This was written after first realizing that Aradia is basically the Homestuck version of Japan's trope codifier for the whole stringy-haired-ghost-girl thing, then re-reading Rin Chupeco's The Girl From The Well. Basically another alt timeline idea, namely: What if Aradia had gone all vengeful-ghost-girl and done the Make Her Pay thing way earlier?

Also, some of the imagery in this is really disturbing body-horror type stuff, because dying in an explosion does not leave a nice-looking corpse, and nor does getting killed by an angry ghost.

If you think that will upset you, PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS.


I stand outside the thick stone walls of the castle hive and peer in through the window. Within, the shadows cast a layer of uncertainty over everything. Or at least, it would to anyone else. I am a creature of darkness now, and a little shade is nothing to me. The same can be said of the fact I hover two stories above the ground.

The sticky, silvery-white strings which fill the corners are first to betray themselves, reflecting the faintest glimmers from outside. The desktop husk is next, glowing with its own internal light. It, in turn, illuminates the curves and hollows of her face.

Her face.

The instant I see it, the whispers of the other dead trolls rise up in a discordant chorus, hissing and screeching in rage.

find her take her find her find her

pretty blue poisons

burning blackening flesh burn her burn

My face twists into a feral snarl of its own accord. Look at her. Still playing her games, chatting and grinning like nothing happened. She got a replacement for what her sister took, a mechanical arm that swings and moves like a real one. Her eye seems like it was less reparable - covered by an eyepatch instead - but it's a slap on the wrist compared to what she's done.

There are no such mechanical replacements for a life.

She doesn't even notice I'm here, fiddling with her dice and occasionally laughing at her screen as if someone has just made the funniest joke she's ever heard. My hand touches the edge of the window. It grips the sill for a half-second before the stone is bathed in a rusty glow and begins to crumble. Not yet. I can't kill her just yet. The voices-

charring twisting clawing

take her burn her melt her

- grow impatient.

Alerted by the sound of breaking stone, she turns with a start. Her head whips around as her good eye searches the room for a source.

After a moment, her gaze slowly settles on the window. Her eye widens and her complexion pales as she spots the growing crack that runs along the sill.

I grin.

She can't see me yet. I prefer it that way. I watch her fear rising, and find some perverse enjoyment in it. Some hazy echo of myself says it's not worth it, to give up and move on, but I push her aside and glide through the front wall of the thief's house.

The difference from one place to the next is evident in an instant. Other, weaker ghosts slide and swirl around me like clouds of sand in a dust-storm. I recognize them immediately as her victims. They cling to me, grasping for the energy that fuels my vengeance. They do not have the power to wreak havoc on her in any way beyond the simplest mischief, but our auras strengthen one anothers' until they are strong enough to become visible. Their cries join in with the rest of the voices, louder and louder.

her her her her her

kill her devour her

Their suggestions are tempting, but I shove them aside for the moment. I will bide my time. I step over to where she sits so nervously, and she shivers as if touched by a draft. She'll assure herself it's all ordinary, though. Castles always have drafts, don't they? It surely has nothing to do with the crumbling corners of the windowsill. Such a silly thought.

I spend a while, drifting around the room. She returns to her computer, on edge but not scared.

Yet.

I swoop past, and for a moment the screen crowds with incomprehensible pixels of random colors, the speakers broadcasting the scratchy blur of static. She cringes, trying to turn them off. It doesn't work.

She finally gets up in a fit of frustration and rips the plug from its socket. The sound continues for several seconds after. She stares in disbelief, then shrugs as the sound cuts out. Stupid slow speakers, I hear her grumble to herself.

She returns to her computer and stays at it for a while this time, uninterrupted. I watch over her shoulder, and she shudders each time I move. We continue for hours this way, a subtle dance of the watcher and the one who does not yet know she is being watched. It's almost ironic. She is always so convinced she is the watcher.

At one point I shift too close, and she jumps up with a start. Her eye darts around the room as she turns, but to her there is just her own ordinary block. After several minutes of quiet, she resume her conversation. She steals quick glances over her shoulder every so often after this, looking out for something she cannot see.

Hours pass, and day approaches. She climbs into her recuperacoon, and I make a point of standing over the top when she wakes the next night. It takes half an hour that evening for her to convince herself I was part of her dream.

I decide to wait, just a little while. Just to scare her.


She does not see anything unusual again until close to an hour later, when she leaves her block to go feed her lusus. I am familiar with how she hunts for the creature, and recruit a few of the ghosts hanging about in the food preperation block to help me. Most of them are in the walk-in thermal hull, along with their corpses.

The others are more than willing to help me along in my revenge. Many of them have been waiting far longer than I have. Were I alive, I might have the kindness left feel sorry for them. Just one more thing she has taken from me.

Vriska is in for a surprise when she enters the block to find several of the oldest bodies still twitching. Her startled yells echo through the castle.


At midnight, Vriska goes outside. She leaves for some idiotic roleplaying campaign, not at all unlike the one that got me killed and my friends hurt. When I see her, heading out in her pirate garb with her dramatic metal hook, I am tempted to finish this here and now. Why let her take more victims? Why let her keep going-

stop her take her end it

end it end it end it

-now that I have her?

I assure myself that I can wait. If she kills anyone else in the game, it will simply mean more ghosts hoping for revenge.

As a compromise, though, I decide to prepare something more.


Vriska returns to a hive with no access electrical power whatsoever. The illumination devices have been smashed, bits of glass littering the floor. She steps on three shards before entering the food preparation for something to clean up with, and is greeted by the smell of rotting corpses from the useless thermal hull.

I hang about to see her clean up in eerie silence. As much as she denies her worry, she does not remove her trusted cutlass from her belt all night.

She mutters about vandals, and tries not to notice the ashy footprints that disappear into a wall.


I stand in her room again that night, rallying the other ghosts. She is messaging someone on her computer, as usual. I don't care enough about it to take a closer look, as rewarding as it would be to torment her just a bit more.

I sit on the edge of the 'coon as she snacks on some cold grubsauce. The heating elements in both the food preparation block and the rest of her hive were mysteriously disabled, so she has little other choice but to eat it that way and tremble ever so slightly in the unnatural cold. She eyes my general direction with a superstitious glare, but does the same to most of the room, too. I am still hidden.

The door of her block bolts itself shut with a click at my gesture. She looks up, suspicious. The hundreds of ghosts in her room are invisible, but the aura is enough to make even the least psychic troll in the universe realize that something is off.

I have been gathering them all night, and the night before. There are thousands now, all together, so many innocent (and not-so-innocent) trolls taken by her.

"Hey," she suddenly announces to the room. I spin to face her. She speaks to the wrong wall. "I... I get the feeling I know what's up now. It's you, isn't it?"

She pauses, almost uncertain, but her bravado takes over. "I've seen enough ghost flicks to know how this goes. It's you, right, Aradia?"

The voices-

take her take her break her

-return in full force.

She

burning flesh and bone burning

has

blasting boiling charring

no

burn the girl burn the hive

RIGHT

make her pay make her scream

to say my name.

I let them speak. I let her hear.

dark things under the hive little webs little flies

wrap her in her webs

she is ours

take her take her take her take her TAKE HER TAKE HER TAKE HER

She can see me now.

bend and snap and break

For once, the look on her face says she doesn't know what to do. I stand at the heart of the spinning, shifting mass of transparent bodies. My hair takes on an undead life of its own, floating out into a cloak around me and her. It waves as if pulled by a steady stream or wind. The other ghosts' words have turned to dying wails, but the words are still clear, here and there. It's clear enough what they want.

gnaw and shatter

She still says nothing, merely watching me agape. I reach towards her.

burn her kill her

I can understand her shock and silence, even if she'd known I had returned. I'm not a pretty sight, especially now.

Trolls rarely look pretty when they die. And that's exactly the terrifying visage I've assumed.

I've seen my corpse, so I know how I came out. My limbs are blistered and blackened, the legs fused together at the knees by the heat. My touchstubs are raw and end in tips of bone, the skin burnt and peeled away, and my clothes are a charred, ragged mess. There are holes from shrapnel all along the lower half of my skirt. The flesh in parts of my upper body has melted away entirely, leaving bare white thoracic struts and dark red streaks along what little of my chest remains.

My face is the worst - a bloody, seared mess of flaked-off skin and scorched bone. My eyes are the only truly distinguishable feature, and they are milky white and blank in death.

I step forward. My own weightless hand is but a trick of the dim light, but she still flinches when the torn and soot-stained nubs touch her face. The familiar rust-red light reminds me that she can feel my contact now. I can't physically touch her, but telekinesis still can.

rip the skin from her face

take the eye the eye the shiny eye

Instead, I reach for the eyepatch. The metal is smooth and cool, in as much as I can feel it. She finally speaks again.

"What the hell?!"

take the eye

burn her melt her

My grin widens.

The metal of the eyepatch presses against where her eye would be, bending the frame of the glasses. She shrieks and tries to pull away, but I push her back until she's pinned against the thick stone wall by the window where I entered. She struggles, pushing back against me, but it does nothing. "What are you doing?!" she snaps. She is furious, but trapped.

My illusion of a hand covers the entire eyepatch, and the rabble of phantoms around us clump into loose groups of spectators, waiting for me to put on a show.

"Are you even going to answer me, or-"

melt it char her

"-are you-"

she is ours

eye for an eye burn for a burn

Her indignant words become a sharp scream as the eyepatch begins to melt. The metal dribbles and collapses into slag. Some of it leaks down her cheek, leaving molten tear tracks in its wake, and the gray flesh around it sears and bubbles. She shakes left and right, desperately trying to throw me off. It does nothing.

burn her melt her bend her break her

I can feel the crackling carbonization on her skin, rising under my blackened nubs. The cartilage of her nose deforms and gives way as the metal forces it sideways with my nudging. She sobs and screams, and to the creatures that still flicker around my head it is the most wonderful sound they have heard in sweeps.

melt her take it take it

My other hand reaches out and takes her arm, encircling the shoulder where the metal plates join lost flesh. The fake arm sparks and glows white-hot, and her voice flies up a full octave now. I wonder how she is even drawing the breath to still scream. The bright metal melds into her side, shimmery liquid seeping into her innards. It burrows through her and curls around her intestines.

seep and burn and sear and end

As the fluid metal finds its way into her lungs, she falls silent. Her struggling is just the occasional twitch now. Her good eye stares at me with fading light, surrounded by layers of freshly disfigured features.

After a few short moments, she is still. Dead.

I sense her ghost trying to stand, to make her way back into the world, but I grapple it and force it down before it has the chance. This fight is over, and I intend to keep it that way.

The other spirits in the room fade, and bit by bit, so do I. My form grows ever fainter, and the sun begins to rise behind me. The first rays of blinding light are the last thing I remember when I disappear.


Her body and mine are found the same day, both burnt almost beyond recognition. I flit past a few of the living on my way out, making apologies to the few who would miss me.

I won't let any of them miss her.


I don't hate Vriska that much, I swear. In fact, I'm really sad seeing her death in A5A2. The fact I've written two Team Charge revenge fics which end in her death is beside the point, and honestly just a coincidence. I think.

That said... What did you think? Please, feel free to tell me in reviews!