The Gray Man didn’t reply. Greenmantle had lasted five years without his name; he could last another five without it. Eventually, the Gray Man thought, if he resisted using it for long enough, he himself might forget his own name, and become someone else entirely.

“Did you find it?” Greenmantle asked.


“I’ve just arrived,” the Gray Man reminded him.

“You could have just answered the question. You could have just said no.”

“No isn’t the same as not yet.”

Now Greenmantle was silent. A cricket chirruped on the ground just outside the tiny window. Finally, he said, “I want you to move fast on this one.”

For quite a long time now, the Gray Man had been hunting for things that couldn’t be found, couldn’t be bought, couldn’t be acquired, and his instincts were telling him that the Greywaren was not a piece that was going to come quickly. He reminded Greenmantle that it had already been five years since they’d first begun looking for it.


“Why the sudden hurry?”

“There are other people looking for it.”

The Gray Man cast his eyes to the instruments. He was not eager to allow Greenmantle to ruin his leisurely exploration of Henrietta.

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He said what Declan Lynch had already known. “There have always been other people looking for it.”

“They haven’t always been in Henrietta.”


Later that night, back in Monmouth Manufacturing, Ronan woke up. He woke like a sailor scuttles a ship on rocks, plunging, heedless, with as much speed as he could

muster, braced for the impact.

Ronan had dreamt he’d driven home. The way to the Barns was twisted as a lightbulb’s filament, all corkscrew turns and breathless lifts through broken terrain. These were not Gansey’s tamed mountains and foothills. These eastern hills of Singer’s Falls were hasty green folds, sudden rises and precipitous hatchet marks in the rock-strewn forests. Mist rose from them and clouds descended into them. Night, when it came to the Barns, was several shades darker than it was in Henrietta.

Ronan had dreamt this drive, again and again, more times than he’d ever driven it in real life. The pitch-black roads, the old farmhouse suddenly looming, the single, eternal light in the room with his silent mother. But in his sleep he never made it home.

He hadn’t this time, either. But he had dreamt something he wanted to bring back.

In his bed, he struggled to move. Just after waking, after dreaming, his body belonged to no one. He looked at it from above, like a mourner at a funeral. The exterior of this earlymorning Ronan didn’t look at all like how he felt on the inside. Anything that didn’t impale itself on the sharp line of this sleeping boy’s cruel mouth would be tangled in the merciless hooks of his tattoo, pulled beneath his skin to drown.

Sometimes, Ronan thought he would be trapped like this, floating outside his body.

When he was awake, Ronan was not permitted to go to the Barns. When Niall Lynch had died — been killed, not died, beaten to death with a tire iron that was still lying beside him when Ronan had found him, a weapon still coated in his blood and his brains and the better part of his face, a face that had been alive maybe only an hour before, two hours before, while Ronan was dreaming only yards away, a full night’s sleep, a feat never again to be performed — a lawyer had explained the details of their father’s will to them. The Lynch brothers were wealthy, princes of Virginia, but they were exiles. All of the money was theirs, but on one condition: The boys were never to set foot on the property again. They were to disturb neither the house nor its contents.

Including their mother.

It will never stand up in court, Ronan had said. We should fight it.

Declan had said, It doesn’t matter. Mom is nothing without him. We might as well go.

We have to fight, Ronan had insisted.

Declan had already turned away. She’s not fighting.

Ronan could move his fingers. His body was his again. He felt the cool wooden surface of the box in his hands, his everpresent leather wristbands sliding toward his palms. He felt the ridges and valleys of the letters carved into the box. The crevices of the drawers and movable pieces. His pulse surged in him, the thrill of creation. The ragged awe of making something from nothing. It was not the easiest thing to take something from a dream.

It was not the easiest thing to take only one thing from a dream.

To bring even a pencil back was a small miracle. To bring any of the things from his nightmares — no one but Ronan knew the terrors that lived in his mind. Plagues and devils, conquerors and beasts.

Ronan had no secret more dangerous than this.

The night churned inside him. He tangled himself around the box, getting ahold of his thoughts again. Now he was beginning to shake a little. He remembered what Gansey had said:

You incredible creature!

Creature was a good word for him, Ronan thought. What the hell am I?

Maybe Gansey was awake.

Ronan and Gansey both suffered from insomnia, though they had very different solutions for it. When Ronan couldn’t — or wouldn’t — sleep, he listened to music or drank or went out into the streets looking for vehicular trouble. Or all three. When Gansey couldn’t sleep, he studied the bristling journal he’d compiled of all things Glendower or, when he was too tired to read, used a cereal box and a bin of paints to add another building to the waist-high model of Henrietta he’d constructed. Neither could really help the other find sleep. But sometimes it was better just to know you weren’t the only one awake.

Ronan padded out of his room with Chainsaw scooped in his arm. Sure enough, Gansey sat cross-legged on Main Street, slowly waving a newly painted piece of cardboard in the direction of the single window air conditioner. At night, he looked particularly small or the warehouse looked particularly large. Lit only by the small lamp he’d set on the floor beside his journal, the room yawned above, a wizard’s cave full of books and maps and three-legged surveying devices. The night was flat black against the hundreds of window panes, making them just another wall.

Ronan placed the wooden box he’d just dreamt next to Gansey and then retreated to the other end of the tiny street.

Gansey was quaint and scholarly with his night-time wireframes slid down his nose. He looked from Ronan to the box and back again and said nothing. But he did take one of his earbuds out as he continued running a line of glue along a miniature seam.

Popping a bone in his neck, Ronan let Chainsaw down to entertain herself. She proceeded to turn over the wastebasket and go through the contents. It was a noisy process, rustling like a secretary at work.

The scenario felt familiar and time-worn. The two of them had lived together at Monmouth for nearly as long as Gansey had been in Henrietta — almost two years. Of course, the building hadn’t looked like this in the beginning. It had been just one of the many abandoned factories and warehouses in the Valley. They never got torn down. They just got forgotten. Monmouth Manufacturing was no different.

But then Gansey had come to town with his crazy dream and his ridiculous Camaro and he’d bought the building for cash. No else had noticed it, even though they drove by every day. It was on its knees in the rye grass and the creeper, and he saved it.

The fall after Ronan and Gansey had become friends, the summer before Adam, they’d spent half their free time hunting for Glendower and the other half hauling junk out of the second floor. The floor was furred with flaked curls of paint. Wires trailed from the ceiling like jungle vines. Chipped plywood made lean-tos against hideous desks from a nuclear age. The boys burned crap in the overgrown lot until the cops asked them to stop, and then Gansey had explained his situation and the cops had gotten out of their cars to help finish the job. Back then, it had surprised Ronan; he hadn’t realized yet that Gansey could persuade even the sun to pause and give him the time.

They worked on Glendower and Monmouth Manufacturing for months. The first week of June, Gansey found a headless statue of a bird with king carved on its belly in Welsh. The second week, they wired a refrigerator in the upstairs bathroom, right next to the toilet. The third week, someone killed Niall Lynch. The fourth week, Ronan moved in.

Fixing a cereal-box front porch into place, Gansey asked, “What was the first thing you took out? Did you always know?”

Ronan found himself pleased to be quizzed. “No. It was a bunch of flowers. The first time.”

He remembered that dream — a haunted old wood, blue, blousey flowers growing in the dapples. He’d walked through the whispering trees with an often-present dream companion, and then a huge presence had blown through the canopy, sudden as a storm cloud. Ronan, bereft with terror and the certainty that this alien force wanted him, only him, had snatched at anything he could before being ripped aloft.

When he’d woken, he’d clutched a pulpy handful of blue flowers of a sort no one had seen before. Ronan tried, now, to explain them to Gansey, the wrongness of the stamen, the furriness of the petals. The impossibility of them.

Even to Gansey, he couldn’t admit the joy and terror of the moment. The heart-pounding thought: I’m just like my father.

As Ronan spoke, Gansey’s eyes were half-closed, turned toward the night. His thoughtless expression was one of wonder or of pain; with Gansey, they were so often the same thing.

“That was an accident,” Gansey reasoned. He capped the glue. “Now you can do it on purpose?”

Ronan couldn’t decide if he should exaggerate his prowess or emphasize the difficulty of the task. “I can sometimes control what I bring, but I can’t choose what I dream about.”

“Tell me what it’s like.” Gansey stretched to get a mint leaf from his pocket. He put it on his tongue and spoke around it. “Walk me through it. What happens?”

From the vicinity of the wastebasket, there was a satisfying tearing sound as a small raven ripped a large envelope lengthwise.

“First,” Ronan replied, “I get a beer.”

Gansey shot him a withering look.

The truth was that Ronan didn’t understand the process very well himself. He knew it had something to do with how he fell asleep. The dreams were more pliable when he drank. Less like taut anxiety and more like taffy, susceptible to careful manipulation until, all at once, they broke.

He was about to say this, but instead, what came out of his mouth was: “They’re mostly in Latin.”

“Beg pardon?”

“They always have been. I just didn’t know it was Latin until I got older.”

“Ronan, there’s no reason for that,” Gansey said sternly, as if Ronan had hurled a toy on the floor.

“No shit, Sherlock. But there it is.”

“Is it your — your thoughts that are in Latin? Or the dialogue? Do other people speak Latin in them? Like, am I in your dreams?”

“Oh, yes, baby.” It amused Ronan to say this, a lot. He laughed enough that Chainsaw abandoned her paper shredding to verify that he wasn’t dying. Ronan sometimes dreamt of Adam, too, the latter boy sullen and elegant and fluently disdainful of dream-Ronan’s clumsy attempts to communicate.

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