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Until You Meet One

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You never believe in ghosts until you meet one. I don’t want to frighten you, but if you really want to know, I’ll tell you how it happened. There’s this spooky cemetery near where I used to live. I don’t really want to say exactly where it is, but I lived in a pretty rural area. Not much happens there. It was a big deal when Target opened five years back and we started being able to get generic pop tarts. I was just a kid back then, and I found my fun where I could. I remember the good old days of playing out on the neighborhood sidewalk until dark with just a dirty soccer ball and some scraped up knees. But, just like every other child, I knew to stay out of the cemetery. See, our cemetery had a bit of reputation.
About fifty years ago, there was an old woman who came to town. For some reason, nobody liked her and they kind of gave her a hard time. Didn’t invite her to social gatherings, never stopped to talk, things like that. Most people just thought she was a little creepy, because after a while, she stopped trying to make nice with people and just keep to herself. She grew old in our town, in a little house a few streets up from where I grew up. She would come out once a week and buy some cat food and bread and peanut-butter at the local mom and pop store, but that was about it. It took a couple weeks for people to notice that she stopped coming to the store, because really no one cared about her. It was summer, and by the time they found her the smell was pretty bad.
Anyway, people felt kind of awful about how they had treated her after that, mainly because they realized that they didn’t even know her name. It turned out she didn’t have any next of kin, so she got a government-paid burial, and people tried to forget about the whole affair. But I guess she was angry, because ever since then, a ghost has wrought havoc at the graveyard. It started out with little things, like tomb stones getting knocked over, but then over the years, people started claiming they heard moans coming from the cemetery. Some teenagers even claimed they saw the old woman, swathed in white, rambling around the graveyard. My mom didn’t want to me to be scared, but my dad told me about it pretty soon after my ninth birthday. Mom was real mad at him, because I wouldn’t sleep in my own bed for the next week. But anyway, I knew to steer clear of the graveyard after dark, and that was the end of it.
Eventually, I grew up and moved out of my town. By then, I had other things to worry about then legendary ghosts. At best, the story about the nameless phantom was a good tale to tell at the bar. But the thing is, after I left college and couldn’t get a job, I had to move back with my parents. I had a lot of time to kill, so one day I remembered my dad’s story and decided to check out the graveyard after dark.
I brought along some beers, and killed time waiting for the sun to go down playing on my phone. After that, I waited a while, but nothing happened. I was beginning to get bored, so I figured I’d get out of the car and maybe try to find the grave where the woman was buried. I got another bottle, and started looking around, but it was dark and I hadn’t brought a flashlight. The graves were only illuminated by my phone, and after I while, it started to lose power, so the light started to fade. That’s when I heard something moving through the grass. At first I thought it was the wind, but then I distinctly heard foot steps. I called out, but nobody answered. By then, I was pretty buzzed from the beer, and I felt brave, so I ignored it and kept poking around. I changed my mind, though when I heard the moan. It was low and guttural and it freaked me out, so I decided it would be best to get to my car. I started walking, and I almost got there, when I saw her, a white woman swathed in smoky fog. She stared passively at me from lidless eyes, her hair floating and sizzling in her own aura of…death, I guess? Anyway, there I was, face to face with a ghost. I knew right then that I shouldn’t have come, but it was too late. I broke eye contact, and dropped my empty beer bottle before stumbling to the car. I was shaking, but somehow I got the car on, and started driving. I drove as fast as I could, and after a while, I was almost home. The cemetery was far behind me. I was shaken, and the drinks made me disoriented, unsure of what I had really seen. It was then that I saw her, standing in the middle of the road, still staring at me, her gaze bland, but her expression terrifying. I screamed, and swerved the car…and well, that’s all I remember. In retrospect, I should have known she was just lonely. Even with her company, I’m pretty lonely myself. I didn’t want to frighten you, but since you really wanted to know, I told you how it happened. You never believe in ghosts until you meet one.



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TargonTheDragonThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 26, 2013 at 10:25 am:
haha i just got around to reading this:P   it is really good tho. however there a few minor grammar errors in the first 1/3 or so of it...not important though:)
 
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Red546This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm:
That was in fact clear, and a brilliant way to end the narrative. It makes you think. Did the old lady make the kid swerve so that she would have company? Was the kid just drunk? What does the rest of the town know? Well done. :)
 
ROYCEPHUSThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm :
Thanks, Red545!
 
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ROYCEPHUSThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm:
In case it's not clear, the narrator becomes a ghost a the end :)
 
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