Read an extract from Ghoulfriends Forever

Read an extract from Ghoulfriends Forever

Posted by in Blog, Book Excerpts, Book News, News, Recommended Reading

Ghoulfriends Forever, Book One in a brand new Monster High series for 7+ readers, is available from 5th September.

Ghouls rule the roost at this freakily fabulous school and we're super excited to be able to share the very first chapter with you below.

We'll also be running some fangtastic competitions in the coming weeks, and sign up for our 7-12 newsletter here and you could be in with the chance of winning an exclusive Monster High doll!

Nestled deep within the lush forests of Oregon was a small and seemingly average town. Much like any other town in America there were shops, restaurants, small family homes, and of course schools. So normal was the appearance of the town that it was actually quite forgettable. Every year loads of travelers passed through without giving it so much as a second thought – utterly unaware that there was anything extraordinary or unique about the place. But, of course, had anyone stopped for a closer inspection it would have become readily apparent that the town of Salem catered to a rather specific clientele – monsters!

And while one might think that a town of monsters was terribly intriguing, it wasn’t. Salem had long puttered by with nary a scandal or drama outside of the occasional spat over which cemetery would host the Dance of the Delightfully Dead, a celebration of the happily departed. In fact, so unremarkable was the community that the most exciting thing on the horizon was the start of a new semester at Monster High.

Bright and early Monday morning, the well-worn wrought-iron gates to Monster High creaked open to a fast-approaching blitz of bodies. Amidst the throngs of monster students was a petite gray gargoyle outfitted in a delightful pink linen dress with a Scaremes scarf wrapped stylishly around her waist as a belt. Moving carefully through the crowd, the young girl minded her Louis Creton luggage and her pet griffin Roux, but mostly her own two hands. As gargoyles are crafted out of stone they are burdened with both extreme heaviness and terribly sharp claws. And the last thing she wanted to do was snag her dress on the first day at a new school.

“Pardonnez-moi, madame,” Rochelle Goyle called out in her charming French accent as she crested the building’s front steps. “I do not wish to impose upon your business, but might you be looking for this?”

Rochelle bent down and picked up a raven-haired head adorned in thick red lipstick and handed it to the imposing headless figure standing next to the main doorway.

“Child, thank you! The first day of school always leaves me forgetting my head, both figuratively and literally!” Headmistress Bloodgood said upon remounting her head on her neck. “Now then, do I know you? It’s a terrible thing for a headmistress to admit, but I am not very good at remembering faces or names or, if I am to be honest, most anything.”

“No madame, you most definitely do not know me. I am Rochelle Goyle from Scaris and I shall be living in the new dormitory on campus.”

“I am most thrilled that our reputation as the premiere monster academy has attracted so many international students. You’ve come from Scaris, have you? However did you get here? I hope not atop the back of your sweet-faced griffin,” Headmistress Bloodgood said while pointing to Rochelle’s peppy little pet.

“Paragraph 11.5 of the Gargoyle Code of Ethics advises against sitting atop furniture, never mind pets! Oh no, we came via Werewolf Hairlines, a most reliable company; their planes even come equipped with reinforced steel seats for those of us on the heavier side,” Rochelle said as she looked down at her slim, but weighty figure, “Madame, might I bother you for directions to the dormitory?”

However, before Headmistress Bloodgood could respond, Rochelle was thrown to the ground by what felt like a wall of water. Hard, damp and extremely cold, an unknown entity instantly covered both Rochelle and Roux in a dense misty fog. Looking up from the floor, she saw a short rotund woman with gray hair storming through the crowd like a tsunami knocking over everything within a five-foot-radius.

“Miss Sue Nami?” Headmistress Bloodgood called out as the watery woman rammed an unsuspecting vampire into the wall.
Upon hearing Headmistress Bloodgood’s high-pitched voice, Miss Sue Nami turned and stomped back, leaving a mass of puddles in her wake. Up close, Rochelle couldn’t help but notice the woman’s permanently pruned skin, crisp blue eyes, and unflattering stance. With her legs a foot apart and her hands perched on her shapeless hips, the woman very much reminded Rochelle of a wrestler, albeit a male wrestler.

“Yes, ma’am?” Miss Sue Nami barked in a piercingly loud voice.

“This young lady is one of our new boarders so would you mind showing her to the dormitory?” Headmistress Bloodgood asked Miss Sue Nami before turning back to Rochelle, “You are in good hands, Miss Sue Nami is the school’s new Deputy of Disaster.”
As kind as Headmistress Bloodgood was, she was also somewhat absentminded; a most understandable predicament for someone who often misplaced her head. Fearing the students might take advantage of her forgetfulness, especially where detentions in the dungeon were concerned, she had recently brought in Miss Sue Nami to handle all disciplinary matters.

“Non-adult entity, grab your bag and your toy and follow me,” Miss Sue Nami screeched at Rochelle.

“Roux is not a toy, but my pet griffin. I do not wish to mislead you, or anyone else for that matter. Gargoyles take the truth very seriously.”

“Lesson number one, when your mouth moves you are talking. Lesson number two, when your legs move you are walking. If you cannot do them simultaneously, then please only focus on the latter,” Miss Sue Nami snapped before turning around and marching through the school’s colossally large front door.

Upon entering the hallowed halls of Monster High, Rochelle was instantly overwhelmed with a most serious case of homesickness. Everything around her looked and felt terribly unfamiliar. She was used to lush fabric-covered walls, ornate gold leafed moldings, and enormous crystal chandeliers. But then again her last school, Ecole de Gargouille, was housed in a chateau once resided in by the Count of Scaris. So, as one might expect, Rochelle was rather shocked by Monster High’s modern purple-checkered floors, green walls and pink coffin-shaped lockers. Not to mention the elaborately carved headstone just inside the main doors reminding students that it was against school policy to howl, molt fur, bolt limbs or wake sleeping bats in the hallways.

“Pardonnez-moi Miss Sue Nami? But are there really bats? As I am sure you know, bats can carry a wide variety of illnesses,” Rochelle said as her short gray legs worked overtime to keep up with the stampeding wet woman.

“Monster High employs vaccinated bats as in-house exterminators to eat rogue insects and spiders. With certain members of the student body bringing live insects for lunch, we consider the bats highly regarded members of the janitorial staff. If you have a problem with them, I suggest you take it up with the headmistress. But I highly suggest confirming her head is attached properly before doing so,” Miss Sue Nami grumbled as she rammed into an open door, and shortly thereafter by a slow moving zombie.
Watching the stunned zombie teeter sluggishly back and forth before collapsing to the ground elicited sympathetic whimpers from both Rochelle and Roux. Miss Sue Nami on the other hand stomped full speed ahead, totally oblivious to the effects of her reckless marching.

“I do not wish to tell you how to conduct your business, Madame. But I must ask, are you aware that you have knocked quite a few monsters to the ground in the short time we have been walking?” Rochelle asked as tactfully as possible.

“That is known as collateral damage in the school discipline business. Now stop dawdling and pick up the pace, I’m on a schedule here!” Miss Sue Nami barked. “And if you are capable of both walking and listening, you will enjoy a brief tour along the way! If not then I am merely reminding myself where everything is! On your immediate right, we have the Absolutely Deranged Scientist Laboratory, which is not to be confused with the Mad and Deranged Scientist Laboratory currently under construction in the catacombs.”

“Isn’t that going to be unnecessarily confusing?” Rochelle asked as she glanced into the room filled Bunsen burners, vials of colorful liquids, thick goggles, white lab coats and countless peculiar looking apparatuses.

“I have decided to disregard your question as I do not deem it relevant. I will now continue with my tour; the laboratory is currently being used for Mad Science where students learn a wide variety of things such as lotion for the scaly skinned, antifungal drops for the pumpkin heads, fur calming serum for the hairy, organic oil for the robotically inclined, industrial strength mouthwash for the sea monsters and much more,” Miss Sue Nami explained before stopping to shake her body like a dog after a bath, spraying everyone in a three foot radius with water. Fortunately, as gargoyles are built to deflect water, both Rochelle and her dress were spared.

“I love water and even I think that was super gross,” a scaly-skinned sea creature dressed in flip-flops and well-tailored fluorescent pink board shorts muttered while wiping down her face with a fishnet scarf.

“Well at least you don’t have a fur fro now,” a stylishly clad werewolf moaned while touching her long and luscious mane of auburn hair.

“Lagoona Blue, Clawdeen Wolf, do not waste your lives standing around the hallway complaining. Go and complain in private like the smart ambitious monsters you are.”

“Bonjour,” Rochelle mumbled quietly, offering a painfully awkward smile to Lagoona and Clawdeen.

“A Scaremes scarf as a belt? That’s straight out of Morgue Magazine, totally creeperific,” Clawdeen complimented her, clearly impressed by Rochelle’s chic style.

“Merci boo-coup,” she called out as she jetted after a fast moving Miss Sue Nami.

“Next we have the bell tower, just behind which you will find the courtyard and the Creepateria respectively. To your immediate left you have the gym, Casketball Court, Study Howl and finally the Creepchen where Home Ick is taught,” Miss Sue Nami said rapidly while storming through the large purple and green halls.

After banging into a row of pink coffin-shaped lockers, the puddle prone woman turned down an adjoining corridor and quickly resumed her tour guide duties.

“Down here we have the Graveyard where you can fulfill your Physical Deaducation requirement with Graveyard Dancing, but of course you can also do that by joining the Skulltimate Roller Maze Team which practices next door in the maze. Next we have the Dungeon where detention is held and finally the Libury where both Ghoulish Literature and Monstory: The History of Monsters is taught.”

“Would it be possible to get a map?” Rochelle asked politely with Roux perched sweetly on her shoulder. “While I have a most remarkable brain for remembering things, I’m all rocks and pebbles when it comes to directions.”

“Maps are for people who are afraid to get lost or lost people who are afraid to get found, neither of which apply to you. Plus, for the time being all you really need to know is where the Vampitheater is for the start of the term assembly.”

“But I don’t know where the Vampitheater is.”

“Then I suggest you find out.”

“Might you tell me?”

“Absolutely not, we have a schedule to follow and the Vampitheater is not on the schedule. Now pick up the pace,” Miss Sue Nami yammered as she opened a coffin shaped door into an adjoining wing of the school.

After walking down a large and somewhat empty corridor, Miss Sue Nami and Rochelle came upon a worn and weathered pink spiral staircase.

“Pardonnez-moi Madame, but this staircase does not look very sturdy, let alone up to date with general safety requirements. Paragraph 1.7 of the Gargoyle Code of Ethics clearly states that I must warn others of danger, so I am warning you now. This staircase is a menace!”

“Stop worrying, you sound like a soggy sock!” Miss Sue Nami barked, quickly quieting Rochelle.

While lugging her Louis Creton suitcase up the rose colored staircase, which groaned mercilessly under her weight, Rochelle felt yet another pang of homesickness. She suddenly missed everything from the gothic arches of her favorite cathedral to the smooth yet surly manner in which Scarisians spoke French. But perhaps most of all, especially while carting her heavy bag, she missed her boyfriend Garrott DuRoque. He was as handsome as he was romantic. And while they had never sat next to each other on a bench for fear of it collapsing, they shared so much more, including a rose bush he had invented in her honor.

Upon reaching the top of the stairs, Rochelle was met with a most welcome and delightful distraction. Before her hung an intricately woven off-white curtain crafted out of thin silky strands. Shimmering in the soft light, the material delighted Rochelle’s deep-seated love of fashion and fabrics. She wondered if she would be able to commission a scarf for her grandmere, as Rochelle was sure she too would marvel at the material. Her small gray fingers adorned with two gothic fleur-de-lys rings hovered a mere inch from the fabric. Oh how she longed to touch the magnificent material, but she didn’t dare for fear her claws could snag it, as they had so many fine fabrics in the past.

In a flash, Miss Sue Nami thrust her own large wrinkled hand against the delicate shroud, ripping it in two.

“Quelle horreur!” Rochelle squealed at the sight of the destroyed material.

“Save your tears, it grows back in seconds,” Miss Sue Nami barked as she pointed to a cavalry of spiders frantically weaving above their heads. Twenty quarter-sized black spiders furiously flung their eight legs about like an arachnid can-can, reproducing the finely woven curtain in seconds. And while Rochelle had never been terribly fond of spiders, mostly due to the fact that they often attempted to take up residency on gargoyles without asking, she was most impressed by this group’s efficient manner of working.
The dormitory was a long and sumptuous corridor with moss covered walls and colorful stained glass windows that cast bright squares of light on the silver snakeskin floor. The soft emerald colored moss grew unevenly across the walls creating a visible topography with peaks and valleys. Rogue wisps of webbing wrapped around small mounds of greenery hinted at regular spider treks.

“Mr. D’eath, the school’s guidance counselor, is currently checking in the boarders,” Miss Sue Nami grumbled as she led Rochelle past several coffin shaped doors to a sitting area just off the corridor, “Follow the rules, non-adult entity, and you won’t have any problems with me.”

“I’m a gargoyle, we love rules. As a matter of fact, we often make up new ones just for fun,” Rochelle responded sincerely, to which the watery woman promptly nodded her head and stomped off.

Alone in a new country, with a new language and at a new school, Rochelle had no choice but to summon every last drop of courage she had and confront the situation head on. And as far as she could tell, there was no better place to start than with Mr. D’eath.

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