My mom and I just moved in here to New York. It’s a small studio apartment in the city. Why city? Because the previous shithole of a house we stayed at in the countryside was haunted. The house was really big, but secluded. During the first night, we heard weird noises from the shadows, saw a strange, slender figure in the dark and also couldn’t explain why things being moved around the house on its own. It was scary.
Instead of waiting around any longer, we decided to move out immediately right after the sun came up. We knew when the sun came up exactly because we waited outside, along the road and under a really bright street lamp. I remember as we packed the car, the old lady of a neighbour was like, “Oh leaving so soon? Mrs Akiyama would be so sad!”
We didn’t even reply. We just fucking drove off.
So here we are, in New York. The apartment is only on the second floor of the building. We can hear the people and cars from the streets below, but that’s cool! The hustle and bustle provide some humanly relief in the dark and silence of the night, so I don’t see why any of us need to complain.
Things were on for a good start. My mom found an affordable psychiatrist near us. Yeah, my mom was going through some things due to the divorce with my asshole of a father who hit her. She, at one point hit me too. She got some solace when she found God and the church. But well, we got through that, all of it. Instead of resorting to extremes where she could have forced her beliefs on me, continue to hit me and where I myself could have retaliated like a bullied little kid with tons of angst and anger, we sat down and talked it out. It was emotional, but cathartic. We visit a psychiatrist regularly now whose professional knowledge has been a great help! Our previous psychiatrist even once joked, “Haha! Looks like we managed to avoid some scary inner demons coming out!” Whatever that means.
Community college was also off to a good start for me although I met some characters already on the first day. Some guy tried to bully me on account of my small size. He got in my face and was like, “Watchu looking at faggot?” I stared at him, to show him I wasn’t afraid of his scary size. I didn’t want to fight either. Fighting solves nothing. I merely replied, “Nothing man. I am sorry to have gotten in your way. I won’t ever bother you again okay?” I guess that fed his ego. He was quiet. He gave a little nod and walked away.
During lunch break, I was sitting alone. I wondered if people viewed me as the lonely new guy who had issues, for like ten seconds, because a group of students joined my table. They were nice and polite. They introduced themselves to me, as did I. The conversations were good! I felt included. Out of nowhere, one of them, the designated geek of the group said to us with a wide grin which exposed his braces and accentuated his huge glasses, “Hey guys, did you hear of the student who committed suicide over summer break? Yeah, apparently she hung herself on the diving board at the swimming pool!”
The group was very intrigued at this point. One of the girls replied, “Wow! That’s crazy and scary! Hey! I recently got this weird, ouija board thing from my late grandma last week. She passed it to me right from her death bed. She told me to be careful with it. She says it can help me in many unexpected ways. Why don’t we go to the pool at night, right after the janitor has left, use the board to see if we can communicate with that student? Maybe we can find out what happens after we die! Come on! It’ll be fun, although a little scary!
Everyone then agreed, save for that innocent, yet fairly-muscled looking guy who said he wasn’t sure. The group got him to agree after a little chiding and teasing though.
They then turned to me. I ate the last of my lunch and said, “Nah no thanks guys!” No way was I going to use a fucking ouija board to invoke a dead student.
They were like, “Sure no problem!”
During my next class, History, we were introduced to the study of the occult. I sat beside a kid who was donned in all black. Her name was Wanda. She really enjoyed the class since she, as she told me was into goth culture, a little into Wicca and all that. I didn’t want to judge her. She was pretty polite and nice anyway. If anyone would to suspect her from the get go that she was evil just because she looked a little scary, they’d be in for a relieving twist.
She then asked if I want to go over to her place after school so she could share more of goth culture, Wiccan beliefs and also her new foray, Vampirism. She then whipped out her phone and showed me pictures of her room. It was dark and filled with glow-in-the-dark pentagrams and other weird symbols plastered all over the walls. I also saw a picture of her closet, which was filled nothing but black clothes. “Oh, and that’s a vial of my own blood. I keep it on my nightstand” Wanda said as she pointed at one particular picture.
I politely declined. She was fine with it. She said we could hang anytime. I said yeah sure, perhaps during the day at Central Park. That way, it wouldn’t feel so scary around her.
The first day of community college was over. I went home. I had a hot dog from a vendor cart along the way. It tasted nice. When I received my change from the vendor, our hands made contact. He seemed startled for a second, like as if he felt a bad omen from me. Then he sneezed.
The sun was already down when I got home. My mom was already finishing up with preparing dinner. We sat and ate together. Steak and eggs! They were great!
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. After a few knocks, it became some loud banging. My mom was agitated, but instead of pulling the door open impulsively, she decided to look through the peephole first.
It was a dirty, elderly man who was wearing nothing but a pair of dirty pants. His hair was long, dirty and grey. And his teeth, what’s left of it were clearly crooked. He wasn’t banging on the door anymore. He just kept pointing at the peephole. He looked like he was staring right at my mom, almost as if he knew my mom was right there.
He looked really scary indeed. We called the landlord immediately, who was prompt to arrive. We opened the door then. “Mr Kagawa! Stop that! Oh, my apologies madam. Mr Kagawa is just old and senile. He does this to every single tenant in the building. There’s really nothing special about you guys or the apartment you guys are in now. Excuse me while I drag him back to his apartment. Sorry again! He’s been like that for a few years now. He’s totally harmless.”
“No worries! Glad we could sort this out so quickly!” said my mom.
It was 11pm then. I was about to turn in when I suddenly received a text from Wanda. It read, “I’ve had a strange premonition tonight! Those kids you were with at the cafeteria today. They said they wanted to use an ouija board at the school swimming pool?”
I replied, yes, how did you know? Although this wasn’t the biggest of my concerns. Some people are just able to know things mysteriously I guess, just like that prodigy kid I saw on YouTube who could recite the numbers of pi to like, really many.
“Of course I know! Come on! We have to go help them now! They are in grave danger! I will meet you at your apartment. I know we cycled to school, but I will grab an Uber since it’s way faster.”
I replied, “Yeah sure.”
Wanda arrived soon after in an Uber car. I ran down and got in.
On the way, Wanda explained to me everything clearly and succinctly. “You know that rumour of that student who killed herself over the summer? It’s true! Aiko did kill herself! And then those rumours of her haunting the pool? It’s true too! There have been reports of strange sightings of a dark figure there at night. And during the day, some students claimed to have saw her! It became very real when two of the top swimmers of the school nearly drowned during practice! They claimed that they felt a sudden pull from below! Your friends are in grave danger should they use that ouija board!”
“Oh okay” I replied.
Just then at that very moment, the Uber driver was like, “I am sorry to interrupt, and apologies for my eavesdropping! That sounds really scary, black girl! How about I drop you guys off at the police station so you can get a cop to come along with you?”
We agreed. We were then dropped at the station a few minutes later.
There, we saw a young cop outside drinking some coffee and eating a doughnut.
We ran up to him and explained everything to him. “Oh wow! Let’s go! Get in my car, now!” He flung his coffee and doughnut onto the ground.
“You believe us?” I asked.
“Of course! Who am I to question the wonders and mysteries of the universe? We are not gods. We can’t explain everything with science. We have to have a little faith sometimes, even if it draws us to dark things! Besides, the top brass in the force have acknowledged this for a long time now. We take almost everything seriously lest we get more unsolved cases and unhappy citizens who feel like we don’t care enough to protect the people. Now come on! Let’s go!”
And off we went to the college.
After we came to a screeching halt and alighted from the car. It started raining heavily. Thunder roared and lightning swam across the skies almost instantaneously. We then went back into the squad car immediately because like, we didn’t want to get wet.
A flash of lightning occured. “Oh my god! It’s Aiko!” screamed Wanda.
“Where?” I asked.
“Yeah, where?” the police guy chimed in.
“There! Second floor window!” Wanda pointed.
Two more flashes of lightning occured subsequently. Both the cop and I saw Aiko standing at the window, staring at us. It was extremely scary to look at her because she looked really scary. Apart from the literal fact that she’s back from the dead, she had messy, unshampoo-ed hair tangled in dirt, covering her face. She was also dressed like shit. Aiko then started walking away from the window. I guess she was going to make her way to the pool.
At this moment, the police guy was like, “Hey guys, I am going to call for backup. It would be extremely risky and stupid of me to rush in now to save those kids. Besides, I am only human. I am scared.”
“Sure. We understand” I said, completely understanding him and where he’s coming from. Wanda nodded in agreement.
Backup arrived 15 minutes later, SWAT team and all.
“Move! Move! Move! We’ve got a group of kids to save! Bring the strobe lights and everyone make sure that their extra powerful torch lights are working fine! Remember, just shine the fuck out of anything dark! If you see something scary, just shoot the fuck out of it!” shouted the squad captain. It seemed like they were really prepared. “Also, shoot first! Questions later! You guys have the right to watch out for yourself! I will lead the charge since I am an ex-marine!”
The captain led his squad into the college. They barged through the main entrance. “To the pool! To the pool! Target, a really ugly but scary looking Asian female!” I heard the captain yell.
“Should we go in to see if we can help?” Wanda asked.
“Nah. Friendly fire is a real thing Wanda” I replied.
“But I have this special talisman that can ward off…”
We heard gunshots, the captain yelling orders, cries going “Oh shit!” and a really sharp, shriek that sounded really scary.
Soon after, the captain and his entire squad ran out of the school. “Our bullets have no effect on that very scary looking girl! She looks even worse up close! It was like a real live horror movie!” the captain yelled to us.
“How did she attack you guys?” the police with us asked.
“I don’t know! She was like at least 20 metres away from me when we saw her. We decided to stop shooting and run instead of letting her come close to us. I am sorry, but I can’t risk my men. These are good men! The kids are fucking done for!” the captain replied frantically.
“Thanks captain!” one of the SWAT guys said cheerfully.
“We’ll wait till the sun comes up. Oh geez, get back to the truck guys! Don’t catch a cold in this fucking rain!” the captain ordered.
And so we all waited till the sun came up. It was like 6AM.
We all went into the college together, all thirty-nine of us.
We made our way to the pool. Everything seemed calm and pristine, peaceful even. No one was around. Nothing. The kids could not be found.
“Captain! Look what I found!” said the first police guy we met last night.
He pointed to the diving board. There laid an ouija board with a phone on top of it.
“Hey that belongs to that girl who owns the ouija board, whatever her name is” I said.
The captain picked it up. He unlocked the phone and a video played immediately.
“Hey! The kids! They have must been filming the entire thing last night for themselves” exclaimed the captain. “Man, it’s all grainy, black and white and shit. It’s funny how high-definition doesn’t exist when it comes to scary things.”
“Should we watch it now?” the police guy asked.
“Fuck no! It’s long, boring and probably induces nausea. See?” the captain said after he tapped on the phone’s screen. “One hour, thirty-four minutes and twenty-two seconds. I am not sitting through this B-grade shit. Let’s pass it to one of those snooty detective guys back at the station. They act all trendy and shit. They should like this.”
“Hey” Wanda interrupted. “Do you think I could take a look at that? I can probably solve this scary mystery.”
“No. You’re too young. Go home” the captain replied.
We went home.
The next day, the first police guy gave me a call.
“Hey kid, our guys over here watched the video in the phone” he said.
“Oh?” I replied. “Did it take long?”
“Nah not at all. We just set it at like four times the speed. We figured it out pretty quick.”
“Oh. So what did you guys find?”
“Nothing much. The kids were fooling around being complete morons. They tried to communicate with Aiko with the ouija board. That apparently allowed Aiko to come into this world in her really scary, full form. And so she killed all the kids and then escaped to, I don’t know where. She just disappeared at the end of the video.”
“Wow you guys figured all of that out from the video alone?”
“Yeah. I mean, a dead person came back from the dead. She was unfriendly like all ghosts and shit. Then she killed a bunch of dumb, stupid, fucked up, moronic, brainless, foolhardy, impulsive, idiotic, semi-retarded, autistic, lame, weird, crazy, insecure bunch of losers. It’s not rocket science this stuff. We all watch horror movies after all.”
“Yep. Your dean has been informed of the news. The college will effectively be shut down as of today. Can’t allow a school to continue on like that.”
And that’s the story of why I had to move to another community college that was at Manhattan.
On my first day and on my first class, the teacher came in. She told us to sit down.
She greeted us, “Good morning class. My name is Professor Aiko.”
I didn’t even look up.
I grabbed my bag and walked out.
And that’s the story of how my mom and I moved to Korea. I’d rather be psychologically fucked, deal with monsters or walking, rotting corpses than deal with really scary ghosts.