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Ghost In The Bathroom

Author's note: I was inspired to write this piece because of a rumor I heard in third grade that a ghost...  Show full author's note »
Author's note:

I was inspired to write this piece because of a rumor I heard in third grade that a ghost haunted the elementary school bathroom. I've always loved ghost stories, so I decided to write one!

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Your name is Tessa Bloom, and you are eight years old. You just moved to a new state, New York, to a new city, New York City, to a new house, a small apartment where you lived with your insane aunt and older sister, and to a new school, one of the ones where you have to wear collared pastel blue shirts and khaki skirts and kneesocks that hide the bruises on your legs from where you fell off the slide in the middle of a heated game of tag with your older sister. One of those schools.

Your teacher introduces herself as Mrs. Hermani, and the class choruses a “Good morning, Mrs. Hermani.” and soon you feel yourself being frog-marched up to the front of the room and your reddish brown pigtails flop against your shoulders as your feet involuntarily move to where the teacher stands smiling. “Class, this is Tessa, our new student. Why don’t you talk a little bit about yourself? This third grade class is very kind and would love a new friend to join them!” You notice two girls roll their eyes in the back of the classroom and mimic the teacher, making a few other girls snicker softly.

Your hands feel clammy and you wish you had one of your stuffed animals to cling to but they’re all in your backpack and you’re here in this scary new school that’s named after some ancient saint or something. “My name is T-tessa Bloom,” you say, your voice squeaking at the end of your sentence. “I moved here from Vermont.”

“How nice, dear! Would you like to tell us a fact about yourself?” Mrs. Herman-sherman or whatever states. Your legs shake and you stare at your feet in those stupid little shiny black shoes that pinch your toes.

“Well,” you manage to croak. “I like mythical creatures like dragons and phoenixes, I like pretending, and when I grow up, I want to be a licensed attorney. Or an artist. I can’t decide.” You offer a friendly, gap-toothed smile to the audience of preppy NYC third-graders.

“How lovely, Tessa! Why don’t you sit next to...Britney?” Mrs. Hermani says cheerfully.

“Sure,” the girl - Britney - says, chewing gum and blowing a huge pink bubble that she pops with one finger. She flips her blond hair and scooches over to make room for you. You plop down and sit in your seat with a huge grin on your face.

The next few hours seem like a blur to you. School has always been easy for you, so you don’t pay attention. Besides, if your sister wasn’t out with her boyfriend that night, then you could always ask her for help. She was older than you and better than you in every way. Your hair was red, while hers was auburn. Your freckles were cute, hers were natural beauty. You were smart, she was a prodigy. You were in third grade, she was in ninth. You were adorable little Tess-tess, and she was absolutely lovely Lanie. Your parents loved her more than they loved you. She was smarter, prettier, better in every way. You didn’t care though. As long as you had your stuffed dragons and phoenixes, you were perfectly content to spend hours alone in your room while your parents took Lanie to soccer games and beauty pageants and boy-girl parties where mysterious stuff took place that you didn’t dare ask your parents about. Lanie was nice to you unlike your parents, who took no notice in you. Lanie would play games with you and talk to you and help you with homework and fighting and drama. You admired her in that cliche sisterly way, despite you not wanting to admit it.

The recess bell snaps you out of your thoughts, and you follow the stream of children out to the playground. You skip about and settle down by a tree and pull your stuffed animals out of your backpack and start up a new game. You begin to think of a plotline when a hand grabs one of your pigtails. You look up to see Britney and the four giggling girls in class. “Hello,” you say politely. “Is there something you’d like?”

“Is there something you’d like?” mimics a girl, sniggering. Her friend punches her in the arm and mouths “Shut up, Lila!” while giggling herself.

“Hey, Tessa, can I be a fairy-princess unicorn? I wanna be a baby too!” the girl - Lila - says, laughing.

“She ain’t a baby, she’s a freaking fetus. No self-respecting baby would dare act like this loser over here.” says one of the girls who you think is named Chrissy.

By this point you are unable to speak. You just stare at the girls blankly trying to hold back tears.

Britney smiles sweetly, too sweet. “Girls, don’t be mean! She just is a little lost.” She then looks down at you. “Why aren’t you wearing it?”

“Wearing what?” you manage to choke out.

“Wearing your collar, of course. Do you not have an owner? Hey guys,” she hollers. “I found a stray dog on the playground. Does anyone want to claim it?” The girl posse shake their heads no and back away.

“I don’t want it,” yells a random kid. “It has fleas! We should take it to the pound! Have them euthanize it! No one’s gonna wanna adopt something like that!”

“Kill the fleas! Kill the fleas! Kill the fleas!” choruses the third graders on the playground as Lila and Britney kick dirt at you, soiling your precious stuffed animals. You clutch your backpack tightly and shove all of your animals inside, zipping it up as you race inside in tears. The hallways are empty and alone, and you keep running until you fall down a flight of stairs and land in front of a rickety looking door marked WOMEN. Perfect. A bathroom. You slip inside, turn on the lights, and walk into a stall, sobbing. “I hate it here,” you say in tears. “My parents were right. I really was just a mistake child. Those kids were right too. I’m stupid, I’m ugly, I’m immature.”

And at that moment, you realized that it wasn’t them you hated, it was yourself.

Chapters:   1 2 3 4 5 6 Next »

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