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Janice's Not So Real Ghost
I rested my head on the back of the seat and let the hot sunlight bath me in warmth. My was dad fanning himself with a magazine as he waited outside the car. He was filling it was gas. The radio played softly, but I didn’t recognize the song. This place had no country channels, not that I really liked country, I was just used to it. They just had stuff you see on MTV and acoustic songs with light drums in the background about falling in love.
“Ready to go?” My dad hopped back in the car and cranked up the air-conditioning. I nodded and pushed my sunglasses higher up on my nose. I pushed my golden blond hair back from my face. I knew people who would die for this hair, but it just annoyed me.
My dad pulled out of the gas station and drove down the paved road covered in light colored dirt and sand towards our house. We passed people jogging and walking in swim suits. We drove past many side streets leading off towards more houses closer to the beach. Brightly painted house on silts surround us and everything seemed jumbled. I loved it. My dad drove past the street that lead closest to our house.
“Dad, you missed it.” I laughed a little. He cursed under his breath then smiled at me and cut down the next street. He circled the small block and pulled up into the bright red with white trim house the faced the beach. I got out of the car and a cool breeze from the beach surrounded me. I breathed in the ocean smell and the smell of sand and light smoke from a barbeque on the beach. Saturday’s were always crazy beach days for everyone.
“Dad, I’m going to go walk on the beach.” He nodded and hurried up the tall steps to the balcony porch. I headed off the steps over the dunes. I had on ripped blue jean shorts and a fit cream tank top with red flowers and green leaved on it. They were so delicately done it looked like a painting. People were laying out on towels in the sand and the water was full of people. I un-strapped my black “gladiator” sandals, that’s what my dad called them. I carried them and walked along the waters edge I passed little kids building sand castles and digging moats around them and old kids running in the water. Ahead of me was a bunch of boys with no shirts on tossing a Frisbee around. They all seemed about my age, maybe older. I walked past and noticed a few girls sitting on towels, watching them.
“Hey! Are you the new girl that moved into that red house?” One of the girls called out to me. I stopped and looked at them.
“Yeah,” I answered them, but did not move from the water.
“My friend used to live there.” The girl waved me over and I went to where they were sitting.
“Sit,” the girl pointed to a spot on her towel and I sat. I felt like a dog.
“Wait, so you moved into Janice’s house?” A girl with tan skin and dark hair spoke up now.
“I guess,” I answered looking around at all of them. The one who had called out to me had light redish-blond hair and wore big sunglasses like my own. There was the tan one and then there was a blond girl who’s hair was in a tight double braid hanging over her shoulder.
“Wanna know what happened to Janice?” The first girl asked, a smile creeping across her lips.
“Umm, sure,” I glanced around then back at her. I was feeling a little nervous at this point.
“Janice was really good at surfing. Better than the guys. She liked going far out, farther than anyone. She was with the guys one day and the waves were really coming, and she wanted to go out to the bigger ones, but the guys were like, no way.” She started to continue, but the blond girl interrupted.
“So she went alone. Well, a fishing boat was out there and they saw her surfing and then they saw her disappear under the water. Then they saw her struggling and they rushed over to help her. By the time they got there, she was dead.”
“Wait what happened to her?” I asked slightly confused.
“She drowned. Which is unusual, because Janice was really good at swimming, even in the ocean.” The blond girl put her sunglasses up on her head and she looked sad. They all looked sad.
“I’m Tori,” the blond girl shook my hand and wiped her eyes. The other girls introduced themselves, too. The tan one was Brenda and the first girl was Bethany.
“What did Janice look like?” I asked. I wanted to know more about this poor girl.
“She had black hair. Really black hair. Her eyes were light brown and she always had her fingernails painted red, because that was her favorite color. She never wore bikinis.” Brenda quickly informed me.
“Umm, I’ll see you guys around. I have to get back home.” I stood up carefully and waved goodbye.
“We are always in this spot. See you around,” Tori gave me a small smile and wave and then I headed off towards my house. I made it to the dune steps and had to wait in line to get over. The narrow walk could only let one person by at a time. A girl walking down the steps nearly fell on top of me and I helped steady her to her feet.
“Oh, I’m sorry, thanks.” She smiled at me and my heart froze. This girl had black hair, really black hair, and light brown eyes. I looked down at her hands and caught a glimpse of bright red finger nail polish.
“What is your name,” I asked hesitantly. I hoped something was wrong and that I wasn’t looking at a ghost.
“Janice, why?” She looked around and then pulled me out of the way.
“I was just talking with these girls, and they said you, umm, drowned.” I talked slowly incase she would get angry or something, but she burst out laughing.
“That’s just Bethany and them. They always making stuff up about me.” Janice was grinning.
“Why?” I asked relaxing a little.
“I make them mad, a lot.” She just grinned. “I’ll see you around, I’m suppose to meet someone here,” Janice waved at me and then hurried down towards the water and went the opposite way from Bethany, Brenda, and Tori.