Reflection in the Ghost

Josie G, Columnist

Thunder cracks above Ellie’s head as she wanders throughout the twisting streets of Amsterdam. Her sophisticated garments stick to her body like glue. She is soaked to the bone; shivers of fear and cold wrack her being. Looking up and down the streets, she finds nothing. No hostels, no hotels, no nothing. Tears start to stream down her face, mixing in with the rain that is pouring down from the dark clouds. How could she possibly discover herself and inner strength on this trip if she couldn’t even do something as simple as find a place to stay for the night? How would she prove to her friends and family that she was brave—brave enough to travel to an unknown country alone—if there was nowhere she could start? 

Just as her tears are starting to turn into full body sobs, she turns a corner. There on the edge of the street swings a sign posted to an old, dilapidated house. The windows are boarded up and a broken window hangs from the very top of the roof, but there is a sign plastered onto the loosely framed door saying, “Rooms available.”

Ellies signs into the hotel despite the crawling fear in her chest. The whole place reeks of mold and some sort of spoiled fish odor, but Ellie is determined to be brave. She wished badly for the comforting touch of her mother, she always made Ellie cheer up whenever there was a chance of a ghost. She makes her way up the old, creaky stairs to her room at the very end of the hallway. Dust on the door comes flying off  as soon as Ellie opens it. She coughs and waves her hand frantically in front of her face. She’s afraid of getting sick too. The dust would get into her lungs and cause a deathly respiratory illness. Best to stay away from that.The room before her is covered from head to toe with ancient creepy paintings of people, animals, and mystical creatures. Ellies shakes in her soaking boots, but she still stays put, refusing to give into her panic. She stays despite the scream that is scratching at her throat. She stays despite the alarms going off in her head. 

 As she is settling into her room, she hears a sort of wailing. The sound is high-pitched and rings loudly in her ears. Ellie grabs onto the railing of the bed frame, tightening her grip until her knuckles go pale, trying to relieve the anxiety constricting in her stomach. To help her calm down, she tries to find her water bottle that was stuffed into her bag before she left, but she can’t see. A brightness blinds her from the corner by her bed and she starts to see her vision blur. Ellie stumbles back onto the bed, scrambling away from the floating brightness. Sounds start circulating throughout the room fighting their way through her fingers covering her ears. There was no real evidence that the bright light was a ghost, but Ellie was not taking any chances. The anxiety that constantly clawed inside her demanded to be paid attention to. With a scream stuck in her throat, Ellie tries to grab something – anything – near her to swat the brightness away. Even though she is filled with fear, Ellie flails and twists and turns to drive the ghost out of her room and through her window. She swings long after it’s gone, and there is fear and adrenaline coursing through her veins rather than blood. 

Eventually, Ellie stands breathless by the window. A huge smile spreads on her face as she realizes that she withstood her fear. Throughout the whole day, through every trial, every fear, she proved strong.. She did not flee from danger, but in the end Ellie realizes one thing: she never needed to go on this trip. She already knew who she was before putting herself through this torture: she’s a scaredy cat, but she could be brave if she had to. Sometimes. 

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