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The clock ticked on as Valerie sat in her French class, trying not to doze off. The light fixtures above her swung on their wires as the lightbulbs flickered. Any day now they would collapse on someone, she figured. They were incredibly unstable.
As her teacher drawled on about some historical rebellion in France, Valerie couldn’t keep her mind off of one thing: prom. The high school prom was coming up, and Valerie was finally old enough to go with or without a date. Who would ask her? She wondered if it would be the star of the spring musical who would give her a promposal. Or maybe the captain of the football team. Valerie wasn’t incredibly popular, but a girl can dream.
"Valerie," she heard a voice whisper behind her.
She sat up and blinked. Did someone say her name? She looked around at the rest of the class, but no one was paying attention to her. She shrugged and went back to thinking about prom when she heard it again a few moments later.
Valerie turned around, but all she saw was the empty desk. She figured that it was the boredom that was getting to her, so she turned back to the board. A few minutes later, she felt something tug at the back of her hoodie. She tried to flick it away, but she couldn't feel anything except for air.
"Valerie, it's me, Kenny! I have to ask you something."
There it was again. Valerie whirled around, but saw nothing. Just that empty desk.
"What the hell?" she whispered as she turned back.
"Valerie, turn around!"
That did it. Valerie whirled herself around.
"What? What do you want?" she yelled.
Suddenly she heard the sound of wires snapping and a lamp falling. Next she heard a scream and the sound of glass shattering. Then the crackling of flames. She could even smell smoke and blood. All of this was too much for her. Soon the whole room began to spin and Valerie could see the face of a young nerdy boy falling from the desk behind her. His body was splattered in blood. Then came the darkness, and total silence.
"Val? Are you OK?" a voice called in concern.
It was her friend Sandy. Valerie opened her eyes to find that she was in the nurse's office on a cot.
“Oh, my head,” she groaned as she tried to sit up. “What happened?”
“Don’t!” Sandy told her as she pushed Valerie back down onto the cot.
“You passed out. Fell right out of your desk and started convulsing. The nurse called your parents to pick you up just a few minutes ago. Are you alright?”
"Yeah, I'm fine. It was weird what happened, though."
She told Sandy about the voice and what she saw.
"And then I saw him sitting right behind me."
Sandy looked shocked.
"What did you say his name was again?"
"He said his name was Kenny. Is he in our grade? How come I haven't seen him before?"
Sandy’s eyes began to grow bigger than plates. The blood ran from her face as the name echoed in her mind.
"Valerie,” she gasped, “No one has sat in that desk for fifty years."
Valerie couldn't believe her ears.
"Come on. That can't be true! I saw someone sitting in that desk with my own eyes."
"The last time that that desk was occupied, a boy named Kenny was trying to ask a girl named Valerie to prom when one of the light fixtures snapped and fell on him. It broke into bits and started a huge fire. Everyone in that class was burned alive."