You get bigger, badder, better monsters to fight them!
Werewolf Max and the Monster War
excerpt from chapter 9
“Here it is,” Keira said, shifting her weight back.
Max and Tim slowed to a stop in a small clearing. Dry leaves blanketed the sun-dappled ground. A rich musty scent told him there were mushrooms growing nearby, but Max didn’t see or smell anything magical about this place.
“Where? I don’t see any portal,” Tim said, wrinkling his nose in annoyance at Keira.
She laughed and slid off of Max’s back. “Do you see the ring?”
Max saw it, around the edge of the clearing, a cluster of small white mushrooms forming a near-perfect circle.
“These mushrooms grow in places where strong magic touches the earth,” Keira told them. “Many call it a fairy circle or fairy ring.” She narrowed her eyes and lowered her voice like she was telling a scary story. “There are many ancient legends about them. Most say that if you go into one you won’t be likely to return.”
Max and Tim each took a nervous step away from the mushrooms.
Keira laughed. “Don’t worry, just stay with me and you’ll be fine. Are you ready to go?”
“H—How do we go through the portal?” Max asked. “What’s on the other side?”
“I’ll need to be touching both of you to bring you with me. And, I won’t lie to you, it might seem a bit scary in there if you aren’t used to it. It’s the realm of wandering ghosts. The ones who don’t have a haunt on the surface, or don’t want to linger here but also don’t want to move on. It’s the halfway world. Not here, not there. Kind of like inside the wall between two homes that are connected. It’s dark and dusty, and nothing much happens, but it’s there. And from there you can get anywhere in the upper realm if you know how.”
“I think it sounds even more creepy now that you’ve explained it,” Tim said. Though they weren’t inside the portal yet, the fur on his back bristled.
Max shook himself, forced his own fur to smooth out, and cleared his throat. “Okay, if we’re going to do this, we’d better just do it. The suspense is killing me.”
Tim shot him a look.
“Not actually killing… I mean… you know what I mean!” Max snapped.
Keira chuckled and stepped between them. She laid a hand lightly on each of their shoulders. “Remember, stay with me as we go through. I don’t know what would happen if you were halfway in and we lost contact.”
Max and Tim each sidled a little closer to her.
Suddenly, a tingling feeling crept all over Max’s skin, like static electricity crackling through his fur, making it all stand on end. He saw Keira’s hair start to float around her, too. Her body lifted slightly off the ground and her skin glowed.
Max’s heart thumped in his chest. Were they really doing this? He glanced at Tim. His friend had his ears back with anxiety. His fur bristled out all over his body, too.
“Here we go,” Keira said.
They all stepped forward, over the outer edge of the mushroom ring, and fell through to the other side.