She's everywhere. She doesn't do anything or say anything - just stands there smiling. Everything about her looks dry, but her hands are cold, clammy, and wet.
Trust me, I know. When she grabbed my arm after I'd dropped my papers in the hallway, my wrist was dripping with water. The shadow of a wet handprint lining the outside of the pisiform on my arm.
I jumped back, not because my arm felt weird, but because she shouldn't even be here. She left. There was no way she was still at Georgetown High. She left.
There was no escaping her after the incident in the hallway. I had been avoiding her all that morning, but after lunch, we had the rest of our classes together. I sit as far away from her as I can. It doesn't help.
Out the corner of my eye, I could see her staring at me. Smiling. Smiling as if she has a secret. Smiling because we have a secret. Sometimes she turns her focus back to the teacher, and I try to do the same, but every time I look back, she's staring at me again.
Her big blue eyes watery and wide. The smile stretched across her lips looked as if it was forced. Sometimes she doesn't even look like herself. Her skin sags in some places as if she's an ice cream cone melting on the beach. Her fingernail beds dirty as she holds a crooked finger at me and slowly bends the tip as she motions for me to come here.
Her black hair stayed in the same ponytail it was since she'd went away. Her teeth so pointed and jagged, they remind me of a shark. Sometimes she'll sit in her chair so long that puddles form beneath her even though her pants don't seem to be soaked at all. And she's never drenched. Never.
I can never see where the water is coming from. I can only see those big blue eyes - watching. No one seems to notice that she's different. No one seems to care that something's wrong. By the time the bell rings, I want to scream and run out of the classroom, but I know that's a cowardly move.
The only way to leave the classroom is out the front door - the back door is always locked - which is exactly where she's sitting, at the front. And I'm at the very back of the room. Scared. I slowly get out of my seat and gather my things, hoping that maybe she'll leave before I do. But she doesn't. She just sits at her desk, the water still pooling under her seat, smiling. Although more water is being released, the puddle never gets bigger. It just follows her everywhere she goes.
I briskly walk past her desk and almost head out of the door, aware that she's staring at the side of my head, and I hear something. It's so silent you wouldn't hear it if you weren't listening, but I was. She snarled, "Hope you can swim, Mara" and a chill runs through my spine.
Sitting in my bed, I'm still thinking of her. I just got out of the shower, not even fully dressed before I collapsed with exhaustion. I'm not tired but I'm not rested either. I need to do my homework, but spending all day avoiding her, I couldn't concentrate. I'm not hungry but my stomach is doing somersaults that I've never even attempted in tumbling when I was 7.
Outside of my closed door, I hear the television playing in the background. It must be a late-night football game because Dad's yelling for someone to "throw the dang ball". There are no other signs of life besides my sister, Emily, in the room next to me who is banging something up against the wall. "Hey, Emily. Stop that!" I scream.
It didn't stop, and I knew it wouldn't, but it was worth a try. There's no way I can talk to a seventeen-year-old who expects a Porche on her next birthday and expect not to get ignored.
Before I can get off the bed to go over to Emily's room, I start to smell something weird. It smells like the sea but that can't be right. Suddenly, the normally beige carpet turned a deep brown and I realized that the carpet is wet. But how can that be? The door doesn't even have any spaces for water to escape through, so where is it coming from?
And the pool of water grows bigger and bigger and it starts to rise up over the legs of my dressers. It looks like it's coming alive. And coming closer. To me.
For a moment I consider opening the door and running outside and never stopping until I'm five towns away. Except I know running won't help me. I know I'll never get away from this because I caused it. I know deep down, she will find me and she won't stop until she gets what she wants.
I jump up out of the bed and the sheets tangle around my ankle as the water reaches the comforter of my bed. I suddenly remember a dream I once had waking up with seaweed hampered over my body. The water climbs higher and higher every second and soon the water reaches my chin.
I have to get out of here. I have to get to my parents. The water is too cold. I can't breathe. I inch my way enough to reach down and grab my door handle. I unclicked the lock so it would be easy to tug it open, but it doesn't budge. Panic rises in my chest while the actual water rises up over my head.
I bang my fists on the door as I try to keep my head above the water. The covers still tangled around my legs feel slimy as they grip my feet and pull me back to my bed. When it pulls me under, I get a glimpse of what was holding my feet. The smell is repulsive - like spinach and fish mixed together. The slimy leaves snake up my ankle and grip so tight they pull me down under.
I yell for my parents. Scream for Emily. For someone, anyone, to help. They don't hear me. Or they do and they don't want to help. If they knew what I did, they'd probably think it's better this way.
My fingers are almost numb as I try to swim away to get to my window. The seaweed put up a good fight as it pulled me back three times before I gave up. I closed my eyes and let the water consume me. But it doesn't. When I open my eyes, the water is gone. I'm still in my bed with my covers wrinkled beneath me. They are tangled around my legs still, but everything looks normal. But this is not normal. Nothing is.
I'm dreaming again. I know I'm dreaming because there's no way I'd come back to the lake again. That, and the birds and trees aren't moving. It's like they're frozen in time. Everything is still.
I'm in the middle of the forest but I can see the lake in the distance. I see two figures and both of them look familiar. The pressed uniforms gave the tell-tale sign that they both go to Georgetown High. One of them has brown hair that stops shoulder-length and a fluffy build. She looked nervous and scared as she stands on the dock with her hands in tight fists at her sides. Tears are streaming down her face as she keeps saying "No. Please don't."
The other figure has ink-black hair that was set in a tight detective-style ponytail. She wasn't what you called fat but she wasn't skinny either. She had a vicious look in her eyes as she was yelling at her. The brown-haired girl seemed so small compared to her. The black-haired girl began to push the other across the dock towards the lake, not caring that the girl almost stumbled over.
She pushes her again and this time, the girl almost goes over the edge before she grabs on to the black-haired girl and whips herself around back on the dock to safety. In the middle of the struggle, the black-haired girl goes over the dock and stays under. She doesn't come back up.
The brown-haired girl creeps over to the edge and crouches down. There was no movement until she'd seen a head pop up from the surface to her right. And hand slowly reached out, grasping for anything it could get its hands on. Frantically, she jolted up and held the girl's head down. There was a little struggle with the two girls, then nothing.
Oh my god. I know what I'm seeing. This isn't a dream, it's a memory. The memory. The memory of when I pushed her into the water and drowned her.