Repost: Book Report: The Thief of Always

Sadly, most of my drafts were still only half-done, so to compensate for the dearth of articles on my blog, I decided to import blogposts from my previous blogs. (Yes, I started plenty of blogs, so many that in fact, I have forgotten the URL’s or the login info for the majority of them. LOL) I’ll be posting them on a regular basis.

For my first repost, I decided to enter a book report for a book I finished. If I thoroughly enjoyed a book, I sometimes write reviews or book report, basically as an affirmation that I finished the book.

I have several of these, most of which were shared to students who are in dire need of projects for their literature subject.

* * *

Title: The Thief of Always

Author: Clive Barker

Time: February 1, early 90’s

Setting: Millsap (Harvey’s hometown); Holiday House

Characters:

  • Harvey Swick = a fun-loving 10-year old son of a surgeon who hates school and household chores
  • Wendell Hamilton III = son of a banker, he was one of the remaining residents at Holiday House when Harvey Swick arrived. Harvey had known him for his bad jokes and his favorite expression: “Who cares?”
  • Mrs. Griffin = a grandmotherly figure and Holiday House’s resident cook. According to her, she was the first occupant in the house
  • Mr. Hood = he built the Holiday House. According to Mrs. Griffin, he lives at the attic and is an extremely private person. Nobody has seen him, though
  • Rictus = one of Mr. Hood’s servant. He was about four feet in height, shorter than Harvey, his frame scrawny and his skin yellowish in color. He loves wearing fancy suits and showing his extremely wide grin
  • Lulu = the other remaining resident of Holiday House. She is a freckled girl with long, frizzy blond hair and huge, blue-green eyes
  • Blue-Cat = one of Mrs. Griffin’s cats given to her by Mr. Hood. Obviously named because of its fur’s color
  • Stew-Cat = a piebald cat and also one of Mrs. Griffin’s cats
  • Clue-Cat = Mrs. Griffin’s third and last cat was named because of its tail crooked like a question mark. According to Mrs. Griffin, the cat loves new residents
  • Jive = one of the servants in the house. It seems that every muscle in his body is “in motion”
  • Marr = another servant. She was grossly fat, her flesh barely clinging to her bones, collapsing in clammy folds. She has the power to transform someone into something else
  • Carna = the last of Mr. Hoods servants is a winged and violent beast who has a certain obsession for teeth. It is the one responsible for Marr’s toothless grin

Summary:

Harvey swore that he nearly died of boredom in February when memories of Christmas were slowly fading and the long wait for Easter is beginning to take its toll on him that he wished he would take a break and just have fun somewhere. Then one stormy night, Rictus suddenly appeared in his room and invited him to Holiday House. Harvey was reluctant, however, and after one week, when he thought that meeting Rictus was just a dream and regretting that he didn’t go then, Rictus appeared again. This time, Harvey agreed and together they went to a hill near the city.

At first, Harvey saw nothing but a thick wall of mist. Harvey explained that only special kids like him can see this mist and that adults see only a dead end.

Harvey was able to pass through the seemingly solid wall of mist while Rictus explained to him the rules. There’s only one, and that was not to be inquisitive and just have fun.

Past the mist stood the Holiday House. Strangely, when Harvey noticed that when he left Millsap, a storm is about to break up, but here it was sunny, and the fields surrounding the house is abloom with flowers, as if it was spring.

The house was four-story, and looked extremely old. Standing on the porch was Mrs. Griffin, who invited him inside for food. They went to the kitchen, and there on the huge table is laid a feast fit for a king. It was there that Harvey first saw Wendell, who’s playing with Stew-Cat. Harvey was full of food when he was called by mrs. Griffin to his room. He couldn’t resist the extremely soft bed and the pillows that he fell asleep the rest of the day, undisturbed.

The next day, worried that his parents were looking for him, he asked Mrs. Griffin to call them from the phone. He was able to talk to them and they told him to forget all his worries and just enjoy his vacation. After gobbling another monstrous bunch of breakfast, he met Wendell, who asked him if he would like to help him build his tree house. Harvey agreed and after three hours they had built the three house and found a new friend in each other. Wendell told him that he’s the best resident he’d met, and when Harvey asked him what had happened about the other residents, Wendell said they had probably gone home. And Lulu? Wendell said that she’s acting strange lately. Lunch is approaching, and Wendell said that here in Holiday House, seasons change fast, and summer will begin at lunchtime.

At lunch, when Harvey’s thinking of something to do, he suggested fishing at the lake which Wendell had mentioned when they talked a while ago, but Wendell said that the lake is dangerous because it was too deep, the bottom is not visible. Mrs. Griffin also said the fishes aren’t worth catching because they are extremely poisonous. While they were talking about this, one unfortunate mishap happened, when Clue-Cat, foraging for food at the kettle which was still cooking at the the stove, overturned , scalding the poor cat and killing it.

Harvey was alone that afternoon and, despite the warning from Wendell and Mrs. Griffin, went to the lake. It was dark in there and the lake was extremely large that the other end can’t be seen. Then, he suddenly saw Lulu in a distance, about to fall into the water. She was startled by his call, and when he’s near the spot, she was just gone. Then he looked into the water and saw large fishes. With that, he felt spooked by this place and returned to the house. He passed by Wendell at the tree house reading comics, who told him of Halloween that night. Harvey must wear a costume.

They went into a room and saw lots of old clothes, but what caught Harvey’s interest were hundreds of masks placed on a wall. Wendell told him they were Mr. Hood’s collection.

That night, Harvey wore a Dracula costume. He was alone when he came to their agreed meeting place, and soon he learned why. Wendell did a rather creepy practical joke involving a hanged man, practically scaring him out of his wits. Harvey thought the joke was clever afterwards, but what mystified him was a winged creature he saw before Wendell’s joke, which Wendell denied as his doing.

Still later that night, it was Christmas, and Harvey was told to wish for a gift. Later on, Mrs. Griffin told Harvey that he has a gift, and upon opening the gift, he couldn’t believe that he actually received what he just wished–an exact copy of the handmade Noah’s Ark his father had given him on a Christmas many years ago. Even more surprising was the shocking similarity between this and the old one, whom he had lost.

And so the days passed, each day offering more fun and surprises than the previous that Harvey almost forgotten the real world. After a week, Harvey made another phone call to his parents, and then that afternoon, being alone again, he went again to the lake, expecting Lulu to be there. She wasn’t, and Harvey tried his ark in the lake. Suddenly, the ark was overturned by a fish, and in an attempt to rescue it, he dived into the icy cool water. But he was scared of the fishes, and he returned to the shore while watch the boat submerging slowly in the lake. He was saddened by this, and for some reason, begun to feel haunted about this place, though he wasn’t sure who is haunting this place.

That afernoon, he met Jive, who urged him to do his revenge on Wendell’s joke. Harvey was not sure what to do, but he agreed. they went to one of the rooms, and there’s Marr. That night, he was transformed into a real vampire, complete with wings and that scary look. Wendell was downright scared when he saw him, but Harvey was somewhat mystified by Jive’s incessant urge to sample Wendell’s blood. Harvey didn’t, and Jive was disappointed.

The following day, Wendell called to him. Apparently scared by what he saw yesterday, he tried to escape through the wall of mist. But whenever he passes through the wall of mist, the Holiday House still stands on the other side. Not knowing what to do, they planned their escape that midnight.

They returned to the house and Harvey was left alone. She looked for Lulu in her room, but he didn’t found her. He knew though, that she was here before, because her room looks used.

Before midnight, while Harvey was on his way to their meeting point, he heard a sound from the lake, and upon reaching it, he saw Lulu, no longer a human but a fish. She gave him some parts of his ark which she was able to retrieve. Harvey promised to save her from this captivity. But first, he have to escape.

Harvey and Wendell, holding hands, worked their way through the wall of mist, just as Carna started his attack. Mrs. Griffin was standing at the porch, panicking and beckoning them to the safety of the house. But Blue-Cat came to the rescue and guided them through the way out. They were able to return to Millsap, still being followed by Carna. However, it seems that Carna was unable to survive the real world, and it limped its way back.

They both went to their respective homes, promising each other to meet again some time. But they made a shocking discovery. Thirty-one years had passed, and Harvey’s parents were very old. Harvey realized that everything in Holiday House is merely an illusion. Even the pieces of the ark which he had received crumbled to dust.

So when they met again, they planned to return to Holiday House and undo what Mr. Hood had done for their lives. But once they returned, Wendell fell under the spell of the house, and so leaving Harvey alone. He went to the kitchen to look for Mrs. Griffin, but instead of her, he saw Rictus and Jive, who tried to lure him back. Harvey was able to resist.

With the help of Blue-Cat, Harvey found Mrs. Griffin locked in a coffin in the house basement. He was about to free her when Marr suddenly appeared, threatening to transform him into something very lowly. Marr’s magic, however, works only by the liking of the recipient, and Harvey, happy to be what he is, caused the spell to reflect back on her. Apparently, Marr dreams of nothing, and that’s what she has became. One down, two to go.

On their way outside, they were confronted again by Rictus and Jive, offering him a piece of apple pie. Harvey tricked Jive into eating the pie, and Jive crumbled to dust. That’s the second. On his way to the attic, Rictus tried to coax him with various things and honors, but he denied them all. He also learned with shock that Wendell finally turned into a fish. Finally, he reached the top room and saw several doors. But instead of entering one, he took a chair and opened the trap door to the attic.

There, he saw Mr. Hood, a huge monstrous eye. Mr. Hood called on Carna, for he is still alive, to attack Harvey. Not knowing what to do, Harvey evaded every swooping attack. Finally, when he’s getting tired, Harvey made his move, not an attack but a tender nudge on its jaw, and Carna became confused because it has never been done to it before, and with that, it disintegrated into million pieces. Mr. Hood vanished in anger.

Harvey and Mrs. Griffin escaped through the front door and Mr. Hood finally revealed his true form. He is the house. Harvey agreed to give his soul but only if he grants all his wishes. Harvey wished for a lifelike ark with real animals, and then to have the whole field abloom with flowers no two of which are alike, and finally, lots and lots of food most of which aren’t really true but just imagined by Harvey. Harvey noticed that Mr. Hood has weakened, but Mr. Hood has also realized that Harvey was just tricking him. He warned Harvey for one final wish, and then his soul will be his.

Harvey thought so hard, and finally he wished… all four seasons at once. At first, Mr. Hood was able to manage, but finally the weather became chaotic and uncontrollable. Mr. Hood cannot handle the confusion, leading to his demise and causing the house to crumble.

The lake became a whirling vortex, and the souls trapped there were finally released, each thanking Harvey, especially Mrs. Griffin, who was very happy she will be out of her misery. Wendell also emerged, though he didn’t know what happened at all.

But it wasn’t over yet. There still was Rictus, holding a glowing ball which he claimed containing part of Mr. Hood’s power. But the ball dropped to ground and was smashed, and the spilled essence was absorbed by Mr. Hood. He began to gather the remains of the house, transforming himself into a creature made up of it. The creature seized Rictus, eventually killing him.

Harvey fought to the end, and he managed to send Mr. Hood to the whirling vortex, disappearing forever.

Harvey returned to Millsap the same day that he left for Holiday House. Later on, he returned to the hill where Holiday House used to. There, he saw several picnickers each having their own stories about Holiday House and Mr. Hood.

8 comments on “Repost: Book Report: The Thief of Always

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