The night was dark. A haunted dark. There was something in the air that I just couldn’t put my finger on. The bell went. It was time for us to retire to the dormitories to sleep. I picked up my book from the floor where it had fallen and put back the bookmark. Jordin touched my hand slightly.
“You okay?” she asked.
“Yes. Just a little startled. Do you feel something?”
“There’s something weird going on.”
“Maybe you’re just tired.”
“Yes, that must be it.”
We left the classroom and locked the door behind us. I gave Jordin the key because I had a tendency of losing it and I had made enough replacements already, I couldn’t afford to lose another one. Outside was cold. The wind was nippy and it whipped in our hair. I clutched my scarf tight. Just a few steps away was a crowd gathered. Curiosity got the better part of me. I nudged Jordin. “Jo, look,” I said as I pointed to the crowd, “I wonder what could be going on there.”
“No, no, no, not this again, remember what happened last time?”
“It wasn’t my fault, I didn’t see the teacher coming. You were supposed to be the lookout.”
“Well I’m not doing it this time, we should go to the dormitory, no stops whatsoever.”
“Just a peep, please?”
She grunted. “Urgh! Fine”
We tiptoed towards the crowd. There was a girl in the middle holding a book. The other girls surrounding her were bidding on the book. We edged our way to through. Jordin nudged me. “That book has your name on it,” she said.
I looked closer. My name was on the book and I recognized the book immediately. I had lost it a week ago. I looked up at the girl holding the book. “Gretel?” I gasped. “I thought they had you put away? Well I’ll be damned! What are you doing with my book?”
The crowd gasped. All eyes were on Gretel now. “Finders keepers, Carla, you should know better.”
I turned around to look at Jordin, ask her to back me up. Not a soul was in sight. I turned around to face Gretel. Mrs. Pickett was with her. I knew I was in trouble. This was the second time she was catching me taking a detour on my way to the dormitory.
“Well, well, well. Look what we have here,” said Mrs. Pickett.
“Mrs. Pickett, I can explain,” I said.
“Well, it looks to me like you were placing bids on this book and Gretel won,” said she.
“What! Never! That’s my favourite book!”
“Yes Mrs. Pickett, that’s exactly what happened,” said Gretel.
I gasped in dismay.
“Come along with me, the three of you,” said Mrs. Pickett as she pulled our ears. She took us to the detention center, which was a tree house high up on a tree. A retractable ladder was our way up. I knew we were going to spend the whole night there, in the cold, and still attend classes the next day as normal. Mrs. Pickett was just about to leave us when Gretel screamed. She was pointing to the door as she screamed. Mrs. Pickett and I were alarmed. Mrs. Pickett tried to get her to calm down to no avail.
“Gretel, why are you screaming?” I asked her.
“I’m scared,” said Gretel.
“Scared of what?” asked Mrs. Pickett.
“The girl at the door!” said Gretel as she pointed to the door.
Mrs. Pickett and I were confused. There was clearly no one at the door. Gretel insisted that there was a girl at the door trying to take her away. She grabbed Mrs. Pickett’s coat, not letting go. “Please don’t let her take me,” she begged.
I looked at the door again. There was no one there. I looked closer. The air around the door was hazy. Suddenly I started screaming too. Mrs. Pickett started screaming too. It was as if we were being summoned to scream. I was screaming because I could see the girl at the door. She was pale, very pale. She had only eye whites. Her white dress was billowing in the wind. Her pale hands were outstretched. She was coming at Gretel and pulling her towards the door. The door was creaking and flying behind her as she walked. She pulled Gretel away from Mrs. Pickett and dragged her to the door, with Gretel kicking and screaming all the way. Baphomet horns made of smoke appeared, wavering in the wind. The girl went down first, pulling Gretel down after her. The ladder was retracted yet they still climbed down. I ran to the door.
“Stop! STOP!” I yelled. The girl shifted her gaze at me. She dropped Gretel and came at me. I was shaking, shivering. Still I stood and waited. She bared her teeth at me. They were brown and rotten. “I don’t fear you,” I said.
She raised her arms to grab me. Just as she touched me, she let out a high pitched scream and melted away into thin air.
I woke up, drenched in sweat. Jordin was looking down at me. “You were screaming in your sleep. We’re almost late for class.”
“Gretel, what happened to her?”
“She’s still away, remember, mental hospital, schizophrenia?”
“Oh! I must’ve had a nightmare.”
I jumped out of bed and readied myself for class. Jordin waited for me outside the dormitory. Just as I was leaving to join her and walk to class together, I saw a note by my bed. On it were the words ‘IT’S NOT OVER’. I felt a shiver down my spine. An old photo appeared on the door. It was the girl at the door, but she wasn’t pale in the photo, she looked like any other girl, complete with healthy eyes. I opened the door to leave. She was on the other side. She smiled at me. “She chose you,” she said in a raspy voice.
I screamed and woke up.