A Tangle of Secrets

Town of Superstition: Book Four

Thaddeus and his family and friends have returned from Iron Gulch and Thaddeus’s summer of magical awakening to a very different life. For one, he has both his parents for the first time, though his mother is still haunted by terrors and powers she can’t yet control. Teofil, Thaddeus’s gnome boyfriend, is consumed with finding Thaddeus’s evil uncle Lucian and answers about what happened to his brother, and he spends his days sequestered in Leopold’s library, pouring over the old wizard’s journals. When Thaddeus starts school and makes friends Teofil doesn’t like, there’s tension between them for the first time ever.

Thaddeus’s problems don’t end there. It’s harder and harder for him to conceal his magic, especially when facing the school bully. He’s lost, confused, and lashing out, and for once, he finds no solace in those closest to him. His enemies are hiding in plain sight, biding their time, until the Bearagon reappears and instigates a fight not everyone will walk away from.

Excerpt:

Teofil looked around the library to make sure no one was near before he leaned in and lowered his voice. "Try something less specific, like how an un-gifted would explain something unusual."

"That's interesting."

Thaddeus stared at the computer screen as he thought about Teofil's suggestion. A thought came to him and he leaned forward again to type. He had no luck with the words "strange," "unusual," "weird," or "odd." He sighed and looked up at the ceiling as he thought about all of the things he had seen. The trolls near the Lost Forest, the reaper grub they had saved Dulindir from, and then the water sprites in the Wretched River. All of those creatures paled in comparison to the goblins and ghouls, which in turn had fallen under the terrible claws of the Bearagon inside the mine.

The Bearagon.

"I've got it," Thaddeus whispered.

"What?" Teofil looked to the screen. "I don't see anything."

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"Not yet." Thaddeus typed WEREWOLF and pressed Enter.

One article was returned, and Teofil drew in a sharp breath.

"The Bearagon," he whispered.

They smiled at each other before Thaddeus clicked on the link. The article was from the previous November and told of how two hunters from out of state were stalked by a large animal while camping one night. They had first thought the animal to be a bear, but when they left the tent to investigate, found a much larger and more ferocious beast waiting. One of the men went so far as to call it a werewolf.

"That's got to be it," Teofil said.

Thaddeus nodded. "I agree. This was months before my dad and I moved to Superstition. The Bearagon was sighted here in the area before we moved to Superstition and it started stalking me."

"Does it say where they saw it?" Teofil asked.

Thaddeus scanned the article. "Nothing specific. Just says in the woods northwest of town, a little north of Evergreen Pass."

"I wonder how far away that is?" Teofil sat back. "Maybe we could take a look there before we need to get on the bus for home."

"Let's ask." Before he got up, Thaddeus clicked the Print button and grabbed the printout of the article from a printer located near the librarian's desk.

When they asked the librarian about the location of the woods north of Evergreen Pass, she shook her head. "You're much too young to be out there on your own. If you're hunting, you'll need a license and an adult to accompany you."

"We're not here to hunt," Thaddeus said. "We just heard the view is especially nice in that area."

The librarian narrowed her eyes. "You may fool your parents or teachers with that kind of malarky, but you're not fooling me. There's been no sign of the monster for weeks, now you both scoot on home."

"Weeks?" Teofil exclaimed.

"We just knew about the sighting from last November," Thaddeus said.

"You'll not be hearing anything more from me," the librarian said and turned away to check out some books for a woman.

Thaddeus and Teofil returned to the room with the wide and shallow drawers. Pulling open the drawer marked AUGUST, Thaddeus grabbed all of the issues and carried them to the table at which they'd previously sat.

"We need to read more carefully," Thaddeus said as he moved his gaze down the copy on the front page.

"How did we miss it?" Teofil wondered.

"We fell into a routine," Thaddeus said. "Or they covered it up."

A few minutes later, Teofil let out a quiet gasp. "Here it is. The article's title is a bit misleading though. It says 'Another Large Bear Sighting?'"

"Where was it sighted?" Thaddeus got out of his chair and rounded the table to sit beside him. "Was it the Bearagon?"

"I don't know," Teofil replied as he ran his finger down the copy. "It's kind of vague."

They sat close, heads nearly touching as they both read the article. It was short in both word count and details, but as he read it, Thaddeus could put together the scene quite easily.

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