I’ve got to know Jaimie well recently and have just started to read her books. She has the most engaging, quirky imagination and I’m chuffed to bits that she has written this extra scene with the characters of Afterlife Academy especially as a treat for you guys:
AFTERLIFE ACADEMY EXTRA SCENE:
Anthony wants to meet Charlie. I don’t see the attraction myself, he’s just a pumpkin. Albeit a growling, vicious pumpkin that hates everyone who enters the room. Charlie, that is. Not Anthony. Anthony is just a geeky boy who, okay, is maybe a little bit nicer than I have ever given him credit for.
My roommate Caydi is in class when Anthony follows me into the room. It’s weird to have Anthony standing in my bedroom with me. It should be Wade. Except it shouldn’t because that would mean Wade was dead too, and I don’t want Wade to be dead. It’s just that I’ve never had a boy who isn’t Wade in my bedroom before.
“It looks just like my room,” Anthony says as he looks around.
“Yeah, well, it’s like a prison, isn’t it? It’s not like they’re going to give us something different in each cell.”
“It’s just a dorm room,” he says. “I like it.”
“You would,” I mutter.
“This is the famous pumpkin?” Anthony points at Charlie where he is sitting on the desk.
“It’s just a pumpkin,” he says incredulously.
“He’s a he, not an it. He doesn’t like being called it.”
Charlie growls as if to prove his point.
“Oh, wow.” Anthony crouches down in front of the desk and stares at Charlie.
The flame inside Charlie flickers angrily.
“Hi there, little man,” Anthony says.
Charlie’s growling amps up a notch.
Little man is probably worse than it. A lot worse.
Anthony reaches a hand out towards him slowly.
“Don’t put your fingers in his mouth. Apparently he bites.”
“He’s a pumpkin. How can he bite?”
“Well, feel free if you want to find out.”
Anthony laughs and it surprises me. His fingers touch Charlie’s orange side and he strokes it gently. I’m fully prepared for Charlie’s growling to go through the roof, but it actually quietens down.
“He grouches at me when I do that.”
Anthony glances up. “I wonder why.”
He continues stroking until Charlie is almost purring. I’d never imagined a purring pumpkin before, but there are a lot of things I’d never imagined before I came here. I find myself watching Anthony and wondering why I hated him so much. Why we all hated him. Narcissa was right when she asked if he’d ever done anything to make us hate him. I realise that he hadn’t. He was never rude or unkind. He just liked maths and was tall, skinny, and awkward. And the teachers told us to be nice to him when he came back to school after his parents died. We never did what the teachers told us.
“Does he eat?” Anthony’s question snaps me out of my thoughts.
“Caydi says he’s a vampire pumpkin. He’s probably into blood or rotting flesh or something nice like that.”
“Does he like jelly sweets?”
“Jelly sweets?” I ask like it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.
“Yeah, you know, Haribo. Or were you always on too much of a diet to eat plebeian things like Haribo.”
“I happen to love Haribo.”
“Good. Otherwise I’d think you really were the spawn of Satan. Shall I offer him one?”
“Where did you get Haribo from here?”
“I asked Narcissa in the canteen. Her horns reddened but she gave me a bag.”
Anthony rummages in his bag until he crinkles a packet of sweets. I think it’s really nice that he offers me one first. I take a fried egg and Anthony gets out a cola bottle and holds it out to Charlie.
“He can’t move,” I say. “You’ll have to put it in his mouth. Just watch your fingers in case he’d prefer those.”
Anthony laughs and places the cola bottle inside Charlie’s hole of a mouth. I half expect his jagged teeth to clamp down on Anthony’s fingers, but they don’t.
We stare at the cola bottle inside the hollowed out pumpkin.
“Does he chew?” Anthony asks.
“You ask me like I’ve ever fed him before,” I say.
“Maybe that’s why he doesn’t like you.”
He certainly seems to like Anthony. He’s only been in here for five minutes and Charlie isn’t growling at him at all. I’ve been here for weeks and he still growls at me.
“He hasn’t spat it out yet. Caydi says he spits out what he doesn’t like.”
“Exactly. Everyone likes Haribo. Even ferocious vampiric pumpkins who purr like kittens when you stroke them the right way.”
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