Ok, here's the deal. My muses have decided the plot is going to take a major side line and certain characters aren't going to make an appearance in this story as I thought they were. So I'm reposting the story with the changes. Everything has been edited. In some cases there may only be spelling corrections, in others I may have changed plot points. Sorry about all the confusion this may cause, but the story really wasn't working how I had it originally.

Title: Cursed by Life (Revised)
Series: Naruto Author: Snow Tigra Warnings: AU, dark, possibly violent and general creepiness. Not for the faint, though I'm not talking about major sexual stuff. I'm talking about ghosts, spirits and demonic worlds. My muses are aiming out to make this extra creepy. This is your warning.

"Legends say that when a person is born in death, they are cursed by death for life."


The sound of a belt cracking through the room woke him up, shooting him up in bed, a layer of sweat covering his face. His leg still ached where the belt had hit him earlier that day, and his mind seemed set on making sure sleep was impossible by reminding him exactly how it felt each and every time he managed any type of sleep. He winced painfully and slowly laid back in bed, feeling the marks on his leg cry out in pain now that he was awake.

These days even his own body seemed content to torture him at every opening.

He waited until the pain dulled itself into a constant throbbing, as if reminding him exactly how hard it would be to walk tomorrow, before he rolled over on his other side to face the wall. It was early in the morning and he still had hours before he would have to wake up and he wasn't about to waste them, no matter how much his body's sadistic sense of humor protested. Pulling the old quilt closer around his shoulders, he buried his head in the pillows, trying to ignore the other presence in the room.

It would never leave.

He rolled over at night for a reason. A long time ago he'd been afraid to turn his back to it, afraid that at any moment a hand would come reaching out to grasp him and take him away like all the stories said. It wasn't until recently that he'd stopped being so scared. In spite of how he felt, it never left.

Gaara laid there for a long moment staring at the wall, just watching it with open eyes. Sleep was long past and he could hear the strange echoing sound that always filled his ears when it was around. Slowly he rolled over in bed to face it.

It resembled a woman, if such a word as resembled could even be used. Rather, she was in the corner of his room, almost standing there as if it were perfectly normal for her to be there. A long white dress covered her body, stained from pink to red to black from the waist down. The bottom of the dress was black and torn, not meeting the floor but not revealing legs either, just empty air that was a little too thick to really be called air.

Her skin wasn't translucent or even really pale like one would expect. Instead it just held an absence of color, standing out in stark contrast to her sheeringly white and red dress. Long hair that had once been a strawberry blond was now matted and tangled, stretching down to cover her eyes and flow past her shoulders to a tangled clump at the back of her waist. While the lower half of her face was twist in a macabre smile, tilted up to a point that sane people could never reach. Always smiling. Always.

Gaara watched her without expression, just watching the thing which appeared in the darkness of his room. She looked young and yet the hands that reached out toward him were gnarled and twisted out of shape, flashing in images between clenched fists to broken fingers that bent each way. She reached toward him and moved toward the bed, stopping only when she was close enough for her hand to float near his face.

Years ago this had frightened him into screaming nearly every night.

Tonight Gaara reached out his own hand, slowly touching the gnarled hands that floated before him. A flash and they were gone, as if they'd never been there, and were now hanging lifeless at the woman's side. Meanwhile she tilted her head, the gruesome smile on her face seeming to tilt even a bit more.

Gaara watched her a moment longer then his own eyes drifted shut, just letting her stand there undisturbed by the edge of his bed as he drifted off to sleep.

"Good night mom."