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Tegan is haunted by dreams of a forest, a little boy in a clown costume, and a ghost from her past. All she wants is a normal life, but instead she finds herself caught up in the conflicts of a bunch of supernatural weirdos from the afterlife. Will she be able to conquer her demons, or will the real ones drag her down first?

Age Rating: 16+

 

Death and All His Friends by Jessica Richmond is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

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Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

1

Summary

Tegan is haunted by dreams of a forest, a little boy in a clown costume, and a ghost from her past. All she wants is a normal life, but instead she finds herself caught up in the conflicts of a bunch of supernatural weirdos from the afterlife. Will she be able to conquer her demons, or will the real ones drag her down first?

Age Rating: 16+

Original Author: Jessica Richmond

Maths = death.

At least that’s what I thought as I sat in my stiff wooden chair and tried to focus on the worksheet. The numbers were blurring on the page which was not surprising. My mind had been wandering since the start of class.

I looked at the broken clock mounted to the wall, which I was sure had never worked to begin with. Either that or my maths classroom was in some sort of time bubble where it remained 5:23 am for all of eternity.

But the chances of that happening were close to nil. Actually, the chances of anything even remotely interesting happening in this classroom were almost nonexistent.

The girl behind me was clicking her pen and with each incessant click, my scowl deepened.

The boy next to me was chewing his pen with extreme gusto, seemingly oblivious to the drool that was pooling on his book. The sight, as well as the fact that I could actually hear him chew, made me want to throw up my breakfast.

And honestly, the last thing I needed was partially digested oatmeal all over my calculus.

What was even more irritating was the boy in front of me, who kept tapping his feet and pen in alternate patterns, trying to follow the music blasting from his cheap headphones. He was failing miserably I might add. The kid had no rhythm whatsoever.

But what really ticked me off that morning was the girl next to me. The curly-haired brunette with perfect teeth and bad breath was texting under her desk.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t care, but today her inch-long nails tapping against the keypad of her Blackberry was driving me insane. And every now and again she would utter a little giggle at whatever she was reading.

ClickClickClick.

ChewChewChew.

ThumpThumpThump.

TapTapGiggleTapTapTapGiggleTap.

My head sunk deeper into my arms which were resting against the desk. I was surrounded by the four most annoying people in the class. Why oh why did I come late?

ClickClickChewThumpTapTapGiggle.

I closed my eyes and prayed for the class to end.

ClickChewThumpTapGiggleGiggleGiggleGiggleGiggle.

The brunette couldn’t help it any longer and burst into high-pitched laughter.

My hands clenched the edge of my notebook as I tried to resist the urge to repeatedly beat the girl over the head.

Her laughter increased and for once I wished our maths teacher, Mrs. Koots, wasn’t a senile, deaf old hag.

“Yo, could you shut up?” the boy in front of me turned and hissed at the brunette. “You’re screwing with my beat, woman.”

The girl behind me sniggered.

“What beat? You sound like a drunken baby hippopotamus stomping around in pain after an iguana ate its face.”

“She’s got a point,” I muttered at my page.

The boy next to me started to laugh but ended up choking on the pen in his mouth.

Hey!” Earphone Boy’s face contorted into a look of disgust. “You wouldn’t recognize a good beat if it bit you in the ass!”

“Oh you think you’re tough, you douche hat?”

“Well—”

“Ach! Aaaachhh!! Kah! Kah!”

It took us a few seconds to realize that the boy next to me was still choking and actually unable to breathe.

Then—

“Oh my God!” Texting Brunette screamed, jumping up from her seat. I jumped up too just as Earphone Boy pushed his chair back and Clicking Pen Girl leaped over her desk.

We crowded around Drooling Boy, who had gone pale, his eyes frantically looking back and forth between the four of us.

“Stand back! I know CPR!” Earphone Boy declared.

“He’s not unconscious, you idiot!” I yelled back.

“Hey! At least I’m trying!” Earphone Boy turned around so fast that his elbow came in contact with my face.

Ouch!” I screamed at the instant, blossoming pain. I screwed up my eyes as something warm and salty ran down my lips.

My hands flew to my nose and came away wet and red.

Oh my God!” Texting Brunette screamed again. Maybe I should have paid more attention and learned their names because this was getting ridiculous.

By now, poor old Mrs. Koots realized that something was happening at the back of her classroom but, cursed with extreme short-sightedness and a tendency to lose her glasses, she could only yell at the class to stay calm as she made her way towards the commotion.

It was hard for the old lady because the whole class had gathered around the four of us like we were celebrities or something.

“You’re bleeding! You’re bleeding!” the brunette kept screaming.

“Oh Jesus, did I do that?” Earphone Boy exclaimed, looking at me in horror.

“Are you okay?” Clicking Pen Girl asked, her eyes wide. “Because that looks bad! Really bad! You douche hat, you broke her nose!”

I felt momentarily sorry for the poor kid who was still choking on his pen since I had stolen all the attention.

My sympathy disappeared a moment later when a throaty cough forced the pen from the boy’s esophagus and straight into my face.

Squelch!

More blood poured out as the flying writing utensil smacked right into my bleeding nose.

“Ew,” I grumbled, trying to stop the flow of blood with the sleeve of my uniform.

Oh man, my mom was not going to like this at all. I only had three white shirts and one of them was still in the wash.

“Tegan, I think you should visit the nurse,” Mrs. Koots’ airy voice said, the old lady having finally figured out what was going on.

I nodded, trying not to open my mouth lest I turn vampire and eat my own blood. Sick.

“I’ll get one of your friends to take your things to your locker. Hurry along now dearest.”

I left quickly, the crowd of people jumping back as I walked past. Geez, it’s not as if I had leprosy. It was disgusting though, the blood dripping all over my hands.

Out of the crowded, stuffy classroom, I turned left and headed to the girls’ bathroom. To be honest, I didn’t really need medical attention. A little blood isn’t something to worry about.

My nose felt fine and had practically stopped bleeding. The blood just made it look like I had been stabbed in the face. No biggie.

I was more worried about the state of my uniform and how awkward it would be walking home with blood splattered all over my white shirt and navy school vest. But on the bright side, at least this way no pedophiles were likely to stop their car next to me and ask me to get in.

Yes, there’s always a silver lining. That’s me, Tegan Michaels: optimist.

With one hand, I pushed open the wooden door and stepped into the deserted, blinding, white tiled room. The one good thing about Kensington High was the immaculate hygiene and cleanliness of the school.

Like the good, model student I was, I took a moment to bask in the fluorescent white lights and bleach smell that made me proud to be a part of such a school. Alright not really. Truthfully, I was feeling guilty that I was about to dirty the place up with my nose blood. The poor cleaners.

Trying to put my conscience to rest, I rushed over to the nearest sink and inspected my appearance.

I jumped in fright.

Yeesh, no wonder everyone was freaking out. I looked like a zombie from one of the Dawn of the Dead movies.

My normally pale face was completely covered in blood, as well as the sleeves of my once white shirt. For some odd reason, the blood was in my hair as well, the auburn strands sticking up in weird places. That. Was. Disgusting.

The only normality of my appearance were my eyes, the reflected dull brown orbs staring blankly back at me.

With a grin, I rolled my eyes back, stuck out my tongue, and swayed back and forth in jerky movements, enjoying how creepy I looked.

At this rate, I could be an extra in the next blockbuster horror movie. Maybe I should take a picture of myself and stick it in my sister’s room to scarify her.

After a few impromptu moves from Thriller, I decided that it was time to wash away the blood.

I turned the tap on and grimaced as I splashed my face. The water was so cold that for a second, I felt as if it had stung me. Nevertheless, it was refreshing and I instantly felt rejuvenated.

Tegan Michaels, ready to take on the world once again!

Thump!

What the flip was that?

I looked back up at the mirror with a frown. My scowl deepened when I saw something small fall from the ceiling just behind me.

I turned around, my heart thumping uncomfortably. There appeared to be a spot on the ground. On closer inspection, I realized that it was a small pool of black liquid.

I looked up, squealing as more black liquid stuff fell onto my face. I wiped it away hastily, choking as I looked at my fingers.

The liquid wasn’t black, it was red; a very, very dark red.

Blood was leaking from the ceiling. The ceiling. What. The. Flip?

I stood rooted to the spot, unable to move.

What was going on? Why was there blood coming from the ceiling?

I swallowed hard, then looked up. There was a bulge where the blood was seeping through the gap in the tiles.

I couldn’t breathe. Was there a bodyup there? Before I could scream, I heard a creaking noise and jumped away as the ceiling suddenly gave way in a flurry of dust, timber, and brick.

This time I did scream as heavy debris smacked to the ground. I threw myself into one of the bathroom stalls, locking the door and sitting on the floor with my hands over my mouth.

BreatheBreatheBreatheBreathe.

What the hell was that? Did the ceiling fall in? What do I do?

I stood up, my hands shaking uncontrollably.

And then my heart stopped as I heard ragged breathing from somewhere in the bathroom.

Oh my God! The thing that fell through the roof is still alive!

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

2

I screamed. And screamed again. And put my head in my hands. And screamed once more.

Dear God, what was out there? Was it a person? An alligator that had been accidentally trapped in the ceiling when the school was first built and had to survive by eating rats? Why was it still alive? What do I do?

I didn’t know how long I spent trembling in the cubicle before I decided that I was being stupid. I just needed to suck it up and go out there and see what was going on. Someone might be in trouble! But then again…

I shook my head aggressively and placed my hands over the sliding lock of the cubicle.

“I can do this. I am strong,” I muttered under my breath. “What’s the worst that could happen? If it’s a person then I can help them. If it’s a man-eating alligator then I’ll just have to stab it in the eye with my nail-file before it eats me.”

Done with my pep talk, I opened the door, ready for whatever was in front of me…

Only to stare.

There was a massive, gaping hole in the ceiling; big enough to fit a Jeep. Sunshine seeped through this hole like a spotlight from God, illuminating…

What was that?

I shuffled over to the pile of debris, anxiously clenching and unclenching my fists.

Mixed with the dust and tiles and bricks appeared to be blood. I felt sick, my stomach churning.

Then I saw something move.

With shaky hands, I pulled away some of the long chunks of wood and gasped.

There, lying amidst the rubble was a boy.

Oh good, no man-eating alligator. Just a boy. A boy who had fallen through the roof. A boy who was drenched in blood. A boy who…who might be dead!

I began to hyperventilate.

Ever so slowly, I gently reached a hand out towards his limp arm, deciding to feel his pulse before my brain kicked into panic mode and I had a freakout. So what if there’s a dying boy in the girls’ bathroom? It’ll be alright, right? Right?

As soon as my fingers made contact with his wrist, I felt my heart lurch. I screamed as I felt myself being pulled and stretched, as my breath was forced out of my lungs and my vision swam with vibrant colors.

Something was being sucked out of me. I didn’t know what, but I could feel it being ripped from within me with the strength of a thousand storms.

It was like I was hanging onto a rope for my dear life but I was slipping, and at that moment I felt such fear; fear that I never felt before as my hands slipped and rope disappeared and I fell into a dark abyss of oblivion. I was drowning.

Stop!

What?

I didn’t realize my eyes were closed until I opened them and came face to face with the boy who was straddling me.

My mind kicked into panic mode, the drowning feeling evaporating in an instant.

Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!” I screamed. “Rape! Rape!!

I scrunched up my eyes and clawed at him, my mind a whirl. He was yelling something but I wasn’t listening.

My fingers got caught on something which snapped as I yanked my hand away. I heard a minuscule sound like something metal hitting the floor but I paid no attention to it.

Get off!!!!” I screeched, my eyes still screwed shut.

Suddenly the weight on top of me was gone.

Breathing hard, I opened my eyes a crack, slowly widening them in disbelief as I realized that I was staring at the ceiling; the ceiling that was completely intact. There was no hole.

I sat up and looked around. Everything was normal.It was all gone; the debris, the mess, the blood, the boy…

“What the…”

I shook my head.

What happened?

I got up in a daze. Did I dream the whole thing up? Maybe I lost more blood than I realized and had a trippy hallucination. But it was so vivid and real…

Something glittery caught my attention and I crouched back down. Lying on the floor underneath the hand dryer was an ornate ring on a silver chain.

It looked really pretty and old; like an antique that you’d find in one of those tacky museum exhibitions. I would pick it up but it probably belonged to someone. And I was not touching something that had been lying on the ground in the girls’ bathroom for who knew how long.

With a shrug, I stood up and left the bathroom, my mind whirling with everything that happened and whether or not I was going insane.

***

I pulled the blanket up to my chin and sighed, taking a deep breath of sweet night air.

For as long as I could remember, I’ve always slept with the window in my room open. It was a strange habit but even on the coldest of nights, I could not sleep without my window open. I needed to smell the scent of the night.

There was only one window in my room so when we had moved into this house, I decided to put my bed directly next to it against the wall.

As I looked out at the night sky, I decided it was a good choice. There was a flyscreen sheet over it so I wasn’t too worried about insects or anybody climbing in.

I sighed and lay on my back, looking at the ceiling. Today was the strangest day I’ve had for a while. I’ve thought about it so much that I couldn’t get to sleep.

Sure enough, when I got home, my mum scolded me, more worried about the state of my uniform than about where all the blood came from.

My little sister Jess just laughed at me. And my dad just gave me a pitying look.

But all that didn’t matter. What mattered was whether or not I was becoming a lunatic and having wacky delusions in school bathrooms.

I didn’t realize I was half asleep until I was jolted awake by a movement in the corner of my room.

Before I could sit up, I felt something wrap around my neck and tighten.

I gasped, my fingers scratching at my throat, trying to pull away whatever it was. However, I couldn’t feel anything. There was nothing there!

I looked down in horror, my eyes wide as I coughed and spluttered. If this is how that kid in maths felt when he was choking on his pen, then I was going to give him a huge apology fruit basket tomorrow. If I survived the night that is.

I tried to scream but no sound came out. My body was thrashing, nothing but panic running through my brain.

What was happening? What was going on?

My flailing arms still couldn’t find the source of whatever was strangling me and I began to cry. I was dizzy, my lungs were aching for air and I wanted to vomit.

I need to breathe! I need to breathe! Ineedtobreathe!

And through it all I heard a voice in my ear; a voice so silky smooth and quiet that I thought I might have imagined it.

“Give me back my ring.”

***

My dreams were constantly haunted by a small boy. He appeared in my dreams ever since the incident five years ago. Sometimes he stood in the background of the dreamscape but other times he took part in what was happening.

He looked around ten years old and always wore a clown suit like he was in the circus. He never talked, but sometimes I followed him.

I called him Smile, because he always smiled when he saw me. Sometimes I caught a look on his face; a pained look like he’d seen something that made him want to cry. But then he’d smile again and everything would be okay.

I suppose it was because I didn’t dream about Smile that I knew something was wrong when I woke up.

The last thing I remembered was being strangled by something I couldn’t see and my hands immediately reached up to my throat.

It felt tender and sore, but I could breathe and that was the important thing.

Without a second thought, I leaped up and ran to my floor-length mirror.

I looked terrible. Well, more terrible than usual after rolling around in my bed. My face was pale, my hair a mess and my eyes were red and bloodshot.

I couldn’t help but stare at the red markings around my throat; evidence that something or someone had tried to kill me. Something or someone that I couldn’t see…

I was filled with dread as I ran back to my bed and climbed onto it, grabbing a heavy textbook from the floor and holding it up as a weapon.

I stood still, my eyes taking in every detail of my room. What if the thing was still here? What if it attacked me again? What can I do if I can’t seeit?

I shrieked as the door burst open and a girl with curly blond ringlets skipped in.

“Mum says to wake up and…what are you doing?”

My sister stared at me like I was insane, which I probably was.

“Tegan, what the hell?”

I flinched and stumbled back as Jess approached me, her dark brown eyebrows arched. I really did try to convince her that if she dyed her hair blond, she should do her eyebrows too.

Then Jess told me about how her friend almost blinded herself when some of the dye got into her eyes when she was doing her eyebrows. I bet you can guess who won that argument.

“What happened to you? Why do you…Oh my God what happened to your neck?

I stood, my arms trembling as I held up Ancient Civilisations; from Egypt to Greece and Everything in Between

It was now or never. Do I tell her about what happened or do I lie and save my pride? The last thing I wanted was Jess taunting me about being mentally unstable.

“I ugh…I…Um…well you see…”

A burst of music made Jess pull her phone out of her bra (ew) and within seconds, she left my room, giggling and flirting with her boyfriend (double ew).

Before Jess could return, I jumped down from my bed and slammed the door closed, leaning my head against it as I tried to figure out what the hell was going on.

Ugh it was way too early to be trying to think.

A cough made my blood freeze. Oh no.

Ever so slowly, because I was hoping that maybe if I took long enough, an airplane might crash on top of my head and save me from the situation, I turned around.

There, lying on my bed building a pyramid of cards, was a boy.

He was dressed in dark clothing, with the hood of his jacket pulled up to hide his face.

I stared.

There was a boy on my bed. A boyon my bed. Why the hell was there a boy on my bed?

At the strangled noise coming from my throat, the boy looked up. I still couldn’t see his face but I felt his stare.

Almost by instinct, my hands flew to my throat and the red marks there.

The boy laughed softly as he stood up and walked towards me, his stride confident as he shoved his hands into his pockets.

“Sorry, I got a little carried away,” he said when he was relatively close to me.

My brain was screaming run! but my body refused to respond.

He held up a finger and moved as if to touch the red marks on my neck. I whimpered, suddenly annoyed when I realized that I left my heavy history textbook weapon on my bed.

There was no doubt in my mind that this guy was the one who tried to strangle me last night. One part of me wanted to kill the bastard but another part was so scared that it just wanted to run away and curl into a ball in some small cave in the arctic where no one would find me.

The latter won and before the boy could move, I spun and pulled my door open, running away so fast that I tripped and fell down the stairs.

“Tegan!” my mother shouted as she came running towards me.

I stared up at the top of the stairs where the hooded boy looked down at me. The next moment, he was gone. Probably back inside my room or something. Oh lord, what do I do? Do I tell my mum? Will she believe me?

“Tegan!” my mother shouted again, pulling me up and fussing over me, looking for bruises.

“What happened? Oh why are you so clumsy? And you’re not even ready for school yet! Well I’ve got to go to work so I’ll see you tonight!” With a kiss on the cheek, she was out the door before I could say a thing.

My dad had already gone too, since his car wasn’t in the driveway.

Looks like I’ll have to deal with the boy myself.

After half an hour of staring into my bowl of soggy cereal, I decided that whoever the mysterious boy was, I wasn’t going to let him hurt me again. I was going to find out how he had snuck into my room and how he managed to strangle me.

Then I was going to kill him.

No not really. But I do take invasion of privacy and attempted murder seriously.

Maybe I should just tie him up and call the police. Yes, that sounded like a good plan.

Sitting up so quickly that Jess jumped and dropped her mobile into her cereal, I went into the kitchen and pulled out the biggest steak knife we had.

I was grateful that my mother had already left for work. At least she wasn’t around to ask awkward questions about what I was doing.

I stomped past Jess, who was whining and whimpering as she tried to dry her phone with her napkin, and walked up the stairs.

I bet I looked pretty scary with the knife in my hand. Actually I probably looked deranged. I was glad that Jess was too busy to notice what a psycho her sister had become.

I got cold feet as I stood outside my bedroom door, which was right next to the staircase.

What if he turned invisible and strangled me again? But that was impossible right? No one can turn invisible. He probably used fishing wire to choke me.

I swallowed, sucked up all my courage, and opened the door, the knife ready.

At first I was blinded by the bright sunlight coming in through the window. It was when my eyes adjusted that I realized that the room was empty.

I frowned, suspicious.

The pyramid of cards was still sitting on top of my bed, half of it collapsed, but next to that was my textbook which was open at a page with a huge picture of an old Egyptian ring.

Lowering my knife, I realized that several words had been highlighted.

I frowned even more as I read them.

“Give…me…the…ring…”

I scoffed. What the flip is this ring he keeps mentioning? Then I saw that he had written something on the next page in huge block letters over the top of a passage about Egyptian symbolism.

SEE YOU SOON SWEETHEART.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

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