Chapter 1:

Chapter 1

Waking Up as a Gyaru in a New World

The next time I opened my eyes, I found myself looking at a dense canopy of trees. For a moment, I gazed serenely at the sun-dappled branches waving in a cool breeze. Then I remembered what had just happened to me. “The train!” I gasped. I froze. My voice wasn’t right. It was significantly higher pitched than it should have been. And where the hell was I? I looked around. It was definitely a forest. A really dense forest. That didn’t make any sense. If I wasn’t on the train tracks, I should have been in the hospital. Actually, why was I kidding myself. I should’ve been dead. I must be dead. Was this the afterlife? I’d never believe in such a thing. And while I wasn’t really boned up on every religion in the world, I’d never heard of a forest afterlife.

I sighed and looked down. To find myself staring at soft, tan thighs. Not mine. Mine had never been this tan and hadn’t been this hairless in a long time. I followed the line of the leg up to a sandal clad foot. The dainty toes were painted a pale pink. There was a gold ring on the fourth toe of the right foot and a gold anklet on the left ankle. These were not my feet. These were Mina’s feet. The thought hit me with so much force I physically jerked.

How?! For a dreadful second I had an image in my head of the train scrambling me and Mina together into one horrible body. No. That didn’t make any sense at all. I was panicking.

I took a long, slow breath, closed my eyes and touched my forehead. Even that felt unfamiliar, as the bangs I touched were thicker and longer than I was used to. I was in Mina’s body. There was no use denying it. Was I dreaming? I could remember having lucid dreams from time to time and this didn’t feel like it. So something had happened. Some kind of science or magic. A thousand questions burst into my mind but I pushed them aside with an effort. There was no point asking questions I didn’t have the answer to. I went over the facts I knew. Mina had thrown herself in front of a train. I had tried to stop her and failed so miserably that I managed to kill myself along with her. Or at least, both of us dying was the logical outcome. The last fact I had was that I was in Mina’s body in an unknown forest.

I moved her feet just to confirm I could and then lifted up one hand. The bangles on her arm jangled as I did. She had silver rings on third and fourth fingers and her nails were painted the same pink as the toes. I opened and closed her hand into a fist. Now I had a fourth fact. I, or rather she, was completely uninjured. I didn’t feel any pain anywhere. That added credence to the idea that I was in some kind of afterlife. I decided to do an inventory. Knowledge was power, after all. Who said that again?

I looked back down and touched the short black skirt. It was soft and smooth. Since I was also wearing the same black heeled sandals, I felt fairly certain I was wearing the same outfit Mina had died in. I touched the hem of the loose, white blouse. It also felt very nice. Much better than the cotton tees I normally wore. I hovered my hand over Mina’s breast for a moment but forced my hands higher. She had a necklace on, a simple silver chain with a diamond pendant that nestled in the generous cleavage the blouse revealed. I couldn’t tell if it was a real diamond but it must have been expensive if it was. I moved up the face, feeling her cheeks. They were incredibly soft. I supposed she must have moisturized daily. Even my jock sister did that. I handled her hair, vaguely feeling like I was doing something wrong. It fell to her upper-back and was pulled into the same side-ponytail she’d been wearing. My hands went to her ears next. She had a shocking amount of piercings. Nine in her left ear and eleven in her right. Most were standard lobe and helix piercings but she did have an industrial in her left ear and a few on the inside. I couldn’t remember the names for them. I wondered where else she might be pierced. There was nothing else on the face and I didn’t have the temerity to explore further at the moment.

That left her backpack. I pulled it off my shoulder and settled it in my lap, gazing at it for a long moment. This felt like an invasion of privacy but...I needed to know. I didn’t know where I was or what was happening. The things in the backpack were my only supplies. I unzipped it and carefully pulled out the contents. Most of it was expected. A card holder with a few loyalty cards, a debit card, some cash and her I.D. Breath mints, a small pack of tissues, make-up supplies, hand sanitizer and lotion, a pen, sunglasses, a few loose hairbands, lip gloss. There was a protein bar--sunflower butter and chocolate--and a half full bag of peach gummies. There was a tampon, which I didn’t want to think about, and four condoms, which I doubly didn’t want to think about. Her cellphone was in the bag. I clicked on the lock screen and saw her and a girl I didn’t know. They were both smiling and making a peace sign. The mystery girl was dressed as fashionably as Mina. My finger hovered over the fingerprint reader for a moment but I eventually shut the phone off completely. That was too far, at least for the moment.

The last thing was a small notebook with a cute cartoon bunny on the front. I almost put it away too but something compelled me to flip it open. The writing on the first page was big and loopy. Very cutesy. The first two words are ‘Hello Mina!’ That caught my attention. I suppose some people might write messages to themselves but this seemed strange. I read the rest.

Hello Mina!

Welcome to your new life! You must be pretty confused right now. :) But don’t be scared! I’ve been watching over you and I know how painful your life has been lately. This is a chance for you to start over in a brand new world! All kinds of adventures await you! :D Good luck! I’ll always be watching over you!

With Love,

Your Guardian Goddess.

I stare at the last line for a moment, not really seeing it. So that’s what this was. Reborn in another world. I’d read enough of those in my time to have a baseline understanding of what had just happened. I didn’t think it was the type of thing that happened to a popular chick like Mina though. Was this a fantasy type of world? Did she like those? I laughed, abruptly and harshly, and pinched my cheek hard. This couldn’t be real! And why was I in Mina’s body?! Was this so-called guardian an airhead?! Did airhead goddesses actually exist?!

After a moment I calmed back down and noticed that there was another bit of writing underneath the main message, it was smaller and less loopy, as if it had been written in a hurry.

P.S. Some weird guy ran into you just as I was completing the magic to transfer you and ended up getting transferred too! >:( He’s in this world now too. I don’t like the looks of him! I thought I would warn you since he’ll probably come after you. He seems annoying that way. My advice is to keep clear and enjoy your new world!

Well, screw you too, airhead goddess. I lowered the book and stared into the distance. So that’s what happened. We’d both transferred to this world but our minds must have been swapped as we did so. I laughed bitterly. Trust me to try and help someone and completely screw up their life instead. Mina was stuck in my body now. I felt guilty about that. Beyond just the fact that she was in a boy’s body now, it wasn’t like I’d treated my body like a temple over the years. If I had to be in a girl’s body, at least it was an attractive one. And I at least had a frame of reference for this kind of thing. I doubted Mina spent much time in fictional universes. And now she didn’t even have this little note. If the goddess wrote one for me, I assume it wasn’t nearly so positive.

With a sigh, I glanced back down and flipped to the next page. At the top, in the loopy script surrounded by stars was the word ‘Skills!’ Underneath in smaller letters, it said, ‘These will help you make an impact! You can learn even more as you go!’ Huh. So this was a fantasy world. I was starting to get a little excited. I read the first skill. It was called ‘Doki-doki.’ The description underneath read ‘Make a man’s heart beat faster and look at you with passion in their eyes!’ So ‘charm’ then? I guess these skills were designed to appeal to Mina? But ‘Doki-doki?’ Did Mina actually like manga? If she did, she certainly kept in on the down low. Of course, knowing the type of girls she hung out with, I could completely understand why she would.

I scanned through the rest of her skills. There was ‘Cheer up!’ which seemed to boost attack, ‘Usagi!’ which was a speed boost, maybe, along with more confirmation that Mina was more into anime than I’d ever expected, ‘Whispered Promise’ that looked like it caused some kind of invincible or berserk status. I sighed, really wishing the skills were a little more straight forward. I also had ‘Princess Kiss’ which was clearly a revival skill, though one I hoped never to have to use, ‘Flash!’ which was a blinding skill most likely, ‘Sweet Lullaby,’ clearly a sleep skill, ‘Gyaru Talk’ which seemed to be a confusion skill of all things and ‘Cheesecake Pose,’ which was a paralysis skill. The final skill on the page was universal translation. Practical and a huge relief. I had never been good at foreign languages.

So Mina was a status manipulator. I scowled at the notebook. My least favorite type of character to play. Couldn’t she have been a black mage? Or at least a white mage? What a pain.

I turned the page and was initially elated to see a few more skills. But as I read, they turned out to be pretty useless. Though I supposed a gal like Mina would have been excited to have them. Mina could adjust the color of her hair, skin and eyes with just a thought. I bet a lot of girls would have killed to be able to do that. Though, thinking about it, I supposed it could be used in a few practical ways as well. It would let me blend in with the locals. Depending on the social mores of the world, it might be very bad to have a different skin color, after all. I could also use it to disguise myself if I ever needed to. I would make a pretty good spy. I skimmed through the rest of the notebook but there was nothing else.

I glanced down at her thighs and decided to lighten the skin tone just a little. I didn’t revert back to her natural color but just to about the color of cafe au lait. That should be safe enough, since it was a skin color found naturally all of Earth except maybe in sub-saharan Africa or northern Europe. I gently grasped the side ponytail and pulled it forward so I could see it. It seemed a shame but I thought I should probably change it to black. First, just out of curiosity, I changed it to a softer, more natural blonde than the bleached look. I shouldn’t have done that. It was too pretty to change. I guess I would put myself at risk for a hair color. Maybe I was developing gyaru-brain.

Mina had a hand mirror with her makeup stuff so I popped it open and examined my face. The first thing I noticed were the long, black tracks of makeup caused by her crying. My stomach clenched at the sight. She had some wipes I assumed were for makeup removal so I did my best to clean up. While I did so, I noticed that Mina’s eyes were her normal deep brown already. Maybe the goddess had done her the favor of removing the color contacts prior to transfer. I was grateful. The thought of putting in or taking out contacts always made me squeamish. But if I was keeping the blond hair...I shifted the eyes to a bright blue. Why not?

After a moment’s thought, I removed her necklace, anklet, her rings and all of her bangles and bracelets. I placed them all in her pack. I didn’t want to stand out, or worse, get robbed. I had no idea how to remove all of her earrings so I settled for undoing her ponytail and wearing my hair loose around my shoulders. I nodded to myself. That would have to do. All there was left was to explore. I’d been putting it off but it wasn’t like I could just sit here forever.

I got to my feet and instantly fell right back over, directly onto my chest. As I rolled around clutching my breasts, I filed away two important lessons. Number one, be cautious when standing up in heels and, number two, a woman’s breasts are really sensitive. After a few moments, the pain receded and I sat up again. I slowly gathered my legs under me and stood again, using the trunk of a tree for balance. I waited for my legs to stop trembling and let go of the tree. I kept my balance but it was a disconcerting feeling. I was having to keep my balance. Just to stand. It took effort to stand. The things girls do look good. And I was going to have to walk through a forest like this?! I couldn’t exactly go barefoot. One unseen rock or sharp stick and I’d be bleeding. Not to mention the possibility of bugs or poisonous plants. Thinking that way, I really wished I had some closed-toe shoes. And pants. I really would have liked to have some pants.

No use wishing for what I couldn’t have, though. I thought back, trying to remember what I knew of how to walk in high-heels. All of it was from sitcoms and such but it was better than nothing. Heel to toe seemed to be some kind of key. I took a few faltering steps forward and soon kind of figured it out. If I took small steps, heel to toe, while kind of leaning back, I could do it. It wasn’t easy, though. It was work, far more work than walking should have been. I looked around, hoping for some sort of sign about what direction to go. There was nothing. I was going to have a few choice words for that idiot goddess if I ever met her.

I bent over and picked my backpack up. A cool breeze through my thighs taught me another good lesson. Do not bend over at the waist in a short skirt unless you’re planning to show everyone what you're wearing underneath. I straightened up quickly and smoothed my skirt down. Nervously, I felt under the back of the skirt and was relieved to find a decent amount of fabric. At least Mina hadn’t been wearing a thong or something. I slipped the backpack over one shoulder and set off, picking a direction at random. Hopefully there was some kind of fate sending me in the right direction. 

Taylor Victoria