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OnlyTheGhosts' Stories of the Sexy and Fantastic
OnlyTheGhosts' Stories of the Sexy and Fantastic
Hi there to the world! I’m here to write hot stories, mostly fantasy/science-fiction. Stories of mystery, drama, and passion. Stories featuring nubile maidens, flawed heroes, and nefarious acts of villainy, set in worlds both wondrous and alive…. About me: I live in Japan in the Kansai region but in the countryside close to forested mountains and near Japan's largest freshwater lake. I have written many stories under other names. Sometimes as a guy. Sometimes as a girl. A few years ago, I started using the name OnlyTheGhosts for all of my artistic endeavours.
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OnlyTheGhosts' Stories of the Sexy and Fantastic

The Awakening: Book One

Glimmer in the Dark

Shine Malloy is a teenage girl who wants to experience joyful and wonderful mysteries in her life. She wants to live in a world in which superheroes could really exist among us. She's forgotten that could mean there are supervillains hiding among humanity as well.

Glimmer in the Dark will be the 1st novel of a series "The Awakening", starting in late September 2019

Parts uploaded so far;

             Aftermath of a Visit
             Just A Girl

             A Manhunt
             When She Shines
             Fevered Nightmares
             A Ritual

Part 3 Mondays at the Malloys
           Why Can He Always? (Part-1)

Part 4 Unseen She Sees
           Homework on Mondays
           Why Can He Always (Part-2)
           Study, Study, Study

Part 5 Unintentional It Was
          Colourful Business
          Betting on Weird

Part 6  Naughty Chocolate Muesli Bar
           (longer than usual, 11,000+ words)

Part 7  The Memorable Miss Ling
           (longer than usual, 12,000+ words)

Introduction to the Story

The story is set on a world where history went a familiar yet slightly divergent path from ours, an echo of what could have been yet not so different. The names of nations aren't quite the same, their cultures vary a little bit from what happened in our history. There's an American Union rather than a US-of-A, and it's on the verge of collapse from familiar economic and political issues. Red China never fully embraced capitalism and the the Indochina War (Vietnam War) ended in scandals about the lies used to trick Americans and Australians into fighting it. World War Two lasted longer, and the Pacific War started a couple of years later than it did on our world. There are other corporation names that are popularly known, and some of the celebrities you know aren't famous for the same deeds.

The novel's events mostly take place in that world's version of Australia, in the small city of Tearmann, population roughly a million. Australia in 2027 A.D. in that world's history encouraged more immigration with corporate sponsorship for workers, resulting in a population of over 40 million. Feminism was beaten in the ideology competition back in the 1970s, by Neo-Humanism which over decades since has dominated government policies and the media. The Neo-Humanists have brought equally as much change as socialism and feminism did in our world, in a different direction and with differing goals.

The story begins several years after a nuclear terrorist attack devastated San Francisco and a few years after the North Atlantic Bloc lost a major war in Central Asia. The future isn't inspiring of optimism to teenagers like Shine Malloy and her friends. They struggle with the problems of high school cliques, teachers that seem too strict, and parents whose motives can sometimes be unfathomable. To Shine Malloy, not yet sixteen years old at the start of the story, all of those news reports of wars and politics aren't relevant to her. Likewise, of what importance could a high school girl possibly be to the rest of the world? She's just a normal girl. She wished that wasn't true, but that's what life has given her. Still... she can dream and hope. At least for less disturbing dreams than those which she's seen lately at night. Dark dreams that wake her up sometimes hot and panting. Frightening dreams. Ominous dreams that confuse Shine about her own sexuality and also fill her with a terrifying sense of looming evil.

Genres: Coming of Age, Superhero, Erotic Horror, Alternative World, Near-Future, Supernatural

The story also includes: male & female dominant, male/female, female/female,  mind control eroticism.

There will be occasional artwork. I'm a writer who can draw and paint too.

Part-1 and Part-2 of each book are free for all to read, monthly $2 subscription gives access for reading all of the story from Part-3 onward. I plan for each book to resemble the style of old classic pulp novels and magazines in that there will be occasional illustrations for at least a dozen important scenes during a story, mostly in black and white.

Part-1 , Part-2 have been uploaded already and are visible to everyone
Part-3 and Part-4 and Part-5 and Part-6 and Part-7 have been uploaded but are for subscribers only

Dedicated my memories of Lovelynice  - wherever she may be. (I know, but I won't say a thing)

Others who inspired me and helped my imagination soar and in no particular order; StephE2006, slavetomydesire, kongming, catcollection, JennyDreams, Fujiko, TentacleMonster, Sprocket, ... honestly more than I can name - they were all members of the AdultAnimeRoleplay forums.

Thanks also to a very special fan, Eve Simpson. (Sorry, Google hates me and closed down my access to my Gmail account)

Why I use the handle OnlyTheGhosts

The following Author's note applies to all of my stories: These stories can be sexually explicit, may have violence, horror, and controversial ideas. These stories aren't suitable for minors. If you can’t accept the concepts in these stories, or are offended by them, or lack the mental maturity to be polite in your comments to me about these stories - then stop reading immediately. Nobody is forcing you to read what I write, so if you don't like the story, then go elsewhere. These stories are works of fiction, and all characters are based on ones created in the author's mind.


Q: Why $2? 
A: Most of it is to cover the fees and currency exchange rates into Japanese Yen. I'll be lucky to see $1 out of each subscription.

Q: How long will the story be?
A: I'm planning for a few hundred thousand words long. Maybe 350,000 to 500,000 words.

Q: How frequently will there be uploaded new parts of the story?
A: The 1st Part took me over 2 months, recently I've completed the past 3 story parts each faster. Part 4 took 1 month, Part 5 needed 3 weeks.  I'll gradually be getting faster as I get back to my old writing speed.

Q: How long is each Part compared to novel chapters?
A: Novel chapters usually seem to be about 3,000 to 5,000 words, my story Parts are 7,000 to 10,000 words each; so roughly double the length.

You can also follow my activities and plans for the story on

The Awakening: An Erotic Horror Novel series

The above blog has additional notes for the setting background, maps of locations that appear in the novels, and my thoughts regarding writing of these stories.


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This is the cheapest tier. Subscribers can read the stories but don't see the occasional artwork. It's the cheapest I can go and still have a little money coming in.

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For $3 a month, the subscriber can read the stories and also see the occasional artwork related to the stories.

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  • Part-1 and Part-2 of each book are free for all to read, monthly $2 subscription gives access for reading all of the story from Part-3 onwards. Those subscribers who pay for $3 Standard Tier can see the occasional artwork. The “Low Tier” only see the story, but not the artwork. I plan for each book to resemble the style of the old classic pulp novels and magazines in that there will be illustrations for at least a dozen important scenes, mostly in black and white. There will be at least one large colour scene per book for possible cover art or to illustrate a particularly important chapter. *** Each long term subscriber that stays onboard for at least 6 months – and is still subscribed when a book is completed - can download the final PDF version of a book without any extra cost. This PDF will include all the illustrations uploaded for that book and the final version of the colour cover-art. *** If a subscriber is named by at least 3 (or more) other new subscribers in a single month as having been the person who recommended my stories, then I’ll give that person a choice of 3 options; (A) Suggest a short scene to be included in the final version of a completed book. This scene can occur at any point in the story as long as it doesn’t upset the plot or change the overall storyline. (B) Suggest the name of a place to be included in the final version of a completed book. This place will be mentioned in the background of a related scene. (C) Suggest the introduction of a minor “named” character who is added to an already written appropriate single scene to be included in the final version of a completed book.

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OnlyTheGhosts' Stories of the Sexy and Fantastic

Glimmer in the DarkPart 7The Memorable Miss Ling

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Glimmer in the Dark Part 3 Mondays at the MalloysIn the pre-dawn gloom, the shadowy figure of Mrs...

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Glimmer in the Dark
Part 2
A Manhunt

 “...with what was collated from one-point-eight million documents and evidence. Police forces in South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales were of the belief that they were seeking at least four separate individuals until the genetic analysis was revealed to be consistent with one offender in a minimum of twenty-five of the crime scenes. That’s out of the forty similar attacks we have identified thus far.”

Standing at a dark blue plastic lectern in the largest room in Churchill police station, Superintendent Hogan was speaking to over a hundred and twenty of the Tearmann Metropolitan Police’s finest. The large room they were in seemed insufficient in size to accommodate them all. About one hundred men and women were seated on black folding chairs, but the rest had to stand against the walls at the sides or at the back. Most were in uniform, but also many were in the business suits favoured by detectives and experts. Hogan was a tall, sturdily-built man in his late fifties with wisps of grey hairs at the sides of his balding pate. He wore thin-framed spectacles which gave the impression of a scholarly mindset, yet his eyes were steely hard.

 “We have begun to glean a fairly probable profile of the offender. His modus operandi is complex, he’s of exceptionally high intelligence, and he’s brazen in carrying out his attacks. From the information given by those victims who survived his attacks, we have a consistent outline. His accent and style of vocabulary is consistent, aspects of his appearance are consistent.”

Manila folders were still being passed around as the Superintendent spoke.
 “For the period of July twenty-twenty-six to the end of November twenty-twenty-six, we can confirm thirteen homicides and twenty-four female victims of sustained sexual assaults by an offender with consistent genetic results.”

There was a susurrus of low voices expressing surprise at the high number. 
 “Before becoming members of this task force, all of you were required to sign contractual obligations to maintain secrecy...”, Hogan said, “None of what you hear or read or see next is to be shared with your fellow officers outside of this task force, nor to anyone else. We can’t risk wild rumours, nor the circulation of wild theories, nor do we want to cause panic among the general public. I especially don’t want the target of this investigation to get wind of how much we know or don’t know...”

Hogan paused, as if needing some time to mentally prepare himself for what he was about to say next. The pause dragged on, overlong, as his eyes looked at each of their faces. Soon after he went on with an expression of dislike for the implications of what he had to tell them.

Afterwards, in the task force’s cafétaria, a great many of the police officers gathered to relax, to get to know each other better, and to talk perhaps about what they had to do. The small round tables scattered semi-randomly about the room were of the foldable kind, with creamy plastic tops, and a pair of square frames of black steel pipe as legs. The cheap-looking tables were each surrounded by seated men and women on the same model of black folding chairs that had filled the meeting room. Discussions were voiced low, there wasn’t much laughter. One very solidly-built man with thuggish heavy-boned features and crew-cut black hair was sitting alone near the line-up of vending machines that were against a wall. He perused the contents of the thick folder he’d been handed during the meeting, reading again and sometimes using a red pen to jot down notes in the margins of pages. His navy-blue business suit was loose-fitting, it’s dark shade making his light-blue and white striped necktie stand out all the more.
A tall lanky shadow blocked some of the light. 

“Are you Detective Sergeant Topper?”

The seated man glanced up with one of his heavy eyebrows raised quizzically. He saw the young man was wearing a light grey jacket, trousers, with white shirt and a green-striped necktie. 

“Yeah, that’s me, at a guess you’re… ah…”

“D.C. Kane, sir”, the young man told him.

“Egg-zactly! Detective Constable Jaysen Kane, formerly of Fairy Gully’s homicide squad”, Topper said as he closed the thick folder and stood up. Kane still towered over him in height, but Topper was far more muscular and stoutly built than the younger man. The two of them shook hands briefly.

“You're my bagman then”, Topper added, “Good.”

“Bagman?” Kane repeated.

“Jargon I heard in an old television series, seemed appropriate”, Topper responded, “Any how and all that, it’s hot here, it’s hot outside, but in a car that’s moving it won’t feel quite so hot. Let’s get going then.”

“Huh, where to, sir?”

“Your old stomping grounds, Kane… Fairy Gully... there’s a possible case from the fourth of August last year, two female adult victims, both survived. We’ll be going with Yamamura… She’s got a talent for interviews.”

* * *

As events came about, the three detectives, Topper, Kane, and Yamamura, had to travel from one end of the city to the other and back when trying to track down the two female victims. They eventually came to the eastern Tearmann seaside suburb of Nobby’s End. Kane was driving their unmarked police car, a Tucker Visucius sedan painted in dark metallic green, as they turned off the major thoroughfare of Paternoster Road into the smaller Jacaranda Street. 

“Posh suburb, what was that street address again?”, Kane asked.

“Eh… Hang on”, Detective Constable Yamamura said, her pretty Asian features making her appear more youthful still. She looked down at her notebook, but Topper was quicker.

“Sixteen on Jubilee Drive”, Topper told them, “It’ll be close to the T-intersection at the end of this street, and on the seaward side”.

“That’s... I can’t find even an aerial shot ...”, Yamamura commented while looking at her phone, “The suburb’s not that new is it?”

“You won’t find it on the InfoWeb that easily”, Topper replied, “A few V.I.P.s pay extra for their privacy around here… So no public aerial photography on Findal Maps... You’ll need to search on the T.M.P. database.”

The houses were mostly new, very modern designs, two-storeys high for the most part, with well maintained front yard gardens and two-car garages. Upper middle-class, yet not exceptionally wealthy, just nicely well-to-do. The suburb was on a headland with a gradual slope that rose between North Beach and Long Beach, with the larger inland suburb of Rosedale to the west. 

The unmarked police car came to the end of Jacaranda Street where it met with Jubilee Drive. As Topper had described so accurately, number sixteen was close to the T-intersection, almost directly across from Jacaranda Street. The house was two-storeys high, in a very modern yet Spartan cubist design, with paled turquoise (almost off-white) walls and a dark-blue tiled roof.

As Kane drove the car to park on the street in front of the house (rather than block the driveway), a neighbouring house’s front door opened. By the time Kane turned-off the engine, the neighbour, a burly bearded blonde-haired man wearing blue denim shorts and red T-shirt, was out in his garden picking up a rolled newspaper. The bearded man looked curiously at the car and watched as the three detectives got out.
“Scorcher today!”, the big man said in greeting.

“G’day, yeah, it’s like an oven… Would you know if Mister and Missus Malloy are at home today?”, Kane asked him.

“That they are, mate, just a wild guess, you’re cops, right?”, the man answered, scratching at his blonde wild beard.

Topper showed his badge though not approaching any closer.

“Okey-dokey, worried for a moment you could be carpetbaggers or journalists, both equally unwanted”, the man replied.

“Not missionaries then?”, Topper commented.

“Nah, mate, they’re either always in pairs or they’re with the Children of the Glorious Light”, the man said.

“Ah, anyway, we have to get back to work.”

“And on a Sunday too”, the man said, “See you around like a rissole”, as he turned and headed back towards his house.

The three detectives walked up the path to number sixteen. Kane rang the doorbell, while Yamamura was admiring the colourful flowers in the front garden. There was a rapid thudding of steps inside, and the door opened, revealing a smallish teenage girl with long dark brown – almost black – hair, wearing a yellow T-shirt had a big picture of a stylised cartoon earless brown and white hamster-critter with lettering on the T-shirt below this saying “Maru-chan”. Her pastel orange shorts were loose in a jogger’s style, with daringly high sides.

Topper was taken aback by how pretty and doll-like the girl looked. She wasn’t much taller than a ten-year-old boy would be, granted that she had to be in her teens otherwise. She stared at him and Kane and Yamamura for slightly too long, but said nothing.

“Good afternoon, I’m Detective Sergeant Topper”, Topper said, since the girl gave the impression of being reluctant to even speak.

“Uh… Okay...”, Shine responded.

“Are your parents home?”, Topper asked.

“Yes”, the teenage girl said, and closed the door.

Topper stood there, surprised.

“She’s the chatty type”, Kane commented.

“I think that she’s the younger sister, but I wouldn’t have guessed her to be nearly sixteen”, Yamamura said, “Beautiful girl.”

The door opened again, this time there was a woman in her thirties by appearance, but Topper knew she was a decade older than she looked. She also was rather small in height, her fair-skinned fine features hinted of mixed Caucasian and Eastern Oriental ancestry. Her dark-brown hair was tied back in a pony-tail, and she wore a summery-thin dark-blue dress that hung to knee-length. Her figure was very curvy, and the dress didn’t hide the curves.

“My apologies about the wait”, she said, “My daughter mentioned that you’re police officers… could I see identification please?”

All three detectives in turn showed their badges, and Topper introduced them.
“Good afternoon, Missus Malloy”, Topper told her, “We’re with the Tearmann Metropolitan Police, I’m Detective Sergeant Topper, this is Detective Constable Kane, and Detective Constable Yamamura.”

“What can I help you with, Detective... Sergeant... Topper?”, Mrs Malloy asked.

“We’re making enquiries regarding a case from August last year, and would like to interview your older daughter, Jolene... Ichigo... Malloy”, Topper answered.

“Oh? August? She’s not in trouble then?”, Mrs Malloy asked.

Topper shook his head. “No, nothing like that… We’re hoping that maybe she give us a clue or two to catch the offender… The subject could be sensitive, which is why Detective Constable Yamamura will be conducting the interview”, Topper explained.

“I’ll ask her to come downstairs, but please do come in”, Mrs Malloy said with a nod, then turned and led the way in.

The three detectives followed the petite woman inside, Yamamura closing the house’s front door. The house was slightly cooler than outside, the glare of the sun less bright, yet in other respects the place was naturally well-lit. The tall glass windows at either end of the long central hallway went all the way to the ceiling of the second storey allowing in plenty of natural light. Also there were mirrors on the wall adjacent to the staircase that went up to the second floor. Pastel sky-blue walls and very pale blue carpet helped further to reflect diffused light within the house.

Mrs Malloy ushered the two men and one woman to the dining area between the kitchen and living room area at the back of the house. Glass doors all along the back allowed a nice view of the greenery of the backyard and the nearby patios just outside. A couple of the glass doors were open wide, inviting a cooling sea breeze. Topper could hear the distant roar and thunder of waves crashing against the cliffs of the headland.
“You may as well sit while I’ll fetch Jolene”, Mrs Malloy said.

She exited the room and walked back to the hallway. Topper glanced to see where she was heading and soon after looked around with only his eyes as he sat down on a chair at the dining table. The other two police detectives followed suit. Everyone was perspiring, but the cooler sea breezes blowing through the open doors were a welcome relief.

“Sometimes I miss air-conditioning, but this isn’t so bad… Nice house too”, Topper commented, as he wiped his brow with a handkerchief.

“Environmental laws”, Yamamura said.

“Yeah, those… Only hospitals and a few other priority locations allowed to have it now”, Topper replied, “Unless you’re exceptionally rich. We had air-conditioned police stations in the old days.”

“Which state were you with?”, Yamamura asked.

“New South Wales, like most of the T.M.P. seniors”, Topper answered, “I resigned years before the financial crisis and the forced reductions in the civil service, went private until the T.M.P. started recruiting.”

“Private eye?”, Kane asked.

“… and security consultant, not quite a Claytons”, Topper said.

“Good afternoon!”, a gravelly male voice called from the hallway.

The detectives turned their heads to look, and saw a large, broad-shouldered man in a wheelchair approaching. He was balding, with mere white wisps of hair on his eyebrows. He wore a loose black shirt and black trousers, with the collar of the shirt opened to the third button, revealing a bit of scarring on his chest.

“Don’t bother to get up, as I don’t intend to”, the man said, hands waving to indicate the wheelchair he was sitting in, “I’m Jolene’s father, you already met my wife and other daughter.”

“Apologies for the intrusion, Mister Malloy”, Topper said, “We’re hoping that your daughter, Jolene, will agree to be interviewed by Detective Constable Yamamura, although the choice is hers.”

“She’s old enough to decide for herself, but as her father, I’m curious how she could be involved in any criminal case”, Mr Malloy replied.

“Only as a witness, I assure you, I’m following a hunch that the same offender in other cases may have been seen by her…”, Topper explained, “But I could be mistaken too.”
Mr Malloy nodded once in understanding.

“Ah, here she comes”, Mr Malloy said, as a young woman of university age walked in from the hallway accompanied by her mother.

Topper guessed the older daughter was slightly taller than the mother, slimmer, regardless of this she was even more curvaceous and equally as busty. Her dark brown hair appeared much longer too, and was faded at the ends. She was wearing a white cotton ‘beach-dress’ oversized T-shirt and stone-bleached denim miniskirt. Over all of which was a semi-translucent white muslin dressing gown. She was barefoot otherwise, and hadn’t put any cosmetics on.

The three detectives stood up. Even Yamamura was taller by a score of centimetres than the older daughter or the mother. Kane was like a beanstalk towering over everyone in height.

“Sorry to arrive unannounced”, Topper said and again introduced himself and the other two detectives, “I’m Detective Sergeant Topper, this is Detective Constable Kane, and Detective Constable Yamamura… of the Tearmann Metropolitan Police. We’re from the Churchill Police Station, and assigned to a recently constituted task force established to catch a particularly dangerous offender. We are hoping, Miss Malloy, that you can help us with our enquiries again regarding the incident of August last year.”

The young woman’s face paled, soon as that blushed, and her expression was difficult for Topper to read. He assumed her experience must have been intensely traumatic and confusing. Taking a gentler tone, he indicated Yamamura with his left hand, and sat down again. Signalling to Kane to sit too.

Yamamura spoke in a kinder voice, “We’re not asking that you talk to all three of us, perhaps you can talk to me alone if that would be more comfortable for you?”

Jolene nodded her assent, “Yes, maybe… It’s very difficult to talk about… Um… Is it okay if we talk upstairs in my bedroom? It’s more private.”

Her parents glanced at each other, and the father shrugged. 

Topper expected a similar situation, so he said, “Yes, good idea, Detective Constable Yamamura will need to record the interview but that’s fine. Take all the time you need.”
“Okay then”, Yamamura said, “Let’s go and get this over with.”

Together, Detective Constable Yamamura and Jolene walked out and down the hallway. Topper watched a bit, seeing the two young women start going up the stairs that were near the front door. He shrugged and tried to appear relaxed.

“Would you like something to drink?”, Mrs Malloy asked, “Perhaps some fruit juice with ice?”

* * *

It was nearly two hours later when Detective Constable Yamamura returned, alone. Her face was unusually pale, and she moved as if extremely fatigued. She kept clenching and unclenching her hands, paused a few seconds before speaking, following that, brushed back her perspiration-soaked black hair.

“Got it”, was all she said.

Topper stood up, and waved Kane along besides too.

“We don’t wish to bother your family any further, Mister Malloy, Missus Malloy”, he bowed his head to them, “Or waste any more of your Sunday afternoon… Thank you very much for the fruit juice. It’s been a scorcher of day, but we still have a lot of work to get done.”

“Oh, that’s fine, you do what you can”, Mr Malloy said, “Good luck in catching the bad guy.”

“Thank you, sir”, Kane answered.

The three police detectives didn’t speak any further on what they were investigating or hint a thing about the case even to each other until they were out of the house. As Kane started the engine, Topper heard thumping from the seat behind him. He looked back to see what the noise was. The pretty Asian woman in the back seat was in a very unfeminine manner hitting the rear passenger side door.

“That tough, huh?”, Topper commented.

Detective Constable Yamamura stopped hitting the innocent door, and rubbed her face with both hands.

“Excuse me, yeah, and it has to be same offender, sir”, Yamamura told them, “Operatic clothes, purple and black, same modus operandi… called himself by the same name, as if he’s taunting the police.”

“He wants fame, which is why we avoid giving him any and there’s a gag order on the media about that name”, Topper said.

“Already getting out on the InfoWeb”, Kane commented.

“Other agencies are trying their best to slow that down”, Topper said and a moment later turned to ask Yamamura, “Did you get a chance to ascertain Jolene Malloy’s appearance before and after, like I asked?”

Yamamura gave a quick nod, “Yes, sir, she had photos on her phone… as if she had professional cosmetic surgery yet the time-stamps are too close together.”

“What do you mean?”

“Only hours apart...”, Yamamura explained, “...not enough time for the extent of the surgery and far less than needed for recovery… Plus the time-stamp files on her phone were contradictory to each other.”

“That’s consistent with some of the other cases”, Topper said, “The means or devices used are unknown.” 

“Any suggestion of why the offender let her and her friend to live?”, Kane asked while he was driving.

“She didn’t know either”, Yamamura answered, “She did confirm the offender never applied any anaesthetics… She thankfully passed out at times during the assault but couldn’t say for how long.”

* * *

When She Shines

Shine was usually reticent about speaking much. She worried about saying the wrong thing, whether in front of strangers or even in front her family. Especially in front of her father. He just was somehow… intimidating. At least to Shine.

She wasn’t the most assured person in the world in front of strangers either, and became more reluctant to talk when she didn’t know what people might think of her. So, Shine’s outlets for expressing herself as she truly felt were limited. She could open up with her friends. Her closer friends at least. She could also talk about things when there was a layer of being semi-anonymous, and that led to a particular hobby she indulged in on weekends now and again.

Generally two or three Sundays in every month, Shine uploaded videos to an InfoWeb site called V-chan. The site had become popular in recent years among conspiracy fans, those people who loved videos of car crashes, funny accidents, animals doing weird things, upskirts, and occasionally major news events live-as-they-happened. Layers of encryption and anonymity hid the geographical locations of both visitors and site members. Shine had been a member for nearly four years, since starting high school. It was also her main source of pocket money uncontrolled by her parents.

In her bedroom, Shine had set-up video cameras connected to her home computer to cover three angles. One camera was in the ceiling corner opposite her bedroom door. Another camera was on a tripod that could be moved around the room. Also there was a small camera on top of her home computer’s screen. The teenage girl sat down at the desk beside her bed, following that used the guide-ball to click on the icon which started the video software.

Over the next few minutes, Shine adjusted settings on the video software’s interface. After which she checked the camera view angles. When satisfied, Shine got her cosmetics bag, took out a few items of her make-up which she placed carefully on her desk. She brushed her hair but didn’t apply any of the make-up, instead she merely applied a skin lotion to her face, following that massaged her face for awhile, mostly pushing upwards. She double-checked her appearance using the camera on the computer and looking at her image on the screen.

“Okay… Here we go”, she said sotto voce to herself, as she clicked on ‘record’.

“Hi everyone! I’m the Seppo Sheila. Welcome to my Vee-chan station.”

She closed her eyes and danced for awhile without getting up from the chair, keeping to a familiar beat. Shine would add the music to the video afterwards in editing. When she finished her short dance sequence, Shine opened her eyes again and continued speaking.

“For those of you who are new to my station, I’m not Australian, my family moved here… migrated… to Australia after the nuclear terrorist bombing of San Francisco. We used to live in the state of Nebraska in the American Union, but my father was in San Francisco on a business trip when the attack happened. He was one of the survivors.
“Okey-dokey as they say in Australia, it’s been a fortnight since my previous video. From last week, I’m back to the miserable excitements of school. Now I’m in fourth form of high school, which used to be called tenth year… regardless the school administration reverted to the older British name two years ago. Anyway, it’s the final year of junior high here although the teachers say we have to act like seniors… while the seniors still treat us as juniors.

“Again, this year, I’m the shortest girl in all the classes of my year… so….”

Shine bent down to pick-up something from the floor next to her desk. She sat back up and placed a pair of high-heeled pumps on the desk in front of the camera’s view. The shoes had thick platforms of orange-brown cork and the angle forced on the feet was very steep. The leather straps were maroon in colour.

“So… Now the teachers tell me that I must, I repeat must, wear these crazy shoes at school! Thanks, Neo-Humanism, for more silly bugger rules than last year. Two other girls in my year, the fourth form, are required to wear high-heeled pumps in school that are a really high. Mine are on the only pair with platforms too… Yeah, because I’m the smallest and shortest.

“There’s a boy in my year who is forced to wear shoes with high-heels too, because he’s the shortest boy in the year.”

Shine lifted one of her platform high-heeled pumps as she continued, “Ah… I hate Neo-Humanists!”, she afterwards sighed before putting both shoes back on the floor.
“Now onto happier stuff, today I’ll demonstrate a trick or two for make-up that I learnt from watching Nipponese videos from the nineties. The results are pretty but kinda subtle….”

* * *

Fevered Nightmares 

Later that night, after finishing the editing, and having dinner, Shine went through her usual routines. She uploaded the video to her V-chan account but didn’t wait to see the responses. She wrote a brief synopsis of the day’s events in her journal, had another shower as it was summer, thence went to bed wearing only a white T-shirt and panties. Her sleep though was not so uneventful nor routine. In the summer heat of the night, she pushed the top sheet aside while turning over. She whimpered and occasionally spoke in a tiny sweet voice that was almost childish as she dreamt.

“...why is there a bear in the house again? Are there bears in Australia?… Mama, why is there a bear in the house?”

 Shine was standing in the kitchen and looking towards the wide-screen television in the living room area. There was a big white paper sheet stuck to the screen with red sticky tape. The sheet of paper was lopsided, and on it was printed “COLIN’S VIDEO” in big red capitals.

There was a teenage boy, about her age, sitting on the floor in front of the television. His light-brown hair was cut very short, as it always was, and he was slumping lazily as he sat cross-legged on the floor. He was wearing blue jeans, and a light-blue T-shirt.

Shine greeted him in bewilderment, “Colin? Why are you here this time of the morning?”

He turned and looked at Shine, his eyes blurry behind the aviator-style glasses that he always wore. When Colin turned, she could see that his T-shirt had a picture of a fifties-style flying saucer above an alien red landscape with a green sky.

“Good morning, Esses, you should watch this video!”, he told her.

A black cat suddenly leapt onto the back of the sofa, padded along, and turned to face Shine. Shine knew that they had no pets but here was this cat which was strangely familiar. The cat meowed at her, “Noooo… Noooo…. Noooo…” in a high-pitched feline voice.
Mama walked in while Shine was still wondering if she’d really heard a cat talking to her or not. Mama’s breasts inside the dress she wore appeared very big. Way bigger than normal, and they bounced a lot.

“Good morning, Shine, after the bear finishes eating, can you help clean up please?”, Mama asked her.

“What bear?”, Shine responded before noticing there was a big grey bear on top of the dining table.

The big bear was eating bread buns which he dipped into a jar of honey. He was a very messy eater. Breadcrumbs and honey dripped everywhere. Mama strolled over to the kitchen, picked up a mop to start wiping the floor around the bear.

Shine asked, “Why is there a bear in the house again? Are there bears in Australia?… Mama, why is there a bear in the house?”

The black cat jumped up on to the top of the dining table, and started licking some of the mess of dripped honey. The grey bear ignored the small cat, and the cat wasn’t seemingly worried about the bear either. Mama kept wiping the floor around the table with the mop.

“Oh no, Shine! You best hurry to school! Look at the time!”, Mama exclaimed suddenly.

Shine glanced at the wall clock in the kitchen. She worried too, so rushed out of the room and down the hall. As she reached the bottom of the stairs near the front door, the teenage girl glanced to her left and saw there was a dark cave entrance next to the door. She didn’t want to go in there. The place was scary. She guessed that must be where the bear lived, but was confused as to why their house had a bear and a cave. No time to worry, she had to get to school. Shine went up the stairs to her bedroom to get dressed.

When she glanced at the computer on her desk next to her bed, Shine saw there was a video playing on the screen. There were grunts, moans, panting coming from the speakers. She was nervous about looking to see what the video was about, but it only showed her bed with the mattress bouncing. The blankets were moving, disturbed, but there was nobody seen in the video. The strange noises faded away.

After staring at the video for a smidgen more, Shine decided that she couldn’t understand it so she continued getting dressed. After putting on her whole school uniform, she became aware that something was missing or something was missing. She looked down at her skirt, surprised and embarrassed by how short it was. Her school skirt was barely long enough to hide her panties. She pulled at the skirt hem wanting to pull it down and make it longer, but it wouldn’t stretch. She also realised that her socks were missing. Shine searched the drawers of her walk-in-wardrobe but couldn’t find any socks to wear. Maybe they were all still in the wash.

Mama’s voice shouted to Shine, “Hurry up Shine, or you’ll be late for school!”

Shine nodded to herself, and soon after realised that she didn’t have any panties on, and she’d forgotten to put on her bra besides too. Under her school uniform she had no underwear at all!

Oh no! She thought.

The teenager heard the black cat’s meow behind her as Shine worried about what to do. Shine had to hurry, on the contrary if she tried to put on panties and bra now, she’d need to totally undress again, and the delay would means that she’d be late for school. The teenage girl turned to see that the black cat was on Shine’s bed, staring at her.

“Meow, niao, now…. You see why you should not watch Colin’s video...”, the cat spoke to Shine.

A talking cat?! Shine started to think this cat must be a magic cat.

“Hurry Shine, you have to go to school”, the cat said to her.

“But, but I have no panties on!”, Shine complained.

“But, but….”, the black cat mockingly told her, “Shine, you’re not allowed to wear panties or bras, not now, not ever, never never never again. You have to go to school with no underwear underneath your clothes.”

“But why?”, Shine asked in a pleading voice, while her body tingled hotly at the thought of not wearing anything under her skirt.

“You watched Colin’s video, and now the octopus monster wants you!”, the cat answered Shine, “Or he’ll find you anyway… but you must watch the video, even though you shouldn’t!”

The cat’s words confused her more but Shine knew the words were true. They were impossible but true. Like three impossible things before breakfast, granted that she couldn’t remember what three impossible things she’d done that morning before having breakfast. She would have to count them later. Maybe at that time she could remember.

“Who is the octopus monster?”, Shine asked the cat, while thinking she must be crazy to be talking to a talking cat.

The cat said, “Meow, meow… he’s purple and black and wants you for himself, he dresses like a man, but he acts like a fiend, he’s looking for you, Shine… he’ll find you soon… I know because I met him, and yet I can’t remember him.”

Mama opened Shine’s bedroom door, and told her loudly, “Shine, you’ll be late, go to school now and stop dawdling.”

Shine wanted to say to Mama that she couldn’t go because she didn’t have any panties on, but Mama’s expression was angry, so Shine was too scared. Shine picked-up her school-bag and rushed out of the bedroom.

Soon, Shine was walking fast down the street from her family’s house, down the slight hill, towards the bus stop. The weather was sunny, but dark clouds were forming in the sky, a worrying warning of rain. Shine wasn’t sure, regardless the dark clouds had a purplish hue mixed with the grey. Streams of grey cloud reminded her of tentacles as the storm clouds darkened and grew.
As the first drops of rain came down, the teenage girl raised her umbrella, which was a bright pink. She wondered when she got it, since her normal umbrella wasn’t pink, was it? This one was very pink and cute. She reached the bus stop and had to wait, as it became windier. Her tiny skirt was often blown about, the hem up high, exposing her bare ass-cheeks and more. It was too windy for her to let go of the umbrella, so Shine had to use both her hands to hold the umbrella. She could only increasingly blush as her skirt didn’t hide her lack of panties. Anyone seeing her would know.

She looked down, and saw that her crease was bald too, nothing at all was hidden by a single hair. When did that happen? Did she shave herself and not remember? She could hear the orange school-bus approaching.
The bus arrived, and as the doors opened, Shine rushed up the steps inside. She showed her school bus-pass to the blonde-haired woman driver, duly so with her eyes Shine searched for a vacant seat. The only place that she could see empty was right at the very back of the bus in the middle of the last bench seat. The bus was packed with high school girls in different uniforms. Some in the maroon of Rosedale High School, others in blue, or green, and uniforms that she didn’t know so well. The bus was so full that many of the girls were standing, yet Shine could see that one empty space at the back so she started moving through the crowd of teenage girls.

It struck Shine how strange that there were no boys on the school-bus. She had to push through the crowded bus, every now and again catching a glimpse of the empty seat that nobody else seemed to want. On one of those momentary glimpses, Shine saw a silly toy purple octopus held up high by someone who was waving to her. She didn’t see clearly who it was. Eventually when Shine was about half-way there, she saw again that somebody was waving that toy octopus around, trying to engage her attention.

At last, Shine reached the back bench seat, the vacant space was still there. She turned around and sat down, feeling very lucky. She heard friendly girls’ voices on either side of her greeting her.

“Oh hi there, Shine!”

“Good morning, Shine”

Other girls looked at her, turning their heads or leaning around to look at her. She didn’t know most of them. They were strangers, but they all greeted her by name.

“Make yourself comfortable”, the teenage girls on either side of her said together, as if speaking on cue.

Their hands caressed Shine’s smooth thighs, and they each lifted one thigh so Shine’s legs were laid over theirs. The position forced Shine’s thighs to be parted shamefully wide. Everyone nearby was frequently looking at her. They could all see her feminine groove, pink petals exposed, the mound bare of any hair. She tried to close her legs, regardless of her efforts the girls on either side wouldn’t let her do so.

The tingly heat blossomed inside her, trickles of wetness drooling down to her bare bottom on the seat. Shine wanted to cover herself, yet the girls wouldn’t allow her to move her hands down. Fingers caressed her inner thighs, higher and higher. Ever closer to Shine’s private place. Circling motions adding to the tension. She whimpered, “Please let me close my legs… please let me go...”

“Uh-huh, no way, you’re our pet now”, a blonde-haired blue-eyed girl said.

“Hmmm… Yummy!”, another girl said, kneeling down to stare directly at Shine’s private feminine bits.
Around and around in tiny spirals, the tickling and caressing fingers drew ever closer to the centre place between Shine’s thighs. Dribbling juices crept downward from between her parted pink petals. A throbbing, hot, deliciousness blossomed down-there, as her nipples swelled harder within the teenage girl’s blouse.

Shine felt the tension climb. She feared what they would do. She became also aware that lots of girls at the back of the bus held toy purple octopuses. They waved them at her, and grinned happily.

There was dark mist starting to fill the back of the bus too, and Shine glanced upward to see red glowing eyes in the darkest part of the mist. Her heart beat fast. She wanted to run, but was trapped. 

Panting and sweating profusely, Shine opened her eyes with her heart pounding. In the darkness of her bedroom, she still didn’t feel safe. Clumsily she clicked on the bedside lamp on her right. Her bedroom was empty of anyone else yet she felt a presence that was fading away as if something had been there. The nightmare had been terrifying and excitingly turning her on at the same time. She was ticklishly sensitive to the air between her thighs while her T-shirt stuck wetly to her breasts that were soaked with perspiration.
“I can’t sleep like this”, she mumbled to herself, sitting up in bed. The thin linen sheet which usually covered her had fallen off the side of the bed. She felt her pussy-lips slide across the other bed sheet which covered the mattress. Confused by the sensation, she glanced downward and saw her fine and rather minimal dozen or so hairs between her parted thighs.
Where have my panties gone? She thought and searched a bit around. There was no clue as to where they’d gone. She stood, guessing the errant underwear may have been covered by the fallen top sheet. After picking the sheet up and putting it back on the bed, there wasn’t any sign of the panties. Concerned by the similarity to the nightmare she recalled, Shine walked about the bed and looked about. After that checked her bed again. The panties that she’d worn when going to bed were nowhere to be seen.
She began to dread the possibility that the nightmare was more than just a dream. Shine was suddenly chilled, and wasn’t sure if she wanted to check her wardrobe to see if she had any panties in there. What if there were none.
What if I actually couldn’t put any panties or bras on?
The antsy-ticklish sensation grew inside her, her nipples tingled, swelling. The idea scared her nonetheless. Unnerved, Shine went back to bed, covering herself with the top sheet while too aware that she’d never gone to bed without panties on before. She switched-off the bedside lamp and soon as that she closed her eyes…

...and found herself at night, standing on a sandy beach, barefoot, with the gritty sensation of wet sand between her toes. She was looking towards the glimmering predawn light on the horizon across shimmering waves in the darkness just before the sun rises. The sea breezes caressed her whole body, and Shine glanced down and saw that she was stark naked. Her boobs were too big, far bigger than normal for her, so she couldn’t see her toes easily but had to lean over, and pushed a breast aside. 
She looked both ways along the beach, not sure where she was. At first, she thought herself to be alone. No one else was close-by. Far away though Shine noticed a shadowy figure, a man she guessed, who was also watching the horizon as if waiting for the sunrise. He was muscular, and could have been wearing a cloak… or was it a cape? There wasn’t enough light to see clearly what he wore and he was too distant.
A man’s voice, with a peculiar foreign accent, came to her on the wind.
“I can see you too.”
Shine awoke again, chilled and frightened. The man’s words echoing in her mind, “I can see you too”.
As if he was truly seeing her at that very moment in the dream that itself felt too real.
Shine stayed awake in the darkness, her heart beating too fast, for a long, long time. She was terrified of falling asleep and facing that man in another nightmare. Fatigue won in the end, and she closed her eyes without awareness of it. Maybe she dreamt more, or at least she didn’t awaken again during that night until well after the dawn.

* * *

A Ritual

It was very late in the night when “Papa” awoke, as he was oft to do at ungodly hours, unable to sleep any further for a little while. The heat was stifling to him, his bedclothes soaked with sweat, he carefully climbed out of bed. Painfully. He grimaced but forced himself to stand shakily and walk without aid. The ease of painkillers may have beckoned, yet Papa quietly made his way out of the master bedroom.

His wife didn’t stir, she slept on.

Papa struggled to get down the stairs to his office, which was accessed from the main hallway close to the front door. The only light source was the very dim glow through the window curtains from a light-pole outside. Inside, without turning on the room lights, he pushed aside the bookcase. Behind it was revealed a wardrobe with black pants, black jacket, charcoal grey shirt, black socks and black boots. There was a tight, black, mesh-like overall too. There was a black long coat, and on a hook was a black hat, with the front rim pulled down.

For awhile, as the minutes ticked by, Papa stood there in the dimness as if lost in memories.

He simply stood there and breathed slowly in the gloom of his unlit office, the only dim light coming from the nearby curtained window.

As if he was suddenly free of whatever mood held him, Papa moved the bookcase back into it’s former position, once again hiding the wardrobe with it’s secretive contents. After which, Papa slowly, painfully, left the office. He closed and locked the door behind him.

* * *

End of Part 2

Part 3 can be read here

You can read Part 1 by clicking on the link:
Part 1 <


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OnlyTheGhosts' Stories of the Sexy and Fantastic
Public post

Glimmer in the Dark

Written by OnlyTheGhosts



Aftermath of a Visit

 The suburb of Norwood, on the northern side of Tearmann, was poorly lit during the early pre-dawn hours with the sun not even a glow in the sky. Though this part of the city had light-poles along the streets that stayed switched-on all night, the local neighbourhood here was posh. The radiance from the lights on top of each pole wasn’t adequate for the area to be well lit. The street was wider, yet not a single car was parked near the kerb. Lining both sides, were shadowy century-old trees on wide grassy verges. Trees of full branches heavy with foliage that didn’t allow many of the light-poles to be directly seen, and certainly interfered with the purpose of having any street lighting. Driveways spaced far apart told of how large the houses were – none of which could have been seen easily from the point of view of any passing car. 
 At this time, there was a lonely patrol car proceeding at a leisurely pace up the slope of the street. The all-white car carried two members of the Tearmann Metropolitan Police, as the emblem and large printed lettering on the sides announced. The five-litre vee-eight engine of the twenty-twenty-four Brumby model sedan manufactured by the American Motors Corporation purred low. The sound quiet enough that it was unlikely any of the local residents heard the car pass their houses by. They should all have been asleep at this time regardless. 
 Only the flashing blue and red lights on the roof may have alerted someone of the approaching police officers.
 The police parked by the kerb about three-quarters up the slope of the street, soon both got out. A man and a woman. Two young cops dressed in the grey-blue shirts and navy blue slacks of the Tearmann Metropolitan Police and each wearing a light ballistic vest despite the heat of the summer night. The patrol car had been air-conditioned, yet the perspiration began showing on their youthful faces almost as soon as they’d exited their vehicle.
 The police woman glanced around, stretching and turning to get the kinks out of her back at the same time. She grimaced, blinked, afterwards spoke into her lapel microphone, “This is Churchill one-oh-four, over . . . copy that, we’re at the address, would like to ascertain this is the correct location, over . . . Number eighteen, over . . . Wattle Avenue, over . . . Lights are on inside the residence, no visible movement at this time, over.”
 “Ready?”, the male cop asked.
 “Yeah, except for this heat.”
 “Weather report said it’s going to be a little cooler than yesterday… Only a balmy thirty-five degrees Centigrade in the shade.”
 “Only? What was it yesterday?”
 “Forty-three… an official record breaker… but I saw it reach forty-five in Westfield yesterday.
 “Yeah, anyways, let’s hop it...”
 Neither did more than keep a hand close-by their holstered matte black automatic handguns as they strolled up the driveway towards one of the houses.
 They reached the closed modern styled gate, three metres high and several wide. A sensor-tripped light came on, brilliant, and momentarily blinding in comparison to the night. The coppers blinked. In the light, they more clearly saw the gate’s red painted steel vertical bars, each with a shiny yellow reflector at waist height. On either side was a tall block of rough stone-faced concrete. Beyond each way right and left could be seen that the estate had walls of the same appearance and just as high.
 The man pressed the intercom buzzer by the gate. Several times. There was no response.
 “This is Churchill one-oh-four, Williams and Bennet, over . . . The property is walled and no answer when we knock, over . . . Yeah, ruddy great gate won’t open, over . . . Okey-doke, over.”
 She turned to her companion, “Wait a tic, looks like the code for the door is listed.”
 The man nodded, finally spoke, “Good for us, but fools for them. Kid crackers are going to nick those lists one of these days. If they haven’t already.”
 There was a brief welcoming jingle, after that the gate rattled aside to the left on rails. The two coppers glanced at each other a moment, gave a shrug, soon after prudently began creeping step by wary step towards the house. More spotlights switched on, illuminating the broad front gardens within the walls of the estate. These weren’t well maintained. The owners apparently didn’t have much enthusiasm for the work needed, nor had they hired someone else to look after it. 
 “A rich man’s dump”, commented the male police-officer as they went up the steps to the patio before the over-sized front door. 
 “Mister and missus Dunleah”, the woman informed him, keeping her voice down, “He’s thirty, she’s twenty-four, married last year and bought these flash diggings with his old man footing the bill.”
 “Didn’t see that on the heads-up in the car.”
 “I checked this address on my phone, wonders of the Infoweb . . . On his Spy-On-Me page, Mister Jason Dunleah mentioned plans to invite friends over for tea and a get together around the pool last night.”
 “It was a scorcher yesterday, wouldn’t have been a bad idea at all.”
 The woman pressed the doorbell this time. Again, no answer. The man rapped on the door, listened, then rapped again.
 “No use even trying to kick this open, it’s got steel behind that lovely timber veneer…” he said, stepping back.
 “This is Churchill one-oh-four, over . . . No answer at the door. Can you unlock it from over there, over?”
 The door’s tumblers hummed, there was a solid metal thunk inside. The woman copper lightly gave the door a shove with her hand and the door opened wide to reveal a darkened hallway. Carefully covering for each other, the two entered. The man found the light switch, and with a soft plastic click, the twenty-metre corridor was illuminated by a row of five crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Other than that, there wasn’t a sound except for the police-officers breathing and the odd whisper of their uniform fabric rubbing against their ballistic vests.
 “Williams and Bennett, over . . . We’re entering the premises, no sign of the residents as yet, over.”
 “This house is too damn big”, her partner grumbled.
 “They’re likely hanging about by the pool, but I don’t like this quiet.”
 “Yep… No party music. Maybe they’re playing at mimes.”
 Each door they passed, the coppers took alternate turns opening and checking while the other covered. At last they reached the end of the hallway, facing double-doors of a dark rosewood finish. The woman tried the handles, which moved easily, thereafter pushed at the doors, but these scarcely budged. She tried to briefly shoulder charge one of the doors to no avail, and grunted.
 “Unlocked but won’t open”, she commented.
 The male copper tried to push the doors too. Tried the door handles as if to check. Soon after took a few steps back.
 “Okey-dokey, my turn.”
 With a run-up he slammed hard into one of the doors. There was a splintering crash, a thud of something falling on the other side, but he got one of the doors open. There was a chair fallen over, as if it had been used to block the door from the inside.
 “Why not just lock it?”, the guy asked.
 The woman shrugged.
 The man stepped in first, and looked about at an exceedingly spacious room that had a pair of rather long black-leather sofas facing each other with a low wooden coffee table in front of each. The room was brightly lit by large saucer-shaped lights in the ceiling. He could see another pair of double-doors, white painted, at the wall to his right as he’d entered the room. Those doors had glass panes in small windows, but one of the doors was ajar, not quite closed. He glanced up at the circular lights attached to the ceiling. He sniffed the air, and wrinkled his nose.
 “Gawd, smells like an abattoir.”
 The woman came in, looked around as well.
 “Human blood… Not a butcher shop smell… and smoke from a barbie, I think.”
 They stared at each other for a few seconds with eyes widening. The woman’s complexion had turned pale, but the man merely nodded. They moved together towards the next set of doors. A little closer to each other than before.
 The man pushed open the already ajar door. There was whimpering, and shuffling. He tried to take in the whole scene but could barely hold onto his lunch. Blood. Lots of the stuff in splashes over the dark slate tiles. More turning brown on the white-painted wrought-iron table and the chairs around it. Some more of it on a wickerwork chair in which one skinny man was sitting, rocking his body back and forth and crying. The skinny man’s rainbow dyed T-shirt was splashed with brown of drying blood.
 Between the nearby furnishings and the pool just beyond the patio, were two bodies. More exactly, the remnants of two men who appeared to been half-eaten by a wild animal. Clawed and torn to pieces, innards scattered, throats ripped out.
 For the first time, the copper pulled his gun out of his holster.
 “What the hell was here? A bear? A lion? Did dogs do that?”, he exclaimed with a shaking voice that squeaked too high.
 He turned around, and both he and the woman cop saw the other survivors at the same time. Three women, young definitely, maybe early twenties, stark naked. There was some drying blood smeared on their uncovered skin as well. They were huddled together against a wall behind a large potted palm. If not for the blood and their terrified expressions, all three could’ve graced the covers of a fashionable magazine or a men’s porn rag.
 The female police officer was shivering, as she called it in.
 “This is ... this is... Churchill one-oh-four, … over… We need paramedics, trauma counsellors, at eighteen…. Eighteen Wattle Avenue… I think it’s another… Code Bravo Mike... Oh shit…. I can’t do this…”
 She crouched down, and started to cry. 
 The male police-officer answered his own radio, “Churchill one-oh-four, Bennett here, Copy that, over… Code Bravo Mike… At this stage I can’t definitively ascertain but aspects of the crime scene are consistent with his M.O.… There are four survivors on the premises… including three adult female persons … One adult male person… Additionally there are two deceased male adult persons … over.”


Just A Girl

 Alarm clocks are annoying for their sound in the morning. Especially when whoever set the time on one doesn’t bother to wake up and let’s it ring and ring and ring. Shine set this one and the sound nevertheless also annoyed her. She heard it, kept her eyes closed, and wanted to keep sleeping. On and on, the beeping would go, she’d sleepily reach out a hand, press the snooze button on the clock by her bed without opening her eyes. Then she’d turn over to sleep some more. It was a Sunday. She didn’t want to get up so early on a Sunday. She wasn’t keeping count of how many times the alarm had started again. Maybe she should turn it off properly.
Meh, I want to sleep some more...
Bang, bang, banging on the door.
Oh, go away, whatever that noise is.
She opened her eyes only a sliver, and mumbled, “Okay, I’m up already… okay… alright...”
The teenager closed her eyes hoping whoever it was on the other side of her bedroom door would leave her alone too.
Sleeping in was so nice.
The banging on the door started again, but this time it was accompanied by the door opening.
The fair-skinned young woman who entered was well below average height, slender waisted, but with an impressively curvaceous figure that wasn’t well disguised by the oversized T-shirt. Nor by semi-translucent muslin dressing gown that she wore over the top of it. The T-shirt was white, with a picture on the front of a pair of grey Pacific dolphins cavorting amongst breaking blue-green waves. It was big and lengthy enough to cover the upper-half of the young woman’s smooth thighs. She had dark brown hair that was plaited simply, and hung in a single braid down her back, and yet it was long enough to reach her rounded bottom.
The young woman glanced around the bedroom, which wasn’t particularly feminine apart from the preference for pink and having a few soft things. Directly opposite from the bedhead the other wall was floor to ceiling with dark brown bookshelves for books, soft toys, strange curios and a peculiar hodgepodge of bric-a-brac that her younger sister had collected. The rest of the walls of the bedroom were painted a pastel sky-blue, but the ceiling was white. The queen-sized bed in the centre was against a wall to the left as one entered the room. There was a large, very broad and high double-window, with the sill marginally above the head of the bed. The window was partially hidden by white curtains, which were closed at the moment.
Shine’s bed was covered in pink sheets, and easily wide enough for two people. There was solely her nonetheless. The queen-sized mattress by comparison was way more spacious than it needed to be for one rather small-sized teenage girl. The girl on the bed had dark chestnut brown hair that was spread out haphazard about her, and was very long. Her light caramel-tanned face was more heart-shaped than an oval, her cheeks and skin continued to have the baby-cuteness of youth. Although in her mid-teens, she appeared younger than she genuinely was.
There wasn’t a blanket, as it was summer-time, only another sheet to cover her body and legs during the night. It had somewhat fallen mostly off the bed. Leaving the girl on the bed exposed. She wore a short cream-coloured negligee, the hem of which was rumpled upward revealing her navel and tummy. As if to match the negligee, the teenager wore cream-coloured panties, which had pulled upward as well during the night, so the thin fabric outlined the girl’s crease between her parted thighs in an indiscrete manner, sticking to the skin as if painted on.
The young woman shook her head at seeing this, as if to rid herself of the ideas the sight inspired.
“You’re luckier than you might think, Shine”, she commented softly.
Against the wall and under the broad sill of the window, was a bedside cabinet. Made of brown timber, darker than the desk’s but lighter in shade than the bookshelves. On top of the bedside cabinet was a pink, fat, round clock with a big red button on top. The older sister picked up the clock, stared at the back of it, then switched off the alarm setting with a click.
“Come on, Shine… just turn off your alarm if you’re not getting up”, said her older sister.
Oh yeah, the alarm had started beeping annoyingly again. Thought Shine as she hadn’t taken note of it until that point. 
“Are you going to sleep all day, or are you getting up?”, the young woman said to the teenage girl lying on the bed.
“Yeah, okay…. Sorry, Jolene...” Shine mumbled, not yet fully awake regardless.
Her older sister left the room. The silence dragged on. That’s what eventually became too disturbing for the teenage girl’s subconscious to deal with. The extended quiet after hearing the beeping of the alarm repeat itself probably for the previous hour. It was also getting too hot for her to continue sleeping.
Summer in the majority of Australia was always far too hot. Tearmann was a mere a fraction of a degree cooler than the much bigger city of Sydney which was further northward. Shine had grown to like Tearmann, being near beaches, and close to the sea yet also the teenager sometimes missed living in Nebraska. In spite of that feeling, the memories of her family’s previous home in the American Union weren’t as clear as they used to be in her mind.
With a groan, Shine outstretched her arms, sat up, and turned from the waist up from one side to the other. The clickety-clicking of her spine as she stretched was loud in Shine’s ears. She stretched some more, blinked and looked about her bedroom. The room could have been tidier, and was rather luxuriously large for one under-sized teenage girl.
To the left of Shine, right next to the queen-sized bed was her study desk and a comfortable chair, both items of furniture were a pale brown but of different shades which didn’t quite match. There was a white laptop computer on the desk, closed, with black cables plugged into the side that was away from the bed. One of those cables was curled untidily across the white shag-pile carpeted floor then led up the side of an extended tripod mount just over a metre high, on top of which was a compact video camera. Another cable was stuck by clips to the wall near the desk, going up to the curved cornice that bordered between ceiling and wall. It after that followed the edge of the ceiling to reach the corner of the bedroom that was diagonally opposite the door. This cable was connected to another camera, black, and about the size of a ping-pong ball, that was attached at the top of the wall This camera was aimed downwards to view the majority of the room. Another three cables were plugged into the laptop computer in addition, but led under the bed or other places out of sight.
On the other side of the bed, opposite from the desk and so to Shine’s right as she sat up, was the bedside cabinet with the clock on top. After seeing the time, she rubbed her eyes and yawned.
“Huh? Past nine already?”, she mumbled, “I slept… uh… Ten hours…”
She yawned again.
Shine turned her legs to the right side of the bed, and slid her arse over the sheets to the edge, incidentally scrunching her panties uncomfortably even tighter they already were. When the teenage girl stood up, in irritation at her panties becoming so snug after sliding across the bed, she pulled at the back of her panties’ leg-holes to loosen them a tad after that. Her negligee that had become itchy with the perspiration from the heat. Not liking the sensation, Shine walked across the room from her bed, her feet padding over the luxuriously thick, white shag-pile carpet that covered all of the visible floor of the bedroom. The wall to the right side of the bed had two doors, one was the main bedroom door; it was closer to the corner nearer the bookshelves and was painted white. It remained open ajar since Shine’s older sister hadn’t closed the door fully when she’d come and gone. The other was a sliding door with a full length mirror. On either side of the sliding door, cloth hangings decorated with a black and white Nipponese ink painting of a landscape of steep hills covered two other full length mirrors; one on each side. Above the top of the mirrored sliding door between them was another matching cloth hanging that was rolled up. Together, when rolled down, they would have formed a complete picture.
Shine paused a pace before the mirrored sliding door, and with both hands she brushed back her dark brown hair so she could see her face in the mirror better. In the reflection from the sliding door, Shine briefly examined her caramel-tanned complexion. Her face was flushed and perspiring in the heat of the overly warm air. She scratched at the round tip of her nose. There was some skin peeling from getting sunburnt recently. Her little nose had the slight upturned roundness that revealed she had at least part Irish-Celtic ancestry. Her large, expressive, milk-coffee coloured eyes with their slight slant upwards, were emphasised by high cheekbones and the Asiatic epicanthic folds she’d inherited from a Nipponese great-grandmother on her mother’s side. Long lashes made Shine’s eyes appear to twinkle.
Sighing aloud, she pushed the mirrored door aside and entered the walk-in wardrobe adjacent to her bedroom. Inside to her left were wooden drawers with big round knobs to pull them out, while in front of her there were dresses, skirts, and jackets on hangers. To her right, wide spaced shelves were packed with big plastic crates filled with winter clothes that were stored away. Going through the wooden drawers, Shine picked out a pair of pastel orange shorts, and a yellow T-shirt to put on later. The yellow T-shirt had a big picture of a stylised cartoon character, like an earless brown and white hamster with short legs and arms, a huge fat belly, and sleepy half-closed eyes. The lettering on the T-shirt below this read “Maru-chan”. 
She also chose fresh panties to wear; white ones with a pink ribbon on the top front band, the white fabric decorated with tiny strawberries. With a bit more searching, Shine added a white bra to the collection. She took all four items, laid them out flat on her bed, studied what she’d decided to wear, and gave a nod to herself in satisfaction.
After that, Shine grabbed a Nipponese dressing gown of light thin material from a hanger. The “yukata” dressing gown was one of her favourites. Red with yellow flowers and rainbow coloured birds on stylized green-leafed branches. Carrying the dressing gown, the teenager headed out of her bedroom.
Much later, after a refreshing cool shower to beat the heat and rid herself of the perspiration, Shine returned to her bedroom. She wore the colourful yukata and was drying her hair with a fluffy white towel as she entered. She closed the bedroom door, and soon later took off the dressing gown in front of the mirrored sliding door of the walk-in-wardrobe. 
Apart from Shine’s face, arms, and legs, her skin was less tanned elsewhere on her body as she hadn’t gone to the beach as much this summer. At least, not as frequently as she’d done the previous year. She turned from side to side, looking herself over, disappointed that her breasts hadn’t grown significantly more. They were merely average in comparison to her body, and since Shine was small as well, that meant her breasts were on the whole rather small too. 
At least my boobs are both perky, have a nice shape, she thought, and maybe they’ll grow bigger like Jolene’s… I hope.
Shine frowned at that. Jolene’s boobs were heaps larger, more than double the size of Shine’s, maybe nearly triple. Mama’s too. 
Shine’s waist was very slim, especially compared to her wide hips for her size. She put both hands on her hips, happy that she wasn’t getting fat at least. Her legs were longish for her height, and that was a feature she was proud of. Longer than her body by quite a lot, a little over half her full height. Most of the short girls that Shine had seen also had shorter legs compared to their height. Some even shorter than their bodies like many guys apparently had, but Shine’s weren’t.
“I wish they wouldn’t say at school that I looked like a doll...”, she muttered out loud, after that continued the sentence mentally, ...even if the description was maybe a tinge fitting.
Her pubic hairs were very fine, light brown, and sparse. When she brushed a hand over the patch of hairs they felt soft as kitten fur, and there didn’t appear to be much down-there. She’d shaved under her arms in the shower that morning, but other than that Shine barely had any visible body hair or leg hair. Nothing but the tiny hairs which everyone had but couldn’t be seen unless looking at human skin very close.
That was from Mama’s side, definitely, Shine figured.
Now and then, Shine studied herself in the mirror like this. She wondered about certain things. Stuff that her mother, sister, and father had commented about. The family doctor too. She had no scars anywhere, and she checked every now and again to make sure. A scratch from one day was always gone the next. A small burn from accidentally touching the edge of a frying pan while picking it up a couple of days ago was already gone. Completely. No mark left behind as if it had never happened. Everyone has scars somewhere, people would say, but Shine had none as far as she knew.
Papa and Mama said a few times when the subject was brought up that Shine must be just lucky and a quick healer. She thought they acted funny and weird about it. Especially Papa. He had loads of scars everywhere from whatever happened to him in San Francisco years ago. Papa said that he was envious except that he always said so in a joking manner and didn’t genuinely mean it.
More like…, Shine thought, He maybe had a suspicion about something but wanted to avoid mentioning whatever that was…
Shine shrugged off the feeling as another one of life’s mysteries. Papa being one of those deeper mysteries some of the time. So she got dressed in the pretty panties, lacy bra, pale orange shorts, and yellow “Maru-chan” T-shirt that she’d picked out before and later went downstairs. She’d considered not wearing the bra as she wasn’t going out yet – and anyway it was too hot – but her shyness won so wore the bra regardless. Her tummy was complaining about hunger. Time for breakfast. Maybe a late breakfast. 


The house in which Shine’s family lived was built in a modern style of architecture, feeling airy and spacious. The building was longer east to west, and narrower in width from north to south. The upstairs floor was divided into two slender halves, north and south, by the gap of the downstairs hallway. These two halves were likewise elongated in the east-west axis, with a wide bridge of sorts that was like an empty room without walls between the two sides. Kind of like an overly wide veranda or balcony. There was a void, a gap that overlooked the hallway of the ground floor, on the eastern end. Stairs went down to the ground floor hallway on the western end; the stairs were straight, steep, and followed against the wall on the northern side of the hallway, leaving half the hallway uncovered by them. The side of the staircase away from the wall had a clear glass balustrade all the way down, topped by a metal handrail. The bottom of the staircase ended at the ground floor still facing towards to the house’s front door. Along the edge of the void above the hallway on both the north and south side of the bridge part, was a glass-sided balustrade. The same sort of glass-sided balustrade went along the southern edge of the upstairs floor above the western end of the hallway. There was a narrow, but carpeted, walkway giving access to other rooms that side.
Everywhere, the walls were painted pastel sky-blue and the ceilings were white. Unlike Shine’s bedroom, the floors upstairs mostly were covered by a paled blue carpet slightly different in shade from the pastel sky-blue of the walls. Shine’s bedroom door was close to the top of the stairs on the northern side of the house. Her door was at the south-western corner of the broad bridge between the two sides of the upstairs floor. All she had to do was go out of her room, take a couple of paces, turn right and she was at the stairs going down. 
Very convenient, in her opinion.
The teenager headed downstairs, letting her left hand slide along the handrail. She noticed that the front door of the house was ajar. The door was at most a few meters from the foot of the stairs. On Shine’s left, as she went down, she could see through the wide doorway into the gymnasium. Mama was in there, dressed in pink shorts and a white T-shirt, while jogging on the treadmill. Her dark brown hair tied back in a pony tail which went up and down with each step, her big breasts bouncing a bit, all the same she probably had on a sports bra. Like Shine and her older sister, Jolene, their mother was significantly on the short, smaller side of average height as well. Mama was only about one-hundred and thirty-nine centimetres tall, or about four foot, seven inches height as they measured this back in the American Union. 
At the bottom of the stairs, Shine glanced to her left, and could see into the study, which was also referred to as her father’s office. The door was open wide, so the black bookshelves and grey filing cabinets against the far wall were visible. She heard Papa’s voice outside the house; he was likely chatting with a neighbour. 
“… not a wink last night.”
“Yep ...and another stinker today, mate. Wanna tinnie?”
Shine didn’t pay much attention to the conversation. She walked off towards the other end of the house, passing the doorway of the gym. Her mother continued jogging on the treadmill.
Behind the staircase, the eastern end of the hallway had a very wide doorway on the southern side, or to Shine’s right as she walked by it, to the loungeroom. There were two long L-shaped sofas in there, facing each other, with a timber coffee table in between them. The light brown leather covered sofas additionally had dull-coloured naturalistic cloth covers on them. Shine’s mother always put such cloth covers on the sofas in summer-time. The coffee table had a simple off-white tablecloth covering it besides.
The hallway opened at the eastern end beyond the loungeroom into a generally rectangular space that was longer in the north-south axis, and divided in three distinct areas. Immediately in front of Shine was the dining area, with an eight-seat dining table; six chairs placed on the long sides in two sets of three, and one chair at each end of the table. The timber dining table was covered by an off-white tablecloth. The chairs were high-backed, but had comfortable padded seats. Opposite the end of the hallway, and on the other side of the dining table, were three tall windows. As there was a void gap in the upstairs floor above this area, these tall windows went from the downstairs floor to the upstairs second floor’s ceiling. In front of southern one of the three tall windows was a domestic wheelchair lift that allowed access to the second floor directly from the dining area.
The northern part of this rectangular space was the kitchen, with a cream-coloured tiled floor that clearly distinguished the area though there wasn’t a wall to divide it from the rest of the room. The southern part of the same rectangular space was another lounge area, in which there was a long L-shaped sofa, a low coffee-table, and a huge flat-screened television. The television’s screen faced the whole room so what was displayed could be seen in the kitchen area too. Jolene currently relaxing in a laid back manner on the sofa, partly-watching the television and mostly checking messages on her phone. Jolene’s mobile phone resembled an old-style cigarette lighter in shape and size, made of greenish metal. A screen rolled out on one side on which text and images could be seen.
Shine padded barefoot to the kitchen, and felt the coolness of the ceramic floor tiles. After that while scarcely glancing at what was shown on the television, she started preparing her breakfast. She got out a white plastic tray from one of the kitchen racks and placed it on the counter that divided the kitchen from the dining area. She poured muesli cereal, which was a homemade mix stored in a big glass jar, into a bowl and added milk. Put a kettle of water on one of the stoves to boil. Opened the refrigerator and took out a pitcher of fresh orange juice which she poured into a glass. She placed her glass of cold orange juice and bowl of muesli on the plastic tray along with a spoon. Thereupon she waited for the kettle to boil while not especially listening to the television,“… after VisionSoft banned the group of players who had protested recent military actions by Red China in the Western provinces. The ban sparked mass calls for boycotts of the company’s products. This follows on further recent controversy over the banning of players for comments made on Insta-Twit this ...”
Shine sighed, looked to her left and through the glass sliding doors that led to one of the outdoor dining areas, of which there were two. One was outside adjacent to the kitchen, the other outside adjacent to the family area where Jolene was relaxing on a sofa in front of the tee-vee. Beyond the pillars that formed the outermost corners of the outdoor dining areas, Shine could see the lovely green grass of the yard. The backyard fence was obscured by a dozen or so trees and a large number of bushes that grew as if wild. On the other side of that fence was a park and seaside cliffs that couldn't be seen, but the susurrus of the distant waves crashing against the cliffs and rocks below them could be faintly heard.
Jolene stood up lazily, and came strolling over towards the kitchen. The oversized white T-shirt she wore with it’s picture of a pair dolphins playing among breaking waves was very pretty, Shine thought. The T-shirt was big enough to be a beach-dress, really, however the hem was daringly high. Maybe that’s why Jolene had a white muslin dressing gown over it, except that the semi-transparent muslin wouldn’t hide much either. From the bounce and sway of her older sister’s large knockers, Shine knew that Jolene wasn’t wearing a bra. During the past several months, Shine had begun to suspect that Jolene also often didn’t wear knickers when at home.
Trying to get a rise from me, as if I’m supposed to act all scandalized since Jolene thinks I’m going to be shocked or I’m a prude or a religious nut, Shine thought.
“Good morning sleepy head”, Jolene greeted her.
Shine only said, “Un”, and left it at that. 
The kettle started to boil and whistle, so she turned off the stove, thereafter got a cup but had difficulty getting a tea-bag as these were in a box in one of the higher cupboards. There was a metal step stool with two steps, which Shine had to use to reach the box of tea-bags. Both Mama and Shine used the step stool every occasion when trying to get stuff from the upper kitchen cupboards. Jolene was a few centimetres taller than Mama, but even Jolene occasionally needed to use the step stool.
Jolene casually leaned against the counter top, and commented, “For normal people, it’s a really hot day you know”.
Shine mumbled, “Hmm.”
“You’re dressed like that, and about to drink hot tea on a hot day.”
“You’d be cooler if you didn’t wear the shorts, and why bother wearing a bra in the house?”
Oh great, Shine thought, she’s trying to rile me up about my smaller boobs.
Shine kept her face expressionless while she stirred her tea with a spoon. When she was satisfied, the teenager picked up the plastic tray and carried her breakfast of muesli, orange juice, and the cup of hot tea to the dining table. She avoided paying any attention at all to her older sister.
Jolene grinned, and couldn’t help but barely stifle a giggle.
Hearing the muffled sound, Shine’s face heated for a moment, granted that she got herself back under control a tad after that. Sitting at the dining table, facing towards the three tall windows that went from the ground floor to the ceiling of the second floor, Shine tried to ignore both Jolene and the television. She instead ate her breakfast, drank her hot tea, while feeling calmer from watching the view of the green grassy backyard and leafy trees outside. 
Jolene strode back to the sofa directly going between the dining table and three tall windows. This ensured that Shine’s view of the backyard was momentarily obscured as her older sister passed by. Shine stuck to eating her breakfast, steadfastly pretending that Jolene’s attempts to annoy her weren’t even happening.
Behind her, Shine heard Mama’s voice call out, “Good morning, Shine, you’re finally up then? Good.”
“Morning…”, Shine responded in a quieter voice but didn’t turn around. 
Jolene had returned to lazing on the sofa in front of the television, again checking messages on her phone. Mama didn’t come into the room, so except for the noise of the television, everything was peaceful. Shine finished her breakfast, took her tray to the counter that divided the kitchen from the dining area. She felt better now. She put the used bowl, glass, cup, and utensils into the kitchen sink that was in the middle of the counter. Apart from rinsing these, she didn’t bother washing them, only leaving them in the sink.
The teenage girl headed back upstairs. There was a bathroom and separate toilet near her bedroom. Each of the three bedrooms in the house had a nearby bathroom and toilet, which perhaps is an indication the family’s wealth as quite above the average. The house was large, not excessively ostentatious. The bathroom adjacent to Shine’s bedroom wasn’t directly accessible from her room, she had to walk past her bedroom door towards the library. The north-east corner of her bedroom didn’t line up with the wall of the bathroom. Instead the bathroom wall on that side was inset about a metre, allowing more space for the central area between the two halves of the upstairs floor of which the wide bridge was part.
The bathroom and toilet were in separate rooms, with the toilet adjacent to the library room that was also on northern side of the house. In Australia, when people said they were going to the bathroom, they genuinely did mean they were going to the bathroom – not the toilet. That’s exactly what Shine did, she went to the bathroom, and there she brushed her teeth since she’d just eaten. After which, Shine went back to her bedroom because she planned to study more for school.
* * * 
A couple of hours later, there was a knock on Shine’s bedroom door. She’d been studying hard at her desk but turned from the textbook in front of her to see who it was. Shine put a pink coloured piece of paper to bookmark her spot among the pages, and closed the book on Modern History at the same time.
“Hmm?”, she said softly as her mind was still more focused on what she’d been reading.
Mama opened the door, “Oh, so you are here… You were so quiet when I called out before that I wasn’t sure you were home.”
“Oh, sorry…”, Shine replied in a small voice.
“Lunch is ready, honey… Are you coming down?”, her mother asked.
The teenage girl nodded, so her mother accepted that and left. Shine put the book aside. Breathed in deep to wake up more, stood up and outstretched her arms as she yawned. Sometimes she’d wonder why on Earth she picked history as an elective subject. The Modern History class was interesting, even so studying with the books at home felt like such a chore.
Thinking about this, Shine happened to notice a tiny blue light blinking on the floor beside her desk on the right, and recalled her phone had been charging. She crouched down, picked up her phone to check for messages. First she disconnected the cable, then slid out the rolled-up flexible screen from the right side. 
“Texit, please”, Shine said to the phone, which started up the simple messaging application. Every phone in the Commonwealth of Australia came with it built-in. Somehow, this ubiquitous and rather mundane service had become particularly popular in use among teenagers and young adults. All of Shine’s friends at school relied on it to keep in touch.
Shine held the phone in her left hand and tapped her thumb tip on the screen to open the messages from her group of friends.
Tegan: Doing HW (~.~) WRUD? 
Cheryl: HW
Melanie: Me 2
Tammy: Beach (^w^)V
Irina: Shop w-Mum
Apart from Tammy having fun at the beach, and Irina shopping with her mother, everyone else was either doing homework or studying. Shine tapped in, “Fin HW Study now”, after which she closed the phone’s screen back inside. She put the phone on top of her desk, and left her bedroom to go downstairs to lunch. 

When Shine got downstairs, she saw that Papa had joined Mama and Jolene in the dining area besides. He was a big man when compared to most other men, so he was almost like a giant in comparison to his wife and daughters. Papa had the build of a former pro-footballer past his prime and a little overweight, slumping somewhat in his wheelchair. His complexion was fair, and his strong facial features in a squarish face gave the impression that he could be brutal. There were few minor scars on his face, his blunted, slightly off-centred nose wouldn’t have been out of place among the members of a rugger team or street gang. Papa’s head was totally bald, with merely the wisps of his white eyebrows remaining. He otherwise appeared to be in his late forties or early fifties.
Seeing Shine approach the dining table, Papa’s blue-green eyes glittered as he smiled.
“Ah, here she is”, his voice rumbled, “Have you been busy with homework?”
Shine shook her head.
“Finished yesterday”, she replied in her usual low, soft voice.
“She was studying hard when I saw her upstairs”, Mama said with a pleased smile.
“I was studying for history class”, Shine explained more quietly as she sat down on a chair next to Jolene.
On the dining table, there was a white ceramic plate of cold corned beef, a plate of sliced cheese, plus a polished wooden bowl of chopped salad that was mostly lettuce, onion, and tomato. There was also a ground pepper corns grinder, tomato sauce, salad dressing, and other condiments to add. A pitcher of fresh lemonade and a pot of iced tea were also on the table. On a tray were a few sesame-seeded bread buns – the remainders of a baker’s dozen – that must’ve been bought just before lunch. There was a white paper bag nearby that contained thirteen more of the seeded bread buns. The odour of fresh baked bread was in the air.
Shine picked out what she wanted to fill a bread bun for the plate in front of her. With the smell of the fresh food so very delicious, she considered the simple meal to be perfect for a relaxing summer afternoon at home on a sunny day. All of the sliding glass doors that led to the backyard were open, allowing in the breeze from the unseen ocean, thereby making the day’s heat more tolerable.
“Shine, if the school textbooks aren’t enough”, her father said, “There are at least a dozen history related books in the library upstairs.”
“Or you can read Mypedia and hope the writers aren’t lying”, Jolene commented.
Shine shook her head and glanced sidelong for a moment at Jolene in annoyance. At the same time, Papa chuckled at the mention of the notoriously unreliable InfoWeb encyclopaedia site. Jolene just pretended not to notice Shine’s expression, feigning innocence as she bit into another bread bun.
Mama ignored all of that, and asked, “Is the history class difficult for you?”
Shine shook her head and answered, “No, not really, the textbook isn’t interesting, but our teacher, Missus Aldsell makes the subject fun.”
Jolene nodded at that, “Uh-huh, when I was at Rosedale High School, she was one of the best teachers for me too.”
“Which one is Missus Aldsell?”, Papa asked as prepared another bread bun for himself.
Mama answered, “She’s the middle-aged foreign lady with the poshy accent.”
“That’s clear as mud, which one is that?”, Papa replied, “Do you mean the big woman who was wearing army fatigues last week?”
“No, no, no...” Mama corrected him, “Not her, she’s...uh… Trib… Tribull...Yes, isn’t it?”
Jolene giggled, “Miss Tribull, don’t confuse her with Missus Aldsell, those two hate each other. Miss Tribull is an ultra deep leftie, she even thinks radical Neo-Humanists like Karen Wenfel and Tina Suxdorf are softies.”
Papa said, “Ah...okay….” but Mama’s expression was blank confusion.
“I don’t know who they are...”, Mama said, “..but I also didn’t know that about Miss Tribull…. Not surprised though.”
“Army greens are a dead give-away”, Papa commented, “So… I suppose she’s not Shine’s history teacher, do you mean the pretty blonde woman is Missus Aldsell?”
Shine softly spoke, “Hm-mm, no… that’s Miss Draper, she teaches textile and design.”
“Oh, okay”, Papa nodded, “The skinny lady then with the black hair? Is that Missus Aldsell?”
“Ping-pong!”, Jolene exclaimed, “That’s her.”
“And, she, Missus Aldsell the history teacher...”, Papa said, “and… uh… Miss Tribull, hate each other? Why’s that? I thought most of the teachers these days were leftists.”
Shine giggled at Papa’s comment, and actually had a little smile.
“No, not all of them”, Jolene told him, “Missus Aldsell is from Eastern Europe somewhere, one of those countries that the Communists took over, and killed a mob of people in.”
“Ah… right”, Papa said.
“I thought she was from England”, Mama commented, “Her English is really good, then.”
“You mean unlike how Aussies speak?”, Papa jested.
“We speak the King’s English, you should know, it’s immaterial whatever those American computer companies want to pretend!”, Mama feigned offence.
“Yes, but with funny nasal accents”, Jolene added.
Mama eyed her askance.
“Well…. we have two homestay students coming here on Tuesday”, Mama said, cocking her head at her, “They’re here to learn English, so it can’t be all that bad.”
“I thought there was only one student?”, Jolene said querulously in surprise.
“Two girls, sisters”, Mama told her, “I think they might be twins….”
“Wooah….”, Jolene said, “How old are they?”
“Eighteen… last year of high school in Chukyo, but our school years don’t match, and they’re enrolled at Tearmann University from this year”, Mama said, “I’m sure they’re going to have to pick things up quickly even if they are the typical shy Nipponese girls… and I mean that, really shy… from what their parents wrote in their letter thanking us for letting their daughters stay at our house.”
“As shy as Shine is?”, Papa quipped.
“I’m…. not… not really shy”, interjected Shine almost inaudibly.
Jolene smiled. The older sister leaned over and hugged her little sister around the shoulders, giving her a kiss on one cheek.
“Oh yeah, Shine… we know”, Jolene said warmly, “Maybe you and the two shy Nipponese girls can sit around just thinking at each other for conversation… Frankly, I haven’t heard you say more than ten words since last Sunday.”
Jolene smiled broadly with yet still more warmth for her sweet, but sometimes annoying, younger sister.
Shine blushed at the truth of that, but naturally, said nothing as she turned her eyes down to her meal again.
The conversation meandered after that, rarely staying on any topic more than briefly. While Shine ate daintily, and the slowest. She only had two of the seeded buns. At the opposite extreme, Papa likely had twice what anyone else in the family had eaten. When everyone had finished, Jolene helped Mama to clean up the dishes. Shine went over to her father, making sure he was fine and there were no crumbs on his lap.
“Do you need any help, Papa?”, she asked afterwards when he moving his wheelchair backwards from table. Like all of her father’s wheelchairs, it was black, but this one was unpowered unlike his other two. Papa shrugged in response.
“I’m fine, fine… Are any of your friends coming around to visit today?”, her father asked.
“No, I wish….”, Shine replied, her voice fading off.
“I suppose they all have homework assignments to do”, Papa said.
“Un” Shine agreed with a nod and her mouth still closed.
“Try your best, my little girl, always… anyway, I have more work of my own to do”, he said, pushing the wheels of his wheelchair.
Together, the father and youngest daughter went along the hallway. They split up to go their separate ways at the bottom of the stairs. Papa went into his office, Shine went up the stairs to her room. Already she was thinking about her afternoon plans.
 (end of Part - 1 of "Glimmer in the Dark")

Written by OnlyTheGhosts

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