Ghost of You

I stand in front of the gated house, no lights shining through except for the setting sun. I haven't been here in twenty years. The name of the building is faded so that 'Institute' is the only word visible. It was only a matter of time before I would've been standing here.

I push open the gate and pick my camera up. If I wasn't doing this for a potential promotion, I wouldn't even be walking towards the entrance. Leaves crunch with every step as my eyes kept going to the third story window.

I never believed in ghosts until my first visit here. Papa didn't think Mama was well and had her sent here. I would visit from time to time, but I couldn't help the feeling I was being watched. That same feeling is still with me today as I opened the front door. The common area is covered in dust, just like everything else in this wretched place.

I lift my camera to my face and start taking pictures. "If you want this promotion, show me the thing that scares you the most," my boss' voice rings through my mind. I wanted to protest, but knew that I can't keep living from paycheck to paycheck.

I walk to the kitchen and when I open the refridgerator, I scrunch my nose. No one bothered to clean it out so now, all the food is rotten and the milk is way past spoiled. I don't even know what to call any of the food in here since it isn't food. It's just a pile of bacteria.

My feet led me to the third story, fifth room on the left. I stopped outside the door frame. Like most of the rooms on this floor, none of them have an actual door. The nurses said that this is for the patient's safety.

On the bed is the old stuffed penguin I used to carry around everywhere. I thought I lost it during one of my early visits. It was one of the few times Papa and Mama worked together. Walking over, I go to pick it up when it gets cold out of nowhere. I look around me, and call out, "Is anyone there? Show yourself!"

One heartbeat.


Nothing moves and nothing makes a sound. I turn back and reach for the penguin.

"You came back," a voice whispers.

Startled, I look around. "Who's there? I know someone's here," I say as my voice trembles. I take my cell out of my jacket pocket my finger hovering over my roommate's number.

"You don't remember me?" A figure appears and glides over. As it gets closer, I see the frail body and limp hair. The sunken in eyes and cracked lips that can only belong to one person.


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