Briar Elementary and High is a small school of just under three hundred students, from first grade all the way to senior year. It’s spaced between two buildings and has been running since the early 1900’s, although it was just a high school academy back then.
And apparently there’s a monster in there now.
It’s just little things that leads people to believe there’s something supernatural lurking in the halls. The things that would go missing, only to turn up later caked in muddy finger prints. The food theft, mostly lunchboxes, but sometimes whole pizzas would just vanish into thin air. Hearing something crawling under the floor. And the hissing you can sometimes hear while in the girl’s bathroom in the highschool. If you go in there alone, sometimes you’ll make out whispers.
There’s three rumors about what it really is. I’ll go over each one.
One. There’s a creep who lives in one of the nearby caves and invades the school to get jerk off worthy memories and supplies. In the area where Briar Schools is there are a lot of caves and tunnels that go underground. Kids have wandered in there and never come out. One of them’s beneath the school actually but I’ll get back to that in a minute.
Now, supposedly, there’s a man by the name of Dale Horton who lives in these caves. Dale was a pedophile who preyed on little girls, inviting them to his house to model for him before he’d rape them and slash their throats, draining their blood so he could drink it later. He even shaved their heads, he liked how their hair felt. Dale was caught and sentenced to life in prison, but on his way to permanent lock up he broke free and hid in the cave system. They never caught him.
However, I’m gonna have to break your hearts on this one. There is no ‘Dale Horton’. Dale Horton never existed. Seriously, I looked it up. No serial murder pedo either. The closest I can find to this sorta crime is a serial rapist that attacked three teenage girls before being caught. He was a fellow student by the name of Kyle. I think he managed to shake the charges off though, I never found evidence of an official case being brought against him. Eh, that’s life when you’re a white guy with a sports scholarship.
Two. It’s the ghost of a teacher killed by a spurned lover.
This legend’s literally as old as the school. There was this woman, Miss Agnes Cherry, who taught the freshmen music. Beloved by all. Always pleasant to have around. And of course, had many admirers among the staff and students. One student in particular was downright obsessed with Miss Cherry. So much in fact, he got her alone and begged her to run away with him so they could get married.
Agnes told him to go away and that his actions were inappropriate. In response he took out a knife and slashed her throat, dragged her out of the school into the mud before he killed himself. That’s why everything’s covered in mud when she touches it. People have even seen Agnes’ ghost, a pale woman covered in mud and always sounding like she’s gasping for air.
Okay. Agnes was actually real. So was her admirer. Her throat was slashed too. But she didn’t die. Nope! She actually survived the attack and went on to marry the principal. Her daughter teaches at the school, Ms. Patton. She’s in charge of the Creative Writing class, I’m ninety percent sure she made up the rumor that Agnes died just to get a kick out of the students’ stories.
There’s one more. The one that has the least amount of detail. It’s another ghost story, about a girl who used to go to this school. Feeling like she was ugly and had no one to love her, she broke a mirror and cut her throat in the girl’s bathroom, effectively ending her life. This one doesn’t explain the mud though, and doesn’t even try to say who she was as it’s clear bullshit. There’s never been a suicide on grounds.
But I knew her name. And I knew what really happened.
Samantha Bishop. That was her name. She was a sophomore. Her favorite color was teal. She liked pearl earrings. Her favorite food was lasagna. She loved Garfield, even had pajamas with his face on it. Avril Lavigne was her hero. She was saving her money to one day go to one of her concerts.
But she also was socially awkward and suffered from a lack of self-esteem due to her glasses prescription giving her the appearance of having enormous, buggy eyes.
This just made her a target for people who didn’t bother to look past the book’s cover. One girl, in particular, and her friends. Audra Hart, Candice Whitfield, and Cindy Sweet. Audra was the ringleader. She used her nail polish to write nasty messages on Samantha’s locker. Knocked her things from her hands. Would constantly talk shit about her, right while she was in the room. One time when she was on her period, Samantha bled through during class and when Audra saw the red stain on the back of Samantha’s pants she screamed out loud about how ‘filthy’ Samantha was.
Filthy Sam. By the end of the day, everyone was calling her Filthy Sam.
The tormenting just got worse. Her mother tried to stop it, oh she did. But Audra’s father was a major figure on the school board and donated yearly to the sports program. So Audra got away with every damn thing.
But of course came the day things got taken too far.
Typically just before lunch time, Samantha would go into the bathroom to just get away from the bullies from a few moments. And typically, said bullies would be too focused on getting something to eat rather than chasing down ‘Filthy Sam’.
But this time Audra had to go to the bathroom. And when she saw Samantha, she couldn’t resist the chance to pick on her again.
It started off simple. The name calling, ‘Filthy Sam’, ‘Bug Eyes’, ‘Alien’, ‘Freak’. When Samantha ignored her, likely advice from the staff, Audra started to get meaner. Made cuts about her mom being a slut, her ‘retarded’ little sister.
‘So stupid she can’t even make it into kindergarten, huh?’
That was too far. Samantha loved her family. Her hard working mom who’d divorced and remarried. Her little sister who schooled from home due to Asperger’s. It was too much.
So Samantha turned around and slapped Audra across the face. A much overdue slap, if you ask me.
But Audra reacted back, much harsher. She grabbed Samantha by the hair and slammed her face into the mirror, shattering it with the force. Samantha dropped from the floor and stopped breathing.
The girls, panicked that they may have accidentally murdered their ‘prey’, remembered that in this particular bathroom there was a crawlspace in the floor where they kept the cleaning supplies. They opened it up and with a heave ho shoved Samantha’s lifeless body into the crawlspace. They slammed it shut, cleaned the blood off the mirror, and went about their day like nothing ever happened. Cindy ever so kindly reported to the teachers that the mirror was broken. They plotted to return after school and somehow smuggle Samantha’s body out in an instrument case before dumping the body wherever they could.
See, now we’re getting to the part about the caves, and the fact one of those tunnels happens to be right beneath the school. When the girls returned and opened up the crawlspace, they found a hole that plummeted straight down to a bottomless pit. Perhaps throwing Samantha in there so roughly had broken the floor. Maybe it just couldn’t support the weight of a teenage girl. Either way, Samantha was gone.
Assuming she was dead, the girls made a pact that they’d never tell anyone, boyfriends, husbands, teachers, or parents, that they’d killed Samantha.
Life went on. Samantha made the news when she turned out to be gone. Audra was questioned but let go, they had no proof she had anything to do with Samantha’s disappearance. Soon her locker was emptied out. Her desk remained empty. Audra and her friends graduated. Went to college. Got jobs with the influence of their families’. Married rich. And no one knows about their dirty little secret of murder.
Samantha’s mother because depressed but kept it together for the youngest child of hers, another daughter by the name Patricia. Patty for short. Patty grew up with all the love of her mother and stepdad. She found her love in poetry and writing, creating scripts for comics by the time she was twelve.
And she ended up going to Briar Elementary her sixth grade year. Despite her social difficulties at first, Patty found a group she could blossom with. Bullies were laughed at in their faces, Patty never really understood their insults anyway. Where Samantha lacked self-esteem, Patty almost had more than her fair share. She found herself to be different from others, sometimes in ways that confused or angered them, but she was still worthy of respect. Her skills in writing blew away her teachers, and she was moved up several classes in order to keep her challenged. She won contests. She was the president of the writing club by her eighth grade year.
I’ve always found communication tricky, by the way. It’s so much easier to just write the words out. Sometimes I’ve had to have accommodations made for me, given my sensitivity to sound and difficulty eating in front of others, but rather than bother them each time I ate in the bathroom. And it was that bathroom where I found my sister again.
I heard the rasping breaths below the floor, and although I’d heard rumors of ghosts and pedophiles, I didn’t believe in them. And rather than run away, I opened up the crawlspace.
She dropped away so fast I could barely make her out, but I caught a flash of her pearl earrings.
That night, I went to the school. More accurately, under the school.
It was tricky, finding the right cave, but I took my time. Mapped myself through it. And soon I was under the school.
And I found where Samantha Bishop had been all these years.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say she’s become primal, but after receiving the head injuries and being completely isolated for so long, I think it’s safe to say she’s lost her mind. She’s several pounds underweight from a strict diet of rats, toads, and rainwater, has torn out most of her hair, and is now completely blind from living in near total darkness. She knows it’s me though. She knows my voice, my scent. She knows I’m her sister.
I haven’t attempted to force her out from her squalor, I can barely get near her without her darting away, deeper into the caves. She had moments of clarity where she’s told me what happened, but most of her vocalizations are hums and clicks of her tongue, similar to the croaking of the toads. I have helped her though. Brought her blankets, clothes- her uniform was nothing more than rags at this point. Brought her lasagna and other healthier food in attempts to give her more strength.
I don’t know what to do though anymore. Should I tell the police, and force her from this nightmare she’s been living in into a whole new one? Make her reenter a society that tried to kill her?
Besides, I can’t explain away the fact that Cindy and Candice were found dead in their homes, their ribs gnawed on, innards ripped out, and their throats cut with the glass shards of mirrors.
And I almost wish Audra hadn’t moved out of town.
It’s going to be hard to hide Samantha so long in the backseat of my car.