Isabella White - a Ghost Story
As part of their creative writing class, my daugther’s English teacher asked them to write a short story about their experiences during a recent school camping. Needless to say their composition has to be creative and entertaining. I was very impressed with Fidez’s writing who was only 13 years old when she wrote this. I’m publishing it here for posterity. I hope you like it.
By Fidez 9LN
I drifted into the cold silent dining room. The wooden tables and chairs and the barren stage with the dust filled piano had not changed one bit. Everything was exactly the same as it has been for 3 years. That was what pained me, not one cobweb moved since I died in this retched place.
I drowned here 3 or so years ago in the river under the bridge. The way the wind stung my cheeks, the way the muddy bank slipped from my feet and the way the ice cold water filled my lungs has been forever stamped into my head. However I’ve forgotten why I was at the river or what exactly happened but I have always had the yearning to find out.
They never found my body instead they placed a cross in the riverbank. Engraved on it was Isabella White 1986-2000.
Normally you would expect the soul of the deceased to move on and find a peaceful place to rest but something has held me back. So for 3 whole years I have been restricted to the fences of this campsite as transparent shadow of the girl I once was. In addition I have to endure the pain of watching girls wander in and out of grounds chattering away like parrots in trees.
I started to hear the faint sound of big black wheels crunching a dusty gravel path. The bus came to a halt and 100 girls came thundering out each carrying luggage the size of mountains. I envied them with passion. Sneering voices came into my head - ooh look at their clothes! I hate these clothes I am stuck in! Why are they so happy? Why can’t I be like them? People can’t even see me!
I hung around and waited for them to assign cabins, duties and activities for the day. I heard a shrill voice call out
“Group 2: Cabin 13”.
The girls soon departed and I followed a group of girls enter cabin 13, my cabin. A red headed girl plonked her baggage onto my bunk. She pulled the rubber mat down and neatly spread out her sleeping bag. She was pretty but gigantic glasses covered her face, which was unfortunate because her fair skin was flawless. She made an attempt to introduce herself to the other girls
“My name’s Izzy, I’m in 9PT. How about you guys?”
Her smile was infectious and I couldn’t help but like her. On the contrary however the other girls laughed and snickered. Izzy just sat there motionless.
A camp instructor yelled at them to get a move on and make their way to their activities. They bounded out the door and headed to the field. It was here that they would conquer the trapeze, walk the high beam, be thrown into the air and climb a colossal pole. The girls got into their harnesses and each took turns in every activity.
Each one of them quivered with fear as they climbed the high poles. Every once in a while a girl would burst into tears and hug the pole as if it was a cuddly teddy bear. Eventually they overcame their dread and would leap into the air like a flying squirrel. After a few hours I grew bored and drifted away.
I stopped in the middle of a meadow and observed the surroundings. This place was actually quite beautiful. Log cabins formed a methodical grid on the field. Surrounding the cabins were picturesque Christmas trees. The sky appeared as a brilliant blanket of blue airbrushed with puffy white clouds. Even the deadly river gave off a false sense of calmness, its lapping current hitting the smooth grey rocks. A metal bell clanged agonisingly; disturbing the serenity. The same shrill voice called everyone to dinner and herds of girls stampeded towards the dining room.
After dinner came a surprise announcement. The girls were to go on the Burma Trail. I had never heard of this before. I later found out what this was. The girls were to cross the bridge and explore the forest with no flashlights. The only thing to guide them was thin rope which would lead them to the open meeting ground. A wave of excitement spread throughout the room as girls whispered anxiously to one another. I couldn’t help but feel anxious myself as I waited patiently for them to get ready.
By the time the girls left the cabins it was completely black outside. There was no moon tonight and the stars had yet to come out. An eerie ghostlike mist covered the floor of paddock as the girls lined up. After a lot of bickering and frightful sobs they eventually entered the forest. I followed groups of girls into the thick blanket of forest. I was quite disappointed because it turned out boring and uneventful. All the girls did was: scream, slip down the muddy path and gossip non stop.
I grew uninterested and was contemplating leaving until I heard one of the instructors launch into an enthusiastic ghost story. His voice turned low haunting voice as he proceeded to begin.
It was one night just like this, just 3 years ago
There was a girl called Isabella
She was a lonely girl and she longed to have friends
One night a few girls thought they might play a joke on her
They told her to meet them at the bridge and that they would all go for a fun midnight swim
She eagerly met them even though the current was vicious
They told Isabella that she should go first
They told her that they would help her
Isabelle waded into the stream but as she slipped from the muddy bank into the bed of rocks
She screamed for help but all the girls did was run away
They say that she screamed until water completely filled her lungs
Her body was never found, many believe that it is still here
And that she often returns and skims the water she died in
She sits by herself under the bridge laughing crazily.
Just a few days ago under the bridge a message was found:
So you don’t want to be with me? I’ll get you back. You wait and see…
My eyes started to prick as I felt tears run down my face. I remember now the way they made me think I was their friend and how they didn’t hesitate to run away.
As I was dwelling in my sorrow I heard girls whispering.
“Come on Izzy! Just go into the water and see if you find the body!”
I heard splashes and realised that Izzy was going into the river. I glided as fast as I could to where I heard the voices. I saw Izzy go into the water and I heard her mumble
“I know what you’re doing. But the jokes on you, I’ll swim all the way down this river till you think I’m dead …then we’ll see who looks stupid”
She swam gracefully down the stream but I could tell she was frightened. She stopped at a dead end. It was over crowded with murky mud, rough rocks and frightening flax bushes. I heard a splash as her glasses fell into the water. She stooped down to find them but something frightened her and she screamed and lost focus.
She fell under the water and the current sucked her in. She was so helpless like fly in a spider web. I wasn’t sure what to do or whether I could help her. Emotion swept over me and a voice in my mind screamed “NO! She’s not going to die like I did!” I reached in and thrust my hand into the water and hauled her up. My fingers felt as if they were alive again. I placed her onto my bank as she spluttered and coughed strangely resembling a caught fish on a deck of a boat. Her face was pale white and her hair was tangled.
Footsteps pounded against the path as the instructors rushed over her frail body. She regained consciousness and slurred words “Bushes…Body.”
I couldn’t decipher her message but the instructors headed towards the bushes and started to search for something. I heard a deep male voice yell
“I think I’ve found a body …there’s a locket … a name’s engraved on it …”
People huddled together in anticipation of a name. His voice was faint barely louder than a whisper
“Her name’s Isabella White”
Suddenly I felt as if someone had just set me free. A ripple of joy and happiness went through me. My feet floated off the ground and I started ascending upwards. I suddenly realised I was moving on. I could finally rest in peace.