Don’t Forget Ghost Practice, After School

They closed the place down years ago. Ten or more, even. After all that bad business with the principal and the skeletons in his closet.

They weren’t skeletons, of course, but it was still a bad business.

He broke in one afternoon, five years back, when he was twenty and bored and a little drunk. Just went in and walked the halls; a little bit of ghost practice after school.

He avoided the classrooms. Too many empty seats.

He avoided the gym, because he could still hear the sound. The echo of the sharp, twanging thwack of dodgeballs on skin, and the little screams and tiny pounding feet.

Kids at play sound a hell of a lot like kids trying to kill each other, if you listen closely.

He wouldn’t even set foot in the same wing as the principal’s office.

Instead, he ended up in the little room off the nurse’s station. It was small, and cold, and two shades of brick. Something small, furry, and angry as hell had torn up the feared barber’s chair…but other than that, it was exactly as he remembered it. Even the weird triangle mirror the place had; weirdly enough, it was never much use for whoever sat in the barber’s chair.

Funnily enough, in a not-at-all-funny way, it seemed to be placed perfectly for whoever was next in line to sit and stare at their hair before the clippers took it.

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Josh Hechinger is a future writing superstar/cautionary tale. He lives in Pennsylvania.

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