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Damaged teen magicians, hiding underground from a powerful organization, must ask themselves, “Is freedom worth the price?”
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Mad World Series: Book Two

Genre  Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Release  June 28, 2013

Tags  Urban fantasy, paranormal, mental health, conspiracy, teens, magic, mental illness, medication

Editor  Christine I. Speakman

Line Editor  Sarah Champoux

Cover Designer  Charlotte Volnek

Words  100399

Pages  376

ISBN  978-1-77127-360-2

Price  $5.95



Back Cover

Following their panicked escape from Wakefield, Astrid Chalke, Max Fisher, and their friends find themselves adrift and on the run in western Massachusetts. After picking up a young thief with a complex philosophy, , and dealing with the pains of prescription drug withdrawal, they make their way to Boston.

Drained by a long trek to the city, the damaged teens settle in an underground tunnel community—a city below the city that appears to lie on the fringes of both the world above and the world of magic. Among the eccentric tunnel folk, they encounter the fabulous Angie DeVille, a self-made hipster and socialite who takes them under her neon wing and envelops them in her breathless and fast paced life.

Funded by a seemingly ruthless organization, the relentless Dr. Lycen is tasked to hunt down the Wakefield escapees. But as Astrid and Max eke out a meager existence in their new home and do their best to stay off Dr. Lycen's radar, they learn that new and even more harrowing threats might be lurking just over the horizon.


I slept restlessly in the one-room cabin the night we met Colby Sturgill. No one seemed to be sleeping well. Laura and Azrael looked agitated and restless, and Simon and Astrid kept tossing and turning. Lawrence got up in the middle of the night, and I could hear him vomiting outside the cabin’s screen door. I hadn’t really been at ease since our strange visit to the Poet’s Seat Tower, but it wasn’t the tower I visited in my sleep.

That night I dreamt of the ocean. Seagulls and a dragon flew overhead, six fingers beckoned me on, and wooden statues dressed as pirates kept a snowman company. The snowman sat by a blazing red candle, but it only hardened him to thick, glossy ice. Through a haze, I watched as a gray-haired fox drew a seven-sided star around us. It twisted and bent all together, until I had to really focus to see. Lines straightened out, shadows parted, and I was in a crowded club. There had to have been hundreds of people, dancing, drinking, and partying. A band played on a stage, a singer sweated. I didn’t recognize any of it.

The singer’s voice was like diamonds, and her multi-colored hair framed her face in a sharp bob. Everyone around me moved together like zombies, grinding and swaying, but she was the only one truly alive.

The song ended and the singer dropped the microphone on the stage, laughing.

“Give it up for our guest singer!” one of the band members announced. The partiers went wild. The singer soaked it in and joined her people.

“You’re too much!” she said in a posh English accent, faking humility.

Someone’s arm passed through me, then a leg, and I realized I wasn’t seeing through anyone’s eyes. I was me, and I wasn’t really there.

The band played on, but I couldn’t hear anything anymore. It was as if I had no ears. Faces blurred and couples kissed, and I remembered ghosts in a tunnel and missed my friends until the magnetic woman passed near me.

She stopped, just a foot away, and then snapped her head toward me. A couple danced through my dream body as the singer stood still. She grinned and spoke, flooding my ears with sound once more:

“I almost didn’t see you there, darling. Almost.” She lit a cigarette even though I never saw a lighter or match.

“But I’m not here,” I replied.

She tilted her head back and laughed as someone handed her a drink.

“Then where on earth are you?”

“A cabin. In the woods. With some friends,” I confessed. “And a thief.”

“How fascinating. You must come here, and then you can tell me everything.”

“Who are you?” I asked.

Someone called out to her, touched her arm. She turned her attention to him and gave some response before returning to me. She blew a series of smoke rings through my fake body before speaking.

“Oh, I just know we’re going to be such wonderful friends. Find me in Boston, if you dare.” She flashed me a wink, and then waved her hands in the air, like she was sending me back.

I awoke, jolting bolt upright, and realized I could barely breathe. There was a thin layer of sweat covering my chest and neck. My quick movement must have woken Colby up. Thankfully he was the only one who so much as stirred.

“Rough night?” he asked.

“Sure,” I answered. I wasn’t about to get into all of this with a stranger.

“You want to go for a walk or something?” he asked, fumbling with his words. Teddy rolled onto his side next to me. I wondered if he was faking sleep.

“No, thanks. Still tired. ’Night, man,” I told our newest addition.

He went back to sleep while I stared up at the wooden slats in the ceiling. Simon snored a few times, which I was used to from sharing a room with him in Wakefield. Astrid and Laura slept on a beat up old couch against the wall, Astrid’s glasses folded and placed carefully on the stained coffee table. Sweat beaded off both of their brows. Lawrence lay perfectly still against the wood-paneled wall, as if he were in a coffin. Then it struck me that Ben wasn’t there. This was not good.

I quietly sat up, at which point Colby did the same.

“Something is wrong?” he asked.

“Bathroom break.” I probably would have felt bad lying to anyone else. I crept over Teddy and tiptoed out of the room past Azrael, who peacefully sucked his thumb. The moon shone bright from the night sky, but the thick trees blocked out huge portions of light.

“Ben!” I tried to yell as quietly as possible, like a stage whisper. There was no response. “Ben!”



About the Authors


Erin Callahan lives with her husband in the bustling metropolis of ManchVegas, New Hampshire, and works for the federal government. She enjoys reading and writing young adult fiction, playing recreational volleyball, and mining the depths of popular culture for new and interesting ideas. A year after graduating from law school she found herself unemployed and took a job as a case manager at a residential facility similar to the one featured in Wakefield. Though she worked there for only a year and half, the strange and amazing kids she met will forever serve as a well of inspiration.



Troy H. Gardner grew up in Sunapee, NH and graduated with a B.A. in English from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He spent ten years working in the banking industry dreaming up numerous stories to write.








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