Excerpts from the Novel

Below, you can find excerpts from The Partial Adventures of Tillie McGwinn by Corey Michael Dalton.

From Chapter 2 (The Waltzing Witch):

   Eve stretched one slender arm toward Tillie.  “A pleasure, my dear.  Your uncle speaks very highly of you.”
   Tillie didn’t know if Eve expected her to shake or kiss her hand, so she opted for the shake.  “It’s nice to meet you, too,” she said, although she didn’t really mean it.
   “If you didn’t come solely for Quentin’s party – which is absolutely marvelous, by the way – why did you come?” Eve asked.
   Tillie wasn't sure she wanted to answer any question asked by a witch.  “How do you know my Uncle Quentin?  I’ve never seen you around the valley before.”
   “No, you wouldn’t have,” Uncle Quentin answered.  “Eve just moved here from the Unnamed City.  She bought Old Mary Ann’s gingerbread cottage in the Stranger Forest.”
   “I decided it was time to see what life in the country amongst the rustics would be like,” Eve explained.  “City life does get so tiresome after a while.  All that hustle and bustle can drive a person mad.”  She placed the back of one thin hand against her forehead and leaned back as if weak from the memory.  “Unfortunately, Old Mary Ann’s gingerbread cottage was in a horrible state of disrepair!  So, your Uncle has agreed to fix it up for me.  I’m having the roof completely re-iced, of course.”
   Tillie stared at Eve for a moment.  “You know,” she said, “you really don’t look much like a witch.”
   “So you expect all witches to conform to the stereotype?” Eve asked.  “Is that it?”
   “I don’t know…” Tillie said.  “You could at least have a black cat.”
   “I’m allergic.”
   “Tall pointy hat?”
   “They mash down my hair.”
   “Wart on your nose?”
   “Mother and father had it removed as a sweet sixteen present.”


 From Chapter 7 (An Illusion of Grandeur):

   Suddenly, Tillie saw a brown mark appear on Eve’s cheek amidst the pale skin of her normally flawless face.  At first the spot looked like a small, dark bruise, but it began to spread across the witch’s features at an alarming rate, consuming her lips and nose before Tillie could scream.
   “What’s happening to her?” Tillie asked.
   No one answered.
   Tillie looked at Lord Mareel; his wide eyes conveyed the same confusion that she felt.  In desperation, she turned to the Keeper of the Flame.  “Please help her.”
   “I’m not sure what to do,” the old woman admitted, rising from her chair.
   Tillie looked back at Eve, horrified.  The witch’s once-white flesh had now turned completely gray and was beginning to bubble and blister.  Her mouth opened in a silent scream and her body began to melt, flesh dropping from her skeleton in great clumps of mush.  Before anyone could do anything, Eve had become nothing more than a pile of pulsating mud.

 From Chapter 8 (In Which Unusual Occurences Are Explained):

Amidst the Plains of Wompusmeeste
A wild creature roams.
You’ll find no record of this beast
In ancient scrolls or tomes.
Some say it came straight out of Hell
Across the Peaks of Tulfe.
No one has lived to see then tell
About the Wompus Wulf.
This ceaseless fiend pursues its prey
Through grass and stream and mud.
Its pelt, grown coarse from foul decay,
Is caked with tears and blood.
Its jagged teeth are to be feared.
Avoid its claws as well.
Even its whiskers, bent and seared,
Are worthy of a yell.
If you should see this fearsome brute,
Remember -- don't be still!
No sword or spell or poisoned root
Can save you from the kill.
Run far, run fast, run straight away
And you'll survive, at best.
If you escape and did not pay
With life, you passed the test.

From Chapter 12 (The Creeping House):

   Tillie suddenly realized that the rhythmic sound she had taken to be the ticking of a clock was neither a clock nor a tick.  It was, in fact, a distinct lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub.  She listened to the sound for a few moments, puzzled.
   “Yes?” he called from the kitchen.
   “Can you come in here for a minute?”
   Grayden strode through the arched entryway, smiling.  “I found some peanuts!” he exclaimed holding the cannister aloft.
   Tillie shushed him.  “Just listen for a second,” she said.
   Grayden listened.  A minute later he shrugged.  “What am I supposed to be listening for?”
   “You’ll know it when you hear it,” Tillie said.  “Just give it another minute.”
   They were silent again.  At last Grayden spoke.  “I do hear something.  A kind of thumping sound.”
   “It’s a heartbeat,” Tillie said.
   “The man in the other room is definitely dead,” Grayden said.  “He no longer has a heartbeat.”
   “It’s not his heart we’re hearing,” Tillie confirmed.  “It’s the house’s heart.”