Below is an excerpt from the book I’m working on called “The Otherworlders”
Here you can find previous excerpts from the story:
. . .
“Get up.” Andie’s loud voice penetrated Max’s sleep. He didn’t move, hoping Andie would let him sleep a little longer. “Get up, we have to get going if we want to beat traffic.”
“Traffic for what?” Max forgot he was feigning sleep.
“We’re going to Long Island. I told you last night,” Andie replied matter-of-factly.
Max opened one bleary eye. Andie stood over the bed, fully dressed, with a shake in her hand.
“No, you didn’t mention it,” he replied hoarsely.
“Oh. Well, either way, we’re spending the day in Long Island,” Andie took a swig from her drink.
“What’re we going to do there?”
“Talk to my parents.” Andie left the room.
Max drifted back into sleep during the ride up the Long Island Expressway. He woke when he felt the car slowing down. They were definitely in the suburbs. They passed expansive manicured lawns, long driveways that went half a mile back from the road, leading to huge well-kept houses. Andie kept driving until the houses had disappeared replaced by huge trees and shrubbery. The road had become rocky and narrow. After about ten minutes, Andie turned right onto a small gravel path. There was a clearing up ahead and through the thicket of trees Max could see a tall house looming in the distance. They broke through to the clearing, revealing a number of greenhouses surrounding the old Victorian house. It was three stories high, complete with a turret and a dome.
“It’s beautiful.” Max leaned forward in his seat to get a better look.
“Thanks, but it’s seen better days,” Andie seemed to have tensed up.
There was no driveway so Andie parked right in front of the house on the grass. They walked up the massive wrap around porch but Andie hesitated at the door.
She turned to Max and said, “Brace yourself. They can get a little … intense.”
“Don’t worry. I’m Irish Catholic.”
Andie pulled out her set of keys and unlocked the door and Max walked in behind her. They entered the dark foyer with just the rectangle of light behind them illuminating the wood floors and stone fireplace. It smelled slightly damp and sweet, almost like maple syrup. The air felt unnaturally still, as if there had been a great flurry of movement right before they came in and everything stopped as soon as they entered. Max imagined if he listened close enough he would be able to hear his own heartbeat.
“Should we look for them?” Max whispered.
“Why are you whispering?” Andie motioned Max to follow her down a long dark corridor that opened into a kitchen. This area of the house was much warmer, it was small, bathed in yellow light from wood framed windows, with an island in the middle and a well used stove under a stone chute. There was another wooden door slightly ajar revealing a narrow rickety staircase that led to the second floor of the house. The remains of breakfast were still on the table and a few dishes littered the sink. A screen door was open to a back porch overlooking a backyard that didn’t seem to end. A large orange cat with green eyes was sitting on a stool as if he had been waiting for them. He slowly blinked his eyes at the two of them. Andie put out her hand and stroked the cat’s long fur.
The cat closed his eyes and pushed his face against her hand, “Hello, Sallu.” Andie sat down at the island, next to Sallu, and pulled a plate of toast towards her.
“Do you want some?” Andie turned to Max.
“No, but shouldn’t we look for them?” Max asked again, eyeing the animal carefully, “Don’t tell me he turns into a tiger or something.”
“Lion,” Andie correct him through a mouthful of toast, “and my parents are probably around here somewhere. They’ll show up eventually. You might as well eat.”
Max sat down next to Andie and took a piece of toast. “So, you grew up here?”
“Yeah, it wasn’t as … you know.”
Andie laughed, “I was going to say neglected.”
“Is that why it feels like that?”
“You mean in the foyer? No, that’s because of the protections around the house. That feeling in the air is just magic.”
“Oh. Uh, what?”
“Just a few spells to keep out intruders and the like. Strips anything in disguise, detects weapons, that kind of stuff. It’s like a home security system. With magic.”
“So you’re wizards?”
“No, wizards are wizards.”
“Whatever.” Max shook his head and continued eating his toast, secretly wondering if he’d get to meet a wizard.
. . .