A Mad Zombie Party

By: Gena Showalter

The battle rages on.

Ali Bell and Cole Holland’s crew of zombie slayers thought they’d won the war against Anima Industries, the evil company responsible for capturing and experimenting on zombies in an effort to discover the secret to immortality. In the last epic clash, the slayers lost many of their crew and closest friends. But Frosty, the ice man himself, has not recovered from one casualty in particular—the love of his life, Kat Parker.

On the path to self-annihilation, Frosty receives a message from beyond—Kat’s spirit returns, insisting he partner with rogue slayer Camilla Marks. Frosty will do anything for Kat. Except that. Camilla is the one who betrayed them all, leading to Kat’s death.

But when Anima rises from the grave to become a force the slayers may not have the strength to overcome, Frosty, Camilla and all the slayers will have to work together to survive. And one broken slayer will learn that sometimes, the line between hate and attraction is blurred...and the road to redemption isn’t through revenge, but in letting go of the past and grabbing hold of the future.

Check it. I’m only eighteen years old but I’ve already got the coolest résumé in the history of ever.

Mission statement: to save the entire world from the destructive forces of evil.

Abilities: seeing into the spirit realm, pushing my spirit out of my body, covering a person’s memories with a single swipe of my hand, predicting the future and moving at speeds the average human can’t even hope to track. Oh, and creating bursts of energy that toss zombies into the air.

Yes. Zombies exist. Get over it.

I’m a zombie slayer. While there are other slayers in the world, there are no others quite like me. (What? It’s not bragging if it’s true.) Two things we can all do? Set ourselves on fire with only a thought—without actually burning ourselves—and turn our enemy into a pile of ash with a single touch.

Don’t be jealous! Be re-e-eally jealous.

Just FYI, real zombies are unlike anything seen in movies or read about in books. They are spirits that have to be fought by other spirits. Like to like. They don’t hunger for blood and brains but for the very thing they’ve lost: the essence of life. My life...and yours.

They are pitiless darkness and we are shining lights.

But okay, okay, back to me. I won’t mention my other award-winning qualities...like my killer instincts. My rapier wit. Oh, oh, or the fact that I bagged and tagged Cole Holland, the baddest bad boy every girl in Bama—and probably the world—hoped to tame. Nope, not gonna mention. I’m humble like that.

But, despite all my amazing amazingness, there’s one thing I haven’t been able to do, and the failure is tearing me up inside.

I haven’t helped my friend Frosty.

I’ve tried. Oh, I’ve tried. Four months ago, Kat Parker—my best friend and Frosty’s girlfriend—did the unthinkable and...and...passed away. Exited earth. Kicked the bucket.

Good glory, there’s no easy way to say it, is there?

Anima Industries, the company determined to control zombies, bombed our house and gunned her down. (May they forever rot like their creations.)

Frosty witnessed every agonizing second of Kat’s death, unable to save her, and it changed him. The fun, sarcastic and wickedly irreverent boy I once admired is gone. Now he’s moody, and every mood is darker than the last. One moment he wants me to use my ability to cover his memories, the next he curses me for even daring to consider saying yes. He takes off for days, even weeks, at a time without contacting us to let us know he’s okay. He drinks at all hours of the day and night, and he’s sleeping around, discarding girls as if they’re sexual tissues. One and done. Bang and bail. Hit it and quit it.

I know he hates what he’s become. But how can I help him, truly help him, when I’m having so much trouble helping myself?

There’s an ache deep in my chest now, humming in tune to the movies playing in the back of my mind. Movies on a constant loop—memories of times I shared with my bestie, the coolest chick I’ve ever known.

The first time we met. “I’m Kathryn, but everyone calls me Kat. And do not make any cat jokes or I’ll have to hurt you. With my claws. Truth is, I stopped speaking meow a long time ago.”

My first day at my new school. “Well, well, look what the Kat dragged in. Get it? Of course you do. I only make awesome jokes. But enough of my brilliant banter. I’m so glad you’re here!”

When she first confessed to being sick. “My kidneys don’t exactly work right. I need dialysis, like, a lot.”

Our first squabble. “I told you about my illness, but you won’t tell me what’s going on with you? And I know something’s going on. You’re spending more and more time with Cole, you’re bruised all the time and I would think he was beating you if I hadn’t seen the bruises on everyone else you’re hanging out with. I know you’re involved in whatever Frosty’s involved in, and I know you’re keeping secrets from me.”

We’d made up quickly. We’d always made up quickly. We were sisters of heart rather than blood. But as much as I love those flashbacks of our lives together, I wish they’d stop. My heartache is almost unbearable. And if I feel this way, even though Cole soothes me—even though I occasionally interact with Kat’s spirit—Frosty has to be falling down a pit of never-ending despair. His only source of comfort has been taken away.