Should Yuzu be rushing to finish her assignment 4 hours before it is due? No, but she’s doing it anyway. She knows it needs more work – but Ms Chua will gut her if she has nothing to hand in tomorrow. She sits in bed, laptop at the ready, brain wrecking itself for the next sentence.

Krystal left come dawn,| she types. Backtracks. at dawn.| 

Yuzu sighs. Suffice to say, this is not her best work. But what can she do now? There is only one way to go – forward.


Yuzu stops writing. It is a bit hard not to notice when all the lights in your room suddenly flicker ominously. But it’s probably just a wiring fault – when they moved in last week, it was mentioned how old the place was – so she continues with her work.

 These had once|

Then, the lights go out completely. Yuzu stumbles out of bed, and fumbles for the light switch. Flicks it up and down a few times. Of course, it doesn’t work. Returning to the warmth of her previous spot, she sets up a mental reminder to ask her parents about the old house’s systems. Yuzu settles down, ready to get to work again.

Of course, it’s then that the voice has to startle her. 

“GET. OUT.” It’s not exactly booming, or particularly menacing, but the lights are off, and the fact that there’s someone in her house is enough to freak Yuzu out. She nearly screams, but stops herself at the last second. She had to respond rationally – or at least as rationally as responding to a mysterious voice at 2am could be.

“Hello?” She hazards a question into the darkness. 

The voice answers. “Get out.” 

“I’m not leaving.” Yuzu says.“Turn on the lights, I can’t see.”

The lights blink back on. In front of Yuzu is a ghostly blue boy. His hair is unruly, stretching to his eyebrows. His attire is strange – long pants and suspenders over a polo shirt. He doesn’t look older than her fifteen.  

“Now get out.” He says. “This isn’t your place.”

Yuzu frowns. “Why should I? I don’t even know who you are.”

He pauses. Yuzu watches. 

“Robert,” he says finally. 

“Well, Robert, has anyone told you you’re rude?” Yuzu narrows her eyes. “You go away.”

This incenses Robert. “My family built the house! Get out!”

“It’s 2am! Where would I go? My parents are downstairs, I’m not gonna wake them.”

“I don’t care! I just want you out of here!”

Yuzu feigns disinterest, praying that will turn the ghost away. “Go play elsewhere, Robert.”

He is silent for a while. Yuzu tries to get back to her work, until a noise startles her. Robert begins to emit a faint buzzing noise. Yuzu is almost concerned for him – until he turns into a cloud of blue fog that zooms straight into the vents of her laptop, and the screen goes black.

Krystal leftKrystal leftKrystal leftKrystal leftcome dawn. Packed her bags. Left nothing behind but a note telling him not to loKrystal left come dawn. Packed her bags, left nothing behind but a note telling him not to look fo there. These ha// behindbutanotetellinghimnotto









Yuzu stares blankly at the screen, which blinks several different colors before the words on her document explode further. 

“No! No, no, no no…” She jiggles the trackpad a bit, smacks her laptop gently – but all she does is land back on the terrible, messed up document. Gingerly, she places her laptop down on the bed, and stares at it in mounting horror. 

Then, the cursor moves on its own. Opens up a new note on her desktop. Starts typing – by itself.

Leave, before the consequences get worse.|

Yuzu snorts. Like hell she’s going to comply. 

“No,” she tells her empty room. “Let me work in peace.”

You are foolish not to listen.|

Yuzu opens up her mess of a document. Sentence strings are now repeated, whole chunks of text have been relocated, spaces had been removed and random line breaks inserted in, turning 2 pages into 3200 words of blithering nonsense.

Yuzu opens a new document. Places the old and the new side-by-side, then starts copying out everything she’d already written.

In Lily’s life there were three main prioritititititititiitititititititiittiitititititititititititititititititititititittities – herwork, her family, aaaaaaaaaa|

She deletes it. Tries again.

In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’In Lily’’’’’’’’’’’’’’luvgawFHKSEJw,;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;|

Frustrated, she slams her hands down on the keyboard. When she releases it, the cursor leaves behind an aggravatingly long line of semicolons, expanding long past when she lets go of the keys.

Why bother trying?|

Robert types, in that annoying note at the corner of her vision. Yuzu’s cursor hovers over the delete button, but the tab is somehow undeletable.

Only one way to get rid of me, Yuzu. Get out.|

Yuzu starts typing again with spite-fueled fervor. She won’t bend to his will so easily.

I:n: :L:i:l:y:’:s: :l:i:fe: :t:h:e:r:e: :h:a:d: :a:l:w:a:y:s: :b:e:e:n: :o:n:e: :c:o:n:s:t:a:n:t::: :K: r: ys : t : a : l: . :A : : : ::::::: A:A:A:A:A:A:A:AA:A|

“Aah.” Yuzu repeats aloud. “AAH.” She glowers at the screen. 

“I’m sorry, Robert, but I don’t think you understand the ongoing crisis here.” She tries to channel all her passive-aggressiveness into that one statement, but Robert just pulls up a YouTube tab of a sitcom laugh track. 

Yuzu ignores the mocking laughter ringing in her ears, glancing at the time (2:27am, 3 and a half hours till submission). She, of course, was above such childish behavior. She mutes her laptop, then continues. “You see, this very important short fiction piece is due tomorrow, and now that you’ve wrecked the original document, I have to rewrite everything. My entire fate depends on this assignment, so it would be much appreciated if you could leave me alone.” She finishes with her politest smile, aimed at her laptop camera. (Could Robert even see her through that? Creepy.)

That sounds like a you problem, not a me problem.|

Yuzu inhales so sharply she can feel the burn in her nostrils, nearly as fiery as the irritation clouding her senses. Surely there must be some way to get rid of bloody Robert – she really needs to work (why, oh why did she have to put this assignment off for so long?), and there was absolutely no way she is letting a spectral pest infect her laptop. She decides to turn to the most conventional method – an exorcism.

She wrecks her brain for ideas, but surfaces empty-handed. How exactly does one go about performing an exorcism?  Since Robert is busy adding a couple hundred more colons to her document, she opens up Google for answers.

Google Search: how to get rid of ghosts?????????????? (About 51,400,000 results in 0.51 seconds)

That’s not going to work. Most websites are full of nonsense.

Do you really think you can get rid of me that easily? I’m offended.

I’d close the tab to watch you fail at writing again, but this is funnier.|

Robert is a piece of shit, Yuzu decides, and starts to skim through each link.

How to Get Rid of Demonic Spirits in Your Household


Most spectral spirits are simply ghosts who have lost their way on the path to God’s light, so showing them images of Him usually is a good starter, as it guides them back to where their place is in the Afterlife.

Yuzu is very sceptical. She had, after all, been raised an atheist, and most of the websites she scoured had God-fearing messages, suggesting she get baptised, or find a priest (At this hour? Really?), or even drive a stake through the center of the possessed object (or person – something she’d rather not think about) – ridiculous suggestions. 

Although, she supposes that if her computer could get possessed, God could be real, right? And it wouldn’t hurt to try…

Google Search: jesus pictures (About 1,740,000,000 results in 0.62 seconds )

You’ve got to be kidding me.|

Yuzu ignores Robert’s incredulity in favor of dragging and dropping more images of Christ into Robert’s note. 

It’s not going to work.

Jesus, are you still trying?

Look, I‘ve even said the name. Jesus. Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus. 

Stop that, it’s getting annoying.|

Yuzu ignores Robert – his show of irritation might be just a cover up of the holy images killing him slowly. 

This is boring.

You realise you’ll run out of images at some point,  right?

It’s 2:45 now. You’ve got only three hours!

Ugh. Fine. Ignore me.|

Drag and drop. Drag and drop. Drag and-

Not getting very exorcised over here!|

-Drop. Yuzu directs the cursor to the next image (Ooh, he has a fancy cross this time!) but the tab deletes itself. Yuzu frowns and tries to reopen the tab, but it deletes itself.

Give up already, won’t you.

I said, I’ll only get out if you LEAVE MY HOUSE.|

Yuzu rolls her eyes. “I already told you, I’m not leaving. And there’s got to be some way to get rid of you.”

She tries to open another tab, but quickly gets shut down again. She rolls her eyes, and looks around for more ideas. From the corner of her vision, she can see Robert start to delete the various Christs – Yuzu figures that either the whole “holy” business had rattled him, or he was just a neat freak. (She gets the niggling feeling that it’s the latter.)

Yuzu is fresh out of ideas, an assessment, and any will to fight back. Sighing, she begins to resign herself to her fate. She will hand up an incomplete assignment later in the morning, fail her course, get kicked out of school, then be disowned, only to die in an alley not long after due to her poor survival skills – all because of one ridiculously insistent ghost. She peeks at the clock again. 2:54 am, it mocks her. Time to give up, she supposes. What else can she do at this point?

Yuzu tries to lean back against the headboard of her bed, but ends up cracking her skull against it, because fate apparently cannot allow her even this small break. The momentum from her half-fall jolts the cupboard behind her. Various trinkets she’d hung there began to sway, the heavier ones knocking over other things – a tube of chapstick, an empty Arizona tea bottle, a jar full of origami paper stars. The jar sways dangerously before tipping off the shelf, smacking into Yuzu’s shoulder and vomiting its contents all over her bed, burying her laptop keyboard in semi-faded, colorful stars.

To Yuzu, it was just a simple spill. She’d knocked over the open jar too many times since she’d gotten it, a birthday present from ages ago. But this clearly wasn’t as trivial to Robert. 

Yuzu’s laptop screen begins flashing madly. The silver metal glows blue, much like it had when Robert initially possessed it (the color of faded skies, Yuzu thinks suddenly), but this time the blue mist he’d turned into seems contained, boxed in.

The notes on her computer open up frantically.

YuYuYuYuYuYuYuzu. You need to move thesta

rse starsestarse

stars [[][][][][][][][][][][][][][



im sufffffffffffffffo





Strangely, Yuzu doesn’t think twice. She lifts her laptop, shaking the stars off vigorously. Almost immediately, Robert rises out of the laptop, hacking and wheezing like he’d gotten the stars stuck in his throat. 

Yuzu watches. Slowly, he straightens up. Yuzu notes that this time, he stands further away from where the stars have landed…

“They’re a repellent.” She says. It’s more of a statement than a question

Robert looks like he’d rather eat the stars than admit his weakness to Yuzu. She scrambles to sound less harsh.

“I-I mean, sorry? I’ll clean-”

“It’s okay.” Robert looks her in the eye. “You’ve won. I should…” He jabs a glowing blue thumb at the wall. “…go. You have your assignment thing.”

He begins to turn away, but Yuzu stalls. 

“Why?” She blurts out. Robert gives her a questioning look. “You were so adamant to stay, why just give up?”

“I’m honor-bound to repay anyone who saves me. Those-” he waves a hand over the mess of stars lifelessly, “-things have some kind of charm on them. Any more contact with them and I would be gone forever.”

“Oh,” Yuzu says, very intelligently.

“And you wanted me to go, so… yeah. I have to.” Robert glances around the place, as if trying to commit every detail to memory. “I won’t bother you again.” He turns to go.

Yuzu hesitates. Glances at Robert’s retreating back, then at the time. 3am – her work was due in three hours. And – wouldn’t it be easier to rewrite her work with two minds instead of one? Two voices telling the same story? Sure, the ghost had been annoying, but he was starting to grow on her. 

She glances at the ruined document. A new idea surfaces.

“Robert? You can stay, if you don’t mind… I’ll clean up the stars – come help me finish my work as repayment instead.” 

He turns around. Smiles. “I would love to.” 








Should Estelle be rushing her assignment 4 hours before it is due? No, but she’s

Estelle Phua (Class of 2022) studied Literary Arts for four years, and found that period of time to be rather ephemeral. She hopes to be able to write more, hopefully in an idyllic country cottage with five cats and her closest friends.