Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Breathe: A Ghost Story by Cliff McNish
When he and his mother move into an old farmhouse in the English countryside, asthmatic, twelve-year-old Jack discovers that he can communicate with the ghosts inhabiting the house and inadvertently establishes a relationship with a tormented, malevolent spirit that threatens to destroy both his mother and himself.
Ian, you requested the section where Jack has his worst asthma attack. I'm thinking you mean the climatic one at the end of the book right after the ghost mother has been taken by the Nightmare Passage.
Chapter 25: The Loved Ones
Jack lay on the corridor floor, barely breathing anymore. He was vaguely aware that his mum was there, trying to get his body into a better position--his head being lifted, his back straightened--but he couldn't help her. She left, running to her bedroom, and soon Jack stopped breathing altogether. Sarah returned, vaulting down the stairs, an object in her hand. Nearly unconscious, Jack couldn't focus on what it was. Something small.
Sarah knelt beside him. She raised his head. She pressed the hard plastic and cold metal against his lips. She did not speak except to say. "Come on, Jack. One breath. You need to give me one breath." He tried, but it was beyond him.
Seing that, Sarah forced his slack mouth open with two fingers, thrust the inhaler tube between his teeth, and slapped his face. When that didn't work she slapped him again, as hard as she could. This time Jack gasped out in pain--and drew in a thin quantity of air. Another half breath followed, but it wasn't enough. So Sarah pinched his nostrils tight, put her lips across his and breathed for him. She forced the air inside until Jack's body jerked back--a slight opening of his throat. Quickly, Sarah inserted the inhaler into his mouth. A single dosage of the chemicals, and the pathways in his lungs marginally expanded. Three more ragged gasps and Sarah removed the inhaler. She eased the position of his chest. "Don't talk," she said, when he tried to. "Breathe."
Jack breathed. His mum held him and he breathed.