We’re celebrating the release day for YA Paranormal novel ‘Afterlife Academy’ today. Come join us to read an excerpt from this hilarious YA novel by author Jaimie Admans. Purchase your copy of ‘Afterlife Academy’ here: Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
Jaimie is also organizing a launch party on Facebook! You can join in the fun here: http://www.facebook.com/events/498255523543345/
Even being dead isn’t enough to get you out of maths class.
Dying wasn’t on sixteen-year-old Riley Richardson’s to-do list. And now, not only is she dead, but she’s stuck in a perpetual high school nightmare. Worse still, she’s stuck there with the geekiest, most annoying boy in the history of the world, ever.
In a school where the geeks are popular and just about everything is wrong, Riley has become an outcast. She begins a desperate quest to get back home, but her once-perfect life starts to unravel into something not nearly as great as she thought it was. And maybe death isn’t really that bad after all…
Read an excerpt:
“You remember,” Anthony says, his voice snapping me out of my reverie.
“We killed you.”
“That is… quite possible,” he says after a pause.
I don’t know what to say to that. “I’m sorry,” I mumble eventually, even though that doesn’t even begin to cover it. “It was an accident.”
He shrugs. “You told him to slow down. I heard you. It’s not your fault.”
“Wade didn’t mean to hurt you. I know he can be a bit cruel sometimes but he didn’t mean to get physical.”
“I think we’re a little past physical by now, don’t you, Riley?”
I pause for a while and look around. “How did we get here?” I ask, feeling more than a little sick. Shouldn’t we be in hospital or something? Perhaps a morgue, in Anthony’s case?
It’s a dream. It has to be a dream. I must have fallen asleep during history class again. Any minute now I’ll wake up and it will be time to sneak out the back and meet Wade for a drive.
It will. I swear it will.
“I know it’s a stupid question,” Anthony says. “But where do you think all the houses went? And the cars? And the shop?”
“I don’t know,” I say. “I think this is some kind of freakish dream. Maybe an experiment in one of your beloved science classes. But we’re going to wake up any minute and everything will be fine.”
“This is a frigging nightmare,” he says. “If it was a dream I wouldn’t be stuck here with you.”
“Well, thank you,” I mutter. “I can think of more interesting people to be with than you too.”
“Yeah well, why don’t you and Sophie steal my glasses during maths again? That was a fun afternoon.”
I blush at the memory. “Yeah, I’m sorry about that. I didn’t realise the teacher would write to your gran. You could’ve just grassed us up, you know.”
“Oh yeah, because you wouldn’t have had your minions backing you up. You wouldn’t have had ten girls willing to do anything to be part of your gang. No one would have hidden my glasses to get you off the hook and me into even more trouble.”
“I am sorry,” I say.
“Whatev… Hey, has that always been there?”
He points to a sign on the grass a few feet in front of us.
“Yeah,” I glance towards it. “It’s just the name of the school so people don’t—”
Welcome to Afterlife Academy. A prefect will be along shortly.
I stare at it. Then I look at Anthony and then I look back at the sign.
“It’s never said that before… has it?”
“What the hell is Afterlife Academy?” he says. “That isn’t our school.”
I think about that for a minute.
“Well, it’s kind of grey,” I say. “Our school doesn’t look like this.”
“It’s the mist,” Anthony says. “It’s not really that grey. It’s just the mist playing tricks with the light.”
I nod but I don’t really believe him. Mist doesn’t make red bricks grey. It doesn’t make every surrounding object grey. It just makes things misty.
“Maybe someone will be along in a minute. We should wait, like the sign says.”
Anthony looks up at the sky.
You can see that it’s still daytime through the fog.
“So where is everyone? This place should be swarming with students. Maybe we should go inside.”
“The gate’s locked.”
“We could climb it.”
“Hang on a minute,” I tell him. “Firstly, this skirt was not made for climbing. And secondly, the gate is locked and we are on the outside of it. Maybe there’s a reason for that.”
“And that reason would be?”
I shrug. “Maybe there was an explosion in chemistry class. Maybe something went wrong. Somehow we got out. And we should stay out.”
“Don’t you think we would remember an explosion in chemistry class?”
“Well, you would,” I snap. “Given the amount of notes you take.”
“Notes help you study,” he responds.
“There are more important things in life than studying.”
“Like joyriding with your boyfriend?”
“It was not… Hey, have you seen Wade anywhere?”
“You mean since he hit me with his car? No.”
“How weird is that? We were together. We were together like ten minutes ago. And now he’s disappeared.”
“Riley, everything has disappeared. Look at this street. Where are we? We’re in the driveway of our school, but we’re on a different street. This is too weird.”
“So there’s been some kind of noxious gas leak. Some other kind of natural disaster that somehow we’ve escaped from.”
“What’s the last thing you remember?” He stares at me intently. “The very last thing?”
I think for a moment.
“You,” I tell him. “Your body. On the windscreen. And a lot of blood. And then we hit something. I couldn’t see anything because there was so much blood, but there was a huge crash and—”
“And now we’re in a place called Afterlife Academy. What does that say to you?”
“Are you kidding me? You think we’re dead? You think we’re ghosts or something?”
“You really are a nutjob. I mean, I always thought you were a nutjob, but in an I-enjoy-maths kind of way. Not in an I-am-actually-a-complete-nutjob kind of way.”
He doesn’t respond.
“So, where’s Wade?” I ask. “He was in the accident too and he’s not here.”
“I don’t know, okay, Riley?” Anthony suddenly snaps at me. “I don’t know. The last thing I remember is pain. A lot of pain. And being flung across the bonnet of your car. And now I’m standing outside my school, except everything is wrong about it, and I’m with the biggest bitch in my year.”
“I am not a bitch,” I snarl at him.
“You are to me,” he says simply. “Somewhere inside you must be nice because so many people like you. But I’ve never seen anything other than a complete bitch.”
“That is so unfair,” I say. “Okay, we tease you sometimes. But you have to admit you’re an easy target.”
“Why does anyone need to be a target? Why do you need to put someone else down to make yourself feel better?”
“Hey, I resent that. I do not—”
“Could you two shut the hell up for one bloody minute?”
We both jump out of our skins and spin in the direction of the voice.
There is a boy about our age standing inside the gate watching us. When the hell did he get there? I look over at Anthony and he looks as shocked as I am. Neither of us saw him approach.
“Who are you?” I ask.
I don’t recognise him. I know pretty much everyone in this school, and I’ve never seen him before. He’s weird-looking enough that I’d remember him. He’s young, but his hair is slicked back like something out of the 1940s. And he’s almost completely grey. His skin is grey. His clothes are grey and seriously old-fashioned. His hair is a dark, ashy colour. Everything about him is grey.
Everything about this whole place is grey.
“Riley Richardson and Anthony Marsden?” the strange boy asks.
“Who are you?” I ask him again.
“Please report to the principal’s office immediately.”
And with that he is gone.
Not walked away. Just vanished. Into thin air.
But now the gates are open.
“Okay,” I stutter, looking at Anthony. “Did you just see that? Please tell me you just saw that.”
“I saw it,” he says. “You still think I’m a nutjob?”
“Always,” I tell him. “But we can’t be dead. We can’t be. I’m sixteen. I can’t die at sixteen.”
“People can die at any age, Riley,” he says. “If you paid more attention in class you would know that.”
“Do not lecture me,” I growl. “I pay plenty of attention in class. My grades are very good, I’ll have you know. Not that my grades have anything to do with you anyway.”
“I don’t see how,” he says. “All you do is gossip or text on the phone you’re not supposed to have or torment people who are actually listening. Or—”
“My phone!” I interrupt. “My bag! My stuff! Where is everything? I had a bag with me just now. It was in the back of the car.”
“Mine’s gone too,” Anthony says.
“Great. Not only has there been some kind of freakish gas leak but we’ve been mugged as well.”
“I don’t think this is a gas leak,” he says. “And I don’t think we’ve been mugged.”
“No, you think we’re both bloody dead. That’s a much more viable option.”
“Look,” he says, “I’m not ruling anything out. I’m just saying that the last thing either of us remembers is a car accident. And now we’re back at school, but everything looks wrong and a very strange guy just vanished into thin air right in front of us.”
“Who was that guy?” I ask.
“How am I supposed to know that?”
“The sign says a prefect will be here. Maybe he was a prefect.”
“Weird-looking prefect. Not that everything isn’t looking a bit strange at the moment,” I mutter.
“Yeah, well, maybe we should do what he said.”
“We should report to the principal’s office?”
He shrugs. “He told us to. And he knew our names.”
“You know, this is reminding me of that movie where the guy wakes up from a coma and the whole world has been infested with zombies.”
“I could be wrong, but I don’t think there’s been a zombie outbreak,” he says.
“So where is everyone? And everything?”
“Look, let’s just go and see the principal. If anyone can explain what’s going on, it will be him.”
“Yeah? Because I vote that we run away.”
“To where, Riley? Look at this street. It’s the right street but it’s wrong. There should be a roundabout and a railway bridge just up there, but there’s nothing but fog. Where do you think we’re going to get to?”
“I don’t know,” I admit. “But we should do something.”
“That guy didn’t ask us our names. He already knew them. What does that tell you?”
“This is a really creepy situation and we should get the hell out of here?”
“It tells me that they were expecting us. It tells me that the principal is waiting for us.”
“Yeah, to eat us. Because he’s a zombie.”
Anthony rolls his eyes but his lips twitch up into a smile.
“We don’t even know where the principal’s office is,” I counter.
“This is our school. The principal’s office is in the same place it always is.”
“So why is it called—” I read the sign on the grass and grab Anthony’s arm. “Do you see that?” I ask him.
“Welcome to Afterlife Academy,” he reads. “Please report to the principal’s office immediately.”
“Okay, now that’s just plain weird. That sign used to say that a prefect would come along, and now it says something different. When on earth did they have time to paint the sign without us noticing?”
“I don’t think they did,” he says slowly.
“So what, it’s a magic sign now?”
“For God’s sake, Riley. The sign said that a prefect would come along. The prefect came and told us to go see the principal. Now the sign is telling us to go and see him because so far all we’ve done is stand here and argue.”
“But how did it change?” I whine. “This just proves that this is a nightmare and we should both just stand here until we wake up.”
“No,” I snap. “Signs don’t just change of their own accord. That sign is solid metal. It’s been there for years. It says ‘Welcome to Bellfield Comprehensive School. You are here.’ And there’s a map. So this is either a nightmare or a really sick joke. Oh my god, that’s it! Wade was really pissed off with me for telling him not to be cruel to you. He’s done something to us. Probably drugged us or something. This is some kind of weird drug trip.”
“Whatever it is, I think we should do what we’ve been told.”
“Oh, you’re always such a goody two-shoes. Always doing what the teachers tell you.”
“Insult me all you like. I’m going to see the principal and get this whole mess straightened out. You can stay here if you want.”
“You know, Wade is probably hiding somewhere laughing at us right now.”
“Whatever,” Anthony says and he begins to walk away.
The thought of standing here by myself fills me with dread, so even though he’s the class geek and clearly a complete loon, I run after him anyway.
Afterlife Academy is her third novel and she hopes you enjoy it. There are plenty more on the way!