Hamish Robert Johnson
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Number of pages: 187
Cover Artist: D. Thomas Magee
Cemetery Highway is a rollicking tale of fame, friendship and falls from grace, set in a world where zombies are the elite and humans are the underclass.
Best friends Dexter, Michelle, Penny and Cakes have started a group called the Anti Zombie Alliance and plan on sticking it to the zombies once and for all. But when zombie big-wig Max convinces the suave Dexter to trade his standards for stardom, things get ugly.
I had just rocked an awesome show. The crowd wasn’t that big, but I had fun. My act is pretty simple - a guitar, a microphone, a laptop and me. Some people say it’s glorified karaoke, but I see it as being more like rock and roll hip hop. Hip hop’n’roll, you know?
When I’m singing and I make eye contact with someone, it feels like we are the only two people in the world. All the negative things about my life seem to vanish, just wash away, and I’m left in a sort of paradise with my audience. I guess I made that type of eye contact with my friend Michelle Fernside, because 10 minutes later I found myself making out with her in the kitchen. I couldn’t believe my luck. I’d always had a crush on her, but until recently she had been…how can I say this delicately… kind of a prude. Not that I was a total stud or anything, but I did allow myself to explore things sexually. Wow, that sounded terrible. What I mean is I’d been with a few and I intended on being with a few more. As for Michelle, I’d always wanted her, but I wasn’t expecting it to come up this way. I thought maybe we would be in our 20s and wise from travel before anything happened. And I had just broken up with her best friend, Penny..
But there we were in the dark. Just us. Making out. I pulled back for a breather.
“I’ve wanted this for so long,” I blurted out. I meant it, too. I love how candid you can be with someone when you get all intimate. And that daring feeling of allowing yourself become more vulnerable. I guess for me, it’s an extension of being on stage. Risky, you know?
“Really? You wanted me?” Michelle replied. I guess she was surprised because she recently went through a metamorphosis of sorts. She didn’t become a hussy or anything like that, but she made it obvious that she was trying to be the type of girl who goes out and gets some once in a while. But I liked her before all that, when she was just her basic, awesome self. And like I said, kind of a prude. “We should get together,” I said. I was breathless and my whole body was rushing.
“What about Penny?”
“What about her?” Okay, I probably shouldn’t have said that. I will always love Penny and wouldn’t want to hurt her, and she was Michelle’s best friend, but at that moment the mere mention of her seemed to be dragging my future back into my past. That will teach me to speak before I think. “Didn’t you just break up with her?”
“She’ll be fine with it.” I leant in for a kiss knowing full well that Penny would absolutely not be fine with any of it.
“This is going way too fast.” Michelle pulled back and held her hands strongly on my chest, putting me at arms’ length.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, thinking the pace was right on schedule. “I’ve only just started hanging out with guys like this.”
“What do you mean?” I was genuinely confused now.
“I feel like this would be a colossal mistake. I’ve never navigated a situation like this before, you know? I mean, I really like you and you’re one of my best friends, but I have Penny’s feelings to consider and…” Michelle looked around the room for answers that were not there.
“If you like me, that’s a great start.” I caressed her face reassuringly. “Maybe it’s too early to tie myself down.”
“Oh really? You think you can do better?” I withdrew my hand. “It’s not that…”
“You probably can. I did just hurt your best friend after all.”
“No, really, it’s not that,” she said, looking me right in the eye. Then she nestled her head below my chin, into my chest. It felt fantastic and familiar, and I wanted her to stay there forever.
“You should tell me what it is then.”
“I’m not sure, Dexter. But if you really want me, you can wait.” We sat in silence for a long moment that became more and more painful with every tick of the clock. “You know, it’s always worth the wait,” she said. Wow, she actually used our slogan? Cold. I stood, peeling her from me.
“I can wait, but it won’t be easy. Please understand that I am still forming, and that if you make me wait too long, I might become a diﬀerent person by the time you’re ready,” I said. Michelle stood and turned away.
“I understand. I better go and see the others. I’m supposed to be working the booth right now, and they must be wondering where I am.” She was trying to be all smiles, but I could see a tear in her left eye that was about to drop. She turned and left.
“You mean where we are,” I said to myself. Why do I always save my best lines for when I’m alone?
I kicked a metal closet in the corner and it felt good. I did it again, and again. I was starting to feel better, and then the door swung open revealing bottles of booze and wine. Perfect. I grabbed a bottle of red wine and set about finding a corkscrew, which was surprisingly diﬃcult. I gave up and grabbed a bottle of vodka, unscrewed the cap and took a hard swig. What goes best with a swig of vodka I ask you? Another
About the Author:
I grew up in Melbourne Australia and was fortunate enough to have a relatively unexciting childhood. After high school I attended film school at Deakin University, and while making the requisite pretentious art projects I discovered I had a knack for writing dialogue. In short, I wanted to be the next Quentin Tarantino.
After film school I put my passion asside and began an hilarious and relatively short lived culinary career. Quickly rising up the ranks, I found myself cooking in some of Australia’s finest restaurants and finishing a 3 year apprenticeship in 18 months. It was in these hellish kitchens that I rediscovered my love for quirky, dirty, flirty characters, which again stoked my desire for writing and the arts.
Upon hearing The Strokes for the first time, and with absolutely no preparation whatsoever I moved to New York City in 2003. I was once more surrounded by a bevy of interesting folks, inundating me with stories of hardship, romance and hope. How one cannot find inspiration in this city was beyond me. What was also beyond me was the ability to generate an income, so I hopped on the Greyhound with the little money I had left and got as far away as I could.
Austin Texas was my next port of call. Upon arriving I had a mere $40 to my name, but coupled with the attitude of a fearless traveler I was invincible. I quickly finagled a job, a room in a Revenge of the Nerds style college housing situation and the prominent position as lead guitarist in The Handsome Charlies.
I wouldn’t say I was a great guitarist, but I certainly knew how to act like one, and as we were sharing bills with The Black Angels and Ghostland Observatory I could be excused for thinking that I too would make it. But after a particularly ghastly SXSW performance I found myself standing in the parking lot listening to The Strokes perform “Is this it?” across the road. “No it is not”, I answered, and declared that I would return to writing and not continue to get distracted by flashier pursuits.
I commenced writing screenplays, pilots and web series like a madman and have not slowed down since. I now have multiple screenplays in various stages of development, and have completed my first novel. And I am here to stay!
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