Ghoul’s Geography by Jared Burkhardt

I went to high school in a lonely, relatively normal town. Often, a few of my friends in the grade below my own would tell some interesting, haunting stories at lunchtime. By my sophomore year, I had heard it all; but I wasn’t ready for a haunting story about a ghost girl in school.

My friend Carlos’ geography class was very late in the day. The heat was often blistering as school had just started back up, and this was made worse by the fact that our high school couldn't even afford fans. Maybe it was just the heat of the school, but Carlos would always see this girl in the back of the room cloaked in a typical "swamp monster" attire - gray vines, gray sludge, gray skin - surrounded by a dark aura. This completely gray, otherworldly tone and a garb of twice dead leaves was more than enough to be off putting. No one could see or acknowledge her, but she would still be called on in class, with a name that no one ever heard. Right after any attempt to call her name, the teacher would twitch and flinch, calling on someone else, as if nothing had happened.

Several friends started to believe Carlos, but no one except him seemed to discuss her. Even more sinister, a year later, he was homeschooled, and that ghost girl has never been brought up again. His family doesn’t speak of him much - not even my best friend, his cousin - and I haven't heard anything from him since.

The ghost girl from geography never haunted anybody. Not a touch, not a word from her mouth, if there was one. No one saw her outside of the class, no one knew her name, and no one often spoke of her outside of a small friend group. How could such a detailed figure maybe not even exist?

I’ve never been one to believe paranormal mumbo jumbo; I’ve never seen a ghost. I’ve never seen a demon. I’ve never had sleep paralysis, I’ve never had an out of body experience, nothing. I’m one who leads a relatively normal, unfazed life; yet, these tales pique my interest. What if I am the first one to see the ghost girl outside of that dirt town high school? What if they speak to me? What would they say? Would they have anything otherworldly on their mind? Could I hear it if they spoke it? A world beyond our own that exists in our own, to some of us, is eerily captivating. It teases me, and it haunts me completely. Someday I may see the ghost from high school, someday I may be the ghost of my high school; but today, I have to put on the face of a blissfully unaware person who doesn’t believe in ghosts. Until then, the ghost girl doesn’t haunt, the ghost girl doesn’t question, and the ghost girl doesn’t exist; for all we know.