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“I’m really glad you could get together with me for a sleepover. We haven’t done this since we were little.” Stephanie said, checking her now bright electric blue toenails under the lamp.

“Yeah, I guess. Just… what do we do now?” Amber said, blowing on her blue nails. Stephanie had recently received Super AzureBerry Blue nail polish for her birthday.

“I don’t know.” Neither of them had boyfriends or was crushing on anyone to gossip about, they’d done their hair and nails, already had pizza for dinner, and had since run out of conversation topics.  “Wanna watch TV?”

“Sure. What’s on?” Tuning in to a mindless late night talk show, Amber and Stephanie sat in bored silence, yet neither one was tired enough to go to bed yet.

“Is this it? Have both of our lives peaked so tragically early?” Amber said dramatically, flipping back on the bed with a sigh. “Friday night and we’re stuck in with nothing better to do than watch TV?”

“Maybe you should wait awhile before proclaiming life to be over. We can’t even drive yet.” Stephanie pointed out.

“Hey, speak for yourself. You just turned sixteen, you can drive.” Amber said.

“I don’t have a license yet. Dad’s just started teaching me to drive.” Stephanie explained.

“Excuses!” Amber sniffed playfully, dismissing her friend with a wave of her hand.

“What about you? Why can’t you drive yet?”

“I’m only fifteen!”

“Excuses!” Stephanie mirrored, and they both giggled. Stephanie got up. “I have to go to the bathroom. Be right back. Oh, could you get some more soda? We’re out.”

“’Kay.” Amber got up and headed down the stairs to the kitchen. Retrieving the soda from the fridge, she hovered over a piece of chocolate cake or an apple. “Hmmmm… I’ll be good.” Grabbing the apple, she turned then jumped as she saw something move out of the corner of her eye.

“Yaaah! Oh. Just me.” she muttered, staring at her reflection in the sliding glass door. Shaking her head, she turned into the hallway when she was grabbed from behind, a strange smelling cloth shoved onto her mouth and nose.

Amber tried to struggle and scream, but the arms held tight across her neck and face. Flailing wildly to hit her assailant, she felt everything start to go dark and numb. She tried to take a deep breath for the loudest scream she could, she at least had to warn Stephanie. Which proved to be her last mistake; now Amber slipped into a dull sleep. Distantly, she felt a sharp pinch in her chest, followed by a dull throbbing and spreading coldness. She knew she had to get up and do something about it, but lying down to sleep proved too irresistible. Growing ever weaker, the grey in front of her eyes faded to black.

“Aaaaauuuuughhh!”

Startled, Amber jerked up to see Stephanie run up the stairs to her parents’ bedroom.

“Stephanie? Wait, hold on! I think there’s someone in the… house…” Amber trailed off, confused why she didn’t stop. “Stephanie!” she called, even louder. Still nothing.  Wait, why was she calling Stephanie? There was someone… the pizza guy? Stephanie had to bring the sodas back to the room while Amber was in the bathroom… no, wait, she was the one who was getting apples… no, sodas…

Amber groaned and rubbed her temples. Her head was so foggy, everything so jumbled up; it was hard to remember the last few minutes. She was pretty sure there was someone in the house, and then…everything went dark. What happened?

It was then Amber noticed her hand. It was glowing with a soft yellow luminescence. Not only her hand her whole body was glowing faintly, a bright nimbus surrounding her.

“What the-?” Her bafflement was cut short when she heard feet pounding down the stairs, heralding Stephanie and her father.

“Stephanie, Mr. Garret-” Amber tried to say, but they both pushed past her without stopping.

“-your mother’s calling the police right now. Kitten, are you absolutely sure-”

“Ohmygod, Dad! It’s like the worst thing possible! She’s lying there right now!” Stephanie said, tears in her eyes. “There’s no way! No way is this happening! But-” They argued down the hall into the kitchen, where Amber heard them both go silent. Except for Mr. Garret’s “Dear God!”

Trembling, Amber followed them, a sick feeling dropping her stomach down to her feet. Despite the last few minutes being unclear, she really didn’t think that they had pushed past her. A horrible realization dawned as she entered the kitchen.

Mr. Garret, covering his shocked, open mouth with his hand. Stephanie, quietly sobbing onto his chest.

And there, lying on the floor surrounded by a dark crimson pool was Amber, soaked in blood and completely lifeless.

“No…. It can’t be… no, wait. I… but if…” Amber sputtered, staring at her corpse. “No… Mr. Garret.” She tried to get his attention by grabbing his shoulder, but her hand sunk right through it. “No. This can’t be happening. I can’t be dead. I… can’t be a, a g-g-ghost.” The bleak truth crashed onto her like a wave, and she had to fight not to be swept away by it. Of course, her desperate struggle was a futile battle.  “Nooooooo!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dreadwizard Siegfried

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