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Ah, homework. Everyone’s worst enemy. I sighed, staring at the maths book on my cluttered up desk. The rickety chair rocked with my every squirm as excuses after excuses piled up inside my head. Let’s just say procrastination is everyone’s second worst enemy.
“Sweetie, are you going to be okay?” Mum poked her head through the door, her uniform already on. She had an extra shift at the hospital tonight, which meant that I had to stay home alone yet again.
“I’ll be fine, Mum.” I smiled. “I’m used to it by now.”
“Right, of course.” She looked at me, her tired eyes etched with sadness. “Bye, darling. And clean your bedroom.” She walked back downstairs, her steps heavy, as if she had a weight on her shoulders. Mum was carefree once upon a time.
I listened as the front door closed, then loaded up my laptop. Maths and cleaning would have to wait. The bedroom was an absolute mess. Clothes were strewn around the room, books were placed on every possible surface, and my desk! My hopeless, hopeless desk.
The blue bird with the crown blinked at me, its black pupils disappearing then appearing. I typed in my username and password, my nails tapping against the keyboard. My account appeared, the long form books filling up the entire screen.
“Ten notifications!” I exclaimed excitedly. That was the most amount of notifications I ever got! I clicked on them, one by one. My smile started to fade. All of them were just people thanking me for my comments and hearts and reposts. My stories still stayed on 0 views. It was good to be nice to people, but what’s the point of submitting your story if no one’s gonna read it?
I scowled, and clicked on the Read button. A sea of stories popped up on the screen, and a smile started to appear on my face again. I settled down in my chair, and clicked on the first story.
The target seemed to glare at me. Its yellow bullseye glinted in the sunlight, reflecting straight into my eyes. The carnival worker was standing behind the counter, his bored eyes following my every move.
Not that I was moving.
I gripped the last dart in my sweaty hands. The sun was bearing down on me, making me squint. Shallow breaths escaped my dry lips. I raised my arm, the dart cradled inside my hand, and took a step...
Suddenly, the lights flickered. I glanced up towards the light bulb. It stopped flickering, but I frowned. It wasn’t a windy or rainy night, so why would the light do that? I looked back down at the story, my mouth stretching wide into a yawn. It was 11:55pm, but I didn’t feel like sleeping. I had to read some more. The chapter ended just as it was building up. I smiled, and started to comment.
@bartandarnie I really want to find out what happens ne-
The lights went out completely. I screamed, my eyes frantically looking around the room. My heart knocked against my ribs, like the beat of a drum. On screen, the bird blinked at me again.
“Calm down.” I said loudly to myself. “There’s just a blackout. It’s fine.” The laptop gave me some light, illuminating my messy room. I clicked on the next story, trying to bury myself back into the books. The lights should come on in a bit.
Tap.
I jumped, my hands gripping the arm rest of the chair. I glanced around, my breathing quickening once again. What was that? The noise stopped. I quickly looked back at the laptop, whispering the story aloud in a vain attempt to calm myself. My voice echoed through the room, the meaningless words bouncing right back at me. I let out a long sigh. The tap was probably just a branch from our orange tree outside. I glanced at the tree in the garden, making sure my reasoning was plausible.
Suddenly, the leaves out in the verandah started moving, making those soft crinkling sounds. Except...there was no wind. I stared at the leaves, my mouth slowly widening. They started moving closer and closer to the house. My heart thundered in my ears as I grabbed my phone, my hands fumbling to dial the number in.
“Mum...please, please pick up.” I gasped, tears forming in my eyes. “Mum!”
“Hello?”
“Mum! Please come home, please come home...” I repeated again and again into the phone, my voice breaking.
“What’s wrong?” Mum asked, her voice sounding worried.
“The lights went out, a-and there was a tapping noise and the leaves are moving but there’s no wind and-“ I yelled, tears streaming down my face. “Come home, please.”
“Darling, it’s okay. The lights will come on in a sec, okay? The tapping’s probably just our orange tree.” Mum sighed. Over the line, there were people yelling in pain. “Darling, I have to go. Just go to bed, I really need to treat these people.” She hung up. I dropped the phone. Sobs ripped out of my throat, my tears dripping to the floor. I clenched the arm rest again, my knuckles white.
Out of my peripheral vision, I saw movement. I glanced up slowly, and looked outside the window. Tap. Tap. I screamed, falling backwards onto the ground, my eyes never leaving the spot where the hand was tapping against the window. It disappeared as soon as I saw it, but it was there.
“Somebody help me!” I screamed, my voice choking up. I wrapped my arms around my knees, my vision blurry from the tears. I tried to catch my breath, my sweaty hands clutching together. The nails dug into my palms, leaving little red marks.
Suddenly, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I could sense it. That all too familiar feeling everyone gets when a person is looking at them. I stopped breathing, my eyes wide with terror.
I slowly turned around.
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