It was sunset by the time the girls arrived at Shirley's cottage. It was rather large for a cottage, with multiple floors, and an enormous kitchen. Shirley let the children sit at the large wooden dining table in her dining room.
"Before we begin learning about the secrets of baking, we must first learn a key skill in baking." Shirley told the girls, smiling.
Shirley walked into the kitchen.
"She's so ugly." Tiffany whispered to her three friends, who in turn giggled girlishly.
Sora looked at Ida and Nina.
"I wonder what skill Shirley's going to teach us first?" she asked to the other two girls.
Ida shrugged and Nina gave Sora a rather confused look.
"Well, I bet it's going to be something important. Good teachers always teach the important things first." Sora told the other two.
Just then, Shirley came back with a batch of freshly baked cookies and a pile of clean plates.
"First and foremost, we must first learn how to taste." Shirley said, placing the plate of cookies on the table and giving each girl a plate.
"Well, go on. Taste to your hearts content. If you run out, I have another batch in the oven. Enjoy." Shirley said, gesturing to the girls.
Each girl took a cookie and began eating. The girls each enjoyed two cookies while Shirley smiled at them. Ida tasted her cookie, it was soft and chewy, and the chocolate chips were smooth and perfectly melted. She decided to not take a second cookie, for the first one was already very satisfying.
"I feel sleepy. Someone show me my room." Tiffany said sheepishly, yawning and leaning back in her chair.
"Well, unfortunately, I only have few guests rooms upstairs, so you'll have to share." Shirley told her guests.
"Well, I guess I wouldn't mind sharing a room. As long as I get the bed to myself. A girl can't get her beauty sleep if she's being hounded by others." Tiffany pouted, looking rather annoyed.
We all filed into our according rooms. Ida, Nina, and Sora were to share a room while Tiffany and the three other girls were to share the other room next door.
"Wow, it's been a long day." Nina yawned, stretching out her tiny arms.
"No kidding, but I'm sure the next few days will go by quickly." Ida told her.
Nina nodded and crawled into the large king sized bed. Ida and Sora followed.
"Hey, do you guys mind if I read in bed?" Sora asked, picking out one of her books.
"Just don't stay up too late." Ida replied.
As Ida and Nina began to doze off, Sora could hear a noise from the other room.
"Hey, I think I hear something." she told the others.
"Whatever it is, it'll just have to wait until the morning." Nina replied, already half asleep.
Sora nodded, realizing that the other too were much too tired to investigate the strange noise. She herself was beginning to feel tired, and decided to put down her book, and go to sleep. That's when a loud scream woke up all three of them.
Sora was the first to get up, and Ida quickly followed.
"That sounded like it came from the other room!" Sora cried, pressing her ear against the wall, trying to listen in.
Ida looked at Nina, who was still in the bed, clenching tightly to the blanket sheets.
"That really scared me." Nina whispered, her face red and tears began pouring from her face.
"It'll be alright. I'll go check the other room. It's probably just Tiffany." Ida told Nina, trying to comfort her.
"Ok." Nina said, sniffling.
Ida opened the door, and instantly felt a change in atmosphere. The hallway wasn't lit, so it was completely dark. Through the light of her room, she saw the warm decorating of the hallway, which should have made it less, frightening. But somehow, even the floral wool carpets and cedar wood walls couldn't keep the hallway from feeling very, eerie. Ida quietly tiptoed over to the room next door, and pressed her ear against the door. It was completely silent. She then proceeded to open the door. The room, still lit, was empty. Tiffany's luggage was spilled everywhere, the bed was a mess, and multiple articles of clothing were spilled out on the bed and floor. Behind her, she suddenly heard someone breathing. Ida turned around, afraid of what she was about to witness. There, stood Shirley, holding Tiffany by the neck with her long nails, and Tiffany's followers cowering behind them. Tiffany appeared terrified, contrary to her normally calm self. Her small hands were clenched in fear, and she was quietly sobbing. Ida stared at the sight as Shirley threw Tiffany down onto the bed and her friends quickly scurry to her side.
"That'll teach you to not go nosing into another's business." Shirley scolded to Tiffany.
"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" Tiffany cried, curling up into a tight little ball as she began sobbing into a pillow.
Shirley turned to Ida.
"You! What are you doing here? You should be in bed!" Shirley shrieked, pointing her sharp nail at Ida.
Ida was alarmed by Shirley's sudden outburst towards Tiffany and now her, she had seemed so nice before.
"I…I heard a scream…and I…came to…see what was going on." Ida stuttered, quite frightened.
"Oh, well it was only little miss dramatic here." Shirley said, pointing again to Tiffany.
"Now go to sleep." Shirley began walking off towards her room.
As one of Tiffany's friends closed their door, there wasn't anything more for Ida to do but go to sleep. But Ida sensed something was very wrong with Shirley, she showed no mercy on Tiffany, to the point of hurting her. What did she have against her?