This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
My mum used to tell me I was invincible, but if you replaced just two of the letters in that word it would be what I actually felt these days. I was twelve when my mum remarried and that was when I became invisible. Not invisible in a haunting the living from the grave kind of way, more like the unseen living kind.
During the preceding months, before my mum dropped me off here, before she drove off again without a backwards glance, she tried to convince me why it would be good for me to come to boarding school, rather than why it would be good for her and her new husband to be alone, and she told me stories about the place. She met my father here. Although it was an all-girls school, she met him at a dance and she seemed proud of the fact she had stolen him from another girl. Maybe, the little voice in my head tried to convince me, she was not such a witch after all. Maybe she only wanted me to follow in her footsteps, to be educated in the proper English way, to rub shoulders with snobs and lower royalties. Maybe she thought I would find the love of my life like she did until he died. Maybe, always so many maybes.
This was only one of the reasons I was standing here in front of room thirteen with an Ouija board under my arm.
I shivered when I heard the wind howling around the corners of the old boarding house and my eyes darted nervously toward the door with the painted over numbers, thirteen.
Rachel reached to take my hand, the bangles on her scarred wrist made a jangled noise. “Don’t be afraid,” she said. “Even if Lily is still in there, it’s not as if she can hurt you, you know.”
Rachel and Sinéad took me under their wing when I arrived a week ago, but they were both a year older and I did not know if they were trustworthy as they were essentially part of the group who instigated this initiation, a dare I had no choice but to accept. I was never a scared girl, never worried about things that went bump in the night, but standing in front of this door tonight, I could feel the tiny hairs at the back of my neck lift as if a sense I had not been aware of in my fifteen years were suddenly becoming over active.
It was rumoured, Lily, the girl who used to reside in this room, fifteen years ago killed herself on the thirteenth of February, the day before Valentine’s Day. Witnesses saw her walking into the mist shrouded lake behind the boarding house. They said, she killed herself because her heart was broken. Nobody knew if any of these stories were true or not.
Rachel insisted, “If her ghost is in there, you can ask her why she killed herself. Was it really because her heart was broken, and, if so, who was the boy?” She subconsciously rubbed her wrist where I previously saw the faint scars.
Sinéad said with an excited tone in her voice, “Last night, I read this magazine and in it, it says that science has confirmed that at the moment of death the body releases a sort of radiation. They called it an electromagnetic field. Apparently, this field is directly linked to the body. So… When somebody dies within a closed space, this electromagnetic field will imprint itself on the surrounding matter.”
I exclaimed, “Really? You’re joking, right? You said she supposedly drowned in the lake.”
She ignored my outburst and continued, “That is why some people believe if somebody in the house died, all containers should be emptied of water, because the water has been contaminated with the spirit of the dead person.” Her eyes darted between Rachel and me, as if we could confirm whether this was true or not.
I just stood there gaping at her. When eventually I managed to form coherent words, I said, “You cannot believe everything you read.”
Rachel asked, “Why then is this room always locked up. In all the years’ I’ve been here, no-one has ever stayed in it.”
I insisted, “What if there isn’t even a ghost and the school board is just superstitious about the number thirteen?”
Rachel dismissed what I said completely and asked, “So are you scared?”
“I wasn’t when I accepted the dare, but now the two of you are talking about all this supernatural stuff and it’s making me nervous.”
Since I accepted the dare, I was dreading the night of February the thirteenth and every time I walked past the fearsome door, I felt shivers scamper down my spine. I could not help having to walk past it regularly, because I had to use the bathroom. The boarding house was a two storey building in the shape of a capital I. I lived on the first floor, five doors away from door number thirteen. Sinéad stayed in a room in one of the shorter annexes, while Rachel stayed on the second floor in the room directly above Sinéad’s. We were only allowed to use the bathrooms on the floor where our rooms were, so it was not as if I could run up to the second floor to use the communal bathroom there. Besides, room number thirteen was the last room next to the large staircase which connected all the floors, so even if I was able to sneak my way up to the second floor, I would still have to walk past that door.
Somehow, Rachel had gotten hold of a skeleton key. “It’s time,” she announced and inched past me.
I was standing behind her and I really did not want to do this any more.
Sinéad was standing behind me and I felt a little claustrophobic pressed between the two of them.
The only thoughts running repeatedly through my mind as I heard the key turn in the lock, was, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this.
The door swung open and a blast of stale air blew past and over us.
Sinéad shrieked softly and Rachel turned around to face her as she stepped aside. “Sshhh, do you want to wake the dead?”
They both giggled as if it was funny.
I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this. I protested silently but the words did not leave my lips.
Slowly I shuffled into the room, while they stayed on the other side of the threshold, being careful not to let their feet touch the boundary.
It felt as if I was walking into a freezer, and in an instant my breath frosted out of my mouth, just by stepping into the room. The room had the standard single bed, bedside table, chest of drawers and study desk. It had the same faded, daisy-printed curtains as the ones decorating my room. The paint on the walls were the same dark with age egg-shell colour and the tiles on the floor was the same green as outside in the corridor.
Even though everything looked the same, it was different. It had a different feel. It felt empty, cold and lonely.
Althea Kerr: This is a tale that is all too familiar to South African readers having lived through a war era on our borders and beyond. It is obviously autobiographical as the mind under duress is so detailed and real. It has fantastic suspense if a bit disjointed - perhaps that is the fear and loneliness com...
Kaitlyn Bier: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...
Deleted User: (A review in progress). I like this. It's sparse, gritty and atmospheric - reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of American detective fiction of the Thirties. I've only read the beginning, but I'll definitely be back. This writer knows their stuff and has done their homework on detective work. T...
Barbara Zavela: Do you know the song, 'Imagine' by John Lennon?If you had a chance for a world like the one described in that song, would you grab it with both hands or turn away and reject it.This story pulls you in from the beginning with well-written scenarios. The author offers you the opportunity to bring y...
Jason Phang: I'm pretty new to Inkitt (this is only my 4th book) and I must say I've been thoroughly impressed by the quality of the authors here. Remnants of Chaos is an excellently written book that hooks the reader, and doesn't let go. There are some grammatical and typographical errors, but nothing too se...
Emperor2000: I joined Inkitt and downloaded this book following a friend who has been on here sometime recommending it. After they spoke about it a bit, I thought why not give it a go. Initially I only expected to read a few chapters, as I have little time to spend reading (not as much as I like). However I c...
Shweta Somwanshi: I just chose to read this out of nowhere and now I can't stop. Hats off to the author who made the reader swoon away with words so beautifully! I loved how I was able to imagine everything so explicitly because the writing was simple and easily comprehensive with a touch of complexity somewhere b...