Two days later…
Laura looked at her new school from Mr. Roger’s car. Her school looked just the way she imagined it. Two stories high, completely made of red bricks with what looked like two windows for each room. The front entrance was two wooden doors that all the students were going through. With how short some of the students were, Laura had a feeling that some of them were middle school students as well. She was right, this school was a lot smaller than her high school back home.
Mr. Rogers looked at the school. It looked like a nice place with a smaller student body. He liked that. It meant for sure that Laura wouldn’t run into any trouble here. With Laura’s school back in Orlando, he always heard about students getting in trouble for skipping school, cutting classes or detentions or suspensions. He didn’t want that happening to his daughter and this school looked like it didn’t have any trouble. “Ready for your first day here?” He asked Laura.
Laura looked at her dad. “Do I really have to do this?” She asked. She didn’t want to be labeled as the new girl at school. Especially if the school was this small. It would take forever for her to lose that label here unlike her last school where there was always a new kid every few weeks or so. “I could do online schooling until I graduate and then go back to Orlando.”
Mr. Rogers shook his head. “Laura. I don’t want you stuck in your room all day on your phone trying to do online school while I try to get the Wi-Fi set up. Besides, here at least I know you’ll be doing school work.” He answered.
Great. So her dad didn’t trust her to do school work. Laura resisted the urge to groan. Her dad was probably right. She would be wanting to text Ted and her other friends back home. She looked back at the school. “Let’s get this over with.” Laura said before she got out of the car and walked into the building.
As Laura was walking to the office, she heard a bell ring. It sounded nothing like the bell back home. This one actually sounded like a wrestler ring that announced the beginning of a match. Great. Another thing that would make this a really old fashion school. She still had to go to the office even if it meant she would be late for her first class. She didn’t even know where any of her classes were yet. Hopefully, the principal would understand and be lenient.
No sooner did she think that a man marched right up to her. He gave Laura a creepy vibe. He was dressed all in black and had black dressed-up shoes on. His right hand had a skull ring on the finger next to his pinkie. His black hair had grey streaks in it. The way he was glaring at her made it clear he wasn’t happy to see her in the hallway.
“Ms. Laura Rogers?” The man asked in a velvety voice.
“Yes?” Laura replied hesitantly. She wasn’t sure if it was a good thing that the man was looking for her.
“I am Principal Future.” The man told Laura. “Principal Anton Future. You will refer to me as Principal Future, Mr. Future or Sir. Understand?”
Laura nodded. “Yes Sir.” She answered. Future was a strange last name to have but she wasn’t about to say that and get on the Principal’s bad side. She wouldn’t be surprised if he only had a bad side.
Principal Future crossed his arms over his chest. “You’re late. Normally I would give you a detention but since this is your first day, I will cut you some slack but just this once.” He told Laura. “Follow me to get your schedule.” With that, Principal Future turned and started walking in the direction he had been walking from. Laura, not wanting to be left behind, followed him quickly.
Principal Future led Laura into the office. Laura couldn’t help but notice it was small and quaint. She wondered if Principal Future was also the secretary for the school. Principal Future took out a sheet of paper and gave it to Laura. “Here’s your schedule.” He said. “Now get to class.”
Laura quickly left the room and looked at her schedule. She had Pre-Calculus first in room zero-zero-three. Must be a basement floor. She groaned. She didn’t really want to go to the basement but she didn’t want to get into any more trouble.
That afternoon, Laura was sitting by her new friends at a lunch table. Her morning had been slow and her arms hurt from having to carry so many new textbooks. She hated it. Back at her school in Orlando, she never needed so many textbooks. She could just do everything on her school laptop. She didn’t even have one of those here. Someone needed to tell the Principal to get with the times.
Laura looked at her friends. There was Richie, Billy and Beverly. Beverly and Billy were clearly a couple the way they were holding hands and Richie seemed like a quiet guy. They weren’t Laura’s first choice of friends, none of them could measure up to Ted and her friends back home, but they were the best she could do.
“You know, I never thought anyone was going to move into the Abandoned House.” Billy was saying. “No one’s lived there in nearly fifty years.”
Laura realized that Billy was talking about the house her dad and she had moved into. She didn’t realize it had a title. She wondered if everyone was talking about how she was living in what sounded like the most infamous house in the town. She also realized she might now have her chance to finally learn what made her house so strange and why it had been abandoned for so long.
“Why is it called the Abandoned House?” Laura asked. Her friends looked at her and stopped talking. Laura realized that she must have asked something that shocked them.
“You don’t know why it’s the Abandoned House?” Beverly asked.
Richie smiled. “About forty-six years ago or so, right around this time, Oberlin’s richest family lived in your house. Their oldest daughter, a senior named Jessica was supposed to be the Prom Queen for the upcoming prom.” He told Laura. “Of course she was dating a guy named James at the time. James was controlling and obsessed over Jessica. He didn’t like her talking to other guys unless it was family or him.”
“Everyone knew that James was going to take Jessica to the prom that year.” Beverly cut in. “None of the guys dared go against James in asking Jessica out. That was all but one guy. He was the new guy to the town. He was a junior, good looking according to the papers that covered the accident at the time. No one told him to stay clear of Jessica and James.”
Laura had a feeling that she knew where this story was going. “What happened?” She asked.
“The new guy asked Jessica out to the prom.” Billy replied. “He asked her in front of everyone in this very cafeteria.” He gestured to the cafeteria as he said that part. “It instantly became very quiet in the place. Everyone, even the teachers, wanted to know what Jessica would say.” Billy paused to let that sink in before he continued. “Jessica said yes.”
Laura realized she was right. “I bet that didn’t sit too well with James.” She said.
Beverly laughed. “Didn’t sit too well with James?” She asked. “He was angry and lost it. James came into the cafeteria just in time to hear Jessica say yes to the new guy and stormed over. He started beating up the new guy, yelling that no one took Jessica away from him and that Jessica belonged to him, not the new guy or any other guy.”
“It took six teachers and all seven police officers to get James off the new guy and out of the school. James was suspended from school and was told he wouldn’t even be able to come to graduation.” Richie told Laura. “They say James didn’t take the breakup well. Denying Jessica the right to dump him for the new guy. Jessica had to get a restraining order against James but that didn’t do any good. James ended up getting arrested mere days before prom.”
Laura leaned forward. “What happened next?” She asked.
Beverly, Richie and Billy all looked at each other before they looked back at Laura. “The night of prom, the new guy showed up at Jessica’s home to pick up Jessica. Jessica’s family was out for the night so they wouldn’t embarrass her in front of her date. The new guy knocked several times at the door but Jessica didn’t answer.” Beverly said. “The new guy opened the door and that was when he saw it, red blood on the wall.”
Laura instantly thought of the red words she had seen on the wall across from her door when she had first moved in. Were those words written in blood? If so, how? “What happened?” She asked.
“The new guy ran up the stairs and he saw that Jessica’s door had been broken down. He went in and he saw Jessica, in her prom dress, laying on the floor dead. Her blood pooled all around her and several stab marks on her dress.” Beverly said in a sad voice.
“The police instantly went to the police station to see if James was there but his cell door was opened and James was gone.” Billy said, taking over the story again. “There was a manhunt for him and when they finally found him…” Billy didn’t continue.
Laura had a feeling that she knew what had happened. “He was dead, wasn’t he?” She asked.
All three friends nodded. “Days after the funeral for Jessica, her family packed up and left town.” Beverly said. “They couldn’t stand being in the house anymore. They said there was too much pain being in the same house that Jessica had been murdered in.”
“What about the new guy? The one who was supposed to take Jessica to the prom?” Laura asked.
“That’s the strange part.” Billy replied. “He disappeared days after the funeral and no one ever saw him again. They looked through the entire town and even the surrounding forest but there was no sign of him. Not even his family ever found him. He just disappeared without a trace. All of his stuff had been left behind. His car was still in the driveway.”
The bell then rang. “We should get going.” Beverly said. “Wouldn’t want to be late for the next class.” Richie, Beverly and Billy all stood up. “Are you coming Laura?” Beverly asked.
Laura nodded. “I’ll be there soon.” She replied. “I’ll catch up to you guys.”