Tick tick. Tick tick. The clock mounted on the wall seemed to mock her, numbing her mind as she slowly fell asleep on her desk. She blinked to the rhythm of the ticking of the clock and felt her head continue to get heavier and heavier, as if some invisible person was filling her brain with lead. Hanna Black folded her arms and rested her head in her left elbow. "I won't go to sleep, "she lied to herself, "I won't." Hanna would do all in her power to keep herself from sleeping. The horrific visions that had been haunting her dreams in the past couple of months were too much to handle, especially when she was in class. Alas, the fierceness and longing to doze was too strong, and she let herself give into the temptation and sunk into darkness.
Hanna fell into a dream, or at least it started out as a dream that slowly progressed into a vivid nightmare. She was walking around in a large field with her friend, Naddi, and her little brother, James, during their trip to Ireland. A swift, chilling cloud of ice surrounded them in an instant. Hanna kicked off of the ground in a full sprint before the eerie mist cleared just enough to reveal that she was headed into a mammoth structure composed of rubble and ice. She skidded to an absolute stop and flung her arms out to mimic the vastness of the figure.
An icy shiver rushed up her spine as the mist closed in and a long, clawed, skeletal hand found its way to her shoulder and dug its nails into it. She felt herself begin to shake slowly, rocking back and forth under the influence of the claw. Then it became more persistent, and she was violently shaking this way and that while the creature screeched in her ear. Hanna felt herself go dizzy and the moaning of the banshee turned into audible syllables, then forming words. "Hanna. Hanna." It breathed down her neck, making every one of the teeny little hairs on her head stand straight up. Hanna tried to pry herself from the hand on her shoulder. "Hanna!" it shrieked before whipping itself in front of her, letting its long, distorted face be gazed upon by horrified eyes. It lunged toward her with its red eyes of lava and its sick, green skin flaking off into her palm. She suddenly had no control of what she did or what she thought to do or think and the sound of a howling wind consumed her thoughts. Hanna gave a terrible cry and leapt miles into the air and into awareness.
"Hanna! Are you all right?" Chris asked, frightened by the thrashing of his friend. His hand was placed on her shoulder and his hair was a wrecked jungle with his glasses lopsided on his speckled face. Her head snapped up and her hand flew over her heart. Her stomach churned and she felt extremely sick. Chris walked around her and pushed his glasses up higher on his freckly nose. "Hanna?" he asked again. Hanna nodded her head violently and staggered away. She wanted to know; no she needed to know if this was really happening. She looked at her friend with hate. 'It'll be a good riddance.' whispered a voice inside of her head. Hanna unwillingly nodded in agreement. Hanna opened the classroom door and marched away, muttering to herself. "Hanna? Hanna, wait!" Chris cried before stumbling after her. Hanna kept going to wherever she was headed, progressing to the sidewalk in front of the school where her little brother, James, waits impatiently for her to walk him home from school.
"Where have you been?" complained the dwarf she was pestered into claiming as her little brother. Ignoring him, Hanna walked faster, stretching her legs out as straight as sticks in order to progress in longer strides. She wouldn't seal her younger brother to this fate.
"Go home, James." She barked at her brother as she continued on her way to an unknown destination. James pressed his lips together and stormed in her direction, followed closely by Chris.
"Hanna! You come back here now, or I'm telling Mom!" he screamed, making Hanna cover her ears. James scowl grew deeper and more intense and meaningful as he puffed like a steam train with smoke just itching to burst out of his ears.
Hanna rushed past her best friend, Naddi, whose hair was tied tight into a high ponytail and almond brown eyes shimmered at the sight of her friend. "Hi, Hanna!" Naddi greeted her, waving her dainty hand all around. Hanna clenched her fists and marched on. The incredible beam that once was Naddi's smile packed its bags and moved out with Hanna.
James stormed by and yanked once on her wrist, shouting "You're coming with me." and dragged Naddi along behind Hanna.
Hanna took a hidden pathway that lead to the home of all ghouls, dreaded monsters, and all things dreadful: the old, Victorian Mansion. Chris sped up to Hanna and panted "Wha—wha—what are we doing here?"
Hanna jumped and slapped Chris. "How dare you follow me!" she cried.
James skidded to a stop next to her, still clutching Naddi's wrist. "Yeah, how dare you?" he puffed angrily, darting his eyes back and forth between his older sister and the curly haired kid that followed them here. Chris raised his hands in defeat of a battle that did not exist. Hanna curled her lips and marched into the house.
She ran her fingers along the indentations in the door and gave it a slight push. The door slowly fell inward with a horrible creak. Hanna forced herself inside. James peered over the doorway and snuck silently inside the cobwebbed corridor. The trio of followers crept alongside Hanna through the twisting spiral staircases and in and out of rooms layered in dust. Her heels clicked in the old, soft wood and left little dents in the flooring. She rubbed her hands menacingly together as she opened a rotting door. There before her stood what used to be the ballroom but was now a ghastly chamber where all of the banshee's martyrs went to die. Bloody pieces of shattered vases coated the floor , and the walls were covered in holes as if at one time there was a large struggle. Hanna began to breathe faster and lose her vision when she stepped on the floor. The sound of a howling wind filled her mind, and pictures of hooded figures consumed in darkness flashed across it. Hanna knew that it was time.
Hanna fell to her knees, screaming, with her hands on the back of her head. Naddi jumped and ran over to her side, checking to see exactly what was haunting her. She was thrashing and kicking with her eyes a ruby red. Hanna shoved Naddi off of her and sped into a dark closet. What sounded like a banshee started to cry in that old, Victorian mansion, frightening the dwellers inside of it that did not know what to expect. Hanna pointlessly punched the inside of the door, knowing perfectly well that it locked from the outside.
An eerie mist consumed the house in seconds. Long-faced, dark-hooded figures took the room. James cringed as he breathed in the silvery mist. His vision blurred and he began to feel faint, drowsy, like he was standing on top of a wispy cloud of dreariness. His knees knocked together and his shoulders jerked up and down. His hands shook with such force that they were almost severed off. James collapsed onto his knees and his eyes slowly rolled back into his head. Chris screamed and pressed up against the wall with his arms spread out and the tips of his fingers suctioning the wall. Naddi whipped out her phone and taped her foot as she was waiting for whoever she had phoned to pick up.
Inside the dark, compressed closet, Hanna breathed. Her jaw tensed as she thought many a terrible thought of her nasty little friends that dared follow her into her sanctuary. She peered down at the floor and witnessed the mist seeping through the bottom of the door. With the moistness of the mist and the crying of her friends, she began to feel more self-aware as her numb mind melted, and she was once again in control. She confronted her thoughts realizing that it was the banshee talking and leapt into the air at the sound of the screaming and the banshee's wails melting together in a very malicious song. Her heart leapt out of her chest when she heard Chris scream her brother's name, and she flung herself against the door. Heart racing, Hanna pressed her ear against the keyhole to listen to the eerie screeching of the ghastly banshees that tracked her every move. She listened as they whispered "James, James, James." again and again. Hanna pounded against the door. "No!" she cried, as the door burst open, and she was overtaken with darkness and the sound of a little girl screaming in the night.
Hanna ran down unfamiliar passages, up and down creaking staircases looking for her brother. Suddenly, as the screaming stopped, Hanna froze up and the sudden silence pierced her ears like a sharp knife. She bit her lip and slowly reached for the handle of the decorated door rotting in front of her. She cautiously pushed it open and carefully stepped inside. She entered the room she had just left with holes in the wall and broken vases on the floor. There was a body on the floor and the closet door remained wide open. Hanna dashed over to the body, and with trembling hands, turned her over to look at her face, praying that it was not James. Hanna choked at the sight of the face. A bright, white light shone, and the glint of a police badge was barely visible. Hanna collapsed on top of the body. Her brother peered through the gaps between officers with his head wrapped in gauze and began to cry. Hanna's dead face stared up at him, with her eyes the usual blue that they used to be. She had died coming out of the closet, trying to protect him.