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Grade
10

The rain pounded against the window pane, waiting to be let in. The shutters were banging on the side of the old, large house that stood on the end of the street. The wind was howling with rage that seemed to be endless, and the trees were quaking in fear. Felicity Baldwin was laying in bed, worn down covers tucked to her ears. She was only six years old but she knew the monsters were coming. She could feel it in the thickness of the air. Lightning cracked like a whip and she ducked deeper into the covers once more.
She turned her bedside lamp on, sure to make certain that the shadows were gone. Her hair was wild and in a halo all around her, her eyes wild with fright. She didn't know, and neither did her parents, that the doors would open that following night.
The house was first owned by a grumbly old man with a weathered, tan face, and skin that was so wrinkly that it seemed to make folds over his face. He was hunched over with white, thin hair. His eyes were wise with age, and he knew what would happen to the next owners of the house. Which was exactly why he had to sell it before he would get devoured and left as bones in the rickety walls. He was just passing on the legacy.
The couple, with a young daughter, were very pleasant. They were looking for a place to settle, away from city life. This house, with its white chipped paint and an overgrown, yellowing lawn, seemed perfect.
Felicity jumped out of the bed and dashed over to the door that held her parents. She would knock on the door and tell them that she had felt the monsters watching her, had felt their angry, vengeful spirits trying to grab ahold of her.
She wrenched open the door and jumped onto their soft, welcome bed. They startled, eyes heavy with sleep.
"The monsters, Mommy. They tried to grab me!" There was genuine fear in the child's voice, but Amanda guessed the shadows were getting Felicity spooked. She tapped her groggy husband on the shoulder to wake him more.
He patted the space in between them and winked, too tired to argue or testify.
"I think the monster can hold off until tomorrow. What do you say, Licity?"
Perhaps Felicity had known the moment they set foot in the house; had known that something was wrong, that something was making her imagination go wild.
***
The doors on the unused wing of the house started to scratch and moan as if coming to life. Each individual lock that was placed on the door all the way at the end of the hallway clinked and dropped to the floor, echoing off the walls.
Heavy, labored breathing sounded from all around, gathering in tone and speed as the door handle turned. The clocks froze at their time mounted on the walls.
The door opened on its own accord, bringing forth one dirty, shriveled hand. The fingernails were torn and bitten from trying to escape, and left bloodied tracks down the door as it moved.
It took a look around, a smile stretching on the planes of its ruined face. It knew the victim, knew who was going to stay. It wanted someone to tell its secret to, and that someone lived in the house this very moment.
As soon as the sun was high in the sky it receded into the depths of the door, of the room, and stayed there, watching, waiting.
Felicity was afraid to step into her room, thinking that the monster would get her if she stepped in to grab something. She knew what she saw the first night in the house, knew that there was no faking this.
It came from her closet, like some kind apparition, pale and disjointed. Its mouth was crooked and hanging uselessly to the side, and there were thick, long scratches down the side stretching from its right eye down to the slack jaw.
Its dress was torn and ragged, and it wore no shoes. Felicity wondered if its feet were cold padding on that hard, uncarpeted floor.
It smiled, cruel and evil. The broken face turned into a grimace of a smile, so wide that it tipped near its ears. Felicity noticed the little necklace on its collarbone, the only thing that was still shining like it was brand new.
She watched as it disappeared, its cackling like the sound of dead leaves crunching underneath boots.
Felicity gathered both of her parents' hands in her own. She was comforted by the rough, large hand of her father and the soft, small one of her mother. This was her safety.
They headed in together, hand in hand, to search around the room. They checked under the bed, finding some meager dust bunnies. The closet and the toy chest were no different. Felicity thought it was ridiculous that they were checking in the toy chest; how could someone that thing's size twist and turn around all of the toys and still fit in there?
Felicity felt cold dread in the pit of her stomach. Behind them was the thing she saw at night, one dirty, bloodied finger to its lips. The eyes, cold and dead, almost dark, endless pits, were telling her not utter one word.
Felicity pretended that nothing was wrong, but her parents saw something in her eyes, something like fear.
She was tucked under the covers once more, hot in her fleece pajamas. She could hear the groan of the floorboards across the hall and was none too eager to get out of the safety of her room to check it out.
Something was coming in through the crack of her door. The carpet underneath became dark and matted down. The ooze started to coat the carpet and then leak onto the floor. She hesitatingly threw back the covers, chilled. Her arms were prickled with goose flesh.
Her feet squished under the flooring, now coated in red. It smelled oddly like the rust off of the old iron bars of the playground Felicity played at.
She was gagging at the smell that invaded her nostrils, trying to keep the bile from rising in her throat. Fear was making her shake from head to toe. Her hair, messy and ruffled from what little sleep she had, tickled her nose. Her bottom lip trembled the slightest bit as she reached for the handle to the door that led into the hallway.
She had trouble opening the door. Something was blocking it. She pushed harder, trying to get out.
A hard, thick thump sounded from the wall beside her.
Felicity opened the door to her mother, laying next to her motionless father, dead at her feet. She screamed bloody murder, trying to bring the door back so that she wouldn't see any of it. Tears were falling down her cheeks in rivulets.
"Licity, you need to run. Run far away and call the police."
Felicity knew that she wanted to be by her, dead or otherwise. She stayed, rooted in place.
Rotting, stinking breath was next to Felicity's neck, hot and vile.
Felicity's eyes, wide and scared, filled to the brim with tears.
"They’re mine now." It smiled at her with broken, jagged teeth.
She found herself screaming as what could’ve been a little girl, kicked her father’s corpse to the side.
The pitiful scream that emitted itself from her mother was the last thing Felicity remembered that night. She watched as it took her mother’s neck in its hands and then snapped her neck. Felicity watched the lights in her mother's eyes go out, saw the permanent scream of horror imprinted on her mother's face.
It took a blade to her neck, meaning to slit her throat. It got a deep cut, just missing the girl's jugular, when she kicked it square in the face. It was so stunned that Felicity had enough time to run.
She had enough time to run out of that house, crying the whole way. The neighbors found her lying with a hand held to her neck, whimpering. When the paramedics came she was in hysterics, screaming that they couldn't leave her parents in there, not with the monster that came to kill her still in there.
The police arrived soon after the little girl was taken to the hospital and went to the house. One officer died on the scene, the spirit having snapped his neck clean.
They found the parents soon after in a pool of their own blood, the wife holding onto the husband for dear life. They ruled it a homicide, although years later, their case turned cold and was never solved. Felicity, scared and alone, was sent to foster homes year after year, never really knowing what had happened to her parents.
***
She tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear, not watching where she was going down the hallway. It was crowded and filled with sweaty, pubescent teens.
She kept her eyes down to the ground, noticing the various types of shoes that lined the linoleum flooring.
When she bumped into the guy it wasn't like she noticed right away. No, Felicity watched in slow motion as her books made a waterfall of paper around the two of them, cascading as Felicity stared wide-eyed at the tall, brooding boy in front of her.
She heard snickering behind her, heard the various names that she had been called since she had started school. Ghost Girl seemed to be the favorite lately since the date of her parents' death was drawing near.
"I'm so sorry," she gasped, regretting how nervous she sounded.
"No problem," he answered casually, but there was a tone of annoyance hiding in his voice.
He stooped down to collect her books for her just as she went down at the same time. Their heads collided with each other, sending them sprawling to the ground.
"Just sit there for a minute," he huffed, and Felicity had to take a moment to calm herself down. She was sure her cheeks were painted a bright red.
He rubbed at the mark that was beginning on his forehead and gathered the books and papers that littered the hallway. His mask of cool was back on, and an easy smirk lighted his face.
"Watch where you're going next time, all right?"
She nodded her head sheepishly and picked her eyes up. His smile was playful, but the eyes were something else. He had the most vivid, most mesmerizing green eyes. They were cold, calculating.
He brushed her shoulder as he passed, just barely touching. He wore a faded brown leather jacket with a dark band t-shirt.
Felicity had stopped in the library yet again to find anything she could on the ghost that had killed her parents. She knew from the death counts she had found from old newspaper clippings and articles leading up to her parents' death when she was six that the thing was ancient.
She went to the back, searching through the stacks to find anything good, anything at all that could help her. Anything at all that could help her get revenge on the thing that had ruined her life.
She didn't notice that one of her laces were untied, long enough for her to trip over. She stumbled, falling to the floor.
Right in front of her, smacking the lips right off of Sandy Baker, was the boy with green eyes. They paused long enough to stare at Felicity with mild irritation.
Felicity got up and walked away, glancing back at the strange boy. He seemed to be everywhere she was.
She kept going through the aisles, ignoring the one that the boy and Sandy were in.She couldn't find anything that could save her from a life of not knowing, a life of giving in to the force that had killed her parents. She could still remember the cold, dead eyes that seemed to stare back at her without actually being there. She shivered in the library, finding chills in the warmth of the building.
The newspapers were the only thing that could provide any sort of information leading up to the most recent killings in her old household. Many couples with young children had faced the same fate, which piqued the interest in the police department for many years.
She carried the stack with slippery, nervous palms. Her mind kept going back to the boy, and she wondered what he was doing here. She’d never seen him before.
She focused her mind on what was in front of her, keeping her eyes ahead. She rubbed at the scar at the base of her throat. If that thing would've been any closer she would've died with her parents.
She needed help, but she couldn't tell anyone without them thinking that she was crazy, that she was out of her mind. Ghosts were out of the spectrum of teenagers.
A page slipped to the floor, making Felicity wonder if she was overthinking this. She knew what she had to do, and had looked through all of this information hundreds of times.
Maybe she was too scared to do anything. Maybe she didn't want to see the memory that she had so long ago.
The paper that had dropped was suddenly slapped onto the table. The boy with the green eyes snapped his attention to her face, or more accurately, the scar. His eyes traced the line with too much focus. Her face started to get hot.
"Sandy?" She chuckled.
He flapped the collar of his faded jacket and cleared his throat.
"I think I can help you with that," he mumbled.
Felicity never thought, that of all people, the green eyed boy would help her. Maybe it was a joke.
She bit down on her lip and stared past him, trying to see if anyone was hiding in the stacks of books. He held out his hand.
"Dustin, although people don't usually call me by that. They call me by my last name." He nodded, with his face oddly detached.
"Felicity. People don't usually call me that. Ghost Girl is what I'm referred as." His face turned a light shade of pink.
"Right." He shuffled, fiddling with his fingers. He then placed both hands on either side of the table. He leaned his face down, so close to her own. She could smell the faint trace of aftershave on his skin.
"Believe it or not, I hunt these kinds of things." He leaned back, pursing his lips. She didn't know whether to take it seriously or not.
"And you're here to help me?"
"Let's chase Casper back to the hole he crawled out of."

State
PA
Zip Code
18628