TITLE: The Brightest Star
GENRE: YA Horror
Sixteen-year-old Deirdre has always been overshadowed by her best friend Jordan. She never cared, because secretly she leads a double life as a zombie hunter, and dreams of saving the world. One day, Jordan reveals his plans to become a zombie-slaying vigilante. Deirdre is shocked, and then furious.
“You want to be the hero,” Deirdre said. Somehow, the pencil was in her hand again. It spun round and round in crazy sporadic circles, before skittering to the floor.
“I want you to help me.” Jordan captured her hand, the same hand that lost the pencil. “You’re smart, Dree. You’re the smartest person I know.”
“You should tell that to the school board,” she said stiffly. “They named Melvin Borget dux last year.”
“You’re not just book smart. You’re smart smart.”
He had her hand to his mouth, murmuring words into her fingers. “There’s this fire in you, Dree. You like to pretend it’s not there. Most times you’re quiet, sitting back listening, watching, while everyone else takes the centre stage. No one sees your hunger.”
She tried to tug away. “I’m not hungry.”
“You killed that zombie yesterday. With just one blow. Not anyone could do that.”
“No,” Deirdre said. What she really meant to say was: no, you idiot. Of course not anyone can do that. The real answer sat right in front of him.
But Jordan was lost in his own world. Waking dreams of grandeur danced in his eyes, softening the usual acid green to a soft eucalyptus-leaf colour.
“Join me, Dree. It will be amazing, life transforming.”
She couldn’t take it anymore. Yanking her hands from his grasp, she shoved her chair back, lunging to her feet.
“Let me tell you what isn’t amazing and life transforming. Being your side kick. There. I said it.” Her breath came too fast, the words hurtled out. “In this awesome scenario where you’re the bad-ass superhero, where am I? Kicking butt beside you? Wait, no. I’m Robin while you’re in the Batman suit. I’m Pepper Potts to your Tony Stark, Hermione to your Harry. You’re my best friend. Jordan. But I can’t do this.”
“I’m not asking you to be my sidekick!” Jordan lunged to his feet as well. “I don’t know where you got that from.”
“Oh, please. I’ve always been your sidekick. Ever since we became friends. I just never used to mind as much.”