It Was Nothing

Julia Tomaras, Journalist

In Redmond, Washington, the city is getting ready for the holiday approaching them quickly. The city of Redmond takes Halloween very seriously, but not as seriously as the youth at King County High. Yearbook and Journalism classes bite at any spooky story they can find. A certain student at KCHS, Selene Booker, is sitting on a lead she knows that will definitely get the school talking about her photography. She sits with her friends in the loud cafeteria that appears silent to Selene over her many loud thoughts.

¨Selene, have you heard a single word I’ve said?¨ Selene’s best friend, Amy says in an annoyed tone.

¨Huh, sorry…my bad,¨ Selene says while still daydreaming.

Her friends continue to gossip and laugh, but all Selene can think about is how many minutes until she can get out of here. Her dad, a truck driver, has told her about this forest just outside of the city with a few abandoned properties in it. Selene knows it would be perfect for some spooky pictures and she will do anything for a good photo. She plans to drive there after school with Amy.

Selene impatiently bounces her leg up and down as she stares intensely at the clock. The words on the whiteboard in the front of the class mean nothing to her right now. All she can think about is how good that picture is going to be. She texts Amy, who is seated only five desks away, about her plan. Amy will do anything for her best friend, so naturally, she agrees to come along.

After what seems like forever, the school bell rings and Selene jumps from her seat. She waits at the door of the classroom for Amy. The hallways are buzzing with teens ready to go home. Amy drones on about how annoying AP Lang is and Selene just laughs and agrees. The girls hop into Selene’s 2012 Subaru Outback and play their favorite music.

The two best friends drive for around 30 minutes before finally arriving at the forest Selene’s father told her about.

¨’Whispers Forest’…yeah, not scary at all, Selene,¨ Amy says as she reads the sign.

¨That’s the whole point. My father said there were probably old houses in here and I don’t see any ‘no trespassing’ signs. So, I’m going in,¨ Selene says with confidence.

¨Well, I think I’m gonna wait out here, S. I feel creeped out,¨ Amy says quietly.

Selene stares at her friend for a moment before situating her camera around her neck. She waves dramatically, mocking Amy’s fear of the forest. Selene looks at her watch and sees the clock reads 4:15 pm. Amy just opens up the car door and rolls her eyes, sits down in the parked car and shuts the door. Selene trudges deeper into the woods, stepping on twigs and crunchy leaves. She can hear a nearby babbling creek and birds chirping in the tall trees.

She feels her legs get tired after walking around for what feels like an eternity. Suddenly, she stumbles upon a beaten up stone path. She smiles to herself and whispers ¨Finally,¨ under her breath. She follows the path until she reaches an extravagant house with dramatic windows. She walks around the house snapping a few pictures, then decides to walk up to the front door. She hesitates to open the door, but remembers that she needs the perfect picture.

She barely notices the complete temperature change from chilly to freezing cold. Selene continues to take photos ignoring the shivers running down her spine. What she can’t ignore is the whispers she tries to tell herself are “just the wind.” Her camera clicks and flashes, but her photo-taking stops immediately when she hears a crash upstairs. 

Not even a moment later, an ear-piercing screech rings through the house and heavy feet crash down the stairs. Selene turns around in horror and begins running backwards as the dirty corpse of a mangled woman starts to stagger towards her. Selene runs as fast as she can into the forest as she hears the lady quickly approaching while demonically screeching. Selene frantically pushes back branches and tries to get a grasp of her direction. Then, the noises stop and the forest falls quiet. The only sound is Selene’s heavy breathing. 

Quickly, she spins around to try and find the lady. She begins to hear hushed voices all around her and they start to get louder. They quickly drive her insane and she lets out a long scream that echoes through the trees. She runs and comes across the creek she heard earlier. The creek gives her hope she will make it out in one piece. All around her is the lady’s haunting presence. “Am I hallucinating?” she thinks wildly.

When Selene feels like she can’t run any longer, she sees a break in the trees and what seems to be the road. She hysterically laughs and her run becomes sloppy. She turns around and snaps a picture of the corpse that’s been terrorizing her for an hour. Then, she leaps out of the tree line and lies splayed out in the grass. Turning over, she looks up to see no lady, and her camera in her hand, fully intact.

¨Wow, Selene…that was quick,¨ Amy says standing above Selene, who lies panting on the side of the road.

¨Wh-what? I was in there for hours!¨ Selene manages to say.

¨Selene…it’s only 4:16. You were only gone for a minute,¨ Amy says with an annoyed face. ¨What happened? Did you get any decent photos?¨

¨It…it was nothing,” Selene slowly says, knowing nobody would ever believe her. “But I got the picture.¨

Selene and Amy sit in silence the whole ride to Amy’s house. Selene will do anything for the perfect picture.

Except that again.