That evening, Laura was sitting in her room on the bed looking at her phone. She really wanted to call Ted and beg him to bring her back down there. She knew how it would sound over the phone but Oberlin was really freaking her out. Not only did she look like the murdered girl but someone who was an exact copy of the dead killer was stalking possibly stalking her.
She looked towards her window. She was scared to look outside in case the stalker was there. She couldn’t prove it but she was certain the stalker was the one who had dropped the book before disappearing at the library. She had looked closely at the wall outside her door. There was no sign of a second wallpaper or that there had been red paint on the wall either.
Laura wasn’t sure what to do at this point. She knew she couldn’t just tell her dad about it. He wouldn’t believe her and just think that she was trying to make up an excuse to go back to Orlando. Laura laid on her back and looked at the ceiling. What could she do about this? She obviously was stuck there for the next year or so. She couldn’t let this freaky thing keep her terrified. She had to face it.
Laura stood up and went to her door. She took a breath before opening it. She looked at the wall where the words had been. “Okay ghost.” Laura said quietly, thinking of facing it like a ghost story. “What exactly are you trying to show me?” She closed her eyes before opening them again.
Her eyes widened. The words were back on the wall. She stumbled back. How was that possible? She had just blinked quickly. She blinked again but the words didn’t vanish. Laura started panicking. She knew the minute her dad saw the words, he would ground her. She looked down the stairs. The television was still on. Her dad wouldn’t hear her trying to wash away the words.
Laura ran to the bathroom and got a sponge wet. She quickly returned to where the words were and started wiping the wall. She knew that she could damage the walls by doing that but she didn’t care. She had to get rid of the words before it was too late. She wiped at the first word and looked to see how much she had gotten of it off.
Her heart sank. The word was still there. It was like she hadn’t even touched it. She looked at the sponge. It was soaking wet and dripping onto the floor. Laura looked back at the word. It was dry. How was that even possible? She shook her head and wiped at the wall again. The word didn’t come off.
Laura sat down. How was she going to explain this to her dad? That someone had painted the words to get out while neither of them was looking and somehow made sure the paint was dry before sneaking out without being heard? She knew how ridiculous that sounded.
Laura heard movement in her room. She stood up and walked into her room, the sponge raised as if it was a weapon. Her eyes widened. It was the angry boy that looked exactly like James Hathaworne and he was staring at her.
“What do you want?” Laura demanded. “How did you even get in here?” She wanted answers and she wanted them now. “Tell me or I’ll call the cops.”
The boy snorted. “Like the cops would be able to do anything about it?” He said like he found the idea to be funny. “They would just think you were crazy and that wouldn’t be good for either of us if people started thinking that.”
“What do you mean it wouldn’t be good for either of us?” Laura asked. “The police wouldn’t think I was crazy for calling in a breakin.” She knew that she could keep him locked up in her room long enough for the cops to come and get the intruder. “They would arrest you for breaking in and vandalizing the wall.”
The boy looked past Laura. “What vandalizing?” He asked. Laura frowned and turned around. The words were gone. “It doesn’t look like the wall was vandalized.”
Laura shook her head and looked at the boy. “I could still have you arrested for breaking into my house and stalking me.” She said. She could keep the boy locked up in her room for that long. “Now who are you and why are you in my room?”
The boy sat on her bed. “My name is James Hathaworne.” He told her. “And I’m here because this is where I’m sure I died.”
Laura crossed her arms over her chest. Did this guy really think that she would believe him? “Nice try dude but I’m not going to believe that you’re a ghost and also, James died in the forest. I read the news article that covered it and they said he was found dead in the woods.” She told the boy. “So how about you tell me who you really are and why you’re here before I call the cops. Why have you been giving me an angry look?”
The boy looked at Laura. “I really am James Hathaworne. I did die in this room but my body was moved into the woods where the police found it.” He told her. “Trust me, as freaky as those words appearing and disappearing are, waking up and finding out that your ex is dead and that you couldn’t be seen by anyone there who also thinks you’re the killer is disturbing.”
James shook his head. “I’m not sure who killed her and me.” He continued. “I had been in my jail cell at the police station when I started feeling fuzzy before passing out. When I woke up, I was in Jessica’s room. She was dead on the floor and I couldn’t touch her or her phone. I couldn’t call the cops. I saw Anthony on the phone saying that she had been murdered.”
Laura wasn’t buying it still. For all she knew, this was a trick and that when she wasn’t expecting it, this guy would charge past her and escape the house before she could call the cops. “Say you are James, why have you been stalking me since I came here?” She asked. This had to be good.
James looked at her. “I’ve been haunting this house trying to find clues as to who really killed Jessica and me. The police had written it off as a sucide murder and didn’t even bother investigating past me because I was jealous and possessive of her.” He told her. “When I saw you and your dad move in, I was angry, especially when I saw that you could see me. I thought you two would ruin any chance I had of trying to solve Jessica’s murder.”
Laura shook her head. “Hold up.” She said. “You’re telling me that you’ve been haunting this house for the last forty six years trying to find out who killed your ex?” She wasn’t buying it. “Okay. Ghost story over. Who are you really and why are you here?” Laura leaned down to pick up her phone. When she looked back up, the guy, whoever he was, was gone.
Laura groaned. She should have realized that he would pull a quick vanishing act. She looked out her window towards the street. There was no sign of him. She didn’t remember hearing the door opening or closing and she knew that she didn’t feel him brush past her. She shook her head. She had to forget this before it drove her nuts.