Voices in Stone - Emily Diamand

Praise for Emily Diamand

Ways to See a Ghost

‘A fresh and original story from a writer who is as unpredictable as she is talented’ Mary Hoffman, Guardian

‘Diamand’s plotting is adept, and she excels at the perennial comedy of showing how childish and selfish adults can be compared with children’ Amanda Craig, The Times

‘An exciting story, full of high-speed drama and breath-taking escapes’ Bookbag

‘I was enchanted, gripped and freaked out by this book in a way I haven’t been since The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman’ Liz Bankes, Armadillo Magazine

Flood Child

‘Possesses all the qualities I look for in a novel and then some … An amazing, accomplished story’ Malorie Blackman, Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate 2013–15

‘Funny, clever and a towering adventure’ The Times


Title Page

Chapter One: Isis

Chapter Two: Isis

Chapter Three: Gray

Chapter Four: Gray

Chapter Five: Gray

Chapter Six: Isis

Chapter Seven: Gray

Chapter Eight: Isis

Chapter Nine: Isis

Chapter Ten: Isis

Chapter Eleven: Gray

Chapter Twelve: Isis

Chapter Thirteen: Isis

Chapter Fourteen: Gray

Chapter Fifteen: Isis

Chapter Sixteen: Gray

Chapter Seventeen: Isis

Chapter Eighteen: Gray

Chapter Nineteen: Isis

Chapter Twenty: Isis

Chapter Twenty-one: Gray

Chapter Twenty-two: Gray

Chapter Twenty-three: Isis

Chapter Twenty-four: Isis

Chapter Twenty-five: Gray

Chapter Twenty-six: Isis

Chapter Twenty-seven: Gray

Chapter Twenty-eight: Isis

Chapter Twenty-nine: Gray

Chapter Thirty: Isis

Chapter Thirty-one: Gray

Chapter Thirty-two: Isis

Chapter Thirty-three: Gray

Chapter Thirty-four: Isis

Chapter Thirty-five: Gray

Chapter Thirty-six: Isis

About the Author

Chapter One


Isis spent four days in hospital, afterwards.

After she stopped being dead.

The first night she’d woken suddenly: her eyes wide in the half-dark, her throat gasping and gulping down air, her mind flooded with vicious images of the icy cold wrapping itself around her. Impossible memories overlapped. She knew that she hadn’t survived, she remembered dying – the swift up-pull, leaving her body. Yet she was alive again somehow, her chest rising and falling. Somewhere nearby a machine bleeped quietly and other people snuffled in their sleep.

She murmured, and her mum, Cally, was there in an instant, stroking Isis’s hair.

“Shush, love, it’s all right. It’s all right now.”

In the daytime Cally hardly left Isis’s bedside. She held her daughter’s hand, read to her, brought her treats from the hospital shop or watched telly with her. That afternoon, she squeezed Isis’s hand and said, “I have tried to get Michael – I mean Daddy – to come and visit. I know you must want him here. But the agency told me he’s working on a liner which is cruising in the Antarctic at the moment. They promised to pass on the message, but it won’t be possible for him to get off the ship until it returns to South America in three weeks’ time.”

Isis heard the anger beneath Cally’s calming tone. Isis felt it too; he couldn’t even be here for this.

She smiled a tiny bit, enough to let Cally know she understood.

“I’m used to it,” Isis said, even though she wasn’t, not really. The hurt nearly matched the pain of her bandaged ice burns and the nagging pull of the drip in her arm. But then Dad never made it home for Christmas, or her birthday, or even a spare week in the summer holidays. Not since Angel.

If Isis had died, would he have come to her funeral, or would there have been an excuse for that too?

“I’ll keep trying, I promise,” said Cally, squeezing Isis’s hand a little tighter. “Why don’t you email him when you’re feeling a little better?”

What would I tell him? “I froze to death. I flew above the world with a creature millions of years old, and my dead little sister brought me back to life.”

“No,” said Isis, as loudly as she could – which wasn’t much more than a whisper.

Only a few weeks later Isis was back at school.

On her first day back she hurried into the warm September sunshine, scanning the playground. The black tarmac was full of jostle and noise, children wearing their new navy sweatshirts and still-black trousers. Everyone was chattering, meeting friends they hadn’t seen all summer, catching up with news. A group of wide-eyed Year Sevens were being herded about by two older girls.

A few pale and silent shapes were drifting between the students: two girls playing hopscotch, wearing white pinafores over their long dark dresses, and a young boy in knee-length shorts and a green blazer, pretending to be an aeroplane. Isis ignored them, her eyes gliding over their misty outlines.

A moment later she spotted Gray. He was coming out of a shabby concrete building which the teachers called North Block and everyone else called The Fridge. He was talking to another boy.

Isis hadn’t seen Gray for weeks, not since the hospital. He’d been battered then, and silent with shock, but now he looked back