One Hundred Candles [2]
who had told the ghost dog story originally, was particularly offended.
    “I’ve known some of these people my whole life,” he said, referring to a group of classmates he’d overheard in the hall way. “I thought they knew me. Suddenly, they think I’m a devil-worshiping freak.”
    I understood how he felt, having spent most of my school years deflecting and defusing out-of-control rumors about myself and my family. It was never easy to be judged harshly by a misinformed jury of your peers, especially when their judgments felt so viciously final.
    I’d been through worse. The stories I was hearing didn’t accuse any one person of any one thing, although I heard my own name mentioned more than a few times. There was a sense of excited anticipation about what might happen next. People were actively trying to find out what stories had been shared around the candlelight, and everyone seemed to be on the lookout for continued weirdness. More than a few people had taken random pictures of the cafeteria corners and nearby stairwells with the hopes that they would catch an image of something. So far, they hadn’t had any luck.
    But the paranormal pandemonium had just begun, and I wondered if time would prove that the “demon dog” was a semi-isolated incident or the start of something really strange. Noah and I had kept the security-camera footage to ourselves. I had passed along a copy to Shane so he could debunk it, and I was hoping he would have a clear theory for me later in the day.
    “Do you think this is connected to you?” I asked Harris, hoping he wasn’t as easily convinced as everyone else. We had stopped in front of my history class before the bell rang.
    Harris shook his head. “No way. Someone is playing a prank, I know it.” His gaze wandered beyond the door, into the classroom. “Still, it’s creepy. I saw the video, and it does remind me of my grandmother’s dog. How could someone come up with something so accurate in so little time?”
    I didn’t have an answer for that. The security camera had captured the dog within twenty-four hours of Harris telling his story. If it was a projection—and I suspected it was—how could someone plan and implement it that quickly? They would need immediate access to equipment and video of a poodle. It didn’t seem possible to pull it off so fast.
    The bell rang, Harris handed me my books and that was that. The teacher was late, so the classroom was buzzing with conversation. I pretended to take notes while I eavesdropped on the people around me.
    “Some freshman girl heard footsteps behind her in the hallway. When she turned around, no one was there.”
    “I heard the bathroom sinks in the east wing keep turning on by themselves.”
    “One of the seniors saw a shadow moving through the library.”
    None of these happenings sounded paranormal to me. It was a big school and footsteps echoed. Someone probably forgot to turn off the sink in the bathroom, and when somebody else entered, they saw that it was on and jumped to the conclusion that it had turned on by itself. A shadow in the library probably was a shadow—made by a person nearby.
    As the excited conversations continued, I looked around and spotted Gwyn sitting a few rows over. She was hunched over her desk, scribbling in a red notebook. I wondered if she was having the same kind of rumor-control problems that Harris had mentioned. Everyone knew that the game had taken place at Gwyn’s house, a house she claimed was haunted. She seemed to sense that I was staring at her, because she suddenly looked over in my direction. I smiled, hoping I appeared sympathetic. Gwyn frowned and went back to writing, this time moving her arm to shield her paper.
    I really wanted to talk with Gwyn about the story she’d told on New Year’s Eve. Had she heard the same voice I had heard in Ohio?
    Thank you for pushing back the curtain.
    It was an impossible coincidence.
    The teacher walked into the room and ordered us

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