Chapter 3 is here! You're lucky - three chapters in two days 8D. Anyway, I just wanted to mention something important: Just because it's called Ghost World doesn't mean they aren't 'flesh and blood.' They bleed, they die etc. It's a 'second chance to live' basically.
Anyways, I own the idea, everything is copyrighted to me, DO NOT STEAL :3!
The snake's tongue flickered in and out. Dark eyes shone like black pebbles and the lithe body of the venomous serpent quickly slithered across the grasslands. Up ahead, concealed by puffy white clouds and thick fog, was the faded silhouette of a castle. The Tiger Snake hissed; partially with pleasure, partially with fear. It caught sight of a mouse nibbling some seed in open view, and thought it would be a quick and easy meal, when there was an echoing screech.
The snake was in a panic as a tawny brown hawk swooped in on him, talons outstretched and eyes glinting with malice and hunger. The serpent hissed and tried to get away, wondering whether to fight the predator or slither away like a coward. The snake was a proud creature, however, and it faced the hawk bravely.
Talons penetrated the snake's scales. The snake let out a low, painful hiss and flattened its neck and raised its body off the ground in a threatening manner. The hawk screeched in shock and wheeled up into the air once more, before looking around. Its eyes glittered with fear as it looked behind the serpent. Then it scanned the clearing for the rodent. The mouse was gone. The hawk cawed angrily and flew off into the distance, probably to find its human companion.
The snake heard his name and fearfully turned around to see his Master standing behind him.
"Velih, you fool!"
Hand clutched to his side, his master stumbled forward in pain. When the hawk's talons penetrated Velih's scales it had also affected his Master, the great Lord Dagger, who had also felt the pain. His Castle was faraway and Velih wondered why his Master wasn't there, sitting on his throne, ordering servants around.
His Master picked him up by the neck. Velih hissed and wriggled, yet tried not to resist too much. He had important news to tell.
"What's the news?" asked Dagger.
Dagger was a harsh looking man, with only one eye and one ear. He had once raided a village and in the battle, he had received horrendous scars. His hair was splashed gray like an old man's, yet he was only thirty or so with a light moustache on his upper lip.
"Good news, Master Dagger," hissed Velih. "There is a new arrival here in Ghost World."
"It's a girl with a cat Companion!"
His Master froze. His one eye, glittering soullessly, slowly blinked in disbelief. And then Velih was bombarded with questions. "How old is she? What does she look like? Is she what I'm looking for?" Shaking the snake vigorously, he added, "tell me, fool!" Though by rattling his serpent like this made him a bit dizzy.
"She is 13. Fair hair. Light blue eyes. Pale white skin. All the attributes you are searching for."
"And her cat companion?"
"An orange and white cat with blue eyes."
"Perfect! Where's she now?"
"Going to a place with this other girl," murmured the snake hesitantly. "A village we haven't raided yet."
Dagger grinned, and slowly released his partner. Velih dropped to the ground with a small grunt. "Come on, Velih! Go back to my palace! We're going to kidnap this girl before…" The joy suddenly faded from his eyes like mist evaporating. "Before…Before…You know…"
"Yeah," muttered the snake coldly. "What are you going to do to her?"
"None of your business fool! Now what direction did they head in?"
"North-east, Lord Dagger. But really…what will you do with her and her Companion?"
Dagger's mouth split into a broad grin; a menacing, frightening smile not at all pleasant. "Oh don't you worry, Velih. Don't steal a secret."
And he strode north. "Remember, send the soldiers to the dead forest. I assume that's where she woke up, hm? Everyone wakes up there. I'll be awaiting their arrival."
So Dagger went one way and Velih the other. The serpent traveled quickly, in fear of angering his Master by being too slow to get to the palace.
Terry was excited to see the new Village. Gizmo sat on her shoulder, and then batted playfully at her wavy blonde hair. For the first time since stepping foot in Ghost World, she felt at home, although she missed the Mortal World and hated the thought of leaving her parents to her dead body sprawled on the road.
They deserve it, she reminded herself. They didn't let me find Gizmo! They probably knew he was dead and didn't even tell me!
She grinned and laughed with her new friend, Cally. She didn't need her parents! She could survive here with just Gizmo, Cally and Sabria. They were already a close bunch of friends, despite only just learning of each other's existence. Cally promised to show her around her village and introduce her to Tobi; her brother. Terry finally mustered the courage to ask how Cally died.
"Well…it's kind of simple, really. You see, me and Tobi…We were murdered."
Terry gasped. Her first impression of Cally had been 'oh great. A happy-go-lucky who loves everyone and annoys everyone. Perfect.' But the thought of this excited child being murdered by someone made her flinch. Was it quicker than her death on the road…? Or more painful? She didn't want to bombard her with questions so she let the subject be.
The two new friends and their companions walked in silence for some time, before Gizmo suddenly cried, "look over there, Terry! The village!"
Gizmo's voice echoed inside her mind, yet Cally showed no sign of hearing. "Oh, sorry, Terry," laughed Gizmo. "I chose to speak to you privately. Private-Telepathy it's called. I can only do it to my partner, though. You can speak to me in your mind too. But it's pretty difficult. Not till you're more experienced here."
Terry clenched her fists and grinded her teeth. She could speak to Gizmo in telepathy! He didn't decide what she could or couldn't do. And the thought of Cally already mastering this talent made her ambitious and envious. Focusing hard, Terry tried to speak to her companion in her mind, yet to no avail! The effort left her exhausted, weak and lightheaded.
But then she remembered Gizmo saying a Village was just ahead of her! She lifted her head, squinted really hard and for a moment, she saw the faint outline of poorly built houses and people doing their chores rapidly before the mist grew thicker and the sight was lost.
They were still traveling through the dead forest, though this part was denser and abundant with fog. Terry only caught a few more glimpses of the village ahead, yet it still remained hidden like a dark secret. It was shadowy, and Terry couldn't even see the sky through the thick tangle of branches, yet she felt comforted with her partner, Gizmo, by her side.
"Almost there," said Cally confidently. "Just a few more minutes…"
Suddenly the mist cleared away and the trees opened up to leave a large, grassy clearing with a small village occupying its space. Terry was expecting beautiful houses with class and sophistication, since this was a world of the dead, yet what she saw made her eyes bulge.
People wearing rags worked tirelessly, scrubbing clothes and doing the washing, polishing weapons and working on their crumbling, rundown houses made of bricks with a stone chimney and a hay-covered roof. Terry held back a laugh. Children chased dogs, cats, birds and hens; Men laughed and drank bottles of beer to chase away their sorrows or practiced their shooting skills; Woman just seemed to clean, clean, clean without stopping.
"Tobi," cried Cally, seeming at home in this horrid village. Terry felt as though she was in the stone-ages.
A little boy of about seven years old ran to Cally, leaping into her outstretched arms with excitement and happiness. Cally laughed and lifted him into the air. What Terry saw made her frightened. The boy's face was covered in scars. His eyes were a dull and faded blue, indicating he was blind.
"All wounds are meant to heal when crossing over to Ghost World," muttered Cally. "Yet for some reason he never did. Poor boy." She lifted up his brown fringe and gave him a quick kiss on the forehead before introducing him to Terry and Gizmo.
"Can I pat your companion?" asked the little boy shyly, and Terry felt a pang of pity.
"Sure," she murmured, lifting Gizmo off her shoulder and giving him to Tobi, much to Gizmo's anger. He wasn't a huge fan of little kids.
"Look, Tommy! A cat!"
A tiny gray mouse peeked out of Tobi's plain gray shirt and, upon seeing Gizmo's looming figure, gave a frightened squeak and disappeared under Tobi's clothes again. Terry had to laugh.
"A new kid, eh?"
People began to swarm around Terry, just learning she was new to Ghost World. The person who spoke was the Village Elder with a plaited gray beard and friendly wrinkled face.
"Welcome to Dead Forest's Village! You are welcome to make your home here. We love newcomers."
Though the Elder seemed friendly enough, beneath his welcoming attitude was sadness that was clearly visible in the folds of his wrinkles that hung down like curtains.
"What is your companion's name?"
Terry shyly presented Gizmo, who had managed to get free of Tobi's grasp and scramble up Terry's shoulder once again.
"Very well," said the Elder, making a kind salute. The other people did the same in a sort of ritual. Terry noticed they all had an Animal Companion either sitting by their side or on their shoulders. One person even had a hamster!
"Alright, let's let the newcomer settle down, people! Give her some space."
Everyone groaned, knowing the excuse to stop work was over and slowly departed back to their jobs. A cluster of children still surrounding Terry, gawking at her like she was from the stars, but Cally shooed them away.
"Come to my house," urged Cally.
"You have a house all to yourself?"
"Me and Tobi, yeah. Do remember we're 300 years old." Grinning, she laughed. "I may not look it but I'm an old granny. And Tobi…well he's the same age as me, but he's never given his childhood up."
There was a piercing scream.
Everyone looked up, and more shrill screeches sounded as fear crept into the clearing.
Terry and Cally glanced around to see what all the fuss was about. Before them stood a dozen or so wolves surrounding their clearing from all sides. Women gasped and immediately abandoned their work and tried to find an opening in the circle of the wolves, yet there was no escape. They were overgrown, black-furred creatures with soulless eyes and saliva dripping like raindrops from their jaws.
"What the…?" cried Cally, looking suddenly very afraid. For there, imprinted on all the wolves' fur, was the mark of Dagger. Screams echoed through the village and the Elder rushed out, his blue grown making him trip a few times.
"Raid!" he shouted. "Dagger's performing a raid! Men, take your stations! Woman, get ready to fight as well! Children, be brave and hide for us! Go! Go!"
Terry suddenly knew why all the village residents were working so hard and fast, and why the Elder had seemed sad and troubled. They were expecting this all along. And now this evil 'Dagger' was living up to their expectations.
Tobi stood up tall. "I'm not a child," he argued. "I'm 300 years old!"
"But you have the body of a child," hissed the Elder. "Now quick! Do as I say and hide!"
Tobi huffed but did as he was told. Terry was buffeted side to side as people swept past her like ocean waves. She was suddenly aware that Gizmo wasn't with her. She called his name, though he did not appear.
The men grasped their guns and began to shoot at the black wolves. Snarling, they leapt into battle. There was a sudden howling, tearing, shooting, bullets zipping past on all sides, yelling, crying, weeping, barking, snapping and the sounds of bones crushing.
"Cally! Gizmo! Sabria!" Terry shouted, and suddenly Gizmo was by her feet.
"Listen to me, Terry," the cat hissed. "There's something odd about this raid. It seems as though the wolves are looking for someone…"
But there was no time to finish as a wolf charged right at them. Terry thought she was a goner as the mutt leapt and knocked her off her feet. She waited for jaws to close around her neck and muttered silent curses to this 'Dagger' dude. Who was he to commit raids on people? And why did he do it…?
But nothing happened. Her eyes snapped open and she saw Gizmo battling with the wolf, claws extended and digging into the creature's back. The monster easily threw the cat off, and Terry cried out as she shared her partner's pain. She had just been reunited with her best friend…did it have to end this way? She groaned as the wolf pressed down on Gizmo's neck, trying to crush his airways, when suddenly Sabria and Cally appeared out of nowhere.
"Go, Sabria!" shouted Cally and the brown and black dog snarled as he snapped his jaws shut on the wolf's neck. Blood spurted from the wound and the wolf's snarls soon ebbed away to pathetic whimpers until finally the creature stopped breathing.
"Are you alright?" heaved Cally, helping Terry up. Swords flashed, bullets whizzed by, and the numbers of the Wolves began to decrease. Another wolf flew at Terry, but the Elder leaped in front of them and blocked the blow. The mutt snarled and ripped the Elder apart. Terry and Cally, Sabria and Gizmo screamed in shock and horror as they watched the gruesome murder take place, before placing a note on the old man's torn body and departing the battleground.
All was silent once more. Terry, who had only known the Elder for a minute or so, was finding it hard to breathe. Gizmo cowered away and hid behind her back. Sabria whined and nudged her Companion's hand.
The wolves were gone.
And yet the fear and shock remained with the remaining Village Citizens as they stared at their beloved Elder lying beaten on the ground. Children scurried out of their hiding places, eager to see the aftermath and outcome of the battle, only to wail in horror at the sight.
People, not just the Elder, lay dead on the clearing floor. Houses were shattered; Animal Companions were wounded and thus so were their partners. Blood, flesh and guts coated the ground, staining the grass a deep and unsettling scarlet. Terry covered her eyes, hoping to hide from the sight.
At once an uproar began.
"How will we survive without the Elder?"
"That bloody Dagger bastard! I'll kill 'em!"
"Where's my Companion?"
"Josh? Josh, where are you?"
"We're going to die! It'll happen again!"
"SHUT UP!" It was Cally. "Look, a wolf left a note."
There, written in dripping blood, was Dagger's handwriting. Cally picked it up, beginning to sob for the Elder, but mastering her feelings and reading the note aloud in a confident voice. It said:
"Bring me the fair-haired, white skinned, blue eyed girl with the Cat companion. Reward for her retrieval, signed, Dagger."
Terry shuddered. This wasn't good. She knew who the note was talking about. She had just arrived in Ghost World and was already being hunted – by none other than Ghost World's worst criminal: Dagger.
"Dagger's hunting Terry!"
Yep, Dagger is hunting Terry! Why is he searching for her? Who's Tobi's and Cally's murderers? Why does Gizmo hate little kids? What will Dagger do when he catches Terry? Will the villagers throw Terry out because she's the main target of Dagger? What will Terry do? Will all her friends turn against her? I bet I'm making you crazy with wanting to know xD. Don't worry, all will be revealed...in time :D.