Writers (in order): Esosa Zuwa*, Eileen Hung, Keiss Chan, Lyra Thompson, Joyce Lee, Emma Kochenderfer, kaylee n, Langston Wu*, Niara Dagli, Irene Tsen. Editor: Ms. Ja.

*Wrote more than once


Now that I think of it, it probably wasn’t a good idea to crash into Principal Linderman’s car.

As my punishment, I was forced to organize the music in the band room. It was a form of “school-ordered community service,” as I was calling it.

The music storage room smelled ancient. I know that wasn’t a scent or anything, but when I walked in, I felt like I’d aged some years. The dusty shelves were filled with files of music and huge, dusty instruments in black cases. Flickering bulbs hung from the stuffy ceiling and illuminated the brown carpet floors.

It looked like this would be my home for the next four hours. Honestly, in my opinion, if Principal Linderman hadn’t wanted the back of his car smashed, he shouldn’t have parked his car where we did our daily round of donuts. My buddies had gotten off scot-free, even though they were accomplices by association. Neither of them actually did any damage, so I was the only one who faced any consequences.

I didn’t mind it, though. I would never stoop so low as being a band kid, but I actually liked music somehow. I sighed. This room seemed to be waiting to be discovered. I took a step forward, which immediately kicked up a layer of dust into the air. Excellent start.

There’s a lot of old music that the band hasn’t used in decades, partially because of how disorganized it is, Principal Linderman’s haughty words echoed in my head. Your job is to stay here until that’s fixed.

“Does Principal Linderman know I can’t read sheet music?” I wondered aloud. In the corner, something snickered. That was just great—even the room itself was mocking me.

Wait a second.

I stumbled backwards. Was somebody here with me? It was possible they were hidden behind the numerous cardboard boxes. But why would they be spending time here?

“Calm down,” a voice drawled, “I’m not going to hurt you.”

Right, because that sounded very believable. When Principal Linderman said the band storage closet was a mess, he didn’t mention it was also haunted.

“No, actually, I physically cannot hurt you,” the disembodied voice said.

“Oh, sure,” I said sarcastically, trying to not let the fact that I was fearfully backing into a corner show.

It was still obvious.

“It’s funny how humans like you are scared of everything,” the voice noted as my hands flailed around, searching for something tangible to grasp. The room suddenly seemed so much smaller than it was before.

“So, you’re not human?” I could feel my arms shaking and tried to still them. What the heck, Principal Linderman?

“Hm. Well, no. Obviously not, or else I would have shown myself to you by now, wouldn’t I?”

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