Secrets in the Shadows

by Beatrix Gruver, age 10
Secrets in the Shadows Beatrix is a ten-year-old writer living in Brooklyn. She likes every subject in school except math. But reading is her favorite. When she grows up she wants to be an author and an actress. Her favorite color is red.

“I know what I have said so far doesn’t sound bad but I am so mad at whoever pulled me from my family forever. My story is trying to find life again. Everyone who dies wants something and I want to come back.”

Carol

My name is Carol Mystic. I am twelve years old and I died. Dying is not that bad. It doesn’t hurt. It just feels like falling asleep. I don’t remember what happened. All I remember is that it happened at the playground and I don’t know who did it. I know what I have said so far doesn’t sound bad but I am so mad at whoever pulled me from my family forever. My story is trying to find life again. Everyone who dies wants something and I want to come back. 

Jase

I don’t feel dead, but I know I am. I am not some angel with feathery wings. I just wander around the site of my death. I don’t leave it and that’s because if I leave, a part of me will stay (it is hard to explain). This rule applies to all spirits.  I am fourteen and I died in my garden. My physical body stays, but my personality watches as my family holds a small ceremony in our yard and as my body is carried away forever.

Shy

My name is Shy Ash and I am still alive. I can see the two dead children. I am thirteen, but I am powerful. I can see the dead. Carol and Jase want to come back and I will try to help them, even if it kills me. After Carol died, the playground closed and Jase’s parents have high security now. But I will bring them back permanently.

Carol

My parents moved after I died, moved to New York from New Jersey. I was going to get to New York by boat. As I stepped outside the playground, I felt half of my personality torn from my body. As I walked, I saw my reflection in a window. My shoulder-length deep brown hair, my extremely rare deep red eyes, and my albino skin, just the way it had been when I face planted in the dirt when I died a year ago. And then I felt it. I crumpled in pain as the aftershock of leaving half of me behind came, but I kept going.

Jase 

“Oh dear,” I said when I realized my perfect brown hair was covered in dirt. At least my brown skin was okay.

“Okay,” I sighed, “here goes,” and I climbed over the garden wall. The pain hit me like a tidal wave and I shut my green eyes and fell to the ground.

“Time to go,” I said and ran looking for the other dead who might be able to help me. And that is when I met the beautiful Shy Ash.

Shy

The way he looked at me was amazing. It was the way my mom looked at me before she died. Too stunned to say much,, I managed to utter one word.

“Carol,” I said.

“You can see me?” he gasped.

“Yes,” I said, “and I bring you back so everyone can see you.”

“But who is carol?” he asked me.

“Another kid who died,” I said. I grabbed his hand and together walked.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

“To the harbour,” I said. “Carol will be there.”

We walked for a long time and then we found the boat and the gorgeous red-eyed spirit I was looking for.

Carol

One of the two figures was alive and she could see me, but the boy was dead.

“Listen,” said the girl, “I might be able to bring you back, but will have to listen to me.” I nodded. Any chance to be brought back is a blessing. The girl beckoned for me to follow her and I did. We end up stowing away on the boat. I am full of fear, not for myself because no one can see me, but I am scared for the girl who is visible to everyone.

Jase 

After we make proper introductions, Carol asks a question: “What will we say to our families if this works?”

Everyone is silent about this until I smartly say, “If you have magic to bring us back then can you just wipe everyone’s memories about our deaths?”

“No, you idiot!” says shy. “It’s called the spirit paradox and it is nearly impossible to use.”

Then we hear a stomping noise and the lid of the box we are hiding in is raised. A handsome blonde haired spirit is revealed.

“There are rules in death too,” he says but Shy leaps at him and drags him up to the deck. The rest is so awesome. 

Shy

I wrestled the blonde to the ground and held him there until he said, “Fine you can ride free,” but that did not satisfy me. I held him over the edge of the boat and dropped. He emerged, treading water and yelling at us. I giggled and we spent the rest of the rest of the ride in peace. We met more spirits, but I pretended she could not see them so they were all nice. When we reached the shore, Jase asked Carol a question: “Why were you trying to go to New York anyway?” 

Carol

“I just wanted to see my family one last time before they moved to Mexico. They were planning to stay in New York and move to Mexico,” I said.

Shy put her hand on my shoulder and said, “We need to go to find a spot to wait for the paradox to start.” We ended up staying at Shy’s aunt’s house. The building was a sweet pink color, unlike the woman inside.

“Shy. That’s you, I reckon, and I don’t reckon you’re wise to come back here,” she said. 

Jase

There are some things wrong with being a spirit: 1. You can’t fly. 2. You can’t see or walk through walls. 3. You can’t haunt dreams (well, not really). What I would want to do is haunt this woman’s dreams until she was nicer to shy. All through dinner she yelled at Shy about all the ways Shy’s mom’s (her sister’s) death was Shy’s fault.

Shy 

My name is Shy and I have a secret. I love Carol and I think she loves me back. But being in love with her would be weird. What I mean is that we can’t go of being girlfriend and girlfriend because she is dead. But I also have to tell Jase that I do not like him. In fact, I would have liked it better if we had needed a different spirit for the life ritual. I would have been a lot happier. Sometimes I will need to go up to Carol and say that I love her, but what if she doesn’t like me. What if she doesn’t like all the weird things about me, like how I could not bring my mom back or how I ran away and stole from people just so I would not have to stay with my dad or that I hate boys. I just hope she loves me.  

Carol

Once we leave the house I begin to worry. I want to ask where we are going and why we can’t do this at home. All these thoughts are starting to drive me crazy when I see Shy looking at a note:

“←↑→↓↤↔↕→→↓↔→↕↑↔↓→↔↑↓↓←→↕↔←↕↑↓↦↔↝↜↔↕↑←↖”

“These are the steps to use the paradox,” she says, “and I have to memorize them.” That night we stay at a crappy motel. Shy has the room above me and I can hear her thumping around doing the steps on the note.

Jase

I have to share a room with carol, the girl who says that she knows why Shy gets her own room, but won’t tell me why. The next morning we meet in the parking lot and Shy says “we meet at the graveyard at midnight,” and then she leaves to go get the ritual ready. We meet her at the graveyard. Carol holds my hand. Shy stands it front of an altar made of sticks and she has also drawn a circle with shapes inside of it. Shy looks at me and starts to chant.

Shy

Carol and Jase are standing back to back inside the circle (perfect). I begin to dance around the circle. The steps imprinted in my brain: ←↑→↓↤↔↕→→↓↔→↕↑↔↓→↔↑↓↓←→↕↔←↕↑↓↦↔↝↜↔↕↑←↖

“Come on, come on,” I mutter. I dance and dance until the circle starts to glow.

“Wait,” cries Carol, “I don’t want to go back.”

“But I do,” says Jase.

“Step out of the circle if you want to live,” I yell. Jase steps out, but for some reason I step in. Then a bright light comes and illuminates the sky.

“Goodbye, Jase,” I say and I take Carol’s hand and say, “sorry, Jase,” and together the two of us walk into the sky.

Sky (Epilogue)

Carol and I are happy as we are dead and we check on Jase once a month. I know he misses me but I would never be happy in the living world. Carol and I went to find the blonde I tossed off that boat twelve years ago. Carol and I have been married for two years and Jase has been doing fine. One day, Carol and I take a walk when I see a spirit that looks exactly like m, every feature pure white.

“Mom,” I say.

Two years later we adopt a child. We name her Angel and that is how we spend forever.


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