A fantasy adventure series where family secrets unfold and the impossible becomes real.

The First Shift

Ayla thought her eleventh birthday would be about cake and presents, but instead she finds herself thrust into the world of mythomorphs, humans with the ability to shapeshift into mythical creatures.

Here’s a glimpse of Ayla’s first night at the Mythomorph Academy.

mythomorphs first shift logo

Ayla snuggled into the comfortable dormroom bed and pulled the soft covers up to her chin. A section of the ceiling above her remained transparent, creating a skylight. She looked through the skylight at the stars and worried. What were her parents doing? Was her grandma okay? What about her dog Jax? Was everyone mad at her? Did her friend Aurora miss her? What would the kids in school think? Would anyone care that she was gone?

“Stop,” she said out loud. She could do this. It would all work out. Just because she was an expert worrier, did not mean any of her worries were true.

But they could be.

“Shh,” said another voice, this one soft and soothing. At least, it would have been soft and soothing if she wasn’t alone and hearing voices. Something else to worry about.

“I am here,” the voice said.

Ayla propped herself up on her elbows and looked around. No one was there, except a tiny light, as if a star had fallen through the skylight and landed in her room.

“Hello?” she said.

The star pulsed, shifting to an almost pink and said, “Hello Ayla.”

Yes, she was aware that stars do not speak. Then again a few days ago, she would have told you that people can’t change into mythical creatures. Okay, she was talking to a star. “Um, do you have a name?”

The star made a sound like laughter and then it zoomed toward her and exploded.

When Ayla’s eyes recovered from the flash of light, there was a tiny creature perched on her bed. It was no taller than the width of Ayla’s hand. It had wings like a bat, but its body was cat-like and it sat in a classic bored-cat pose. Its gray skin looked like rough stone. It had horns and pointy ears and a grin that revealed teeth more suited to a demon than a helpful nighttime visitor. Its big eyes studied Ayla, tilting its head as it sized her up.

Ayla froze, afraid that if she moved, the tiny being might be lost in the folds of the fluffy comforter.

“Hello,” said Ayla.

“Hello Ayla.” The creature was polite enough not to point out that they had already had this conversation.

“I’m confused.”

“Naturally. This is a novel experience with many changes. It is only normal that you are experiencing feelings.”

Hallucinating. She was hallucinating. That was no way to start off in a new school. Perhaps teleporting had scrambled her brain. Then again her grandma was an excellent teleporter. Well no, that really didn’t help. “Gargoyle,” she blurted out. “You’re a gargoyle.”

The creature straightened up. “I am Jot, your emotional support gargoyle.”

mythomorphs emotional support gargoyle

“Excuse me?”

The creature sighed and started to repeat itself.

Ayla stopped it. “No, I get it. I think. Can I sit up?”

“You seem to be capable.”

“I mean, I don’t want to knock you over.”

The creature – er emotional support gargoyle -- beat its wings and hovered above the bed. Ayla sat up and crossed her legs, keeping the warm comforter over her lap. The gargoyle floated gracefully down and hovered just over her knee. “May I sit?” it asked.

Ayla nodded and the creature landed on her knee, then sat cross legged, mirroring Ayla’s position.

“I am Jot, your emotional support gargoyle. Do you want to talk? I am an excellent listener. I can offer positive affirmations. Perhaps a lullaby. You really should sleep.”

“Stop. I just want to know if my family is okay.”

“I will check,” said Jot and disappeared. Seconds later, Jot reappeared. “This will take a while. Sleep!” The gargoyle was gone again.

Ayla sat there stunned. “Okay,” she said slowly to the empty room. She laid back and stared at the stars once more, wondering how long ‘a while’ would be.

Author's note

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Mythomorphs: The First Shift, written by Suzanne Grosser and illustrated by Valerie Grosser.

Original artwork on this page is by Valerie Grosser.

You can get more of her art and a copy of the book as part of our "Hybrid Hyjinks Kickstarter campaign coming in early 2025.

© Copyright Suzanne Grosser

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