Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Word Count: 57,000
Twelve-year-old Conley’s house speaks to him. But when it tricks him into resurrecting the killer dragon in the cellar, he has to save Kansas City from the flames.
The brick house was the tallest building on the street and I swear the brick house knew it. On hot days, its windows smelled like burnt barbecue and firecrackers. Red stains spotted its chalky mortar. Old air shafts whistled in the dark. It was three stories tall and I think it could tell a thousand.
A century of home inspectors said, “Completely safe and stable,” and each time, the house grinned quietly. Don’t ask me what that looks like. I’m still trying to figure it out. It was fireproof and smart and tough as nails, but the best word to describe it was dangerous.
It had its eyes open, biding its time. Its jazz-blue front door and curling ivy vines said, “Hey kid, get a load of this.” The brick house was strong and good-looking—and the brick house was kind of a jerk. But that didn’t change the things it had seen and the lives it had helped begin and end. Didn’t change the dark corners it would show the right people. Or the questionable plans it had for my future.
Because long before I figured any of this out, the brick house had chosen me, Conley Hoss—which was crazy, because no one else ever did. That partly explains why my whole family was packed in our car, house-hunting, on a scorching July morning at the very same time the house was hunting us.
“Get your feet out of my fa—OW!” I said as we made a sharp turn.