GENRE: YA Paranormal Thriller
17-year-old Daniel has survived five near-death experiences. After the fourth, he started seeing ghosts. The fifth murdered his brother. When another boy is brutally killed, Daniel makes a pact with a grim reaper to track down the serial killer and avenge his brother. Even if he has to sell his soul.
Six years old
You never forget the first time you nearly died. We were six. Mom took me and Ian to the pool. Abuela wanted to drive us to the beach, which really meant Mom would have to drive us, but Mom said the beach was too dangerous, which meant it was too far and she wanted to save on gas. Abuela muttered something like “bambalan,” which made Mom go, “What was that?”
So the public pool it was.
Ian blended in like chocolate to milk. He was always a bit darker than me, so he sported that effortlessly tanned, athletic kid look. He romped over the water like a baby killer whale, winning oohs and aahs from the pasty and elderly. I think at one point he was even chatting up some girls, who looked like hot college chicks in string bikinis, but were probably preteens at most, with frilly flattened tops.
By the time he joined me in the shallow end, I was sulking and not saying why. “Maldito, quit being a girl,” Ian muttered, and he splashed me. We started a splash war until a hairy dude told us to cut it out, then we played who-could-hold-your-breath-the-longest.
Just once I really wanted to beat Ian. I grabbed the pool ladder and crossed my feet around the bar and held on for dear life.
I nearly drowned.
Ian still beat me.
Nine years old
Abuela came to “housesit”—Ian said he’d riot if Mom got us a babysitter—because Mom had a church picnic and Dad was chasing down some killer who liked to leave heads in buckets. Abuela was watching the UFC finals, hollering stuff like “Harder, muchacho! Punch him to the ground!” so Ian suggested we watch our own special video, which was rated R for a whole different reason.