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The Magic Misfits (Magic Misfits #1)
Author:Neil Patrick Harris

The Magic Misfits (Magic Misfits #1)

Neil Patrick Harris




To Gideon and Harper, who misfit together perfectly





SALUTATIONS!*


(* This is just a clever word for “Greetings!”)


Do you believe in magic? Hi there. Yes, I’m talking to you. Well, do you? Do you believe in magic?

If you’re anything like the boy in this book, you might say no. But I assure you, there is magic all around you. It’s true. Don’t believe me? Look into my eyes and tell me you don’t see magic!

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See what I did there? Eyes… i’s…

(You can stop laughing. I wasn’t that funny, was I?)

But let’s be serious for a moment.

Magic can mean different things to different people. For some, it is pulling a rabbit from a top hat or sawing a person in half and then (hopefully) putting them back together again. For others, magic is a crisp autumn’s day or a tender hug from a loved one. For me, magic can be a story, a game, a puzzle, or a surprise that takes my breath away in a single, furious gulp.

You see, magic comes in all shapes and sizes and colors and tastes and smells and feelings. Magic may even come in the shape of a book—perhaps the very one you’re holding now. Or not. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

But sometimes you might have a hard time remembering to seek out the magic in the world, just like the boy in this book. You might be too busy twirling cotton candy or too distracted by birds sitting on the windowsill or too tired from organizing the attic to notice—but I assure you, magic does exist. You just have to know where to look. (Use your nose! Or your tongue! Or your eyes! Or your brain!) Of course, sometimes you can make it happen yourself.

Would you like to learn about magic? I thought you might. Very well. Repeat after me: SIM SALA BAM!

I’m sorry—I don’t think you actually said that out loud. Please. Repeat. After. Me: SIM SALA BAM!

Louder. SIM SALA BAM!

Brilliant. You’re proving to be a good student.

Now turn the page.…

WAIT, WAIT, WAIT… HOLD ON… STOP!

Silly me. I think I must have mesmerized myself with all those i’s earlier. I almost forgot one last vital thing before we get into the meat and potatoes of our magical story. (Drumroll, please!) First, I must explain.…





HOW TO…


Read This Book!


i cannot tell you wHen or where to read this book. after all, you might rEad it on a bus or in a plane or in the back of a haY cart. you mighT read it while brushing your teetH, or brushing your hair, or brushing the fur of your angora rabbit. (you havE one of those, right?) you might Read it in a bed, under a bed, or possibly while levitating several feet above a bed. if you’re so inclined, you might rEad it in a bathroom mirror backward or upside down, or down side up.

no, i can’t tell you when or where—and i certainly can’t tell you how. you may read it with your eyes open, or you may read it with your eyes closed (there is a way to do that, you know). you might read it backward or in a mirror, or you might have someone read it aloud to you. you might even find it helpful to read the last letters of certain words in a phrase. there is at least one part where you’ll want to find all the capital letters in a section to see what they say. (nice to have options, isn’t it?)

mosT important, you sHould understand that withIn thiS Book are lessOns on magic (sOmetimes spelled magicK with a k). readIng the chapterS will give you a tale of adventure and woe and excitement and Fun (not necessarily In that order). reading the magic moments (or those sections hidden here and there) wiLL aid you in uncovering the secrets of stage performance.

if you read both types of chapters in ordEr, you may finD yourself saying “woW!” as you discover an adventure and learn magic. for the most fun, mIght i suggesT reading the book botH ways?

now, magicianS’ sECrets must be shared if they are to be passed on so futuRe genEraTionS cAn accomplish eveN more amazing feats and Dares. this is why i am sharing them with you! but i have A request: keep the secrets secret. no sHaring wIth your frienDs or friends of frienDs. no using them to cheat your neighbors. no shouting them from the rooftops of your town. trust me whEn i say that turNing a frown into a smile mighT be tHe most rewardING magic trick of them all. much mOre Rewarding than the opposite!

bah—listen to me blaTHering on.… let’s dive in.

are you REady?

brilliant.

turn the pagE.…





ONE


In the darkness of a train yard, somewhere on the far edge of town, a shadowy figure emerged from a thick curtain of fog. The person looked back once before dashing alongside several rows of empty train tracks.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you might flinch when imagining a shadowy figure emerging from a nighttime fog in a nearly abandoned train yard lit only by distant streetlights. But you needn’t worry here. It was merely a skinny boy named Carter Locke.

If you were to worry about anyone at this moment, it should be the man who was not far behind—the man who was chasing Carter through the train yard, bellowing: “Carter! Get back here! Don’t you run from me, boy! I ain’t going to hurt you!” This was a lie. The man very much intended to hurt Carter.

Thankfully, Carter knew it. So he pumped his legs and clutched his satchel and strained through the murk to see which line of cars was chug-chug-chugging down the tracks and out of the yard. The wail of a horn blasted Carter’s eardrums, and he stumbled across a rail.

Several rows away, there came a familiar metal clanking. A rusty but colorful chain of cars clacked by, catching speed and whisking away the mist. Carter could see clearly now. He jumped over the tracks and raced to keep up with the moving train. From down the yard, the cars kept coming and coming and coming. Red, blue, green, yellow, purple, redder, black, orange, redder still.

The colorful train reminded Carter of the first magic trick he’d ever seen: a gentle hand coming close to his face and pulling a red silk handkerchief from his ear, which was tied to a yellow one, which was tied to a blue one, which was tied to a green one, and so on, and so on, and on and on. It was one of the few memories Carter had of his own father.

Instinctively, Carter touched his satchel, as if to make sure the small wooden box was still inside. It was.

Carter ran alongside the train, eyeing each passing car for a place to board. Behind him, footsteps sounded in the gravel. Then a gruff, cruel voice rang out. “Carter! Don’t you dare hop on that train!” The clanging and banging did not drown out the man, who sounded closer now than before—almost directly behind him. “I’ve got eyes and ears in every town between here and Timbuktu! You’ll never escape! Hear me? Never!”