Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in a society where everyone thinks you’re a monster? You get so many labels: freak or psychopath. Well, that’s exactly how I feel. My name is Leslie Stone, I am fifteen years old and I am a sophomore in high school. Most people view me as the typical teenage girl. But there is something that they do not know about me. When I was five years old the doctors diagnosed me with a mental disorder; actually they called it a “personality disorder.” My mother and father always protected me because they were afraid that kids would terrorize me for being different. Throughout my childhood I’ve visited at least five doctors who specialize in psychiatry. They all say the same thing: “Mr. and Mrs. Stone, your daughter suffers from an extreme case of living in an altered state, which means that she lives in a world she creates in her mind which is also known as a hyper-reality state of mind.” And their favorite line of course is “But with the right medication she can get better.”
My mother and father are both lawyers; both senior partners at Blackwood and Price. Last year was my first year in high school since my Mom hired a private tutor to homeschool me, but that situation failed miserably. I didn’t know what to expect. I was so scared because when my parents took me to register for my classes I had a weird experience. I went to the restroom and I went into one of the stalls. When I finished using the restroom I tried to unlock the stall door but it would not unlock. I started screaming and banging on the door and all of a sudden a mysterious figure appeared outside of my stall and somehow it managed to unlock the door. The figure seemed normal but creepy too, it was a girl that looked like she was my age or a year older.
The only thing I could say was “Thanks.” “You’re welcome,” the girl said, ”by the way my name is Mona.” After Mona saved me, I stood facing the big mirror and thought “Who is this girl and where did she come from?” When I finally calmed down, I found my parents and told them what happened and then we went to the main office and told a secretary everything. When I mentioned Mona, the secretary’s facial expression transformed from a happy camper into a completely puzzled woman who just heard something devastating. She said “Oh how nice dear, someone was there to help you with that tricky door huh?” I thought to myself “Why did she look so shocked when I mentioned her name?”
My first day at school was not as bad as I thought it would be. All of my teachers were so nice. When the bell rang I walked quickly down the hall to get to my next class. I looked at every room number plate beside each door until I found Room 100. I noticed something strange when I found the class: on the wall next to the door I saw a handprint. I thought that I imagined it because when I rubbed my eyes it was gone.
In this class I sat in the last seat, last row because for some reason I didn’t like the way my math teacher Mr. Tidwell looked at me. He was a very nice guy but he had such an ice-cold stare it made me shiver. I did not expect anyone to sit next to me but it happened anyway. A tall girl with long blonde hair sat next to me and said “Hey are you a new student?” “Yes,’ I said, “My name is Leslie.” and she said “Oh, I’m Kara. So what grade are you in?” “I am a sophomore.” “Wow, a sophomore in trigonometry- that’s epic.” I was so happy when the dismissal bell rang because I did not want to spend another minute in Mr. Tidwell’s class because math class is always so tedious. The last class I had was physical education. I was the only girl in my class, and that was so awkward but all the guys were respectful and that made me feel a little more comfortable.
When it was time to change, Mrs. Welch gave me the key to the girl’s locker room and a combination lock for my locker. When I walked into the locker room a sudden burst of cold air surrounded me. As I changed my clothes, I heard a voice, it repeated my name over and over again. I told myself “It’s only in your head, no one else is in here but you.” But the voice was so realistic and so was the figure I saw: it was Mona. “Hey Leslie, how are you?” she said. “F-fine, how are you?” I said. “Great!” She replied.
“Where did you come from?” I asked. “Behind the lockers over there.” Before I could respond, Mrs. Welch came in and asked ”Leslie, honey, who are you talking to?” “Mona’ I said. “Sweetie there’s no one in here.” “Yes there is, Mona’s right there.” Mrs. Welch gave me a skeptical look and she said “Okay, well, it’s almost time to go home so…” “Okay” I said, and I walked out the double doors. I went down the stairs so that I could go outside to find my mother’s car. Luckily, she parked in front of the school where she dropped me off this morning.
I got into the car and my mother asked me “How was your day?” I told her it was okay, and I told her about Mona and how I do not think she’s actually human. My mother looked at me for a long time and finally she said “Leslie, are you telling me that your friend is a ghost?” “Mom, I don’t know what she is but I do know that she saved my life when I was locked in that stall.” It was a long ride home; I didn’t say a word and my mother didn’t either. Finally we arrived home and I went straight to my room.
All I could think about was Mona, so I decided to do a little research and for some reason my hand began to shake, but I was able to type in her name. The first thing that appeared on the screen was an article about a local teenage girl who was found hanging from a light fixture. Police identified the girl as sixteen- year old Mona Darkbloom. Her body was found in a classroom at McKinley High School in Room 100. I was completely shocked because when I scrolled down, I saw an image of Mona and I realized that the girl in the picture was the girl who saved me from the stall and randomly appears whenever I am alone. The handprint I saw on the wall near Mr. Tidwell’s class must have been hers, but why is a ghost communicating with me? What makes me so special?
The next day I went to school everything went great for me until I went to Mr. Tidwell’s class. While he taught us the sine, cosine, and tangent method all the lights began to flicker on and off. At one point all of the lights went out and the only light that was visible was the light that shined through the shades. Mr. Tidwell seemed scared. When the lights came back on, I saw Mona standing in the corner by the door. She looked angry, it was like she could shoot laser beams from her eyes and they could burn into any object in close proximity. She looked around the classroom and she saw me sitting in the last seat, last row. She barely took one step and somehow, she ended up standing right next to my desk. I could not gather my words so I just acted like she wasn’t even there. Mona noticed that I wasn’t acknowledging her presence so she went away. It’s almost like she knew what I was thinking: “Not now, I cannot deal with this.”
When the bell rang Mr. Tidwell asked me if I was willing to stay after school to help him grade some assignments. Before I could say anything, Mona appeared again and she said “Leslie, please don’t do this, you can’t trust him.” Finally, I managed to say “I’d love to Mr. Tidwell but I have to help my mother cook dinner tonight, maybe another time?” “Sure,” he said. “I really enjoy having you in my class Ms. Stone, you are a remarkable student.” “Thanks,” I said.
After I left Mr. Tidwell’s class, Mona walked with me to the gymnasium. I was surprised that I was not late. Class had not started yet, and Mona followed me into the girl’s locker room and she sat down on the bench next to me while I changed my clothes.
“Leslie, I know you’re probably wondering why I saved you and why I always talk to you and why I follow you around. Well, it’s because I do not want what happened to me to happen to you.” “Mona what really happened to you?” I asked. “Please tell me, okay? Because people already think that I am insane. So please?”
“Leslie there’s nothing wrong with you,” Mona said. “What makes you unique is your gift. You have the ability to communicate with ghosts and you’re the only person that can see me, hear me, and feel my presence. People here forgot about me like I never existed.”
Mona continued, “Okay Leslie, it’s time for the truth and the truth is Mr. Tidwell is responsible for my death. He asked me to stay after school one day to help him grade tests, organize the bookshelves, and clean the dry erase board. It was late in the evening but my mom knew where I was and she didn’t mind that I stayed after school as long as I told her where I would be. Mr. Tidwell always gave me the same strange look he gives you and it totally gave me chills. I told him that my mom would be coming shortly and he became very angry and yelled, “You’re not going anywhere!” When I tried to leave, he grabbed me by my hair and wrapped his arm around my neck cutting off my air supply. I tried to fight him off and scream for help but my life was now in total jeopardy. His grip was too strong. After that he grabbed a long rope out of his desk and tied one end around my neck and the other end to the light fixture pole. He thought that I was dead, but I just watched as this monster perfected his craft. He left me there to die and the worst part is my mother was the one who found me hanging because she always came to the classroom to say ‘Hello’ to Mr. Tidwell.”
After hearing the truth about what happened to Mona, I became obsessed with the new information, so I decided to talk to my parents. They told me that he could be charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault, and voluntary manslaughter. The next day at school the police came to search Mr. Tidwell’s classroom and they found the evidence that they were looking for: the rope that he used to hang Mona. They handcuffed him and he gave me that ice-cold stare and his facial expression read “How did you find out what I did?” Concerned with my recent behavior, my mother took me to see another doctor and he performed all kinds of tests. After the results came back, he informed my mother that my personality disorder has gotten worse because everything I told her was created by my lurid imagination.
Or was it?