|My eyes stung with tears. How could I have seen her? How? My whole life I had been told that ghosts didn't exist. But I had SEEN her. Brushing my teeth when I had looked up at the mirror and seen a different face. A face that I knew so well. "Clara..." I had whispered.
She stared at me with her pale, freckled face. Her blue eyes looking as if they could steal my soul. Her red hair cascading down her shoulders. Then she spoke. But her voice was bone chilling. Cold. So cold. "Meet me in the woods."
Then she vanished.
Clara Baker. She had gone to school with me. She was an outcast. Not many friends.I had been her boyfriend. We had been so happy. Had. Before she went missing. Just gone. She had been missing for a month. The police sent out search parties, and never found her. They had just found one of her shoes in the woods. That was what chilled me. That she was just gone. Like she vanished. I went to the woods. To show myself that nothing was happening. And if it was, how could I ignore her?
I saw a body on the forest floor. It had red hair. I felt sickened. I ran over though, just to check that it was Clara. And that she was dead. I turned her over. Then something happened. Its eyes opened. Quickly. They were a sky blue. It was definitely her. She was alive.
I questioned what had led me here. I knew whatever it was, it was a miracle of some sorts. We walked home together as she explained everything.
"Thank God you found me Todd." She said as she wept into my shoulder.
"Clara...." I whispered letting my tears go too as we held each other.
"What happened?" I said letting go of her and wiping my tears.
"I followed you into the woods." She said looking at me surprised as if I should know this.
"When did I go into the woods?" I asked her my breathing ceased.
Thursday. The day that Clara Elise Baker had gone missing.
I had never gone into the woods on Thursday.
Or in that week.
I looked in the mirror.
I have freckles, dark brown hair that's ruffled, and green eyes.
I'm lean and tall; but not gangly.
I don't know anyone at school who looks like me.
I don't know anyone in my neighborhood who looks like me.
I don't know who was in the woods; but it wasn't me.
Her foot had bleeding from the loss of the shoe. So I draped her delicate arm over my shoulder, held her close close, and let her hop as we walked home.
I had never seen her house before.
It was a small, wooden, white one story.
In some places the paint was peeling.
The front porch had green mold/algae growing in it's cracks.
The lawn's grass was browning and dry.
There was a garden bed next to the porch.
Anything that had been growing there was either wilting or dead.
Clara lit up the whole yard.
I lay in bed staring up at the blank ceiling. Then the tears fell freely. I curled into a fetal position, and let the tears run. Wracking my body with sobs.
I was terrified.
She could get killed by whoever or whatever she had seen in the woods.
I wouldn't be able to save her.
It would be too much.
There was always something happening with Clara.
I heard her laughing through the phone.
"I see you outside, Todd. I'll be right out."
I wasn't outside of her house.
"Clara! I'm not..."
She hung up.
I ran out the door. Clara lived a couple blocks away. I had to get there quickly. I jumped into the car. I started it and sped down the street. Letting the panic set in.
She wasn't there. I found her bracelet that I had given her, on the sidewalk. It was snapped in half. I held it in my hands. I had to find her.
I found her footprints on the grass. They were smeared with blood. I felt the panic and ran, following them. They led me into the woods. I looked around for her. "Clara!" I yelled. 'Oh crap.' I thought. 'Now they both heard me.' I snuck behind the trees, searching. I found her body later. It didn't even look like her. It was decayed and black. A corpse. I saw her kidnapper lying on the ground next to her. It had my face.
I sat up in bed. I felt the sweat dripping down my neck. I looked at my surroundings. I was in my room. The realization dawned on me. It was just a dream. I didn't kill anyone. I had never even met a Clara.
The next day at school, I met Clara Elise Baker. As she bent to retrieve something from her backpack, I saw a patch of black skin. It looked dead and decayed. It was right on her inner wrist. I asked her and she told me it was just a birthmark.
I didn't know what to think anymore.