amian’s question rang in Alex’s ears. For just a couple seconds, the room was still.
How would you guys like to go there with me and find out? Those were his exact words.
Maybe everyone who heard about Maddy’s story that day had thought about visiting the house on Screaming Ridge Road, but no one was actually going to say it out loud. It was simply an idea that passed by in the mind, and quickly escaped after the terrifying thought of venturing into some creepy, random haunted house. Yet, there was Damian, sitting backwards in his chair, waiting confidently for his audience to respond.
How does he do it? thought Alex. How does he act so confident and sure of himself?
Daisy zipped up her lunch bag and nodded. “I’m in.”
A gasp released throughout the crowd like air being let out of a tire. Of all the people in the school to want to spend even a minute with Damian Dermite, Daisy was the last person Alex would have possibly imagined. It didn’t make any sense.
Damian bobbed his head as he tapped his fingers on the table. He glanced around, looking for any other takers. Alex’s mind raced. He wanted to say yes, he wanted to prove to everyone that he was brave, just like Damian. He also felt a slight responsibility to go, seeing that he had experienced a paranormal encounter once before. It would almost seem silly, or cowardly if he didn’t. But, the fact that Daisy agreed to go with Damian Dermite, was just outright shocking. Alex wondered if maybe she just wanted to prove something to him. Maybe she had a hidden agenda. Whatever the reason for her decision, Alex felt no choice but to agree as well. Besides, he didn’t trust the guy around her.
“I’m in, too.” Alex’s heart pounded against his chest. He desperately wanted to swallow, but he didn’t want to come across as being nervous. Alex covered his mouth and quietly coughed.
Damian looked around the room. He pulled the gum out of his mouth and smeared it under the table in front of him. “Anyone else?”
Alex looked over at Henry, figuring his friend wanted no part of the conversation. Henry was still scared of the guy, and Alex didn’t blame him. He glanced over at Alex, then shyly turned away.
“Okay. Just you two, then? Cool, let’s go this weekend,” said Damian. “We can meet here at the school, around noon on Saturday and ride our bikes there. I want to see this so-called ghost for myself.”
Daisy’s eyes were fixed on Damian’s. “Okay.”
Alex had no choice. The plan was set. “Okay.”
As quickly as the word had spread about the ghost on Screaming Ridge Road, the students at Timpleville public school began talking about the three fearless students who wanted to go and see it for themselves. Damian was already telling his grade eight friends about his upcoming weekend adventure. Daisy, who was a strong believer in spiritual beings, was mentally preparing herself for her soon-to-be close encounter.
Finally, there was Alex. Alex had no idea what to think. He certainly had believed there was something out there, a life after death, but he wasn’t quite sure he was ready to find out just yet.
“You’re totally wasting your time, you know that right?” said Henry as he headed back to class with Alex. “You’re not going to find anything but an old abandoned house.”
“I don’t get it. Why don’t you believe in ghosts?”
“Because it’s science. Science says so.”
“Whatever,” Alex mumbled, shaking his head. He wanted to say what was on his mind, but just didn’t have the right words put together yet. Alex seemed to always find himself coming up with the perfect thing to say after he had the time to carefully think about it. It frustrated him that he was not always able to communicate his feelings when the moment called for it.
“Whatever? That’s all you can say?”
“Henry,” Alex began after carefully constructing his response, “I don’t get it. What’s up with you, man? You’re a smart guy. Everyone knows it. You’re like one of the smartest kids in the sixth grade, probably even the school. But, there is one thing I know that you are wrong about. In fact, I know that you are very wrong about it, and that is ghosts really do exist. Science is wrong.”
Alex let out a sigh as he flopped down at his desk. He looked at Henry, somewhat hesitant about what his reaction might be. Regardless, Alex felt strongly about his opinion and wanted Henry to understand why it was important to go to the house on Screaming Ridge Road.
Henry sat down at his desk and turned to Alex. “You’ve been acting strange lately. You know that note you showed me earlier?”
“You know how you asked me to read it?”
“Well, there was nothing on it. The page was blank.”
“What? What are you talking about?” Alex reached into his desk.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
Before Alex could respond, Kaylee Cooper walked into the classroom. Her face was pale, like she had just seen a ghost.
Maybe she had.
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