TITLE: The Phoenix
GENRE: YA Speculative Thriller
There's a dead boy at my window.
I slide out of bed and squint in the darkness to be sure my eyes aren’t playing tricks. I recognize the dead boy right away, and he’s at the wrong window.
My ex-best friend Evan huddles on the porch, clinging with both hands to my window frame in the moonlight. A year and a half ago we sprinkled his ashes (so we thought) behind the Coral Beach High School football field. His parents said some nice things, and a lot of kids cried. The principal even shut down school for a few days. Seemed like an overreaction to me, but when the most popular guy in school disappears and turns up dead, overreaction is status quo.
Yet somehow here he is, staring at me with eyes wide and bloodshot and definitely alive. His hair is all gone, his skin so sickly pale it glows silver in the moonlight, and there's a huge, jagged scar running across his skull. Beneath the flimsy hospital gown his body is shrunken, concave. Not at all the cocky quarterback I remember. Despite all that, I'm sure it's him.
"Brie," Evan says, voice muffled through the glass, "are you in there?"
I blink a few times, so hard that blue spots swirl on the backs of my eyelids. This can’t be happening. I must be hallucinating again.