Microsoft Word Neil Gaiman Coraline doc



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Coraline
for a few moments longer, she thought at it, wondering if it could hear her. I’ll get us both home. 
I said I would. I promise. She felt the cat relax ever so slightly in her arms. 
The other mother walked over to the door and pushed the key into the lock. 
She turned the key. 
Coraline heard the mechanism clunk heavily. She was already starting, as quietly as she could, 
step by step, to back away toward the mantelpiece. 
The other mother pushed down on the door handle and pulled open the door, revealing a corridor 
behind it, dark and empty. “There,” she said, waving her hands at the corridor. The expression of 
delight on her face was a very bad thing to see. “You’re wrong! You don’t know where your 
parents are, do you? They aren’t there.” She turned and looked at Coraline. “Now,” she said, 
“you’re going to stay here for ever and always.” 
“No,” said Coraline. “I’m not.” And, hard as she could, she threw the black cat toward the other 
mother. It yowled and landed on the other mother’s head, claws flailing, teeth bared, fierce and 
angry. Fur on end, it looked half again as big as it was in real life. 


Without waiting to see what would happen, Coraline reached up to the mantlepiece and closed 
her hand around the snow globe, pushing it deep into the pocket of her dressing gown. 
The cat made a deep, ululating yowl and sank its teeth into the other mother’s cheek. She was 
flailing at it. Blood ran from the cuts on her white face—not red blood but a deep, tarry black 
stuff. Coraline ran for the door. 
She pulled the key out of the lock. 
“Leave her! Come on!” she shouted to the cat. It hissed, and swiped its scalpel-sharp claws at the 
other mother’s face in one wild rake which left black ooze trickling from several gashes on the 
other mother’s nose. Then it sprang down toward Coraline. “Quickly!” she said. The cat ran 
toward her, and they both stepped into the dark corridor. 
It was colder in the corridor, like stepping down into a cellar on a warm day. The cat hesitated 
for a moment; then, seeing the other mother was coming toward them, it ran to Coraline and 
stopped by her legs. 
Coraline began to pull the door closed. 
It was heavier than she imagined a door could be, and pulling it closed was like trying to close a 
door against a high wind. And then she felt something from the other side starting to pull against 
her. 


Shut! she thought. Then she said, out loud, “Come on, please.” And she felt the door begin to 
move, to pull closed, to give against the phantom wind. 
Suddenly she was aware of other people in the corridor with her. She could not turn her head to 
look at them, but she knew them without having to look. “Help me, please,” she said. “All of 
you.” 
The other people in the corridor—three children, two adults—were somehow too insubstantial to 
touch the door. But their hands closed about hers, as she pulled on the big iron door handle, and 
suddenly she felt strong. 
“Never let up, Miss! Hold strong! Hold strong!” whispered a voice in her mind. 
“Pull, girl, pull!” whispered another. 
And then a voice that sounded like her mother’s—her own mother, her real, wonderful, 
maddening, infuriating, glorious mother—just said, “Well done, Coraline,” and that was enough. 
The door started to slip closed, easily as anything. 
“No!” screamed a voice from beyond the door, and it no longer sounded even faintly human. 
Something snatched at Coraline, reaching through the closing gap between the door and the 
doorpost. Coraline jerked her head out of the way, but the door began to open once more. 
“We’re going to go home,” said Coraline. “We are. Help me.” She ducked the snatching fingers. 
They moved through her, then: ghost hands lent her strength that she no longer possessed. There 
was a final moment of resistance, as if something were caught in the door, and then, with a crash, 
the wooden door banged closed. 
Something dropped from Coraline’s head height to the floor. It landed with a sort of a scuttling 
thump. 
“Come on!” said the cat. “This is not a good place to be in. Quickly.” 
Coraline turned her back on the door and began to run, as fast as was practical, through the dark 
corridor, running her hand along the wall to make sure she didn’t bump into anything or get 
turned around in the darkness. 
It was an uphill run, and it seemed to her that it went on for a longer distance than anything could 
possibly go. The wall she was touching felt warm and yielding now, and, she realized, it felt as it 
were covered in a fine downy fur. It moved, as if it were taking a breath. She snatched her hand 
away from it. 
Winds howled in the dark. 
She was scared she would bump into something, and she put out her hand for the wall once 
more. This time what she touched felt hot and wet, as if she had put her hand in somebody’s 
mouth, and she pulled it back with a small wail. 


Her eyes had adjusted to the dark. She could half see, as faintly glowing patches ahead of her, 
two adults, three children. She could hear the cat, too, padding in the dark in front of her. 
And there was something else, which suddenly scuttled between her feet, nearly sending 
Coraline flying. She caught herself before she went down, using her own momentum to keep 
moving. She knew that if she fell in that corridor she might never get up again. Whatever that 
corridor was was older by far than the other mother. It was deep, and slow, and it knew that she 
was there. . . . 
Then daylight appeared, and she ran toward it, puffing and wheezing. “Almost there,” she called 
encouragingly, but in the light she discovered that the wraiths had gone, and she was alone. She 
did not have time to wonder what had happened to them. Panting for breath, she staggered 
through the door, and slammed it behind her with the loudest, most satisfying bang you can 
imagine. 
Coraline locked the door with the key, and put the key back into her pocket. 
The black cat was huddled in the farthest corner of the room, the pink tip of its tongue showing
its eyes wide. Coraline went over to it and crouched down beside it. 
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry I threw you at her. But it was the only way to distract her 
enough to get us all out. She would never have kept her word, would she?” 
The cat looked up at her, then rested its head on her hand, licking her fingers with its sandpapery 
tongue. It began to purr. 
“Then we’re friends?” said Coraline. 
She sat down on one of her grandmother’s uncomfortable armchairs, and the cat sprang up into 
her lap and made itself comfortable. The light that came through the picture window was 
daylight, real golden late-afternoon daylight, not a white mist light. The sky was a robin’s-egg 
blue, and Coraline could see trees and, beyond the trees, green hills, which faded on the horizon 
into purples and grays. The sky had never seemed so sky, the world had never seemed so world
Coraline stared at the leaves on the trees and at the patterns of light and shadow on the cracked 
bark of the trunk of the beech tree outside the window. Then she looked down at her lap, at the 
way that the rich sunlight brushed every hair on the cat’s head, turning each white whisker to 
gold. 
Nothing, she thought, had ever been so interesting
And, caught up in the interestingness of the world, Coraline barely noticed that she had wriggled 
down and curled catlike on her grandmother’s uncomfortable armchair, nor did she notice when 
she fell into a deep and dreamless sleep. 





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