It was a hot summer night. I was studying for my math test that would be held the next day and, was suprised when the 10 pm bell rang for lights out. One by one , the girls in the dormitory turned out their lights. I was the last to switch off my light but i wasn’t feeling sleepy at all. It was a rule in the boarding school i attended that everyone should retire for the night when the lights went out. Our matron, Sr. Denise would walk down the hallway to make sure that we were all asleep, and, not giggling or getting up to mischief. But, on this night, she had gone to bed earlier than usual so she did not come around to check on us girls. Thats when i decided to bend the rules just this once and continue studying for one more hour. I switched on my light and started revising my algebra when something caught my attention. It sounded like a tyre screeching but a really squeeky, sharp screech. And it came from the end of the dormitory hallway. At first, i thought nothing of it and turned the pages of my book, skimming through my study notes. But then, that squeeky sharp screeching noise continued and it seemed to be getting louder. ” Whats that?” I thought to myself. ” Maybe its one of the girls trying to play a prank on me,” said softly. The noise grew louder and louder and seemed to be coming nearer and nearer to my room as my room was at the end of the hallway. I started to panic and i could feel chills down my spine. I turned to my room mate who was fast asleep, dead to the world, and decided to switch my light off, closing my books as i did. As the noise grew closer, i quickly dived onto my bed and hid under the covers, leaving just as small opening to peep out from. My heart started pounding faster and harder. I began sweating profusely under the covers.”Why did it have to be so hot!” I thought to myself. Just then, I saw what looked like wheels at the front of my door. Someone or something was sitting in the wheel-chair and turned into my room. The screeching sound was almost deafening and i couldnt believe that no one had heard or had woken up because of it. It felt like it was just me and the ‘thing’ in the wheel-chair surrounded by darkness. Then it came closer and closer until it stopped at my desk. I thought that my heart would jump out of my chest just then. Sweat was dripping down my face and back. I tried to shout but the words just couldn’t come out of my mouth. I then peeped through the tiny opening and to my surprise it was a fair girl with long straight hair that reached her ankle. I saw her flipping through the pages of my book. She then picked up my pen and started to write. She wrote until she had filled two whole pages, then closed it. I began to pray hard that she would not come over to my bed. Suddenly, she turned my way. ” Oh no, please, please, don’t come to my bed” i cried silently. If she did ,i would just die of fright . It seemed as if she could hear my thoughts , and hear my heart pounding in my chest . I was so terrified that i shut my eyes tight. Suddenly , she pushed her wheel- chair towards me and stopped just beside my bed.I could feel her eyes fixed upon me and tried my best not to breathe so heavily . What had seemed like an eternity , had been just a mere few seconds . I was frozen in my spot and was pratically gasping for air . Just when I thought that she would reach out and touch me , she turned away and began to look around in the room , touching my hair brush and framed photos , moving one to the edge of my dresser . Then just like that , she left , the sound of her wheel- chair fading away until i heard nothing else except my room mates breathing . My heart beat began to slow down i felt my eyes closing . Early the next morning , my room mate was waking me up with her pillow shouting ” Maria, Maria wake up or you will be late for Mass.” I shot out of my bed quickly and raced for the bathroom. I dressed as fast as i could making it in time for the 6.00am Mass at the school chapel. Suddenly, i remembered my encounter last night. Was it all a dream or was it real? I couldn’t concentrate all throughout Mass and as soon as it had ended, I rushed to my room checking my study book that i had left on my table. I flipped through all the pages of my book but i did not see anything else except for my study notes.”Thats odd!” I thought. I looked at my brush and family photo. It was in the same place it had been the night before, untouched. Just then, my room mate walked in. “What’s wrong?” she asked, ” you look like you’ve seen a ghost!” I then began telling her about what i had seen and heard during the night and while i was talking my hands were trembling. ” It’s alright,” said Susie. She told me that she believed and called the head girl into our room, retelling my story. “Once, long ago, around the 1980s, there was a beautiful, fair girl with long straight hair that reached her ankle who had attended school here at St. John’s College. She was not only beautiful, but very intelligent. One day while the girls went out for a swim, Betty, which was her name, slipped off the rocks and scraped her knee on some coral. She did not go to get it checked by the Matron until it was so bad that she had to be rushed to the nearest Health Centre. Unfortunately, the doctors could not save her leg and had it amputated. Later, Betty returned to school but in a wheelchair. Her love of life never subsided and she kept going down to the seashore, but only to watch the other girls swim from afar. The holidays came and went. The girls returned to school the following year but Betty did not. She had passed away at home, from a serious leg infection. “Every once in a while, Betty’s spirit roams the school hallway and ends up in this room because it was her room once” said the head girl. From that day onwards, I never sae Betty ever again.
Author: Caroline & Joseph Vuloaloa