Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2005
High School Winners

Third Place

Our third place High School winner is Emily L. Fuchs, a student attending the Pacific High School in Pacific, MO.

Indifferent Awakening

Emily L. Fuchs

The young girl arrived home to a half-built house. She shook her head as she shuffled up the walkway to the front door. The cold wind whipped at her hair, she cursed Mother Nature in her mind. The car horn sounded off as her uncle backed out of the driveway. Without sparing a glance towards him, she flipped her hand over her head. She figured that it was best that she be alone for a while. She had a lot of thinking to do. She didn't need anything more pressing on her soul, which seemed to be dragging on the ground behind her, tied halfway by her shattered heart. Even then, those were only held by the remaining trace of her sanity.

She opened the door and headed to the right wing of the house. She slid the first door behind her shut to keep the draft of the unfurnished half of the house from rushing in. She set her bags down by the entrance to the basement. She rushed down the stairs, shivering, and turned the furnace on to heat the right side of the house. She quickly checked the gauge and turned the furnace on as high as it could go without worry of blowing up. 'Oh boy, wouldn't I love that,' she thought to herself and rushed back up the stairs. She trecked up another set of stairs back to her room.

She set her bags down and went to the bathroom which was connected to her room. Whenever her step-father had first introduced the plans, she was terribly excited by the idea of having her own bathroom. Now, it was indifferent, as so many things now were in her life. She turned on the shower and watched the steam rise. She walked out of the bathroom, swinging the door shut as she went. 'That should do the trick! She checked her messages. That was another issue between her and her step-father. The girl needed privacy. That was all she asked. She even paid for the bill. That's right, she was working now. Everyday after school, sometimes til dawn. She managed to keep up her homework, it didn't showcase the best of her ability, but it got done and her grades were reasonable. 'Above average, that's just what I am.'

She took a seat on her bed and listened to the fourteen messages that were left by friends left out in the cold about the entire ordeal. She half-listened. Her attention was now more focused on the vanity mirror that sat across the room from her. She wore her eye makeup thick, trying to hide the fact that she hadn't slept in days, that she was dying inside. She was trying to shake the world off her trail. Her cheeks were still a bit red from the cold October air. She snapped her head to the side, looked out the window and screamed. She screamed for what it was worth and then some. She didn't care who heard her or what message she missed. Those factors were indifferent now. They were bleak static in a dark and dreary world.

The hot tears were streaming down her face, making her face burn, making her scream louder and with more force. Her fists were clenched so tight that her nails were digging into her palms. The screams turned to whimpers and then mere sobs. She watched the first faint traces of blood begin to appear in the small gashes in her flesh and wiped them off on her dress pants. She laid back and closed her eyes, letting everything go. The images ran through her mind like a home movie projector gone wrong. Sounds, smells, tastes forming for a bit, then leaving before even she was aware of exactly what they were linking to. She knew the overall theme though. Her father. Lost forever. Never to come back. Never to save her ever again. Her mind flashed red, she was overcome with anger and resentment. She didn't understand it. No warning. No explanation left.

Her father had killed himself. Out-of-state, Oregon, actually. He had told the girl he was going to open his own firm and become the best lawyer in the northwest. And when he obtained enough money, he was going to bring her with him. They could finally be a family. She could finally feel loved. She could relieve herself of the pain in her spine that they called her 'dad.' She bit her tongue from the day he made these promises. 'Not too much longer. I'm gonna blow this Joint! She would smile to herself and shrug whatever he had yelled at her for off of her back. She would make Daddy proud. She would have her day. She could have those father-daughter experiences finally. He had had too much to drink and he had just received a letter stating that there was a slight setback in his plans. His girlfriend at the time put him down for it and abandoned him. Leaving him alone, cold, confused. He left not a single note. It was at least 24 hours before they found him.

The girl was sat down by her uncle, a near week after the incident. She was not loved by his side of the family, that was the excuse for such a late revealing. She did not cry, and this worried her uncle to no end, After speaking to her for over two hours about the ordeal, he told her that the funeral was on a Saturday and that he had plane tickets for the two of them. He also told her that it would be okay if she wanted to stay later and maybe miss school. It would be excused. She sternly told him no. That would not be necessary. She was extremely formal about the entire thing. This too worried him. With no emotion at all, she asked and received the details of the incident. She told her uncle to tell her parents, that she did not want to deal with them. She was numb.

Her uncle shook his head, a week before three kids from her school had died in a car accident. Now this. The year before she had to deal with her best friend's father's suicide. He remembered her getting sent home for being in such a rage because the counselor had sent around notices about when and where the funeral was, even though it was to be private. She had almost gotten into a fight with a girl because she was giving people all the details, even when they didn't ask, like it was some fireside story and it was her turn to hold the flashlight. He remembered her screaming at the top of her lungs and mourning for her friend's loss. He asked her if she was going to tell her friends at school, maybe take her best friend with her to the funeral. She shook her head no. She stated that she did not want to put anyone through that.

They had gone to the funeral and the girl was stared at, as if she did not belong there. As if she should be ashamed to be there. She remained strong and went tearless throughout the wake and funeral. She sat by herself, emotionless. She replied in one word answers. She would not eat. If estimated, she could have drained the Hudson River if it had been filled with coffee. He worried about her. On the flight home, she simply stared out the window. It was the same routine on the drive home from the airport.

The girl opened her eyes. Sat up. She looked into the mirror and witnessed the mascara and eyeliner running in streams down her cheeks. Tears of the dead. She picked up the crucifix. 'You robbed me of him!' She threw it with 4 years of softball training behind it. It broke when it hit the mirror. The mirror cracked. She allowed herself a slim smile. She trudged off to the bathroom. It was choked full of steam. She switched the shower to the spicket and watched the water pour into the tub. She undressed and slipped into the tub. The water made her feel better and relaxed her enough to let her slip off to a light sleep. She dreamed of what times her father and her could have had. The would haves, the could haves, and the could bes. If anyone was there, they would have seen a genuine smile arise on her face. The dream contained no resentment Her hands lay limp on the side of the tub. There was no twitching or jerks. She was peaceful.

She was dreaming of her father and finally building the barn and pen for the horses that he had promised her when she was young, when the thought was ripped away by amazing gales of wind. The sky turned black and the girl watched as the flesh ripped off her father's face with speeds that could not be rivaled. She tried to scream but it was caught in her throat. Her hands clutched at the fence post, anything to keep from falling, but they quickly turned to ashes. She dream-fainted. When she awoke, she was in a field of white roses. She wandered until she came to a gigantic stone building. On her side, there was no entrance. She let her hands run along side the stone which was remarkably smooth. When she had turned two corners she saw words inscribed on the wall. The letters were too big to be seen with being so close to the building. She stepped back to get a better look.

On the wall, carved deep and bold, was her father's name. Below that, engraved was "forever to be in the company of..." and then her name. The ground opened below her and hands clutched at her ankles pulling her down into the darkness. She strived to get a grip on the roses, but the thorns on the stems simply shred the palms of her hands. She actually did get out a scream this time, but it was drowned out by the moans of the underworld. She started awake, gasping for breath. She was in the midst of dismissing the dreams when she noticed how cold the room was. She was quickly struck with goosebumps. She darted to turn on the hot water and the knob simply came off in her hand. She was about to voice every curse that any living human being has ever heard, and some that they haven't, when her eyes were drawn to the water in the other half of the tub.

The water was stirring in an eerie pattern. She quickly rubbed her eyes, trying to bring reality to what she was seeing. The water in the tub was pulling away. She reached out to put her hand in the empty dome in the water when she was jerked back. She felt as if a hand was holding her back by the throat. She remained still, frozen by her fear. Her breath was shallow and hoarse. Her mouth was dry of any moisture at all. She moved her hands to free herself of the force being pressed against her throat, but was left unsuccessful. Whatever it was could not be restrained by her. Her hands breezed in front of her face as if moving in thin air. Her mind was racing. She began to try kicking out, somehow trying to obtain footing, trying to get out as fast as possible. Nothing. She screamed an unhumanlike noise. Her eyes squeezed tight. She could feel the blood vessels in her eyelids popping and sending the blood rushing to the surface of her skin. She felt the warmth of the blood as it poured out of her ears in small streams. It was dripping into the water, making the water have a pinkish hue to it.

She screamed the only thing she could think of at the moment. Her father's name. She shrieked it. Over and over. Eventually, the shrieks became yells, then they became shouts and eventually her voice dropped all sound to it. She began sobbing again. Everything then went dark and she slowly slid under the water. She was awakened again while choking on water. She came up to her knees and started throwing up back into the water. She became weak and propped herself up on one elbow. She looked up at the ceiling and took a few deep breaths. She didn't bother letting the now vile water out. She stepped out of the tub, grabbed a towel and looked into the mirror, which reflected something formless. It took her some time to realize that the mirror was conpletely fogged up. Then her senses became overwhelmed with the incredible heat. She swung open the door, die door handle left a hole in the wall that she found later.

She stumbled to the bed and kneeled beside it. She threw her head back, brushing the hair from her face and found she was staring straight into the mirror she had broken earlier. She was alarmed by something and rose to her feet and walked to the mirror. Her throat was completely encircled by all shades of red. Some were even becoming dark shades of blue and purple. She touched it lightly and flinched from the pain that came rushing to her senses. She let out one miserable sob and fell to the floor. She laid there for over 18 hours, until her parents arrived. Her mother found her there, quickly covered her, picked her up and set her upon the bed. Her step-father's heavy foot falls could be heard coming up the stairway leading to the third floor where her bedroom was.

He was already amidst of yelling at the young, exhausted girl when his eyes met the girl's mothers, which were filled with anger and worry. He quickly shut his mouth, turned and left Not one question asked. The girl slowly opened her eyes, red and puffy. She gave her mother a hug, turned and went back to sleep- She arose from her spot by the bed and looked around. This was the cleanest that she had ever seen the girl's room, except for her luggage which was left unpacked in a heap in the corner. She covered her daughter with a comforter and left the room, slowly closing the door behind her.

The girl's mother walked down the stairs and was immediately met by her husband, who was yelling at her now. He was exclaiming something about the furnace almost being tile point of blowing the entire house of the face of the earth, but he didn't finish. He stopped talking when he was briskly slapped across the face. He sat down completely dumbstruck. There he sat for a very long time.

Continue to the 2nd place story

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