Chapter 2: The Ghost

 

School bell rang loudly, letting ponies out of their class rooms to go home. Lunarstar was the last to leave her classroom. As she walked down the hall towards the exit, she noticed how quiet; the only sounds that could be heard were the faint chirping of birds outside, and the janitor’s broom sweping the floor. Trash was scattered through the hall, and sunlight bounced off the glass windows on the doors.
The news and events bulletin board caught Lunarstar’s attention. A neon yellow sign-up sheet for the track team caught her eye. Six names had already been listed for try outs. Lunarstar hesitated, wondering if she should sign up as well. Her parents had never let her join in any of the events at school. But running was one of her favorite things to do, so maybe her parents would make an exception. Lunarstar was so busy thinking about the track team that she didn’t notice someone standing behind her.
"Are you interested in signing-up?"
The voice surprised her. She turned to face a tall, yellow pony. Orange and green hair fell in waves from a headband secured around her forehead. A bright red duffel bag was slung around her shoulder.
"Sorry if I scared you,” she apologized. “I couldn't help but notice you looking at the sign up sheet. I'm the coach for the track team, and we could use a few more members. Are you interested in joining the team?"
"I don't know. My parents never let me…" Lunarstar replied, wishing she could join the team.
The coach looked into her bag and took out a piece of paper, "Take this, just in case they change their minds. Have your parents fill it out, then meet me at the track and field after school."
Lunarstar took the paper and put it in her school bag.
"By the way, what's your name?" the Coach asked
"Lunarstar."
"Well, I hope you can join us, Lunarstar," the Coach said with a smile.
Lunarstar thanked the Coach and left the building, running home as fast as she could to tell her parents about the track team.

When she finally got home, she ran to the kitchen to talk to her mother, but the kitchen was empty. She hurried outside and found her mother planting seeds in the flower bed on the side of the house.
"Hello dear," said Rosebud glancing at Lunarstar as she approched.
"Mom, I like..." Lunarstar hesitated for a moment, she wasn't sure how to ask. "I…I want to join the track team."
Her mother paused and looked up at her. "Track team? Oh, I don't know about that..."
Lunarstar showed her the paper from her bag. "Here's the form for it."
"Let’s talk about it with your father," Rosebud suggested.
"Where is he?" Lunarstar asked.
"He should be out back in the shed," Rosebud answered as she stood up.
Lunarstar and her Mother walked to the shed, which had a large pile of wooden boards stacked next to it. The yard was large, and flower pots sitting on the porch. As they got closer to the shed, they could hear things being moved around inside. Lunarstar peeked in and saw wooden boards stacked along the wall with tools on the other wall. Her mother walked in with Lunarstar standing at the doorway.
"I think we need to talk," Rosebud with a serious look.
"About what?" her father asked while still staking the board into the wall.
"It's about the track team Lunarstar wants to join." Rosebud held out the form.
Buster stopped, took the paper, and looked at it.
"Can I?" Lunarstar asked, walking inside.
Her father looked up at her, "I don't think so."
Lunarstar wasn't surprised, but she was disappointed. She was hoping her parents might change their minds for once. Her face showed her disappointment. Rosebud nuzzled her, trying to make her feel better.
"Please understand." Rosebud said in a soft voice.
"You never let me join any team, ever since my friend saw me change forms," Lunarstar complained.
"She got scared, and we don't want that to happen again," Booster explained.
"But I have better control of my powers than I did then! I can handle being on the track team!" Lunarstar exclaimed.
Her parents didn't say anything, but it was clear on their faces that they weren't going to change their minds. Lunarstar lowered her head and added, "I'll be in my room." She disappeared in a swirl of falling stars.
"Maybe it's time that we trust her," Rosebud suggested looking at Booster.
"I think you're right," said Booster.

Ten minutes later, Lunarstar's parents walked into her room and saw Lunarstar on her bed, staring out her window with a dissapointed look. She had changed forms with hair as white as her body, instead of purple. A horn glistened on her forehead, and white wings sprouted from her back. She was so deep in thought that she didn’t hear her parents come in.
"Lunarstar." Rosebud called to her from the door.
Lunarstar looked at the door and saw her parents standing there.
"Promise me one thing." her father said slowly. “You'll be careful." He showed her the form. Lunarstar jumped off the bed and grabbed it out of his hands. To her surprise, it was filled out and signed.
"Does this mean I can--?" Lunarstar began to ask as a smile started to form on her face.
"Yes. You can go," Rosebud anwered.
Lunarstar hugged her parents with excitement; she was finally able to go and do something fun.

The next day after school, Lunarstar was about to head out the back door when Starlight stopped her.
"Where are you going?" Starlight asked.
Starlight had left the classroom after having a private talk with Miss Hackney and had seen Lunarstar going the wrong way.
"I'm going to the track field," Lunarstar answered.
"You joined the track team?" Starlight asked looking suprised.
"Yes, I did," Lunarstar smiled.
"That's great! Patch is on the soccer team in the field next to where you will be. Well, I should be going, see you later!" Starlight replied.
"Bye!" Lunarstar said.
Lunarstar left the school and walked over to the track 'n' field behind the school. The track was large with bleachers around it. The track looked fresh; it was painted red with a set of lines on it. Nine ponies stood waiting for the coach to show up. Lunarstar felt uneasy at first but she gathered her courage and joined the group. A few of the ponies saw her and greeted her.
"I thought there were only six that had signed-up," said Lunarstar looking at he group.
The coach showed up and overheard what Lunarstar had said.
"They joined this morning, like you did," the coach explained.
Lunarstar noticed she had her headband on as she put her bag on the bench.
"Welcome everyone. I'm happy to see you all here. I'm your coach, so just call me Coach. We won't be doing much today, only some running. I want to see how fast you can all run, then we'll work up from there. Snow Cone, you go first. Run around the track one time." the coach announced.
Snow Cone was a tan pony with pink and white hair. Once Coach yelled “Go!” Snow Cone ran as fast as she could around the track. She was fast, but she got very tired after she crossed the finish line. Lunarstar could hear one of the ponies behind her whisper to another, "I can run faster than her. And that hair! It's something else."
The other pony whispered back, "You look way prettier than she does."
Snow Cone sat down on the bench resting, while Coach called for another pony. "Raspberry, it's your turn."
Raspberry, the pony who had whispered about Snow Cone, was a light blue pony with red hair. "Just watch me. I bet no one can beat me," Raspberry smirked.
The other ponies didn't like her much, and from what Lunarstar had heard her say, she could see why. Once Coach said “Go!” Raspberry took off, at first running at a constant speed around the track, but speeding up near the finish line. Raspberry was happy and showed it, thinking she was the fastest pony in the group.
"Lunarstar it's your turn," the Coach called out.
Lunarstar was nervous, but was anxious to run. Coach yelled “Go!” and Lunarstar ran. She felt as if she were flying, and she was enjoying it. Her hair blew in the wind, shining like silver. Once she crossed the finish line, Lunarstar noticed the look on Coach's face, who was trying hard not to look surprised. Lunarstar had run very fast. It was clear Raspberry was jealous, but she didn't say anything; even only her stern look was good enough for Lunarstar to see how she felt.

After track meet was over, Raspberry had gathered a few other ponies who hadn't already left.
"I'd like you all to join us tonight," Raspberry announced.
"Where? Why?" ponies asked, curious to know.
"I heard the old field is haunted by a ghost pony. Every night she runs around the track, waiting to dare someone to challenge her," Raspberry replied in a hushing voice.
"A ghost?" Lunarstar asked. She didn't believe in ghosts, and she wasn't going to waste her time chasing one either.
"Yes, and we're going to catch her," Rasperberry answered, "So, who's coming?"
"Not me!" said Snow Cone.
None of the ponies said anything, which made Raspberry mad. "Are you scared?" she asked maliciously.
Slowly a few of them muttered, “Yes,” but the rest had other things to do and wouldn't be able to sneak out or get out of the house.
"Lunarstar what about you?" Raspberry asked.
"Not me. I'm busy tonight. I could come if it wasn't tonight," Lunarstar answered.
As Lunarstar turned to leave, Raspberry cooed, "Just admit it, you're scared."
Lunarstar turned to face her and said, "Tonight is a full moon, so I'd be careful if I were you. You might even meet a real ghost."
Lunarstar left the track field to find her friends at the Ice Cream Shop. She was feeling excited. For the first time in a long time, she looked forward to going out tonight.
"Real ghost?" a pony asked.
"What did she mean by that?" asked another.
Raspberry had to think of something before the others found out that she was lying about the haunted field. "Like she said, it's a full moon tonight, so it’s the perfect time for the ghost to show. Meet me at the gate entrance tonight, at ten o'clock sharp."
Everyone agreed to come and left, except for two of Raspberry's friends said. One of them frowned confusedly. "There's no ghost there..."
"I know that, but they don't. I'll have my brother pretend he's the ghost and scare the girls...I'll be the bravest one there," Raspberry smirked.

Lunarstar walked into the Ice Cream Shop and saw her friends sitting on stools at the bar. They were talking about homework and things that happened during class. Sweetheart noticed Lunarstar walk in. "Hi, Lunarstar."
"I heard you joined the track team today," said Bright Eyes.
"Yes, I did," Lunarstar replied
"I saw you run. You're very fast," Patch commented.
"I heard Raspberry is on the team," said Melody.
"Who's Raspberry?" Patch asked.
"A snobby little pony who will do anything to get attention," Melody answered.
"Sounds like her," said Lunarstar.
"What do you mean?" Bon Bon asked through a mouthful of whipped cream from her banana split.
"She invited a few of the ponies from the team to find a ghost at the old field," Lunarstar explained.
"Ghost?" Clover asked, imagining a ghost chasing ponies.
"There's no such thing as a ghost, Clover," Starlight asurred her.
"It's an abandoned track field. I heard they're going to tear it down and build a brand new one by the end of this year," Bright Eyes explained.
"Raspberry sounds like a real spoiled brat," said Patch.
"She is. She only does that sort of thing to ponies who don't know her very well. She tried it on me once but it didn't work,” said Melody. “She has her brother helping her, and if I know her, she will have her brother be the ghost."
"Why don't we go and scare her?" Patch suggested.
"I can't go. My parents will ground me for life if they find out," said Bon Bon.
"I can't go either," added Clover.
"I can’t. I have a ton of homework to do. In fact, I should be doing it now," said Bright Eyes. She got up and left with Bon Bon and Sweetheart behind her.
"Sorry Patch, I have three sisters to babysit tonight," Sweetheart said as she walked out the door.
"I guess it wasn't such a good idea,” Patch sighed. “I should be going. I've got homework to do." She left, and Clover followed behind her. Lunarstar went home as well.

Later that night Lunarstar left her room and went downstairs, changing forms as she went. The room lit up from her glow. It didn't matter what form she took; she would still glow. Her parents were in the living room watching TV when the room started to light up.
"Lunarstar—" her father began.
"I know. It's either in my room or outside. I came down to say that I'm going outside," Lunarstar quickly said.
Lunarstar's mother got up and gave her a hug. "Be careful."
"I will," Lunarstar replied smiling.
Lunarstar disappeared from the living room, reappearing in the forest not far from home. She smiled to herself and said, "This should be fun."

Meanwhile the six girls met at the old rusted gate to the old field. It was chained shut. The cobblestone road had a few stems of grass peeking through the cracks. Dilapidated bleachers sat on the field itself, and the track had grass growing through the many cracks covering its surface. Raspberry opened the gate wide enough for a pony to squeeze through.
"Now that we're all here, let’s go," Raspberry said.
The girls followed her through the gate, onto the field. It was so dark, they couldn't see anything. Raspberry took flashlights out of her school bag and handed them to the girls, keeping one for herself.
"I don't see the ghost," one of the girls said as she looked around.
"Maybe the ghost is in that building," Raspberry suggested, pointing to a building between the bleachers.
"What would a ghost be doing in there?" another pony asked.
"I'm not a ghost so I wouldn't know. But if the ghost is in there, we should go look for it," Raspberry replied.
The girls followed Raspberry along the old track, flashing their flashlights along the bleachers, expecting something to jump out and scare them. But all they saw were vines growing along the bleachers and the fences that surrounded the track. One pony was walking on her hind legs, keeping a careful eye on the bleachers across the field.
"What is it, Frosting?" a pony asked her, noticing that she wasn't taking her eyes off of something.
"I just...thought..." Frosting trailed off, too scared to finish what she was going to say. The other pony looked in the same direction, "I don't see anything."
Behind them was Snow Cone, who was so busy watching something behind the bleachers that she hadn't noticed the girls slowing down.
"L-Loo-Look!" whispered Snow Cone, but the girls didn't hear her, and she suddenly bumped into them, scaring everyone half to death.
"Snow Cone!" screeched Raspberry. But she didn't hear her, she had her eyes fixed on a white light behind the bleachers. The back of the bleachers was boarded up and all you could see was the white light moving along the bottom of the boards. The girls looked at what she was pointing at.
"What's that?" another pony asked in fear.
Raspberry looked, but she couldn't figure out what that light was. She didn’t remember telling her brother to follow them with a light. "Let’s go see…" she whispered, beckoning them forward.
Raspberry and the girls slowly walked around the bleachers, ready to turn and run at the sight of the ghost. But to their surprise, the light disappeared, and there was nothing there.
"What was it?" Frosting asked.
"It disappeared before we got there," said Raspberry.

Lunarstar stood on the bleachers above them, watching their every move. She had been following them since they left the gate. Once the girls left, Lunarstar winked back behind the bleachers to follow them, but keeping at a safe distance. The girls continued following the track to another gate; on the left were boarded up and abandoned concession stands, and on the right was a two story building, also boarded up. Lunarstar stood next to the bleachers, watching them from around the corner. "I want to get close, but not so close that they might see me," she thought to herself. She scanned the area and found a place to hide and watch. With a thought, she disappeared and reappeared behind a concession stand across from the building.
"What in the world are they doing?" thought Lunarstar, watching them walking around the building.

The girls couldn't find a place to get in from the front, so they tried on the other side of the building. They searched everywhere until they found a broken window and a board with a large crack, as if someone already had broken in.
"Raspberry, I found a way in!" one of the girls shouted. One by one they all slid the board aside and climbed through the window. Lunarstar disappeared from the concession stand and reappeared at the window, peaking through a crack. As the girls split up into groups and left the room, Lunarstar's horn began to glow. The door suddenly slammed shut, scaring the girls as they ran in all directions through the halls of the building.
Lunarstar couldn't help but snicker. Then she disappeared from the window, and reappeared in the room. The glow from her body was bright enough to light up the whole room and show everything in it. There were broken tables laying on their sides, dust on every flat surface, and a chair leaning against one wall. Lunarstar left the room and entered the hallway, wondering which way she should go. She remembered seeing Raspberry go down the right hall when the girls had run off. She was more interested in Raspberry and her brother than the other girls. Lunarstar walked quietly down the right hallway. When she came to an end she trotted down another hallway. As she looked for Raspberry, she began to hear voices, slowly getting louder as she walked. One of the voices belonged to Raspberry and the other—being male—was unmistakably her brother. Lunarstar hid in the room next to the one they were in and listened closely.
"Was that you?" Raspberry asked, angry and frightened.
"No. I was here waiting for you like we planned," Her brother exclaimed.
"Then what caused the door to slam?" Raspberry asked.
"I don't know. Maybe it was the wind," Her brother answered.
"But there's no wind tonight," Raspberry pointed out.
"Whatever. Let’s just go and get this over with," her brother answered, pulling the sheet over his head.
Raspberry and her brother left and headed for the girls, wearing white sheets over their bodies.
"You have got to be kidding me," thought Lunarstar, inwardly laughing. She couldn't believe they were going to scare the girls wearing bed sheets. Lunarstar's horn began to glow again, and the doors in the hall slammed shut.

The other ponies in the building heard the noise but weren't sure what it was. Raspberry and her brother were startled. Raspberry and her brother looked at each other, automatically knowing what the other was going to do. They grabbed the doorknobs on each side of the hall and braced themselves for what waited behind the doors. When they opened the doors, nothing appeared.
"Nothing," whispered Raspberry.
"Same here,” said her brother.
"Let’s go find the girls," Raspberry told him.
Once they had turned down another hallway, Lunarstar came out and followed them. Raspberry and her brother heard her footsteps behind them. Too scared to look back, they sped forward, listening to the sound of the running footsteps right on their tails. And abruptly, it stopped. Raspberry stopped and looked back. "I don't hear it."
Her brother stopped to listen. "You're right."
Lunarstar had stopped running. Turning the corner, her horn began to glow and the doors in the next hall began to shake and slam themselves shut. Raspberry and her brother were terrified. They ran down the hall with doors slamming shut behind them. As they ran into the room the girls had started from, it became quiet, and they bumped into the other girls, knocking everyone down. The sheets were hanging half off their shivering bodies. The girls got up and stared, shocked.
"You!" growled a pony.
"You planned on scaring us, didn't you?" another pony accused.
"Yes, but there's a real ghost here." Raspberry tried to explain.
"Didn't you hear the doors?" her brother asked.
"It was just you two, trying to scare us," Snow Cone replied angrily.
"I wasted my time coming. I'm going home," said Frosting as she walked past them, nose held high in the air. She climbed back out the window. The rest of the girls followed. Two of Raspberry's friends went with them, feeling too embarrassed to admit they’d known about the plan all along.
"Now what?" Raspberry whimpered.
"I think they're right. I'm going home too," her brother agreed.
As they stood up, they heard the footsteps again. Each step was louder than the last, and a white light approached, slowly getting brighter. Raspberry and her brother didn't stick around to find out what the light was, they climbed out the window and ran to catch up with the girls. As they ran around the building, they didn't notice Lunarstar on the roof, watching.
"Wait!" cried Raspberry.
"What for? So you can tell us another story?" Frosting yelled back. She and the other girls walked off, leaving Raspberry and her brother in the field.
"I can see this will be the gossip of the day tomorrow...” said her brother, sighing.
"It's your fault! You should have been inside preparing to scare them off, instead of following us around out here!" Raspberry shouted.
"My fault? This wasn't my stupid idea! Besides, I wasn't following you!" her brother shouted.
"Yes, you were!" Raspberry shouted.
"I was not, I was inside the building!"
Lunarstar disappeared and reappeared in a little ally next to the bleachers, she could hear them yelling at each other.
"One more time," Lunarstar whispered.

As Raspberry and her brother argued, they began to hear running footsteps behind them. Slowly they turned around, and then they began to scream. They started running as fast as they could with a glowing ghost with a horn and wings behind them. Raspberry and her brother were so close to the gate, all they had to do to reach it was cross the tracks. They looked back and saw the ghost still running towards them, her horn pointing at them. Suddenly, Raspberry tripped, bringing her brother down with her. They braced themselves as they watched the ghost get closer.
Lunarstar waited till the last possible second before taking a leap over them. Raspberry and her brother watched as she disappeared above their heads, leaving a trail of sparkling stars. Raspberry was so frightened that she began to cry. Her brother got up and ran for the gate with Raspberry dragging behind him. As they squeezed through the gate and fell on top of each other, a voice said, "Well, look who I found.”
Raspberry and her brother looked up in surprise. The last thing they expected to see was the track coach standing above them, frowning.
"Coach, I—I didn't expect to see you here.” Raspberry said surprisingly.
"Neither did I but I ran into some girls who told me what you two were doing."
"But Coach, there's a real ghost in there!" cried Raspberry.
"There's no such thing as ghosts."
"But we saw one! She was pure white, with a horn and—wings," said her brother.
"And she was glowing," added Raspberry.
"I think you two have seen too many movies. Go home and get into bed. Raspberry, I want you to do five laps around the track tomorrow and as for your brother, I'll be telling the principle about this," the coach told them
As they started to leave, her brother stopped and looked at the coach, "What are you doing here?"
"I come here every night for a few hours, practicing my strides. I used to be an athlete," the coach answered.
Lunarstar stood on top of a hill not far from the track, watching them. When Raspberry and her brother left, Lunarstar ran back into the forest, feeling most happy.

 

 

 

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