Mount Peterson High is of no good place to live in, for it
settles on the foot of the mount Peterson, stretching its campus
around the mountain like a cemetery, a graveyard for gone people.
Town folks send their kids who either committed theft or burglary
to this school. The constant bully can't be more normal to be
seen. Like what is inside, the outside look doesn't show any sign
of being a cradle to nourish adolescences' knowledge and good
Rose sits on her classroom chair, putting her elbows on the
desk to hold her head. She is looking outside the window. The sun
is setting and crimson light floods into the sky like a spilled
tomato sausage. She loves tomato sausage. She used to dipping the
chips into it before eating them. She would keep eating and
eating till she felt that her stomach was going to burst. It was
a long time ago, long before her parents realized what their
daughter was truly capable of. The air in the classroom is so
moist that it feels suffocating. She wants to get more air. "
More air!! " her mind demanded her. She eyes the window, staring
it in high concentration. The brim of the window moves slowly
with a creaking sound, like a panic person trying to resist a
mysterious and no-where-to-be-seen force pushing him down the
cliff. The window was open and a gust of cold wind breezed in,
cooling her mind. She sighs in both a sense of relief and
She was telekinetic and still is. Her mother realized it when she
was eleven. She and her little brother Bill was picking small
rocks on the riverbank and throwing them back to the river for
fun. Her mother went to check upon them, and found out the most
incredible scene in probably her whole life. Rose was sitting on
the river bank, laughing. There were rocks all round her,
floating like giant Mosquitos. She was laughing and Bill laughed
along with her. She flicked her finger once and one of the rocks
rocketed straight to the river with a loud " plonk " and a splash
of water all flied in all directions.
" Do it again, Rose! " Bill said, " I want to see it again. "
" Rose?! " She heard her mother shouting her name in
disbelief, confusion and scare. She turned to her, her smile
evaporated as the rocks floating besides her dropped to the
riverbank in unison, creating a sound like the applause from the
audiences in a theater.
That put an end to her happy life. Her parents considered
sending her to a boarding school to prevent her from having any
contact with the rest of the family, in case she posed any threat
to the family. But in Rose's heart, the term " family " had lost
its meaning already.
" Rose. " she turns subconsciously. For somehow she would
find herself difficult to find what was the reality and what was
the fantasy. " You are not used to live here. " Sasha used to say
that to her with her blue eyes casting a glance of reassurance.
She was Rose's roommate, a German girl. The way she talked with
her German accent was clumsy and funny, making everything
convincing uncertain. But Rose is now no more a new guy after
living in this place for more than one year. One year was painful
enough to make her realize the cruelty of life, especially after
Sasha's suicide that shocked the whole school, and Rose, who
cried so hard at Sasha's motionless body till the school had to
call someone to carry her away.
She tries to shake the thought off. Not very successful. The
image of Sasha blurs, like an old camera failing to bring to
focus. The crimson light of the setting sun intensifies and fills
everything in her eyesight.
" Rose, Rose... " the disembodied sound is still resonating
as if from far away. She squints. Mama's face illuminates from
the utter whiteness. She fills the beige suitcase with Rose's
belonging while turned and faked a smile. " Time to go. " Mama's
face blurs. It is all like a slow motion of a replay. Her hand
holds the lid of the suitcase, growing a little bit clearer and
blurs again, growing clearer and blurs again, like a camera
desperately finding the right focal length. She zips up the
suitcase. She pulls out the rod. She walks by the front door with
the suitcase on her left hand. All in a slow motion, and it is
yet unsure for Rose what is going on. Mama reached out her right
hand for the door knob, and twists it suddenly like a soldier
changing a magazine on his rifle. The door flings open, and mama
is then immersed into the total whiteness. Her hand waves, like a
drowning person's hand, and she's consumed by the light. "
Rose, Rose... " The sound resonates within the void of whiteness,
then everything drifts away...
" Rose! " Her consciousness is suddenly back like a wandering
spirit finally found its body. She pats her temple with both of
her hands. " Am I day dreaming again?" She mumbles silently.
Standing by the doorway it is Miss Elmer. She is a short and
skinny woman who looks forty when she barely reaches her thirty.
A golden rimless glass hung on her nose tilts a little bit to
the left, as if unable to hold its position on her high and sleek
nose bridge. She glances down upon Rose who supports her elbows
on the desk.
" What are you doing here? " She asks with a snort.
" You brats just can't behave, that's how close to goners you
are. " She then giggles like a witch, lifting her glasses with
her finger so it won't fall.
Rose lowers her head abruptly as she tries to block the
skinny " crone " with her newly done fringe, and muttered
quietly: " Oh, shit. "
She walks out of the classroom and wanders off on campus. It
is too late for the dinner as the cafeteria has closed. The cold
breeze is blowing like a whisperer murmuring besides her. Rose
raises her head up and stares through the misty sky. The setting
sun is dipping into the horizon. Under this circumstance, a sense
of nostalgia looms deep inside Rose's heart. Like a déjà vu, a
twitching memory like a sleek serpent, hissing rhythmically. She
grinned subconsciously. " Why am I smiling? " She puts her hands
on her blushed chin, massaging it gently so the light grin will
disappear. The wind is still blowing, with the mixture of grass
and soil scents filling her nostril with the smell of home, a
recollection of that river bank, a realization of her hidden
ability. " She stops massaging her chin, and instead uses her
hands to cover her mouth while giggling wildly. " I told you I
can, Natasha. And now I'm gonna show you. " She giggled harder
that it almost became a laugh. She walks back to the teaching
building where she has just left, where Miss Elmer is still who
has no idea that the time for her to live is winding down.
Miss Margaret Elmer slowly walks back to her office to
collect some papers and her purse. Her high heel sound resonates
on the corridor like an invisible spy looking at her through the
shadow. It takes courage for a young woman to teach in a school
so notorious for its students' bad behaviors. " Being hard, being
merciless. " She adopted the notion from the headmaster the first
day she stepped onto the campus of Mount Peterson High. The
headmaster afterward resigned for the charge on him of
deliberately humiliating one female student. That student lately
killed herself by jumping out the fifth floor of the teaching
building. Margaret did it so well to clean the mess left by the
headmaster, who she despised as being a coward who was scared
like a hell after he saw the incident. He was at the first floor
when the body thumped on the ground just in front of him. The
blood splashed on his face, leaving him standing there stiffly.
Margaret was summoned in to cope with the situation when she saw
the headmaster, who dropped to his knees and covered his
blood-stained face with his hands as if trying to hide his
distorted face. He was desperate and acting like a five-year-old
child. As for the dead student, things turned out to be a lot
easier knowing that she was an illegal immigrant. The local
sheriff came and deposited the body, and then nobody brought up
it anymore as if it had never happened.
She feels that someone is looking at her, a feeling pretty
normal among teachers in this school. For Margaret. She took that
sensation pretty easily. The result used to turn out that someone
just forgot to close the window or the broom was put in the wrong
place so it looked like a figure standing in the shadow of
darkness. She would laugh at the people who came to her
complaining about that. This time, it seems that she is the one
to feel afraid herself. It is a different feeling that Miss
Margaret Elmer experiences. With each step she takes, the feeling
intensifies. She stretches her body a little bit to shake the
chill off, but it continues building upon her.
" What is going on with me? " She grimaces in confusion. The
instinct and long atheistic belief demands her to keep walking.
But she stops anyway to collect her thought. " Maybe I just had a
bad day. "All of a sudden, her thought is cut abruptly when she
realizes that the footsteps doesn't stop. It permeates the hollow
corridor like the summon of ghosts. Margaret, for a moment, is
unable to process what is going on. But a situation like this
definitely gives her gooseflesh. She backs up a little bit,
trying to retain her rational thinking. " I'm just being too
tired. I'm just being too tired. " She breathes heavily, partly
from fear and partly from the fact that she was practically
running before she stopped and heard the footstep sound. From the
left side in the ten o'clock direction, a shadowy figure passes
without sound. Margaret turns in panic. Her composure and
collectedness is already shattered into pieces like a enamel
utensil being blown by a large and invisible hammer. She begins
sweating. The sound of the footstep grows louder, and clearer. It
is clear enough to make out that it is the sound of high heels
clattering on the ground. She stumbles in the process of backing
up, and fell on the hard floor. Being like a prey in a trap,
Margaret firstly tastes the primordial horror. She fumbles up
when she see once again the shadowy figure in the darkness. This
time the figure doesn't move. It keeps its position like a
curious kid. It is a kid actually, considering its slender figure
and the reflection of the skirt under the dim light of setting
sun. Margaret can't tell who that is, or what that is. Her mind
is slow, much slower to be regarded as a sharp person's mind
which earned her credit in that harrowing incident. The sound of
high heel's end clattering on the ground is still building up,
like the volume of a radio being slowly and incessantly turned up
until it reaches its limit. Margaret knows that she has to run,
run away from that spooky building, which's exactly what she did
as she flees all the way back to wherever she was before.
Upstairs and crossing the auditorium, she let herself run like a
frightening kid not considering the fact that she is still
wearing her high heels. The unceasing sound of high heals hitting
the ground now just makes her numb. She couldn't make out whether
the sound comes from her own shoes or somewhere mysterious.
" No!!! " The long and desperate howl indicate the situation
that Margaret Elmer, the bold and arrogant woman who was called
by students Miss Elmer, is falling over the verge of insanity and
deep into the eternal abyss.
She drops into her knees just like the former headmaster did
witnessing the tragic incident. She covers her mouth with her
perfume-worn hands and starts weeping, when she again senses the
chill on her. Margaret stiffly raises her tear-smeared face and
eyes the figure in front of her. That figure looks back on her
eyes. The first and middle finger of her left hand moves slightly
upwards and downwards following a strange but familiar rhythm as
if dangling an invisible pen. The horrible and piercing eyes
locks on Margaret like that from a wolf. It takes quite a few
seconds for Margaret to realize what that eerie rhythm is. She
turns towards her back and sees a pair of high heels, being put
in an awkward position as if someone unseeable is wearing it,
clatters on the ground incessantly.
All of this is just too much for a normal person to process, not
even Margaret Elmer. The whole situation is just like playing one
horror game and reaches the point where there is just no way to
save the main character. The only exception for Margaret is that
there is no turning back when she reaches this stage, not a
single thread of possibility, and it is clear like a newly made
photo for her what she is going to face. The figure starts
chanting something she can't quite understand. Maybe she just has
no more sanity to grasp the meaning of it. It is if she is
counting numbers from ten to zero. With each number being
pronounced, Margaret feels that she can't breath. Her chest
tightens and she struggles on the ground like a dying prey, body
twitching as if trying to hold back her dissipating soul. Before
everything is over, the girl standing in front of her murmurs
with a leery grin: " Full stop", and the body stops moving.
Mr. James Ralph is extremely busy these days. Partly is
the fact that he has just lost one of his good helper Miss
Margaret Elmer who was found dead in the auditorium in the
teaching building. The coroners said it was the heart attack.
" Really, heart attack. " James feels pretty sad because
Margaret has never told him that. She was a hardworking and
devoted woman who cares about students and the school. Though
James doubts the former one to be her priority, or to be anyone's
priority. He was to be announced new school headmaster after the
incident of suicide thanks to the help from Miss Elmer. He has
just gotten another phone call informing that one female student
has left the campus without permission. He smacked the phone into
the cradle, exhausted. To be honest, except from the fact that it
is more lucrative as a headmaster, there really isn't anything to
be his motivations, especially being in this godforsaken school.
( Rose )
Rose takes one last glance at Miss Elmer's body and walks
out of the building, and the school. She steps on the grass land
of Mount Peterson.After one year in that school like a prisoner,
she is astonished to find out how beautiful the outside world is.
Walking barefooted on the field, she starts memorizing,
recollecting the moment with Sasha, each conversation and each
glance of eye contacts.
( memory )
" I wish I could get out of this place. I'm sick of here.
People are mean and teachers care nothing but themselves. "
" Don't say that, Rose. There are good people. "
" No, there are no good people. "
" I feel pretty okay staying here. Teachers are just being
" Anyway, I promise you, Sasha. If anyone dare hurt you. I
will rip he or she into pieces and make them suffer. "
" Don't be too sure about yourself. You are just a girl. "
" Sure I can, I got abilities. . . "
( Reality )
Ross is still walking. She passes fields after fields of
corns. It feels good for her. Feels like being at home, though
the term " family " has lost meaning for her.
So where is the home. Ross wanders on and on till she reaches
the brink of one field where she can make out the road where she
took the car of her daddy here one year ago. She carelessly picks
up some rocks with her telekinetic ability, and soon there are
lots of rocks floating around her like giant mosquitos.
" Maybe I will just go home, " Rose droops her hair. " and
play the trick to Bill again. " The breeze touches her hairs and
face gently, making a sound as if in agreement.
" That will probably do. He will like it. He always like my
tricks. " Rose smiles like Rose, as she walks on the road
stretching far to the end where it meets horizon, like the
staircase to heaven.