Professor Rufus Excalibur Bell's storage room.
This is how it starts...
I’d been cleaning hundreds of Dang crustaceans off Septimus Reed’s skiff for close on 3 hours when my canoe flipped over all by itself. I’d paddled around the point battling a strong headwind that afternoon and dragged the canoe well up on the rocks above Spar Cove. Now without a breath of wind, Whoop, over it went.
“Who’s that?” I called, voice rising to a stupid squeak. “Show yourself.”
No two ways about it, I was spooked. Gripping the scraper in one hand and the knife in the other, I hunched my shoulders against the chill. It was like walking into an icehouse on a fine June day.
Sparum are the least observant organisms. This time the offensive words came from inside me.
Shocked, I swung my fist to bat away the hubbub and nearly cut my jugular.
Beware, warned the trickster.
I whipped from left to right. Where was he?
It was as if the Old Testament God who commanded Abraham to kill Isaac was Inside My Skull. I dropped the knife and scraper to grip my head with both hands.
Despite that first encounter with a Preternatural, young C. D. Smith is desperate to join Professor Bell's Preternatural History Expedition to Wales, 1878.
I can walk well over 20 miles per day, swim strongly, sleep rough, and forage for food. I have met an American Goblini and learned my first Preternatural word. ‘Sparum’ refers to Humans and it isn’t necessarily a compliment.
In addition, I have studied up on Fata, Draco, and Aquatici. I’m not afraid of heights. I can bind wounds. I’ve helped the Island beekeeper for 6 years now and so am impervious to bee stings. I can read a compass well enough to not get lost in Maine’s North Woods. In school this year, I am taking Botany, Latin, Geometry, History, Composition, and Rhetoric. I have received high marks in all but Mr. Bemis’s Rhetoric, where I’m liable to let my emotions overtake my argument. But if you would consider me, sir, I’d keep working to control what Mr. Bemis calls my ‘impetuous nature’.
Want to join the expedition? You should know that Professor Bell once said -
‘I won’t deny that danger is part of the thrill. I have been scorched by dragon fire, bewitched by sirens, adopted by elven, and chased by centaurs, all in the name of science. I’ve avoided the pearly gates by learning the ways of the creatures I study and by keeping a fresh tin of anti-venom in my kit.’
You should also know that Bell lost a student on the 1877 expedition. Still want to join the 1878 trip? You can. Soon.