Archive for the ‘Ghost City’ Category

Jennifer smiled as she looked up from her journals as several elementary students came rushing into the office. “Candy, Candy!” they yelled.

“Oh look at these wonderful students.” said Steve, another foriegn teacher. Sitting at his desk, he put his hand up to his chin and mused. “They must want something. I wonder what it could be?”

“Candy candy!” They excitedly declared.  

“Candy! Oh my gosh, well let me see if I have any.” He opened up his bottom desk draw and the kids cheered as they saw a big bag of chocolates.

After the students ran out of the room with their prize Steve pointed to them pretending to be stern. “Now you behave in class now!”

Kelly entered the office carrying her books as the kids were leaving. Half laughing she said “You know the kids aren’t supposed to be in our office right?”

“It’s ok, it’s ok, because I am super-teacher!”  He said, proudly giving himself a thumbs up.

“Ha ha of course you are Sam.” Turning to Jennifer, Kelly asked “How has your first week going so far?”

“Pretty good.” Jennifer answered as she went through her students journals. “My ninth graders are pretty good. I’ve been going through their writing. It’s not too bad.”

“Yeah they are a good group. The Chinese teachers like them a lot too. Hey what are you doing after school the next few days?”

“Well I just have one more class then I want to finish cleaning this desk out. I’ll probably stay in tonight, I want to Skype with my family. Why?”

“That’s fine, well tomorrow night some of the foreigners that work at other schools are going out.” 

“That sounds great, I can do that.” 

“Would you like to come, Steve?” Kelly asked.

“Oh I would love to but my baby is sick so I have to stay home with my wife.”

“Oh I’m sorry to hear that.”

“That’s ok Kelly. Will you go to KTV?”   

“You know it.”

“Ah, I am so sorry I cannot go. Next time yes, because you know I am the best singer!”

“Just like you’re the best teacher!”

“You got it.”Sam said pointing back at Kelly while playfully winking at her.

 Later, back in the classroom, a question was asked. “Teacher, do you own a gun?” 

Jennifer was perturbed by this question. “No Leo, I don’t own a gun.”

“Why teacher? I thought Americans had gun.”

“No Leo, we don’t all own guns. I don’t like guns.”

“Why teacher, I like guns!” He formed his hand into a pistol. “I want gun!”

She had to bite her tongue in this moment.“Ok let’s move on with our lesson.” As she passed the student notebooks out Farrah came in, smiling from ear to ear.”

“Linda, you’re are late.”     

Gesturing playfully with her hand “I was in Brad’s office.” Jennifer then continued her lesson. Occasionally she had to correct Farrah for being on her phone or not paying attention, but for the most part the class went well. She did notice Deborah, who was missing the first day she taught them, was really quiet. After class Jennifer approached her desk, Deborah sat looking down at her phone. Jennifer noticed the picture on the phone’s screen. She didn’t recognize the girl at first, but it was Deborah, with a big smile on her face. Next to her was another young Chinese girl whom Jennifer did not recognize. 

“Are you ok Deborah.” The student gave no answer as she quicky put her phone away while giving the teacher a look, saddness mixed with a dash of anger. 

“Sorry teacher” Meera said as she gave Deborah a friendly pat on the shoulder. Meera said soemthing to her in Chinese and they both left the room.

Back in the teachers office Jennifer was now cleaning out her desk. The last teacher left a lot of papers and knick knacks behind. While throwing out some papers she noticed a small envelope with a note inside. Curiosity got the better of her and she decided to read it.

“I know you say we cannot be together, but we need to be together. You are my star. You are my star and we must be together. I dream of going to Hollywood with you. Let us go to America and we will both be star, We must my love, we must. Meet me at secret place and I tell you why we must be together.” 

It read like a students writing, and from the pensmenship she suspected it was a girls writing. The note gave Jennifer an uneasy feeling, and she decided to talk to her supervisor.

Brad looked very sad as he sat at the desk reading the note. “I am sorry you found this.”

“What is it?” Jennifer asked, sitting down in his office. 

“Well you see, Sam was a good teacher, the students miss him.” Brad explaind. “But he had a, ina-, how to say, he had a relationship with a student that, it wasn’t proper.”

Jennifer’s stomach turned as she immediately got the implication. “With one of my students?” She asked, her disgust simmering beneath the surface.

 “Well, she’s, she’s not hear anymore.” 

“Did she go to another school?”

He folded up the letter. Thank you for showing this to me. Please don’t speak of this, the students will be really upset.” Jennifer nodded as she pondered the situation. Brad then stood up and said”We should close the office now. Have a good evening.”

Walking back to her apartment, she didn’t see anyone as she looked down the hallway this time. Coming in, she was relieved that her landlord finally got her a working modem. Since she arrived she had to use the school’s computers to email her family, but those computers were old and slow and the internet service wasn’t the best. She turned her laptop on and finally saw the icon lit up, indicating that she was at last online.

“It’s so good to see you honey. Are you doing ok?” Her mom appeared on the small box on her screen.

“Yes I am how are you?”

“Oh we’re all fine here. Dad is working a lot. You’re Uncle Johnny was asking about you. He was worried you were getting brainwashed.”

“No mom it’s fine. They treat us ok here.”

“Are you learning Chinese?”

“I was referred to a tutor so I’ll be starting soon.”

“Sounds interest.” She could tell her mom’s eyes were scanning what she could see of the apartment. “Well your apartment is lovely, it looks brand new!”

“Well it’s a few years old, but actually I am the first person that lived here.”

“That’s amazing. The ladies at work can’t believe how there’s no people where you live. We thought you’d be stuffed like sardines.”

“How is your friend Linda doing?”

“She is great. Looks like her daughter is going to the  Valentine’s Day dance”

“Oh really? She has a boyfriend?” Jennifer remembered when Linda was just a little girl.

“Well I don’t know if it’s a boyfriend yet but she’s been talking about maybe going with some boy.”

“Aww that’s cute. I do miss them.”

“So you don’t miss us huh?” Her mom said sarcastically.

“Oh mom of course I do.”

“I know honey. Listen I know you did what you had to do. We don’t want you to feel guilty about leaving after Reggie passed. We all have to carry on in our own way. You just have a good time over there and be safe.”

“Thanks mom.” 

“Sure honey. We love you.” Then her head turned, as if she was trying to peer over Jennifer’s shoulder. “What is that?” she asked.

“What is what?” Jennifer turned around to see nothing unusual behind her.

“I don’t know I thought I saw something for a moment. Oh well, must be getting old!” She jested.

“Must be.” Then Jennifer’s doorbell rang. “Oh that’s probably my dinner. I’m getting something delivered. I’ll be right back.”

Jennifer went to the door and it was a delivery person from the Muslim restaurant down the street. Steve recommended it to her and she took an immediate liking to it. In fact this was the third meal from them she had since he’d been there. After she payed for her food she closed the door and heard her mom shouting through the computer. 

“Mom what’s wrong?” when she ran back to her laptop she saw the screen flicker for a moment.

“Who is in your room?” Her mom asked.

“What?” Jennifer asked as she sat down.

“Do you have a student there?”

“What are you talking about?” Jennifer asked as she looked around her empty apartment.

“There’s a girl in there!” Her mom insisted. “She looked right at me. Her face was so pale it scared the hell out of me!”

“Mom there’s no one in here.”

“I’m teling you there was a girl in your room. She had a red dress on and her face was as white as a ghost. She looked pretty young so I assumed it was a student. The image on my screen flickered out for a moment, and then her face was really big on my screen, like she was looking right at me, Then the screen flickered out again and she was gone.”

“I don’t know mom, the internet here isn’t the best,” Jennifer attempted to rationalize., “maybe something went haywire with the connection.

“Honey I’m just telling you what I saw. It scared the hell out of me.”

Unpacking her dinner Jennifer said “Ok well I have to eat, I’ll chat with you later ok.”

“Ok well have a good day.”

“I already had a good day.” Jennifer laughed. “It’s evening time here.”

“Oh that’s right!” Her mom clapped her hands together laughing. “Well good night. I feel so weird saying that now.” Then they hung up.

Immediately Jennifer sprang to her feet and looked around her small apartment. There weren’t many places to hide. She felt anxious but also embarrassed as she looked in her closets and out on the balcony. This brought back memories of when she thought as a child that there were monsters under her bed. Even at that age her little brother wasn’t scared of anything. He would eagerly look under her bed and in her closet with his toy sword, excitedly hoping to find some monster he could fight. Her anxiety dropped into grief as she remembered that even at that age he was so fearless. He would have been disappointed here as well, as her apartment was empty except for her. 

Hope everyone has been safe through these trying times. Hopefully better days are ahead! Thanks for supporting this story, and tune in next month for issue three of the blogvere’s most popular tale, Ghost City!

Next week, the return of Jaguar! What do Jaguar’s benefactors want, and will she accept their help?

In two weeks the Lights of Mirigan are back on. What are the mysterious lights over Melbourne, and what is their connection to the local extremist group?

Was that something about a Valentines dance I heard in this issue? Will Diego have a hot date, or will he be caught up in this newly discovered word of underground fighting? Find out in the next issue of Flying Fox, coming in three weeks. The blogverse is on a roll!

Greetings. This is a new experiment I am trying. Each Wednesday I will add a chapter to a short story, there will be four short stories over all. The stories that people like I will continue, stories that are not as successful will be replaced. Enjoy!

“Are you Russian?” he asked.

“No, why would you think I’m Russian.”  

Looking at her pretty blonde hair in the rear view mirror, the taxi driver smiled and said “You look Russian, haha. Where are you from?” 

“America.”

“Ahhh, America.” he said.

The sun was setting over the city, the yellow ball was dwarfed by the large concrete apartment buildings that went speeding past in a blur of gray and brown color. Conscious of the speed they were travelling Jennifer soon realized the highway was almost empty, which the taxi driver could tell surprised her.  “I know.” he said. “You were expecting a lot of people.”

She remembered how packed and stuffy the Beijing Airport was when she arrived there, and the thick smog that was visible through the windows. The Ordos Ejin Horo airport that she just arrived at appeared so modern and new, and surprisingly, was almost empty. “Yeah I thought China had a billion people?” She said as she looked out into the clear sky.

“Over a billion.” he answered. “Cities like Beijing, Shanghai, very big, too big, haha. But this is a new city. So, I have to ask you something. Do you believe in Ghosts?”

“What?”

“This is a Ghost City.”

“What do you mean?”

“We have a few of them in China. Government built some new cities, but not many people moved into them.” The sun was set now, and the city was a vast stretch of blackness peppered with a few extremely bright balls of light. They rode past large concrete apartment buildings with only a few scattered lights visible from the outside. “I see.” Jennifer said. “It looks like hardly anyone lives here.”

“There used to be even less people, haha. We have amusement parks, concert halls, many wonderful things in Ordos, but not enough people to enjoy them. I hope you can enjoy them while you stay here.”

“I hope so too.”  

The taxi pulled off of the highway, passing a shopping mall the driver explained. “My cousin has a toy store in that shopping mall. Five story mall, but hardly any customers. You should go there sometime.” 

“I will.” she humored him.

“So are there any ghosts in the ghost city?” She playfully asked.

“Why, you want to see ghosts?” 

“Haha well I don’t know.” She said as she looked at the near empty downtown area.

“My mother always said, how do I say, don’t ask for something unless, unless, uh, my father said dont ask for something unless you really want it?”

“He sounded like a smart man.” she observed.

Soon they pulled up to one of the dark apartment buildings. There was a moving truck that obscured the view of the address on the building. The driver rolled down the window, a blast of winter air hit as he asked the truck driver in Chinese if this was the correct building. After affirming that it was the driver said “Here we are. I will go to the office and get the landlord” The driver ran inside. Jennifer got out of the car and looked up at the building towering over her in the darkness. Only a few sparse lights shown from above. She didn’t hear any traffic, pedestrian or otherwise. What she did here, was the sound of a woman crying. By the truck she noticed a middle aged woman standing on the sidewalk. Her hands covered her face desperately trying to hold back tears. Jennifer wanted to say something, but she knew next to no Chinese. 

She felt a hand on her arm before she heard the voice. “Come on, it’s ok come on.””the driver said as he opened the trunk and took out her heavy luggage. As she grabbed a smaller bag herself she saw a young girl in a school uniform walk out of the apartment and console the woman, though he looked like she was upset as well. 

Approaching the entrance, the driver stopped and pointed to a building across the street. Jennifer could see the neon glow piercing the night sky. “See that over there?” he said. “That’s Hollywood English. That’s where you will go tomorrow.”

“Ok thank you.” She couldn’t help but laugh a bit at the gaudy nature of the sign, it looked like the old movie theaters where the actresses names were up in lights.

Moving inside, the driver helped carry her luggage to the elevator and to her new apartment. “We could have taken the stairs.” She observed as he pushed button #2.” 

“It’s ok. If no one uses this elevator,” he jested with an exageratted expression, “It might die! Haha.”

“Oh no I don’t want it to die!” She joked back as the bell rang to the second floor.

Back home she would have hated living in a place like this, because every room would have been packed with people blasting their music, watching TV too loud, yelling, arguing, fighting, doing meth and whatever else. Here it was eerily quiet, Coming off the elevator, the usually grave silent hallway was now filled with the echoes of footsteps and the rolling sound of the luggage wheels. It was dark except for the light from the drivers phone, which he used to find her apartment. “Well this is your place.” The driver said.

“Thank you very much.” She said in relief as she paid him his fare.

“Thank you.” He took the money and added “Nice to meet you.”

‘Nice to meet you too.” The hallway was again black as the driver put his phone in his pocket and walked away.

Opening her apartment door she hit the lights. Her first impression of the place was that it was small, but it looked brand new. For all she knew she may have been the first person living here. It didn’t sound like she had neighbors on either side, but as she brought her stuff in she heard a sound. Back in the hallway a light now glowed from the very end of the dead hallway. A man came out of one of the rooms carrying a box. She watched as he turned around, and before closing the door the he just stared into the room. For a moment she thought maybe he was talking to somebody, but it was again eerily silent. The man stood there in the gloomy hallway, bathed by the light coming from the open door. His posture was slumped, his head facing down solomley. The picture before her looked like an image from theater. The man then reached his arm back into the room, and presumably flipped a switch as the light now extinguished. 

She gasped as the silence was broken from the sound of the door shutting. Footsteps again flooded the hallway as she could see the black silloutte of the man approaching her with his box. He again came into the light  as he drew near her apartment. He appeared a similar age to the woman outside, and himself wore a forelourgn expression. No eye contact was made as he passed, and she felt no inclination to say anything. 

As he passed she looked back down the hallway, at the end of which was a large window. Through what little light shown through she could see another shape looking back. She could tell it was a girl as it appeared to be wearing a dress. It seemed she had a neighbor after all. She smirked to herself for a moment, as he observed the deep shadow like silloute wore a head of long straight hair. Her brother would have got a kick out of this, as it looked like something straight out of those Japanese ghost movies he liked. “Ni Hao.” she said. 

Then the footsteps stopped, she turned around to see the man stopped near the stairwell. He remained silent, but looked at her for a moment, his expression unchanged,  before descending down the steps. 

When she looked back the girl had vanished. Assuming she went back inside, Jennifer closed the door and soon went to bed.

Late into the afternoon the following day she met her Chinese boss. “Hello, welcome to Hollywood English! “He said in the school office. “This is an after school program. Students come here after school to get extra study. You can call me Brad. Like Brad Pitt!” he said, triumphantly raising his fist. 

“Uh sure.”

“So do you speak any Chinese?”

“No sorry?” she said sheepishly.

“It’s ok. If you want to learn some Chinese, I can reccomend a tutor. For now don’t worry,  our student’s English level is very good. Their a; how to say, weak point is writing. Can you help them with that?”

“Well that was my major, so I sure hope so.”

“Ah very good,” Brad said. “Come this way, I will show you to your teacher’s office.”

Jennifer never expected to have an office. Teacher’s didn’t have offices in America, but here she she would go to the different students classrooms instead of them coming to her. Entering the office she saw another head of blonde hair. “This is Kelly.” Brad introduced the two as they exchanged pleasntries before Brad led her to her desk. “This is your desk.” He explained. “We only have a few foreign teachers, and you will all share this office. We are a small school, but we hope to expand our operation this year.” 

“Sounds good.” She said, noticing a stack of books and other items.  “So this is my stuff.”

“Yes, this was Sam’s desk. Sam had to uh, had to leave our school, so this is yours now. You will teach grade nine.” Brad then proceeded to go over the curriculum materials, and before she knew it she was in front of a group of ninth graders.

“You will teach grade nine. They are very good students. You will like them very much.” He proceeded to show her the curriculum they would be using, the students books, other materials, and before she knew it she stood in front of a group of 14 year olds.  

“Oh you are so pretty!”

“Oh so beautiful!” Another girl said.

“You are very handsome!” A boy said.

“Teacher is a girl.” a student she would come to know a Meera scolded. “You say she is beautiful, not handsome.”

“It’s ok.” Jennifer laughed. “Well I am teacher Jennifer, it is nice to meet you. I am from America, and I will be your new English teacher.”

“Where are you from in America?” Another student excitedly asked.

“I’m from Los Angeles California.”

A student named Denny asked “Do you like the LA Lakers.”

“Yes I do actually! I went to their games many times.”

“Oh wow you must be rich!” Denny said in awe.

“Haha no I am not rich.”

“I like the Golden State Warriors.” Denny proudly proclaimed. “Do you like them?”

“I sure do!” Jenny gave a thumbs up, humoring him. Now let me take the roll. The students had English names which she read aloud. Farrah was the first name she called that wasn’t present.

“She die!” Jerry joked.

“She died, oh no!” Jenny playfully over reacted.” to which the students laughed. Later she came to Deborah.

“She die!” Jerry said, laughing again.

“Don’t say that!” Meera scolded. “Teacher, Deborah won’t be here today. Also Linda student won’t be hear anymore.” Jerry wore a devilish smile but didn’t say anything.

“How helpful, thank you Jenny. She finished taking toll when she noticed a hand was up.

“Yes?” She aksed.

“Do you have any brothers or sisters?” another student inquired.

Jenny grew quiet for a moment, but she figured this would come up eventually. “Um, well, I had a brother.

“Did he die!” Jerry asked with eager anticpiation.

“Yes he did actually.”

“Jerry!” Meera scolded.

“Oh, I’m sorry teacher.” Jerry said in genuine regret.

“It’s ok, Jerry. Let’s just move on. Who wants to learn English!”

Jennifer always heard how good Asian kids were. It appeared to be true, at least here anyway. Her first day on the job was fairly pleasant, but she was still tired. Kelly invited her out for some drinks but she declined. She just wanted to sleep.

She was used to being wary of dark places. Back in her apartment building she found herself hurrying up the stairwell to get to her place. The sound of her footsteps thundered through the stairwell. Rushing to her apartment door she found herself laughing at her predicament. Reaching for her key she looked down the hallway. The sun had long set as it was near midnight. Near the window at the end of the cooridor, through a sliver of moonlight she could again see the form of a girl peering back at her. 

“Hello.” Jennifer said, opening her door. “I guess we’re neighbors huh?”

The black form remained noiseless, it’s shadowy long hair flowed to the sides. Jennifer looked away and removed her key from the door. When she looked back, the shape was gone.

“How rude.” She thought to herself. It was then she felt a deathly chill behind her. She turned to see the visage of a young girl. It’s unearthly black eyes contrasted to the pale whiteness of its skin. The moved toward her and Jennifer let out a loud shriek that could be heard through the entire complex. 

She rushed inside and slammed the door behind her. Sitting down at the inside of the door, she took a moment to catch her breath. “This is ridiculous.” She thought to herself. “What did that kid think she was doing?” Her legs trembled as she forced herself to rise back up to her feet. Sweat formed at her brow as she slowly drew closer to the key hole. Placing her eye against the door, she at first could only see darkness outside. The blackness grew even deeper as it was surrounded by a circle of white, dead white flesh. It was the eye of the girl looking back at her, as if it could see Jennifer as clear as day. 

Jennifer screamed again as she jumped back and fell to the foor. She watched the door rattle and shake as she could hear the child attempting to turn the knob. 

“What do you want!” She pleaded.

The shaking stopped, and the last thing she heard was a pair of footsteps running back down the hallway.

Tune in next week for hard hidding action in Jaguar. A South African woman faces hard times in prison for crimes against her nation. But one day she gets help from a mysterious source. Who are they and what do they want?

In two weeks comes Azzaroth, a tale of Nazis and UFO’s from the land down under!

Landing three weeks from now is the Flying Fox. The grandson of a Fabled Mexican Wrestler, a Los Angeles teenager stumbles into the world of underground fighting.

Come back in 30 days for Ghost City part two! Who is the strange girl Jennifer has seen, and what is her connection to her new school and the other foreigners she meets?