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  • Writer's pictureBreanna Crossman

The Ghost of You by Smrithe Rajesh

Oliver tapped his fingers against the hardwood table in a repetitive motion. It was a cool, summer day and the boy was bored out of his mind. His mother, Theresa, frowned at him with a disapproving look as she cleaned the countertops.

“Would you stop doing that Oliver? You’re giving me a huge headache!” Oliver slowly moved his hands away from the table and groaned heavily.

“What am I supposed to do? There is nothing else left to do!” Oliver whined.

“You could play in your room,” suggested his mom.

“Too boring.”

“Invite your friends over?”

“They’re too busy.”

“Fine then, go outside and play. The weather is beautiful today, and you need the extra sunlight,” Theresa insisted. Oliver sighed as he began to protest.

It seemed completely deserted from the inside, the walls covered with cobwebs and layers of dust filled the atmosphere. The paint also seemed to be peeling off but besides all of the stereotypical creepy features that any horror house had, the place looked like any other giant house in the neighborhood across the Burberry Lake. Oliver looked outside the window to see that the rain had stopped pouring. In hindsight, this should have been where Oliver left the house and went back to his own home, to his extremely worried mom. However, Oliver was always the inquisitive type so he of course did the opposite and continued to explore the inside of the creepy home.

“Of course you do! Now go, being cooped inside is not healthy for a growing child like you,.” she exclaimed and pointed towards the red door of their small house. So Oliver, despite his own wishes, went outside to find something entertaining to do besides pester his mom. The sunshine reflected off Oliver’s dirty blonde hair as he kicked the small pebbles he encountered on his walk. He continued kicking stones and walking around the neighborhood when suddenly, a trickle of water landed on his head. The boy looked up to find that the sky had become a light gray, and a drizzling rain started to pour down. Great Oliver thought, Just great. He knew that pretty sooner or later, the drizzle would become hard rain, and his house was now too far out of sight for him to make it before he got drenched.

Screech! Oliver heard a sudden noise of a car halting as he turned around to find a huge, black Sudan stopping in front of him. A sudden pain rushed through his body, most likely from the shock of the near-death experiences as he searched around for a place to lay low. A tree, a shed, anything, anything at all. Until, he finally found an old abandoned home. Now, Oliver was obviously very wary about entering the house since it wasn’t just any house, it was the Hayes House. The Hayes House had been rumored to be haunted, and that the ghost of the previous owner’s little boy still lived in that very house. Apparently, it had been said that the boy, Timothy Hayes, had mysteriously died in the house, and his spirit roamed the halls to this day. Oliver never really believed in stories of ghosts or anything even ghost related, however, he was still cautious of entering inside the house. He contemplated his choices and ended up deciding on entering the so-called “haunted house.” After all, ghosts aren't real. He sprinted towards the tall, dark doors of the huge mansion and slowly opened the door to peak inside.

It seemed completely deserted from the inside, the walls covered with cobwebs and layers of dust filled the atmosphere. The paint also seemed to be peeling off but besides all of the stereotypical creepy features that any horror house had, the place looked like any other giant house in the neighborhood across the Burberry Lake. Oliver looked outside the window to see that the rain had stopped pouring. In hindsight, this should have been where Oliver left the house and went back to his own home, to his extremely worried mom. However, Oliver was always the inquisitive type so he of course did the opposite and continued to explore the inside of the creepy home.

He placed his hand against the wall and let his fingers trail against the rough texture. In a way it was sort of comforting for Oliver to have this down time. He grew up in a very small family however, Oliver couldn’t find any real peace and quiet. His father often worked a lot and his mother had always brought over friends to try and “liven up the place.”

The house obviously wasn’t haunted, since he hadn’t run into any weird antics since he entered the house, so there was nothing to be afraid of. Then, he stumbled across a huge portrait that hung on the nearby wall.. It seemed to be a portrait of a young boy, around 14 or 15, with dark hair and brooding eyes. Next to the artwork, a small piece of paper in tiny print said, “Timothy Hayes, age 15, 1997-2012.” He stared back at the dull eyes as he looked at the painting of the deceased boy, a sense of sadness glimmering in his eyes.

“That’s a really nice portrait isn’t it?” a voice spoke. Oliver jumped in shock as he turned around to see who was speaking.

“Who are y-you?” Oliver trembled as he began regretting his actions. He shouldn’t have been here. He had seen too much.

“Actually, the question is who are you?” The figure appeared out of the shadows to reveal a teenager with a smug smile. “I’m Timothy Hayes. The boy in the painting. Nice to meet you.”

Oliver’s face had become extremely pale as his hands started to sweat uncontrollably.

“That can’t be right because you’re-you’re--”

“Dead?” Timothy replied. “Yeah I get that a lot.”

“This has got to be some sick prank from Benny or Nina.”

“Do you want me to prove it to you?” Timothy asked. “Look at this.” In an instant, Timothy stuck out his arm against a wall, only for his arm to go through it instead. “See, this is ghost stuff.”

“Then I'm probably dreaming-, quick slap me across the face!” Timothy gave Oliver an offended glare as he motioned towards himself.

“Hello? I don't think you quite understand what the word “ghost” means.” Oliver slowly backed away and took a seat in a chair behind him.

“My entire life has been a lie,” he muttered to himself as he started to fiddle with his hands, desperately trying to register what he had just seen.

“You still haven’t answered my question, who are you?” Timothy inquired.

“Oh um I’m Oliver, Oliver Romano.” He stared back at the apparition with his dark green eyes as he continued on. “My dad is from Italy and my mom is from North Carolina, and I live in the neighborhood across from here.”

“Well, hi Oliver, nice to meet you,.” Timothy grinned. “As you obviously know I am the infamous Timothy Hayes, son of Weston and Millicent Hayes.” Timothy took a dramatic bow making Oliver chuckle at the sudden motion. “So what brings you here Oliver Romano? Not many people find a haunted house to be the ideal place to spend their time.”

“Well I don’t really believe in ghosts... well um,” he glanced back at Timothy, “well.. before I met you that is, so I just, I don’t know... came here.” The dark haired boy laughed at Oliver’s remark and raised his voice to speak.

“I like you-you’re interesting.” “And you’re interesting too.”

“What do you say then? Friends?” Timothy remarked with a playful grin.

“Sure why not? But if you don’t mind me asking, how did you die?” Oliver inquired.

“Actually...I don’t really know. All I really remember is my mother and father’s faces and when I had woken up, they had proclaimed I was dead.”

Oliver had always wondered what it had felt like when you had died, but this was nothing close to what he had thought of.

“I'm sorry you went through that.”

“Eh dont be,.” Timothy remarked, “I don’t remember half of it.” Oliver smiled solemnly at the boy next to him, the feelings of sympathy and admiration for the Hayes first-born. He of course felt sad that he had died so young, but at the same time, he couldn’t help but admire how well he had accustomed himself to this life, or death, that he was given.

“They say that a ghost only stays in this world if there is something left for him to do. So, what is your unfinished business?” Timothy spoke.

“Why are you asking me that?”

“You know why I am! I mean how did you die and what do you think your business is?” A pang of worry struck Oliver’s heart as he looked back at his dark haired friend.

“But I'm not dead.” “Of course you are, how else can you see me? The only way that someone can see ghosts is if---”

“They’re dead.” Oliver’s spoke, his eyes as big as saucers and his hands violently trembling. “.......I’m dead.”

Smrithe Rajesh (she/her) is a 15-year-old sophomore currently residing in the United States. Her work has appeared multiple times in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and she has had her work published in the Incandescent Review and other notable publications. She enjoys reading and eating ice cream in her free time.

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