Ghosts of the Past

Lily Baines lives the stereotypical life of a broken-hearted teenage girl; that is, until she is visited by the ghost of her dead almost-boyfriend. She embarks on a daring mission to go back in time and prevent his death - and not lose herself in the process.

A warm breeze floated into the crowded hall, but I didn’t pay it any attention. Navy-uniformed students filed past me, jostling each other in their apparent haste to reach their final class of the day. I was in no hurry, absently putting one foot in front of the other on my way to English. More students, girls outfitted in blue skirts and boys sporting blazers of the same color, quickly sidled through the door to English 3 Honors.

My desk was in the corner, near the open window. There was a pink post-it note stuck to the top of the desk.

Be happy! Love, Mika :)

Not a moment after I read this, the dark-blonde girl in question appeared at my shoulder. I adopted the happiest disposition I could muster to talk to her. “Good afternoon, Mika,” I said, trying to keep the emptiness out of my voice.

She gave me a sad smile. “How was your day?” she asked.

“As good as it could have been, considering what day it is,” I sighed.

She patted my arm. “You’ll be fine,” she told me. “Do you want to come to my house after school?”

I looked down at the floor. “I actually have some things to do today.”

“Okay, if you’re sure. Call me if you need to talk.” She started to say more, but the bell rang at that moment. Mika took her seat behind me after giving me another reassuring glance just as the teacher called the class to attention.

“Today,” she began, “we will be commencing our poetry unit. Start off by writing a poem. It can be anything you want, but you only have ten minutes. Time starts...” she looked at her watch. “Now.”

I clicked my mechanical pencil absentmindedly. Staring down at the blank sheet in front of me, I found that I didn’t feel much like writing. Least of all, writing poetry. I tried to start with something easy. In small letters at the top, I wrote the word "Spring." What do I like about Spring? I asked myself. Nothing much, there’s just a lot of allergies. No... My mind was wandering. Poetry? This was the worst possible day for poetry. I thought about writing a poem that matched my mood, but there was no way that I could put my emptiness into words. Finally, I just put down my pencil and looked out the window into the blue sky. Spring, I thought. It was his favorite season. But it was also the season when-

I raised my hand.

“Yes, Lily?” asked the teacher.

“May I use the bathroom?”

The teacher nodded. I walked quickly out of the classroom and down the hall, my pace quickening every moment. The bathroom was empty, luckily enough. The tears that I could barely conceal during class now let loose. I tensed as the bathroom door clicked open and I hurried into a stall, locking it.

“Lily?” came Mika’s soft voice.

I wiped my eyes and slowly opened the door. “Yes?” I asked quietly.

My friend was standing with her hands clasped over her navy skirt with a look of sincere concern on her face. “There are only ten minutes of English left. Do you think you can make it?” she asked. I nodded, but more hot tears leaked out of my eyes and I stopped short. Mika enveloped me in a hug as I was racked with sobs, but said nothing. After a few minutes, I straightened up, rubbing my eyes. “Here, this might help you,” she said, taking a packet out of her pocket and scattering the contents into my hair.

“What was that for, Mika?” I murmured, examining the fine, gray powder that was spread throughout my dark hair.

“It should help calm you.”

“It smells good,” I said, breathing in the aroma.

“Lavender,” she explained. “You should feel better until the end of school.”

“Thanks,” I said, smiling. Mika’s mother was an old-style apothecary and Mika always had a remedy for everything, even now in the 21st century. “But what will I do about the powder in my hair? It looks messy.”

She laughed and helped me to brush away the lavender. “Shall we go back to class? I think we only have a few minutes left.”

I nodded once more, and we went back to the classroom. We were just in time for the teacher to collect our work. Guiltily, I passed in my poem. Or, more precisely, poem title. But I didn’t feel as bad once I looked at Mika’s paper, which was blank as well. After class, I asked her about it. “Mika,” I started. “Why didn’t you write a poem?”

“I was just thinking,” she said, slinging her messenger bag over her shoulder.

“About what?” I asked her.

She looked thoughtful, like she was choosing her words carefully. “About... Well, I was wondering if... If we knew what was going to happen... Could we have changed anything?” she finished quickly.

The question took me off guard. “If I could have changed anything, I would have. You know that.”

“I’m sorry,” she said apologetically. “I just couldn’t concentrate today.”

“Me neither. All I wrote on my paper was a title.”

“Better than mine,” she laughed, but then became somber once more. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow,” she told me. “Call me if you need anything!” With just one more quick glance, she turned and walked down the street towards her house.

It took me longer than usual to get home. There was too much on my mind, I guess. I kept looking across the street, half-expecting to feel pebbles being flung at me across the asphalt and to hear his light laugh at my response to his ambush. Spring... I could see why he liked it. The smooth, green-leaved trees stood in stark contrast against the deep blue sky, and the pink and white flowers that lined the window boxes of the houses on my street were in full bloom. I savored the sights, but was walking up the front steps to my house’s porch in what seemed like too short a time. I walked immediately up the stairs to my bedroom.

“Lily, did you have a good day at school?” called my mother from the kitchen.

“It was fine,” I lied with false energy.

“Great!” came the response. “Dinner’s in half an hour.”

“Okay, thanks.” She doesn’t know what today is, I thought as I forced open my bedroom door. I slung my pack down and slowly went over to the bulletin board. There were numerous items on it: medals, certificates, memoirs... But the most important thing lay in an plain envelope pinned to the board behind a batch of academic ribbons. I unpinned it and took it down, pulling from within it a faded newspaper article, then sat on my bed and scanned it.

The End

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