Alice in zombieland, p.45

Alice in Zombieland, page 45

 part  #1 of  White Rabbit Chronicles Series

 

Alice in Zombieland
 



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Page 45

 

  “Tell me about your after-school job,” was all I could think to say.

  A pause before he reluctantly offered, “I’m sure Cole’s told you plenty. ”

  “I’d like to hear it from you. ”

  He tossed me a glare. “Once upon a time, I would have gladly told you. Now, you’ve made your bed with Cole and you can lie in it. I just wonder if you know that bed is covered with fleas. ”

  He’d used that phrasing on purpose, just to be cruel. “If by fleas you mean zombie carcasses,” I whispered so that only he could hear, “then yes. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I love zombie carcasses. ”

  The pencil he held snapped in two. “Oh, I know it now. I suspected that was why he was paying attention to you. ”

  Because clearly, I could never get a guy on my own. Nice. How had I ever thought this boy was sweet? “What’s your endgame? What’s your purpose? Convince me you’re on the right side. ”

  He snorted. “I don’t have to convince you of anything. But you tell your boyfriend we don’t appreciate the way he sliced our suits. Yeah, my boss paid him a visit the morning after and relayed the message on his own, but I’m not sure Cole’s learned his lesson. ”

  That would be the morning Cole was to drive me home, the morning Frosty had hated all over me. Cole had mentioned reinforcing the Blood Line around my house, and I was certain he’d told the truth, but that was probably only part of the truth, which told me that he was as good at omission as I was. We’d have to chat about that. From now on, only full disclosure would do.

  “What did your boss do to him?” I demanded.

  “Why don’t you ask my twin sister, Jaclyn?” He grinned with relish. “Have you met her yet? She’s the one who took me home after the party. You know, where you abandoned me. ”

  “Now, hold on. ” My retort died on my lips as realization struck. The brunette who’d shot me that I-wish-you-were-dead look while she’d tried to revive him, the one who liked to glare at me during every bus ride, had the same features as Justin. She had to be the twin.

  “She’s never been a fan of Cole and she had the same gut feeling about you, that you were trouble. I ignored her. ”

  Not because he’d liked me, but because he’d wanted to know what I could do for—or against—the zombies. “Hate to break it to you, but all girls are fans of Cole. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. ” Even when I was mad at him, I was attracted to him.

  “After what he did to me, Jaclyn wants him pulverized. ”

  “So she knows what you do?”

  “Who do you think recruited me?”

  The bell rang and class began, stopping me from prying further. Kids shoved their backpacks underneath their desks, their clothes rustling as they faced forward.

  An announcement was made about the football game—we’d won—and cheers abounded. A pep rally was scheduled for the coming Friday, eliciting even more cheers.

  It took Mr. Butthole a good ten minutes to calm everyone down before he could begin his lecture. (What was his real name again?) I was too lost in my head to pay attention. I wanted to know more about the people Justin and his sister worked for, what their goal was. Couldn’t be the destruction of the zombies, as Cole said they liked to claim. Otherwise they’d work with Cole.

  Just before the bell erupted to signal class was over, I was summoned to Dr. Wright’s office. I knew why she wanted to see me, and I wasn’t happy. I dragged my feet. In the office, the receptionist waved me right in.

  Dr. Wright sat behind her desk, as prim and proper as ever, dressed in a dark business suit with her hair pulled back in a bun.

  “How are you feeling?” she asked, hands linked over a file.

  “Much better, thank you. ”

  “Excellent. And you’ve come to grips with what you’ve learned?”

  “For the most part. ”

  “And you won’t discuss it with other children?”

  I’m not a child. “No. ”

  The wheels on her chair whined as she leaned back. “I’m interested in your ability. ”

  Bingo. Exactly what I’d feared.

  “Have you better considered how you see those glowing smudges?”

  “Well, yeah. ” Who wouldn’t have?

  “And?”

  “And some people have abilities like that, while some don’t,” I said.

  There was a slight flare of impatience in her eyes. “I know that much already. Do you think you were born with it?”

  “I don’t know. ”

  “Could your father see them?”

  “I don’t know. ”

  She drummed her fingernails against the arms of the chair. “My guess is yes, yes, you were born with the ability. But then I have to wonder why nothing like that has ever happened to you before. ”

  Two could play the supposition game. “Why do some people develop tumors later in life, but not in childhood? Why are all kids born with blue eyes, but most change colors after a few months?” My own impatience shone through my tone. Either I was a part of the group or I wasn’t. Continued suspicions from the adults would cause the kids to doubt me, too.

  She adjusted her glasses, debating what to do with me, I’m sure. “You can trust me, Ali. I developed the ability to see the zombies at the age of twelve, after a car accident, like you. I was shocked, as you can guess, but I did my best to continue on with my life. It wasn’t until I took over this school and noticed the odd behavior of Cole’s group that I realized others could see them, too. Then Cole’s father came around, hoping to find someone to aid the cause, and I was all over it. And it should soothe you to know that even though they needed me, they kept me at a distance for the longest time. But look at me now. ”

  “I get what you’re saying. ” I didn’t like it, but yeah, I got it.

  “In the meantime, come to me with any problems. I’m here to help you. ”

  “I will,” I said, and I meant it. She was tough as nails, but she meant well. And like me, she was curious. She wanted answers.

  “All right, then. Back to class with you. ”

  Relieved, I left the office. The hallways were filled, ready to burst. Frosty was waiting at my locker. I tried to pass him, but just like before he dove into action and kept pace beside me.

  “Cole was suspended for the day,” he announced.

  The unexpected news had me tripping over my own feet to face him. “Why?” And why hadn’t Dr. Wright mentioned it?

  A casual shrug of those big shoulders. “Nothing unusual. He tossed a few kids around because they couldn’t keep their mouths closed. ”

  About my sluttiness, no doubt. “Dr. Wright should have let him off the hook. ” But I now knew why she hadn’t mentioned it. I would have protested—loudly.

  “When the crime is committed in front of a roomful of people, she can’t. Anyway, he wanted you to know he still plans to pick you up after school. ”

  Good. We had some training to do. “Okay. Thanks. ”

  “As for lunch—”

  “If you tell me I can’t hang out with my friends anymore, I’ll hurt you!”

  “No reason to tell you anything like that. They’ll kick you out of their inner circle sooner or later. They did to Kat, and she only got back with them when we split. ”

  “Poppy, Wren and Reeve wouldn’t drop her. ” I’d figured she’d once had other friends, and they’d been the ones to let her go.

  “Not Reeve, but Poppy and Wren. She was hanging with me, and I was getting her into trouble. They thought she would drag them down. ”

  How dare they treat her that way!

  Uh, you might have to drop her, too.

  Oh, yeah. Guilt ate at me, a cancer without a cure.

  “Ali,” Frosty began. “Listen. I—”

  “Not now,” I interrupted. I had no idea what he planned to say, I just knew I couldn’t withstand another upset. <
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  “All right. But later. ”

  “Later. ” We parted ways, branching in different directions down the hall.

  After surviving second and third blocks and making Ms. Meyers happy with my full attention, I found Kat in the cafeteria at her usual table. The others weren’t with her. She was spinning a green apple on the tabletop. Today she wore a tank top and a pair of skinny jeans. I must not have ever seen her in a tank before. For the first time I noticed the pucker of scars on the inside of her elbows.

  Scars that reminded me of track marks.

  No way Kat did drugs. Just no way. I’d never believe it.

  Her skin was paler now than it had been over the weekend. Shadows formed half circles under her eyes, and her lips were chapped. I eased beside her. “Hey, you. How are you feeling?”

  She gave a jolt of surprise, her hand fluttering over her heart. Then she smiled at me, that perfect, wily smile of hers that drew me in, welcomed me and always put me at ease. “A little tired. Frosty must have sucked the life out of me when he sucked on my tongue. That, or he infected me with a flesh-eating bacteria. ”

  “Gross!”

  “No. Fun. ” She traced a heart around the apple. “He’s passed me three notes today already, asking me to go out with him this weekend, and he’s even vowed to tattoo my name on his butt if I say yes. ”

  “Are you guys officially back together?”

  “Hardly. He hasn’t suffered enough. ”

  I had a feeling she wasn’t as interested in his suffering as she was in protecting her heart. “So where are the girls?” I’d be nice, I decided. They’d wised up and gotten back into Kat’s good graces. That’s all that mattered.

  “Reeve is with Bronx, is my guess. ” She motioned to Cole’s table with a wave of her hand. “Notice he’s missing from their crew. ”

  “He could have gone home with Cole. ” Because I seriously doubted Reeve’s dad had lifted the no-dating-slayers ban. “But…” I leaned in and whispered, “I saw them kissing at the party. ”

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