How to Catch a Magical by Samuel Thews
If you want to catch a Magical, you have to go about it the right way.
You have to have the right tools, the right training, a certain disregard for danger and a flair for the dramatic. Oh, and it helps if you inherit your father’s wicked bounty hunter skills, which give you superhuman reflexes and senses.
It’s really hard without the last one.
Andromeda Nyx has all the skills to be a successful bounty hunter. But after five years of training and catching nothing but Flinks–the lowest-level Magicals, the kind that think it’s funny to steal just one sock from a pair and hide it somewhere in the garden–she’s itching for bigger game. When her mentor says going out on her own to catch a Sprite is too risky, she decides to freelance. When the Sprite she catches turns out to be a messenger, Nyx is chosen as an ambassador for the bounty hunters and must travel to the decrepit world of the Magicals, Himnara.
While there, she is informed of a plot by Arcanus Emerson Kain—the leader of a rogue sect of Magicals—to invade Earth for a seemingly bizarre purpose: he wants to steal people. Along with her mentor Ridge, Nyx must find a way to stop Kain before his power becomes too great.
“Samuel Thews writes a rousing tale of magic, bounty hunters and war. I suspect that I like my teenage heroines to always be confident and either compassionate and positive, or cynical, violent and jaded.”
“Andromeda is a complex character, as are her Father and some of the others in the story. My favorites, outside of Andromeda, was Whitchurch. He was a charming, crazy and wild old bounty hunter that Andromeda meets in an enemy prison. Between his wit, his skills, his experience, his brilliance and his caring, he is just a wonderful person. The nude fishing and other zany things make him a bit crazy.”
Excerpt – Please choose 1 and delete the other 2 prior to posting
I awakened to the patter of rain on windows in a dimly lit room. I don’t remember when the voices stopped, but they were gone. That’s all I cared about.
My head swam when I tried to sit up—actually, it felt like a mad elephant was dancing in my brain—and so it took me a moment to make out that I was still in the headmaster’s office. Perched on the couch, I listened to the rain while I waited for the dizziness to fade.
When I finally stood, I noticed several things about my surroundings. I don’t know how or why I picked up on these things; they just came to me as I took in the room. For one, the window to my right was ten paces away. I could reach it in a blink without even trying. Then there was the desk on the other side of the office. It was too far to run to in a pinch, but with a quick dash and a jump I could swing off the low-hanging chandelier and land just behind it for safety. I spotted a crystal paperweight on the desk and knew it was just the right thing to divert a Sprite’s attention.
What a Sprite was, I didn’t know (beyond the name of the soft drink) but that paperweight would do the trick.
Just then my hand shot out from my side unbidden.
I sensed it more than saw it, and before I could even blink I had snatched the small object that flew at my head right out of the air.
I turned as a familiar grunt emanated from the shadows by the door.
“Your reflexes have improved. Good.”
There was a horrible gurgling sound and then the train lurched into motion. The jolt threw me back and my head smacked against the seatback. The rusty wheels squeaked and banged, the car bouncing every time one of the gaps in the wheels rolled over the tracks.
But something was wrong. We weren’t going back into the tunnel. We were headed towards the cave opening.
“Umm, Ridge …” I said, but he had already seen it. His huge hairy knuckles gripped the edge of the seat in front of us.
Okay. What could possibly happen? Obviously the Magicals had made this train. Perhaps it would go across a hidden track to the other side of the canyon—or maybe it was able to fly.
The train went right off the edge of the tracks, doing a smashing impersonation of a lemming, and plummeted down into the gorge like a stone.
“How … how long have you been here?”
“Oh, must be a few years now. The name’s Whitchurch, by the way. Clinton Whitchurch.”
“Crazy Whit—,” I blurted before catching myself. “I mean—”
“Hah!” he guffawed. “Yes, that’s me. Crazy Whitchurch. Don’t worry, I’m not offended.”
I apologized again, but he would have nothing of it. The man was a legend, eccentricities and all. He’d retired years ago but had toured the world in his time and done all sorts of experiments with various gadgets and Magicals. Everyone thought he was crazy because since he’d retired he no longer had collars, so he did all of his experiments on the run, chucking this or that at a Magical and then fleeing for cover. He also liked to go fly fishing naked—which, now that I think about it, might be the main reason they called him crazy— more so than the experiments.
Ridge told me he disappeared on a sojourn to Africa a year before I became a bounty hunter.
“Everyone thinks you’re dead,” I said.
(4) “What happened?” I asked, but before Whitchurch could answer, I caught sight of the mask lying on the ground not a foot from my outstretched hand.
“Get that away from me!” I shrieked and struggled from Whitchurch’s grasp and crawled across the floor away from the mask.
I couldn’t remember anything about what had happened, but it must have been horrible as I couldn’t stand to look at the mask. Whitchurch took me by the shoulders and led me up the staircase until the glow of the cavern disappeared.
“Did I get it?”
“Yes,” he said, and dangled a plain silver amulet from a chain in his hand. “But I thought I’d lost you.” We stopped on the stairs and his bright-blue eyes pored over my face. “Do you remember anything?”
I shook my head, which wasn’t a smart thing to do as the resulting throb made me lose balance, but Whitchurch kept me on my feet.
I raised a trembling hand to my right cheek and felt four scratches that burned when I touched them. What had happened when I put the mask on?
“You did that to yourself,” Whitchurch whispered.
I decided then that I didn’t want to know.
Author Samuel Thews
Samuel Thews has been writing stories since he was old enough to hold a pencil. As a child, he reveled in the stories of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brian Jacques and other fantasy authors. A life-long reader, he is a fan of J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman and mystery author M.C. Beaton. He has also read Les Miserables not once, but twice. Unabridged, of course.
Although his educational background is in science and law, it is still the magical and fantastical that excites him. He enjoys writing stories for his daughters, who will hear one bedtime tale and ask that it be turned into a book. Writing with a whimsical style, he seeks to evoke the light, refreshing reading experience found in fairy tales and cozy mysteries.
A native of North Carolina, he currently lives in a rural part of Orange County with his wife, three children and their ever growing menagerie.
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