Happy Halloween! To celebrate I’m releasing a portion of Moon Killers in installments to thank you. So on this All Hallow’s Eve, come sit by the fire with me. Here’s a hot cup of apple cider. Are you all set? Let’s read the first episode of book three of The Shadow Series together…
When something feels wrong, it usually is.
My boyfriend Drew places his hand on my cheek. We’re lying next to each other in the end zone at the high school’s dark, empty football stadium. Blades of grass tickle a warning all along my spine––Drew and I aren’t alone. I rustle in place, trying to shake the feeling that someone is out there in the dark, watching us. Instead, I lose myself in Drew’s gaze, caring and not caring that he’s picked tonight to tell me everything––finally. When he leans in close, I close my eyes, feel his lips on mine and melt in his arms. He kisses me as if he’s lived a thousand lifetimes and discovered only love matters. But he will die. And I will not. Not for a very long time.
Nothing about Drew says he’s just begun his Last Life. Nothing about Drew has changed at all since I took his place as the Shadow Slayer. Girls still swoon over him, especially under the Friday night lights––where he can be found pulling off winning plays week after week. Most girls would die to just talk to him. I can’t believe he’s my boyfriend.
There are two main ways girls like to stalk Drew. After a game, they flock in his wake when he and the other football players make a pit stop at the Snack Shack on their way to the locker room. The girls smile with their hot dogs or hot chocolate hot in their hands, and flip their hair ready for Drew––all dripping with Gatorade––to turn around and instantly fall in love with one of them. And when this fails, their backup plan is keeping a vigil in the football field parking lot with an eye on the locker room door. The boys, fresh from their showers, punch and joke their way to their cars. Said swooning girls walk around in circles, searching for rides they never missed. Most end up lingering by Drew’s baby blue Beemer with a can-you-help-me, I-missed-my-ride bat of their eyes, which can have the affect of bonding opportunistic girls to oblivious guys. Sometimes after a game, I stare at all the hair-flipping, eye-batting, stranded girls and wonder which one will become Drew’s girlfriend now that I’m the Shadow Slayer. Which of them will be the mortal girl he’ll date after me.
I know I don’t have a shot at being Drew’s girlfriend for very much longer anyway, even without the whole have-to-save-the-world-from-the-Shadows thing that will pretty much eat up all my free time for the next five hundred years. I mean it’s inevitable that he’ll wake up one day and be like, oh, ick what was I thinking. It’s not like he’s made me feel he’s doing me a favor by dating me or anything, in spite of our obvious violation of the Hot Factor Doctrine––Drew being a ten and me being a six. It’s way more complicated than the fact that doctrine dictates he should date up at least a few factors especially since there are plenty of female tens here at Oakdale Central High School. No, the reason I won’t be Drew’s girlfriend for long is that he’s mortal now. He’ll want, no make that need, a mortal girlfriend. He’ll need to live a real life. The life he’s dreamed about for centuries. The life he fought for. The life he slayed for. We can’t be together now that I’m the Shadow Slayer. One day soon, we’ll be separated forever. I shiver.
“Roxie, what’s going on?”
“I’ve asked you over and over and you…I don’t know…it’s like you’re not even here.”
“I’m here. Now.” I manage a smile even though my heart’s breaking.
His smile fades and he pulls me in close to his chest.
“Will you wear my jersey to school tomorrow for luck?”
I nod. I like wearing his number. Eighteen is my new favorite number. “Sure, you know I will.”
“LT is double tough this year because their backup quarterback Anderson got a shot at starting and even though he’s just a sophomore he’s blowing every other quarterback away. If we’re going to win our division, we have to beat LT.”
It’s strange to hear Drew talking about division finals and beating LT as intensely as he once did about my destiny as Shadow Slayer and how I’d have to battle them. This mortal life is his now. So very different than mine. Being the best quarterback is what matters most to him now. I wish it could matter more to me. But my old life is sort of hollow. I’m in between worlds, not quite here.
The only thing that matters to me is moon killing. It’s the only way I’ll ever be able to gain an advantage over the Shadows. It’s the only way I’ll have a shot at my own Last Life. It’s the only way I’ll be able to save the world.
But, tomorrow’s game against LT is epic. It’s kind of cool how everyone at school, make that everyone in town, wants to beat them. We hate LT. I still don’t know why, it just is. Last year when I was a freshman, I had no idea exactly why we hated LT––Lyons Township High School, the high school a few towns over. And apparently, just being a few towns over is the only reason we need to hate them. It’s weird and doesn’t make sense but our hatred really just boils down to geography.
When you’re in high school you sort of have to accept things like archrivals. Before I met Drew last year, before I found out that I’m the Shadow Slayer, I thought freshman was tattooed on my forehead. Back then it seemed everyone around me knew I didn’t know anything about anything especially stuff I was supposed to automatically know, like LT being the enemy. It took me a long time to figure stuff out freshman year. Most of the reason I wasn’t a total loser freshman year was because Drew was my boyfriend.
to be continued….
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Shadow Slayer, book 2