Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2019
High School Winners

Third Place

Our third place High School winning entry was written by Christiana Frazier, a freshman who attends the Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Virginia.

Broken Reflection

Christiana Frazier

Alethea sat in her empty room, her headphones blaring her favorite music. Alethea’s family always struggled with money, but never to the point where she and her mom had to move into a smaller, ugly, dirty house. It was by far the worst in the neighborhood and she missed her home in New York terribly. She sat against the one clean spot on the wall and where there wouldn’t be any nails on the floor. The people who had lived there before had left a large mirror with a single crack through it. Alethea sat next to it, although she despised it as soon as she saw it because of it’s creepy appearance.

Then she heard her mom scream, “Alethea! Come down here! Meet the neighbors! Alethea!”

She sighed as she got up from the floor. She didn’t want to meet anyone. She hated Chicago, and retreated into her room most of the time. As she shuffled her feet going towards the front door she thought about meeting a boring middle-aged couple that wouldn’t stop talking about their cats. It seems random, but she imagined that for an awful place like this it surely had awfully boring people. She stopped at the door, looking up. She saw a boy standing at the door with a huge, bright smile stretching across his face. He looked to be about 15, which was her age. She thought he looked very nice, but much too happy for her mood at the moment. She took out her earbuds, and quickly put them in her pocket, making sure not to be rude.

“Alethea this is Luke! You could be good friends...He plays the saxophone! Isn’t that cool?!”

He held out his hand for her to shake and said, “Well you already know my name. Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you Luke, and my mom must’ve yelled my name a million times so I’m sure you know mine,” Alethea said as she tried to keep eye contact shaking his hand, but he was much taller than her.

“Alethea. Yes. That’s a pretty name...Well my mom is expecting me home in a minute so I should go. It was very nice to meet the both of you.”

Her mom yelled enthusiastically, “Bye!” She then whispered to her, “Isn’t he nice. You might have a friend in the neighborhood after all.”

She gave her mom a weak smile and said, “Yeah, maybe. He looked pretty nice.” She went upstairs to get ready for bed with the stuff they bought at the pharmacy. She was surprised the neighbor was someone she could get to be friends with, but she doubted someone so nice would want to be friends with her.

She said under her breath, “Yeah right. He’s too good.”

She started brushing her teeth and left the water on while she did. She thought she should conserve water but didn’t really care tonight. She looked up at her reflection in the mirror and immediately saw a shadow move behind her. She turned her head quickly to see what was behind her and there was nothing. Her heart beat rose to a fast pace. It felt like there was an engine in her chest. The door was tilted, so she couldn’t see behind it. She let her toothbrush hang in her mouth, as she reached out to the door. Her hand moved slowly and then quickly swung it to see behind it. Again, there was no one. She was staring at the space behind the door and suddenly the water stopped running. She slowly looked over at the sink and the handle had actually turned by itself to shut the water off.

Her hands started shaking and she tried to find a voice to yell, “Mom!”

Her mom came up the stairs quickly and looked around confused.“What? What is it? What’s wrong? Did the water stop working?”

“No. It turned. The handle it turned on it’s own and shut off...and I thought I saw somebody, but there wasn’t anyone.”

Her mother looked at her annoyed and said, “You realize you sound insane Alethea.”

“Nevermind mom. If you don’t think that what I’m saying is true then just go. I’ll just go to bed.”

She sighed, saying, “You know I have to go to work sweetie. I’m the night shift nurse. Just...take care of yourself and don’t go to bed too late. You have school tomorrow. I know it’s a new house, but it doesn’t mean it’s haunted.”

“Yeah. Okay. Bye,” Alethea said slightly annoyed. She saw her mom walk out of the bathroom then heard the front door shut. She finished brushing her teeth and walked back into her room to go to sleep on her worn out sleeping bag. She rolled over onto the sleeping bag, she closed her eyes and quickly went to sleep.

The next morning Alethea had to get up for school. It was her sophomore year of highschool and she had already missed a week of it. She picked a dark hoodie and jeans to wear, brushed her teeth and hair, and walked to school.

The first few classes were not anything special, although she had a very odd feeling ever since last night. She was walking to her last class and realized she was walking next to someone she recognized.

“Oh. Hey Luke,” she said, leaning forward so he could see her face.

He turned to his right to see her and practically yelled because of the loud halls, “Oh! Hey Alethea! How’s your day going? What class do you have next?”

“I’m going to history with a Ms. Caasi Trepla? I think.”

“I have that class next too! Her name is weird.” Alethea thought so too. Someone told her that she supposedly had four names and if you don't remember them by the end of the day she wouldn’t like you as much. She wasn’t looking forward to this class.

She sat down next to Luke in history and waited for Ms. Caasi Trepla to start talking.

“Hello. My name is Caasi Veronica Delora Trepla. Try to remember that, although you’ll be calling me Ms. Trepla. So! Today we’re going to start by just talking about some things you know about history like the Civil War or the ...”

This was all Alethea could hear. She could see Ms. Trepla moving her mouth, but her voice was drowned out by an eerie silence. Alethea looked around, confused. Everyone was still looking at the teacher and seeming to understand what she said. Then the lights started flickering in the classroom, and even though it wasn’t that late in the day it would go almost completely dark when they turned off. They flickered again and again and again. More quickly and more frequently. Aleathea looked around once more, and none of the other people noticed anything. Now Alethea noticed something that couldn’t be possible. With each flicker on the light one person in the room would disappear into the dark. Another flicker, another person gone. It was just her now. She waited, nervously, not knowing what to do. The lights suddenly stopped flickering and the room was now night. She waited for her vision to adjust, but it was so hard to see anything. She squinted and saw a figure in front of her. She thought it might be the teacher, but once she could see better she realized it was not her. It was just a black silhouette, but she could make out a tall skinny woman standing in the middle of the room. The one detail she could make out were large reflective eyes. Her breathing was hard and ragged. Alethea couldn’t move, but found her voice when the woman suddenly started running toward her. She closed her eyes and screamed.

Just as soon as she had screamed she stopped when she felt a hand gently place itself on her shoulder. When she opened her eyes the classroom was bright again and everyone was there.

“Woah! Alethea! What happened? Are you okay?” It was Luke who was speaking. He looked extremely worried for her.

Alethea didn’t respond she just got up and left, even though she could hear Ms. Trepla screaming for her to come back. She walked straight home and went up to her room. She walked into her room and started pacing, trying to get her breathing under control. She put her face into her hands and started taking deep breaths. It was so quiet, but she heard a sound other than her breathing. It was a tap. A tap that came from the mirror, that she was now standing right in front of. Alethea was paralyzed with fear. She didn’t even want to tilt her head up to look, but slowly she did start to look up at that mirror she hated so much. She looked into the mirror and saw something so absolutely terrifying she wanted to run, but couldn’t move. She saw the same silhouette, but with all the horrifying details. It was a very tall, skinny woman dressed in small rags. Her eyes were black and deep like tar and her body was contorted in a way a normal person’s shouldn’t. Alethea’s scream echoed throughout the house.

A moment later Luke came running through the front door that Alethea had forgotten to lock.

“Alethea?! I had to come see if you were okay!” The only sound in the whole house was his voice. He walked toward her room. With each step he took the floorboards squeaked. He came into her room and saw her lying on the ground in front of him. He immediately rushed over to her and shouted, “Alethea!? Alethea!? No. No. No. Wake up.” He grabbed her shoulders and tried to get her to wake up, and out of the corner of his eye he saw something move. He gulped and bit his lip, hoping it was just his imagination. He looked up at the ceiling, where he saw the movement, and he saw a tall woman clinging on to the wall with her hands and feet as if she were a spider. Luke’s eyes widened in horror as he saw the woman. She hissed at him, baring her jagged, sharp teeth. She crawled along the wall to the floor, and to Luke’s surprise, into the mirror that sat in the middle of the room. Luke got an odd instinct to break the mirror, and so he did. He left Alethea, quickly walking across the room. He thrust his fist upon the mirror and it shattered. The glass cut his hand and made it bloody, but he felt like the woman was gone. He turned around to check on Alethea, but where she once lay there was only empty space. He looked around the room and there was no sign of her. She had disappeared. The blood from Luke’s hand dripped down onto the floor, each crimson droplet echoing in the empty, lonely house.

Continue to the 2nd place story

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Copyright © 2019 & Christiana Frazier;
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