18 Thoughts (My So-Called Afterlife Book 3)

By: Jamie Ayres
To Dan, Kaylee, and Ashley, because I saved the best for last.

Thank you for my continuing education of Star Wars.

I wouldn’t trade you for all the Starbucks frappuccinos and cake pops in the world.

xoxo





iel looked at the three of us. “Now that we’ve said our goodbyes, it’s time to get going. I have an appointment at the Throne after this.”

Conner turned to Nate, a struggle to remain civil clear on his face. “I’d say it was nice to meet you, but—”

“Oh, save it.” Riel scowled at him. “Your paths will cross again soon.”

Nate nodded. “And FYI, I’m not giving up. May the best man win.”

And right then, I knew I had problems. My best friend was in love with me and counted my boyfriend as his enemy. Sam would still be on the loose somewhere on Earth, and I had a feeling he’d move close to Grand Haven so he could torture me for getting him kicked out of the Underworld. Plus, Nate would have some sort of side effect that made even Riel chuckle with delight.

Problems for sure. If being a spirit guide didn’t almost kill me, the drama that lay ahead for my senior year of high school just might. But the thought that I even had a senior year of high school to look forward to made any possible drama seem so beyond worth it.

Riel gathered us in his arms and prayed in a tongue I didn’t recognize.

I decided I should end my journey the same way I started, with a prayer. Except this time, I wasn’t ready to die. I was ready to live.





“Every heart sings a song incomplete,

until another heart whispers back.”



—Plato

Nate

t took one glance away from the road, one look at the guy racing me, one second of distraction… I tried to brake. Braking too late, braking too hard as I groped for the wheel to redirect my path. The front driver’s side of my car collided with his passenger’s side, metal crunching against metal. My door crushed inward, and jagged steel punctured my leg. Blood sprayed upward and to the side, coating the crumpled door in new paint. Like a bucking horse, the rear of my car lifted high off the ground.

I lurched upward with the swaying of the vehicle’s weight.

My body off the seat.

Feet ripped from my tightly laced Converse sneakers.

Knees pressed against the underbelly of the dashboard.

Chest above the steering column, the back of my head hitting the sun visor.

Then I came back down with the vehicle, the front of my head slamming against the steering wheel.

Blood trickling down my forehead as if this moment were in slow motion when all I wanted was for it to be over.

Suddenly, the airbag deployed and punched me in the face, and I thought I’d slip into unconsciousness, a welcome relief. But the sun glared off the hood off the car, awakening me. My eyes bulged, refusing to blink; my dry throat hitched with an inability to scream.

And I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t breathe.

The brake pedal sheared off the floorboard.

Definitely too late to brake now.

The car, still moving forward with a force more powerful than gravity, veered off the side of the road.

For one split second, the feeling of freedom bewitched me, the weight of the world disappearing as my car and I took flight. I’d always dreamed of flying, but not like this. I blinked. Then I wanted to cover my face, to place my fists over my eyes so I wouldn’t see green streaks through the glass, trees waving to me in my peripheral vision as I tumbled and spun with the car. But I couldn’t. Because my fear-frozen hands were occupied, bending the plastic and steel frame of the steering wheel under my terrified death grip as I held on with everything I had. If I let go, I was a goner for sure. I wondered if I was a goner regardless. Would my life flash before my eyes any second now? A primal scream escaped my lips, my uncontrollable paralysis disappearing, but then I froze at the thought of being shocked into silence again. Because I needed to do something, do something, do something. Then the car

made a touchdown,

spiking in celebration,

tearing hinges,

slamming on its side,

flipping,

soaring,

(How was this happening? Was my car really as light as a football?)

BAM!

And the doors sprung open, the car screaming that it was done.

But I wasn’t.

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