Harvest of Changelings

Harvest of Changelings

by Warren Rochelle

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Overview

Harvest of Changelings by Warren Rochelle

Although the familiar themes of fantasy are present in this novel, the characters are not princes or sorcerers but ordinary people with seemingly ordinary lives. Ben Tyson, a librarian, met and loved Valeria, a fairy woman; but her death left Ben to raise their child, Malachi, alone. The two of them lived a quiet life until Malachi turned 10 and began to manifest previously unknown powers. Now the lords of Fairy have called home the changelings they left in the universe generations ago, waking up long-dormant DNA and fay blood. More than a straightforward fantasy novel, this tale’s underlying current deals with people that are different—physically, mentally, and in their choice of lifestyle. The fairy children are seen as outsiders to mainstream culture, and as they become aware of each other they must unite to overcome the apathy and prejudice of humans, as well as the evil Fomorii, before it is too late.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781930846524
Publisher: Golden Gryphon Press
Publication date: 09/01/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 313
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Warren Rochelle is an associate professor of English at the University of Mary Washington. He is the author of Communities of the Heart: The Rhetoric of Myth in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin and The Wild Boy. He lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Read an Excerpt

Harvest of Changelings


By Warren Rochelle

Golden Gryphon Press

Copyright © 2007 Warren Rochelle
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-930846-66-1



CHAPTER 1

Tuesday, May Eve, 3D April-Wednesday, Beltaine 1 May 1991


Malachi Lucius Tyson

Malachi Closed His Eyes. Miss Windlemere read the poem, surely the most boring poem in the English language, in her clear and precise and completely flat voice, draining any and all feeling out of the words, if there had been any in the first place, until only the moral was left. Malachi was convinced Miss Windlemere believed the only good stories or poems had to be little homilies, tiny sermons. It wasn't that Miss Windlemere was opposed to fun in school — after all, Malachi thought, she had put up a May Pole just outside the classroom. Tomorrow they were all supposed to do some sort of dorky dance with crepe paper streamers around the pole and the boy and girl with the highest grades in spelling would be crowned May King and Queen. Just like the little statue of Mary at church, with her floral coronet that Mrs. Nowalski made every week out of the flowers in her garden: pansies, petunias, tiny yellow buttercups, daffodils, paperwhite narcissi. Malachi had asked if the girl had to be like the Virgin but Miss Windlemere didn't think it was funny.

Would she ever finish? Malachi opened his eyes to look at the clock and its too slow second hand over the blackboard: 2:05. Another entire hour, sixty more minutes, three thousand six hundred seconds, before school was out for the day. And after that: four more weeks, four more weeks of Miss Windlemere and her flat voice and this classroom and Vandora Springs Elementary. Twenty days. Never mind the number of hours; it was too many. On the last day of school Malachi would walk out, never to come back. Fifth grade was going to be in a new school: Nottingham Heights Elementary. Malachi wondered if his next teacher would have the same posters placed neatly above each window: Truth is Beauty, Knowledge is Power, The Early Bird Gets The Worm, Variety is The Spice of Life. Posters, Malachi was sure, that had been up on the wall since the school was built, as Knowledge is Power and Truth is Beauty were getting frayed around the edges. Someone had left a spitball on the worm.

"Now, class, take out a piece of paper — don't rip it out, Ellen, how many times do I have to tell you that?-name and date in the upper right hand corner. Danny, stop staring out the window. Thank you. Now, class, I want you to write your own May poem using your spelling words ..."

Geez, another spelling word poem. Danny had the right idea — if Malachi could just get outside. He sniffed the breeze that had found its way into the classroom: warm, light, laced with the faint, faint fragrance of nameless flowers. And was that a cardinal — that flash of red taking flight? If he could just follow that bird — go whenever, wherever — Malachi sighed and got out a piece of paper and watched as the minute hand moved to 2:09. Could he? His wrist on his desk, Malachi raised his hand. His pencil slowly rolled out of its groove and up against his wrist. He had never tried a trick like this before, though. It had only been in the past month, since Malachi's tenth birthday in March, that he had found out he could do these tricks on a regular basis. Pencils, though, were one thing, clocks were another. But still, if he could move the clock hands to 3:05 and trip the bell in the office, he'd be out of here. The very first trick, back in October, had been an accident. Malachi had dropped the kaleidoscope Uncle Jack had given him under his bed and it had rolled out of reach. Even lying flat on his stomach and stretching his arm as far as he could, Malachi had not been able to reach the metal tube, and there just wasn't enough space between bed and floor for him to crawl under. Moving the bed wasn't an option, as it folded out of the wall — the previous owners liked boats, his dad had explained once. He had closed his eyes and imagined the kaleidoscope rolling to him, and it did. Just a few inches, but the kaleidoscope had moved.

He pinched himself: yes, he was awake. Just because he was on the floor, dust bunnies around his ears, with his eyes closed, didn't mean he was asleep. Maybe the floor was curved, or maybe the house was really a boat and had hit a big wave. Maybe there had been an earthquake. The second time Malachi tried, the kaleidoscope skittered across the floor into his hand, leaving a very faint, blue trail behind it. It had happened again, a few days later, on Halloween. Miss Windlemere, to everyone's surprise, had worn a black witch's dress and hat to school. She had even cackled a few times. Wasn't she supposed to keep her true identity secret? She had just about been ready to sit down at reading group when Malachi pushed the chair back. Miss Windlemere had dropped straight to the floor, collapsing just like the Wicked Witch of the West.

But only in the past few weeks, since his birthday, had Malachi been able to count on the tricks. Kaleidoscopes, toy cars and trucks, stuffed animals, balled-up paper, pencils, books — all of them had flown about his bedroom, leaving fading smoke-blue trails in the air. And if he could move all those things, how hard could the clock hands and the office bell be? I can do this. Malachi bent low over his desk, so Miss Windlemere couldn't see he was only pretending to write. He clenched his fist and tightened his chest. Focus, see the bell, the clock ... There. The afternoon bell rang, shattering the class's sleepy silence into a rush of voices and moving bodies. Miss Windlemere jumped up from her desk, looking first at the clock and then at the class as it surged up and out, moving around her like she was more furniture.

"Wait, that can't be right, it's not 3:05, wait, good-bye, good-bye ..."

I did it, I did it, I did it. Okay, careful, don't push them out of the way, but I bet I could; it wouldn't take much. Blow them away, like the Big Bad Wolf. Just huff and puff, and blow them all down. Serve 'em right. Not now. Walk, run, shove, like everybody else. Maybe I ought to give Miss Windlemere another surprise — yeah, move her chair out, there, until it is right behind her and when she steps back — Yeessss. Malachi stopped at the door and looked back. He had never seen anybody so surprised in their life. He blew. Miss Windlemere took a quick step back, her hair suddenly loose about her head, and dropped heavily into her chair. When the chair started spinning in circles around the room, she froze, her hands in the air, her mouth open.

"Good-bye," Malachi yelled and left, as the chair began to slow down. He didn't want to hurt her, just shake the old lady up a little. If Miss Windlemere even suspected Malachi had anything to do with the moving chair and the early dismissal, she'd kill him. Then the principal would kill him. And after that, his dad.

Sailing paper airplanes around the classroom had been the last time they had called his dad. "You had everybody making planes?" his dad had asked, shaking his head. They were walking home from school after meeting with the principal. "Everybody? Why do you do this stuff? How do you think I feel when I get these calls from your teacher and the principal? Malachi? Are you listening to me? Look at me, Malachi." His dad stopped walking and squatted down to face Malachi. They were a block from home on Vandora Springs Road, right in front of the Easy Eye Optometrist. A big eye stared down at them from the roof of the low, brick building. For a long moment his father said nothing, until Malachi finally looked away. He hated it when his dad did this. Go ahead and yell, get mad, not this. "I want you to be happy, son, and you have just gotten more and more miserable this entire year, doing more and more stupid stuff like this. Maybe asking you to tough out the teasing was a bad idea. Maybe that new school we talked about is the answer. I met the principal; she's a really nice lady. What do you think? Can you hang on until school is out?"

That had surprised Malachi: he had been sure his dad wasn't seeing him anymore, wasn't seeing what was happening, didn't want to see.

Once outside the classroom, he scooted, keeping close to the wall, and just beneath a row of crayon drawings of spring flowers hanging from a cork strip. The drawings brushed his head as he ran, heading for the exit as fast as he could. He didn't want the principal to catch on that something wasn't right — which wouldn't take long, since there weren't any buses outside, none being due for another hour.

The front door of Vandora Springs Elementary burst open, throwing out a crowd of ten or twelve boys and Malachi, all hooting and hollering. Keep going, just keep going, once I make those pine trees on the other side of the parking lot, I'm home free. Heck, there's the principal. Go, go, go. The other boys ran out into the bus parking lot into a bigger crowd of kids, all looking for buses and parents' cars that weren't there. Malachi ran with them and then kept on running, even though a few other kids called after him. For a moment he thought he heard an adult voice calling him as well, but he kept running. He ran until he was inside the trees' shadows and didn't stop until all the voices faded and grew faint. It wasn't much of a woods, just sort of a cul de sac between the school and a subdivision, mostly pines and cedars, some scraggly maples and sweetgums, a handful of big old oaks, honeysuckle and blackberry thickets. Too overgrown really, but it was sanctuary and Malachi was sure nobody would follow him. He rubbed his back against a thick pine and slowly slumped down to the pine needle-covered ground. There were bits of spider webs stuck to his face and his chest. Malachi kicked a few pinecones out of his way.

He shook his head. Dad was going to be furious. One of those kids would tell on him to the principal; they always did. The phone was probably already ringing at the public library. He could hear his father's slow, careful, at-work voice: "Reference?" Then there would be the shift and his father would start talking faster, his words tumbling together. That was when his father changed from Benjamin P. Tyson, Head of Reference and Assistant Branch Librarian at the Southeast Regional Branch of the Wake County Public Library System to Malachi's dad, Ben Tyson.

"I wish I had blown down everybody in the hall," Malachi said as he tossed pinecones. He could have pretended he was a hurricane, with howling winds. Or a tornado that would pick them all up to be dropped into mud. Or maybe just move them, the way he had Miss Windlemere's chair: pick them up and drop them in a dumpster.

There weren't too many kids at school that Malachi liked. Or wanted to like. Ever since kindergarten he had tried and tried to fit in and make the others like and accept him, but no matter how hard he tried — bringing brownies to school, getting into trouble on a regular basis — nothing had quite worked. Some kids were okay, but no one was really his friend. Starting school had been something of a shock in the first place. Malachi hadn't known how different he was until then. His world had been the kinder, gentler adult one of his father, the folks at the library, Uncle Jack, his father's best friend, Father Mark. There had been Thomas, Jack's son, but he had been so much older Malachi had never thought of the awkward teenager and now brooding young man as a friend. Besides, until he was sixteen, Thomas had lived with his mother most of the year, and only visited his dad a few weeks in the summer and some holidays. None of them had told him he was going to be the shortest, have the blondest hair, or that golden eyes were anything out of the ordinary. Most of the camouflage Malachi had tried hadn't worked. He had blacked his hair with shoe polish in third grade. His father hadn't punished him for that — going to school the next day with a shaved head had been punishment enough. All that had helped was not being smart. No end of earnest and long conversations with his teachers and his father and Uncle Jack made him waver from getting a succession of B's and C's.

"But you could get straight A's, son. Remember those games Jack's friend played with you? They were intelligence tests and —"

"B's and C's are safer, Dad."

He knew his dad was convinced Malachi would give up the low grades at Nottingham Heights. Maybe.

Having Father Mark around had helped. The old priest had reassured Malachi again and again it was okay to be different, that it didn't matter, and things would be better when Malachi was older, just wait and see. Malachi had been Father Mark's unofficial helper since first grade: dumping the offering baskets, straightening the missalettes in the pews, collecting the old bulletins. When the old priest died the summer after second grade Malachi felt the world had become a more dangerous place and third grade proved him right. Some big fifth grade boys zeroed in on a tiny, towheaded kid with funny-colored golden-brown almost yellow eyes. Dog-eyes. Dog-boy, Old Yeller, Pee Wee, Shrimp, and Chihuahua Boy had followed him ever since. No amount of explaining his eyes were golden-brown and not yellow did any good.

Nor did asking his father for contacts.

"Contacts? You have perfect — better than perfect vision, son. You don't need glasses, not like me, and you probably never will," his father had said, not even looking up from the book he had been reading. The pair of cheap sunglasses Malachi bought at Kerr Drugs only lasted for a day. The music teacher wanted to know how he could see with them on inside. The other kids laughed, the glasses were put in the teacher's June box, and she called his father.

Malachi hated it when his father got mad. And since the beginning of this school year it seemed like he made his father mad every other day. He could even name the day it started back in the fall, when he had pushed that chair out from under Miss Windlemere in her witch costume.

He hadn't been able to wait to tell his dad about it. Malachi had run all the way from the school to the library. He hadn't stopped running until he burst into his dad's office, dodging three or four shelving carts, grumbling blue-haired library volunteers, and shouting hello at the desk clerk on the way.

"Dad, Dad, you'll never guess what happened at school today. I can do —" Malachi said, as he brushed past the fake giant cobwebs strung across his dad's office door. His father, who had been peering intently into a computer screen, held up one hand.

"Just a minute, son, let me finish this last paragraph of this report — have to send it in to the main branch tomorrow — just a little bit more."

Malachi picked up a heavy, acrylic paperweight from his dad's desk, and started tossing it back and forth, from one hand to the other. He wondered how they had gotten the butterflies inside. Maybe the butterflies — a red Monarch, a yellow one, a white one — weren't real. Maybe the butterflies had been happily flying along, no, maybe it was magic —

"Okay, there, finished, and save, and print," his father said and then wheeled his chair around to face Malachi. "Son, put that paperweight down before you drop it. Thanks. Something happened at school today?"

Malachi told his father what had happened, talking as fast as he could, his hands moving like excited birds. "... and then she just dropped to the floor. It's magic, Dad; I can do magic, that has to be it. I moved her chair right out from under her just like this —"

"What? You did what? You moved your teacher's chair and she fell. Magic? You can't do magic. Your imagination has gotten way, way out of hand."

"Dad! It has to be magic! You should have seen her face when she hit the floor, and that witch hat fell and —"

"Never ever do that again. Never. Do you understand me? Don't. Malachi, are you listening to me?"

"Dad, I didn't mean to, not really. Why are you getting mad at me? That old witch — sorry, Miss Windlemere, wasn't really hurt. I'm talking about magic, Dad. It's real. It's true, I don't know how it happened to me, but —"

"You heard me: Don't. Ever. Do. That. Again. Pulling out your teacher's chair — you could get expelled. Are you listening to me? And to make matters worse, you are making up a story about how you did it."

"I'm not making it up and I didn't pull out the chair — not with my hands. Are you listening to me? I made it happen — I pushed the air and —"

"I said: never again."

His father was yelling. Malachi stepped back. He had never seen his father so mad or heard him so loud. People outside his office were trying not to listen or look.

"Do you hear — what am I doing?" His father, his face fast turning red, quickly sat down in his chair. "Malachi, I'm sorry. Go home. Just go home; we'll talk later."


It happened again at supper. Both Malachi and his father were out of sorts after what happened at the library, and mealtime conversation was mostly pass that, please, thanks, and not much else. When Malachi decided he wanted more bread he decided not to even bother asking. Let's see if being magic was more than the chair and the kaleidoscope. For a moment nothing happened. Then, wobbling and dipping, rolls falling onto the table, the bread bowl drifted over the carrots and string beans and salad to drop with a bang in front of Malachi. His father stared at the floating bowl, transfixed, his hand and water glass frozen in midair


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Harvest of Changelings by Warren Rochelle. Copyright © 2007 Warren Rochelle. Excerpted by permission of Golden Gryphon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Page,
Dedication,
Epigraph,
Acknowledgments,
Prologue The Tale of Ben and Valeria 1980-81,
I - Tuesday, May Eve, 3D April-Wednesday, Beltaine 1 May 1991,
II - Lammas-Lug hn as a d Thursday and Friday, August 1 - 2 Saturday, August 3 - Monday, August 26, 1991,
III - Nottin gh am Heights Elementary School Tuesday, August 27 - Saturday, September 21, 1991,
IV - Mabon to Mich ae lmas: Becoming Magic Sunday, September 22 - Sunday, September 29, 1991,
V - Light and Dark Thursday, October 3 - Tuesday, October 15,
VI - Dark and Light Wednesday, October 16 - Monday, October 28,
VII - Tuesday and Wednesday, October 29-30, 1991,
VIII - Samhain Thursday, October 31, 1991,
IX - After Friday, November 1, 1991,

What People are Saying About This

Jim Grimsley

A modern landscape of lonely, orphaned people with the wonder of an ancient mythos of faerie and magic. I felt as if I could fly myself. (Jim Grimsley, author, Kirith Kirin )

Nancy Kress

An original and fascinating blend of Faerie and Christian belief, with a final battle that will leave you tingling.ÿClassic fantasy as it should be written. (Nancy Kress, author, Beggars in Spain)

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