Thank God I Don't Believe in Ghosts

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
Will Charlotte ever make it home?

Submitted: October 10, 2013

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Submitted: October 10, 2013

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“I know it’s late, mom. Don’t worry I’m going to leave soon… Okay, mom, I love you, too.” I hang up the phone and try once again to focus on the task at hand: the essay that will make or break my grade in psychology 101. My freshman year at Salve Regina has been tough thus far, and there’s nothing I want more than to be home with my family right now. But unfortunately, school comes first. This had been the third call I’d gotten from my mom. Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I still haven’t left the library, and she is just full of concern. “Charlotte,” she whined, “It’s time to come home. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of time to finish that essay.” But she doesn’t understand. The essay is due the day we get back from Thanksgiving break, and I don’t want to spend all my time at home working on it and ignoring my family.

An hour and a half later I’m still sitting at my cubby in the library. I don’t have much more to include in the essay. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll get off campus by midnight. I’m on my fourth pumpkin spiced latte, and I just received my fifth phone call from my mom. As I begin my concluding paragraph, a middle-aged woman appears before me. Her horn-rimmed glasses cover tired eyes, and strands of light brown hair mixed with grey are beginning to fall from her tight up-do.

“I’m sorry Miss Foster, but the library is closing soon. You’re going to have to leave.” Her voice is strict yet soft. She feels bad asking me to leave, but she is also ready to leave for the holiday weekend. I don’t blame her, I’ve been ready to leave for at least a week.

“Thank you, Mrs. Page. I’ll leave now,” I save my document and close down my Mac, “I hope you have a great weekend, happy Thanksgiving.” I smile as I gather my things. She smiles wearily at me as I walk past her towards the exit. My navy blue Honda Civic is one of two cars in the parking lot. I presume the other one belongs to Mrs. Page. I unlock the car and throw my laptop in the backseat with my suitcase before climbing into the drivers seat, coffee in hand. I turn on the car and see that I have almost a full tank of gas. Great, I think to myself, now I won’t have to stop at a sketchy gas station. I turn the radio on low. It’s good background noise, and it helps to keep me awake as I drive off of campus and head for 138 west. The drive home will take me approximately two and a half hours. Since it’s close to midnight, I’m not expecting much traffic. In just thirty minutes I’m on I-95 south, speeding towards Connecticut.

I assumed correctly when I thought there wouldn’t be many people on the highway. I-95 is always somewhat crowded; it’s one of the most traveled highways on the Eastern seaboard. But on this chilly November night, there are not many cars at all. The lack of cars makes it easier to notice my surroundings. The trees are barren now that it’s late November, and the sky is dark, with a few grey wispy clouds floating in front of the moon.

As I approach Old Saybrook, I begin to see signs for a detour. There are cones set up on the highway so that I’m forced to take exit 67. After getting off the exit I pull into a shopping plaza that has a Starbucks in it. I’m in need of more coffee, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check my directions. After paying for another pumpkin spiced latte, I try and set up my GPS. Of course, it isn’t working. How convenient. I scramble around looking for a map in my car. I knew I would regret not cleaning it out before leaving. Finally, I find one located under the passenger seat. After examining it for a few minutes, I conclude that if I continue south for a few minutes I’ll hit route 1. I take a left out of the parking lot and begin driving again.

Twenty minutes later, I still haven’t come across Route 1. Soon, the wind is born again and the rain begins to trickle. Dead leaves stick to my windshield and my windshield wipers only make the effect worse. I pull over and look at the map again. I should be going the right way, yet nothing seems familiar. I pull a rain jacket over my head and get out of the car. How did this happen? I think to myself as I pull dead leaves off of my windshield. When I’m finally done I turn around to get back in my car but I freeze. A white flash approaches me before disappearing into thin air. I vaguely recollect seeing a Victorian lace dress on light grey skin. I stand there clutching the side mirror of my car for 5 minutes, trying to figure out what it was that I just saw. Breathe, Charlotte, breathe… I tell myself. When I finally feel calm again I get back in the car. I begin driving again, but as I continue driving down the street it begins to look more and more eerie. The naked trees bend in towards the street on both sides of the road, and the gravel turns to dirt. This isn’t a road anymore. I’m at a dead end. I make a three point turn and begin to drive back to town when the white flash appears out of nowhere right in front of me. I’m so shocked that I don’t slam on the break. I hit the white being and the loud thud wakes me from my trance. I finally break, hard, and my car comes to a screeching stop on the dirt road. The white creature is gone. Nowhere to be seen. I get out of the car and I’m immediately hit by a massive gust of wind. I get to the front of my car and I see a dent in the front bumper, but nothing around that could have caused the dent. Between the rain and my dry contacts, my vision is blurred. I’m so tired. Could I be hallucinating? This is crazy. I tighten the hood on my jacket and trudge into the woods.

The dirt floor has changed into mud, and the brown goo seeps into my Sperrys. I guess I’m going to need new shoes I think to myself as I stray farther from my car. I keep walking for a few more minutes, and as I’m about to turn around, a white light catches my eye. The white figure is perched next to an old decaying tree. Her pale dried lips curve upwards slightly as her empty eyes take me in. The lace on her dress is torn and ripped; yet it is still clean and white, sticking out brightly in the dark forest. Long onyx locks frame her face. My breathing hitches at the sight of her. My first instinct is to scream, but when I open my mouth, no sound comes out. I must be hallucinating. I blink a few times but she’s still there.

I turn and run, running as fast as I can while trying not to slip and slide through the mud. It’s hard to see, and I narrowly avoid crashing into some trees. When my car is in sight I slow down. I stop in front of it, placing my hands on my knees, panting heavily. I take a look behind me to make sure no ones following me. Luckily, the coast is clear. Turning to face my car again, she’s there, her pale hand resting on the hood of the hood of the car. I scream as loud as I can, for as long as my lungs let me. I desperately scramble backwards, but find myself tripping over my own feet and falling butt first into the pool of mud.

She walks towards me, and I watch as her feet touch the mud but don’t get dirty. I’m so scared; I can barely move. My fingers dig into the ground and I flinch as she reaches out to me. She tries to touch my face, but her transparent fingers slip in and out of my head as if my head is made of air.

“What did I do?” I ask in a shaky voice. She simply cocks her head at an angle, as if she can’t understand me. I try kicking her but my foot passes through her as if she isn’t there, just a part of the air. Her expression angers, causing terror to shoot through me. I pull myself from the mud and run through her to get back to my car. I look back as I’m about to get into my car and I see that she has vanished. I turn the ignition on and speed away from the spot. I look at the clock and see it’s almost two in the morning. My phone begins to ring and I quickly pick it up.

“Charlotte where are you? You should be here by now.” My mom sounds worried.

“I’m fine. I uh… I pulled off the highway and took a power nap since I was so tired.” I lied. I couldn’t possibly tell her that I’d had an encounter with a ghost. After assuring her that I’d be home within the hour, I hang up. I’m finally back in a civilized area. I see streetlights and stores. Everything’s gonna be okay… I tell myself I’ll be back on 95 soon. I begin seeing signs for the interstate. Excited to get back on the road, I speed up. I’m going over seventy miles per hour when, out of nowhere, she appears again. I break hard, and my car begins to hydroplane over the puddles. I don’t have any control of the car, it’s spinning out of control. I crash into a streetlight and the airbags deploy, exploding in my face and hitting my nose. I feel myself slipping away, falling asleep, becoming unconscious. Just before my eyes close, I see her again. She’s on the hood of my car, and her expression has changed. She’s smiling a wicked grin, baring her rotting teeth, and there’s a frightening excitement in her eyes. She begins to lurch towards me and as her hand cups my throat I fall away from life. 


© Copyright 2018 Jillian Flint. All rights reserved.

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