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The New Boarder: Halloween Fiction Writing

Gabrielle Smythe, Staff Reporter

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It was a week into the school year when best friends Pua and Lily were watching scary movies and eating popcorn on the floor of their dorm room. Although their suite sparkled with christmas lights, and was adorned with polaroid pictures, and DIY bulletin boards, the shadows of the dancing trees and whistle of the wind whipping outside added perfect ambiance to their movie’s frightful plot. “Run, girl, run – why do they always wear high heels when trying to escape from the killer? Take off your shoes girl!” said Lily. “GTFO!” screamed Pua. Their hearts beat faster as they watched the killer approach the clumsy girl. “Ahhhh”, screamed Pua as she dove under the covers. All of a sudden, they heard a slow knock at their door. Paranoid, the girls looked at each other and Lily got up quietly. Pua followed right behind and grabbed her table mirror to use as a weapon. Lily slowly turned the handle and the door creaked open eerily –eeeeekk. “BOO!”

“Aghk!” Lily jumped backwards and fell on Pua. Miss K, their Dorm Advisor, peeked around the corner and laughed as the girls struggling to get up. “I see you ladies are having fun watching your scary movie – what a great way to spend a cold Saturday night”, she said. “We were until you came around,” mumbled Pua, rubbing her arm. “Sorry for the scare girls, I just couldn’t help myself,” chuckled Miss K, “but that wasn’t why I stopped by. I have a favor to ask.” “What’s that?” said Pua. “I know you guys like your set up here, and you’re stoked to be bunking together, but a new girl was just admitted as a boarder and she needs a room. Since she’s a senior too, I thought it would be neat for her to board here with you – whatcha think?” asked Miss K. Pua and Lily looked at eachother then quickly assessed their room. “Well, we do have the biggest suite in Kīna’u dorm”, said Pua. “True”, replied Lily, as she looked back at Miss K. “Uh, I think that would be fine, huh Pua?” “Sure, we’d be happy to take her in”, replied Pua. “Cool!” said Miss K. “She arriving tomorrow morning. I’ll call you when she gets in.”

The next morning Pua and Lily awoke to the sound of birds and the rustle of leaves. They opened their curtains, allowing the sun to stream into their room and went about getting ready. Lily stood in front of the mirror brushing her long dirty blonde hair and fixing her bangs while Pua sat at her desk, putting contacts in her chocolate brown eyes. There was a knock at the door and Lily excitedly ran to open it. Miss K was standing outside with a thin girl to her left. She had ivory skin and intense dark brown eyes. Her hair was messy and raven black, half of it braided, the other half cascading down her back. “Good morning girls”, said Miss K enthusiastically. “This is Gemma – your new roommate! Gemma, this is Pua and Lily. Why don’t you girls help her get settled in then you can show her around campus so she won’t be so lost on her first day tomorrow.” “Sure, Miss K. Come in Gemma!” said Lily. Gemma entered the room with her backpack and rolling suitcase and reluctantly looked around. “Alright girls! Call me if you need anything”, said Miss K. “I think we’re good”, said Pua as she watched Gemma walk toward her dresser and lightly run her hands over a set of pictures of her boyfriend, James. “Sweet”, replied Miss K. “Bye, see you gals later”.

“Alright Gemma, welcome to our suite,” said Pua, as she tried to direct Gemma’s attention away from her pictures of James. “You can leave your suitcase in the corner over there and we can go help you grab the rest of your-” “Dis all I got,” said Gemma abruptly. “Ohhhh”, retorted Pua as she looked down at her tattered suitcase, then meekly smiled at Gemma. “Well ok then, how about we go check out the cam….” Before Pua could complete her sentence, Gemma opened the door, turned her back to the girls, and briskly walked out. Pua and Lily looked at each other quizzically and quickly followed behind her.

The three girls silently walked down Konia hall when Lily decided to break the uncomfortable silence. “Soooo, Gemma, what island are you from?” “Here”, she responded. “Oh, that’s cool”, said Lily. “Pua’s from here too. What part of the island?” “Around”, said Gemma in an aloof tone. “Oh”, said Lily glaring at Pua while rubbing her chin. They continued to walk and exited the hallway near Midkiff. As they turned the corner, a black cat emerged from the bushes in front of them and stretched in the sunlight. Distracted by a passing bug, the cat casually glanced over at the girls when suddenly, it arched its back and began to slowly back away locking its eyes on Gemma. Like a row of needles standing at attention, its fur stood on end as the cat began to hiss and spit. Pua and Lily stopped dead in their tracks, while Gemma kept walking as if oblivious to the cat’s angry display. The cat hurled forward bearing its teeth at her, then ran into the bushes screaming an unnerving cry. Pua had a weird feeling in the pit of her stomach. Something wasn’t right. Yet, she decided to keep quiet.

After their tour of the campus, Gemma insisted she be left alone. “Are you sure you’ll be okay?” asked Lily. “Yeah, I’m good”, said Gemma. “Okay, see you later”. Just as Pua and Lily turned to walk away Gemma blurted, “Have any of you seen a night marcher?” The girls slowly turned around to see Gemma piercing at them with a sinister grin. “No”, said the two girls in unison. “But, we’ve heard a lot of stories about the nightmarchers. It’s been said that our dorm is in their pathway, and a lot of our friends have claimed that sometimes they can hear pahu drums in the distance”, said Lily. Gemma turned her back to the girls and leaned against the wall slowly twirling her hair with her fingers. Lost in thought, she repeatedly whispered, “Nightmarchers”, as Pua and Lily walked away.
Later that evening, Pua and Lily met up with Gemma for dinner then returned to the dorm to settle down for the night. Without a word, Gemma grabbed her towel and left to take a shower. Plopping down on her bed Lily quietly whispered, “Hey Pua, is it just me or is there something off about that girl?” Pua, who was laying down on her bed trying to finish her biology homework, quickly sat up and said, “Oh good – it’s not only me! I thought the same thing. She gives me the creeps. Did you see what happened earlier today with the cat?” “I did!” exclaimed Lily. “The cats here are usually so friendly!” “I know”, replied Pua, “And did you see her take out that pocket knife at dinner? She seemed mesmerized by its sharp blade. She didn’t even flinch when she cut herself – it was kinda sick!” “Yulck”, said Lily shaking her head in disgust. “Yeah, and, she never answers my questions and when she finally does, she gives me these lame one word answers. It’s really weird – almost like she’s trying to hide something”. “It is odd”, agreed Pua. “And what’s up with her sick fascination with nightmarchers? Seems like it’s the only topic she wants to talk about”. “I say we watch her – see if she’s planning anything”, said Pua. “Agreed”, replied Lily.

Gemma entered the room in her pajamas and sat down on her bed, facing the wall. The other girls straightened. “How was your shower?” asked Pua. “I’m tired”, replied Gemma. “Oh, alright. We’ll let you sleep. Do you mind if we keep the light…” Gemma reached up and turned off the light and immediately crawled into bed. Pua pursed her lips together and shook her head in disbelief. “Okay, I guess we should all get some rest then”, said Lily while pulling back her covers. “I guess so”, said Pua as she placed her biology book on the nightstand and starred into the darkness.

“Creeeakk”. Lily woke up in the middle of the night and heard the door crack open. Her heart began to beat faster. Instinctively pulling the covers up toward her neck and over her head, she left a small hole in the blanket and peered through it. A dark figure stepped into view and walked into the dorm hallway. After a few minutes, Lily sat up and looked around the room to see if anything was out of place. Nothing. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the dark and drifted over to her alarm clock. 1:23 am. She scanned the room again and rested her eyes on the other two beds. Pua was sleeping silently, but Gemma’s bed was empty…she was gone. “Oh, I bet she just had to use the bathroom”, thought Lily. She layed back down and waited a few minutes for Gemma to return, but Lily’s eyes grew heavy and soon drifted off into a deep slumber.

The same thing happened every night for a week. At 1:23 am the door would crackle and creak opening up ever so slightly allowing Gemma to slip through. She would disappear for hours on end, coming back looking disheveled and in a trance-like state. Then one night, curious beyond measure, Lily couldn’t stand it anymore and decided to see what Gemma was doing. “Wake up Pua!”, said Lily shaking her friend’s arm. “Gemma left the dorm again – we have to follow her!” Half asleep, Pua opened her eyes and shook her hands to loosen the pins and needles that danced up and down her arm caused by sleeping in an awkard position. “What?” she yawned. “Gemma left! We. Must. Follow. Now. Hurry up, put on your shoes before we lose track of her!” said Lily. Pua got up and slipped on a pair of slippers and the two darted out the door. As they tip-toed down the hall, the moonlight reflected on the glassy cement floor and the soft hum of other girls’ fans broke the silence of the night. “Are you sure we should do this Lil?” asked Pua. “What if a DA catches us?” “It’ll be fine Pua. Do you see her? She couldn’t have gotten that far”, whispered Lily. They walked down the stairs and just as they were about to round the corner they saw her. She was standing, looking at the grand piano sitting in the corner of the dorm parlor.

There was something different about her that night. She was dressed in white, and her usual braided hair flowed loosely down her back. She took a step back, paused, then headed out the main door. Pua and Lily clandestinely followed as they watched her walk down the beaten dirt path and onto the main road. Crickets sang midnight lullabies and the stars shone brightly above, illuminating the trail in front of them. Gemma silently walked down the hill as her lacey white dress gracefully billowed in the wind. The moon light gave her a ghostly appearance that made Lily and Pua shuddered with fear. Gemma began to hum causing the crickets to go mute. The breeze that once danced around the campus suddenly stopped in its tracks and the temperature seemed to drop 10 degrees. Lily shook from the cold and shivered from the eerie feeling that tugged at her innards. They made their way down the hill and followed Gemma through the main gate, finally stopping at the old graveyard across the KS Terminal. Pua and Lily hid in the shadows and watched her enter the gate. “What is she doing here?” whispered Pua. “I don’t know, but this is getting way to creepy”, said Lily. Just then, Gemma fell to her knees and began to laugh uncontrollably. Her crisp cackle sent a cascade of goosebumps down Pua’s spine forcing her to cover her ears. In Gemma’s right hand was a scrap of paper which she squeeed in her fist, harder and harder as she continued to laugh louder and louder. “I can’t take it”, said Pua “let’s get out of here!” Together the two girls ran back up the hill in a fright. The laughter seemed to follow them on their heels – nipping at their ankles. “We are never telling anyone what we saw tonight!” said Lily as she gasped for air. “Not a soul!” Frozen with fear, Pua just meekly nodded. The girls finally made it back to their rooms and fell on their beds in exhaustion. They laid awake for several minutes, waiting for their bodies to cool down. Finding solace in each other’s arms, they listened to the silence, which finally enticed them to succumbed to the heavy persistence of their sleepy eyelids.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Pua and Lily jumped, startled by the dorm fire alarm. The two girls looked at each other nervously, left their room, and filed in with the rest of the boarders. It was about 3:21 am when everyone gathered outside on Konia field. Dorm Advisors flew around the girls, checking them off one by one as they lined up in alphabetical order. Miss K frantically pushed through the crowd, trying to take count of her students. Her eyes widened when she saw Pua and Lily sitting on the hard, cold benches. “Lily! Pua! Where’s Gemma? Do you know where she is?” “Uh-no”, they replied shaking their heads in tandem, “we thought she was already down here”, said Lily convincingly. “Alright, please, please let me know if you see her anywhere”, said Miss K pushing back into the crowd. “We have to find her!”

Everyone stood outside for about three hours until the Honolulu Police Department arrived on campus. Closely watching the officers’ every move, Lily and Pua sat quietly – not saying a word. Returning from his squad car, Lily and Pua saw an officer hesitantly approach Mrs. Pahinui, the Head DA, and whispered in her ear. Her face went white and her body limp. After a few deep breaths, Mrs. Pahinui resumed to her leadership role and brought organization to the chaotic morning. “Okay everyone, it’s time to return to your dorm rooms.” “Come on, go, go, go”, stammered Mrs. Pahinui . The students started to sluggishly make their way back to the dorms, and Pua and Lily stood up to follow the crowd. “Wait a minute you two, come with me”, said Mrs. Pahinui, as she firmly grabbed their arms and pulled them along. A sinking feeling permeated Lily’s body, as she took each step toward the office. “We’re busted”, thought Pua, as she played out the horrific conversation she would have to have with her parents explaining why she snuck out and why she was expelled. Still in their pajamas the girls were led into Mrs. Pahinui’s office, where Miss K was seated at a small round oak table. They calmly sat down trying to mask the clamorous noise in their heads. “Let me tell them”, said Miss K as she tried to prove to Mrs. Pahinui that she was a good leader. “Gemma snuck off campus sometime last night and committed suicide in the graveyard across our KS Terminal. She was found dead holding a picture of her mother and father who died in an accident several months ago, with a blood-soaked razor near her body.” “What?!” said Pua in disbelief. Unable to hide her deep sorrow, Miss K began to sob. “It wasn’t your fault”, she said choking on her words. “Gemma made that decision by herself.” Tears gushed from Pua’s and Lily’s eyes, as they held on tight to Miss K, and the secret they kept on their tongues.

“I still can’t believe it’s been a week since Gemma took her own life”, said Lily. “Yeah, and I still can’t believe we didn’t get busted”, said Pua. “Come on, let’s hurry up and box up her stuff. Miss K said she will be picking it up Gemma’s things in an hour”.

One by one they packed up her things and placed her suitcase by the door. “Hey wait, don’t forget her pillow”, said Lily. As she yanked the pillow from Gemma’s bed, a black journal fell out of its casing and bounced on the floor. “What’s that?” asked Pua. “It’s a book” said Lily as she reached down to pick it up. “Wait a second”, she said. “It’s a journal…Gemma’s journal!” Unable to curb their curiosity, the girls slumped down on Gemma’s white stripped-down mattress, opened the book, and read it:


June 3

It’s been a week since mom and dad died. I should have made them go to the hospital despite what they said about money. It’s too late now…

June 26

The social services woman got me a new home today – I hate foster care. She said that I should be happy, but she doesn’t get it. Nobody does. I don’t want a new family. I want my mom and dad.


July 20

I hate my new “family”. They’re planning to ship me off to boarding school – a place where nighmarchers frequent the campus! What kind of parenting is that?

August 6

I can’t do this anymore. Not without my family. Mom and Dad, I’ll see you soon…I promise.

August 13

I don’t fit in. They don’t like me. They think I’m weird. I’m going home.

Faster and faster the girls quickly flipped through the book. They finally landing on the last page which was dated, August 25, the night Gemma died. As they read the words written across the top, the color from their faces went white and their bodies stiffened. A cold shiver spiraled down their backs and something in their hearts cracked. The creaky door in their room flew open as their eyes remained glued to the page, reading:

August 25

I know you saw me.

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The New Boarder: Halloween Fiction Writing