Authors: Darby Karchut
Tags: #Finn Finnegan
Copyright Â©2013 by Darby Karchut
Sale of the paperback edition of this book without its cover is unauthorized.
Spencer Hill Press
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
Contact: Spencer Hill Press, PO Box 247, Contoocook, NH 03229, USA
Please visit our website at
First Edition: March 2013.
Finn Finnegan: a novel / by Darby Karchut â 1st ed.
A modern-day 13-year-old boy battles goblins in his suburban neighborhood with the help of a mythical knight.
The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this fiction: Wal-Mart, Jeep, Lord of the Rings, The Farmer's Almanac, Louisville Slugger
“Fire in the Head” lyrics by Arthur Hinds used with the permission of Arthur Hinds and Emerald Rose.
Cover design by K. Kaynak
Interior layout by Marie Romero
ISBN 978-1-937053-32-1 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-937053-33-8 (e-book)
Printed in the United States of America
Book One of the Aventures of Finn maccullen
Dedicated to the memory of Lloyd Alexander 1924 - 2007
(Well, well, what do you know? A bard, after all.)
Also by Darby Karchut
(Spencer Hill PressâFebruary 2014)
(Twilight Times Books)
(Twilight Times Books)
(Copper Square StudiosâDecember 2012)
Money and Teens: Savvy Money Skills
(Copper Square Studios)
The Song of the Tuatha De
I am a wind on the sea
I am a wave of the ocean
I am the roar of the sea
I am a bull of seven battles
I am a hawk on the cliff
I am a teardrop of sunlight
I am a gentle herb
I am a boar enraged
I am a salmon in a pool
I am a lake in a plain
I am the vigor of man
I am the meaning of poetry
I am a spear on the attack, pouring forth combat
I am the god who fires your mind
Pronunciation of Words and Phrases
Tuatha De Danaan
(tua day dhanna): An ancient warrior race of mythical beings from Ireland
(AH-mon-dan): Goblin-like creatures
CÃ©ad mile fÃ¡ilte
(kad MEEL-a FALL-sha):
A hundred thousand welcomes
Fey, or fairy, stroke
Faugh a ballagh
Clear the Way!
“Son of a goat!” The boy swore and jumped back. A second squirt of bird poop landed with a plop, this time on the toe of his shoe. “Oh, real funny,” he said with a grimace. He glared up at the crow swinging back and forth on the power line overhead, sooty wings spread wide for balance. The bird cocked its head and stared back, its eye a red-rimmed marble.
“Are you trying to warn me?” The boy dragged the tip of his sneaker through the lawn bordering the sidewalk. He wrinkled his nose at the stink of wet bird droppings mingled with the aroma of freshly mowed grass. Not a good combination. “Or are you just yanking me around?” He watched as the crow crouched for a moment as if deciding, then hoisted itself into the air and flew off. The boy snorted. “Yup, just what I thoughtâyanking.”
Slipping his arms free from the straps of a half-full backpack, he dropped it to the ground as he fanned his worn tee shirt, trying to dry the patch of sweat between his shoulder blades. Pushing a mop of auburn hair out of his eyes, he frowned, scanning the peaceful neighborhood.
Aw, this is crazy
, he thought.
I'm never going to find him
And even if I do, what if he says no? Then what? I can't go back home. Not now
Picking up his pack, he slung it over one shoulder and continued down the street. He studied every house, each one exhibiting pride of ownership with a well-tended yard.
Somehow, I can't imagine him living in one of
those. He slowed, then stopped when he reached the end of the cul-de-sac.
A small house sat by itself next to an empty lot. Old-fashioned in a cottage-y way, it was painted the same shade of rusty green as the pine trees flanking either end of its broad porch. Wooded foothills rose behind it, while proud mountains strutted away further west. A massive stone wall, as high as his chin, bordered the yard.
Shifting from foot to foot, he peered at the wrought-iron gate bisecting the wall. His heart sped up when he noticed a Celtic knot gracing the center of the gate. Beyond, a flagstone walkway snaked through the shaggy lawn. Stretching the length of the northern wall, a thick hedge bristled with broad, saw-toothed leaves and spiny stalks. A few spots along the hedge were plucked bald. On the other side of the hedged wall, a battered pickup truck, gray with age, rested in the graveled driveway.
Relief flooded the boy at the sight of the deadnettle hedge.
This has gotta be the right house
. He was reaching for the latch when the screen door creaked opened. He froze.
“Now, just where would ye be going?” asked a deep voice. A man stepped out and sauntered to the edge of the porch. A head above average height with a whipcord build, he wore a faded denim shirt, open over a white tee shirt. Hooking his thumbs into his jeans pockets, he rested a shoulder against one of the wooden columns, curiosity on his lean face.
“I'm-I'm looking for someone. I know he lives on this street, but I can't remember his address.”
Before he could say more, a shadow ghosted across the yard. Man and boy stiffened and looked up. A crow soared overhead, a black X wheeling in a tight circle against the sun. It cawed sharply, just once, and glided away.
The boy whirled to face the street, his heart slamming against his ribs and the pack slipping from his shoulder. His eyes darted from shadow to shadow, looking for any sign of movement. A sharp whistle pulled his head around.
The man stood at the bottom of the steps, a knife the length of his forearm in one hand. The blade was a bronze flame. “Come, boyo,” he said, his voice low and urgent. “Get behind me on the porch. Quickly, now, before they attack.”
The boy hesitated, glancing at the knife, and then shoved the gate open with a clang. He winced when it bounced off the wall, swung back, and smacked his elbow. Cursing under his breath, he ran across the yard and darted around the man, taking the steps two at a time. Grabbing a broom propped next to the door, he tucked the bristled end under one arm, gripping his makeshift weapon like a jousting lance. Armed, he licked his lips and took a position behind the man on the edge of the porch.
“Have ye a blade?” the man asked over his shoulder as he scanned the neighborhood.
“Does it look like I have one?”
“A bit cheeky.” The man glanced back. “For someone wielding a broom.”
“I'd have taken a pitchfork, but, hey, this was all you had.”
The man raised an eyebrow. “Make that
cheeky.” He continued to survey the area. The rumble of a garbage truck echoed from the next block over. An automatic sprinkler squirted on in the yard across the street.
After a few more minutes of vigilance, the man relaxed and turned around. Flipping the knife into the air with a practiced move, he caught it by the handle and tucked it into a sheath hanging from his belt under the tail of his denim shirt.
“Well, boyo, the manky bird may be playing us for fools. They do that from time to time instead of warning us about the AmandÃ¡n,” he said, his voice colored green with an Irish lilt. “Lesson number one. When I tell ye to move, I mean run like the very devil is behind ye. Those goblins are almost impossible to spot when camouflaged. And they're bleedin' fast. Very fast.”
“Got it.” The boy leaned the broom against the side of the house and wiped his sweaty hands on his jeans. A look of recognition spread across his face when he noticed the thick ring of twisted gold loosely encircling the man's neck. “Hey, you're him!”
“And just who might I be?”
“You're the Knight, Gideon Lir. I was looking for you. I'm â¦” he began.