For how big his feet were, the elephant never made much too much noise. That was all fine and well if Seamus was trying to sleep; but if he was trying to find track him down in an enormous two-story museum, that was very bad.
“Alabaster?” Seamus whispered. “Alabaster, I know you can hear me you big, dumb butt. You’ve got ears the size of wheel barrows.”
Seamus cupped his hand around his ears. He heard the slight scrapping of elephant feet on marble down by his parents’ bedroom.
Seamus ran down the hall in bare feet, leaving a trail of dirt behind him. He’d have to clean it all before Mom and Dad got up.
He saw the elephant hiding behind a corner and leapt at him. “Gotcha!”
Alabaster snorted with joy then raised his snout.
And he trumpeted. Seamus buried his face in the elephant side. Almost immediately, the door to his parents’ bedroom opened. His mother was carrying a lantern.”
“Seamus, what is going on here?”
“Alabaster was running around.”
“Chemall save me. The sun isn’t even up yet.”
Seamus’s father came out after her, stretching and yawning. “Give it time, dear.”
He kissed her on the cheek. She swatted him away.
“We wouldn’t have this problem if you’d just put that thing in the zoo or sold it to a collecter.”
Seamus pulled himself onto the elephant, holding the old book in the crook of his arm. “No, Mom. I’ve got him. See?”
Alabaster leaned against the wall, almost crushing Seamus’s leg to scratch an itch.
“Hey.” Seamus’s mother walked up and pushed Alabaster away from the wall. “Not in these halls, you.”
Alabaster tossed his trunk.
Seamus’s father grabbed Seamus’s foot.
“Seamus,” he said. “What were you doing outside?”
“Outside?” said his mother. “Past curfew?”
Seamus looked at the floor. “I’ll clean it up.”
His father tapped the book he was holding close to his chest. “You will. But first tell us what happened. Did you take that from the library?”
His mother walked around the elephant and held out her hands. Seamus reluctantly gave it to her.
“I’ve never seen this ratty book in our collection. Where did you get this so late at night?”
He swallowed, trying to gather enough spit to talk. “Outside. I met the ghost.”
“The one Dizzie’s always used to scare me about. The girl who died during the Union War.”
“Does this ghost have a name?”
“No,” he lied. “She just had this book.”
“Venyel Nosek… how did you get this?”
“She… she gave it to me.”
“Venyel Nosek was executed before the Union Wars. These were almost all burned when the Nobles were destroying our culture. Even now, there’s
His father, scratching Alabaster’s side, turned his head. “Gave or borrowed? Which is it, Seamus?”
“Borrowed. She said she’d be back to pick it up.”
His mother and father exchanged a look of confusion. “Well, it’s yours then. But Seamus…” she grabbed his shoulders. “Can I borrow it while you’re cleaning up your mess?”
Seamus frowned at the dirty footprints on the floor. “Okay.”
“Thank you!” She kissed him on the forehead and went back to her room with the lantern, leaving the three of them in the dark.
His father patted Alabaster on the head. “Don’t worry. I’ll take Alabaster back to your room and bring you back some light to work by. Come on, you noisy cow. Waking us all up like that…”
“I can take him.”
“No you can’t. You’ll drag your dirty feet all over the place.”
“Oh. Right.” It was still too early to be thinking.