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The vanishing schoolgirl


I attended a small English boarding school located in the leafy suburbs approximately 30 miles from London. The school building was a modest mansion (previously a family home) whose entire upstairs had been converted into the borders' dormitories. Thanks to the Victorian architecture, these could only be accessed by following lots of narrow twisting corridors, small landings and stairs that branched off almost randomly.
This incident occurred when I was 14 and was boarding in the top-floor dormitory. One day at morning break, I realised I'd left my math text book on my bed, so I raced upstairs to get it before the bell rang. I ran up the main flight of stairs, through a fire door and past the Matron's office.
The dorms were deserted because everyone was in class, but at this point I was joined by another girl, running just ahead of me, so I couldn't see her face. She was blonde, wearing the school uniform (at the time we had a particularly fetching brown bri-nylon design which was hard to miss) and a purple scrunchy in her hair. So we were running up to the dorms together, round corners, down corridors, through fire doors (being ahead of me, she would go first and I would catch the door on its backswing) and so on.
As we got closer to the top dorm, I began to wonder who she was because from the back she didn't resemble anyone in my year. All this took place in a matter of two minutes though, you understand, so it was just an idle thought.
Finally, we got to the top landing. She was making for my dorm and definitely wasn't in my year, so I was about to say something, when she pushed open the dorm door, ran in, I followed directly after her and... arrived in a completely empty room. I was completely and utterly alone.
I remember very clearly the feeling of total brain-freeze as I took in the fact that the girl had disappeared. It was a sunny autumn day and I could see motes of dust moving undisturbed in shafts of light from the window. After about three minutes of just standing still in shock, I half-heartedly poked under beds and in cupboards, but I knew it was hopeless: there wasn't anywhere she could have closeted herself in as I'd been less than a foot behind her when entering the room. In the end, I just grabbed my text book and made my way back to class. I didn't tell anyone what happened for many years afterward and am still not sure I believe in ghosts.
by Robbie W.
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