I Won't Die!
Rama ran. He ran as quickly as he could to get to school. He pushed people by, trying to avoid anything that could be a hazard. The 16 year old was fearing for his life. Despite his heart wanting to leap out of his chest, he continued to run. People gave him confused looks, wondering about the crazy looking young man. He reached his school in record time. It was Brumaire Academy, the most prestigious school in the area. It was located behind massive black gates that protected it from the outside world. Other students were nonchalantly walking past the gates, entering school grounds, congregating in their own cliques. They all wore the same uniforms Rama did but he stood out, his clothes scratched and drenched in his sweat. The other students stared at him, wondering what in the world was wrong with him. Rama ignored their gazes, wanting to get to his classroom as quickly as possible. He ran past the gates, past the open areas and approached a giant white rectangular building. It was about four stories high, filled with massive windows so that anyone could peer into the hallways. He entered through the front doors, running his way past a few students, heading up the stairs. Rama rushed up to the second floor, down the hallway where he found his classroom. In front of it was a boy dressed in the school uniform with a shaved head. He looked up from his phone, his eyes widening upon seeing Rama stop in front of him, panting with his hands on his knees.
“Bro!” Rama shouted.
His brown eyes looked down at Rama, confused.
“Something’s trying to kill me!”
“What was that now?”
“I almost got run over!”
Rama straightened up, still panting but tried his best to compose himself.
“I-I was walking to school, almost got hit by a truck! I’m serious bro! T-then I was almost crushed by a pipe from s-some construction site!”
“Bro calm down.”
“How can I be calm! I almost died, Jet!”
“Ok ok chill out.”
Jet led Rama into their classroom where they took their seats. They were in the back, with Rama’s seat placed right by the window, Jet to his right. Rama sat in his seat, still trying to catch his breath. They still had ten minutes before class started so they had time to talk.
“Bro you good?” Jet inquired.
Rama shook his head.
“Nah, not at all. This morning was insane.”
“Bro you sure this wasn’t just a dream? Maybe we’ve been gaming too much. Too much gaming can ruin your sanity. Trust me, I remember playing this dating sim way too much and it made me think I could actually hit on girls.”
“No it was this morning! Not even fifteen minutes ago!”
“It was not a coincidence bro, not at all. There’s no way it was. Something’s fishy is going on.”
“I dunno but I’m on my guard now. Anything can kill me.”
Rama noticed a pencil on Jet’s desk.
“Get that away from me.”
“The pencil! That thing is sharp so it can puncture my throat, making me bleed to death.”
Jet stared at the pencil, then back at his friend. He shrugged.
“I didn’t want to take notes anyway.”
Jet picked up the pencil and threw it in a random direction.
“Ow!” a voice yelped. “The hell?”
Rama saw that the pencil had hit the class’s jock on the back of his neck, scratching it. He turned around, revealing his short spiky blonde hair and green eyes. He was talking to some girls but stopped, shooting at mean glare at Rama and Jet. He got up and approached them.
“The hell are you losers doing?” he angrily questioned.
“Important stuff, Todd” Rama shot back, not in the mood to deal with the sporty airhead.
“Saving Rama’s life” Jet adjoined.
“You wouldn’t understand Todd. Go back to your cheerleaders.”
“Is this some dumb nerd shit?”
“Very much so, Todd”
“Why do you keep saying my name like that?”
“Because you’re trying to be tough but your name is Todd.”
“And I know you play football and are popular, but our team sucks,” Jet recalled.
Todd clenched his fist but realized getting into a fight the first day of the semester wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do. He cursed at them before heading back to his seat.
“You really are on edge” Jet noticed. “You’re aggressive today.”
“I can’t help it.” Rama admitted. “I've been through a lot"
“What are you dummies talking about?” a female voice asked, joining the conversation.
To their right sat a girl, having just entered the classroom. She had her black hair in a ponytail and her amber eyes gave them a befuddled look, noticing Rama’s unkempt appearance.
“And what in the world is wrong with you?” she asked.
“Lorraine, it’s hard to explain.” Rama answered.
“Rama thinks the world is trying to kill him.” Jet nonchalantly revealed.
She took out a water bottle and took a sip before placing it on her desk.
“I almost got killed twice today. First a car, then almost got crushed by a pipe.”
Rama noted the water bottle.
“Jet, get rid of that. I could drown from that water.”
Jet picked up Lorraine’s water bottle, chucking it across the room.
“What the hell?” Lorraine frustratedly cursed.
“I can’t let anything get to me.” Rama argued. “The risk is too great.”
“If it helps my bro feel at ease and allows me to keep throwing stuff, I’m down. We’re following Final Destination logic” Jet admitted.
“You’re paying for a new water bottle” Lorraine told Jet.
More and more students entered the classroom, taking their seats as the beginning of class was imminent. Rama sat up straight with his arms raised and outstretched, ready to react to anything at any moment. His classmates tried their best to ignore him.
“Are you really sitting like that the entire day?” Lorraine asked.
“You’re not taking notes?”
“Nuh uh. My life is more important. Can you take notes for me?”
“It’s ok bro I got you” Jet promised.
“Sorry bro but your writing is basically chicken scratch.”
“Sorry bro but it’s the truth.”
“Can you bros be quiet now? Teacher’s coming in” Lorraine inserted.
A middle aged man with a receding hairline entered the room. He had on a short sleeved white collar shirt, black slacks, and large circular glasses. He yawned as he placed some paperwork on the desk placed in front of the classroom. He stretched his back as he spoke.
“Good morning everyone. I hope you all had a good winter break. Welcome to the second half of your junior year. This is going to be a busy semester. You’ll have to start thinking about which colleges to apply to, take the SAT and….”
He trailed off as he noticed Rama in the back with his elevated arms.
“Rama what are you doing?”
“Good morning Mr. Johnson.” Rama replied. “How are you today?”
“Why are your arms like that?”
“It’s good for your back Mr. Johnson.” Jet added. “You should try it.”
Their teacher narrowed his eyes, wondering if this was some dumb prank.
“Just put your arms down. We have a new student joining us today and I’d like to give her a good impression of our school.”
Rama reluctantly put his arms down but continued to be paranoid about anything that could kill him.
“Well..” his teacher continued. “That ruined my train of thought. But yes we have a new student joining us this semester, treat her right, you hear?”
The students nodded their assent.
“Alright then, come in here Joesphine.”
Their new classmate entered the room in an elegant stride. She was a brunette whose hair went down to her waist, her bright emerald eyes scanning the group of students. She stopped next to Mr. Johnson, performing a quick bow.
“Thank you for having me,” she told them in a soft voice.
She lifted her head up, locking eyes with Rama. The look made him feel uncomfortable so his eyes flicked left and right, trying to find something else to look at. She headed to an open seat, sitting down while continuing to look at Rama with squinted eyes. Jet and Lorraine noticed the staring as well.
“What’s wrong with her?” Lorraine whispered to Jet.
“Love at first sight?”
“No way. She’s looking at him like a lion stalking prey.”
“Kinky love at first sight?”
“Jet I keep forgetting you’re an idiot.”
“It’s a valid guess.”
“And completely wrong.”
Meanwhile Rama was looking out the window, which he proceeded to do for the entire lecture. The school day went by normally, with there being no strange life threatening scenarios happening to him despite him being on constant edge. He refused to get near people, didn’t leave his seat during lunch, and continued to order Jet to throw away anything which could have killed him in his opinion. The most standard of objects such as erasers, notebooks, pens, Lorraine’s other water bottle, and a backpack were all chucked away, demonstrating that the paranoia hadn’t subsided. The school day ended, which finally allowed Rama to breathe a sigh of relief.
“I did it. I’m still alive.” he said, getting up from his seat.
“Good job bro.” Jet congratulated, still not really sure if all of Rama’s paranoia was necessary in the first place.
“Thanks Jet. I know today was really weird but maybe it all was a coincidence. All I know is that I’m appreciating life now. I’m going back to my room, and will binge all of Bruce Lee’s movies, knowing that death could prevent me from doing so ever again.”
“That’s the spirit bro. For a minute, I thought you were about to say you were going outside to socialize or something.”
“Oh god no. I said I appreciate life now, not that I’ve gone insane.”
The two exited the classroom heading to their lockers to collect their books. They went downstairs, near the front entrance where their lockers were located. Rama opened his locker to get a textbook when a white envelope fell out. Jet and Rama paused.
“The heck is that?” Rama wondered.
“I dunno, pick it up.”
Rama did so, examining the strange envelope. It didn’t have any markings on it. He opened it up, revealing inside was a folded piece of notebook paper. On it were the words “meet me on the rooftop after school” scrawled in beautiful cursive.
“Holy shit!” Jet said, getting excited. “You know what that is?”
Rama furrowed his eyebrows when he realized what Jet was getting at.
“No, there's no way.”
“Bro what else could it be?”
“But that’s only in anime!”
“And maybe she’s a weeb! That’s a love letter bro! You are about to get confessed to.”
“No way. There has to be another explanation. Maybe Lorraine can explain it.”
“She’s at the kendo club right now. Besides, she doesn’t know how to be a woman. The inner machinations of the female mind elude her.”
“And you do understand the ‘inner machinations’ of the female mind?”
“After all the hours I’ve put into dating sims, yes. You gotta go right now, your mistress is on the roof as we speak.”
“Who could it even be though? I don’t talk to anyone.”
“That’s why you gotta go to find out. Now go, I’ll wait here.”
“Man do I really need to?”
“Yeah bro, this is happening.”
Despite wanting to go home, Rama acquiesced. He went to the stairs, walking up the flights necessary to reach the rooftop. He was at the white door which led to the outside. His hand was on the handle but he stopped, an ominous feeling coming over him. The paranoia had returned. Rama’s body told him to run away, like a fight or flight response had kicked in, and it clearly chose flight. Was it out of a sense of preservation or was it because he was nervous that Jet was right? Though it may come as a surprise to absolutely no one, Rama never had a girlfriend before. He took a deep breath.
“You got this. You’re the man. Bruce Lee wouldn’t run away, neither would Ip Man or Jackie Chan. Ok let’s go.”
He opened the door, walking onto the rooftop. The place was empty. All there were were the white floor and white railings placed along the edges to prevent anyone from falling over. He walked to the center of the rooftop, looking around. Besides the lack of people, the weather had changed. The sky was black, almost as if a massive overcast had materialized despite the weather having been clear all day. It was a worrying sight.
“Ugh….hello?” he called out but received no response. “I knew it. This was probably some dumb prank.”
Rama whirled around ready to leave when he stopped upon seeing a girl standing before him, about a dozen feet away. It was his new classmate. Besides the weird eye contact that morning he hadn’t thought about her, given that he was too worried about his own safety. When did she sneak up on him?
“New girl? Josephine right?”
“You’ve arrived.” she stated.
She cracked her neck, as if preparing her body for something.
“Ah yes,” Rama replied awkwardly. “I have indeed arrived. So ugh..you sent that letter right? Is this a-”
“My god needs you.”
Rama was taken aback.
“Your what needs what now?”
“My god has decided you are the one.”
“Is this a religious thing? Listen I…I’m not really interested I’m sorry.”
“It is not up for debate.”
“Are you like a really aggressive mormon or something?”
She shook her head.
“My god has already tried to kill you today but has failed. You are proving to be quite obstinate about living. She has sent me to finish the job.”
Rama’s body froze. How did she know? He only told his friends, and they definitely wouldn’t have told anyone else, least of all the new girl. His body became tense.
“Do not worry. This is for a noble cause. My world is in turmoil. My god needs a hero, a hero from another world to save it. She has decided on you. Yet you refused to die.”
“A-are you trying to tell me something is trying to kill me?”
“Indeed but like I’ve stated, it is in order to transport your soul to my world. There you will be the chosen one, the one that will save my world. You will get riches beyond imagination, everything you’ve ever wanted. You’ll live like a king once you save our world. In fact, you’ll be an emperor.”
Rama couldn’t understand everything he was being told. It all sounded too bizarre, too strange to be reality. This all had to be some sick joke.
“I wouldn’t kid about the fate of my world. Please, accept your new destiny. Will you come with me back to my world?”
“That’s gonna be a hard no from me. I don’t want to die. Who in their right mind would? This sounds like a weird suicide pact. Tell Jim Jones or whoever you work for I’m not interested in this weird cult stuff.”
“I’m not surprised you reject me but this doesn’t make what I have to do any easier. This will all make more sense to you once you meet my god.”
Josephine put out her right arm.
“I summon you….smokeblade.”
On cue, smoke began to percolate out of her arm, forming around her hand as if it was being directed by some unseen conductor. It moved unnaturally, as if it had a mind of its own. The smoke began to take shape, taking the form of a sword. In the blink of an eye, the smoke dissipated, leaving behind a curved jasmine colored blade. It was a thin blade, almost making it appear to be transparent. Rama was shocked, it defied all logic.
“What the fu-”
Josephine ran towards him in long elegant strides. She pulled her sword blade, seeking to impale it through Rama’s chest. His survival instincts took over. He leaped to the side and, without meaning to, countered. An open palm hit Josephine’s cheek, knocking her head to the side, making her stumble. Rama tried to get a word in. Either it was going to be an apology or an exclamation of confusion but he couldn’t get it out. She immediately regained her footing and swung her sword. Rama leaned back, dodging the strike but he went too far, falling onto his rear. Josephine attempted to capitalize on the mistake. She stood over him, and thrusted the sword down, seeking to impale his head like a kebab. He tilted his head to the right, narrowly missing the sword. He breathed rapidly, the adrenaline rushing through his veins.
“Impressive.” Josephine complimented. “You have potential. No wonder my god wants you. Who taught you to fight?”
“Sifu Romos.” he answered in between breaths. “Runs a martial arts academy nearby. You should go. There are plenty of guys stronger than me there. I-I’m only a purple belt.”
“Yet you dodged my strikes. All the more reason to recruit you.”
She plucked the sword out of the building but Rama didn’t wait for her to try to kill him again. He kicked, forcing Josephine to lurch forward. He jumped up, and started to sprint away.
“There’s no escape!” she hollered as he went through the door, rushing down the stairway.
Rama essentially slid down the stairs. He glided down along the railings, not wanting to take the steps themselves in order to move as quickly as possible. Getting to the first floor in record time, he ran to rejoin Jet. Jet was waiting for him as promised, on his phone playing some gatcha game.
“Bro bro bro bro bro bro bro” Rama sputtered. “We gotta go!”
“Huh? What? How’d it go?”
“Horribly! She’s trying to kill me!”
Rama pulled on Jet’s arm, motioning for him to run.
“Bro what are you on about!?” Jet asked, too confused to listen.
“New girl is like some Jim Jones type! S-she just tried to kill me with a sword. We gotta leave and call the police!”
Above them they heard something cut through the ceiling. They looked up, seeing a jasmine blade stick through. The blade began to move, as smoothly as a knife through butter. It made a circular shape, cutting a hole in the ceiling. What was part of the roof fell to the ground, making a loud thud. Josephine leaped down, landing before them.
“No delaying the inevitable” she stated, pointing her sword at Rama.
“Holy shit!” Jet said in surprise.
“Told you!” Rama yelled.
Josephine closed the gap between them in a flash. With her free arm she punched Jet, who was able to put up his arms to defend himself but the blow was strong enough to knock him back about a dozen and a half feet. In a swift continuous motion she kicked Rama in the stomach, forcing him to crash into the lockers. Rama slid to the ground, clutching his stomach in pain. She stepped to him, looking down with cold lifeless eyes.
“I’m sorry about this. You will forgive me once you’re in my world.” she predicted.
She was about to end Rama’s life when something hit her head, making her lurch. Rama looked at the ground, seeing that it was a metal thermos. Josephine directed her attention to where the thermos came from only to meet a fist to the face. Her head shot black, nose bleeding.
“Bro run!” Jet exclaimed, revealing that it was he who saved Rama.
Rama scrambled to get up. Together they began to run away from the dazed madwoman. They made it only a few feet when they heard her yell “Gravitas!”
Their bodies became very very heavy. They collapsed to the ground, unable to move a muscle.
“Ah god damn it!” Rama cursed.
“I’m gonna say it, this is not good” Jet commented.
“You’re probably wondering how I’ve stopped you.” Josephine said, blowing some blood out of her nostrils.
“It’s magic from my world. Whereas your world has so very little of it, in mine it flows all around, allowing anyone to conjure it. This is the power my world offers. You can master it.”
“Wow.” Jet grunted. “You’re right, the new girl is insane. I’m sorry, I forgot you never mess with crazy people.”
“Ah!” Rama screamed, trying his hardest to stand back up.
“It’s no use.” Josephine declared. “My gravity magic can’t be overcome by a….”
She stopped, seeing that Rama was indeed able to get up, albeit ever so slightly. The best he could do was get onto one knee. Regardless, that was not supposed to be possible.
“Gravitas” she said again, increasing the magic power.
Rama’s body slammed hard into the floor but because of it, Jet was temporarily freed. They did not know it, but when’s Jospehine’s magic is focused on something, it weakens the magic on everything else. This allowed Jet to roll away and spring up.
“Freedom!” he exclaimed, only to be met with a kick to the chest, knocking him through a glass window pane.
This time it was Rama’s turn to get up, using Jet’s unintentional distraction to his advantage. Before Josephine could turn around, Rama unleashed a high kick to the head, knocking her to the ground. Rama then leaped out the broken window, where he landed next to his injured friend. Jet had coughed up blood as Rama picked him up.
“Can you run?” Rama asked.
“We’re about to find out!”
Together they began to sprint away, despite almost falling multiple times along the way. As they ran Rama looked up at the sky, seeing how it turned pitch black, as if they were in the void of space.
“The hell is happening!?” Jet wondered, noticing the sky as well.
“I wish I knew!”
They ran until they made it to the gates of the school. Instead of running past it, they instead hit what felt like a wall. They bounced back. Rama went up to it, putting his hand on the invisible barrier.
“We can’t leave!?” Jet observed “What’s stopping us!?”
“Magic.” Rama realized. “Everything she said was true. She’s an assassin from another world.”
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