As we have been observing Stanley Squantro, the boy who could talk to walls, we have seen him take his seat at the social reject’s cafeteria table with the disgruntled Rod Bodkin and the elfin smartypants Laufey Londgren. When Stan learned that Rod’s little sister, Lily Bodkin, had gone missing two years ago without a trace, the Squantro family decided to investigate, with Stanley taking the lead. Now, having ditched school alongside Rod, Stan finds himself alone in the walls of House Bodkin, which is one of the houses on Chaldean Avenue, the oldest street in the old town of Rauhoff…
The faces of the walls of House Bodkin were more immediately apparent to Stanley Squantro than any walls of any house he had ever visited, with the exception of the Mayor’s Mansion (A tour of which was the subject of a fifth grade field trip). The moment Rod Bodkin’s eyelids fell shut in sudden sleep, those old walls started talking to Stanley, where often Stan would have to instigate conversation, and their voices were loud and low and rumbling crumbling, like no other wall voice he had ever heard,
THE BOY WHO CAN TALK TO WALLS…
-Good afternoon, walls! I thank you for your hospitality.
IT IS THE GREAT PLEASURE OF THE WALLS TO HAVE YOU INSIDE US
-I’m hoping you could tell me what happened to Lily.
SHE CAME HOME FROM SCHOOL AND NO ONE WAS HOME
MOM AND DAD GOT MIXED UP EACH THOUGHT THE OTHER WOULD PICK HER UP FROM SCHOOL
-What happened then?
SHE WENT TO HER ROOM
A LITTLE MAGICAL MAN CAME INTO THE HOUSE BY CRAWLING THROUGH THE WINDOW
-A magical man?
HE WENT TO HER ROOM!
The walls of House Bodkin let out a collective wailing sigh of regret. When the din settled, the first wall began again
HE LEFT CRAWLING BACK OUT THE WINDOW AND WE HAVE NOT SEEN LITTLE LILY SINCE
-But what happened in her room?
YOU WILL HAVE TO ASK THOSE WALLS
So Stanley went around and down the hall to Lily’s room, which had been left untouched in the two years since she disappeared. The walls of Lily Bodkin’s room told Stanley that Lily was playing with her dollhouse when the little magical man came in, frightening her. He waved his hand and cast a spell on her. She shrank down until she was the same size as the dolls she was playing with. She ran into the dollhouse and hid in it’s secret nooks and crannies, but he shook her out and when she landed on the floor she hit her head and was knocked out. Then the little magician put her in his pocket and left.
-But who was he?
The walls had no answer. They were silent. But Stanley heard something in that silence, a soft calling out to him. He followed it to Lily’s dollhouse, and looked inside of it, where the miniature faces of the miniature walls within were showing themselves to Stanley as they called to him.
-Hello little walls! What are you trying to tell me?
THE LITTLE MAGIC MAN IS A BOY FROM THE NEIGHBOURHOOD. HE LOOKS LIKE A BOY BUT HE ISN’T. HE CAST A FORGETTING SPELL ALL AROUND BUT IT ONLY HIT US A LITTLE BIT. SO WE REMEMBER HIM, BUT NOT HIS NAME, AND LILY KNEW HIM
-A boy from the neighborhood?
Stanley said goodbye to the walls of House Bodkin, and they said goodbye to him, and as Rod was still snoozing on the couch, left by the front door. He walked down Chaldean Avenue, the light a blanket dapple through the canopy of leaves on the tall trees abounding. A name jumped off a mailbox at the end of another long gravel driveway.
Laufey Londgren. Sits with Rod Bodkin when no one else will. A little magical man. Laufey. Elfin. An Elf. Looks like a boy from the neighborhood. A little magical man in disguise. Laufey. Laufey. Loki Laufeyson. Laufey Londgren. A little magical man. Walls don’t lie.
These are the flashes of thought that go through Stanley Squantro’s as yet unseasoned deductive reasoners at this moment of looking from the Londgren mailbox to the Londgren house down the long drive , obscured almost completely by the Chaldean foliage.
Stanley walked down the driveway, disappearing from public view behind great unclipped evergreen bushes, up some stairs, and rang the doorbell. Nothing. Not even a bell. There was an old fashioned iron door knocker in the shape of a snarling wolf, and Stanley tried it, a fine coat of rusty dust falling on his hand as he banged it three times. Still no response. No one home. To the side of the door was a big window, thick curtains drawn behind it. some wind kicked up inside, blowing the curtain open for a moment. In this moment Stan saw two things, a big dollhouse in the middle of an otherwise empty room,and the open window on the inside of the room, through which the revealing wind had entered.
As we can see, Stanley seems to have forgotten the deal he made with his Squantro Kin to share any information before taking action, and he continues to forget as he circles ’round the hidden house of Londgren, and finding the open window, climbs up to and in through it.
There was nothing going on in the empty rooms of the old house. The only signs of life, light and movement came from within the antique dollhouse in the middle of the front room. Crouching for a closer look-see, Stanley looked through an upstairs window and within beheld a tiny litle girl sweeping the floors and dusting the corners with a feather duster. When she noticed Stanley’s relatively huge eye practically filling the window, Kong style, her cry of fright reached Stan’s ear as a pipsqueak of a squeal.
Stanley stood up, and finding the faces of the walls of the Lodgren house, spoke what would become his customary opening inquiry to strange walls,
-What goes on here?
THE SHRUNKEN LILY BODKIN KEEPS THE LITTLE HOUSE
SHE IS HIS SLAVE
-How can I help her?
YOU MUST BEAT HIM
-How can I beat him?
WHEN HE RETURNS HE WILL SHRINK AND PUT THE BULK OF HIS ANCIENT POWER IN A JAR…
Just then Stanwas snapped out of walltalking by the sound of feet on the front steps. Stan spoke to the walls again,
-Walls! Help me hide!
With the walls helping him, telling him when and where Laufey Londgren was turning corners, leaving one room and entering another, Stan was able to stay one hidden step ahead of him. they even told him when Laufey had shrunken himself and gone into the little house, and the coast was clear. At the time Stanley was on all fours, scrunched up behind an old wooden trunk. Opting for the greatest possible silence, he crawled carefully back into the front room, where he saw the jar.
Looking into it, Stan saw the jar was filled with fluffy fresh fallen snow, crystalline and cold. A tiny enraged voice startled him!
-Hey! What the fuck are you doing?
It was a tiny Laufey Londgren, standing on the front steps of the little house, pointing furiously at Stan, who jumped to his feet in a flash.
-That’s mine! Don’t touch it!
And the tiny little man started to growing. Stanley lifted the jar over his head, shouting,
-AAAaaaaahhh!! Stop or I’ll smash it!
Laufey stopped growing at about a foot high.
-I’ll be dispersed!
-Let her go, or I’ll throw it right through the window!
-She’s mine! My servant! She is what is owed to me!
-Just do it, man!
-You can’t hold that jar like that forever. It’s very cold, isn’t it?
It was, and getting colder, it hurt to hold it in his hands, but Stanley stuck in.
-I’ll just smash it, then!
Stan’s finger’s started really burning then, so cold was the jar of snow, so with a great
Stanley whipped the jar at the window, smashing the glass of both to bits, the snow within flurrying forth in little snowy tornadoes that zipped all around. Little Laufey screamed alongside Stan, and he didn’t stop screaming until Stan snatched him up by the ankle with frostbitten hand and whipped him hard against the wall, which knocked him out, to say the least.
In the ensuing silence one of the little snow tornadoes flew into the little house and in a kind of combination twinkling smashing crinklng, Lily Bodkin grew back to her proper size, shattering the little house to splinters as she shot up out of it.
She just ran out of there and straight home, where she shook her brother out of deep sleep and into a tearful reunion while the walls of House Bodkin shouted in their joy.
Stanley Squantro, meanwhile, found an old antique metal birdcage in a room of Londgren House, and scoooping up the crumpled footlong Laufey, put him in the cage and locked it’s litle door. He tore down one of the curtains and covered the birdcage, then headed home with it.
Know that Laufey Londgren works, among other crafts, in the art of forced forgetting and the tinkering of memory. It is a skill that has helped him live as incredibly long as he has.
Stanley entered the Squantro House to great inquisition from Ma and Dad. The Siblings were still at school.
-So what happened? What’d ya find out?
-Are you all right, Sweetpea? You look a little dazed!
-Whatcha got there?
-Stanley, your fingers!
Stanley’s fingers were frostbitten, and there was a bird in the birdcage, but Stan found he could not explain either circumstance, as he didn’t even know he had forgotten, and soon did not even care. Even for Ma and Dad, any excitement about or in regards to…what was it we were talking about? In regards to something? Oh well… (this memory spell had no effect whatever, however, on Ma Squantro’s treatment of Stanley’s frostbitten fingers).
Shortly thereafter, Dad Squantro felt a mysterious urge to free the mysterious bird in the mysterious birdcage that had appeared so mysteriously in his kitchen, and as his innate love of solving a mystery was so mysteriously nullified, he followed that urge, letting the bird fly out and out and away.
So Stan’s fingers would be prone to quick frostbite the rest of his days, and Laufey Londgren got away, and everybody involved forgot about the whole thing, and Lily Bodkin was rescued and reunited with her long anguished family, thanks to the boy who could talk to walls, and the walls that talked to him.