“That’s a lot don’t you think?”
“. . .”
“Mn, yeah, it’s more than it should be, ah! Not like that, if it was zero it would be better.”
He doesn’t reply to me, but that was expected, I’m talking to a teddy bear. I wish I could say ‘with’, I’m talking with a teddy bear, that wouldn’t be as sad, maybe he’d even reply to me, but sadly he won’t. No one was around since it was late, I did what any responsible person would do.
I still rubbed his head, he likes it when I do that,
It is astonishing though, the number of missing animals keeps rising every day, how does something like this even happen? It would be one thing if they were strays, but reports of strays has nearly dropped to zero in recent months, even that cat who usually hangs around outside this café is gone. I would have loved to rub his belly right about now, he was so cute, even if he was missing an eye; Poor thing.
Of course, he doesn’t reply, but I can’t stand in front of a wall plastered with missing animals' posters all night.
“do you think anyone will show up to lecture tonight?”
“. . .”
“Yeah, ha, that would be cool wouldn’t it?”
It’s around eight right about now, my class would start in another half hour. I decided that it would be a good idea to start walking, even if the professor wouldn’t show up either, it was still better than staying home the entire time.
Looks like I’m getting a call, considering my social pool, it’s almost certainly her,
Sliding my phone out my pocket and answering in one swift motion is a move that I’ve practiced diligently for years for the opportunity to impress someone if I ever got a phone call with them around, just like from the movies.
I pulled it from my ear, that was too loud,
“Ahhhh!!! Help me, Ed!”
“Why are you screaming?”
And what’s with all that noise in the background, like boxes falling over endlessly,
“It’s an emergency!!!”
I hung up.
“Let’s get to class, Wellington-”
*Tururu. Tururu- clack*
“. . . Is that it?”
Her voice is level, albeit out of breath.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“Aren’t you going to ask why I was screaming and shouted for help?”
If I was being honest, not really, tonight's really beautiful, not many people are walking around so getting to class wouldn’t even take that long.
“If I was being honest, not really.”
What kind of sound is ‘Okh’?
“I thought we were best friends, Ed! Why are you abandoning me?!”
I pulled my phone from my ear, too loud!
“We’re not best friends, we’re not even friends.”
“Okh! I’m hu~urt, Ed! Are you throwing me away?!”
Too loud! She’s basically screaming.
“No, no, it’s just hard to consider someone like you as a friend is all.”
Like she was fawning over a puppy,
“You consider me as a person? You’re so cute!”
. . . There was a ten second silence between us, should I hang up?
“Don’t hang up!”
Too loud! Class is on the other side of campus, maybe I should walk faster.
“Fine, fine, what did you call for?”
“We~ell~ since you ask~ed.”
“The answer is no.”
“At least hear me out, Ed.”
I sighed, what do I have to lose, I guess.
“Have you ever heard of a succubus?”
That was out of left field. Her tone playful enough to where I wondered if she would cosplay as one.
“I am a proud young man who is cultured in the ways of anime and manga, so yes, I am somewhat of a scholar.”
“Great! I was thinking of cosplaying as one.”
I hung up.
“Eddd~~~ I’m not serious, I mostly swear, but not entirely, actually that was a lie, I do swear, but that’s beside the point, I’m asking for a very important reason.”
“I’m sorry, I just don’t think you could pull it off.”
“No, no, no, not regarding that, but something else, almost as important.”
“Then what is it?”
Her tone almost sounded a bit serious,
“As much as it tempts you, Ed, it would be wise to stay away from them.”
I stopped dead in my tracks... stunned... betrayed... befuddled...
“How... how could you...”
“How could you call me and tell me to stay away from a succubus?...”
“Do you even have a heart!?”
“. . . are you that depraved?”
“Bookworm! I am a man of culture! If I see a succubus, I don’t care how much it kills me, I will approach her!”
“. . . you’re sadder than I thought...”
Ahhh~ a bunch of people are looking at me weird~ ahh, I wish I had a rock to crawl under...
“Weirdo... Creep... What’s a succubus? Oh!...”
My walking sped up, hopefully they didn’t see my face.
“You are a sad case, Ed, very sad, I’m almost sorry I own you.”
“You should be. Why were you telling me to avoid them though?”
“It’s mostly for your own good, I don’t want some random woman strong arming herself between the unbreakable relationship we share-”
“Don’t just hang up on me!”
I pulled the phone away,
“Hm, yes, succubus, very attractive horndogs, got you, stay away from them because all they want is to do lovey dovey stuff to me, got it, mhmm, mhmm, do you hear how unreasonable you sound?”
“They will steal your soul from you until you shrivel to a raisin.”
“Yeah, but I’m single, I think it’s a fair trade.”
Her groan was too obvious to ignore.
“I’ve heard through the grape vine that there are a few of them around town recently, so please, keep watch and don’t do anything stupid.”
I guess it only makes sense for her to feel this way.
I’ve known her for the better part of nine years, so in a way she’s someone who I would consider as a person I would rather interact with than ignore, and maybe in some sick way, she feels the same as I do.
“Where are you walking to anyways?”
“You already know.”
I could feel her smug smile over the phone,
“Just because I do, doesn’t mean I don’t want you to say. Besides, Ed, when are you going to stop taking night classes?”
I stopped in my tracks. I haven’t thought about that question a whole lot at all. I’ve mostly just accepted that the only lectures I’d attend are night ones. It’s been three semesters already so I probably still can’t keep doing this, but... anytime would feel too soon. It’s been the same from high school as well; my attendance was atrocious but my grades were good enough to get me to college, just barely though, if I pulled the same stunt any other year, I probably wouldn’t have gotten in.
“I don’t know. Whenever I do, I guess.”
“M’kay, if you ever decide you don’t want to and you fail at everything and life, you can always work full time at my library!”
“That’s no different than death.”
“It’s quite different I’ll have you know, humph!”
If only that were a joke, ah,
“I’ll talk to you later Bookworm, I’m at my class,”
Got here sooner than I expected,
“it’s nothing, have fun!”
She hung up.
Haaa~ here comes an hour of me doing homework alone. I don’t even need to be here, no one else bothers coming. I walked down the aisle to the front of the class, sitting front row. Even the professor doesn’t come, everything is online, but they still assigned a physical space for whatever reason, it’s not a bad place to be when you want absolute silence.
Forty-five minutes passed.
“Just another five to go, Wellington.”
My ear perked at the noise, it sounded like brittle leaves being stepped on. Just a dry-
I turned around, seeing a girl sitting in a back row directly behind me,
Her chewing was slow and methodical.
Her eyes locked onto mine near instantaneously.
They’re a piercing pale blue and they’re prodding my existence with a stick, testing if I’m really there.
I saw it play out before my very eyes, her hand went into a bag of chips and came out with a whole slice. She brought it slowly and eloquently to her mouth with an elegance no human should have, opening her mouth two centimeters before placing the chip half way in her mouth, with just her incisors, she slammed her teeth into the chip
Crunch. A swift, dry and evocative sound that told the life's story of the potato used to make it.
This was truly how I felt, I would have felt, no, I didn’t feel this way, some obnoxious girl was eating potato chips in the loudest and ear grating way possible. She started chewing, mind you, she started chewing while dead-eyeing me, she didn’t even close, her mouth, it was slow and deliberate trying to squeeze every sound out of that chip that she could.
“Hey, do you mind-”
Crunch. Another chip in her mouth, slowly chewing, never breaking eye contact. She turned the bag to her head and I could hear a sound like leaves blowing from the wind as crumbs fell into her mouth and she chewed. She used the back of her hand to wipe her mouth and slowly stood up, walking sideways to exit the row, all the while crumbling the bag in her hand. A few uncomfortably slow seconds later, she walked backwards to one of the exit doors, her eyes still on me, and walks out, dropping the bag on the floor.
“At least pick up your trash!”
But she already left. There really are all kinds of people aren’t there wellington?
I’d never seen her before, and she struck me as a case in and of herself. I’d never noticed her on campus before, even though it’s a college and you see a new face every day, I’m sure I’d know if I met someone like her once before, like finding waldo but the entire page is black and he’s in the center. How did she even get in here without me hearing? Was I that invested in my boring homework that I only pretended to do half the time, or could it be... could it possibly be...
“She... hehe, she’s... a...”
My heart can’t contain itself!
A succubus! I’m in love! My book and laptop practically pack themselves and wellington as well, I can’t have her thinking I’m a weirdo for owning a teddy bear. Ah~! I’m not going to be single anymore!
My feet were on the clouds walking out the same door she took, thinking lovey dovey thoughts, oh my, I’m such a-
I fell prone on the ground, something dropped on top of me! I turned to see what but in one swift motion my arm bent behind my back and my head to the floor.
Whoever is on me isn’t light, he’s heavy.
“No, I will not mate with you, I’m insulted you dared to try.” it was a calm voice.
A girl? Could it be the one with the chips?
“What are you talking about?”
“You made prolonged eye contact with me and issued a challenge, I knew you were bold, but not stupid. Victory goes to he who strikes last.”
“It’s he who strikes first-”
Agh! She twisted my arm harder
“Ow! Ow! Ow! Ease up a little!”
“Please?” The sound I hear travelling to my ear made me uncomfortable.
“No, not unless you show submission, I demand it.”
“I don’t know how to do that! I’m not an M!”
The pressure eased a little, her voice has the faintest bit of disappointment,
“I can’t believe it... You’re feeling arousal at this time? Despicable.”
What’s she even talking about?! Just because a girl is on my back and twisting me to a pretzel doesn’t mean that this is arousing, even if just a little- No! It’s not! I refuse to become a deviant who enjoys submission.
I struggled with my free hand, but it’s quickly struck down with her other hand, when did girls get so strong? Or am I just weak?
“Try anything weird and I’ll break your leg.”
I gulped involuntarily, I feel like she might, and is capable of backing up her words with action. I still don’t understand what she’s saying and I admit that I might be feeling a bit unnerved.
“Fine, I won’t, how about you let me go and we can clear this up.”
She shot it down just like that huh?
“I don’t need your deviant tongue wriggling in my ear.”
What kind of person does she take me for?
She twisted my arm further up my back.
“What was that for?”
She must obviously be a sadist.
“Think ill of me again and I’ll shake your leg.”
“You meant break, right?”
She told me with unequivocal calmness with steady intonations in her voice,
“If that’s where your perversion leans then of course, I’d be more than happy to break it after. What I refer to though, mind you, only what I refer to, is that I will do to your leg like a pencil under the persistence of vision phenomenon.”
Keep calm, Ed, you’re being assaulted by a kook talking about pencils and magic tricks, but playing your cards right should get you out of this unharmed.
“I don’t know what that is.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to, your character does not reflect that level of intellect, mind you though, I speak purely objectively.”
Objectively used to a word with meaning, but I’m afraid she’s killed it.
“I will shake your leg not unlike a pencil, after which it will not appear to be rubbery, but your bones would have all broken so recreate the lack of stiffness even better.”
“That made absolutely no sense!”
Her knee drove into the back of my head and her entire body weight is on my back. As erotic as I think this would be to some people, I have to assure you, I’m not an M.
“I make nothing but sense, Mr. Masochist, I make nothing but sense, of course, I speak perfectly objectively.”
I felt uncomfortable when I could feel her smile burn a hole in my skull.
“What can I do to get you off of me?”
“I gasp, you want to get off to me? How expected, Mr. Masochist, you live up to your names sake quite well in the worst way possible.”
Her chuckle was invisible but I saw its dry shadow,
“Could it be that by my inflicting mild discomfort in you, you’re aroused?”
“No, no, you misunderstood.”
“Then you meant to ask me to get off to you?”
“No, no, you misunderstood-”
“With your character it would be quite difficult for myself or any other female to do said task, I’m sorry to say Mr. Masochist, your goal is quite unreasonable, but don’t feel too bad, I say this objectively.”
She makes me want to cry! Am I that unattractive?! They say that at least one percent of the population will find you at least somewhat attractive am I a lost cause? The only thing that hurts more than my dislocating arm is the hole in my heart.
She shushed me like a child, patting my head with her free hand, her mouth neared my ear,
“Even though no one would like you as a partner, I wouldn’t mind keeping you as a pet.”
Okay, that’s it.
“Okay, that’s it, I don’t need this negativity in my life.”
“I am taken aback; you wouldn’t want to be my underling?”
“Pets and underlings are two different things.”
“We will have to agree to disagree Mr. Masochist, we will have to, but for practical purposes, we will agree that I’m right.”
. . . This girl. . .
I don’t think I can feel my arm at this point and the floor is really sticking to my face,
“Are you just going to subdue me forever?”
“Of course not, I have more important fish to dry.”
“So when will you get off?”
“With you? I’m sad to say but that would take a while.”
“Not with me you pervert!”
Ahh, my tears just want to come but I’m a man, I have to keep them in! Why couldn’t she be a succubus!
She sighed more bored than anything else,
“Then I suppose I’ll release you when I feel you’re no longer a threat.”
“And how do you plan to guess that?”
“When I deem you look pathetic enough.”
If I could see myself out of my own body, I would say I look pretty pathetic. I’m pinned to the floor by a girl who I’m guessing is shorter than me and I’m disappointed in myself, I have failed as a man.
“Have you given up?”
“Yes, yes, let me go!”
“Your voice doesn’t sound enough like a losers, you still have fight in you. I refuse.”
“What? How can I not sound like a loser the way you’ve got me pinned?”
She pauses for a moment, I think I can even hear the gears in her head turning.
“Because I said so.”
Clearly, I am dealing with an intelligence no less than an astrophysicist.
“I shall grant you one wish.”
“I wish you would get off of me.”
“What was the point in asking?”
“I accept your wish, I shall reply. Because I thought it would be nice.”
For every deity that exists, why? What have I done to receive this punishment?
“What do you mean accepted? Does that mean you’ll let me go?”
“Of course not. I already granted your wish.”
“I didn’t wish for you to answer my question.”
The pressure is slowly being lowered, she must be distracted. Ow!
“I am not distracted! You thought that sweet talking me would work? Never, my heart is too pure a thing for feeble words to do me harm.”
She sounds too high and mighty.
“Then what about wish number one?”
“I said I would grant you one wish, I never said it would be your first.”
“That’s just mean! You’re no fair!”
The pressure on my now numbing arm doesn’t change.
“What did you say?” she asks.
“I said that wasn’t fair!”
“Now you’re starting to sound like a loser.”
Can I sue her for both verbal abuse and physical assault, or would torture work just as well?
“I will release you, well, may, I may release you under one condition.”
“And what is that condition?”
Ow! She tightens again, “I meant, what condition my superior!”
“Good. The condition is...”
Is it possible to tell when someone is going to ask you something that you just can’t say yes to?
“I’m going to pee on you.”
Nooooo!!! No, no, no!
“I refuse! No! No!”
She says it without a hint of shame, I already told her I’m not an M!
“Then it looks like we’ll be here for the entire night. Alone. But, together.” she cuts me off before I even start to speak,
“No, we will not mate.”
“Why do you want to pee on me?”
“I say, Mr. Masochist, I say, you are quite dense, aren’t you? For what other reason than to prove that I am your superior?”
My brain can not. It simply can not.
“How about I buy you another bag of those chips?”
The second time I think she’s actually thought about what she’d say.
“That seems logical. Yes. I will accept your oblation.”
Logic is the last thing she has.
I’m still on face on the floor, but at least she’s not on me, my arm feels utterly numb like it’s been anesthetized at a dentist's office, the difference being that the dentist makes you feel nothing, but hers made me feel sad.
“Ah~, This hurts~” I feel her bare feet press into my back and a step on my head later pushing my face in the floor, she stands in front of me. I’m not a stepping stone you know! She’s looking down on me, arms crossed in a haughty manner.
I can finally get a good grasp of what she looks like. Her hair was a thick forest of shoulder length umber hair, wild and uncombed, but a little brushed to give it some shape. Her eyebrows were a reflection of that, they were in a word, bold. Thicker than a caterpillar for sure, darker than her hair and strong, they were honestly works of art. Below those staring straight at me were cyan eyes laced with cyanide, dangerous... and a face that you would call beautiful under certain conditions. It wasn’t as though she were harsh on the eyes, quite the opposite, I think she’s rather, not cute, but appealing? I’m just being mean. It’s hard to say, but I can’t quite say she’s a model due to one small thing, her face as a very light layer of hair all over it, like peach fuzz but on a grander scale. Besides that, she’s shorter than me so I win at, at least one thing, though, the final thing about her that struck me is well...
I’m still prone on my belly, and she isn’t wearing a skirt, so seeing her panties is not in my move list, I sigh internally. I’m not a pervert, I’m just disappointed. Then again, I doubt she could have assaulted me like that while wearing one. There’s a smug look of victory in her eyes, you didn’t beat me, I let you win!... I do sound like a loser... Finally, able to feel pain in my arm again, I did a push up motion and land on my feet, standing taller than her. It was like a streak of lightning in the form of flesh, her foot collided violently with my abdomen and I keeled over in pain. I could have sworn I saw my entire third grade flash before my eyes. On my knees and prostrated, she spoke,
“You yielded, bare your belly.”
“How dare you think of seeking vengeance on the clear victor, you have no shame. You truly are the worst M I’ve ever met.”
“You’ve met other M’s?!”
“On your back or I will shake your legs.”
I did as she said, why do I have to go through this non-sense?
“Good, good, that seals it. All that’s left is to mark you with my scent.”
“I thought you said you wouldn’t pee on me!”
“Oh my, you’re a super M, Mr. Masochist. I never said I wouldn’t pee on you though, that’s your own fault, but don’t worry, I won’t pee on you. I may mark you with my scent, but I don’t want it too strong, otherwise people will associate it with your weakness.”
If I weren’t nineteen, I would think this is child abuse.
I fought to suppress the pain, but it hurts so much, it feels like a Mexican restaurant exploded in my stomach, a last second barrier blunted most of the force, had it not been there, there would have been a high likelihood I’d have a hole in my gut. On my feet, she stares me dead in the eyes, she’s shorter than me, but her presence makes her feel a few inches taller. I stare into her icy eyes, and beautiful face under certain conditions. Then quickly avert them lest I get another strike, her predatory instincts are on another level.
“Close your eyes. If you flinch then you get hit. I will make you a strong henchman.” she says, am I doomed to be her lackey?
I closed my eyes and forced myself to think happy thoughts, think of puppies, think of rainbows... nope, I don’t know what happy thoughts to think, I haven’t had even one since Wellington. That's a bit sad. I manage to close my eyes and brace myself for the worst... Soft?
I won’t dare to open my eyes, but I can tell that she’s hugging me, her arms are so soft, I can feel them through my shirt, her face pressed against my shirt, slowly nuzzling her face on my chest. I can practically hear her heartbeat. Not because my hand is on her chest, it’s not, but because it’s so strong. Unnaturally strong. I’ve never heard the heart of a lion before, but I imagine it would sound as deep and intense as hers, it’s a bass drum. This contact between a human and an almost but not quite human, lasted for about two minutes, the entire time in which I refused to open my eyes to face her wrath. Until. I could feel very gently, the softness of her frame parting mine, the solemn sorrow of want in my chest that would have liked more. If anything, this was a textbook definition of the carrot and the stick, but in my case, it was the carrot and the entire tree.
“Why didn’t you exchange my embrace?” She asked in that cold and unattached voice. I opened my eyes only because I imagine she’d think averting eye contact would be a sign of weakness.
“I gave you my scent. So now you can hench freely.”
“That doesn’t make me your henchman!”
“It does. So, henchman, hench. Now." What did she even mean?
“Firstly, now that I’m free from your brutal strength, and a safe distance away,”
I took a few steps back from her attack range,
“I’m under no obligation to answer to you!” I made myself clear, striking a Phoenix Wright ‘objection’ pose. Well, I thought I did... and then she blurred in front of me for a fraction of a second... Why was I back on the floor?!
“You thought you were free from my alpha energy? No, you were mistaken, it wasn’t alpha energy, it was me! DIO!”
Was that a Jojo’s reference?
“That was a Jojo’s reference.” She said, “Those who fail to burn history are doomed to repeat it.”
“Even though you botched it, that’s true in its own way!”
“Silence henchman, now, hench!”
I offered another bag of chips, and she’s off me again, this time without the kick.
When I mentioned her face as being beautiful under certain conditions, I meant it. She’s a looker that could kill, and in her case, that wasn’t an exaggeration. Despite her well-proportioned face and sculpted eyebrows, gosh they’re beautiful, there were a few things that stood out. Her arms and legs were hairy, not hairy in the sense of peach fuzz on your limbs, but hairy in the sense that she was sprouting follicles like a lumberjack. But stronger. Her muscle definition was exceptional, she looked very fit for her age, about the same as mine. But the most prominent thing though? If I were being honest? It was when she walked on my back. I noticed it even more when she stood in front of me, barefoot, it was laid out in plain sight. Her feet. If I’m a size nine, then her feet were more apt to belong on a hobbit. She was easily a size twelve. The anatomy made no sense. The only plausible explanation I had to explain this was she had a terrible foot accident in her youth and the only person who could donate feet to her was a man of six foot two, but even then, it only seemed to make a little bit of sense. No, absolutely no sense. It was for these reasons that I came to this conclusion. She was cursed.
“Mr. Masochist, why do you look at me like that? Has my radiance stunned you?”
“I genuinely feel you’re trying to kill me.”
“Have you died?”
“Then I wasn’t trying.”
“Then how do explain that kick!”
“I slipped on a banana peel.” Her eyes darted away from mine
“You’re not even trying to lie!” I stood up, I can’t take this anymore.
I’m sick of almost dying!
“Enough! I’m done! I’m sick of almost dying!”
“Do you need cough syrup or Viagra?”
“Not that kind of sick, though if I needed Viagra that would be a sickness in itself.” She looks at me,
“Then if you’re sick of almost dying I’d be happy to finish the job.”
I thought I shrieked a little... “No... no, I’m good... but...”
“But? I don’t like when people do that.”
I look at her with eyes that wreak of dead confusion, what doesn’t she like what people do?
“I don’t like when someone is about to say something then they pause and the protagonist has to ask them to continue, it’s not dramatic, so please, don’t continue or I’ll stop watching.”
But, you’re a dear viewer, we can’t afford to lose you! Fine, okay everyone, since I’m in a drama studio, I’ll just gather the boys to tell them we’re cutting that trope- What am I even saying? I continue,
“You did it again.” her eyes cut into me.
“I’m sorry! Just...” I can hear her cracking her toes like a boxer cracks his knuckles.
“What I’m saying is, I have to ask you something... Have you been cursed?”
Crunch. We’re sitting outside on a bench close to nowhere but far from anywhere, we’ve just been staring at the ant hill in front of us. Crunch. There’s a line of ants carrying food to the hole in the ground, and ants in another line leaving. The one’s leaving come back relatively faster with the crumbs falling on them. Crunch.
I got her those chips she wanted. Crunch. They cost more than I thought, gourmet potato chips for ten bucks? This world is upside down. It is beautiful though, I’d never imagine I would be sitting next to anyone tonight while staring at a lake. Almost romantic in a way, if I were a poet I’d describe the gilded orange rays bouncing from our streetlamp, reflecting off the black water surface. But, I’m not a poet, so I won’t try.
She asked. I told her my name.
“have you ever eaten anyone?”
. . . “No. I don’t think I have. I’m almost afraid to ask but have you?”
“Yes,” she takes another chip from her bag, a loud crunch on the first chew, I notice that her incisors strike each other only on the first bite, chewing the rest with her molars.
“My little brother cut himself when we were playing in the woods, he cried and so I ate him.” What?
“Hm?” her black brows arched, her eyes are asking if I’ve never eaten a sibling before,
“Yes, I ate him. I put his finger in my mouth and drank his blood.” So, she licked his wound. “Aren’t your words a bit extreme?”
“Not at all,” Crunch.
Then the rest of the chip falls in her mouth. “It is what it is. I’m a cannibal.”
A wind blows her short wild hair, it’s a dark brown, and thick, unkempt is the best word to describe it. She faces me and I face her, a coy smile on her face, “And you’re a cannibal too.”
Her name is Yahbara.
Merci pour la lecture!