Chapter 2:

2. straws, pencils and sanitary pads

magical boy in a magical academy where they teach magic

While it's borderline insulting of my parents to have misunderstood me to that extreme, I kind of get it. I can't find a job related to my field. The girl I wasted almost a decade of my life with just got engaged to somebody else. Someone hacked my Notflix account. There's nothing to live for at the moment, nothing to change the colors of tomorrow. 

Still, not wanting to live doesn't mean I want to die. It just means that, periodically, I'll engage in self-destructive acts that might lead to something interesting happening.

Just... not like this?

As though I hadn't just changed against my consent, the magical girl continues: "Now, take something from your pocket so it becomes your weapon. Hurry please. Please."

One of the advantages of being a sentient zombie is that I can leave things like freaking out for later. If I try hard enough, it almost seems like it's happening to somebody else. Like I'm watching this through the comfort of a screen, telling the stupid magical girl to hurry up or everyone will die and I'll leave a bad review.

The only things in my pockets are coins, my keys, and the train tickets. First one is lame, second one could get me sued, third one is... also lame. God, my hips feel weird. I won't think about that right now, though. I won't. Did my underwear change?


"YES!" So I take out the ticket. Immediately, it glows. There's sparkle sound effects. I'm about to have the lamest magical girl weapon in history. I don't think I'm wearing underwear. Bizarre, since my clothes are the same. Wonder why that had to disappear. This is fucked.

The ticket glows in the air, turning pink, blue and yellow.

Then it stops glowing. Like static, the world spazzes out before it resumes. Color returns. The monster girl attacks. The security guard screams. The ticket, still glowing, fall gently onto the ground. I groan—equally off-putting, but we'll put a pin on that—before taking off my shoe, wherein I hurl it at the demon girl. It glows. The shoe, not the girl. When she tries to slash through it, she breaks her claws instead. The guard scurries from under her, clutching at his wounded arm. She doesn't wince, but she staggers. 

Meanwhile, the magical girl has dashed for her staff. "Keep it distracted!" She says, like I'm not doing exactly that. "I just need... three. No, five. Seven..."

What, am I supposed to take the other shoe off? Is this going to keep escalating? I do, but the monster girl dodges it this time. On unfamiliar feet, unfamiliar legs, I stumble. Right, the ticket. It's not glowing anymore. Then what? The coin? On second thought, that could also get me sued...

There's a straw nearby, so I take that. Whatever. It glows, and again, it's whatever. It's funny if it's happening to somebody else. Something like that. It glows, and it grows into a staff, and I seize it mid-air while screaming, "Die, you shit!"

A beam explodes out of the used-to-be-straw. Had I still been standing and that would've tripped me. The monster girl takes it head on, but she doesn't die or anything, because the beam is... made of fruit juice...

This has to be a fever dream. 

"Done!" Exclaims the magical girl. She seems to have fixed her staff with tape. The cheap kind. Upon aiming at the monster girl, she says, "Die, you shit!" And fires a blast so big it finally breaks the ticket guy from his phone-induced stupor. He screeches, then presses the emergency button. Too little, too late, but it's the thought that counts.

So the train station catches fire because that's what happens when you throw a fire blast at it, and of course, this prompts passengers and employees to pour out of the train. The juice-drenched monster girl is a bit crispy at the ends, but it's hard to see with all the panicking civilians. 

That's not what catches my eye, though—it's that there's more of them. As a mere hu(man), I wouldn't have been able to tell, but now, as though they had remained monochrome, there's half a dozen or so individuals that walk instead of running, glassy-eyed, as though they, too, watched this through a screen. 

Even though they're the same as the monster girl, they don't attack. Should I let them be, then? But what if they spontaneously feel like attacking somebody else? 

Thankfully, this happening in the middle of the night instead of rush hours means that neither I nor the magical girl get trampled to death. The monster girl gets shoved to the side, though; she falls. "Hey!" I call out. "Come on, let's—" God, this is weird. "—finish it!"

"Y-yes. Yes." The magical girl holds the staff as though aiming at the monster girl with a rifle. "I'll. Not too hard. Just... capture. Come on."

I glance at the straw-turned-staff. It's literally an overgrown plastic tube, except with glitter. Some of it falls to the floor. "What am I supposed to do? Hello? Do I just say 'capture'?"

"Um. I. Try?"

I aim at the monster girl as she stands back up. Her ponytail is disheveled, tights torn, breaths ragged. I said 'die, you shit' earlier, but with how human she looks aside from the obvious discrepancies, it'd be hard to... finish it? Her? But...

A second portal manifests.

As if jolted by something, the magical girl drops the staff, picks it up, then drops it again. "No no no no no please please do something please before she shows up please."

So I say, "Capture?" 

More bubbles. Oh, joy. The monster girl slashes at them, but the first one breaks the claws on her other hand; it surrounds her. Panicked, she pounds at it from within, but while it bends, it doesn't pop. The other bubbles surround the six other glassy-eyed... beings... except they barely seem to notice. They sit, and they roll inside their round cage, gazing at nothing. 

A second magical girl spawns. This one's blue. The other one was pink. Save for us and the creatures, there's nobody else. If my leg wasn't still fucked up I would've run away the moment I used bubblebeam on those things. "Huh," says the blue magical girl, then, "Oh, dear," when she looks at the fire, then, "You actually managed to do it for once, huh?" And finally, "Who's the other one?"

She takes out a sanitary pad from her dress—and I thought I was unlucky about my weapon of non-choice—which then turns into a fan. With one swift, elegant swoop, the gust she casts towards the fire turns into rain. It's only then that I realize none of us present have been affected whatsoever by the smoke. By the way, her sanitary fan also has sparkling sound effects. 

With another swift, elegant swoop, she snaps the fan shut. "So, Sato," she begins, "I won't chastisize you as much because you finally captured a fallen one—seven of them, actually—but the property damages will still be deducted off your paycheck. What happened to the boy you were supposed to rescue?"

Sato, the pink magical girl, recoiled the moment the second one spawned. Now she slouches so much she might as well have curled into a fetal position. She holds her staff like it's a shield. "Um. The. Um. He. He's."

So the blue one thinks the pink one successfully used bubblebeam on the 'fallen ones'. Apparently that's a novelty. She doesn't seem to know I'm 'the boy'. "And who are you, again?" She asks me, as if on cue. "Why haven't you healed your leg yet? Why are you dressed like that?"

I glance at Sato, who's shaking her head, eyes closed, then back at the blue girl. Right. Time to use a voice that isn't my own again. "I'm, uh. Was traveling and I got roped into this. I'm retired. So."

The blue girl's gaze softens. Good. Any longer and I would've started getting phantom cuts. "I see. Here, let me help you." She kneels next to me, snapping her fan open again. Something glows over my laceration. I just hope there's no glitter or this could get ugly fast. "I'm no doctor, but it should help patch it up while we take you to the hospital. What's your magical girl ID?"

"I forgot?"

The blue girl blinks. "Pardon me?"

"It's been years, so..."

"Years? How old were you when you awakened? Ten?"

Do I look like someone who'd know about magical girl shit? Yes, actually. I think? "It's complicated."

"What? You're either a magical girl or you're not. How is that complicated?"

This girl reminds me of my ex-boss. Before I can word vomit again, Sato blurts out, "Enough!" We both turn to look at her. "I'm. You don't have to do this. Saki. I'm sorry. Yukiko-chan, he was the one I was... supposed to save. Um. I may or may not have chosen him as apprentice. And he was the one who caught the fallen ones."

She could've obviated the last part to save face, but alas. 

Steward McOy