So, this is really different than any YA I've written. It's from Hello Again, Gaby Briggs, a crazy, kooky, and just plain fun to write. I've got almost 6K into it, and fortunately, the agent really likes it. So, here's a scene that kinda went a little longer than I wanted, since it's supposed to be snippets, but I hazn't teased in so long it got the best of me!
My eyelids fluttered as I strained to wake up. When I stretched, searing pain radiated through my body. “Ow!” My usual lumpy mattress felt hard as marble.
Zoey’s incredulous voice broke through what felt like a drug induced coma. “Yeah, yeah, I’m awake. Give me a minute or two, kay?” I grumbled, as I turned over in bed to come face first with a wad of grass. “What the…” My eyelids snapped open.
It wasn’t the usual comfort of my bedroom. Inky black darkness enveloped me except for the faint amber glow of a circle of flickering candles. Squinting my eyes, I tried to make out the things around me. Flowers, maybe a tent in the distance, and then I gasped.
I bolted to my feet. Zoey stood in front of me, white as a sheet. Well, even whiter than her usual gothlike persona. “Z-Zoey, w-where the hell am I?”
“McKinley Memorial Park.”
“And why am I here?”
An odd smile curved on Zoey’s lips. “Because you died,” she said, in a hushed whisper.
I fought the urge to say, “Why are we whispering? Are we afraid to wake the dead or something?” Instead, I cocked my head at her, “Well, isn’t that fabulous. And here I thought I’d been dragged along with you to some weird Vernal Equinox celebration or something.”
Zoey didn’t respond. Instead, she lurched forward like a baby taking its first tentative steps. A shaky hand reached out to touch my shoulder. As soon as she touched me, she jumped back like she’d been bitten by a snake or something. “Holy shit!” Her head full of dark hair shook wildly at me as she started weaving in and out of the circle of candles. “I did it. I really fucking did it! Oh shit!”
Since I was used to her kookiness, I chose to brush off the grass and weeds stuck to my dress. Wait, I was wearing a dress? And a fancy one at that. I brought my hand to my forehead. This was all so confusing. “Um, Zoey?” I questioned, as she continued her erratic weaving and mumbling. “Can you tell me why I’m at McKinley Memorial Park wearing my best dress in the middle of the night?”
She snapped back like a rubber band. Her wild eyes met mine. “I just told you.”
“Yeah, uh, you told me that I’d died, which is, you know, interesting and all. But I’m thinking I might have been dead drunk at best, but literally flat-lined dead, nope, don’t think so.” But when I stopped to think about it, I didn’t remember drinking. I cupped my hand over my mouth and puffed in a few breaths. It was a little stale smelling maybe, but it didn’t reek of alcohol.
“You’re not drunk, Gabs,” Zoey said.
“Look, we’ve been friends too long for you to be punking me like this. What’s next, Ashton Kutcher’s gonna come rising up outta a grave like in the Thriller video all decomposing and stuff?”
Zoey brought her hands to her hips and narrowed her eyes. “I’m not punking you. You died, Gabs. You know, deceased, expired, bought the farm, took a dirt nap, etc.”
I drew in a deep breath. “Okay, look, I get it. You’re still epically ticked at me for the way I’ve been hanging out with Samantha and dressing like, as you call it, “a coked out Gossip Girl reject”. So here it is. The big apology you’re obviously so desperate to get that you’re willing to drag me out here to the cemetery in the middle of the night and try to freak me out with some story of my death. I.am.SORRY!”
We stared each other down in the shadowy glow cast by the candles. Finally, Zoey motioned her head towards something behind me. Slowly, I swiveled my head. Squinting, I surveyed the headstone I’d been leaning up against. My blood ran cold. “Gabrielle Elizabeth Briggs. Beloved daughter and sister,” I read in a shaky voice.
It was a surreal moment—like the world skidded to a halt and jolted every molecule in my body. The muscles in my legs melted like wax, failing to support me. The next thing I knew, I pitched face forward to the ground and literally ate dirt.