Twelve year old Sebastian Duffy has some major self-esteem issues, and it’s not without cause. Not only is he mourning the loss of his brother, but he is bullied at school, and also by his parents at home.
On top of everything else, bizarre things have started to happen, and he’s finding it difficult to distinguish his dreams from what’s real.
One day, after being assaulted, he wakes in the Gloaming, a shadow world inhabited by ghosts. There to greet him is Porrig, a creature from Hibercadia, a magical realm crafted from Celtic dreams. It has been overthrown by brother gods from another dreamworld, and Sebastian discovers that only he can save Hibercadia.
Sebastian was flying. Oh! It was glorious. The seagulls cawed as they swooped and dipped around him, and he flapped his scarlet wings and dived with them. Far below lay the foam-flecked sea, in the distance the rugged coastline. In between, a fleet of wooden ships headed for the shore, their great sails billowing. Sebastian steadied and stilled his wings, capturing a current upon which to glide, following the ships on their course. Lazily turning, he hung for a moment before heading in the opposite direction, out, out, out into the misty unknown. He was supposed to stay with the fleet, that was the understanding, yet he was drawn back, back to where it had all started. He would never reach it, he knew that, but he could feel it. Diving, he swept across the surface of the sea, the billowing waves rising to greet him. Fantastical creatures lurked beneath, reaching up and breaking the surface—beasts that would terrify him in futurelife, where all memories would be unashamedly erased—flying sea spiders casting great gummy nets, long-necked serpents with multiple heads encrusted in barnacles, and shoals of giant carnivorous snails with poisonous, spiny shells. He swooped in and out of them, heading joyously toward a land even further than Tir Na Nog, a land with cities of crystal and mountains of glass, the land of his birth. His scarlet wings began to fold. It had not been his intention, yet he allowed it to happen, hovering as they came to rest behind him. A giant kelpie rose from the water, her equine head reaching for him, flipping him in the air. He landed on her back and she wafted her great fins before diving beneath the water, taking him with her.
Brendan Murphy grew up dreaming of becoming an author, and has been writing daily since he was only nine years old.
He is an Associate Professor at Monash University and has done much writing on the topic of youth mental health, among other topics.
He lives with his wife, Katrina, and their two children on a sprawling property where they share their garden with a group of kangaroos, a wombat, two possums, any number of creepy crawlies, and some very feisty kookaburras. In 2013, he was signed to Assent Publishing for a six-book deal. Beyond the Gloaming, the first Sebastian and the Hibernauts adventure, will be published by Assent imprint, Phantasm Books in 2014.
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