by James Gettys
Magicless James, black sheep of the family, must rescue septuplet siblings from magic-stealing avenger or become only child. #Pitprom #MG #F
No one ever notices thirteen-year-old James behind his famous older siblings—The Septacular Septuplets.
James’s four sisters and three brothers were born with great magic, while he was not. Their abilities allow them to do practically whatever they want. Without magic, being smart, funny or anything else means nothing to James’s family. That doesn’t stop him from loving his seven siblings or trying to impress them, though. Unfortunately, one of James’s attempts to impress nearly kills the septuplets.
When he overhears his grandfather say his punishment will be death, James flees to Rash City: the only place where magical and non-magical people coexist. There, he stumbles upon Jo King, a broken and unhinged avenger. Jo has created a weapon capable of painfully stripping magical people of their powers and he intends to strip the septuplets of theirs. The septuplets, unaware of the danger, sneak to Rash City to bring James home—but they get distracted by all the wonderful surprises Rash City has to offer and split up to explore.
Now James must hunt down each septuplet before Jo King…or risk becoming an only child.
JAMES RASH AND THE SEPTACULAR SEPTUPLETS is an Upper MG contemporary fantasy complete at 74,000 words and the first in a planned series.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
First Ten Pages:
CHAPTER 1—THE BIRTHDAY THAT RUINED EVERYTHING
“There you are. What have you been doing? Everyone’s waiting for you.”
James jumped and spun from the castle window. Grandfather stood behind him, arms folded and gray eyes narrowed.
“I don’t believe it. Your life’s about to change forever and you’re hiding in here?”
“What? I’m not hiding,” James insisted. “I was…uh…going to the bathroom.”
“You said that thirty minutes ago. Besides, this doesn’t look much like the bathroom to me.” Grandfather looked out the window at the party below. “How about instead of watching the party, we join it? It is for you, after all. Or have you forgotten it’s your seventh birthday?”
As Grandfather approached the open double-doors, James stood still as a statue.
“James? What’re you waiting for?” Grandfather turned back to him with one eyebrow raised. “Come on, it’s almost midnight. You don’t want everyone to miss it, do you?”
“James, what did I tell you about mumbling? No one understands you. What’s going on? It’s not like you to act scared…Oh. Please tell me you aren’t still worried about that, are you?”
“What? No, I—”
Grandfather snapped his fingers, and James’s throat closed up.
His voice faded as Grandfather chuckled. “Didn’t you and your siblings learn long ago you can’t lie to me and get away with it? Now, are you afraid you aren’t magical?”
James sighed and hung his head. Grandfather snapped his fingers again and James’s voice returned. It was time to admit what had been bothering him all day. It was not only his seventh birthday, but also the day his magic would reveal itself and he would be just like everyone else in his family…James just did not know what was taking it so long.
“Fine. I’m a little scared, but only because I still haven’t felt anything, and Nick said—”
“Nick says a lot of things,” Grandfather said, waving his hand. “What did I tell you?”
“I know, to be patient, but—”
“No buts. What else did I tell you?”
“That everyone in the Rash family has always been magical and I—”
“—will be no different,” James and Grandfather finished in unison. “That’s right. As I’ve been telling you, there’s absolutely nothing for you to worry about, but if you are still worried, I’ll let you in on a little secret.”
“A secret? Ooh, what is it?” asked James.
Grandfather looked around to make sure they were alone, then whispered, “Doctor Fealbeter confirmed it when you were a baby.”
“Really?” James asked, hopping up and down like a rabbit. “Doctors are always right.”
“I know. He was right with your siblings, so I have no doubt he’ll be right with you. Soon, you’ll be just like the rest of us. I can’t wait to teach you everything.”
James puffed out his chest and smirked.
“Now, can we get back to the party?” Grandfather checked his wristwatch. “We only have ten more minutes.”
He waved his hand and spun James through the air until he was sitting on Grandfather’s shoulders, laughing. They exited the double front doors of the castle to join the party in the courtyard. A gentle breeze brushed against their cheeks and caused some of James’s birthday decorations, which included banners, lanterns, and pictures of his smiling face, to sway. The pale moon sat high in the endless black sky above; the stars scattered across like little shining sprinkles. Many of the party guests looked at them as they passed; some even stood on their tiptoes to get a good look. James knew they want to know if he had received his magic.
From Grandfather’s shoulders, he saw over everyone, even across the rippling dark waters of the Raging Sea. At the edge of it, Rash City was lit beautifully in the night. Despite being named after James’s family, they were not allowed to go there—or anywhere other than the castle—at Father’s command. Every time they asked, he would claim it was too dangerous.
Father was at the front of the crowd near the stage, with the rest of the family. He was a rather beefy man and was trying to break free from James’s seven siblings: JJ, Princess, Belladonna, Royal, Ariana, Arista, and Nick, who were more famously known as “The Septacular Septuplets” (Originally “The Spectacular Septuplets”, but Grandfather thought “Spectacular” was not worthy enough for the septuplets…and it did not flow). Mother was taking pictures and giving interviews with dozens of reporters.
“There’s my little man!” Father beamed as they approached before his face fell and his eyes grew wide with fear. “Your magic didn’t come while you were away, did it?”
“Oh, good,” Father clutched his heart. “I thought I missed it.”
“I told you, it’s not coming until midnight,” Grandfather said. “I can’t wait to see everyone’s jealous faces. You know, people who get their magic at midnight are said to be the most powerful. The last one was thirty-five years ago. And to think we all were going to miss it because you were hiding in the castle.”
“You were hiding?” Father asked. “I thought you were in the bathroom.”
“He was growing impatient waiting for his magic,” Grandfather said. “Can you believe part of him thought it wasn’t going to come? We straightened that out, though.”
Grandfather winked at James and he beamed, knowing without a doubt that he was getting his magic now. A doctor had confirmed it. This was going to be the most unforgettable birthday ever.
“But what if he really can’t do magic?” Nick asked. “What will happen to him? Will you still love him?”
Father wasted no time. “Don’t be preposterous. Of course we would.”
“Not,” Grandfather added.
“Not?” Father repeated, confused.
Ariana scratched her head in equal confusion. “What does prepo—prepus—pre—”
“Preposterous means to be ridiculous or silly,” Arista said at once, hand raised.
“Correct, my clever girl,” Grandfather said. “Only twelve years old and she already knows bigger words than most adults.”
“Dad, what do you mean ‘not’?” Father said.
“Must we do this now, Jamison?” Grandfather sighed. “Can’t we discuss this later when James has his magic and after we’ve eaten cake?”
“Mmm, cake!” Royal said, licking his lips. “Is it chocolate?”
“Aw, why not?” Royal looked extremely disappointed.
“Because you know how much James detests chocolate. Don’t you get enough chocolate cake every month for your parties?”
Every seventh of every month was reserved for a party for the septuplets—except September 7th, because that was James’ birthday. But that was okay because they had two in July: one on the seventh and one at the very end of the month for their birthday. And the one dessert always on the menu was chocolate cake, so James always had a vanilla cake made especially for him. It was a nice break from the healthy food they were forced to eat all the time.
“What does detest mean?” Belladonna asked, messing with her dress.
“Ooh, I know! To strongly dislike!” Arista said at once, hand raised again.
“Correct again, Arista!” Grandfather said, patting her blonde head.
“I knew what that meant!” Princess said. “I just didn’t hear the question.”
“Then I detest this stupid dress,” Belladonna said, ignoring her sister. “Why do we always have to wear the same thing, anyway?”
This was true: JJ, Royal, and Nick were wearing the same shirt, pants, shoes, and tie as Father, just in different colors, while Princess, Belladonna, Ariana, and Arista were all wearing the same dress as Mother, in a different color for each.
“Because you all look so adorable,” Father said.
“Nonsense,” Grandfather said. “Just because they’re septuplets doesn’t mean they aren’t their own people. They shouldn’t always have to look the same—Ooh, only five minutes left now. Feel anything, James?”
“No. What will it feel like again?” he asked, trying to appear calm.
“It’s like bubbles in your stomach,” JJ said. “Or like anything’s possible.”
“I thought it felt more like a bunch of frogs hopping around,” Belladonna said.
“Ew. I think that’s disgusting,” Princess said. “Right, Arista?”
“Right,” Arista nodded.
“Or like you ate too many sweets,” Royal said.
James didn’t feel anything yet. He hoped his magic would come exactly at midnight and that then he would start to feel something.
“What if he doesn’t feel anything at all?” Nick asked.
Father gasped. “Nick, why would you say that?”
“I just want to know. Prissy told me about some kid that couldn’t do magic and his parents said he was a disgrace and threw him out and left him all alone.”
The others gasped as James’ insides turned to lead and his heart beat faster.
“Oh no!” JJ squealed as he covered his mouth in horror and pulled James into a tight hug that almost squeezed the life out of him. “Oh, don’t you worry, James. Your big brothers and sisters will still love you no matter what!”
“No need,” he said confidently, freeing himself from JJ’s constricting grasp, as he remembered the secret their grandfather had told him. “Because that’s not going to happen. I’m going to have magic and I’m going to be just like you guys—No, I’m going to be even better than you guys. In fact, I’ll be so great, they’ll forget all about the seven of you.”
“Wow. Those are pretty big words from someone who hasn’t even gotten his magic yet, and is almost out of time,” Nick teased. “Just remember what I said.”
“That’s enough, young man,” Father said firmly.
“Okay. Okay. Relax. I’m just kidding. We all know he’ll be able to do magic.”
“And if he couldn’t then we’d still be proud.” Father ruffled James’s hair.
“Really?” James asked.
“Yes. Magic or no magic, you are still special and can do anything. Never forget that.”
“Not true. Besides, that isn’t what you used to think,” Grandfather said. “He doesn’t want to be non-magical. Who would? Right, James?”
“Isn’t mommy non-magical?” Ariana asked.
“She wasn’t born a Rash. That’s completely different, but to be the first in your family to be non-magical. What a shame. I’d probably disown you,” Grandfather laughed.
“What about my brother?” Father asked.
“Not the same. He had his magic taken. And let that be a lesson to you all,” Grandfather said to James and his siblings. “If you do bad things, you’ll end up just like your Uncle Boomer and have your magic taken. And that’s worse than death.”
“Where’s Uncle Boomer now?”
“Where he belongs. Six feet under us where no light can get to him.”
“You could have just said he was buried,” Father said.
“Ahem. The time,” Grandpa Knight said, coming over and pointing at the clock.
“Oh, Lord! It’s eleven fifty-nine!” Grandfather cried. “Let the countdown begin!”
James hadn’t realized how many people were looking at him. It was terrifying, but also exciting. His heart raced and his palms began to sweat. Only thirty seconds until he could be like the rest of his family and make them all proud. Suddenly, he felt a tingling sensation in the pit of his stomach.
This must be it!
“I feel it!” James cried excitedly. “I feel it!”
“Yes,” Grandfather’s eyes were alight with excitement.
James had been worried for nothing. He would be just like everyone else in no time!
The tingling sensation grew stronger and stronger.
The tingling sensation felt as if it was going to explode from within him.
The world grew completely silent, almost as if it had stopped spinning. No one moved for what felt like an eternity. Everyone simply stared open-mouthed at James. He felt everyone’s eyes on him, as if all their piercing gazes had frozen his body, keeping him rooted to the spot. The tingling, exciting sensation in his stomach was long gone as if it were never there.
BOOM! WHOOOSH! PEW! BOOM! WHOOSH! PEW! BOOM!
The dark night sky was torn apart by the blinding light of at least one hundred fireworks. Some made cool designs or spelled out James’s name. One display even exploded into an exact image of his smiling face…but James could not smile right now to save his life.
The fireworks shocked everyone back to life as a buzzing murmur slowly grew louder and louder throughout the sea of people until it was loud enough for everyone to hear.
“He can’t do magic!” one man cried, pointing at James. “He’s the first Rash ever! How embarrassing. Ooh, wait until everyone hears.”
Grandfather ran onto the stage. “Let’s not jump to conclusions. The clock’s probably a little fast.” He did not even seem to believe his own words as he turned to James, and nearly begged, “Y—you still feel something, right? Right?”
James could not lie. He hung his head, and shook it slowly.
It was over. The doctor had been wrong. He was not like his family and never would be…What was going to happen to him now?
“YOU!” their grandfather roared, grabbing a man who James recognized as Doctor Fealbeter by the collar and lifting him off the ground. “YOU LIED TO ME!”
“N—no! The technology is s—still new, sir,” the man stuttered, his eyes full of fear. “It’s not a—always one hundred percent ac—accurate—”
“YOU SAID IT WAS!”
“It does m—make mistakes from time to time. Th—there’s always room for a m—margin of error.”
“Oh, really?” their grandfather said, a sinister smile on his face. “Well, would it be a mistake if my hand slipped and I threw you off the tallest tower? What’s the margin of error then that you’d survive with only a few broken bones?”
The man gulped and all the color drained from his face. He looked like he was about to faint. James was terrified for the poor man. He had never seen Grandfather this angry before.
“Ahem.” Grandpa Knight cleared his throat again, nodding his head at the crowd of people. This was not the time to make threats, especially with so many witnesses around.
Grandfather understood as he let go of Doctor Fealbeter. He smiled warmly and spoke in a much more pleasant voice to the crowd.
“No more pictures or comments, please. If you’ll excuse us. Enjoy the refreshments.”
Grandfather grabbed James by the arm and drug him into the castle, closely followed by Father. Once he was sure no one could see, he shook James violently.
“Come on…come on…COME ON—”
“Dad, stop!” Father cried, as he wrenched James from Grandfather’s grasp. “What’re you doing? You can’t shake it out of him! You’re only hurting him!”
James peeked from behind Father’s legs. Grandfather paced back and forth, a crazed look on his face and breathing heavily as he muttered: “I don’t understand…I—I don’t understand…”
“Dad, it’s alright—”
“No! This isn’t right…This is terrible…Insane. An outrage! He can’t do magic. The Rash name is disgraced…he’s not like us…he’s…” Grandfather stopped and looked James right in his eyes and said with a look of utter disgust on his face, “He’s nothing.”
“That’s enough,” Father said as he placed a comforting hand on James’s shoulder. “Just because he’s different doesn’t mean he’s nothing.”
“Yes, it does.”
Father glared and shook his head. “Mom wouldn’t think so.”
Grandfather’s eyes were so narrowed they looked closed. “Well, she’s not here anymore. So, we don’t know what she would have thought…Do we?”
“And whose fault is that?”
That seemed to strike a nerve with Grandfather. His eyes grew so huge James thought they might pop out of his head, while his veins bulged at his temples.
“Enough!” he roared in a voice that boomed and echoed, bouncing off the walls and shaking dust loose from the ceiling, causing some of the partiers outside to look.
“What is your problem?” Father asked. “Why can’t you just accept him and move on. It’s not like he’s hurting you.”
“I will not be the laughing stock everywhere for having a non-magical son--grandson.”
Before Father could respond, a much calmer voice spoke from behind.
Welcome to the final round of pitches!
Agents and Publishers,
please vote on your favorite pitches.
Simply request your favorites in the comments on that particular post!
To see the individual pitches, click the title below in "Categories" or you can scroll down. The Sci Fi category will take you to all the Sci Fi pitches and same with Fantasy.