Shannon O'Reilly (Chapter 6, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 6

School trudged along that October with Shannon lagging behind. The only bright spot on the horizon was Halloween and the annual homecoming dance and parade in town. This was the one time a year, aside from Christmas, that both children and adults would wander the streets having a good time and smiling at each other. The teenagers would decorate floats for the homecoming parade and spend quite a bit of time discussing who was taking whom to the homecoming dance. Many girls would spend all of their breaks between classes in the girl's bathroom primping in the hopes that their favorite boy would ask them out. Luckily, Shannon didn't suffer from these teenage afflictions. She was too worried about what dream she might have or what she might see if she didn't stay on her guard.

Her grades began to slip a little because she found it difficult to sleep at night. She was afraid she'd wake up and find the ghost of the woman in black staring at her. More than once a teacher had to scold her for falling asleep in class. It wasn't long before the assistant principal, Mrs. Sibyl Franklin, sent a note home to Victoria about her daughter's troubling behavior.

Shannon was taking her time walking home after school and was oblivious to her surroundings. She nearly missed being hit by a grain delivery truck rumbling towards the dairy farm on the outskirts of town. The loud blaring of the truck driver's horn had certainly woken her up from her stupor. She practically jumped out of her skin and had stumbled backwards towards the drainage ditch. Shannon was visibly startled and two neighbor children walking behind her laughed and pointed at her as she struggled to pull her feet free from the thick clay-like mud of the ditch. With a loud sucking noise she managed to pull each foot free but she had to scrape the tops and sides of her shoes on the grass to get rid of the foul-smelling mud.

Shannon approached her house and stopped for a moment before entering the gateway that led to the back of the house. She had always liked the Victorian look of her house and the tall wrought iron gate and fencing that surrounded her house. It was like living in the 1800's; a time period that she thought she would have enjoyed. The fall flowers were in full bloom around the house with large clusters of yellow, orange and purple mums greeting her at the gate. She followed the red brick walkway around to the back porch and threw her bag on the floor with a loud thud. The porch swing looked particularly inviting on this beautiful fall day and she decided it was easier to sit there for a while than to face her mother with the note from Mrs. Franklin. Shannon sat down on the old white wooden swing with a heavy sigh and started rocking slowly. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the rhythmic soft squeaking that the swing made.

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