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Chapter 1

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Welcome to YOU IN REAL LIFE! This story of teen romance, mystery, and a most unconventional ghost, which I began writing almost two years ago, is very dear to me. I'm thrilled to say that it has been selected for Wattpad's Paid Stories program!

You, lovely reader, have so many wonderful stories to choose from here on Wattpad, and the fact that you've decided to check out this one is an honor I don't take lightly. Thank you for joining me on this journey. I will be interacting with readers of YIRL as much as I can, so don't hesitate to leave me a comment or two—or a dozen! Enjoy the story!


Chapter 1

I'd already curled myself into the fetal position by the time the ghost opened my bedroom door. Most reasonable people would say a draft did this rather than a paranormal being, but not me. I wasn't most people or particularly reasonable, especially when sobbing my way through a panic attack.

I tucked my knees closer to my chest so that my feet were as far from the haunted door as possible. It was only a matter of time now before the ghost sought revenge for its untimely death by claiming my innocent, fragile life. I spent my remaining moments on Earth practicing the grounding techniques my therapist taught me.

Name three things you can feel, Mazie.

The grooves in the wooden floor below my palms, the cardboard box against my neck, sheer terror.

Name three things you can smell.

Paint, mold, fear.

Name three things you can see.

Boxes, an open doorway, a transparent boy standing in my room, facing the window.

I blinked, tears cascading down my cheeks, and the spirit was gone.

Holy shit, this was really happening. Reasonable people and their drafts be damned!

I studied the space between the edge of the door and the entry to the hallway, then the spot where Ghost Boy had appeared. The voices of my parents and the movers they'd hired echoed up the staircase from the living room below.

My heart thumped against my ribcage. Fear pressed against the walls, filling all the empty spaces. This space wasn't empty, though. I wasn't alone here. The door opening on its own and Ghost Boy blinking in and out of existence heralded the first sign of the apocalypse and everyone I loved would be turned into zombies by nightfall. I moved my jaw, cleared my throat, and spoke. "Stay away from me, Ghost Boy."

Bracing my elbow on a box, I forced myself to stand. My legs shook beneath me, but I refused to stay crouched on the ground with a creature from the beyond lurking near. I had to get out of there, or my heart would implode.

I made it one step into the hallway before the door slammed behind me.

Never have I moved as fast as I did then. If I lived through the day, I'd award myself a medal for making it down the stairs without breaking my neck.

Safely on the ground floor with other people present, I set my mind on its loop cycle to try to make sense of what had just occurred. My brain loved doing this. Sometimes it created happy loops meant to sooth me, like stories I'd make up as I fell asleep. More often, though, the loops were less pleasant, like when I'd wake up at three in the morning thinking about how I was going to have to start my life over in a new high school in a new town. Those loops usually included me falling flat on my face in the cafeteria in full view of the entire student body.

This loop wasn't a fantasy or an imagined nightmare. It was a series of events—memories which when put together and played again and again, would hopefully make me see reason.

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