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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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You rarely speak to Rissa at all that year. You’re too busy spending time with Kyle. He’s just so...adorable and grumpy and you kind of sort of want to kiss him. He’s your new go-to for problems, seeing that he’s got some himself. When you’re not with Kyle you’re with Arianna and Thomas, who have been best friends for years. Arianna is obsessed with vintage photography and seances and weird Japanese horror movies and Thomas is obsessed with those weird community apps where you have to build some medieval monster palace and you have to battle them. It’s practically a cheap app version of Pokemon. You always invite those two over to your apartment to have seances for Thomas’s monsters that “died” in battle. It never worked, of course, but it was still fun to try to summon the ghost of a virtual winged horse-dragon-tiger mutation thing.

Seventh grade rolls around, the year where you can start to take electives. You choose law studies, of course. You still want to be an attorney or an artist. You shine in that class and your self-esteem reflects your grades, soaring high over everyone else. You realize you don’t care what other people think of you. You haven’t been bullied for years. Everything is peaceful and happy. That winter, your lips finally brush Kyle’s in a swift kiss at your school’s Winter Dance. You have never been happier. You dance around your room that night with your sister and her boyfriend, no, fiance. Lanie twirls you around and you laugh with joy. Her boyfriend, Minnow (you think that’s a nickname), smiles and challenges you to a round of Mario Kart and he finally lets you win. You got to move in with Lanie and Minnow that night into their larger apartment and you finally leave your aunt to sit around and knit by herself.

The next day at school, everything is somber. You’re confused. Your homeroom teacher tells you that today was the five year anniversary of the murder of one student and the suicide of another. You don’t think of Rissa. You barely think of her anymore. You use the bathroom in your wing, not the bathroom in the elementary school wing where she stays.

Articles are passed out on the desks and the headlines glares up at you: MURDER/SUICIDE COMBO AT ST. MARY’S SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN, and your eyes trail down the paper and then trace over the face of a young girl, probably twelve years old, with long dark hair and blood under her nails and a rope around her neck…

The body of twelve-year-old Tiffany Marie Hoffsten was found in a locker. The cause of her death was either inhalant overdose or the head injury that was found under her hair…was a planned murder...the murderer, overcome with guilt and regret, committed suicide...the body of seventh grader Clarissa Annelise Sargent was found hanging from the rafters in the women’s restroom of the elementary school wing…




You excuse yourself from class and race down to the bathroom, faster than you’ve ever run before. You fling open the door. Rissa stands there, a smile on her face. “Tessie! You’re back, you’re back, you’re back!”

“Clarissa is a nice name,” you say icily. She goes rigid and freezes, staring at you blankly.

“When did you find out?” she whispers.

“Just today,” you reply, equally as soft if not softer. “Why did you do it, Rissa? You killed someone!”

“You don’t understand!” she bursts out. “That girl hurt me, she made me do things I didn’t want to do, she hated me, she toyed with my feelings! It was only a little death! It’s not like I killed everyone in the school, Tessie, I just killed one girl!”

“You killed a girl, a twelve-year-old girl with a family at home and you felt no remorse? You’re heartless, Clarissa Sargent. Absolutely heartless.” You try to stay strong. You can’t break. Not until she does.

Rissa’s more frantic now. If she was alive her heart would be racing, but it just lays cold in her ghostly chest. “Tessie, I killed myself after I murdered her. I was so guilty and ruined and I d-didn’t deserve any of this. You know justice, right? You know it was unjust to me!”

“I know law, Rissa, and it says that you got what you deserved. An eye for an eye, right? She died and so did you.” Your voice is harsh and you feel tears pressing hotly in the corners of your eyes.

“Tessie…” Rissa’s crying now, her breath catching in gasping sobs. “Please, Tessie, please just listen!” She crumples onto the ground in a mess of dress and death.

A sharp pang of pity slices through your heart and you kneel down and help her up. She hovers sadly next to you, rubbing her eyes. “Tessie, I’m sorry I killed that girl. I didn’t mean to, it was in the heat of the moment, I’m sorry!”

“Rissa.” Her name flows off your tongue. “I’m sorry you felt that death was your only way out of this mess.”

“I’m sorry too.” She pulls you into a hug and you cling to her, burying your face in her dress, breathing in her scent of blood and earth and death and sugar. She tilts your head up towards hers, and you stare into those unsettling - unsettlingly beautiful - eyes of hers. And as you open your mouth to speak again, she closes the gap between you two and presses her cold lips against yours and part of you wishes she would go away but the other part realizes that this is what you have been missing.

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