Song of Ghosts (Part 1)
Tales of Dark and Light by Sidney Smith
THEY SAID I HAVE A GIFT.
I remember sitting in the Principal’s office when I was a thirteen year old girl with my parents. I felt like being in this office meant that I was in trouble, but I wasn’t. This was good terms. I still kept myself clenched in my seat, my mother touching my shoulder to try and calm me down.
“Your daughter is a musical prodigy,” said the principal. He looked well pleased and my father smiled to himself quietly.
“She deserves to be in a special school. A school that can ripen and harvest her abilities to her fullest potential.”
My mother looked happy and continued stroking my shoulder, patting me, and hugging me.
“What school do you know that can do this?” Said my father.
The principal rolled back in his chair to look in his cabinet. He rummaged through it and pulled out a pamphlet that had an image of a fancy looking school with a title that read “Spectrum School of the Arts.”
“It’s a bit of a drive away, and it is a boarding school.”
My mother and father exchanged nervous glances.
“How much is this going to cost?” My mother asked.
“If you all say yes, the school will provide all of the tuition. If you wait however, you will have a chance for scholar ships, but without it it will be about $400,000 dollars.”
I felt excited to try this, and my parents seemed like they were happy but slightly anxious.
“Could you give us some time to go home and discuss?” My father asked. I wanted to say yes, but my father always wanted us to sit and negotiate our options on almost everything. The principal looked slightly taken aback, but gave a slight smile.
“Yes, of course!” He said. “When do you think you may have an answer?”
At that moment I saw the shadow from the window shape into a mass and stand next to him. It made an outline of a female who put her hand on his shoulder. Another form took shape of a small girl about my age.
“In the next day or so,” my father said. I felt shock looking at them. My mother could see my face, my eyes opened in immense fear. She asked me what was wrong. As she asked this, the shadows faced me and put their shadowy index finger over where their mouth would be, telling me to shush. I shook my head and snapped back into my normal self, telling my mother it was nothing. We got up to leave.
“One thing before you go,” said the Principal, “Many people would die to have the gift your daughter has.” My father nodded and smiled. I could tell he was happy but extremely apprehensive.
I have a gift they said. More than one actually. One is plain to recognize, while the other one is something only I can see. Ghosts. Channeling. Speaking words from the undead to loved ones who miss them the most.
I was packing now. Leaving my parents behind for the first time. It reminded me of when I went for my first sleepover. I was so scared. It was also the first time I saw a ghost. My parents had to come where I was and calm me down and tell me I was just seeing things. I was then okay and slept peacefully the rest of the night. I felt fear now and asked myself so many questions. How many negative spirits would I attract because of the fear of a new experience? Will I be able to control myself this far away from my parents? Would they be able to rescue me when things get bad?
Then there was the other side of the “spectrum.” The happiness and joy that I felt of being able to become a musician. My parents were happy for me. And we all cried before we left thinking about how they would hardly see me. I was only coming back now for summer vacation. I would be leaving behind my friend,Misty, who was the only one who knew about my other gift. We had a good summer together and finally had cellphones to stay in touch with each other. Misty had a gift of hearing music and exchanging awesome songs. Many of those songs inspired my own musical creations.
Misty came over to say good bye to me again. As she came over to hug me, an older woman appeared next to her.
“Your grandmother is here again,” I said.
She smiled. “Yeah I thought I was sensing a lot of peace.” We both smiled, and then my father beckoned me to get going. We hugged one last time, the older woman turned around and waved.
The drive was two hours long and full of country scenic views. My father gave me an old fashioned drug store camera, the one’s where the photos need to be developed. I was excited to see what would come out. Maybe I had photography skills too. When we got to the school I was mesmerized. It looked like a gothic cathedral. A long gate was stretched acrossed it. My father needed to roll down his window and press a button to speak to someone.
A voice came through sounding like a walkie-talkie. “Hello,” said the voice of a female.
“Hi we are here to drop off Elaina Winchester.” He said in a slightly nervous tone.
“Oh yes! We have been expecting you! Come on in!”
The gates immediately began to open. My father became startled and backed up the car so he could move through.
“This place is fancy, huh?” He said. My mother and I nodded.
Someone dressed in a nice suit came out to direct my father where to park. As we got out we slowly walked towards giant wooden doors. The man reached out to push it open but at that moment a woman with an elegant blue robe, shiny auburn hair in a short flapper style, and bright red lipstick opened the door. She spoke in a transatlantic accent.
“Why hello, you must be Elaina? And the parents I presume, Mr. and Mrs. Winchester?” My parents nodded. I could tell they were a bit shocked. I felt like she seemed lovely. So far there were no signs that seemed scary, I actually already felt at home being here. We stepped inside and we were flabbergasted at the grandois.
“Welcome to Spectrum, dear!” She held up her hands. We stood in an enormous dining area where other students sat and ate decadent looking meals. She turned over to me and asked if I was hungry, I nodded very fast and we all chuckled.
“Well let’s show you around first, and get your things in your dorm. Then we can get you all some food!”
She walked down the large wide steps and turned to the left down towards a hall. “By the way, my name is Ms. Taro! Me oh, my I was just so wrapped up and getting you in here that I forgot to introduce myself, please forgive me.” We told her she was fine and she Smiled in satisfaction.
“We have heard a whole lot about you Elaina. How many instruments do you play?”
“Seven.” I said in a quiet and shy manner.
“Excellent! And please recall my memory… You play piano… and…”
“Piano, guitar, flute, saxaphone, drums, violin, mandolin… I can sing too if that counts.”
She chuckled. “Of course it counts! I see you are about percussion and strings!” She turned around to look at my parents. “Most students here play around three to four instruments, she is the only one here that can play seven. All of the older kids play about four. Your daughter is very special.” My parents nodded and said thank you.
We were in a lounge area with fancy furniture. There were a few older girls and guys sitting there talking and strumming their guitar. They looked over at me. I could tell they were laughing. I’m sure I appeared to look dorky to them with my messy hair, and long socks for my uniform which was all black and white. I noticed badges on their shirts. I asked what they were and Ms.Taro said they were awards for reaching achievements. I liked the way the metal shined in the light, and how happy the students looked. She said it was the older student lounge, and that you had to be a certain age and at a certain achievement to sit there.
She then took us down another hall, and pointed at portraits along the way of past Deans and Alumni who studied at the school. I had never really heard about any of these people, but in the classical music world things were quieter and less pronounced.
“This is the younger student lounge! Anyone your age can sit here and have some time to what do you call it “hang out” with your peers.” I chuckled.
A girl my age with a long frizzy brown braid looked over at us. She was standing by the bookshelf reading a book. She had green eyes, freckles, and a bronze complexion. She smiled at me.
“This is Dominique!” Said Ms. Taro. “Come and say hi Dominique.” She beckoned her over.
“This is going to be your new classmate. Her name is Elaina.”
She stuck her hand out. And we shook hands. She seemed like a nice person. I could see the energy surrounding her was kind, but there was a slight darkness there as well. I wanted to get to know her.
“Maybe you can show her around the dorm once we are done.” Domonique smiled and nodded.
We continued walking and Ms. Taro showed us the classroom halls and what the rooms looked like. Everything looked sort of bland but had an ancient and elegant aesthetic.The younger and older students were always separated except for in the dining hall and the game room. I was surprised at how beautiful the game room was. There were pinball machines, a bar for soda and ice cream, board games, and many of other types of games. I was utterly speechless.
She took us outside and showed us the gardens. They were beautiful. One was an Aboretum, and the other was one where some of the students came together and planted fruits and vegetables. I took pictures of everything. It was such a nice day. There was also a lake further down where some students were swimming and playing with their friends.
She took us back inside and gave us food to eat, which tasted as great as it looked.
I said a teary eyed good bye to my parents again. I could tell they were kind of worried. But I assured them that I already liked it here and that I was going to have a great time. They give their normal parent talks of being careful and if there was any problems at all, to phone home. The large wooden doors closed behind them.
It was already bed time, and thankfully my stuff was already in my room. My bed was made along with a welcome card and some chocolates. Dominique came over to me and said it was from her. She showed me around the dorm, and pointed to the bathroom. Her bed was next to mine.
“How many more hours till lights out?” I asked.
“About an hour or so,” she said.
“She pulled out a book from her bed stand, and began to read.”
“You really love reading don’t you?” I asked.
She sat up and held the little red book in her lap closing the front cover.
“Yes! I do! Do you read sometimes?”
“Sometimes, yeah. What are you reading?”
“Oh…” she looked a little taken aback for a second.
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t feel comfortable.”
“Maybe it’s just a little weird.”
“Okay, try me what is it?”
She looked around her as she said it and whispered, “It’s a book… on Music Theory.”
I immediately began to laugh. The other girls looked over at me like I was strange. Dominique folded her arms and began to pout.
“I knew you would make fun of me.”
“No! I’m not making fun of you, it’s just that we are in a music school. It’s not a bad thing to read Music Theory. It means you are dedicated!”
“All of the other girls laugh at me and call me a nerd.”
“Maybe they‘re mad because they aren’t as smart as you.”
Dominique smiled. “Hmmm, I guess you’re right!” We both giggled.
I lain in my bed thinking about the next day, and how excited I was. I was also exhausted. The door then flew open. Ms. Taro came in very swiftly.
“Okay girls it’s time for bed! I hope you said hello and gave a warm welcome to your new classmate Ms. Elaina!” The girls then chanted all together and said “HI ELAINA!”
“Very good! Alright then, sleep tight and see you in the morning!”
The lights were turned off and Ms.Taro glided out of the door. She looked back into the room. The hall lights were still on and I looked at her although she couldn’t see me. I could have sworn I saw a dark shadow figure in a cloak. Her eyes giving an ominous glow. Ms. Taro was hiding something.…
About the author
A picture tells a thousand words, and a thousand words can paint a beautiful picture.
I have been a writer all of my life. It has been like an anchor for me to release emotions, process ideas, and escape into a world of fantasy.