Sometimes death is only the beginning…
Selene Vanream died—for two minutes. After being revived, she spends over a month in a coma before she awakes, free from the Rot and the reanimation power that caused her so much trouble. No one can explain how Selene survived killing Renton while he possessed her reanimation power, and her reunion with Micah is marred by the choices they each made to save her and stop Renton.
But even though she’s Rot free, she isn’t problem free. First, she no longer has a job at Affairs of the Dead. And Ethan is missing and she can’t track him down. Not only that, ghosts that were sent to the Afterlife with unfinished business have somehow crossed back and are trying to settle the score in violent ways. If that wasn’t enough, Selene discovers that dying briefly has more consequences than she realized, because when she was revived, not all of her came back. Now she’s straddling both the living world and the dead, and she will find out what it means to come back to life but leave part of her soul behind.
The Afterlife sucked.
Granted, I had just gotten here, but I would have expected some sort of fanfare to be waiting to greet me. There should be angels throwing confetti, and ghosts cheering as they welcomed me into eternity after my long, hard life. I thought there’d be some clouds, lots of light, maybe a rainbow or two arching above my head. But no, there was none of that. So far the Afterlife was gray and dull.
And I mean it was literally gray. I did a slow turn so I could take in every direction. All I could see was gray beneath my feet, gray above my head, and gray on every horizon. I put my hands on my hips and blew my unruly ghost hair out of my face. This was what I got after sacrificing myself to save humanity from a madman who wanted to slaughter people so he could feed their ghosts to his creepily resurrected family? Seriously?
I wasn’t sure exactly how the Afterlife worked, despite being a necromancer. Hard to know what death was like until you were dead. But this couldn’t be all there was. I was at a loss here.
Then I thought about Micah and intense sadness washed over me. I don’t know how much time had passed; was it only minutes? Was Micah holding my dead body in his arms on the Brooklyn Bridge? Had days passed? Weeks? Was my funeral already over? My incorporeal heart ached. I missed Micah. I wished the whole mess with Renton didn’t have to culminate with my death.
I threw my hands up. Great, now I had eternity to miss Micah and lament that I had to die because of a psycho. Why couldn’t death erase all the bad stuff?
All right, time to put a positive spin on this. I couldn’t start my Afterlife in a funk. Maybe this was just the starting point and I had to get to where the good stuff was. They made it this dismal at the beginning to show you that it couldn’t get any worse. That way you’d really appreciate your slice of paradise, or maybe the Afterlife was more like communal, eternal fun. I’d take anything over this. I started walking and hoped my theory would be correct.
After walking for a while, the silence was broken by a stomping sound in the distance. A low vibration thrummed through the ground. Was this it? Hordes of angels were coming to greet me and they were running because they were late? But the closer the sound got, the more it reminded me of horses’ hooves. When I turned in the direction of the galloping, I saw glowing, red eyes coming at me.
If I had a beating heart, it would have seized up when I saw what looked like a hulking, jet-black horse. The only color was those red fire pits it had for eyes. Its body, which I could tell was equine, was surrounded by roiling waves of darkness. It was as though shadows had wrapped around it and were in constant motion. It looked twice as large as any horse I had ever seen, and even though I was a ghost, I didn’t want to get trampled. I moved out of the way, but the ghost didn’t seem as though it saw me. When it had run past me a few feet it stopped, reared up and neighed, which was a beastly and horrifying sound, then dropped down and continued running. I was left staring after it with my mouth hanging open.
A.J. Locke is originally from Trinidad and Tobago but has resided in New York City for over fifteen years. She knew early on that she wanted to be a writer, penned her first novel at fourteen, and hasn’t stopped since. Creating is her passion, and other than writing she enjoys keeping up with her active toddler and finding time for her other creative whims such as drawing, painting, and graphic design.
Check out the other books in the Reanimation Files Series: