You thought I had forgotten about this, did you?
Well, not really. What actually happened was that I've heard that one can only post 10-5% or less of a work that one wants to have published, and the problem is that I don't actually write that fast. So, because of this, Teaser Tuesday might become a monthly thing instead of a weekly thing. This means that, as usual, the reasoning for me not updating is me being lazy, but in a different way than usual.
Anyway. Without further ado.
The night before had been normal for Aida. She had eaten the school’s sludge and studied the sludge that the school had wanted her to study. She brushed her teeth and fell asleep in her bunk to the sound of the girl’s snoring above her.
At that point, Aida was a sleeper, one who had the confusing images flash through her head every night, only to remember a few. The vast majority of children her age slept, which was probably for the best. The simple fact of the matter was that most children did not survive waking at that point of their lives. In Aida’s case, it was very lucky of her to have only been invaded by a ghost a little bit younger than her. If not for that, there would be no story.
Of course Aida remembered the ghost. It had been a girl, a girl paler than Aida had ever seen, with hollow eyes and hollow cheeks, and Aida still remembered the sound of her bare feet slapping against a wooden floor. From that point on, Aida had always worn socks indoors.
The slapping sound had been faint, but it had still woken her. She assumed that probably one of the other girls in the room had gotten out of bed to use the toilet, but usually that didn’t wake her up. So, no, that could not have been it. But as soon as Aida sat up to think about the sound, she realized too late that she did not hit her head on the bunk above her. That was something she often did when she woke up too quickly, and then she would spend the next minute or so detangling her hair from the springs above her head.
However, now, there was no bunk. In fact, her bed was much larger than it had been when she had fallen asleep, the duvet thicker and finer to the point where it was nearly constricting. Unlike the beds at school which urged one to leave because they were so uncomfortable, this one wanted her to stay and sleep forever, almost crypt-like in its comfort.
The first thing she tried to do was go back to sleep, but she still heard that slap, slap, slap, despite no one else being in the room. That was the other thing, usually bunks lined the walls, trying to cram as many girls into the room as possible, but these walls were bare and covered with sheets to dampen any sound within. She knew that this was wrong, that she shouldn’t be alone, but for whatever reason this did not bother her. Despite it being wrong, it felt right, even that all of the echoes were dampened by protective layers. But still, if this were the case, then how did that slap, slap, slap reach her ears?
Despite everything wrong with the room, the slapping was the most wrong. That slapping did not belong. It was a sound that did not follow the rules, and so whatever made it could not be following the rules as well.
And, on Aida’s estate, things that could not follow the rules died.
Aida’s jumps of logic did not necessarily make any sense to her. One part of her, the part of her that should not have been active while sleeping in the first place, knew that all of this was very wrong and that she should stop, but instinct, especially when one is still bleary from sleep, is very difficult to ignore.
Someone — something — had thought that it was a good idea to lean a bat against the bedframe, and Aida agreed that this was actually a very good idea. Not that Aida had really used a bat before; in fact, she had probably only seen two cricket games in her entire life. However, she would have felt too out of place with a weapon in her hand like a sword, and no amount of instinct would have allowed her to figure out how the safety of a gun worked. No, a bat was simple, a bat was good. She stepped out of bed, gripping the bat in her hands, holding it like she was going to swing. It was surprisingly heavy, but she needed it to be heavy. After all, she was going to kill something with it, and it was very difficult to bludgeon something to death with something lightweight.
Carefully, quietly, Aida padded across the room to the door, trying to be as quiet as possible so that she could still hear the slapping of tiny feet from far away. At least, with all of that dampening material, it sounded like it was coming from far away. When Aida opened the door, she saw the source of the slapping just standing right outside the door, waiting, and holding a knife.
Bat beats knife when the one with the bat is more alert. The girl with hollow eyes and hollow cheeks may have been waiting, but she wasn’t waiting for Aida to open the door — she must have been waiting for something else. Either way, it didn’t matter. Aida struck, landing a blow right on the girl’s head, and she crumpled, the knife skidding down the hallway. Aida raised her bat and struck again, and then again, and then again.
She never saw any reason to hit anywhere besides the girl’s head, so she kept on striking until her skull had turned to the consistency of jelly. There were no hollow eyes and hollow cheeks anymore, just a thing that was from the neck down, dressed in a tattered, blood-spattered nightgown with bare feet.
After that, Aida knew that she would never sleep again.So yes. I have been writing, just not as quickly as I should be progressing.