BY KATE DOMENICHELLA
On the thirteenth anniversary of the Raven Hall fire, Emma drives the nine hours to deserted Raven Hall, knowing that she must end this ongoing struggle with her sister’s ghost. Rose is happy with the decision she made which caused her to take her own life and the lives of others whom she had gotten to know in her 15 months at Raven Hall.
When Emma awoke that morning, she had a plan to light the inside on fire so the town will be forced to tear down the rest of the building and rebuild because it will be too hazardous. She believed it will give closure to the families because there will no longer be a place to remind them of the deaths their loved ones suffered.
The ghost of 8-year-old Rose is unhappy with Emma. She wants Emma to leave the building alone so it can remain an everlasting staple of insanity in the community of Ravenswood. She fights with the physical Emma, screaming in her face, trying to distract her as Emma drives on the highway towards Ravenswood. Rose grabs control of the steering wheel and begins to pull Emma into the cars beside her. Many drivers on the highway increase their 70 miles-per-hour, set in cruise control speed to 88, just to be sure that if Emma goes off the road, their cars are not in the way. What else is there to do when the young woman behind the wheel looks as though she is arguing with herself and jerking the wheel every which way?
Emma and Rose arrive at Raven Hall. It’s the first time that Emma has been there in the thirteen years that have passed. The windowpanes had all been broken. Overgrown rose bushes by the front door had toppled over and now blocked the entrance. A long dining table covered with the melted remains of over a hundred candles, was the only thing not soiled with cobwebs and dust.
Her footsteps echoed in the long corridor as she followed the pale light of her flickering torch to the first room she found, untouched by extinguished flames from 13 years before.
As Emma sets fires in each of the rooms still intact, Rose pleads with her to abort her mission, and let the souls of those she killed remain in their resting places. Emma truly believes that by setting Raven Hall ablaze, she can rid herself of her sister’s ghost and finally resume the normal life she’s wanted since she was 7.
The last room is set afire and Emma runs for the back exit to make her escape to where her car is sitting idle just beyond the tall trees. She wants to make her escape from the psychiatric hospital that has only brought her and her family so much misery and pain.
She never makes it to her car. She never makes it out of Raven Hall.
Emma is burned alive as her older sister guards the exit, covered with fallen debris from the floor above, cackling with pleasure as Emma screams for her life.
Another thirteen years have passed and Ravenswood never demolished the building. Instead it is used as a tourist attraction for those audacious enough to walk among the spirits of the 44 people lost in the walls of Raven Hall. State officials considered the building salvageable and did restoration work in a few of the rooms to make Raven Hall public. The families of the fallen asked that the rooms to the dining hall and the crisis-stabilization wing remain closed off to visitors as to not disturb the resting places of their loved ones. The Mayor agreed with the families and only certain areas of Raven Hall were given access to the public.
There have been sightings of the ghosts of a 21-year-old younger sister Emma and 8-year-old older sister Rose exchanging their heated opinions of what should have happened 13 years ago near the building’s entrance. Other victims’ ghosts are seen wandering around bewildered, roaming the halls in anticipation of an exit to their new lives.
To this day, you can still hear Rose's cackle and Emma's cries for help.