What had originally been a minor discrepancy, became a full blown enigma after none of the instructors could identify the young boy. Not being one to allow even the smallest mystery to go unsolved, Principal Sizemore posted a Xerox copy on the bulletin board. The unidentified boy was circled in red with a note requesting anyone with information about him to see the principal. Three days went by without anyone coming forward and it was generally assumed the unknown child just lived in the area.
Despite the lack of identification, Principal Sizemore’s day was far from inactive. A number of instructors reported strange occurrences in and out of their classrooms. Pictures falling off walls, items repeatedly rolling off desks, and doors refusing to stay fastened were just a few of the anomalies. The Art and Music teacher reported that the piano lid had abruptly slammed shut several times when no one was around. After his dismissive suggestion that students walking in the hallway were probably responsible for vibrating the floorboards, Mrs. King immediately disproved his hypothesis. She revealed that she taped the lid down after the second occurrence. He didn’t have an immediate counter-explanation but vowed to uncover the truth before the day was over.
The possibility of imperceptible earthquakes or other natural phenomena seemed unlikely also. There was nothing about seismic fault activity in the news; and yet the bizarre occurrences grew steadily more common for the next few weeks. Soon he was ready to pull out his hair from the non-stop disruptions. The fire alarm would go off for no reason, bathroom faucets would turn on and off, and doors opened and closed on their own. Even with the overwhelming proof of paranormal occurrences happening all around, Principal Sizemore resisted believing it could be anything supernatural. He was convinced it was just a clever, mischievous child wreaking havoc around the campus. In that theory he was half correct.
The day after a PTA meeting, one of the school’s students approached the principal with an admission. “Mr. Sizemore, I know who that is on the bulletin board.” Having completely forgotten about the mysterious child in the portrait, it took him a moment to realize who she was referring to.
“Oh, You mean the boy circled in red?”; He asked.
“Yes sir. My mother looked at it after the meeting last night. She said it was a student who died about 30 years ago. She remembers him from when she was enrolled here.”
“I’m afraid your mother is mistaken, Heather. That picture was only taken two months ago.” He was annoyed that his hopes for identification were raised for nothing. “How did she explain you being in the same picture with a student from thirty years ago?”; He questioned sharply.
“She wanted me to ask you about that!”; Heather giggled.
“Listen, there is no way you could be in a photograph with someone who died twenty years before you were even born! How could that be possible?”
“Well, she was pretty sure, sir. She took me over to see her old class picture. It showed the same boy from when they were classmates together.”
Mr. Sizemore’s curiosity was piqued. He requested for her to show him. A comparison of the two portraits could only be described as amazing. The subject in both pictures could have been twins, despite being taken 31 years apart. The Principal was dumbfounded. He apologized for doubting her but explained that the incredible similarities could only be an odd coincidence. Later, his curiosity got the best of him and he decided to do some research. Perhaps the boy in the old picture was a genetic relative of the boy in the current school photo.
“Mrs. Dyer, I need the personal records of all students from the class of ‘69.”
“Anything over 7 years old has been moved to the basement and I’m not setting foot in that rat’s nest!”; She sneered of disdain. “You’ll have to get them yourself. I’m a secretary, not ‘Cortez’ the explorer.”
As he walked among countless stacks of records in the murky room, the exact box he needed fell from a tall stack in the corner. If he didn’t know better, it was as if an invisible hand had pitched it right to him. He carried the heavy container up the stairs and began to sift through the dusty manila files. It wasn’t long before he came across the permanent record on Ryan Green; the name listed on the back of the old class photo. It had the student’s personal information and ID portrait. The individual photo was unmistakably the same boy as the one in the old group picture. He paged Mrs. Dyer and asked to not be disturbed under any circumstances. He was painfully close to something big.
A closer investigation revealed that the student had come from a poor family and had won a full scholarship for his considerable piano playing skills. A clipping from the class newspaper indicated he was the favorite to win an annual talent contest. Tragically, there was also a newspaper obituary which reported that he died two days before the contest, in a farming accident. There didn’t seem to be any justice in life, he thought somberly.
Despite the incredible resemblance between the deceased student and the boy beside him in the current portrait, he refused to believe there could be a connection until….