Tap, tap, click, tap tap
It was the usual sound to come from Ashleigh’s bedroom when she got home from school. Stuffing her face full of chips, she furiously flicked between 4chan threads, encyclopaedia dramatica and any other thread that she could bad mouth her on. Ashleigh loved to stir up drama so much, it had become every second of her life. Same routine day in, day out, drop off the school bag at the front door, flinging her shoes all over the place for the next person to trip on and then stomping to her room but not before grabbing a bottle of Coke and a bag of chips from the kitchen preceding to flop down into a rickety computer chair hoping to stir the drama brew she was creating. But in the shadows behind her door, the glint of something silver, the smell of something burning were not something part of Ashleigh’s daily routine.
Ashleigh was 17 years old, still in high school and a “Wanna-be” cosplayer. She tried to make outfits of anime characters and wear them to all of 2 conventions her town had every year. Unfortunately Ashleigh was never very good at sewing and could only ask her mother so many times to help her out before she got fed up with her outfits not being made on time. So in that turn, Ashleigh lived her life via the internet, with endless supply of chat rooms, blog sites and places to post random photos of her with a wig on with a camera angle above her head, Ashleigh hid behind the computer screen doing as she pleased and getting praise from people around the globe. It was also opened up perfect opportunities for her to hurt people as well. It was only 1 year ago that Ashleigh joined the ranks for the Cosplaying society. This group of people spanned in the thousands across the world, coming together joined by a common interest, to enjoy their creativity and parade with pride what they had made. But not every penny is so shinny on both sides, one side has to face the floor and so to, this society was a ruthless, cutthroat, narcissistic plane of people who judged and criticised. They hurt many wonderful people especially new comers from behind computer screens and mobile phones and even to their faces at the conventions.
“Ewwww she has duck tape on her outfit!!!” The girls hollered as a young cosplayer strolled by. The entire group of KAZ laughed and pointed at the poor kid who slinked off into the stalls of anime collectables trying not to cry.
“Oh man these cosplayers are soo lame.” Said Eugene as he flipped out his bad Ebay wig and Ebay suit he had brought a month before the convention to pass off as his own work.
“Yeah totally!” Called out Kerrie who was muffin topping again out of her black skin tight shorts, a common sight she sported at these events, much to her delusion of being thin.
This was the group everyone stirred clear of unless you wanted to have your outfit torn straight from your body. The KAZ group were the horde of cosplayers who dominated the con’s in Ashleigh’s town. They pulled all the strings from behind the scenes, rigged every competition and if they didn’t like you, they would chase you out until your feet bleed from running. They were frauds when they pretended to be kings and queens.
“So we have a good shot this year at the groups and singles don’t we Eugene?” Kerrie spat while trying to hot glue gun her prop together that she had broken before even getting into the convention.
“Sure you always win don’t you?” Eugene clung to his under-aged girlfriend, making out with her on the steps of the auditorium. Ashleigh mean while, scanned the conventions for one group of outlaws, the territorial enemies of her group.
“Woo hoo another victory for KAZ” Kerrie bounced up and down like a sea lion attempting to gain the attention of a mate.
“Shut up Kerrie.” Ashleigh snorted while guzzling down a coke in her over shinny, cheap silk dress. The group of roughly 15, sat together always right beside the entrance, it was the best place to laugh at everyone or suck up to the more experienced cosplayers as they walked in the door. Finally Ashleigh spotted who she was looking for. The small group of 3 girls and 2 boys were getting photos snapped by a photographer, pushing them into the sunlight to get a better colour off the fairytale outfits.
“It’s them!” Ashleigh cried out as the whole group called to attention like a pack of Meerkats. The noise riled up as each member stood from the steps and started to roar out the taunts that would hopefully provoke the others to start a fight.
“Ignore them,” Nick said as she thanked the photographer and flipped out a purple flowered card with contacts on it much the way a gambler would in a winning card game.
The rips and lashes coming from the children’s mouths stung the quintet more than several thousand wasps protecting their hive, but still the five pressed through the entrance grabbing their day passes, they simply walked on through.
“Hey fat asses!! Go stick your 20 fuckin meters of fabric up your fat ass!” Ashleigh called out from the top of her podium. Matt threw her a stern, stiff look, his brown eyes almost black against the colours of his cape.
“Hahaha they look pathetic is that supposed to be Vampire Hunter D?” Eugene cried out rolling back in hysterics. The poor small battling troop moved through the crowds disappearing into the flow of other costumes and colours that was the sea of people.
“Come on let’s get them in the line up!” Kerrie said pointing the unsatisfactory prop towards the underground passages that lead up to the stage. The time was almost 12pm and cosplayers had to marshal in for the competition. Eugene broke from his horde of barbarians, to join the judging panel behind stage as he did every year fist bumping each member as they walked past him below.
“So what are you going to do Kerrie?” Ashleigh asked while helping another girl safety pin her lace back to edge of her skirt.
“I’m sick of them turning up at my convention, time to run these losers out for good.” The troop parted the masses as Moses did the red sea, people literally jumped out of the way for the collection of hooligans in fear of getting targeted themselves. No one stood up the evils that these children inflicted, it was just easier to ignore their nonsense and deal with the bullying than it was to stand up to them, well for some that wasn’t the case.
“Oh hello KAZ,” Selenay said in a hushed tone as the mob surrounded the tiny batch, the last batch that stood up for what they believed in.
“To what do I owe this aggravation today?” She continued while sinking to the floor and fanning out the giant pink ruffles in her princess ball gown. It had taken more than 6 months to sew and jewel the gown of her dreams; it was so magnificent that even the stars themselves were jealous to look upon the dress. Selenay finally thought this time she could not be ignored in something so transcendant.
“Well I wan – hey!” Kerrie clicked on she had been insulted.
“Well miss “whale” decided that she could speak human now?” Ashleigh chimed in from behind her dubious leader. Kerrie only laughed harder and harder as Selenay’s eyed were picked with heat, that sting as the tears wanted to flow so badly but she resisted. She had worked so hard to get down from 90kg to almost 60kg in the last few years and once again nothing would be good enough for the KAZ hyenas.
“So you like picking on pretty girls huh?” A silver wooden sword swung straight to the throat of Ashleigh as she jumped back with a gasp. Prince Nick fresh for a fight, slid in front of Selenay as Kerrie pointed her gun right back at her face. Cardboard and pipe struck the wood in a heated brawl, if only it were metal sparks would have flown from both weapons. Nick danced back and forth sword thrusting and clashing down, denting the soft toilet roll that once was the barrel of the gun. Matt whisked Selenay out of the way as the two defenders stood ground against each other.
“We’re ending this right now!” Nick proclaimed as she went for not Kerrie but dived to the left straight at Ashleigh. Striking her down, Ashleigh fell to the floor screaming before anything touched her. A darkened shadow against the halogen lights she now blocked, Nick stood proud above her victim, cape swaying in the light, her sword inches away from Ashleigh frightened face.
“Let that be a lesson to leave us alone here, now and off the internet.” The girl breathed down at Ashleigh.
“You don’t scare me!” The rude little brat cried back.
“Oh no? Who thinks Ashleigh’s scared?” The room cheered as Nick turned and walked back to her group. “I thought so.” The smiles made each member of KAZ cringe with annoyance.
“I want payback,” Ashleigh turned to Kerrie who had scrunched up her nose as the line formation had begun to be read out.
The back stage was dark, the people whispered to each other, some excited some nervous some just wanting to get it over with because they wanted to eat. Ashleigh grumbled standing there in the dark. She was fuming in fact, how could they have humiliated her like that! She wanted payback, she wanted revenge, that fat cow didn’t deserve to look so good.
“Wait here.” She whispered to Kerrie as she slipped out of the line and toward the back stage table. Ashleigh searched around for something, something heavy, a brick, a paper weight, a chair, anything! Finally she found wheel of cable they had put to the side for the lighting. Ashleigh smiled, perfect she though. She began to pick up the wheel trying to shift the heavy cable across the floor without the noise giving her ingenious plan away. Slowly and quietly, Ashleigh slid the large plastic weight onto the end of Selenay’s dress, enough to at least stall her before getting on stage.
She scurried back to the giggling troop behind who had all been watching the fowl plot that Ashleigh had in store.
“And the next group is number 3 with their fairytale outfits!” Suddenly a large ripping noise came from the front of the line, along with a girl’s scream then a blur of colours running off behind the curtain.
Ashleigh and Kerrie both died from laughter, they were both laughing so hard they had to sit down and needed tissues for the tears now streaming down their faces. The whole auditorium cracked up into a wave of laughs more ear splitting than the next.
“You genius!” The players of the evil acted gathered around, a huddle of hate called KAZ cheered themselves on as they walked out onto the bright stage, applauded by the crowd of fans waiting to adore their shabby and tattered outfits in fear that if they did not, they would suffer the same fate and the poor girl who was just ran off stage.
Ashleigh had gotten more than a taste of her warped sense of justice and the girl now wanted more.
The convention went smoothly there on out. KAZ took out most of the awards and the other group were nowhere to be scene straight after. The next day, the group convened in the park for a typical photo shoot to promote their bad image across the blog sites of the world. As Kerrie and Ashleigh watched with Eugene the humiliating moment, now up on Youtube, of Selenay’s dress being torn in half on stage, someone uninvited to the party turned up. Matt, from the other group had come ask for an apology for his now devastated friend.
“Ashleigh, Ashleigh!” he called out from across the park.
“What do you want Gumby?” she retorted back.
“An apology.” He said his puppy eyes now solemn and upset. “You have upset Selenay and you took it too far this time.”
“Don’t look at me!” Ashleigh snapped getting defensive.
“I know it was you Ashleigh now please just apologise, it doesn’t have to be to her face, just so that everyone knows it was an accident and that you’re sorry.” He pleaded, the young thin boy, taller than everyone else now cupping his hands in front of her in desperation.
“Back off,” Eugene squared him, “Leave the ladies alone ok? You got proof show us and then we will do something about it.” Matt had nothing; he let to the sounds of laugher push his now crying eyes for pain of his friend, away as he pulled out his phone. Activate plan B he texted and sent the message through.
Moments later, elsewhere in the neighbourhood, a man in an over-pressed suit came rocking to Ashleigh’s mother’s front door. He simply gave her the paper and said:
“For your daughter.” He then walked away and left an angry woman with a phone in hand standing on the porch.
Ashleigh pricked up as she felt her expensive phone vibrate in her bag.
Mummy the screen title said as Ashleigh clicked accept. A squawking of noise rang through the invisible connection wires and hit her ears like the sound of thunder from heaven above. Ashleigh went home to a court older and a serious accusation not to mention the ludicrous amount she was now being sued for.
So it came down to Ashleigh and the internet. For 2 straight weeks leading up to the court case, Ashleigh found that the internet had become her new play ground. She managed to sweetly poison each and every person ears, one by one, each with another rumour to put up, another terrible lie to spread. Against every forum there was a comment, on each site piled up hate threads against Selenay. Ashleigh’s eyes widened with each comment that popped against her own, each reply more venomous than the next. So much hate poured through the computer screen into her darkening eye sockets as the hours of the night flew by. People from across the words torn and slandered the poor girl from limb from limb. By the second day, Ashleigh had managed to get Selenay fired from her job, she used other puppets to push the rumours into an online bombardment of the companies email box and they had no choice but to let her go on the spot.
“Finally that bitch is getting it all, getting what she deserves.” She smirked as a handful of pizza went into her mouth that night. And with another night doused in the florescent light of her screen and massager conversations pinging, Ashleigh pushed her pieces further out onto the chess board for the attack. Suddenly one conversation started to go crazy, it flashed so fast Ashleigh couldn’t keep up with what was being written. Eugene was typing:
Eugene - prince of cosplay says: Selenay is dead!
She killed herself!
OMG IM GOING TO HELL!!!!!
She killed herself cos of us!
Ashleigh stopped cold in her chair and just staring as the words constantly pop up on screen. The text darted past her eyes as a grin started to crawl across her face brimming from ear to ear. That’s when she let out a roar of laughter. Finally she was rid of her! She would be praised rewarded loved by all cosplayers!
Eugene kept typing, the same words over and over............ we did this..............
It hadn’t sunk into Ashleigh yet that not by her hand but by her actions and words, that she had indirectly committed murder. Before her back hit the computer chair, 5 more people had joined in, cries of regret, capitol words of panic and fear swarmed the window. Soon enough the whole of KAZ was no pointing the finger at Ashleigh. Though she didn’t seem to care she just sat there shocked at the details now pouring in, the rumours the stories the different version of the mammoth event that rocked the community. Finally Ashleigh lent for the keyboard.
SHUT UP THE LOT OF YOU! The typing stopped, it seemed everyone’s attention was squarely on her, everything hung in what this 17 year old had to say next. She was sick of it all, sick of Selenay getting all the attention; it was her turn in the spotlight now.
We finally did it, we got rid of her! Who knows it was us! Who cares!! You should THANK me for getting rid of that beast!
The thread remained silent.
The thread continued to remain silent.
Kerrie KAZ says: I’m sorry Ash but I don’t want someone dead hanging over my head, we took it too far and you know it.........she wants that bad of a person to die...........
The waves of massages poured in like a flood of knives heading straight for her.
“Stop it! Stop it! STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” The girl screamed throwing her keyboard to the ground, it wasn’t supposed to happen like this, she was supposed to be the good guy, everyone was supposed to love her, praise her for getting rid of that bitch. Ashleigh didn’t understand why everyone suddenly turned their backs.
“It’s just a bad dream, just a dream, yeah a dream, I will go to sleep and wake up and everything will be gone.”
So that’s what Ashleigh did. She closed off her computer, turned off her phone, washed her face and climbed into her bed still dressed.
“Just a bad dream its ok you’re still dreaming.”
Tap, tap, click, tap tap
It was the usual sound to come from Ashleigh’s bedroom when she got home from school. Stuffing her face full of chips, she furiously flicked between 4chan threads, encyclopaedia dramatica and any other thread that she could bad mouth her on. Ashleigh loved to stir up drama so much, it had become every second of her life. It was just a nightmare. Ashleigh had awoke that morning to the sun shining, her pj’s on her and her computer humming away. Just another normal day at school and her routine in the afternoon to come home to.
“I really gotta stop drinking coke before going to bed.” She said reading the new bad bashing threads posted up in the last few hours since she had sat through her boring classes. But it wasn’t as simple as she had thought, as 4chan first few posts read the usual, a photo of the blue girl, a blue face, cold and dead, a photo taken from the floor of her room, the only photo that Ashleigh would never forget.
Got it for you ash! The caption read underneath the photo. An anonymous player entered her game, they knew it was her.
“No! It’s that Matt boy! I swear to god this is his revenge on me!!” she screeched at the screen grabbing the sides of the monitor and shaking the machines furiously.
In all this commotion Ashleigh hadn’t heard the door creek, didn’t hear the lock snap, couldn’t smell the burn of hot metal, didn’t notice the shimmer of sliver flash across the screen until she felt a bone chilling hand grab her shoulder. The shock seeped into her skin travelling down the front of her body forcing Ashleigh to sit stiff as a board in her chair.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” The crackled voice breathed past Ashleigh’s ear sending an ungodly shiver down the back of her spine. Slowly she felt herself being turned around on the computer chair to behold the sight of a terror that no nightmare in anyone’s mind would imagine.
“You” Ashleigh whimpered as he hands shook clasping over her mouth.
Selenay now stood before the teenage popularity, a stone cold walking corpse. Her chest cavity torn apart by a shoty surgeon who created the illusion he was going to re-start the poisoned heart now lumped against half a blood socked rib cage, pitch black from the intoxicant she had injected. She had shreds of what used to be clothing strune across her dripping body, every type of bodily fluid from inside now exposed to the elements poured out from the hole that reached her collar bone down to her pelvis. Grey skin now clung to her wrists, it was apparent that this poor women had not just wanted to kill herself once but secure her destined fate with a second method should the first have failed. Holding a raging hot poker in her left hand a hobby scalpel in the other Selenay forced in a breath, her punctured lungs struggling to fill, though it’s not like she was going to die from lack of oxygen.
Ashleigh wished she had fainted, passed out, anything! Anything was better than looking at the sodomised girl, her jeans torn around her waist now soaked with blood that pooled into the cream carpet beneath her.
“You know what I’m here for don’t you?” The choppy voice murmured while trying to stuff her stomach back into place.
“You’re dead,” Ashleigh whispered
“No shit.” Selenay waved the hot poker between Ashleigh’s eyes.
“You did this to me,”
“No you did” Ashleigh retorted back forgetting she was against someone who actually had nothing left to lose.
“Don’t play coy with me, little princess” The corpse hissed “You know full well this was your doing, your words and actions provoked me to make this choice. What would you have done? Lived a life of fear and pain, each day a torment of agony or would you have let yourself rest with eternal peace? I gave myself the escape; I gave myself the choice before you did!” Selenay walked over to Ashleigh’s bed and sat down, weapons still at the ready in case her prey decided to bolt.
“Then why are you here?” Ashleigh asked before she threw up. Selenay had pulled out her own kidney and dropped the rotting flesh to the floor.
“Well that’s precisely what I’m about to show you, see I have un-finished business with you my dear. A lot of un-finished business and I can’t move on until I get this off my chest.” The burst of gasping laughter erupted out of the demonic soul as Ashleigh screamed in her chair closing her eyes.
“Assuming the fettle position is not going to help you, I killed your mother before I came in.”
“Mum....” Ashleigh’s eyes opened to Selenay waving the scalpel in front of her and smiling. Her purple lips in a form Ashleigh had never seen them in.
“This is a night mare, this isn’t real!! I swear to god you dead bitch get out of my house!” Ashleigh finally got up from her chair, this had to be a prank, it had to be fake somehow, the un-dead don’t just come to your house and kill your mother for no reason.
“Sadly we do.” Selenay replied waving her hand over the pokers end fanning the heated end from red to white.
“No you’re a liar who are you?!” Ashleigh jumped up and down like the spoilt little brat she was but Selenay just continued to smile from her red pool that once was the bed sheets.
“I told you I have unfinished business!” In the blink of an eye, Selenay had come up behind Ashleigh and clawed one hand into her fragile throat. Selenay squeezed tightly crushing the path for vital air.
“No to easy.” She remarked to no one and released the tight grip sending Ashleigh flying to the floor of her room.
“I’m going to make you suffer for the rest of eternity, if I must suffer in Hell for what I have done then so shall you.” Ashleigh now frighted beyond compare screamed as a grey blood drenched hand grabbed her by her uniform and held her down to the ground.
“No, wait, stop, PLEASE!” The desperate cries went unheard by the ghost looming above, as Selenay placed the hot poker on the floor, smoke sizzling from the instrument hitting some of the spilling blood and flipped her prop crafting scalpel over her fingers before reaching for one of Ashleigh’s hands.
“Open sesame!” Suddenly Ashleigh’s hand snapped open without her control.
“Now let’s see you don’t need all these little piggies do you?” Ashleigh couldn’t control her breathing she was crying so hard only her tears now made a noise as she watched Selenay count her fingers one by one.
“Let’s start at the end shall we?” And with that Selenay began to saw to Ashleigh’s pinkie finger. Red ooze spattered everywhere as Ashleigh let out a bloody curdling cry of pain. Selenay continued to hack up and down, side to side and all around through the tough cartilage until she got to the bone.
“This is going to take far too long to cut.” Instead Seleney now held out her own hand and snapped the pinkie finger clean off. So too did she snap Ashleigh’s clean away from the bone. Ashleigh’s eyes started to drop from the pain,
“Oh no you don’t! We still have 9 more piggies to go!” Selenay rammed the hot poker into Ashleigh’s thigh pinning the girl to the ground like a half stepped on cockroach.
“Wonderful! Now for the next piggie.” Selenay repeated the process each time, more vicious, more violent. Each finger represented a public humiliation, a beat down at a convention, each jab to the side was the pain Ashleigh needed to feel, the pain Selenay felt each and every time she read another abusive post or heard a hated chant created in her honour.
“For each thing you have said about me I take your ten fingers as payment for the verbal hate crimes you have committed.” Bleeding stumps now sat on her hands, Ashleigh couldn’t scream anymore she just lay there wiggling the nubs on her hands praying, hoping to go this wasn’t happening. Selenay stood up off the girl and laid Ashleigh’s fingers up on the computer table.
“Wha.... what... what are you..” The weakened response came from the floor.
“Blogging it silly.” Instantly photos started to crop up across the net, pictures of fingers on Ashleigh’s account with the words got the bitches fingers now I’m going to put them on my hands so I can sew just like her!. More photos appeared, ones of Ashleigh cutting them off, another of her trying to stitch them back onto her own hand. Responses poured in like a oceans of smoke escaping a fire, people disgusted, outraged and even threatening to get her for this unforgivable act were popping up like wildfire.
“This is fun.” Selenays said before reaching for the hot poker.
“This... is.. not.”
“What? Right? Sad, even you can’t stomach your own medicine.” Just then Selenay’s eyes began to bleed, red tears streamed out of her eyes. A hateful scorn inched across her face, all the anger for the days gone by shone now in her expression. It had finally all come back to her.
“Why? Why me? You had scores of people to pick from but you chose me? I want to know why!” she asked towering over the mess that once looked like a girl.
“Your......a .......bitch...” Ashleigh spluttered out with the last of her strength.
Selenay sighed and looked at Ashleigh. She had hoped that this would be enough punishment, enough to kill off the infection she had been across the internet so that no other person would suffer the hateful words spat out by the bile that now lay curled on the floor.
“I gave you one last chance, one last chance to repent your sins and rewrite the wrongs you have done, though I see now you would rather this life instead. I’m going to make sure you never spread another lie in your life ever again.”
Ashleigh’s eyes widened, the whites of her eyes larger than golf balls as she gave a pathetic attempt at clamber away from the vengeful spirit that flickered before her. Selenay took up the hot poker, now dulling from the overuse and shreds of melted skin stuck to its exterior; she curved her decaying hand around the heated end and blew. The bright orange light filled her face as she revealed the poker at its original state. It looked as if the item had not been used once at all. Selenay grabbed the girl by the long dry locks of her ponytail and thrust Ashleigh’s head back. Her bleeding stubs slid off Selenay’s hand, nothing for grip or to grip onto. Yanking down with an unholy force, Selenay juggled the sharp blade with the hot poker, she interchanged weapons and opened up Ashleigh’s mouth with the knifed hand. Unable to defend herself against the dead force Ashleigh watched as Selenay’s bones contorted in her chest, they were forming something, something that looked like an arm and then a hand. The mangled bone structure twisted up towards Ashleigh’s face, retrieving the crafting blade from the original hand. It twisted it in the light, holding the tool high above her head.
“Vha!vah!” the blurred words that Ashleigh tried to say were now the last thing she would have been able to speak for the rest of her life as Selenay brought the sharp blade down onto Ashleigh’s protruding tongue. She scrapped and sliced, blood discharging out in streams of red liquid. Ashleigh’s mouth went numb as she felt the end of her tough hit her lap before seeing the ghost reach for the hot poker.
The walls now stark white glistened in the sunlight, it was warm but cold all at once as Selenay sat in the corner tapping her fingers together so that the sound of her long nails echoed throughout the four walled room.
“You can’t hide ever again in your empty darkness and I promise I will hunt you down like the animal you are and pull you back to hell were you belong.” She said looking at the mangled Ashleigh who now sat within the padded prison, her hell, to be haunted by the dead spirit of her own doing. After Ashleigh passed out, the police found her lying in a pool of her own blood, the finger prints concluded it was self mutilation after going mad and killing her mother. With all the internet and witness statements staked as high as a sky scraper, the judge put Ashleigh under “metal disability” and threw her into this cell. So cut off from the real world, unable to communicate let alone eat, unable to say anything. No fingers to type, no tongue to speak, just burnt stubs of skin now starting to crust over. Ashleigh started to bleed again; thin slices of red ran against her white straight jacket. The CTV camera monitoring her room could not alert the sleeping guard, working hard for his money. She flinched and jittered but continued to sit as several lines appeared but no one came to the door. This was the rest of her life, Selenay wouldn’t let her die, she would stay trapped with her until the end of time.
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