She had awoken, her long blondish hair curled beside her warm breath. As she had gasped over and over again for the same satisfaction that the others were given. She was given no word on whether she could awake or even die. She was told multiple times, over and over; ‘You will not leave this place.’ The words echoed in her encased mind. Her skull was covering up the words she wished to speak. Being held back for so long, is it any wonder why she couldn’t speak? Perhaps not. She awoke with her hands fiddling together whilst she smiled with her beautiful lips touching once more. She grasped her pillow with frustration and threw it to the other side of the room. As the pillow landed, the white door sealed with barbed wire had opened.




Everyone around here, they aren’t like you and me. But if I was to tell you that, you’d think I’m crazy, crazy, crazy! And if that doesn’t make sense. You’ll never understand why you’re here. Everyone is a riddle, everything is a dream-like substance to your mind. It feeds on this atmosphere. Breaks away the love and the hate, and soon you’ll see a cruel, nasty, fate. Unknown

The little girl crawled through small-like miniature sized caverns made out of squishy materials. The creature chose to hide the truth from the girl. If she had known, the creature was aware of the consequences to whatever the girl learns in the world. She pushed past larger objects, and tried to climb over them. Success, she managed to get over all the strange shapes. No sight on what was actually in her way, she had no choice but to go through it anyway. The creature stopped her where a window-like shape revealed specks of light that had beamed through some of the crawlspace.

“Okay, now… go ahead from here. When you reach something sticky, or feel something gluey, and you feel a little stuck. Call out for help.”

She gulped and pushed herself forwards. Crawling through nothing but little-to-no lighted tunnels. She managed to reach the sticky point. Her hands glued to whatever was below her. Her clothing attached to a stickier substance. She moaned as she tried to break free from the sticky area. She took a second gulp and tried to break free from the glue. The voice rang in her ears; Call for help. Call for help. She did just that. Called for help. ‘Help!” She cried. Nothing heard her, not even one of the shadow-creatures wanted to greet her in such a horrible situation.

“Hello…?” A voice finally spoke out.

“…hello? I need help. P-please, can you help me?” She cried.

“Keep your voice down, you’ll scare away the others.” The voice sounded screechy.

“Are you going to help me… or not?!” She felt the need to be rude.

“Sit tight, enjoy the ride. Ha, ha.” The voice mocked her. “You know what? Why don’t I just throw you a magic key, use it on the magic box. Musical box! Ha, ha. Keep making me laugh, you’re doing a great job.”

“I’m—stuck!” She grunted. “Stuck in some kind of, glue!” She tried to face palm but couldn’t.

“Right… and I’m stuck too. Ha, ha. Why don’t you just wait for the train?” It giggled. “Waiting for the train is like catching a bus. Only… messier.”

The little girl didn’t like the sound of that. She chose to ignore the stranger lurking in the shadows. Her heart beat violently, wanting to break free from the veins holding it in place. Her skin went pale, sadly she couldn’t see her own skin colour. Although, she knew what skin colour she was. She was not aware of the fact that her face had gone swollen and her tongue had become numb. As she focused on what was in-front of her; she could see the stranger’s arms. Small, human-like arms. It waved towards her and tried to make some kind of shadow puppet.

“Jeez… use your hands, it’s easier!” The little girl interrupted.

“And how do you know that, huh?” She spoke in a sarcastic tone.

“I don’t really know it off by heart. I just know that hand puppets work better than arm puppets. Whatever that is…”

“You have some nerve, little girl.” She giggled. “You crawl into my home, and you break some of my perfect furniture.”

“I’m sorry if I’m breaking and entering… I just want to some help!” She screamed.

“Wait for the train, it’s the best solution. It worked for the others.” She smiled behind the darkness. “They haven’t said a word since he train come by.”

The little girl tried to be stubborn with the stranger. The screechy voice stopped and the sound of another little girl spoke the same way. The stranger continued to hum a tune, it didn’t sound familiar at all, to the little girl. However, she could remember something that sounded a lot like what she had heard in the past. The sound of the solution didn’t sound like much of anything. It sounded more like death sentence or something that meant danger. The little girl bravely spoke against the stranger. Shouting at it with all her fury building up inside of her.

“Get me out of here. And I’ll be sure to not tell on you!” She shouted; the idea sounded great in her mind.

“Oh well…” she replied. “Nothing gets past you. The shadow man, did he speak to you?”

“Get me out of here, please!” She cried. “I’ll tell you everything I know.”

“What does that have to do with the shadow man?” She smiled, her smile beamed out bright lights.

“How did you get—never mind.” The little girl reminded herself.

“These teeth?” She slurped. “Easy. I woke up with these. Funny, right? Don’t answer that. The shadow man clearly likes you. He always sends the ones he loves down into my home. Sadly, I don’t get to talk to them much. They always fade away…”

“Those teeth. They look like tiger teeth.” She bravely whispered.

“Yes. Sharp, pointy, beautiful teeth. I’m a fan of them. I really am.” She growled like a tiger. “These are why I love what I do. Being here, it just feels so right. As little as me, you, and the others are. It’s no wonder why I’ve been given such beautiful teeth.”

The stranger finally revealed herself, as her face grew from the darkness. Springing out of the shadows and showing her whole body to the little girl. It was too much to handle. Another human in the same world as her. Especially, a world where no humans have been in sight. She remembered seeing a little boy but couldn’t remember anything else. Her knowledge had just died, along with her memories. The other little girl spoke in a calm tone. Her sharp teeth still revealed. Beaming out more light and looking brighter when close-up.

“They glow. Oh boy, do the glow.” She smiled. “The shadow man loves them. I love them. The question is… do you love them?”

She gasped. “Yes. I love them, they look great on you.” She lied.

“Good. I’m so happy to finally see someone up close. They’d always leave me, no note, nothing!” She sobbed.

“I-I can’t imagine why…” she shook inside her body.

“Good. You see something in me, after-all.” She looked happier. “However… I don’t just let them go, they always have to get stuck. Kind of like you. Some of them, I don’t mind breaking them out. Why? Because my teeth do all the work. I do a fine job, don’t you think?”

As more light shined through, the little girl trembled. Her heart racing, her lungs filling with thick dust. Her mouth swollen, drooling uncontrollably. The stranger spoke out her name in a screech and held out a flashlight from under her thick-tiger-like coat. She smiled again, looking at the little girl with a pleased expression on her face. Looking amazed on how the little girl is not begging to be killed. It’s the first time she’s heard someone be so mean to her. Someone who can be stubborn and grow a backbone. She shine the light on the little girl, revealing more than just darkness around her. The little girl looked down at the floor, no longer wanting to look up. The sight of what she saw was horrific:

Broken trees that had been burnt and left to die in a room. Sticky sap and sticky red liquids all around her hands. Her clothing attached to dripping green slime. As she looked beside her, she saw several skeletons sitting on a railway track. Some looked cracked and very broken. Some of the skeletons were missing parts of the body. No legs, no arms. One of them had a head missing, nothing but skeletons staring at her. She felt more comfortable with the lights off than lights on. The stranger startled her when she just appeared out of nowhere from beside her. Her heart raced even more, pounding at her ribcage as if the heart wanted to break out and run away from her own body.

“Sorry… I didn’t mean to scare you.” She smiled. “They are friends. Remember, I told you about them.” She whispered.

“Your friends… are they—are they d-dead?” Her eyes widened.

“Just sleepy, really. Really, really, sleepy.” She looked even happier than before. “They always say, put them to sleep. And that’s what happened to them.” She giggled.

“Aren’t you afraid of them?” She replied.

“Not at all. I’m just happy to see you.” Her mouth widened. “Happier to see you. And since you are here, why not share a glassful of sap with me?”

“You drink… tree-sap?” She felt sick and wanted to leave.

The little girl looked to her right, as she could see mounts and mounts of tree sap stuck to half-dead looking children. As she looked to her left, she could see several bodies that presumed to be dead, covered in thick layers of sap and some kind of amber-like substance.

“Don’t mind them. They are so crazy! They chose to swim in that stuff. Funny, right?” She laughed. “You can join them, if you want. I wouldn’t though. Crazy losers haven’t even told me how great their drink was.”

“Don’t you just have tea parties?” She asked. Her legs shaking from all the horrific sights of dead people.

“Oh dear. Tea parties? Of course. I always share some tea with them. But like I said, they don’t come out…” she sounded more serious.

“Can I have a cup of tea, then?” She bravely asked the stranger.

“Sleepy. They are so sleepy.” She nodded. “Tea isn’t really an option. Sap or nothing. There is jam, but it’s not the kind of jam you would love.”

“Forget it, then. Forget I asked.” She rudely interrupted.

The stranger crept behind the little girl and tried to cut her free from the glue and slime attached to her body. She used her teeth to gnaw on the things bounding the little girl. She was free within seconds, but the stranger didn’t let her just walk away. Leaving the thickest string of sap to hold her legs to the railway still intact. The little girl had no knowledge on what the stranger had done, her arms were free. Her legs were also free and she could move in motion again. As she tried to walk forward, she tripped on a section of the railway. Falling onto the splintered wooden planks. The stranger giggled and thought pain was hilarious to view. Perfect for entertainment, she had thought to herself.

“I can’t just let you go. You’ll miss the train…” she whispered in a cold blooded tone. “You can hate me all you want. But I don’t care. Why? Because the shadow man loves to see someone suffer. I never knew, never knew that someone would love to see pain so much.”

Her voice sounded different but the little girl tried to snap her out of it. “Wake up!” She screamed.

“Who-what? Sorry, I-I didn’t know.” She slapped herself. “The train is important. I’m not letting you go, no way.”

“Please. I just want to speak to the Top Hat Man.” She finally revealed her true motives.

“Ah, finally. You give me reason to let you go.” She gasped, as she looked quite surprised at the little girl. “Whatever he wants with you. I’ll never know. The shadow man, he’ll hurt you more than you could imagine. You might find yourself buried in sand.”

“That sounds gross. Is that really what’s going to happen to me? Why does he hate me?” She felt hurt. Her mind felt dizzy.

“The shadow man has reasons. This whole room is just my home. Okay?” She growled.

“But… why the dead bodies?”

“Aha, I knew you’d ask me that. Why are you asking me so many questions?!” She shouted. Her voice echoed the room. “They are here because they’re having fun. It’s the kind of fun that we little girls enjoy.”

“I don’t enjoy it. It looks horrible.” She cried.

“Sickening. Yes. But they all deserve to rest here. The shadow man made it pretty clear, you know.”

“I don’t want to meet this shadow man…” she whispered.

“Oh dear. You’ve met him already, most likely. He is very different, very strange. Doesn’t have much eye contact with his guests. But he always loves to speak to us. We are the others’ and he loves us so much! Everyone waiting for the train, they all want to meet him. I’d meet him too. But my train came early…”

The little girl looked up at the celling and could see even more skeletons hanging from the edges of the walls. Some of them crumbling into dust as they spoke to each-other. The floor rumbled, and the sound of a train coming towards her rattled her brain. The stranger kneeled beside her and spoke about what she knows about the world they live in. She whispered in a very cold tone. She sounded quite serious but at the same time, completely mental. The little girl chose to listen but still wanted to break free from the tracks below.

The stranger kneeled lower and sat patiently with a box that she had picked up from under a dug out spot. She blew off the dust and held it out towards the little girl’s eyes. She looked stunned to see such a box, a golden, glitter box. It looked beautiful but at the same time, horrific. The other little girl handed her a golden key and smiled creepily.

Ring Ring Ring the sound of a phone interrupted them.

Ring Ring Ring the little girl saw where the sound was coming from. It was a phone sitting on a dusty desk. Above the phone; half of the celling was crumbling away as if time had slowed down. The floor rumbled, breaking away any footprints that were left behind by others. As the ground rumbled more furiously, and managed to break away the floorboards from the corners of the room. Thick layers of sand mixed into the sap, and pushed all the bodies rotting away on wooden chairs, into the right-side of the room. The sand buried half the bodies for the stranger.

The little girl’s hearing became impossible to hear anything. Her ear drums echoed with screeching and people screaming in pain.

“Do you have a problem?” A quiet voice rang through her ears.

She nodded with hesitation eating at her. “Y-yes, I want to get out here.”

“That’s not really a problem…” the voice paused. “Do you have a problem?” The figure got closer, as the voice sounded clearer.

“Stop with the shadows and the strange voices!” She screamed. “Reveal yourself!”

“…no way, how do I know I can trust you?” The voice replied.

“I don’t know. Just… trust you instinct. I’m here, aren’t I? I’m a girl too. And you sound familiar—“

As her hearing returned. She could hear the voice more clearly. Perfect pitch, she had thought. As the girl got closer, the sound of a train rang her eardrums, yet again.

“What is your name?” She asked, feeling cautious about who she spoke to.

“M-my name?” The little girl gasped. “That’s funny, I don’t remember you telling me your name.”

She nodded. “Yes, I know. Lighten up, will ya. I thought you, could trust me.”

“Trust? No way. Your memory is dying, baby.” She laughed. “One more string remains, it breaks and you’re free to go. Spread your wings and fly away from here…”

“You know what… forget I asked.” She rudely interrupted.

“Okay… how about I tell you my nickname. That way, I don’t have to hear you scream my name as a monster.”

The little girl tried to put her hands on the stranger’s face. Wanting to feel another human for the sake of her humanity.

“Do you mind? Person space!” She laughed, pushing away the little girl’s hands.

The stranger pulled out a sharp knife from under her tiger-coat. She revealed it to the little girl and smiled as she rubbed her finger down the edge of the knife. The little girl gasped, wanting to scream but couldn’t. Too afraid of the stranger’s behaviour. Another little girl acting like an adult, it was too weird to even witness such a thing. The stranger moved the knife’s blade to her arm, and scratched off a thin layer of skin. Underneath the thin layer was the words: Sleepy-head, it’s all about to go to bed. The little girl cried out tears and tried to break free, putting full strength and forced into every grip around the glue-like string.

“Sleepy head. That’s my nickname. I don’t know how I got it…” she dropped the knife, ignoring the wound as if it was just a flesh wound.

“H-how old are you?” The little asked out of fear.

“I don’t know. Good question. I feel young, but I can’t be for sure. Look at me!” She roared.

The little girl looked up at her. “Sleepy head. Nice name. Do you know my name?” She tried to smile back.

“Ha, ha. No way, I don’t invade on private spaces.” She joked. “I’m all about the fantasy behind stuff, you know like; ‘what’s behind closed doors?’”

“Not a clue. I just remember a dark-shadow thing. It was like some kind of man screeching at me.”

“No idea what you’re talking about, your memory is really hurt.” She smirked.

“So… you know my name. Surely, you can’t expect Sleepy head to just let you walk away. No, no, no. A train is faster, you’ll make it on time. There is one thing that could go wrong. You could splatter all across the dark tunnels. And… the shadow man really likes that.”

“But… what does Sleepy head like?” She tried to be clever.

“Sleepy head? Oh, she likes all sorts, really.” She pointed towards a broken wall. “That’s where she was born. Funny, right?”

“No. I don’t understand. But what would you enjoy, the splattering of me or the walking away freely part?” She begged.

“Oh, Sleepy head—I’d like to see you walk away. But I can’t just, Sleepy head doesn’t like fly-by visits.” She whispered. “I’m a sick freaking child!” She screeched.

“Calm down… okay?” The little girl tried to stay calm.

“Sleepy head doesn’t know you. I’ll let you go, how about that?” She cried out of control. “Just run—no, you stay here, baby. You don’t just run away from me. Nobody leaves Sleepy head to die…”

The little girl was even more afraid of Sleepy head. All the strange changes to her posture and her expressions. It was all too much for her.

“…when you get out of here. Call for help. Tell them that I’m trapped. I hate it here!” She sobbed. “Sleepy head enjoys flesh. I love eating the food he gives us. Everything that makes me… hungry. All of them drowning in our sap, it’s beautiful, so beautiful watch. The fires in trees, they just timber down. And then… we have supper. And of course we have each-other. Always sharing the meat with the others’ but they always come back for more.”

“Okay… okay… I’ll call for help!” She cried in panic.

Sleepy head screamed from the top of her lungs. Her teeth shine the pathway for the little girl but she couldn’t break free.

“I thought you were letting me go?” She whispered.

“Oh right… run, run away!” She spoke in a raspy voice. “When you get away from Sleepy head, you will be put back in your bed.” It screeched.

Sleepy head used the knife beside her and tried to stab herself to avoid the pain and suffering of the little girl. Before she could even make such a suicidal attempt, the little girl panicked and picked up the knife beside her. Quickly and uneasily cutting at the sappy strings tied around her legs. She panted and managed to rip off the strings. Feeling free once again, she screamed with happiness. But in fear, she was more afraid of the world than ever before. Not knowing that she had just saved an innocent little girl named Sleepy head. She also managed to save herself.

“You should have let me done it… why are you so mean?!” She screamed in the distance, as the little girl ran into darkness.

“The shadow man will be pleased that you failed, and then he’ll slurp down and rip you apart… limb by limb, your soul is worthless.”

The little girl cried in the darkness and ignored the voice, trying to stay quiet so she couldn’t be found in the thick dark fog. She trembled with her arms around her knees, cuddling against the invisible wall and panting more and more with every sound of Sleepy head making a noise. She was more upset for not helping the little girl. Sleepy head wasn’t just a monster but still had something good inside of her.

“Why don’t you rest, baby. You can always make a difference. Sleep in your bed. If you love the lights, let them gleam. I tried to make you feel happy. So… why are you always running away from me?!” It screeched.

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