My town is small. Simple. Nothing happens, nothing changes. Obviously when something huge occurs, everyone reacts and news travels fast, and it was no exception was a body was found behind my high school.
When I got the news, I was shocked of course. Thankfully the victim was no one that I knew, and the police confimed that it was a open and shut case of suicide, nothing more. The rest of the week I felt terrible, and so I looked into it and found that the girl was named Katie Reynolds, and her lock was beside mine. I felt, I don't know, obligated to do something to honor her memory, since no one else would. So I would sometimes tuck flowers into the grate of her locker door, or light a candle at the foot of it when I got there at school. It was a small gesture but it made me feel better in a way. Whatever Katie had experienced that would drive her to do this to herself I hoped she was in a better place.
About two weeks after the incident, however, I began to notice things.
One night I was brushing my teeth when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Something in the mirror, like a blurry dark spot just next to my own head. When I looked up it disappeared, and I was sure I had been imagining things. To be honest, this whole situation had messed with my head a little; I had never experienced someone killing themselves firsthand, especially not in this way, and it was making me feel a constant sack of rocks in my stomach, the weight of dread dragging me every single day.
My mind began to wander as I stood there for a moment, my eyes fixed on the reflection of my slightly perturbed expression, trying to calm myself. I was on edge, and that was it. There was nothing else in the mirror but me.
That night I went to bed and fell asleep rather quickly, but my sleep wasn't peaceful.
The next few nights following I continued to imagine things in my mirror. Appearing and disappearing just as I looked up. It was like my mind was convincing me that I wasn't alone, but I couldn't tell myself otherwise. Sometimes I was CONVINCED it was a person, standing behind me in the mirror, but the image was too quick for me to catch.
As I set my toothbrush down the third night, the tense silence was shattered by the buzzing of my phone.
I jumped, energy spiking in my chest as I looked around tentatively before grabbing my phone from the stand in front of me. A text had come up from a number I didn't recognize, and as I opened it all I saw were the words "Thank you."
It was short and sweet, and I figured that maybe it was one of my friends and I just hadn't assigned a name to their contact, but I couldn't think of why anyone would be thanking me, especially without adding an emoticon or some other text to indicate who it was and what I had done to make them thank me. Even more unsettled, I set my phone down and looked up to grab an Advil from the shelf when suddenly there it was.
Standing. Right behind me. It didn't go away. It didn't disappear. The familiar blurry shape, it was there. Behind me.
It was a black child's-drawing-esque figure of a girl, blurred like someone had run their finger through a chalk drawing. The face was contorted, hair sticking out stiff the way a kid would draw it, the mouth wide open and the eyes wide and terrified, yet somehow torturingly indifferent, like they just didn't care. She stared at me. Her mouth open in a silent scream, and I saw a blurred white line scrape its way across where her throat would be.
I didn't dare to move. Or look behind me. Or even breathe. I wanted to scream, but all I could do was stare at the figure floating behind me, so close, so goddamn close...
Another text popped up on my phone.
"Thank you for being my friend. Let's be pals."
The figure of her was so alien and contorted, it didn't make sense in my mind, it made my stomach turn and twist as I stared at it. I wanted it gone but it just stayed there, hovering, that mouth stretching wider and wider, like she couldn't stop screaming. I could almost hear it, pitching higher and higher in my mind.
And then, like that, it was all gone.
I was vaguely aware of my phone slipping from my hand, the shattering noise of it hitting tile jolting me like I was waking from a dream. I blinked, but she was gone. Katie had disappeared.
I didn't even bother checking if my phone was still intact, I just ran. Out of the bathroom and into my bed, cowering there until I felt safe again. Was I going crazy? Was Katie's death getting to my head? I didn't want to see her again, I didn't want to have to experience that...
It's been fourteen months since that day. And every day she comes back. Sometimes she would talk to me through her phone. Sometimes she would write on the fog on the mirror if I had just taken a shower. Now she's appearing other places. Anywhere there's a reflection. She even appeared as a drawing on the sidewalk, or as a cloud when I was out taking a walk. And every day I see that line cut across her throat, over and over, as a reminder of what happened.
I used to be afraid. But now I've gotten used to it. We're pals. All she wants to have is a friend.
My town is small. Simple. Nothing happens, nothing changes. The biggest thing to happen since the day Katie died is when the police discovered another body in my basement, when some guys came to change our AC filters. They said that the girl had been killed by a slash across her throat, probably suicide. An open and shut case.
You know, the other day, Katie appeared to me, but she wasn't screaming. She was smiling.