Genre: Contemporary fantasy/paranormal
Publisher: Mictlan Press
Date of Publication: March 15, 2016
Number of pages: 345
Word Count: 100,000
Paperback and all ebook formats
Cover Artist: Shelby Robinson – artwork
Jennifer Stolzer – layout and design
How Far Would You Go To Get Your Life Back?
Stuck in the afterlife on an island encircled by fire and hunted by shadows bent on trapping them there forever, Irene and Andras struggle to hold onto the last vestiges of their physical selves, without which they can never return to the land of the living. But it’s not just external forces they’ll have to fight as the pair grow to realize they have different goals. Irene still clings to the hope that she can somehow return to her old life—the one she had before she died—while Andras would be only too glad to embrace oblivion.
Meanwhile, Jonah desperately searches for a way to cross over to the other side, even if doing so means his death. His crossing over, however, is the one thing that could destroy Irene’s chances of returning home.
Too many obstacles, too many people to save, and the thing Irene most desperately wants—to return to her old life—seems farther away than ever. Only one thing is clear: moving on will require making a terrible sacrifice.
Char shook her head and rolled her eyes. “I was going more for a sense of forced gaiety in the face of impending doom, but, sure, your rather strange and far-fetched idea works, too.”
“Doom?” Jonah scoffed. “There’s nothing creepy here. In fact…” He scanned the room, his lips pursed as the subtle thought that had been nagging at him since they’d arrived finally crystalized. Setting aside the fact that Irene wouldn’t be caught dead waltzing or in a library or wandering naked in a garden, and that her letters had indicated she was outside, at a river, there was another glaring indication that they weren’t in the right place: Valhalla, Heaven, Eden, Tlalocan… they all had one thing in common. They were where the happy dead went.
Disappointment sizzled through him, instantly souring the happiness of a few moments ago. “You know what—let’s go.” He turned back toward the doorway through which they had just come.
“Go? Wait… you mean we’re leaving?”
“Irene’s not here.” Frustration burned like acid in his gut. He pushed blindly through the throng, numbness and anger warring within him. All that time, all that effort… for nothing. He was back to square one.
“What do you mean? This place is huge; we haven’t even searched half of it yet.”
“I can tell she’s not here. This isn’t where she went.” Bitterness bubbled over, and he desperately wanted to punch something. He tried to tamp the feeling down; he’d give vent to his feelings in private, away from Char’s prying, mocking eyes.
“How do you know she isn’t here?” Char said, a note of insistence creeping into her voice. “We’ve hardly even looked.”
Jonah stopped dead in his tracks and gestured wildly to the rooms around them. “Look around. These people are all happy. This is Valhalla and Elysium and Eden—the places people go to carouse and rejoice and celebrate a life well lived. These people don’t mind that they’re dead. In fact, they’re thrilled. It’s one endless party.”
“And let me guess—Irene was not happy to be dead?”Jonah turned away from her with a scowl and resumed heading for the doorway back the way they had come. “No. She was pissed. This is the last place she’d be. No, she’s somewhere else.” Waiting at a river to pay a coin to a ferryman—that sounded like the Greek or Egyptian afterlife to him. And if she hadn’t then crossed into Elysium, that left Tartarus or Hades—basically Hell. He’d been right to worry. She was in trouble.
Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember and won her first writing award when she was twelve. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and adventure stories from a haunted house in New England where she lives with her husband and three cats. She is the author of the Afterlife Series, which includes Hereafter (Afterlife #1) and Thereafter (Afterlife #2) and several short stories including “Welcome to OASIS” (“Dear Robot” anthology, Kelly Jacobson publisher) and “The Well” (“Scratching the Surface” anthology, Third Flatiron Press).
2 $25 Amazon Gift Cards