“Susan Okpara is dead”

We sat shocked in the assembly hall, our minds trying to assimilate what we just heard.
Susan? Our Susan?
Susan the Head Girl. Susan the M.B.G. in Princess High.
Some of us did not believe it.
We refused to believe, even as we sat on the pews at her funeral, watching her covered coffin as a Bishop spoke about Life and Death.
It still did not…no… would not hit us as we watched her being laid into the ground.
We refused to let it hit us as her coffin was covered with sand, as we took handfuls from a mound; we knew we were just going through a ceremony.
The box is empty.
It had to be.
Susan is not inside.
She couldn’t be!

Susan Okpara is not dead.

Simple.

“Susan is not dead” Mr Ikon said authoritatively when we resumed the next week.
He glared at us, daring us to argue but no one was ready to.
He was her prized pupil.
Mr Ikon walked to her desk and pointed, finger trembling as he tried to control the tremor in his voice.
“Susan is not dead. She is here with us, sitting right here. We cannot treat her as dead”

That was how it begun.

We were willing to go along with it.

Susan wasn’t dead.

Her desk remained there for her.
We stuffed her assignment into them.
It didn’t matter to us that it was soon overflowing with papers.
We packed them neatly, writing her name on each one and storing in her metal locker.

Her name remained on the register and I personally signed her in every morning.

We reserved a seat for her for school trips.

She was the prom queen and her crown was put on her seat.

It was graduation day and for the first time, we forgot about Susan.

“Everybody come together. Now smile. Say cheese”

We smiled as the flash blinded our eyes for three second

Two weeks later, my graduation pictures came.
I smiled as I looked through them.
The last was the panoramic view of all the graduating students.
I smiled as I identified everyone.

My eyes glanced over myself…and stopped.

My heart stopped.

Then redoubled.

I closed my eyes.

I opened them, blinking rapidly.

I looked back at the picture,

No, i was not mistaken.

Behind me, Susan stood in her school uniform.

Her skin seemed translucent; faded.

Lips stretched wide into a smile that didn’t reach her cold, dead eyes that glared out at the camera.

My hands shook, my breathing coming in gasps.

I looked at her hands.

They held my shoulders.

No, not held.

They clawed at my shoulders as if trying to rip my arms out of their sockets.

A whimper escaped from me.
The photograph fluttered away from my hand and dropped on the bed.

Sweat rolled off my brows and I brought out my phone, shakily trying to dial Lola’s number.

Just at that moment, I felt it.

I felt a hand pull on my shoulders.

I turned violently, jumping off the bed, eyes wide with terror.

No one was there.

My throat clogged as I picked my phone quickly and dashed for the toilet.

“Oh God” I whimpered as I locked myself in.

I sat down on the toilet lid, fingers slipping off my keypad as I tried to get Lola’s number from my phone book.

I wiped my hand rapidly on my thighs, trying to control my breathing as sweat into my eyes,  listening to the phone ring.

I licked my dry lips anxiously.

“Hello! Oh my God Feng was just about to call you! Did you hear what happened? Mr Ikon is dead!!”

My brain slowed to a crawl.

“Hello? Feng? Feng? What is it? You crying? ‘Cause of Mr Ikon? No? Feng what happened!?”

I took a deep breath.

“L..Lola…”

“Yes? Talk!”

“L..Lola..Susan…”

“Huh?”

“SUSAN IS NOT DEAD!”

As I spoke frantically to her, I felt it again.

Hands gripping the back of my neck.

I screamed, phone dropping off my trembling hands and clattering to the floor.

“Why didn’t you people let me die?”

—————————————————————————

Hey!
So, this was first scribbled after i finished watching an anime, Another. Served as an inspiration for this story and if you watch it, you’d know why.
I’d recommend to fans of animation. Yes, it is Japanese but hey, I think the Japanese tell the best horror stories.

That being said, hope you have a lovely weekend and Eid Mubarak to my Muslim readers!

Jana!

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