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The Curse of Crossroads High

Creative Writing

Jada Melick, Photographer

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It was a cold afternoon at Crossroads High School. Students were anxiously waiting in their classes for the sound of the bell. One student in particular, Jack, was probably the most anxious out of the entire school. Today was Jack’s favorite holiday, Halloween. He had always loved scary stories, horror movies, and everything having to do with Halloween. However, there was one thing that Jack loved even more than Halloween, and that’s a good mystery. His love for mysteries is what led him to become a writer, and today he would write the greatest story he had ever written. He just needed to get through his last class of the day and he would be home free.

“Okay class, I mention this every year, so some of you might have heard this before,” said Mrs. Carrol to her Honors Junior English class. “Be safe if you go out tonight. It’s Halloween and anything can happen.”

The bell rang and all the students got out of their seats. Jack stayed behind to talk to his English teacher. “Hi Mrs. Carrol, I was wondering if you could tell me a little more about the school curse? I’m writing an article about it for the school paper.”

Mrs. Carrol stopped what she was doing, “Fifty years ago was when it all started. I was a senior then, and my class was working on our senior prank. A few of the football players thought that it would be funny if we hid all of the coffee machines in the teacher’s lounge and the principal’s office. Everyone else loved the plan and we went along with it. We had planned on hiding all of the coffee machines in the forest by the fork in the road.”

“The fork? Isn’t that what the school is named after, the crossroads?” Jack asked her.

His teacher nodded, “Yes, the very same. A small group of us went in the forest, while some stayed to keep watch for police cars and others that would catch us. I went into the forest with a few of the football players and their girlfriends, one of them being Mary my best friend. She carried one of the coffee makers in her arms, and I could tell that she was dreading ever part of being in the forest. I was charged with the task of keeping a hold of the rope that would lead us back to the rest of the seniors. We had reached a small stream, which would be where we would hide the machines. A few feet away from the stream was a cliff that marked the end of the forest. Mary’s boyfriend told her to throw her coffee maker over the cliff and she agreed. Everyone had finished what they were tasked with and we began to head back to the start of the forest. That’s when I realized that we were short a person. Mary wasn’t with us. We all ran back to the cliff and looked over the edge. She was nowhere to be seen. To this day no one knows where she is and whether she is still alive.”

Jack was quiet when she had finished her story. He had no idea that the forest had such a dark history, and that is why everyone tended to steer away from it.

“Thank you Mrs. Carrol, for giving me this information,” Jack said with a small smile.

He turned around and headed towards the door, when Mrs. Carrol’s voice stopped him, “Don’t go in that forest tonight, Jack.”

He looked back at her and nodded. Jack left her classroom, forgetting what she had just said. After the story he had already made up his mind and was planning to go into the forest tonight.

Several hours later Jack was in his room getting a flashlight to go into the woods. His older brother Tony, came into his room.

“I called Layla and convinced her to come with,” he said.

“Why would you do that? It was supposed to be a sibling thing,” Jack complained.

“It’s an extra pair of hands, Jack. What if one of us gets hurt? She knows first aid, remember?”

Jack groaned, “Fine, but she better not act all scared while we’re there. Oh and no kissing.”

His brother rolled his eyes, “Very funny.”

A few minutes later, Layla showed up at their house. Layla was Tony’s girlfriend and was the current vice president at their high school. Both her and Tony were seniors and they had been dating since their sophomore year.

Tony greeted his girlfriend at the door. “Are you ready for this?”

“I have no idea how you convinced me to do this. You know how much I hate things that are creepy and scary,” Layla replied.

Jack ran down the stairs towards them with a flashlight in hand, “Ready to find a dead body?”

“Be quiet before you scare Layla,” Tony snapped back at his younger brother.

Jack smirked, “Let’s go guys.” (continued on zebratales.org)

All three of them walked to the forest that Mrs. Carrol had described in her story. They all turned their flashlights on when they got to the forest. Jack and his brother began to walk in. Tony turned to see his girlfriend standing on the outskirts of the forest.

“On second thought, maybe I should stay right here. You know just in case,” she said nervously.

“Come on Layla. I’ll be next to you the entire time, I promise,” Tony said with a smile. Layla slowly stepped into the forest. She could be convinced by anything her boyfriend would say to her. Even if it would get both of them into trouble.

The three of them traversed deeper into the forest. The light of their flashlights casted various shadows off of the trees. Layla clutched Tony’s arm, as if her life depended on it. Jack led the way, until they came to the stream from the story.

Jack stopped walking, “Well, here we are.”

The forest was silent. No leaves were rustling and nothing moved. The water in the steam was stagnant. All that could be heard was the sounds of the trio breathing.

“Guys, I really don’t think we should be here,” Layla whispered, “It feels like we’re, trespassing or something.”

Jack ignored her and continued to explore his surroundings, not really knowing what he was looking for. Tony tried to comfort Layla, while Jack searched.

“Hey look at this!” Jack came over to where his brother was. In his hands was a bracelet with a letter M charm. The bracelet had begun to rust from being left out in the woods, and was starting to lose the beauty of what it once was.

“Where did you find that?” Tony asked, taking the bracelet from his brother.

“Over by the cliff,” he replied.

Tony stepped forward to walk towards the cliff, but he felt Layla’s firm grip on his wrist. He looked back at her. Her eyes were glossy and showed no emotion.

“Layla are you alright?” Tony waved his hand in front of her face. Jack had stopped exploring and was now staring at them.

“Why did they leave me?” Layla spoke in a monotone voice.

“What are you talking about? Jack and I are both right here,” Tony said puzzled.

“Yeah Layla we haven’t left you,” Jack agreed.

“Layla? That’s not my name. I’m Mary,” she replied.

Jack and Tony looked at one another. They both had the same frightened expression on their faces. Jack began to move slowly to where they had entered the forest.

“Don’t leave me here!” Mary screamed.

Layla’s grip had loosened on Tony’s wrist and he was able to free himself from her grasp. Jack and his brother began to run. They could hear Mary screaming from behind them.

“We can’t just leave her,” Tony breathed heavily.

Jack and his brother stopped running and saw that Mary had stopped running. They both walked slowly to her. She was down on her knees breathing heavily.

“Layla?” Tony asked getting closer to her.

She looked up with tears in her eyes, “I’m sorry I don’t know what that was. Did I hurt either of you?”

Tony shook his head, “We’re fine. It wasn’t your fault.”

Tony closed the space between them and hugged his girlfriend.

“Okay, okay, can we go now,” Jack complained crossing his arms.

All three of them walked away from the forest, trying to forget everything that had just happened.

The next day, Jack showed up to his English class. He wanted to talk to Mrs. Carrol about what he had seen in the forest. The bell rang and Mrs. Carrol was nowhere to be found.

Jack leaned over to the student sitting next to him, “Hey, do you know where Mrs. Carrol is?”

The student looked at him with a confused expression, “Mrs. Carrol? Who’s that?”

“Only our teacher for this class. What do you mean?” Jack asked.

“Our teacher’s name is Mrs. Fuller,” the student rolled his eyes.

Ever since that night in the forest, no one had any memory of Mrs. Carrol except for Jack, Tony, and Layla. They never talked about what had happened in the forest ever again.

Mary’s spirit to this day is stuck in the forest, unable to move on. Until she is forgiven by those who abandoned her, no one is safe in the forest at the crossroads.

About the Writer
Jada Melick, Photographer

Jada is a junior and this is her first year on the ZebraTales staff. She likes hanging out with friends, doing community service and watching movies. She...

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