I peered down into a great stone jar and saw the bones of some little animal that had died in there. Dead bluebottles were everywhere. There were ancient newspapers and magazines. I shined the flashlight onto one and saw that it came from nearly fifty years ago. I moved so carefully. I was scared every moment that the whole thing was going to collapse. There was dust clogging my throat and nose. I knew they'd be yelling for me soon and I knew I'd better get out. I leaned across a heap of tea chests and shined the torch into the space behind and that's when I saw him.
Excerpted from Skellig by David Almond Copyright © 1999 by David Almond. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 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.
I thought he was dead. He was sitting with his legs stretched out and his head tipped back against the wall. He was covered in dust and webs like everything else and his face was thin and pale. Dead bluebottles were scattered on his hair and shoulders. I shined the flashlight on his white face and his black suit.
"What do you want?" he said.
He opened his eyes and looked up at me.
His voice squeaked like he hadn't used it in years.
"What do you want?"
My heart thudded and thundered.
"I said, what do you want?"