THE FAMILY VYGIL
MG Magical Realism
Jonathan Vygil is convinced he has the strangest parents ever. And he’d be right, but for all the wrong reasons. They aren’t obsessed with rescuing exotic animals – they’re busy saving monsters.
After turning twelve, Jonathan begins hearing disembodied voices that make him wonder if he’s going nuts. Spurred by their urgent cries for help, he ventures into prohibited areas of the Vygil mansion where he passes out cold when he’s frightened by Tertulius, a genuine monster. Later, once his parents assure him he isn’t crazy, Jonathan hears them out as they explain monsters aren’t make-believe or evil. He then joins the Vygil Pact, his family’s secret society that ensures the protection of all monsterdom. To become a full-fledged member, he must train with Tertulius where he'll learn why the existence of monsters is vital to all life on Earth.
But before his instruction begins, Tertulius disappears and Jonathan hurdles headlong into a frantic search for his guide. Through his journey, Jonathan realizes many people desire the rare creatures his family protects. The most perilous among them is The Plague, a family as intent on destroying the monsters as the Vygils are to save them. If Jonathan fails to find Tertulius in time, The Plague will go seeking out their next victims – his parents.
Jonathan dreaded this time of the year. He’d already wasted most of his afternoon battling the ravaging hordes instead of doing chores. Their blood lust was unquenchable. No matter how many times they were caught and dispatched, they came back for more.
Suddenly, Jonathan was attacked from behind. He swatted the enemy with all his might and tallied his latest kill. “993,” he said, flicking the dead mosquito from his neck.
Sweat trickled into Jonathan’s eyes, causing them to sting. In mid September in Georgia, the temperature still hovered around 90 degrees and the air was thick. If the heat wasn’t reason enough to work up a sweat, trying to protect his precious blood supply was. The mosquitoes plagued the town, which made the thought of going outside unbearable. Jonathan didn’t have the luxury of hiding indoors, though. Outside responsibilities needed his attention, per his mother’s instructions. Like a dutiful son, he braved the outdoors to take care of the tasks. But dutiful didn’t mean a fair amount of grumbling hadn’t been involved.
He crouched down in his mother’s garden pulling out stubborn weeds while the merciless sun beat down on his back. It was as though Mother Nature was baking cookies and left the oven door wide open. The cicadas overhead made the pine trees vibrate with their singing. Jonathan desperately wanted to finish up so he could get out of the muggy heat, but his mind strayed far from the task at hand.