Here Again
844 3 40
X
Reading Options
Font Size
A- 15px A+
Width
Reset
X
Table of Contents
Loading... please wait.

    Anna dropped her pencil back on Lucie’s desk, finally done with her homework. It had taken her longer than expected - well, she was also catching up for yesterday. As for the desk’s owner, she’d just been listening to the music on her phone in silence, lying down on her bed.

    Things had gotten pretty tense in the past few hours, and despite their best efforts, they didn’t manage to make the mood come back down.

    It was still pretty early in the evening, but they had already both switched to pajamas, considering they had no plans to get out of the house.

    Anna stood up from her friend’s chair and packed her stuff back in her bag, before joining Lucie in lying down, letting herself drop on the sleeping bag.

    “Wanna take the bed tonight?” Lucie asked, dropping her headphones.

    “No, I’m good. Plus it’s yours and I don’t wanna impose…“ She answered. “Well, more than I already do anyway.” She added.

    Lucie thought for a second. “You really don’t like your parents, do you?”

    She stayed silent.

    “It’s fine if you don’t wanna talk about it.” Lucie said.

    “No, no, it’s okay, I should talk about it anyway.”

    “So… What? They abuse you? Hit you? Try to control your life?”

    “None of that… It’s actually pretty tame, so… I dunno. It makes me feel like I’m a spoiled child, overreacting with my… dislike of them. It’s not like they do things actually awful parents do.”

    “Hey, just because it’s not as bad as it could be doesn’t mean it isn’t bad. What do they do?”

    “Just… I feel like they’re never here for me. I mean, that’s an exaggeration, It’s not like I’ve never ever received any encouragement or that they don’t love nor support me, but… Dad is always so ready to blame me for stuff, and mom just stays completely passive.”

    “So you’re running away from home because they ain’t perfect.”

    Anna paused. “...It feels even worse when you put it like that.”

    “Nah. I get it. I wouldn’t let it slide either. Just… You’ve confronted them about this first, or…?”

    “Not as strongly as I should’ve. I’m not… Brave, like you, you know.”

    “Are you kidding? Have you seen how you’ve jumped at that mummy when Sam was in danger?” Lucie turned on her bed to let her head peek out towards her friend. “Look, maybe you’re like non-confrontational and stuff when it comes to yourself, but you’re definitely brave since you stand up for your friends. So, I’m thinking, maybe you just need to see yourself as your own friend and it could work?”

    Anna looked at her friend with a sad smile. “Maybe.”

 

    “What about you?” Anna asked. “Your parents are cool. Why do you avoid them like that?”

    “That’s…” Lucie hesitated, scratching her jaw with her index, and lying back down properly. “I don’t want to tell you the full story.”

    “I’m fine with just parts of it.”

    “Okay, so… We kinda needed to move because of me.” She admitted. “Multiple times.”

    “Did something happen?”

    “Not always, but I just… Like, every time, I’d just eventually start feeling super uncomfortable wherever we settled, and we had to move again. Sometimes it took only days, longest I held was a few months.”

    Anna stayed silent.

    “It’s like, it was never perfect. I’d always end up spotting an ultra red flag, and from there, I just couldn’t leave the house. I was too scared. So, we moved. And moved again. And again, and again again… And… It’s like it doesn’t bother them that I’m flighty like this. I’m sure it’s because they’re great and they care a lot about me feeling well, but I still end up feeling guilty that I’m such a weight on their life, get what I mean?”

    “I think I get it, yeah.”

    “They gotta find a new house, and do the actual moving, and having stable friends in a situation like this is basically impossible.” Lucie paused. ”So there. It’s guilt. I feel like a burden to my parents, so I tend to get a bit uncomfortable with them because of that.”

    Anna lifted her head up to look at Lucie, who was smiling.

    “Man, I feel so much better now that that’s off my chest.”

    “Ah ah, yeah… Same for me.” lied Anna.

    “Wanna go grab a bite and go to bed early?”

    “It could help with the fatigue, I guess…”

    Lucie stretched out her hand to Anna, and they stood up and walked down to the first floor.

 

    When they came back to her room, Lucie was just deep in thinking, eyeing Anna and making her feel a bit uncomfortable.

    “Okay, seriously, what is it?” Anna tentatively asked, dislodging a bit of meat fiber that had gotten stuck between two of her teeth.

    “I’m just… worried about something. I don’t know how you acted before I arrived so maybe it’s always been like that, but I’m seriously sensing a vibe.”

    “...Is it about the collar?”

    “Yeah.”

    Sensing she wouldn’t receive any more precise answer since Lucie wasn’t done thinking through, Anna maneuvered around the boxes in the room and laid down in her sleeping bag. Lucie tucked under her own covers and hit the lightswitch.

 

    “Seriously…” Lucie muttered.

    “Mmh?” Anna twisted in her blanket, turning to better hear her friend.

    “The… nuzzling, the food issues, the weird collar change, the ultraviolet eyes... Heck, even the way the mummy looked…”

    “You… think you found a connection?” She asked with concern.

    “...What if you’re turning into a cat?”

    Anna felt stunned hearing this last word. She suddenly remembered. She remembered her dream from last night with the egyptian cat woman.

    “I really think I’m overthinking this, but there’s this nagging ‘but maybe’, Anna…” Lucie turned around. “Anna?”

    Anna had fallen asleep.

 

    Opening her eyes, Anna recognised the pinkish void she was in. The woman was already here, sitting, turned away from her. She turned herself around to sit down on her butt, which caused her presence to be noticed, and the stranger turned her head around.

    She looked in stupefaction at Anna. “Surrprrising, has even yourr mental image changed? This is a new one…”

    “Whu- what? Have I done something wrong?” Anna looked down at her body, and it was still hers- well, the female one. She sighed in relief.

    “This is the firrst time I trransforrm the body of a man and they become a woman even to theirr corre…” The cat-lady approached Anna slowly on all fours, sizing her up.

    “Wait wait wait, first up, who are you and why are you doing this?” she said, scuttering backwards.

    “Didn’t I alrready tell you why? I need to take overr yourr body. As forr my name, it is Qelhatat, queen and rrulerr of Egypt!” She pounced on Anna and caught her by surprise. Anna felt the same pain as yesterday, only focused in specific places, amongst which the top of her head, her ears and… somewhere… above her butt. She didn’t know what that was.

    The pain subsided quicker than last time, and Qelhatat relaxed her grip on Anna. The two ladies helped one another up, and Anna let go of the woman’s arms.

    “You’re… A queen?”

    “Surrprrised?”

    “And you snatch people’s bodies?”

    “Immorrtality comes at a cost, sweethearrt.” Qelhatat paused. “A cost forr otherrs at least, I perrsonally find it an appealing offerr.”

    “That’s… That’s immoral!”

    Qelhatat rolled her eyes. “Yes, yes, I have hearrd that beforre. Morre imporrtantly, look at you!” She cooed. “This is verry special!” She grabbed Anna’s face with her hands and playfully squished it a bit.

    “I don’t get it!” Anna growled while freeing herself from her grasp. “What are you even gonna do with my body anyway?”

    “Continue to live my life, of courrse.” was her vague answer.

    Anna remembered a choice question from her teacher. “How did you find our portal?”

    “Thanks to my powerrs, I felt it frrom farr away, and... cirrcumstances made me need to go thrrough.”

    Anna took a leap. “Powers… Like, magic or something?”

    “What else, darrling?”

    “So you have magic in your universe?” She couldn’t believe she’d been right on the first try.

    “Does that mean you don’t? ...Well that is prroblematic then. It means I have to go back the otherr way...” Qelhatat took a step away from Anna, letting her face her back. “Tell me, what is yourr name? I might need to imperrsonate you to get yourr frriends to open the porrtal again.”

    “The portal’s broken! It’s gonna take months to repair it!” Why was the conversation so casual and honest, anyway? Was Qelhatat so certain that she wasn’t a threat!?

    The cat-lady’s face snapped back towards Anna, horrified. “What have you just said?”

    “I said, the portal’s not working! It broke when you forced your way through!”

    “You arre not saying the trruth, arre you?” The cat woman’s face grew more scared.

    “Why would I be lying!?” She screamed atop her lungs. Qelhatat’s expression froze in terror. Anna felt her vision blur, before she collapsed onto the ground.

40