Rianna knew she was late.
The sky had darkened to an almost blackish indigo, the reds and oranges on the verge of disappearing for the day. As she looked out of the window of the fourth floor chemistry lab, she couldn’t help but come to another chilling realisation.
She was alone.
She looked around the dimly lit lab, and then at the table where she had fallen asleep.
Stupid detention, she muttered as she stuffed the exam paper she was supposed to be completing as her punishment into her bag.
Bet that the Teach forgot there was still a student left in here.
She slid the door open and peered out. Apart from the dim night lights, there was no other illumination in the corridor. She stepped out, closed the door behind her and hurried towards the stairs.
I am not scared…I am not scared…
It was uncanny how a building so light and airy during the school hours would seem so frightening and repressive at night. She gripped her satchel tightly to her chest and kept her eyes to the floor. The checked tiles seemed to calm her like a balm.
I’m sixteen, for God’s sake! Time I stopped behaving like a kid scared of the monsters in the dark.
All hell broke loose when she reached the second floor.
At first, Rianna thought her eyes developed a mind of their own and were playing tricks. She rubbed them vigorously with the heels of her palms.
Two white apparitions. Shapeless. Massless.
And certainly lifeless.
And they were floating. Towards her.
Rianna debated the merits of screaming but her vocal chords were strangely uncompliant.
She held her breath.
They came close…closer…closer.
They were an inch away from her. Her knees were locked, her limbs frozen. Her heart forgot to beat for a couple of moments.
They floated away.
She whipped around. Only to see a mass of such apparitions follow the two who just passed by her. And all of them ignored her.
Curiosity getting the better of her, she followed them, terror temporarily forgotten.
All the white somethings assembled in a class. She read the brass plaque on the door.
What are they doing in grade eight’s classroom? She wondered.
The Whites, as she dubbed them for the lack of a better term, took position to what she recognised as seats; she realised there were thirty-five Whites in the classroom.
Are these things…students??? Rianna was astonished beyond comprehension.
After a minute or so, another blob of massless nothing, this time a darker one, entered the classroom and stepped up the teacher’s dais.
This was a classroom. With a teacher.
What on earth was going on here?
The Whites shifted, as if standing up.
Prayer? She mused.
She whispered the school prayer under her breath. After finishing, she poked open an eye. As if on cue, the Whites resumed their seats.
They were praying after all, she realised. Do dead floaty things pray?
The Purple floated all over the blackboard, as if writing something.
The Whites seemingly copied it down…on something. Rianna couldn’t fathom what.
After a while, as the outside darkened completely, the Purple walked out of the classroom. The Whites now floated around, as if talking to each other.
It is as if they are in school, during the school hours.
Deciding she had enough supernatural action for a day, she quietly climbed down the remaining two flights of steps before slipping out of the grounds.
She checked her watch. Five minutes to eight.
Her mom didn’t come home by nine. And her dad was out on a business trip for the week.
A side-trip to the library wouldn’t hurt anyone, would it?
The library, which stayed open till almost eleven in the night was surprisingly empty. She looked around.
The lights were lit and the books were displayed as usual. Only thing missing were the people.
Even the librarian.
She shrugged it off before making a beeline for the computers at the rear end of the reading area.
She opened a browser window. To her surprise, the internet connection showed the status as disconnected.
What the hell?
She banged her fist on the mouse pad in frustration, clicking in annoyance when the action didn’t emit the noise she wanted.
She stood up, only to find a newspaper carelessly lying on the chair next to her. It looked brown with age.
An old newspaper?
She picked it up, muttering away about careless people.
Her eyes fell on the date. She swore her heart literally stopped this time.
It was today’s date. Then why the hell did it look a hundred years old?
She looked around slowly; three white blobs floated around the shelves.
Her eyes fell on the dark window pane that reflected the lit library. And a white blob. Holding a newspaper.
Standing exactly where she was standing.
She looked down. It was her hand.
She checked the window pane. It was a White blob.
She looked around. Slowly, she could figure out faint human outlines in the Whites that floated between the shelves.
A memory ran through her mind—a memory of searing, burning pain. As if she had dived into a molten lava bath.
The library aged before her eyes…to a rusty, broken down building with a few, flickering lights. Then it instantly reverted to its brighter, familiar avatar.
An illusory avatar, she realised.
Her heart hadn’t figuratively stopped. All this time, it hadn’t been beating at all. It had actually stopped.
A long time ago.
This, her home…it had become a ghost town.
And she, a true, living, existing, massless, floating White ghost.