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A Ghost Beauty
Once upon a time, in a little town – cornering California – a woman sat on a battered sofa, weeping and mourning for her dead family. Indeed, her only daughter and husband had left her after a tragic accident to go to another world. This world is unknown to humans but it sits on top, close enough to overlap the edges. This place is called Ghost World.
Bella Dews along with Conan, her father entered a world where people are see-through, some with chains that rattled and some with terrifying screams. However, Bella and Conan both knew they do not belong to any of these normal groups. They were Souls – meaning they were neither dead nor living.
A knock could be heard on the withered door of the decayed motel.
“I have news for you, Bella!” Conan entered with a huge beam stretched upon his lips. He settled himself on the floor that overlooked the real world below.
“News?” Bella echoed her father. “How can there be any sort of news now that we’re souls?”
“Bella, I’m trying to tell you things and I don’t approve this negative attitude,” Conan inhaled a breath. “I’m married.”
Bella was frozen. Did she mishear her father? She opened her mouth to respond but nothing came out. She was mute.
Bella, dismayed by her father’s snap decision, filled herself with pain and grief. On the day Bella and her father went to confront his new wife; Bella felt anxious. The mansion, belonged to her stepmother, suited on a dwindle hill looked as old as the hill itself.
To Bella, life with her stepfamily was not horrifying but she did not know if it was going to last. Every time her father was out of earshot, her stepmother would snarl or snap. Mandy was never the sister Bella wanted but Andy was the perfect brother.
On a night of a blazing full-moon, Conan confirmed her of news that cleaved her world apart.
“You don’t need a job! You’re a soul!” Bella had objected.
“Yes, I do. I need work, even if we’re souls!” Conan explained. Bella felt tears start to sting her eyes. She didn’t want to let her father go. What will happen to her? She will be alone in this world with no-one but herself. This is why Mandy gave Bella the name Fraidella.
Bella was ill-treated only a day after her father had left. On that very morning, her mother had drifted into her bedroom.
“Do you know how to maintain a household? Of course you don’t, this is why you must be doing chores! There’s a list for you by the waterfall. Start scrubbing on the staircase, it’s getting awfully dirty and such a girl like you should not be wasting time in her bedchamber!”
Her stepmother was treating her like a slave. Bella sighed. There was nothing left for her except for being a housemaid.
Over the time, Bella’s beauty blossomed. This had set Mandy and her mother in rage, they were disgusted. Bella cannot be more beautiful than Mandy, even if it was the king’s order.
On one wintery morning, rumours flew through Ghost World like the tornado wind. The human prince is having a birthday ball at an ice-skating rink. Mandy was thrilled. Dresses, cosmetics and shoes arrived at the household in a bundle.
“Oh, my lord! What creature on this planet would need this much garments?” Andy exclaimed, tossing the bundle in Mandy’s direction.
“Hush, Andy! Tonight is Infinitive Hour, so the prince will be able to see the real us,” Mandy snapped. “Why don’t you explain that to Fraidella?”
Mandy flicked her wrist. “Actually, can you call her? I need her assistance.”
The process was not finished until mid-afternoon. “Mother, is Bella coming?” Andy questioned when Bella was out of earshot.
“No-one can see her!” his mother shook with anger at the sight of Bella. Andy was about to argue but decided against it.
“May I go along?” Bella asked, her voice barely a whisper. She looked up and was met by the sight of scoffing and choking on tea.
“Not you too! I already told Andy so!”
“Infinity Hour, mother,” Andy argued and was struck by his sister’s cold glare.
“I remember! Though, there’s no point, is there Bella?”
Bella did not even attempt a second time. She did what she was told. The clock stroke midnight and the Infinity Hour had begun. Just before Andy was shuffled out of the house by his mother, he slipped a piece of ripped paper into Bella’s outstretched palm.
“Bella, there’s a transporter for you. All of your instructions are in here; however, you do understand that the Infinity Hour’s rules must be followed. Enjoy your night, my sister.”
Bella nodded, her lips trembling. No-one had ever been this kind to her from the day she died.
“Remember what I said!” Andy called. Bella signalled a wave before turning her attention towards the crumpled piece of paper. Bella rushed around the house and in no time, she was finished.
All eyes turned as a bunch of people with exceptional beauty entered the rink. Everyone held their breath. They knew who these people are and the Infinitive Hour. However, one in particular had drawn them in by her magic. It could have been her warmth or beauty. Whatever the case was, nobody could keep their eyes of Bella Dews.
Bella stepped inside the rink and was taken back when a hush fell upon the crowd. Eyes darted in her direction. Bella’s head pounded as she adjusted her mask. No-one recognised her, Bella was certain.
“Would you mind if you skate with me?” a deep voice spoke. Bella was startled and was about to hurl out of the building. It was the prince.
“I’m sorry but I’m afraid I cannot,” Bella replied, stammering. Suddenly, Bella was blocked by another figure of a girl.
“My prince,” the girl shrieked, “may I introduce myself. I’m Mandy Bell and how gladly I would be if you would skate with me.”
Bella gasped and Mandy spun around. “Are you? No, you cannot be. Bella isn’t that beautiful, not like I.”
The prince inhaled a breath and realised that these girls are ghosts. What he couldn’t figure out was how come the one named Mandy is so cold while the other is full of life.
“Sorry to interrupt but...?” the prince asked and took Bella’s hand in his. In a flash, Mandy had disappeared.
“Skate with me?”
Bella panicked but she followed. As the night wear on, the prince and Bella mastered the art of skating. At the corner of her eye, Bella glimpsed of her stepfamily drifting out of the rink – fading with every step.
“I’m sorry, I must be going!” Bella made an escape. She glanced at the clock – one more minute until the Infinitive Hour ended.
“No! You can’t go!” the prince begged, grasping her hand. He pulled her towards him and gave her a kiss. Bella felt something odd start to evaporate inside her. All of a sudden, her colours became real. She had become alive once again.
“I’m alive!” Bella laughed. The prince smiled and found that Bella was even more beautiful in flesh. He grabbed her hand.
“Does this means you can stay?”
Bella nodded and together they danced on the crystal floor – smiling joyfully.