the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
Sounds from the Cross
By Tarapi Pyo ’24 and Jacqueline Wu ’24
On the night of the 13th, a boy crept down the stairs of Cushing. He opened the door to the laundry room and stood all alone, surrounded by the noisy cycling of the washing machines. He scoured the room for a minuscule cross necklace, the one from the rumors. On the far right, methodically wrapped around the pipes, the cross dangled like a pendulum, swinging endlessly. But there was no wind. The cross necklace did not belong there, yet it seemed to be at home.
As the boy’s hands reached for the cross and made contact, an intense terror possessed him and sent fierce shivers throughout his whole body and down his very essence. With trembling hands, he hastily unwrapped the cross necklace as his mind was pounded with fear and screaming at him to run, run away as far as possible. Insects and rats emerged, frightened by the new presence that hid in the darkness. Only the boy was unaware of this new company, though he did feel this grimness and realized something was amiss. He stashed the cross into his pocket and ran as fast as his legs could get him away. Behind him the door shut hard, producing a harsh slam. As he ran up the stairs, the boy didn’t hear the grating footsteps drowned out by the ongoing washing machine. He ran and ran until he was sure he was safe.
The room was filled with hot air from the pipes. Every crevice of my body, hot and uncomfortable for the past week, was drenched in sweat. The torture of the profuse heat have never quelled since it started a week ago on the 13th. At 11 pm, someone knocked on my door.
“Hello?” a familiar voice asked.
“Carrie. You’re up! Do you have any dresses I could borrow for tomorrow?” the visitor asked. She was Carol, my next-door neighbor. She stepped into my room, looked for a dress, and went out as soon as she found what she wanted.
After she left, I walked downstairs to the basement of Cushing to retrieve my laundry. When I got there, I saw that the cross had vanished. Not thinking too much about it, I got my laundry, went back upstairs, and prepared to sleep, though it was impossible to sleep amidst the heat wave. An hour into my sleep-like state, I heard banging, with distinctive warning-like patterns, on my door.
“Carol!?” I screamed, wishing it was her. Instead, the pipes responded with furious erratic rattles, as if something were deliberately forcing the sound on the far end of the pipes. The banging stopped but the pipe rattles continued, though no one came into the room. My intuition told me not to go out. If I went out, something dreadful would happen to me, though I couldn’t say what. It was a survival instinct and I knew, deep down, I was in a desperate situation where I would either live to tell or die in vain. Then, the pipe noises got louder and louder. I froze with fear and hid under my covers, praying to someone and anyone to help me and let me live. Tears flooded down my face as I sobbed for mercy and questioned why this was happening to me. The pipes stopped rattling and I thought I was saved. Just to be safe, I stayed under my covers for another 10 minutes. When I peeked out of my cover, I instantly saw something in the corner of my room, concealed by the darkness. I hid again but it already saw me and made eye contact with me. The thing slowly walked over, and every step it took made grating sounds that my ears flinched at. It touched me. Then, I couldn’t move.
My roommate warned me not to believe the rumors of the nun. She tried to persuade me that Carrie's death was just a freakish accident, but I refused to believe her; there was just something odd about it. There was a pungent odor lingering in Carrie’s corridor, flowing through the aperture of our door into our room. There was nothing strange about her room, other than the burst pipes on her walls. I thought the smell came from there, as I moved my nose closer to the cracks. I left her room without giving much thought about the peculiar smell since Cushing always had such malfunctions. Maybe it was only a freakish accident. I entered the shower to ease my worries. I noticed a faint hiss in the same rhythm as the sprinkler's dribbles. I started to see pictures of the nun, and the question itself became clear. Her eyes were dark holes that had no end. Her pale face highlighted her Romanesque nose. Her pointed fingers cut into my tender skin, though it was too small to notice.
"All I want is a restful night. This is just my imagination.” I attempted to convince myself and closed my eyes.
As I walked through the hallway back to my room, I could feel her around me, strolling back and forth to get my attention. I could see her walking alongside me, trying to slow me down and trap me in the hallway. I clenched harder onto my towel. I hurried my footsteps in fear of glancing into her dark stare.
“I think I just saw the nun…” My voice trembled.
“The nun is not real; you were hallucinating,” my roommate assertively answered, and then she didn’t bother to respond to me anymore.
I flipped left and right in my bed, unable to fall asleep. The hissing continued ringing in my ears; I turned up the volume of my AirPods but couldn’t block off the sound. The sound turned from a light hiss to a loud high-pitch voice, trying to break through my eardrums.
“Rosalyn. Rosalyn!” my roommate screamed, “Can you hear me?” I tried to move my mouth, but something had cut my vocal cords.
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