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Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo Read Online (FREE)

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Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo Read Online

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Originally published: October 8, 2019
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genres: Thriller, Fantasy Fiction, Occult Fiction, Paranormal fiction, Paranormal Fantasy

Read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo full novel Online

Author’s Note

The societies of Yale University and their prestigious alumni are very real, but the characters and events described in these pages are all the product of the author’s imagination, and as far as I know, no one has ever used magic to fix an election.

 

Ay una moza y una moza que nonse espanta de la muerte

porque tiene padre y madre y sus doge hermanos cazados.

Caza de tre tabacades y un cortijo enladriado.

En medio de aquel cortijo havia un mansanale

que da mansanas de amores en vierno y en verano.

Adientro de aquel cortijo siete grutas hay fraguada.

En cada gruta y gruta ay echado cadenado….

El huerco que fue ligero se entró por el cadenado.

—La Moza y El Huerco

Th ere is a girl, a girl who does not fear death

Because she has her father and her mother and her twelve hunter brothers,

A home of three floors and a barnyard farm house,

In the middle of the farm, an apple tree that gives love apples in the winter and summer.

In the farm there are seven grottos,

Each and every grotto secured….

Death was light and slipped in through the lock.

—Death and the Girl, Sephardic ballad

 

Prologue

 

Early Spring

By the time Alex managed to get the blood out of her good wool coat, it was too warm to wear it. Spring had come on grudgingly; pale blue mornings failed to deepen, turning instead to moist, sullen afternoons, and stubborn frost lined the road in high, dirty meringues. But sometime around mid-March, the slices of lawn between the stone paths of Old Campus began to sweat themselves free of snow, emerging wet, black, and tufty with matted grass, and Alex found herself notched into the window seat in the rooms hidden on the top floor of 268 York, reading Suggested Requirements for Lethe Candidates.

She heard the clock on the mantel tick, the chiming of the bell as customers came and went in the clothing store below. The secret rooms above the shop were affectionately known as the Hutch by Lethe members, and the commercial space beneath them had been, at varying times, a shoe store, a wilderness outfitter, and a twenty-four-hour Wawa mini-mart with its own Taco Bell counter. The Lethe diaries from those years were filled with complaints about the stink of refried beans and grilled onions seeping up through the floor—until 1995, when someone had enchanted the Hutch and the back staircase that led to the alley so that they smelled always of fabric softener and clove.

Alex had discovered the pamphlet of Lethe House guidelines sometime in the blurred weeks after the incident at the mansion on Orange. She had checked her email only once since then on the Hutch’s old desktop, seen the long string of messages from Dean Sandow, and logged off. She’d let the battery run down on her phone, ignored her classes, watched the branches sprout leaves at the knuckles like a woman trying on rings. She ate all the food in the pantries and freezer—the fancy cheeses and packs of smoked salmon first, then the cans of beans and syrup-soaked peaches in boxes marked emergency rations. When they were gone, she ordered takeout aggressively, charging it all to Darlington’s still-active account. The trip down and up the stairs was tiring enough that she had to rest before she tore into her lunch or dinner, and sometimes she didn’t bother to eat at all, just fell asleep in the window seat or on the floor beside the plastic bags and foil-wrapped containers. No one came to check on her. There was no one left.