August 8, 2012
Everywhere she went, Kylie Anderson saw ghosts. Not your average, run-of-the-mill ghosts that looked like white sheets with black spots in them. To Kylie, they looked exactly as real people did - the way they looked on the day they died, except they were shimmery white and you could walk right through them without feeling anything. At least, most people could do that. But Kylie was different. She couldn’t walk through one; if she did, it felt as though she had run headfirst into a brick wall. They’d always been around her, and she’d figured out how to accommodate their omniscient presence. But something was oddly different today; she could feel it.
Suddenly, Kylie began to hear whispers, which seemed to be coming from…the ghosts. Kylie, Kylie! You are one of us; you are death marked! she heard. Kylie began to get very scared. She had no idea what “death marked” meant, and something inside told her that she did not want to find out. Just then, a striking revelation hit her. In agitation, Kylie realized that she recognized most of the ghosts - meaning that they had died here, in her town. She figured in an instant that if she ran away from them, until she was just outside of town limits, they couldn’t follow her. Even still, Kylie hesitated. It was the dead of night with a full moon - the witching hour. To Kylie, it looked as though the moon was mocking her. Determination set into Kylie; she would not let the ghosts take her away. She would be in charge of her own fate.
Quickly, quietly, Kylie hurried out her front door, not sparing a thought for anything else. Her mind was set on one goal: get away. Almost immediately, she was swarmed by a myriad ghosts! Kylie had seen many ghosts in her life, but she was appalled by the sheer number of ghosts surrounding her. She felt like she was being suffocated, their glowing white hands wrapping around her body, pulling at her clothes, constricting around her throat. Throwing her arms out to protect herself, Kylie tore away the ghosts and started running. She ran as fast as she could, tilting her chin down to avoid looking into their haunting faces. But each ghost began chanting her name and death marked, one after another, as thought it had been rehearsed. They just wouldn’t stop! Kylie, paralyzed by the words, realized that she had heard them before.
Kylie had heard those words before, when her mother was still alive. Surprise caused her steps to slow and finally stop, nearly tripping over the uneven ground with hands shaking uncontrollably. A dark and gloomy feeling had set over all the surroundings, as though happiness would never brighten the skies again – simply, a memory of the past. When she looked down at her hands to try and stop their shaking, she realized that they were glowing. Or at least, something on them was glowing.
It was a tattoo, in the shape of a crescent moon. I never got a tattoo!, Kylie thought wildly. She glanced up at the sky to divert her attention for a second. Yet again, she saw the crescent moon staring down at her, mocking her. It was a not a feeling she liked. She didn’t want, no, refused to be mocked at by anything, much less the moon.
Kylie prepared herself to start running again. By then however, the ghosts had formed a circle around her, making escape nearly impossible. She noticed that the ghosts were pointing at something behind her, and her terror was overtaken by curiosity. Kylie spun around, expecting nothing but a regular ghost of, perhaps, a famous or very recognizable person.
And what she saw nearly stopped her heart. Her skin went ice cold and Kylie thought for sure that her heart skipped a few beats. A ghost was approaching her, very different from the others. She had an almost grim-reaper like appearance, with a black cape and a hood covering part of her head. Unfortunately, that was not the worst part about her.
The ghost was Kylie’s mother. Kylie would have recognized her anywhere. She stumbled backwards in astonishment, tripping over a half unearthed rock in the process. Now on the ground, Kylie pushed herself back until she hit the edge of the circle. As Kylie looked closer at her mother’s ghost, she noticed that something was very wrong. Where her mother’s eyes should have been, there were black pits. None of the other ghosts had anything like that; they had regular eyes. She was obviously a very special, very different ghost. This scared Kylie more than anything else. This was not her mom!
As the lady bent over her, Kylie’s breaths began pulsing in short, sharp bursts. “What do you want from me?” she whispered, almost inaudibly. “What have you done with my mom?!” This time, her voice had almost risen to a shriek, and the ghost-lady winced.
The lady took on a soft, comforting tone of voice, as though she were pleading with a young child. “I am your mother. But-“
“You are not my mother!” Kylie shrieked, and jerked away from her “mother’s” outstretched arms. Her thoughts once again turned to getting away. Kylie scrambled to her feet and took off running, the ghosts parting as she pushed through them at the edges of their circle. Somehow, the woman managed to reappear in front of Kylie, moving at inhuman speed. Kylie spun around, turning to run in another direction, but in her heart, she knew it was hopeless. The lady could cut her off anywhere that Kylie tried to run.
“Escape from me is impossible! It has never been done before and will never be done!” The soft, comforting tone was gone from the lady’s voice, and had turned into a powerful one, one filled with hate and anger. She then knew she was inexplicably going to be killed. Kylie was overcome with terror, trying with no avail to hide it. But she refused to give the lady the satisfaction of Kylie looking away in fear. No, when Kylie died, she would be looking straight at the lady. It would be the last thing she ever saw. Revulsion filled her eyes as she once again appraised the sight of a lady who had taken on her mother’s form. Nobody could ever replace Kylie’s mother, especially not some sort of play-acting poltergeist who had taken on her mother’s beauty and turned it into something hideous.
Sharp as butcher’s knives, Kylie’s bloodcurdling screams filled the hallowed night, with only the moon to listen. The moon watched as Kylie’s crescent tattoo - her death mark - glowed. It shone, clear and bright in the darkness, as though all the light in the universe had been sucked into that one place, a black hole of forgotten spirits. Too soon it went out, leaving only the dagger-like sliver of moon as the sole illuminator of the night. As the stars pierced the night sky, the lady left. She left a broken body behind in her wake, a young girl’s mangled corpse contorted into a stance of terror unlike any other. Her hordes of ghosts followed her without sparing a single glance for Kylie, the innocent child whom they had just murdered. They left without a single ounce of remorse for the perverse deed they had committed just moments before.
For the very first time, there were no ghosts surrounding the girl. They were finally leaving Kylie Anderson alone. Alone in death.
The moon watched on silently, mocking no more.

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