No matter how long he has yearned to escape his boring life as an ordinary teenager, nothing can prepare James Shannassy for the afternoon when he meets a figment bird called Archit and the two of them set off for the world of Nalgordia to break a centuries-old curse. Being the hero of his own fantasy adventure isn’t exactly what James expected it to be, but when he finds himself caught up in an epic fight against a force of evil, he knows he might be the only one able to stop it. Archit’s fate now rests entirely in his hands…and there’s no turning back now!
Part of chapter 1
What Happened in the Greenhouse
This couldn’t have been happening. But it definitely was.
Still trembling from the shock of the past half-hour, James sighed and leaned up against the glass door of the abandoned greenhouse. It was the only place he could think of to hide. He wiped his sweat-drenched palms on his jeans and looked around. Maybe it was just the fear still coursing through his body, but something about the abandoned greenhouse reminded him of a haunted forest, something out of Grimm’s fairy tales. Tangles of overgrown plants spilled out of moldy garden boxes and twisted upward around moldy trellises. Late afternoon sunlight poured in through the cracks in the grimy glass walls, catching the dust that floated in the air and gleaming against the heavy spiderwebs that hung over everything. It was a place long forgotten, a place that might have once been beautiful and full of life but was now a place of decay and death.
Stop it! This wasn’t the time to let his overactive imagination get the best of him.
There wasn’t anything about the greenhouse that could actually hurt him, was there? Mr. Birken, on the other hand…
“All right, James,” he whispered to himself. “You’re safe now.”
“Yeah, right,” he huffed. “As if you actually believe that.”
He shook his head. And how in the hell are you going to get home now? You’re so stupid, James—God, you’re so freaking dumb!
If he were smarter, or more adept at escaping danger—whichever skill might have benefitted him more—he wouldn’t need to be hiding in an abandoned and possibly haunted greenhouse at all. No, if he were smarter and more adept at escaping danger, he would have run away from the school and straight in the direction of his house.
But he hadn’t done that. He had been so panicked that his only thought had been to get away from the school as fast as his unathletic body could go. It wasn’t until he was on the other side of town that his wits came back to him, and there was no way at that point that he was going back past the school. No way.
But Mr. Birken? Of all people, Mr. Birken?
His chemistry teacher, the kinda-sorta intimidating but otherwise friendly Mr. Birken, with his oversized glasses and his beer belly. Mr. Birken, who, before that afternoon, James thought was only as bad as threatening to fail him for the semester. If only James could have guessed!
Thank you, Dylan Roche and RABT Book Tours
About the author
Dylan Roche is a journalist, editor, actor, director, playwright, teacher, and marathon runner based in Annapolis, Maryland. The Purple Bird is his first novel.