“Let me tell you, do not stay at school after 6 pm.” Louis continued, “last day I heard our teachers discussing about a ghost who haunts our school. Can you imagine, the kid is about our age. Somebody might have murdered him. Anyway, all I know is he haunts our school and trust me it is true.”
Everyone stared at him with wide eyes. ‘What if he was saying the truth?’ Everyone had this question but didn’t say anything out loud, scared or laughed at.
“Haunting, ghost… nonsense. He is trying to scare us.” Greg came as a saviour now.
“No, I am not lying. I heard them talking.”
“Well Louis, did you see the ghost?”
“Er… No, but I know it’s here.” He said, his face reflecting embarrassment.
They laughed at him. Greg made a face at him and started teasing him,
“Louis the liar, his pants are on fire.”
The other kids repeated after him. Louis was mortified by then and ran off to the gents’ toilet and shut the door behind him. He sat on one corner of the room and cried. That poor kid dozed off crying. The school bell woke him up in the evening, and he realized that he had missed his classes. He ran to the classroom; only Rebecca was there. She stayed after school to do some work on the day she missed her class.
“Can I copy today’s work from you, Rebecca?”
“Sure, I am staying back anyway.” Rebecca smiled at him. Louis was relieved. He hoped she would stay, for he was scared of the ghost.
She gave him notes to copy. He sat on the corner desk and copied everything. She even promised to teach him the subjects he missed. It was late, and still, there was no presence of the ghost. Then Rebecca said, “I think you were a bit overreacting about the ghost thing.”
His head down, he said, “Maybe I was….”
“It is okie… since we are here let us do our homework together.”
Louis agreed. They opened their notebook and started with maths; they couldn’t find a solution for one of the problems. Both sat there trying to find it when he heard whispers. He cried, “someone is here. It’s crying or whispering.. I can’t make it out… but, I can hear them.”
Rebecca didn’t say anything; she stayed calm, “just relax Louis. Listen to the whispers.”
He closely listened to the whispers, and he realized those whispers were not mere cries but the solution for the problem they were doing. He didn’t understand why it was helping them.
“I think it is helping us solve the problem!” He said it aloud
“You see now; all hauntings are not that bad.” She winked at him.
“You knew? But how? Tell me..,” he was excited.
“Slow down… I knew from the beginning. I stayed once to get my work done, and I heard the whispers. First I thought I was imagining stuff but then she appeared in front of me.” She stopped and looked at him, and continued, “she didn’t hurt me but made me promise that I mustn’t disclose about her presence to anyone. As long as I do that she will help me do my homework. I think she likes you too.”
“What happened to her? How did she die? Did someone murder her or she killed herself?” He was curious.
“Everyone thought she jumped herself from height to kill herself, but it was an accident. She was enjoying her time with her friend and before she knew, she slipped and fell to the ground. She liked her school very much, that is why she is staying here. She doesn’t want to go back.”
Louis was silent for some time. “I have noticed that you don’t talk to others and why is that?”
“No one talks to me either. So I just kept quiet.” She smiled. They stayed there until his father came to pick him up.
“Do you want me to drop you?” He asked.
“No, its okie… I gotta do some other works. But thanks.”
“See you tomorrow then.”
“Yes, I guess, goodnight.”
She smiled back at him. He went to his father, who was waiting in the car,
“Who were you talking to?”
“Must we drop your friend home?”
“She said she gotta do some other works; her parents might come to pick her up.”
“Okay son. Let’s go then.” and they drove to their home. He saw his mom in the kitchen as he reached home, cooking dinner for them. She was singing out loud a poem he had recently learned. He kept his bag on the kitchen table and ran to his mother, “Mommy, I know this song too.”
“Is it sweet heart? Let’s sing along then.” She started singing the last part of the poem encouraging Louis to follow her.
“I wasn’t afraid,” said Pooh, said he,
“I’m never afraid with you.”
So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
“What would I do?” I said to Pooh,
“If it wasn’t for you,” and Pooh said: “True,
It isn’t much fun for One, but Two,
Can stick together, says Pooh, says he. “That’s how it is,” says Pooh.”
Both clapped their hands, laughing. “Nice, this song takes me back to the time I was a kid.” She sighed, “I used to sing this song along with my friend, Becky….” Her voice trembled when she said, Becky.
“Where is Becky now mom?” asked a curious Louis.
“She is … hm… she died when we were kids.” Her face swelled up, about to cry. Louis listened to her silently, not knowing what to say.
“We were just your age, our school organized a kids carnival where there were lots of rides and games for us to play. She loved roller coasters, but we weren’t tall enough to get a ride on them. She was very stubborn back then, if she wanted something, she would definitely get it. She pulled me along with her. We tricked the seniors who were incharge of the ride and found seats for us. The seat belt didn’t fit us and we didn’t know how to buckle it either. I, somehow made sure that I was not going to fall from it. But, as we reached the top, the seat belt kind of came off from Becky and with the speed the ride was going, she was blown away from my side. I cried and screamed until the ride stopped. By the time we reached the ground, she was gone. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to her.”
Louis felt sad for her, “Don’t worry mommy, she might be up there among stars watching over us.”
His mommy kissed him on his forehead, and they sang the song once again together.
At night, as he was sleeping, he had a weird dream. He saw Rebecca and Greg, along with other kids who bullied him that day. He saw Rebecca smiling and putting firecrackers under the bed of those kids. He laughed hard in the sleep.
The next day when he woke up, his parents were discussing something. As soon as they saw him, they stopped and asked, “Louise, do you know Greg or Randy?”
“Yes… I know them… we have our English class together.”
“They had an accident yesterday… somebody threw firecrackers at them. They don’t remember what happened.” His mother said.
Some glimpses of his dream. He didn’t say anything but dressed up for school. As soon as he reached there, he searched for Rebecca, but he couldn’t find her anywhere. Then he asked a boy who sat beside him, “did u see Rebecca today?”
“Who is Rebecca?” His response shocked him, “the girl with black short curly hair, who wears a chain on her neck with an R?”
“No, I don’t know.” He said ignorantly.
How does someone doesn’t know Rebecca? She always sits alone for lunch. She doesn’t take part in sports due to her spinal cord damage. Well. He thought.
As he walked down the stairs, he noticed a picture on the notice board, and it said,
Rebecca, you will always be remembered.
And above the message was given a picture of Rebecca.
It was the scariest and surprising thing for him. Now he knew why he could only see her. She haunted the school. She narrated the whole story to him, hoping she would get someone to talk to. She might be the Becky my mom was talking about! He took one of those posters pasted on the wall and tweaked it inside his pant’s pocket, and ran back home. As soon as he reached home, he saw his mother getting into the car to leave for her office. She stopped and stepped out of it on seeing him back from school so early. He gasped for air and asked her, “Is she the one you were talking about yesterday?”
She took the poster from him and looked at them. “Yes, Becky’s real name was Rebecca. I almost forgot it, it’s her 20th death anniversery. The school had informed me about the memorial happening for her. Thanks baby, I almost had it forgotten.”
Louis was kind of excited; he didn’t say that he met her the other night. He ran back to school. That night he stayed after school in the hope of seeing her. She didn’t come, but the whispers helped him do his homework. Every day he did the same in the hope to see her, but she never came again. After all, she wasn’t haunting, her loneliness made her a child again and made her choose a friend, and she chose wisely.