Chapter 2:

The Worst Club Around

We Are ☆ Star Club!

Around me, whispers of the school’s club recruitment time arose. I tried not too listen in too much, but from what I gathered there was still time to choose. Friend groups clumped together like Styrofoam balls to a cat, and as usual, I was the only ball that didn’t stick with the others. But the chatter got me thinking.

Maybe even someone as awkward as I can find a club I like and possibly even make some friends?

I slowed down, allowing the groups to pass me without even really seeing me. Since I would get lost otherwise, I went with the flow of students, though it felt wrong to be alone among them.

Why am I so awkward?

I couldn’t find an answer, and as I went into the school’s gymnasium with the other students, I stopped for a moment to catch my breath. After being sick for so long, it was still difficult for me not to strain myself. Around me there was excited chatter as students crowded around the most popular clubs, their advertising as colorful and full of energy as themselves.

I shouldn’t push my luck. Why would they accept me and not any of the other, starry-eyed students with their friend groups? Also, I’m not cut out for physical activity. Especially when it comes to hand-eye-coordination. Or any coordination, really.

So I ignored all of the sport clubs, ranging from golfing to dancing. I also walked by the music and art clubs, since my lack of creativity only added to my non-existing talents. I sighed.

There is no chance there’s a paranormal club around here, right?

"Hey, you!"

A random voice all but screamed at me. A girl, maybe a year or two above me, glared with fiery eyes at me, her black hair cut as sharp as the rest of her body. With her arms crossed, her legs in a power-stance, she seemed to intimidate all of the other students.

"Ah, me?"

I reacted before I really understood what it meant to tell her that I had heard her.

"Yes, you! Come closer."

She gestured towards her booth, probably the saddest one in the whole gymnasium. Aside from the fact that it was hidden in the furthest corner, it lacked the care the other clubs had put into their booths. Someone had tried to write the club name in calligraphy on their banner, hanging crookedly behind them. The artist seemed to lack as much coordination and creative talent as I did, because even while squinting, I couldn’t make out what the club was supposed to be.

"Uh, what..."

"You’re going to join our club,” she said, no, declared.

"A-am I?"

"Of course." The girl shook her head. "You came all the way down here."

"I’m just looking at all of my options."

I tried to take a few steps back, hands raised defensively, but the look in her eyes made me freeze in place.

"And now you’re done with that. I’m Erica, by the way. So, come on now, we’re still a few members short."

I could feel myself get smaller and smaller under Erica’s gaze.

"So, uh, what is this club supposed to be, anyway?"

Erica pointed behind herself at the banner.

"Can’t you read?"

I squinted, but the writing remained completely illegible. Instead, I saw another girl napping on the floor, as if it was the comfiest bed in the world. Her dark, almost purple hair fanned out all around her, while she lay curled up right on the floor. There was no blanket or even a pillow to be seen. Somehow, she reminded me of Lulu, her gentle breaths moving the long fringe on her face. Erica watched me for a second, then turned around.

"Hey, Pudding! Wake up, we’ve got a new member."

Erica knelt down, shaking the other girl with a powerful grip, making her flop around.

"I haven’t yet-," I tried to say, but stopped.

This wasn’t getting better. Even worse, Erica seemed way scarier now, like she could beat me up anytime. What was this club that she wanted me to join? Was she a delinquent? She looked like it, and her mouth had a mean streak.

"Uwaaaaaah." The other girl woke up, stretching and rubbing her eyes. "Mornin’, Erica."

"It’s not morning, Pudding. At least sit down at the table, will you?"

Erica sighed, and in this moment, she reminded me more of a worried mom than a gangster. That moment quickly faded, though.


She returned to focus her attention on me.


"The banner."


She rolled her eyes. "What do you think? See? Read?"

"I... I don’t know?"

"I told you, we should have drawn a simpler banner."

This girl, whose nickname seemed to be Pudding, yawned again before basically melting into the table. It was impressive to look at, how she made the flimsy table and cheap plastic chair look comfy. She waved at me.

"Mmmmh. Sorry newbie, no talk from me. I’m tired."

She let out a contagious yawn, and I struggled to stay focused.

"I, uh..."

"Pudding! We talked about this. You’re the club leader, you can’t just nap here!"

Pudding didn’t hear Erica, having already drifted off into dreamland again. So she turned back to me. Another chance to run missed.

"Ah, please excuse us. So, about your application..."

She rummaged behind the desk, not taking her gaze off of me.

"I-uh... since I haven’t signed up yet, I should..."

Again, I tried to get away, but it was futile.

"Yes. Sign here."

Before I could flee, she put a fine brush pen into my hand as well as the application form.

"You need to fill it all out. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask."

Thankfully, the form was simple, so I didn’t have to ask, which would have been too scary, anyway. Still, I wanted to get away, but it wasn’t possible. I cursed my inability to say no, and I was so scared that I didn’t even see which club I signed up for. After I was done, Erica snatched the piece of paper from my hand, as if it was much more valuable than it really was.

"Glad to have you here. The astronomy club welcomes you."

"Wait, what?"

But Erica had turned her attention towards the piece of paper again, mumbling to herself: "Now we only need two more people to sign up."

She quickly glanced at me.

"Do you have any friends that would like to join?"

My hands shot up in the air again. This still felt more like a robbery than a club application.

"Wait, I-"

I didn’t know what to think. An astronomy club? While that sounds perfect in theory, it seems like it’s mismanaged, if even managed at all. Erica is scary, Pudding is sleeping – again and it needs more members? And with the horrible way Erica had explained the club, it wasn’t a mystery why nobody else had joined yet.

"If not, that is also fine." She sighed. "It would just be easier, but, again, it’s fine. Fine. Our first meeting is tomorrow at 4 p.m., room 02-03. Don’t be late."

With that, I was apparently dismissed, as she didn’t look at me anymore, but focused on the few, scared students around me. With a sort of detached feeling in my body, I left the huge gymnasium, my thoughts clouded. I still couldn’t fully recognize what had happened. I was part of the astronomy club. The meeting was tomorrow. I didn’t know what we would do, if there would be a meeting without more members, or if I would get beat up by Erica if I didn’t arrive on time-


I stopped outside, a cold breeze brushing over me. The sky above me was orange, speckled with dark clouds, but rain seemed far away. A nice afternoon, but I couldn’t enjoy it.

Did she imply that I don’t have friends?

Somehow, I doubted that I would make friends at this club, either. I sighed. Tomorrow afternoon. I already regretted this whole day, and should have stayed in bed, if I was being honest.

Was it too late to change clubs?