Monster Mash Countdown with #lovingthebook
Day 5 -Stevie-girl and the Phantom Student by Ann Swann
Ann Swann was born in the small West Texas town of Lamesa. She grew up much like Stevie-girl in The Phantoms series, though she never got up the nerve to enter the haunted house.
Ann has done everything from answering 911 Emergency calls to teaching elementary school. She lives in Texas with her husband, Dude, a rescue cat named Oscar, and a part-time box turtle named Piggy.
When she’s not writing, Ann is reading. Her to-be-read list has grown so large it has taken on a life of its own. She calls it Herman.
Stevie asks Jase to help her find out why the ghost of a girl keeps appearing in her mirror. They think it has something to do with the new student at their school, a boy who has Tourette syndrome. Both the boy and the phantom seem to need some kind of help. All is revealed when the new kid falls prey to the school bullies.
Will Stevie and Jase be too late, or will a tragic moment in their school’s history be repeated on Halloween night?
Maybe all the talk about science fiction and parallel universes is what caused me to have such vivid, unsettling dreams that night. It was as if a person was visiting me from another planet or something. The person, I couldn’t tell if it was male or female, looked like a kid, but it was hard to tell the way it was standing in front of me swishing back and forth like a whisk broom in the hand of a mad man. And the entire dream was in black and white. The swishy person was all in shades of black with long, strange white hair. I couldn’t tell if the black clothing was a long dress or a longish black coat. The figure was standing beneath the cool curve of a high, brick archway.
It was eerie to say the least. But I didn’t tell anyone about it. I didn’t know how. It was so weird, so unlike anything I’d ever dreamed before. I sort of hoped it would just melt away like cotton candy on my tongue.
Of course the entire time I was getting ready for school, wisps of the dream came floating back to me. Brushing my teeth in front of the bathroom mirror, the white toothpaste foam reminded me of the person’s frothy white hair. Even the back and forth motion of the brush across my teeth recalled the way the figure moved. What could it be?
I stared into the mirror for so long, thinking and remembering; that I began to wonder just who it was that was staring back at me. My brown eyes looked deeper than they should have, and the small bathroom behind my shoulders seemed much too large, the few morning shadows darker than they were a moment before.
I slowly lowered my toothbrush and examined my own familiar face. Why did it feel like I was looking at someone else? All the planes and angles were the same, the tanned skin wasn’t changed, and the streaky brown hair was just as it always was this early in the morning. I rinsed my toothbrush and placed it in the holder without taking my eyes from the mirror. Then I picked up my hairbrush.
It was beginning to really freak me out, this feeling that the person in the mirror was someone else standing in another bathroom that was almost, but not quite, the exact opposite of mine. I closed my eyes and began to pull the brush through my hair.
When I opened my eyes, I almost screamed. The reflection in the mirror was looking away from me. It was looking toward the door.
My flesh tried to crawl off my bones.
The face in the mirror, the one that should have been mine but somehow wasn’t, slowly turned back toward me. Then it began to change. First, the hair fluffed and brightened, then the eyes grew lighter as the skin began to pale . . . and that’s when the figure began to shake and shudder and twitch back and forth like the end of an old movie reel left flapping when the lights come back on.
I still had the hairbrush half-buried in my thick hair. Suddenly, I yanked it through and dashed from the room like a track star approaching the finish line.