Title: CALL OF THE CROW
Word Count: 58,000
Twelve-year-old Josh Albright always knew he had a strange connection to nature, hearing mountains whisper in the night and worms scream at the sight of a garden shovel. But after three crows follow him across the country, he meets a group of magical creatures who claim Josh is a boy of light. And they expect him to heal their forest. That’s more than saving a few worms.
The council of elves assign Josh an assistant, a funny British boggart (often mistaken for a baby dragon) who has some sort of magical attention deficit disorder and an obsession with William Shakespeare. To deal with his new best friend with wings, along with his boy of light duties, Josh recruits a creative girl-next-door. Together they must unravel the mystery of who stole the forest’s source of magic. Without it, the forest cannot survive.
Josh has until sunrise on the shortest day of the year to follow a series of clues from the Ancient Ones, find a blood-stained mountain that turns red once a year, deal with his fears so he can face a monster, steal some magic, and of course finish his not-yet-determined science project.
Being a boy of light is about as easy as a box of boggarts.
Josh Albright sat at a worn wooden table in his clubhouse surrounded by nails, a tin box of craft supplies, and a slightly chewed pencil. The smell of fresh cut pine filled the room. He wiped excess glue on the crumpled directions for a do-it-yourself birdhouse.
Above him hung a model of the solar system where light shone down from a fiery sun. Josh stuck the last piece of his project into place and admired his work. Transforming one thing into another was a kind of magic.
“There.” He turned his project around so his visitor could see it. Outside an open window, a jet-black crow stood in the backyard’s only tree. The bird’s sleek feathers gleamed against the reddened sky of a desert sunset.
“Ready to move in?” Josh brought the new home closer to the crow, but it didn’t move from the low hanging tree branch.
“Fine. I’ll paint it. Will that make you happy?”
The bird tilted its head. Its deep black eyes looked like a tunnel to some far away place.
Josh’s best friend Steven squeezed in the narrow door of the clubhouse with his arms full of supplies for a sleepover. Josh helped by taking the bulky backpack.
“I can’t believe you made a house for the symbol of death,” Steven said.
“Stop that, will you? Crows don’t mean death.”
“Then why do they always show up in movies, right before someone gets it?”
Josh couldn’t answer that question.