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The Favorite Scarf
Nichole Weber threw her backpack in the back seat of her car. She smiled and waved to all of her friends as she closed the door to her silver Porsche and started the engine. She adjusted the rearview mirror and for a split second saw a transparent girl mouthing, “Nikki help me! I’m so alone!” The words came out in the faintest whisper that Nichole could barely hear them, yet the words were so familiar to her that it was as if someone was screaming them in her car.
“It’s OK, Nikki,” she told herself. “It was just your imagination.” She began to laugh --the kind of laugh you make before you get a shot at the doctors. Her nervous laughter filled the car like a poison’s gas
“Paige was not sitting back there! She’s been dead for years – because YOU killed her,” said a dark voice in her head. Nichole was so shocked by the sudden thought that she almost forgot to stop the car at the stop sign. She hit the brakes and came to a screeching halt, receiving angry glares from the other drivers.
“No, I didn’t,” she said stubbornly. “It was her fault! And now I am arguing with myself.” But her mind was far away, back to the day Paige died. She remembered how much she had just wanted Paige to go away. . .
Nichole was a freshman once again, holding a tiny bell in her right hand circling around her. “Watch this,” she said, ringing the bell as Paige walked by.
The blonde girl ran to Nichole, spilling her books everywhere but managing to keep a smile. “Yes,” she said. “My favorite scarf blew into the woods today. Go get it,” Nichole ordered. Paige’s smile turned into confusion. “How am I supposed to get it? We aren’t allowed to go into the woods,” she said.
“Figure it out!”
“But - - ”
“Are you disobeying the rules? Maybe I should just go look for a more loyal person to join our club.”
“No, I’ll go!”
“Good,” Nichole sneered. “I want it back by tomorrow. And don’t tell me it’s not – because I know it’s there!”
The truth was that there was no scarf. There wasn’t even a club. Nichole just wanted to see how far Paige would go to become her friend. She didn’t know Paige was going to get lost in the woods and freeze to death. Why had she made her do that?
A bolt of lightening brought her back to reality. As rain started to splash down from the sky, she felt the familiar icy cold shock she got just before she would think she saw Paige. She looked out the window and saw someone standing at the stop sign, clothes soaking wet. The person was obviously a girl; white hair was blocking her face and she was wearing a school uniform with a skirt. Nichole realized something. She had the same uniform on as the girl.
“It’s Paige,” she thought, then shook her head. “Probably just some freshman.” When she stopped, she was about to pick up the poor girl, until she saw her face. The girl was Paige. She stepped on the gas as hard as she could. She was driving way over the speed limit, but she didn’t care. She just wanted to get as far away from that . . . that . . . whatever it was as fast as possible. She turned onto Oakland Circle where houses that looked like castles lined a long paved road covered in rain water.
She pulled into her driveway and entered the large pink castle that was her house. She didn’t even acknowledge her mother’s, “Hi, Sweetie. How was school?” as she ran up the stairs.
Nichole ran to her bedroom and picked up the light blue phone on the table next to her bed. Quickly dialing her friend Melanie Clark’s number, she chewed on her thumbnail while listening to the ring coming out of the phone. “Hello,” Melanie’s voice came now, followed by two shouts and the sound of glass shattering.
“Melanie . . .?” Nichole stammered. “She’s found us. I saw her.”
“Paige! I saw her standing by the side of the road!”
“Look, she’s not after us. Well, she’s not after me. I had nothing to do with her death.”
“Well, you’re my friend. And friends are supposed to help each other. So, bring your Ouija board over here so we can make her stop haunting us.”
“I can’t. I’m stuck babysitting.”
“In the background Nichole could hear Melanie’s little brother saying, “Ha ha! You lose!
“OK,” Nichole said, losing interest in Melanie now that she couldn’t come over and help her contact the dead. “Bye.”
“No, wait,” Melanie shouted quickly. “I . . .”
But Nichole had already put the phone down and breathed out slowly.
“Oh, no,” she remembered as she looked down on the floor at all her clothes. She had left her favorite scarf at school.
She ran downstairs and assured her mom she’d only be gone a minute. Ten minutes later she was in the school parking lot and got out of her car. Then she saw her scarf caught on the top branch of the oldest tree in the forest.
She ran across the parking lot and started to climb, but she realized this was the biggest tree in the small town. How could she climb it?
But Nichole was a perfectionist, and she would push herself as hard as she could to get her scarf. Higher up in the tree, she reached her hand up, felt the silky fabric of her scarf, grasped it and looked down.
Big mistake! She was so high up, she felt dizzy as she felt a cold chill radiate through her body. Suddenly, she felt two hands wrap around her body and pull her away from the tree and its branches. Then the hands dropped her. She fell to the ground – and then blackness . . .