The Grim and the Fantastic
by Marissa Miller
Genre: Children's / Middle Grade Fantasy
The Grim and The Fantastic tells the story of Merton Clarke, and his journey battling a major illness, when a magical realm--filled with splendor and danger lurking in the shadows-- reveals itself to him. There, he must face some terrible beasts in a battle to rid himself of his sickness. Along the way, Merton makes two new friends who must fight their own monsters alongside him. If they can defeat their beasts from the realm in battle, just maybe, they will win the battle against their sickness in the real world too. Together, they test their limits, and their understanding of friendship, grief, bravery, and, above all, the power of hope.
A story of marvel, battles, and hardship, The Grim and the Fantastic takes a serious subject and seeks to breathe color back into the lives of those affected. The fantastical tale truly provides a whimsical place for children with troubles to escape to.
lightning flashes casting shadows around the hospital room where Merton lay.The shadows
appeared to snarl at Merton with dripping jaws ready to bite. He had his back pressed as far
back against his pillow as possible, his little hands gripping fiercely at his covers. He was alone
for the moment as his mother had gone to the cafeteria to get some coffee, and his father had
gone home to grab some of Merton’s things while he was in quarantine.
Merton closed his eyes and summoned up every ounce of energy he could muster to will
the scary shadows away. When he opened his eyes again he blinked a few times to try to make
sense of what he was seeing.The shadows were gone and the gray screen of rain drumming
against the windows had turned to drops of sparkling color bouncing softly against the glass—
not the least bit threatening. It looked magical. But, no matter how much Merton blinked and
rubbed his eyes, this time the color splashes beading down the window didn’t go away.
“Are they real?” He breathed to himself, throwing his legs over the edge of the mattress
and hopping out of bed to approach the window. The color continued to drip shining light in front
of his face. He reached out a hand and placed it against the inside of the glass, wishing he
could touch the water rolling down the outside.
“It’s pretty magnificent, isn’t it?”Merton whirled around at the sound of a voice behind
him. He looked up at the face of Doctor Jankins, standing in the doorway.
“You… you can see the color? I thought I was seeing things that aren’t there.
Hallucinating?” He scrunched up his nose in confusion, wrinkling his freckles as he did so.
“Yes, hallucinating is the word you’re looking for. But, I can assure you, that you aren’t
seeing a hallucination.”
“What is it, then? And what about the other splashes I saw?”
“I definitely noted what you were seeing when we first met, Merton. If you’d like to take a
seat, I would like to explain some things to you, now that we have your diagnosis confirmed,
and you’re officially an in-patient for treatment.”
“Um, ok, I suppose.” Merton agreed warily. He hopped back up onto his bed. “Should my
mom or dad be here for this if it’s medical information?”
“This information is a little different, and I’m afraid I am only permitted to share it with the
children.” Jankins answered, sitting in the recliner chair beside the bed. “Alright, this is going to
be a lot of information to take in. Are you sure you’re up to it?”
Merton glanced back at the colorful rain cascading down the windows and nodded. “Yes,
I can handle it.” He answered seriously.
“Well, Merton, first things first; all of the children always have a choice. There are two
options— two paths, if you will— that each child can choose to embark on.” Jankins began
Marissa Miller is an up and coming author, who has spent the last few years working on novels and children’s books. She currently resides in northern California with her husband, two little dogs (Alice and Diggory), and two cats (Burt and Winry).
Miller has been an aspiring storyteller since she was a young girl and began more seriously pursuing the art of writing in her teens. After a happy accident with miscommunication in 2017, Miller began producing illustrations to accompany her work; she now attempts to incorporate in her illustrative style with all of her works.
Miller’s first published work is the wonderfully imaginative children’s book, Chasing Figments. Following her picture book, Miller published an illustrated young reader’s book, The Grim and The Fantastic. Both books embody Miller’s brand, which is finding the splendor in one’s life, no matter the circumstance, and using imagination to overcome obstacles.
Gift basket with: Signed copy of book, bookmarks, custom illustration for winner, and a $10 amazon gift-card.
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