Deathwalker

Since the death of her mother, fifteen-year-old Grace's life has been turned upside down. And now her father has sent her to a boarding school in the middle of the English countryside.

Oh, and she may or may not be seeing spirits of the dead.

Grace soon realises that she’s not the only student on campus who can see ghosts.

When she and her new roommate, Kasia, see the spirit of a little girl roaming the hallways, the two of them try to piece together the mystery of her death. But at what cost to their own lives?

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3. Two

I carried on walking towards my door, and sure enough, as I approached the girl, she disappeared.

Although I was starting to come to terms with seeing ghosts, I certainly wasn’t used to it. It started nine months ago, after my mother died. At first, I thought I’d cracked up. It was a reasonable conclusion to jump to. I’d been through a traumatic event, I was grieving, and I’d been told that the shock of what had happened could cause the mind to do strange things. So that was what I assumed, but I never said anything. As much as I thought I needed help, I didn’t want to put my dad through even more worry.

It was only when I saw my neighbour who’d died from a heart attack a month before that I started looking into ghosts. I thought it was completely stupid, ghosts weren’t real, but it was better than thinking I was completely insane. After that, I started seeking out the semi-transparent figures I’d been seeing and started paying more attention to them. The more I accepted it, the more I saw. I even started spotting figures that wore clothes that certainly weren’t from our time period.

I spotted one in school, roaming around the hallways, mostly standing outside the caretaker’s closet. After doing a bit of digging, I found out that the caretaker from the 60’s had died in the school. Clearly, it was no coincidence. These figures had to be ghosts. Well, that’s what I told myself for the sake of my own sanity, anyway.

I had mastered the art of not looking shocked when I saw them, and not looking directly at them. I definitely didn’t want any of them knowing that I could see them. I did my best to ignore them, and luckily, I wasn’t overrun by them.

When I reached my door, I went into the room as quickly as possible, not wanting to wait around for a possible return from the transparent girl. I figured I should probably start to unpack. Realising that the giant wardrobe was probably already taken by my roommate, I started squeezing my clothes away into the small set of draws.  

I was in the middle of putting my favourite bedding onto the bed when I heard the door open. I turned to see a Goddess standing in the doorway. The girl in front of me was gorgeous. She was tanned, exotically tanned, and she had black hair that fell down in waves past her shoulders. She instantly looked down to where I was kneeling on the floor, fighting with my duvet cover.

I stood up quickly. “You must be my roommate, I’m—”

“Grace,” she cut in, her voice sharp. “Yeah, I’ve already been told.”

I could tell that she didn’t want me here, not one bit. I realised that we definitely weren’t going to be having any fun, roommate bonding sessions anytime soon.

“I’ve been told I need to show you around the school,” she said, still standing in the doorway. She stared at me, expectantly.

It was clear she wanted to get this over with. “Now’s good, I guess.”

I followed her out into the hallway. She was already heading for the stairs before I’d even closed the door. I had to jog to catch up with her. We walked out of Alcott in silence. I followed her down the path and back towards the main building of the school.

“So, have you been at the school long?” I asked, trying to make conversation. I figured she didn’t want to talk to me, but I wasn’t about to give up just yet.

“Since first year,” she replied bluntly. I waited for more but she continued walking briskly towards the double doors.

When I say the tour of the school was fleeting, I mean it was fleeting. The school is huge, yet this girl practically ran to the important parts of the building and then gave me a map of the grounds. It felt like I had offended her by simply being there.

When we got to the main hall of the school, there were refreshment tables set up and a few fellow pupils greeting each other.  

“Kasia!” I heard someone call out, and then spotted a blonde haired girl running towards us.

“Hey, Lauren,” Kasia replied, rushing to hug her. “How was your summer?”

“It was completely fab,” Lauren replied. “You promised to keep in touch though, but I barely got to talk to you!”

Kasia flicked her hair. “Well, you know me, always busy.”

I boldly fought off the urge to roll my eyes at the pair of them. Lauren was as equally gorgeous as Kasia, just less tanned and obviously blonde. They were the type of girls that others in the school aspired to be.

It took me a moment to realise that both Lauren and Kasia were staring at me.

“Have you just moved here?” Lauren asked. “Where did you move from?”

“I’m from London,” I replied. “I’ve not really left the city much.”

“Well,” she giggled, “you’re in for quite a change.”

“I figured.”

The two of them carried on talking for a little while before the parted. “See you tomorrow,” Lauren said to Kasia as she turned to walk away. “I’ll probably see you soon, Grace.” At least she seemed friendlier.

“Maybe you should head back to the room now?” Kasia suggested. “You probably want to finish unpacking.” She stared at me blankly with her brown eyes that were neatly lined with Kohl. “You remember how to get back, right?”

I was trying really hard to keep up the politeness with her, and since she clearly wasn’t doing the same for me, it was becoming increasingly difficult.

Keeping my cool, I shrugged and said, “Yeah, I remember.” I turned my back on her and started to make my way out of the door. I was pretty confident on finding my way to Alcott once I was out of the school, but inside the building was completely confusing. When I got out of the main hall, I just walked down the hallway to my right and hoped for the best.  

Luckily, I found the reception area pretty quickly and was able to find my way outside from there. The sun was starting to set as I walked along the pathway that led to the house. I couldn’t believe how quickly the day had gone.

I took in my surroundings. This was it. This was home for me now. Well, it was the placed I lived. Not home.

When I reached the house, I saw Jason standing outside, talking to a girl wearing thickly rimmed glasses.  

“Hey, Grace,” he greeted. “Had a good look around?”

“A little, the main building will take some getting used to,” I admitted.

“Everyone struggles at first, you’ll be used to it in no time,” he reassured. “This is Tara, by the way.” He nodded his head toward the girl he was talking to.

“Nice to meet you, Grace,” she said, a beaming smile on her face. She seemed sweet enough. “Are you going inside?”

“Yeah,” I replied.

“I’ll walk in with you.” We said goodbye to Jason and headed inside the house. “So is this your first time in town?”

“I’ve been here a few times before to visit my aunt,” I told her. “But I haven’t had a proper chance to look around.”

“We get trips into the town centre during weekends,” she said. “So you should be able to explore the place soon.”

We walked up the stairs and stopped on the top landing. “I’m in room fifteen, by the way, if you need anything.” She gave a cheery wave before opening her door. “Bye!”

“Thanks, and bye,” I called after her.

I walked down the corridor to my own room, warily eyeing up the spot where I’d seen the ghost of the girl earlier. Once the door was closed behind me, the emotions from the day came flooding in. I glanced around the room, painfully aware of how much I missed by bedroom back at home already.

Feeling exhausted, I sat down on my new bed and finally allowed myself to cry.

***

It was about an hour later when Kasia came into the room to remind me that there was a welcome dinner in main hall. She didn’t hang around to walk with me, but I saw Tara walking alone and caught up with her. She seemed happy enough to have company.

“So you’re roommates with Kasia?” she asked as we walked through the main doors.

“Yeah, I haven’t really spoken to her much,” I replied.

“Don’t feel bad about it. She rarely speaks to anyone outside of her social circle.”

Tara seemed like the type of girl who hung around in the background, observing everyone else. I figured I could probably learn something about everyone from her.

We walked into the main hall amongst a sea of bobbing heads. Everyone was still dressed in casual clothes; there were no formal uniforms until classes the following morning. The dinner itself was pretty relaxed. The headmistress, Miss Hayfield, came in to welcome back the students and give encouragement to the new students. She looked pretty young for a headmistress. Tara told me that she had done so much for the school since taking over a couple of years ago. Apparently, the school was seen as very exclusive until Miss Hayfield took over and introduced more scholarships and help schemes to cover tuition fees.

I knew the school was expensive. In normal circumstances, my dad would never have been able to afford to send me here, but he had help from the money my mother had left behind. I wonder what she would have made of that money paying for me to come to her former school.

After the dinner, as Tara and I left the table, I saw Kasia walk out of the main hall and I wondered if she was heading back Alcott House or not. The thought of having to spend time in the room with her filled me with dread.

As I was walking out of the busy hall, I felt someone knock into me.

“Watch it,” I snapped at the guy. He completely ignored me. Rude. I watched him rush out of the hall.

When we got back to the house, Tara told me she needed to go and call her parents, and headed upstairs. Still wanting to avoid my own room, I wandered into the TV lounge. There were a few girls sitting in there, but they were all chatting away with someone and didn’t look like they wanted any new company. I saw Jason walk into the room through the other door.

“Hey, Jason,” I greeted. “Are students allowed to leave campus to go for a walk?”

“You’re a Year 11 student, right?” he asked. “You’re allowed to check out for an hour.” He led me out into the hallway were there was a book lying open on a table near to the door. “You just sign your name here,” he explained. “And write your time of departure. Then I can sign it when you come back. Just don’t go too far, you only have an hour. Do you know the area?”

“Yeah,” I lied. “I’ve visited a few times, so I know my way around.” He didn’t question me.

“Just let me grab you a permission slip to show to the caretaker at the gates,” he said, walking into the office and reappearing a few moments later. “Make sure to be careful of cars along the roads, there are so many twists and turns, and it gets dark out there.”

A few minutes later I was walking down the ridiculously long driveway to the entrance gates. Just the walk to get out would probably take up most of my time. There was a tiny little security hut by the gates with an open door. I knocked and a few moments later, the caretaker came outside. I held up my permission slip for him and with a grunt of acknowledgement, he opened the gates for me.

I felt a wave of relief by just being outside the grounds. I’d felt on edge all day, trying so hard not to be the typical, angst-filled teenager getting mad at her dad for sending her to boarding school.

I had no idea where I was, but I followed the nearest path and just kept walking. Pretty soon, I found myself trudging along a hilltop, looking down on the village below. Although I wasn’t keen on the countryside, the views were unbeatable.

It was a few moments later when I saw the blue flashing lights. Walking closer, I spotted police tape cordoning off the road, and there was a police car and an ambulance parked at the side. Then I saw the bashed up motorcycle on the ground. It took me a moment to realise that the motorcycle was also accompanied by a body. I froze. This wasn’t something I wanted to watch. I was about to turn around and head back towards the school when I saw the faint, misty light, hovering near the body on the ground. A few seconds later, the shape took the form of a man, wearing a motorcycle helmet.

Now, I’d seen plenty of ghosts over the past few months, but never had I seen one materialise after the death of the person. This was new to me. I felt chills as I saw the transparent figure stare at his body with a mixture of confusion and horror on his face. He stepped back, shocked. He turned around, eyes wide and frantic. I quickly darted into the trees. There was no way I was going to let on that I could see him.

Just as he started to take a few steps away from the scene of his death, I saw another figure. This one was clearly human. It was only as he got close that I realised I’d seen him before. It was the guy that had barged past me in the main hall earlier.

He approached the ghost of the motorcyclist and cleared his throat.

“Let’s make this quick, shall we?”

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