Middle Grade fantasy
Date Published: 10-20-2018
Sent to live with her strict, aloof, and uncaring uncle after her parents are killed in a car accident, twelve-year-old orphan Alyssa McCarthy longs for the life she used to have—one filled with fun and love. Then one stormy night, a message appears in the raindrops on the window that will change everything.
"Your life will never be the same again, as magic will interfere."
Before long, Alyssa is kidnapped by Master Beau, a banished sorcerer with a mysterious connection to her who can only regain his power by weakening hers. Suddenly hurled into a world of wizardry filled with fantastical beasts and marvelous technology beyond her wildest imagination, Alyssa must defeat Master Beau if she ever wants to get home again. But Master Beau will stop at nothing, including using Alyssa’s friends, to ensure he is triumphant.
About the Author
Sunayna Prasad enjoys writing fantasy books for children, as well as cooking, creating artwork, watching online videos, and blogging. She is passionate about modern-day life in fantasy stories, worldbuilding, and even humor. She is constantly brainstorming new ideas and using her creativity.
Sunayna has been writing stories since the age of six. Many sources that have inspired include various books and movies, all of which are fantasy.
She is lives in New York with her parents.
Excerpt from "The Frights of Figi"
Raindrops splattered like ink across the kitchen windowpane. Alyssa leaned closer. She squinted to determine the shapes. . . letters they formed.
No—that couldn’t happen. Yet, a message spelled itself out as more pigmented drops fell onto the glass. Alyssa gasped at it.
Your life will never be the same again, Alyssa McCarthy, as magic will interfere.
It can’t be—magic doesn’t exist! Alyssa thought.
When she was a little kid, others had told her that magic wasn’t real, including when she’d learned the truth about the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.
Alyssa had lived here, on Orion Street, since she’d lost her parents in a car crash five years ago when she was seven. Although they had designated her godfather, Alex, as the priority guardian, she’d ended up living with her Uncle Bruce and Aunt Laura right after her mom and dad’s deaths due to various complications introduced by the State of New Jersey. But after Aunt Laura had died three years ago from an allergic reaction to berry-filled chocolate, Uncle Bruce had toughened up his attitude and rules. He even required Alyssa, and her eleven-year-old cousin, Hailey, to earn fun, which involved too much effort.
Alyssa’s stomach compressed as she considered Uncle Bruce’s reaction to the writing on the window. Ever since her Aunt Laura’s passing, he’d yelled at her for minor issues. If she told him about that message, he’d deem it a lie—an excuse to escape from this house. He’d already hidden Alex’s phone number and mailing address shortly after Aunt Laura’s demise, and Alyssa had since forgotten the information.
Footsteps sounded. The babysitter, Mrs. Hutchinson, stared at the kitchen floor and pointed in different directions.
Hailey sweated through her freckled cheeks while standing right outside.
Mrs. Hutchinson turned to Hailey. “You’re good.”
“So, can I have my break now?” Hailey asked.
“Yes. But you’ve only got ten minutes till your next chore.”
Hailey went upstairs.
Alyssa sighed. Since Uncle Bruce had hired her, Mrs. Hutchinson had approved of Hailey’s ability to do chores—but never Alyssa’s.
“Alyssa, get back to work. You’ve been staring at the rain for too long.”
She turned to the window again—only to see the message gone and the rain back to its average transparency.
“What did I say?” asked Mrs. Hutchinson.
Alyssa sighed. “Fine, I’ll finish washing the dishes.” She scrubbed them under running water and focused only on them. Stupid rules. What was Uncle Bruce thinking by asking Mrs. Hutchinson to treat us like dirt?
Mrs. Hutchinson was only in her sixties but seemed to have forgotten that it was 2010 and not 1960. Yet, it had taken Alyssa a while to realize that she wouldn’t tolerate even the mildest nonsense, such as gaping at a windowpane when performing chores.
Once she had finished washing the dishes, Alyssa put them to the side and grabbed some paper towels.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Mrs. Hutchinson asked.
Alyssa stopped. “I’m just—”
“The last few times I was here, you left little bits of food on the dishes.”
“But they were stuck.”
“Let me inspect them. Also, if something is rubbery, you have to wash it again.”
“Because clean dishes aren’t supposed to be rubbery. And boy, did you do such a sloppy job. Look at that stain on your sweater.”
Alyssa looked down.
“That looks like chocolate.”
Alyssa blushed, and her eyebrows arched. “Hey—it’s just water.” She covered the stain at the bottom of her sweater’s V-neck.
But Mrs. Hutchinson waved her index finger. “Don’t you ‘hey’ me, Alyssa. That’s rude. In my day, kids respected their elders. We’d never dare talk to them that way unless we didn’t mind them smacking our bottoms.”
“Not when I’m here, they don’t. Now let me do my inspection.”
Great—an inspection! Alyssa crossed her arms and tapped her foot. She wanted her break now. She wished to read, rest, make lanyard designs—anything but watch Mrs. Hutchinson.
“Mrs. Hutchinson?” she asked.
“Whatever you need to say, wait till I’m done.”
Alyssa inhaled and exhaled. Mrs. Hutchinson picked up a dish, ran her finger down it, and rubbed it. She then put it down, nodded, and told Alyssa, “You’re good. Now what did you want to tell me?”
“Um . . . if I tell you, can you not give me a hard time?”
“If it’s something stupid—?”
“It’s not.” Alyssa breathed. “The raindrops turned black for no apparent reason, and formed writing on the window, and said that—”
“Nonsense!” Mrs. Hutchinson crossed her arms and glared at her.
Alyssa leaned back “No, really, it was there.”
“There was nothing there when I came, and there’s nothing there now. So, don’t tell me stories.”
“But it’s not a story.”
“I don’t want to hear any more. Now it’s time for your next chore.”
“Aw, but I wanted my break.”
“Too bad. You’ve got to go vacuum the living room.”
Alyssa dragged her feet toward the vacuum in the corner and took it. As she cleaned, she thought about that writing and how Mrs. Hutchinson wouldn’t believe her. She couldn’t imagine anyone else accepting the windowpane’s writing, either. Mrs. Hutchinson had watched her and Hailey for three years, and not once had she smiled or assisted with anything.
After cleaning the carpet, Alyssa checked for remaining specks, and when she didn’t find any, she put the vacuum away.
“Hailey, you and Alyssa need to go get the mail now!” Mrs. Hutchinson faced the staircase.
“Coming!” cried Hailey.
Another rule Uncle Bruce had placed on Alyssa and Hailey was that they could only go outside together. He worried about people taking them, even though Alyssa would turn thirteen next month. But that rule had been placed because a few months ago, Uncle Bruce had heard about a seventeen-year-old boy who had been shot while skateboarding in his neighborhood. That had shocked Alyssa, since it had occurred there in Bursnell, New Jersey, in which many considered a safe town. She and Hailey had trouble believing that and assumed that Uncle Bruce had only stated that to restrict their control even more.
The two started to put their raincoats on until Mrs. Hutchinson said, “It’s stopped raining outside.”
“Already?” asked Alyssa.
“Yes.” Mrs. Hutchinson said and went to the bathroom.
The girls headed toward the mailbox, and Alyssa pulled out the mail. But as they returned, mud bubbled from the ground, about halfway between the end of the driveway and the house. It piled up, resembling horse manure around a couple of feet wide and a few inches tall, and it grew as more soil emerged.
“Alyssa, what’s going on?” Hailey asked.
The dirt stopped piling up. But it still bubbled, and the bubbles spread all over the pile. They stopped popping up and down, and as they expanded, Alyssa and Hailey gasped. They kept their mouths open as the bubbles merged into a single huge bubble. Hailey and Alyssa stepped back as the now giant bubble swelled. And then . . . it popped! The explosion threw bits of exploding mud on the girls, and they shrieked.
A glowering Mrs. Hutchinson opened the door. “What the heck have you two been doing?! You were supposed to get the mail—not have a mud fight!”
“There was a big mud bubble, and it exploded,” said Hailey.
“And where was it?” asked Mrs. Hutchinson
“Right there!” Alyssa pointed to where it had happened—only for the dirt to have dried.
“Complete garbage!” growled Mrs. Hutchinson. “Get inside!”
The girls returned inside, removing the mud from their hair. Alyssa could spot the mud in her straight, pale-blonde tresses, unlike Hailey, who likely needed more patience to search for globs in her elbow-length, red locks. But Alyssa’s hair fell a few inches past her hips, so cleaning out the mud would take longer, even with the shorter layers in the front.
Mrs. Hutchinson breathed. “You girls are so—”
“We saw it happen!” yelled Hailey.
“How could dirt just explode?!” Mrs. Hutchinson stomped.
“I-I think it was magic!” exclaimed Alyssa.
“There’s no such thing as magic!” screamed Mrs. Hutchinson. “Alyssa, you’re twelve years old. You’re too old to say things like that!”
“But nothing else can make mud explode!” Alyssa said.
“Mrs. Hutchinson, we swear it did!” whined Hailey.
“Enough!” snapped Mrs. Hutchinson. “You and Hailey—go upstairs and take showers!”
Alyssa followed Hailey with her arms crossed.
“Alyssa, can I shower first?” asked Hailey.
As Hailey entered the bathroom, Alyssa walked into her room. She scratched more mud off her skinny jeans, all she’d worn ever since she’d noticed other girls wearing them. She removed the final bits off the back of her hand and stood by her bed since she wanted to keep it clean.
She thought about the writing on the window and the exploding mud. Someone wanted magic to interfere with her life. But who—and why?
There had to be some reason why no one had ever believed in sorcery—unless it’d just begun on Earth today, or recently.
Maybe the magic would only interfere if she remained in her uncle’s house. But if her godfather could arrange with his lawyer to let her move in with him as soon as possible—especially because he treated her with love and compassion—the wizardry might leave her alone. Unlike science, though, magic can do anything, meaning it could follow her wherever she went.
The sound of the water running in the bathroom ended, which meant that Hailey had finished her shower. Now it was Alyssa’s turn.
After about five minutes of showering, she stepped out and headed back to her room, where she put on leggings and a long shirt. But she gasped as something appeared out of nowhere on her bed. It must have come from . . . magic.
She noticed it was a folded piece of paper, which she opened and read.
Hello Alyssa McCarthy,
You must be wondering about the writing on your window, the exploding mud, and the note that appeared here. Who was responsible for them? You’ll find out.
How dare someone create incidents and not say their name! Without knowing their identity, Alyssa couldn’t report them. Strange and magical occurrences might happen again.
But now she had proof for Mrs. Hutchinson that the writing and exploding mud had occurred. Mrs. Hutchinson had seen her write before, and this writing looked nothing like hers. She handwrote in a half-print and half-script style. This, however, was pure print.
Alyssa jogged downstairs and carried the note. “Mrs. Hutchinson, I have something to show you.”
“Not right now, Alyssa.” Mrs. Hutchinson left the kitchen. “You and Hailey have to go wash my car.”
“But it’s quick.”
“You can show me after you’re done washing my car.” Mrs. Hutchinson turned to Hailey, who emptied the dishwasher. “Are you almost done?”
“I think so.”
“How many dishes do you have left?” asked Mrs. Hutchinson.
“Uh . . .” Hailey looked at the top rack. “Four.”
“Okay, hurry up.” Mrs. Hutchinson turned to Alyssa. “Why don’t you go put that piece of paper away?”
“But this is what I need to show you.”
“Do I have to repeat what I said before?”
“Alyssa, do as you’re told.” Mrs. Hutchinson pointed to the staircase.
Alyssa grunted. This note contained so much crucial information. Only that paper itself contained evidence that those incidents had occurred.
After putting the note back in her room, Alyssa joined Hailey in the garage. The two grabbed sponges, buckets, and soap. They filled the buckets with water and went outside to scrub Mrs. Hutchinson’s car.
“I wish we had another babysitter,” muttered Alyssa.
“What was on the piece of paper?” asked Hailey.
Alyssa told her.
“Who wrote it?”
“There was no name on it. Just ‘Anonymous.’”
A girl whistling drew Alyssa’s attention away from the car. Her friends from grade school, Madison Jennings, rode her scooter on the sidewalk.
“Hi, Alyssa,” said Madison. The wind blew her long dark-brown waves across her face. She stopped at the driveway, and her hair went limp. Hailey and Alyssa ran to her.
“I’ve missed you,” said Alyssa.
“How’ve you been?” Hailey asked.
“I just moved onto Draco Drive a few days ago.” Madison referred to a road off Orion Street.
“So, how do you like the middle school?” asked Alyssa.
“Oh, I go to Catholic school now,” said Madison. “What about you?”
“Hailey and I are homeschooled now,” said Alyssa. “I never got to tell you.”
“That’s okay,” said Madison. “So, you guys want to come over to my house on Saturday?”
“What time?” asked Alyssa.
“I’ll ask my mom and let you know,” said Madison. “Okay, bye, guys. Nice seeing you again.” She rode back in the direction she’d come from as Hailey and Alyssa waved goodbye to her.
After washing the car, they cleaned up and walked back inside. A snore suggested to Alyssa that Mrs. Hutchinson was sleeping. But she’d never napped while babysitting.
Alyssa strode toward the living room—Mrs. Hutchinson slept on a couch.
Hailey asked, “Why is Mrs. Hutchinson sleeping?”
“I don’t know,” said Alyssa.
“Can you show me the note?”
Alyssa nodded and led her up the stairs. She opened her door—but gasped . . . the note that she’d left on her bed was gone.
“Where’s the note?” asked Hailey.
“It was right there,” Alyssa pointed to the bed.
But another piece of paper appeared on the mattress. Alyssa read it.
Hello again, Alyssa,
I have put your babysitter to sleep to reveal magic to you. You’ll find out why she is sleeping later.
“Not again,” mumbled Alyssa. “Why won’t they say their name?” She showed the note to Hailey.
“Let’s go call my dad before anything happens,” said Hailey.
How much worse could this get? Alyssa thought as she followed Hailey down the stairs.