an excerpt from a horror story by Inara Pirani, ’19

     My stomach flip flopped as I followed my new principal, Dr. Trent, down the worn, rubber-lined steps of my new school. My legs felt like jello as Dr. Trent turned down a long hallway. I hated meeting new people. I’ve never been that outgoing person, who introduces themselves to everyone they see. What would I say to people?

“Hi, my name is Colton, and I just moved from Toronto to Engleheart in Ontario. My parents got divorced a year and a half ago, but  I haven’t heard anything from my dad for almost a year. My mom was still in school when they got divorced. She had to quit, but she couldn’t find a job in Toronto, and we couldn’t keep our old house there. We lived in a shelter and had to live off government funding?” No. I wasn’t going to tell people all that. Besides, I was just looking for a short and sweet response, that would answer everyone’s nosy questions. No long explanation involved.

 

     As Dr. Trent walked down the seemingly endless hallway filled with messy student made posters advertising clubs and bake-sales, I couldn’t help but glance down at my tattered sneakers and slightly faded corduroys. I had gotten used to going to school in secondhand clothes from the thrift store down the street from the shelter, back in Toronto. All the clothing there looked like they were from nineteen ninety. You know, striped turtlenecks, corduroy pants, and varsity jackets.

     Anyway, to explain my story, my mom and her siblings decided that she should take their inherited house which used to belong to my great Uncle Garrison. No one had lived in the house for 15 years before we moved in.

     The house is super large with six bedrooms and three bathrooms. The building  is in a rather rundown condition though. The front steps are bashed and broken and all the doors creak when you opened them. Also, because the house is so old, it has really dim lights. We had already blown several fuses trying to run the toaster and the microwave at the same time. The house, overall, is kinda creepy. Anyway, my mom moved my siblings and me to Engleheart and Mom got a job as a receptionist at Englehart District Hospital. Like I said, today’s my first day at Englehart Middle School.

     The classroom that Dr. Trent walked into was like every other classroom I had ever been in. Gray painted walls with tall windows and a chalky gray tiled floor, covered in shoe marks and dirt. Posters displaying photosynthesis and plant vs. animal cells were hung up on the wall across from the large windows. In the back of the classroom were black lab benches. The student desks stood in neat rows in the middle of the classroom. They were the average middle school desks; gray, with the right arm attached to the back of the chair. Almost all of them were occupied by a pair of eyes staring at me. At the front of the room, adjacent to the whiteboard, was the teacher’s desk with a tall dark haired woman sitting behind it. I supposed she was Mrs. Madaki. She looked up when I walked in. Dr. Trent stood behind me, with her hand on my shoulder.

     “Mrs. Madaki, this is your new student; Colton Petersson.”

     Everyone’s eyes followed me as Dr. Trent practically pushed me to the front of the room. They were probably taking in my holey green and white striped turtleneck, my faded, too short blue corduroys and my beat up high tops that once belonged to my older brother Ski. I wanted to melt into the floor. Or run and hide. Or ship myself back to Toronto. Or just become invisible.

     If I had been my brother Ski, I would have smiled and cracked a funny joke that would have made everyone laugh, instantly love me and take their  minds off my clothes. But my mind was blank. Instead Mrs. Madaki stood up and walked over to me.

     “Nice to meet you Colton,” Mrs. Madaki said, shaking my clammy hand. “There is an empty desk next to Rebecca over there.”

     I frantically looked around the room, hoping to spot the empty desk. At last, I found it. I hurried to sit down and get out of the spotlight.

     The day passed pretty slowly. In every class I was stared at, like a fish in a bowl. Several people shot curious looks at my clothes but no one said anything to me. Finally, at the end of my day I had a study hall. I walked into the room and looked around. The desks were arranged into four groups. A group of girls had already sat down at one of the groups. A mixed group of boys and girls had taken over the other one. I figured that was the ‘popular kids’ kind of table–no one else would have the nerve to sit at a mixed gender table unless they were popular. The third table was half-filled with boys who were talking rapidly to each other and at the last table sat a girl with long black hair, scribbling furiously in a notebook. I glanced around again and took a seat at the boy’s table. They all looked up when I came over. Should I ask if I can sit here? Or should I just sit down and start working? What if they think I’m rude? But I really DON’T want to talk….

     “Hey, are you that new kid?” one of the boys said, interrupting my panic attack. He was smiling, but it seemed like kind of a bemused grin.

     “Yeah,” I muttered as I felt my cheeks grow hot. That always happens to me when I get nervous. Ski always makes so much fun of me because of it. He says I look like a tomato.

     “Cool, I’m Logan.  Where’d you move from?” one of the other boys asked.

     The room suddenly

 

went silent after Logan’s question. Everyone stared at me. I blushed even harder. “Uh…Toronto,” I said shakily.  All of a sudden the teacher walked into the room. I sighed with relief, hoping that the teacher would stop the conversation. Instead, he quickly took a head count and sat down at the teacher’s desk, not paying any attention to anyone.  

     “Cool. What’s it like there?” Logan asked, pulling his phone out of his pocket.

     “Uh. You know. It’s…yeah,” I said. What do I say? Toronto was like Toronto. It wasn’t like I was from somewhere exotic like Zimbabwe or Spain or somewhere like that. After all, Toronto was only a five and a half hour drive from here.

     “So where do you live now?” Logan asked.

     “On Kendall Street,” I said, trying to sound as confident as possible.

     “Hey! I live on Kendall Street too! Which house is yours?” A short boy with black bangs asked me.

     “Oh…ummmm,” I stammered, trying to think where my house was. “It’s the last house on the right. Near the intersection with Laurier Street, I think.”

     “Wait. That haunted house?” A short boy with black hair asked.

     “I guess…” I said. “I guess it is kinda creepy.”

     “Yeah.” The boy threw me a weird look. I wished they would stop asking questions. No such luck.

 

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