Gone Like a Ghost

by Lydia Chai

A gentle breeze blew through the trees, sending a chill across the back of Willow’s neck. She had a distinct feeling of being watched, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. She tightened her grip on her bag and stared anxiously at the inn she was staying at. Her mother impatiently beckoned for her to follow the rest of her family members into the inn as another breeze swept across the ground. Willow swore she heard voices whispering in the breeze, but she steeled her nerves and ran after them into the inn.

Once inside the inn, Willow relaxed, it didn’t seem like the sort of place that was haunted at all, with cheerful twinkling lights and paintings of sunny fields lining the walls, but she still had an unsettling feeling about the place. “Hurry up, Willow!” her father called, “I want to check out the bar downstairs.”

Willow sighed and huffily stomped up the stairs after him. At least the room wasn’t that bad, Willow thought, sitting down on the soft mattress. Just as Willow had started to settle, her dad banged on the door and shouted at her to come down to the bar. Willow reluctantly walked down the stairs towards the bar. The bar was loud and crowded, just the place Willow did not like. After knocking over a couple chairs, Willow shuffled to the corner of the room, where a group of tall, burly men were drinking beer. When they saw Willow staring nervously at them, they chuckled. “It’s not us you should be scared of,” one of them sneered, beer dribbling through his beard.

“He’s right,” a guy with a buzz cut said, “You should be scared of seeing the ghost.”

“What ghost?” Willow asked skeptically.

“The ghost that haunts this inn, they say she’s waiting to kill someone.”

“Ha! You expect me to believe that?” Willow snorted, “Ghosts aren’t real.”

The men smirked at her as she angrily stormed away. Stupid adults acting all superior, Willow thought furiously to herself, they shouldn’t go around scaring kids like that! Willow was so absorbed in her thoughts that she didn’t notice that she was face to face with a young lady who was scanning the room intensely. “Oh! Hi…” Willow said awkwardly.

“Hello dear,” the lady said absentmindedly, “Is something bothering you?”

“N-no.” Willow said.

“Come, have a seat, I don’t like the noise either.”

“Oh…How did you know that?”

“I could tell.”


Two hours later…

“Well, I’ve better be off to bed now, if you want you can come and keep me company while I prepare for bed.” the lady said.

“Sure,” said Willow, eager to spend more time with her new friend, “I never did ask what your name was, did I?”

“I don’t believe so, my name is Roxanne.”

When they reached Roxanne’s room, Willow was immediately entranced by a beautiful copper willow with long flowing branches and little green crystals that caught the gentle glow of the dying sun. It’s branches almost seemed to sway as if a breeze was blowing through them, which was strange because they were inside and the windows were closed.

“You can have it.” Roxanne said.

“What?” Willow said, startled, “But-but are you sure?”

“You can have it.” Roxanne repeated firmly.

Roxanne gently placed the willow into Willow’s hands and smiled at her. “Thank you.” Willow said quietly.

Just as Willow was about to ask Roxanne if she could visit her again tomorrow, a beautiful necklace resting on Roxanne’s chest caught her eye. It was a small, delicate looking butterfly, a swallowtail on a thin gold chain. The necklace reminded her of her younger sister Holly, who loved butterflies, especially swallowtails. “My sister Holly would love that necklace.” Willow blurted out.

“Oh, really?” Roxanne said in a curious tone, raising her eyebrows delicately.

Suddenly loud voice cut through the peaceful quiet, “Willow! Willow, time for bed!”

Willow knew that voice very well. The door was flung open just mere seconds before Willow was about to step out of the room, revealing her red faced, drunk and tired looking father. Willow turned to Roxanne to say goodbye, but noticed that Roxanne was looking at her dad in a very strange way and her fists were clenched tightly. Roxanne opened her mouth as if to say something, but instead shook her head and waved goodbye in a rather stiff way to Willow.

Later that night, as Willow lay in bed, she wondered why Roxanne had acted so strange after seeing her dad till she drifted off to sleep…

The next day, after eating breakfast super fast, Willow ran to Roxanne’s room, dying to ask her about what had happened last night. When she arrived, she knocked on the door a couple times and waited. After there was no reply for a while, she opened the door quietly and saw something that made her scream in terror. The wallpaper that had looked so new yesterday was peeling and yellowed at the edges, the entire room was covered in a thick layer of dust and there was no sign of any life. Willow double checked the room number, but it was the same room. The oak door pressed against her back as she sank to her knees in shock. Thinking that she could’ve just dreamed about Roxanne, Willow ran back to her room and stared at the dresser she’d placed the willow on, there it was, twinkling cheerfully at her, undeniably real. As Willow headed towards her dad’s room to ask him about Roxanne, she spotted Holly, wearing the same swallowtail necklace that Roxanne had been wearing the other day, and heading… Outside?! Willow ran after Holly, it wasn’t safe for Holly to be outside by herself, Holly was only seven! Once Willow caught up with Holly, she noticed that Holly was headed straight towards two tall strangers, shrouded by the dense morning fog. The people were arguing fiercely, waving their hands around and shouting inaudibly at each other. All of a sudden, the shorter, now unmistakably female person, whipped out a glinting silver knife and stabbed the other person. Willow screamed in fear, accidentally alerting the woman of her and Holly’s presence. As the woman looked up at them, a bolt of lightning sizzled from the sky, briefly illuminating the woman’s face. It was Roxanne! The lightning also illuminated the body of the person Roxanne had stabbed. Willow’s father. “NO!” Willow shrieked.

Roxanne grinned evilly and sprinted towards them at top speed, knife at the ready. As Roxanne lunged towards Holly, Willow tried to stop her, block her, anything, but her muscles wouldn’t move, she was paralyzed with terror. She could only watch in horror as Roxanne killed her sister. Roxanne turned to her with a mocking frown. “Willow, Willow, Willow,” Roxanne sighed melodramatically, “You’re probably wondering why I’m doing this but I don’t think you’d understand. See, your father and I dated when we were younger and I truly loved him. Alas, he didn’t trust me, so when your grandfather mysteriously died after telling your father that he should marry your mother, a prettier, richer woman, your father blamed me. Your grandmother did too, and told me to ‘get away from her precious son’. After your grandmother died the next day, your father, assuming that it was me, it was me by the way, furiously killed me in rage. Then he left my body to rot and married your mother. So, now I killed him and will kill everyone he loves, just like I killed his parents. I will not rest till all of his family is dead. That’s why I’m still here haunting him even in death.”

Willow collapsed to the ground in shock, hit her head on a tree branch and blacked out. Roxanne stabbed Willow, checked her pulse to make sure she was dead and kicked her body into the bushes before sweeping away into the darkness.


“There are so many crazy mysteries in this world, but the biggest one remains, even twenty years later. The death of the entire Hill family, including forty-eight year old parents Mason Hill and Rowan Hill, and their children: fifteen year old Ash, twelve year old Willow and seven year old Holly. This mystery has puzzled both police and private detectives. According to police officer chief Gregory Brown, there were no fingerprints on the knife that had supposedly killed the family. No footprints were found in the area where three of the five family members were murdered.” The radio person said, neatly adjusting her blouse, “But before we get into figuring out what really happened to them, here’s Martha to tell us five easy laundry hacks.”

Officer Gregory Brown sighed as he shut off the radio. This stupid case was giving him a bad migraine. There was no sign of the killer. It was as if they’d been killed by a ghost…