Saturday, October 2, 2010
Bad News Blogfest
Francine over at Romancing The Blog has decided to host her own blogfest, The Bad News blogfest. This is my submission to the cause, but you may prefer to see the others; click on Francicine's blog link.
Summary: Alex is able to see ghosts, and in dodging an entire ghostly football team by diving into the girls' washroom, she comes face to face with another ghost. (Bad day at school.)
Talk about jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Standing in the middle of the washroom was Prom Girl with the noose around her neck.
“I’m not going to catch a break today, am I?” I mumbled.
She was gazing around the room as if she were in a museum. “Everything looks so strange. It’s the same, yet different.” She turned to me, her bulging eyes searching mine.
It was difficult to hold her gaze. But I’d faced worse. I think the screaming drowned toddler at the local pool was the hardest to endure, and impossible to reason with. Mind you, I was only five at the time. The swim instructor thought I was terrified of the water. But Mom never tried to force me to go back. Maybe because I kept screaming, “Stop it! Just stop it! Leave me alone!”
Prom Girl continued on, breathlessly. “I don’t recognize anyone in the halls, not even most of the teachers. I tried to talk to Mr. Yamashita, but he ignored me. It’s like he couldn’t even see me there, standing right in front of him. But you can see me, can’t you? I feel like I know you, somehow. Have we met before?” She rattled off her spiel without taking a breath, as if she was worried she needed to get it all in quickly, before I took off on her.
As for Mr. Yamashita, he was going deaf and blind and he often didn’t see his living students, let alone the dead ones. I wish I could be so oblivious. As for the football team, I could hear them outside the door, talking among themselves. This was one bullet I was not going to be able to dodge. “Uh, I don’t believe we’ve met, but I’ve seen you around.”
“Why is it no one else seems to see me? I’ve tried to talk to other students and they walk right past me. Are they really all that rude?”
I shrugged and turned toward the mirror. “Kids will be kids.” I pretended to fuss with my hair. Not much you can really do to heavily gelled spikes.
“Oh, sorry, I didn’t introduce myself, did I? I was so excited about finding someone to listen to me I forgot my own manners.” She extended her hand toward me. “Pamela Saunders.”
I ignored her outstretched hand. I could see ghosts – even in the mirror, looking as real as life – but I couldn’t touch them. My hand passed right through them. I turned on the tap and started scrubbing the gel off my hands.
Her reflection showed a flicker of hurt on her face, but she set her jaw as she dropped her hand and busied herself with straightening her gown. “And what might your name be?”
I turned off the tap and turned my back to her as I pulled paper towels out of the dispenser on the wall. “Everyone just calls me Alex.” I was going to do the whole “My name might be…” but I didn’t need to be a total jerk to her. After all, she was dead, even if she didn’t know it yet.
“Alex? Would that be a nickname for Alexandria?”
I sighed as I tossed the paper towels in the garbage can. “Yes, I’m afraid so.”
“Silly girl! Alexandria is a beautiful name. That’s nothing to be ashamed of!”
As I turned to face her, I saw her reaching for my shoulder. Her hand passed right through it before I could dodge out of her reach.
Her bulging eyes went even wider as she stared at her hand. “What on earth--? Are you a ghost?”
I snorted. “I’m not! You are.” Crap. When am I gonna learn to watch my mouth?
“No! This can’t be! That would mean I’m…no!” She grew quite agitated. “I am not dead!”
“Pamela, listen to me for just a minute…”
“No!” Then she disappeared. Now, whether she liked it or not, she knew was dead. That made for a whole new ballgame.
I sighed heavily as I glared at my reflection. “That went well.”
I now had a whole ghostly football team following me around the school and a full-fledged specter that could now pop in and out at will. And all before the lunch break. Man, was I on a roll.
I looked up at the window. Not a chance. This addition of the high school was built like a prison; they don’t want the inmates escaping. The window was too small and too high off the floor. I was going to have to face the football team. But hey, how many girls can honestly say they have the whole football team chasing after them?
I took a deep breath, then flung the door open. The players were lined up in two columns facing each other across the doorway, like they line up for their grand entrances on to the field. And they were all looking at me. Funny, none of them seemed to notice how out of sorts the other players looked. The team captain opened his mouth to speak, but I cut him short. “You’ll have to excuse me guys, I have a very busy schedule and I don’t have time to entertain you at the moment. If you wish to talk to me, we can meet after the game this afternoon.” As if I was sticking around for a stupid football game.
I stopped short once I got past the gauntlet. Two guys from my math class had been leaning up against the wall, chatting. Apparently, they thought I had been talking to them.
“After the game, then,” one of them said, smiling as he saluted me. The other just stood there, his eyes wide with surprise, his jaw nearly resting on his chest.
I closed my eyes and dropped my head in defeat. “Let it go,” I mumbled to myself. “ The way this day is going, I might not even live that long.”