Posts Tagged ‘Magical Girl’

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 10

August 5, 2017

The girls looked around the alleyway and saw that suddenly the whole place was clear of any damage or debris from the brief fight. They walked around as if to make sure and then there was the sound of a siren and all the girls froze. In the chaos, they had not thought about the authorities.

“The police!” Natia said, her voice a little louder than it should have been with her sudden nervousness.

“How were we supposed to get back?” Maya asked.

“Arafina, we need to return now, please,” Margaret said softly. The ground around them started to glow with a soft light. The cops rounded the corner, there were two of them.

“Who are you?” One of the cops asked.

“We’re the Defenders,” Kelsey said. “We’re here to save the world.” She posed heroically for effect.

As soon as the words left her mouth, the girls were suddenly back in the castle courtyard. They adjusted to the sudden change of scenery for a moment. Margaret in particular thought she felt nauseous for a moment but it passed. Arafina walked up to them an expectant look on her face.

“So,” She said. “I gather it went well?”

“The police saw us!” Natia shouted.

“Calm down, Natia,” Kelsey said.

“She has a point,” Lennon said. “What if they recognize us around town?”

“That’s not possible,” Arafina said. “The magic of the transformation charms hides your identities to protect your loved ones.”

Natia waved her hand over her face. “We don’t have masks.”

“And you do not need them, your faces will appear differently to outsiders magically,” Arafina said.

“Well, that’s comforting,” Margaret said. All of the girls nodded and vocalized their agreement.

“I’m finally a superhero,” Natia said. “It’s about time.”

“To answer your earlier question,” Kelsey said. “We demolished all of our targets and we met one of the things pulling the strings of those monsters. It did not give us its name.”

“It looked like a clown, though,” Maya said.

“A clown?” Arafina asked.

“Big nose. Exaggerated features. Goofy.” Lennon said, closing her eyes to picture the thing.

Maya waved her hand and a large hand bag appeared out of thin air. She rummaged through it and pulled out a pencil and a pad of paper and started to sketch. After a few moments, she had a pretty good drawing of what the clown had looked like. She held it up for everyone to see.

“Like this, right?” She asked.

“Exactly!” Kelsey said.

“Oh dear,” Arafina said. “He was at the vanguard of the invasion of my world. If he is showing his face, so to speak, then the true invasion is not too far off.”

“How far off?” Lennon asked. “I mean, I know that there are a lot of variables but how long do you think?”

“I am not sure but no more than one year,” Arafina said. “Of course, they will now want to eliminate you before they make true landfall. You are the cog in their machine.”

“Good,” Kelsey said. “We worked really well together today. We can only get better.”

“Wait,” Margaret said. “Who put you in charge?”

“I must have missed that vote before I officially joined the team,” Maya said. She put her sketch book away.

Kelsey shrugged. “I’m used to it. I am the lacrosse team captain back at school.”

“I’m fine with it,” Maya said with a shrug of her own. “I do say that we should each get a voice on this team.”

“I agree,” Margaret said. “We vote on important things and we should talk to each other.”

“Communication is key,” Lennon said.

“Good because I can’t keep my mouth shut sometimes,” Natia said. Everybody laughed.

“Right,” Kelsey said. “And I’m going to rely on your skills to help me help you. Lennon, you have the fire and the brains. Natia, you’ll bring the noise and the creativity. Margaret, we need your light and your strength. Maya, lend us your shadows and your magic. We’ll learn from each other.” They all nodded at that.

“Speaking of learning,” Lennon said. “We have a lot of studying to do to figure all of this out.”

“True,” Kelsey said. “and speaking of studying, Natia you have to come back to school with us.”

“Wait, what?” Natia asked. “I don’t really want to.”

“You’re our teammate now,” Kelsey said. “We have to look out for each other and it’s best if we stay close.”

Before Natia could object again, Maya spoke up. “No, that’s a good idea. Things are about to get crazy for us. Embracing normal as much as possible will help us, right?”

“I’m glad you said that,” Kelsey said. “You’re coming to school with us too.”

“But, I don’t have anywhere to live,” Maya said.

“You can live here,” Arafina said. “There is plenty of space and I can transport you to school in the morning.” Maya nodded, the witchy, gothic girl suddenly looking even paler than usual.

“What about you, Margaret?” Kelsey asked. “What’s your story?”

“My name is Margaret Washington and go to <> Academy.”

“Ooh, very fancy, Washi,” Natia said. “I guess you’re covered.”

“Wait,” Lennon said. “You’re part of that Washington family?”

“Yes,” Margaret said. “I don’t like making a big deal of it. I love my family and I’m proud of them, though.”

“It’s cool,” Kelsey said. “You seem like a good person to me.”

“I try,” Margaret said with a smile.

Natia yawned. “Is it safe to go home now? I’m tired.”

“Yes,” Arafina said. “Your charms will now protect you from being tracked. They will also transport you back and forth from this castle. You are free to go, of course.”

“And we’ll see each other in the morning,” Kelsey said. “Let’s get some rest, we’ll need it.”

They all focused on their charms and they transformed again. This time it was just a simple flash of light and they were back to their street clothes. Lennon landed in her wheelchair and she looked disappointed for a moment but much happier than she had that morning. The forms of Kelsey, Lennon, and Natia flickered and disappeared. Margaret turned toward Maya with a smile.

“If you need anything, I’ll be happy to help you out,” Margaret said. “I know you’ve had a really rough time of it.”

“Thank you,” Maya said. “I’m OK for now though.”

Margaret nodded and smiled. “See you tomorrow.”

“See you tomorrow,” Maya said. Margaret’s form flickered and disappeared.

“Now, let’s get you fed and pick you a bedroom,” Arafina said. “Follow me.” Maya followed her into the castle.

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Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 9

July 29, 2017

Curtains

The five teenage girls appeared back in the alleyway they had disappeared from, now in their brand new armor. When they looked at each other, they could all see the same nervous excitement in each other’s eyes. They were supposed to be Earth’s new super heroes but they were new at this and there was no telling what would happen. Kelsey stepped forward first.

“Come on, we have some streets to clean up, girls!” She shouted.

They took off in a run because they could not stand to walk and running felt so good. Each one of them felt much faster and more energetic than they ever had before. Especially Lennon who felt an exhilaration in running much faster than her wheelchair could ever go. At some point, Maya took the lead since she was the only one of them present at the scene of the crime and Kelsey slowed a little to let her have the lead. They skidded to a stop in the alleyway.

“They were right here!” Maya yelled.

They looked around and there was nothing there, not even scorch marks. Of course, there were also no bystanders around either. They were probably startled by the craziness that had ensued earlier, running off to see who would believe them. However, in the very center of this alleyway was a dog-eared copy of a script.

“Look at this,” Lennon said and bent down to pick the script up.

“Did your friend drop it?” Margaret asked.

“Yeah, I mean, we weren’t exactly friends anymore but we used to live next to each other,” Kelsey said. “She got into drama big time after her family moved.”

“I remember seeing her in shows,” Lennon said and shivered. “She looked happy up there.”

“I remember that too, actually,” Natia said. She did not remember as much from the previous year but she did remember any excuse not to go to class and Daffney had been in drama previews during assembly.

“They left it behind deliberately,” Maya said angrily. The other girls nodded.

“There’s something written across this page,” Lennon said and she held up the script so they could all see. The word “CURTAINS” was written in jagged pink letters across the page. Lennon could have sworn the word had not been there when she picked the script up.

“Curtains?” Margaret asked. “What does that mean?”

“It means it’s curtains for you, little girls!” A disembodied voice yelled out.

“What? Who said that?” Natia asked as all of the girls looked around.

“Show yourself!” Kelsey yelled.

On the wall near them, a face started to form on the brick. It was wicked looking, sort of a cruel parody of a clown. It grinned wickedly with far too many teeth and everybody gasped.

“Not yet,” the thing said. “We are not ready to step into your world.”

“Cowards,” Margaret said, her eyes narrowed.

“What did you say!?” The thing yelled, seemingly shocked by the words.

“She’s right,” Maya said. “You are a coward. I know what that’s like but I am done running.”

“We all are!” Natia shouted, slinging her guitar off of her shoulder.

“Well good for you,” the wall thing said sarcastically. “Very well, let’s play!”

Monsters began to form from the brick walls and the blacktop once again. The girls backed off a bit, making space to fight. The things were slow to form. Kelsey started calling out targets and nobody argued.

“Aqua Shot!” Kelsey called out. She focused on her hand and thought of playing softball with Daffney and the other neighborhood kids when she was little. She felt a large amount of water form and she threw it as hard as she could. She watched the water slam into one of the constructs. It tried to stand for a moment, putting its hand first into the water but the impact knocked it back into the wall where the thing shattered on impact. The girls cheered.

“Sonic Rush!” Natia called out. She thought of the thrill of performing and her love of being loud and strummed her guitar hard. Green waves and a rush of sound rocketed out of the guitar and slammed into one of the constructs. It started to panic as its body vibrated, it fell to its knees as it fell apart. Natia strummed on her guitar for good measure.

“Inferno Rocket!” Lennon called out. She raised her hand and pointed her palm at one of the constructs. She focused on all of the weekends she had spent building model rockets in her family’s garage and firing them off with her dad. She poured all of the flames of her anger, her disappointment, and her desire to destroy all of the obstacles in her way into that rocket. She let the thing fly and a burning fireball shot into one of the constructs.

“Shadow Chain!” Maya called out. She closed her eyes and thought of all the dark corners she had hidden in, the darkness she had embraced to survive and she let it out. She felt it form itself into a chain made of solid shadow. She felt that chain snake around her body, floating through the air. She opened her eyes and pointed at one of the constructs and the chain shot out towards it, it wound around the construct and then Maya squeezed her hand and the chain constricted and the thing was crushed into pieces.

“Bright Arrow!” Margaret called out. She remembered all of the archery lessons her parents had bought her since it was such a noble sport. She reached behind her back and pulled an arrow made of light from thin air. In her other hand, a bow made of light formed and she strung the bow, drew it back and there was a bright flash as she let the arrow go. It streamed toward the last construct and pierced right through it. It came out of the other side of the construct and hit the wall, right in the middle of the clown face. It frowned and faded away just as the construct exploded in a shower of sparks.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 8

July 22, 2017

The Team

It was too late, Maya had already invoked the charm and whatever happened would happen. The charm did not glow and no light enveloped Maya but instead, the charm seemed to absorb nearby light and the marks on Maya’s body seemed to get darker. Her shadow under her grew and stretched around her on the ground until it was a perfect square with her in the middle. At that point, the square started to grow off of the ground into a shadow cube around Maya. Maya was worried at this point because Arafina had seemed scared. The girls had rushed the cube but they could not reach in and get her as the shadows actively pushed them away.

Inside the cube, Maya watched as Arafina and the girls faded into darkness. It was so dark inside the cube and soundless but she felt that darkness moving around her, changing her. For so long the darkness had been a tool and an ally but she had worried about the toll it might be taking on her soul. She felt her dirty clothes change and she was eager to see what was happening now that she realized she was not getting ripped apart. As the cube faded away, she stood in a mix between a long black dress and leather armor. The dress part had a slit in it to allow her movement. She looked down and noticed that the runes on her body that she could see had changed.

Kelsie put a hand on her shoulder. “Are you alright?”

Maya looked up from studying her arms, a bewildered look in her eyes. “What happened to me?”

“It looks like you’re one of us, after all,” Lennon said. The other girls vocalized their agreement at once.

“What?” Maya asked. “I thought I corrupted the charm when I took it from your friend.”

“It seems the opposite has happened,” Arafina said. “The charm has become the source of your power and has scrubbed away the darkness in your soul. It seems that somebody who has walked through the darkness and could still think of other people is worthy to be on this team. I was wrong for judging you.”

Maya shook her head and smiled. “I have no grudge,” She said. “I have a clean slate and for the first time in a long time my heart feels lighter.”

Kelsie was the closest so she was the first one to hug Maya. “You couldn’t have saved Daffney,” she added which made Maya tear up. The other girls moved to hug her too at that, Natia being especially enthusiastic about it. Maya was caught off guard but soon found herself hugging back. She had needed this. She had almost forgotten what a hug felt like and she savored such positive human contact. There was a long silence as a breeze blew across the courtyard and Arafina watched her team bond.

As they broke away, Kelsie walked over to Arafina and stroked her head. Arafina forgot herself for a moment and purred and then looked confused. Kelsie quickly withdrew her hand and ran it through her own blue-streaked hair awkwardly.

“Sorry,” Kelsie said. “I just wanted you to be included but I forgot that you’re not really a pet.”

“It’s alright,” Arafina said. “Thank you for the sentiment. It has been an adjustment.” She sighed.

“I can’t imagine it’s been easy,” Lennon said. After all, she knew all about living with limitations and that was not forgotten in five minutes of walking around again.

“It has not,” Arafina said adding a tiny nod. This was obviously a sore subject and everyone could sense that. Arafina spoke up to try to defuse the tension. “At least I still have my spells and I can still open books with my paws. It does take time. It is hard to write with a pen in my teeth…”

“I could help with that,” Lennon said. “I would love to learn this stuff.”

“So would I, actually,” Maya said. “I need to learn about your system of magic and how this charm changed me.”

“We can study together,” Lennon said with a smile. Few of her friends had ever been interested in that.

“We all need to do some studying,” Margaret said. “We’re far too ignorant to tackle the challenge ahead.”

“I hate studying,” Natia said, plucking gently at the strings of her guitar.

“Suck it up, buttercup!” Kelsie said with a smile and Natia sighed but could not help but smile. “

“So, back to our magical powers,” Margaret said. “How do they work?”

“Well, obviously we have some control over a classic element or basic physical force that we can use offensively,” Lennon said.

“Obviously,” Margaret said.

“Yes,” Arafina said. “Lennon has fire, Margaret has light, Kelsie has water, Natia has sound and Maya has Darkness. The use of these powers was meant to be left up to the charm wielder. Use your experiences and visualize your attacks as something you know how to manage. Form the attack with your mind and words and then let loose.”

“Something we can manage like my guitar?” Natia asked.

“Yes,” Arafina said. “I suppose you subconsciously adapted to that mechanic ahead of instruction.”

“Here that?” Natia said with a grin. “I’m advanced! I’ve never been advanced.”

“You still have to study,” Kelsie said.

“Crap!” Natia said and folded her arms. Everybody laughed and after a moment Natia joined in too.

“We should go back down there and test these new powers out on those things that killed your friend, Daffney,” Maya said.

“Wait,” Margaret said. “Should we be going down to confront these things without practicing?”

“Actually, those beings are the weakest of what you might be facing,” Arafina said. “It would be a good test of your powers but it is not without danger.”

“Sometimes you just have to get your hands dirty,” Lennon said.

“Let’s watch each others’ backs, Defenders,” Kelsie said. “Right?”

“Right!” They all answered. They were a new to being a team but Daffney had been somebody half the team knew and it was the right thing to do to eliminate the danger if it was still there.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 7

July 15, 2017

Transformation

“I’ll go first,” Margaret said. She took a few steps away from the group. None of them knew what to suspect so it was better to be cautious when unleashing these new magical powers.

“Why do you get to go first?” Natia asked.

“I don’t have to,” Margaret said. “I just thought if anybody was nervous I would go first.”

“We’re all nervous, or at least I am,” Lennon said.

“I’m going first,” Kelsie said with force.

“Why you?” Natia asked.

“Because I am,” Kelsie said with a smile and a wink. “Deal with it.” She stepped out to where Margaret was and Margaret rejoined the group. Kelsie was used to being the leader and it showed. She did not mean anything by it and that came out in her forceful yet excited tone.

“How does this work, Arafina?” Lennon asked. They all looked down at their de facto advisor, a talking furry animal.

Arafina dragged a paw across her face, smoothing a bit of fur. I guess if you spent enough time transformed into something close to a cat, you start to take on animal behavior. “Simply raise the charm high and call out ‘Magical Defender Transform” and surrender yourself to the magical energies. The charm will do the rest.”

“Ok, here goes,” Kelsie said as she raised the charm over her head. “Magical Defender Transform!” Her shout seemed to transcend a simple human shout, almost as if it was amplified by a microphone. The charm lit up with a bright blue light that spread over her body. In a flash, a geyser of water shot out of the charm and then snaked around and surrounded Kelsie in what looked like a bubble of water. It hid her from sight.

Inside the bubble, Kelsie struggled for a half a moment before remembering that she was supposed to trust the magic. She stayed in place as the water swirled around her. A few moments later and the water bubble popped, sending a mist of water spraying everywhere but curiously nothing got wet. Kelsie was standing there in what looked like blue leather armor with a flourish that looked like a skirt. She smiled and looked down at herself. “Refreshing!” She said.

The other girls oohed and aahed and clapped. “Well done!” Arafina said. “The power of water is yours to command. Next?”

Natia ran over and high-fived Kelsie. “Me next!” She waited until Kelsie was clear and then called out “Magical Defender Transform!” as she held up her charm. Again, it was louder than any human could shout, even a noisy girl like Natia. The charm lit up with a green light that spread over her body. Suddenly, there was a roar of sound around her that mixed with the green light and made her extremely blurry to the girls.

Natia was excited as the transformation took place. The bass of the sound waves rattled her body but it did not hurt, it felt great. Suddenly, her brother’s guitar appeared in front of her and she reached out and grabbed it. As she did, the sound waves and the green light fell away. She was standing there in what looked like a mix between punk rock gear and armor. The guitar had transformed into a sturdier thing and Natia hugged it in excitement. “Rock on!” She shouted.

“What?!” Arafina shouted. “Where did that guitar come from?”

“I rarely go anywhere without it,” Natia said with a shrug and stepped back towards the group, admiring her new gear.

“I’ll go now,” Margaret said as she stepped out to the exact spot the other two had stood to transform. “Magical Defender Transform!” It was an even more authoritative shout than the usual Washington tone. She held the charm aloft and hers shone with a bright white light. The light flashed and shone and the girls had to look away.

Inside, Margaret found the light pleasing. She felt it reach the core of her being and it was just what she had needed, the power to change the world. She found herself smiling for the first time in what felt like a long time like she was basking in the sunshine. She surrendered to that feeling and when the light fell away she was wearing a white feathered dress complete with wings protruding from her back. She smiled and found herself posing. “Wow!” She said and hurried over to the others.

“You were supposed to have Natia’s power, the power of sound,” Arafina said. “Lennon was supposed to have your power of light. I can only assume that Lennon has the power of -“

“Spoilers!” Natia shouted.

Lennon rolled away from the group. “I guess, I am next.” She took a deep breath and looked down at her wheelchair, not expecting much. “Magical Defender Transform!” She shouted. The sound was the loudest thing that ever came out of the mousy scholar. Immediately a red light emanated from her charm and it stretched over her body and the wheelchair. When the glow had touched everything, flames erupted from everywhere. The flames hid Lennon from sight and the girls instinctually moved to save her but Arafina cut them off and they were reminded that this sort of thing was supposed to happen.

Inside the flames, Lennon felt warm and light. She actually thought that feeling might be touching the parts of her that had been so depressed since she had been confined to the wheelchair. Wait, where was the wheelchair? She realized she was floating in the flames but she felt at peace with that. She knew she would land in her chair. The fire disappeared and she did not land on the chair. She landed gently on her own two feet. She looked down and saw a pair of giant metal braces on her legs and red armor on her body. Happy tears rolled down her cheeks and Kelsie was there to give her a hug. There was a long silence as everybody appreciated what had just happened.

“While transformed, the braces will allow you to walk, run, jump and perform athletic feats,” Arafina said. “When you transform back, you must return to the wheelchair. I cannot cure your medical condition.”

Lennon was smiling, really smiling. “I understand. Neither can the doctors. One day I’ll solve it.”

“I trust you will,” Arafina said. “In the meantime, enjoy the limited mobility.”

While everyone was distracted, Maya stepped forward and shouted. “Magical Defender Transform!”

“No!” Arafina shouted.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 6

July 8, 2017

The Castle

The five teenagers suddenly found themselves in the courtyard of a small castle on the top of a mountain. It did not look like it had been built there. It looked kind of like the castle had half-landed and half-crashed into the top of the mountain, the rocks beneath the castle fusing with the surface of the mountain. Of course, this could not have been what happened. That would have required the castle to have been in flight at some point. Castles do not fly. One by one, the girls dismissed the thought and looked around. The stonework looked like a lot of castles but there was something alien about the architecture as well. It was hard to put a finger on it.

“Where are we?” Margaret asked, looking for the thing that was not a cat and finding it still in Maya’s arms. It hopped down to the ground and shook itself and then looked around as if danger might come at any moment. No danger came.

“This is all that is left of my world,” The thing that was not a cat said. “This place and myself.” Suddenly, the castle felt a lot smaller than it had before.

“A whole world?” Natia asked. The thought was terrifying.

“What world was this?” Lennon asked. “Who are you?”

“I second that line of questioning,” Margaret said. “We have no idea what is going on.”

“Guys!” Kelsie yelled. “Give her a chance to get a word in edgewise. Wait, you are a ‘her’ right?” They all turned towards the thing that was not a cat and waited.

The thing cleared its throat. “Yes. My name is Arafina and I once walked on two feet like you do.” Arafina glanced at Lennon in her wheelchair. “I mean… sorry.”

“It’s ok,” Lennon said. “I’m dealing with it and you didn’t mean anything by it.”

Arafina nodded. “I lived in a world we called Galladalia. I was a librarian and tutor for the royal family. This is their winter castle, formerly near the warm shores of the Cammon Sea. I spent many happy days here playing and teaching the three princesses. Linella, Graja, and Ponena were my charges but I was also an informal advisor to the royal family on magic and other academic matters.”

“I can guess what happened,” Maya said. Her face was sad for Arafina.

Arafina nodded. “The Dark Covenant invaded our world through a dimensional breach. Their attack was brutal and we worked on countermeasures to repel them or maybe even destroy them. We were forced to retreat to this castle where we prepared powerful magical charms. Charms you now hold. We worked to select champions to wield the new weapons but time ran out. They found us. They destroyed the royal family and corrupted many of the guards, killing the rest. I completed a spell at that last moment that repelled them from this castle and propelled it to a new world. As I looked behind, I saw that they had enveloped our world. It was lost.”

“Oh wow,” Kelsie said. “That’s horrible.” She shivered.

“So why are you kind of a cat?” Kelsie asked.

“My guess is that passing through the dimensional barrier may cause biological anomalies,” Arafina said. “Specifically, it put me in the body of a Haren which is a pet back on Galladalia. It is a little embarrassing but it has allowed me to operate secretly and learn a bit about this world.”

“So why are the Dark Covenant here now?” Lennon asked.

“Did they follow you?” Margaret asked. Everybody looked at her and she shrugged. “I’m not blaming anyone here.”

“No,” Maya said. “They have been chasing me for years. They killed my parents.”

Arafina eyed Maya with surprise. “I am sorry for your loss. It was good fortune that I arrived in this world then and with weapons ready to combat the menace. There is hope still for your world but I need you four to fight.”

“Four?” Lennon asked. “There are five of us. You came to me, you said I was chosen.” Kelsie, Natia, and Margaret each voiced agreement with that situation.

“But I was not chosen, right?” Maya asked. “Do you want your charm back?” She held up the charm and they all saw that the crystal, which was colored in the other four, was jet black.

“The magical gem has gone dark,” Arafina said. “I am not sure if it will still work the same. That charm was intended for somebody else. Daffney.” Arafina and Maya exchanged a sad look.

“But she’s gone now,” Maya said.

“Daffney is dead?” Kelsie asked, shocked. “I know her from school.”

“Me too,” Lennon said.

Natia just shuffled her feet. She had skipped too much to form too many attachments at school. She did recognize Lennon from school which meant she must have been assigned to the same school as the three of them. She felt bad that she did not feel so bad.

“She didn’t have much of a chance,” Maya said. “They attacked us quickly. I barely got out with Arafina.”

“Yes,” Arafina said. “Thank you for rescuing me.”

“You’re welcome,” Maya said with a small smile.

“So what now?” Natia asked.

“How do these work?” Lennon asked, holding up her charm.

“Wait,” Natia said. “Do we really want to fight monsters that already killed people?”

“I do,” Margaret said. “If not us, then who?” The girls all thought about that for a moment.

“She’s right,” Kelsie said. “Besides, I can’t stand aside and let other people die when I could have helped.”

“I want to help save the world,” Lennon said. “I want to do everything I can to help make it a better place.”

“Ok ok,” Natia said. “You have a point. If we use these charms, we’ll be safer right?”

“There will still be danger but at least you will have a fighting chance,” Arafina said. “That is more than I can say for the average human. Magic is the best weapon we have against these monsters.”

“We’ll do it,” Margaret said. The others voiced their agreement.

“So how do they work?” Natia asked. She was starting to get excited about being a hero.

“I guess there’s not a manual, huh?” Kelsie asked.

“It would be nice if that were the case,” Lennon said.

“Those charms will allow you to transform to your super-powered self. This will also give you magical clothes and allow you to tap into magical powers.”

Natia smiled. “Magic powers? Cool.”

One of Lennon’s eyebrows rose. “I am a girl of science. Usually, I would be more skeptical of ‘magic’ but I suppose I have seen enough evidence to accept the new reality. I would like to see these charms in action.”

“I think it is about time we tested them out,” Margaret said. “We don’t want to be caught off guard.”

“Being prepared for battle is the only way to be,” Kelsie said.

“Agreed,” Lennon said. “We are going to have to start getting out hands dirty, I guess.”

“You had me at ‘let’s test out our superpowers’. Let’s do it!” Natia shouted.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 5

June 17, 2017

The Star and the Shadow

Daff was so hyped to be heading to auditions for the Spring Musical. She had been in every school show since she was old enough to try out. However, this was the first year that she felt that she could actually get the lead. She enjoyed being in the ensemble. She enjoyed the costumes, the energy, and the camaraderie. However, she felt like she had paid her dues and it was her time to shine. She really wanted to shine.

She had wanted to be a star since she was old enough to walk. She wanted to be the one out in front in the lights and maybe even that white hot spotlight. She wanted people to look up to her like she had looked up to the stars before her. It was the cycle that show business was built on. She wanted to be part of that business for real so badly. Experience here might serve her well in the future or she might even get seen by the right people and secure her future. The possibilities were thrilling and they fed her excitement and confidence that she would pour into her audition.

Suddenly, she tripped over something. She recovered her balance at the last moment and looked around. A thing that was not a cat had been in her path.

“Hey!” Daff yelled. “You almost made me fall! I could have been hurt, you need to watch where you’re going. Oh God, I’m yelling at a cat.”

The thing looked up at her. “Daffney Sinclair, there is little time but I do apologize. We need to meet with the others. Time is short.”

“What?” Daff said. “You have to explain.”

“There is no time, Daffney. Take this charm and follow me!” The thing yelled. A charm flew through the air toward Daffney. She caught the charm in midair. It was some sort of metal with an orange crystal in the center of it. She tried to argue but it was pretty and the cat thing was gone. She needed to find it and fast.

* * *

Maya ran as fast as she could through the city streets. She knew her appearance startled all of the people she passed. Runes from various cultures decorated much of her skin in inky black. However, it was not ink. It was concentrated dark energy. It had been the only way to hide and protect herself from the strange invaders that were chasing her. It was the only way to fight back. The use of dark magic had turned her hair oily black and her skin chalky white. She looked like something out of a Japanese horror movie. She had been on the run for so long but now they were finally catching up.

She had only a little idea who they were. She knew they were called the Dark Covenant and that they controlled terrible magicks but that was about it. They had killed Maya’s parents right before her eyes. An old witch had come from nowhere and rescued Maya and took her on as an apprentice. She learned spells and runes but Maya fled when she learned of the dark nature of the spells she was learning. She did not want to fall into the darkness, even if it meant saving her life and avenging her parents.

She was on her own for the first time in her life. She drifted from place to place. When there was danger, she ran. A few days ago, she had felt the pull to come here to Drake City. She had gone immediately. She had never been there before and it was a long way from her homeland but something about it felt right. Maybe her journey could finally be over. Somehow, the creatures had made it there first and that dream was in danger again.

Maya rounded the corner and ran right into a girl her age. As they both fell to the ground, Maya saw a glittering orange charm clatter to the pavement. All around them, the brick walls and blacktop formed humanoid shapes. These newly formed monsters surrounded the two young girls. Maya was instantly back on her feet, her runes pulsing with power.

“Get behind me!” Maya yelled out.

Before the other girl could move, one of the brick monsters held up its hand. What could only be described as pink flame shot out and hit the other girl. With an unearthly shriek, the girl fell back to the pavement. She was not moving but she was still burning with those strange pink flames.

“No!” Maya cried out. The brick monster turned to her but she poured will into a collection of runes on her wrist and she teleported before the pink flame could touch her. Unfortunately, the spell did not work for long distance so she was only just outside the circle of monsters. A thing that was not a cat came running from the alley. It stopped cold when it saw the burning body.

“Daffney! No, I was too late,” The thing said with a yowl. Maya reached down and picked up the charm that Daffney had dropped. She held it in her hand and watched the crystal turn black. The cat thing yowled again. “No! That’s not for you! Drop it!”

“What the hell are you?” Maya yelled. Everything was happening so fast. It was hard to concentrate on the danger when confronted with a talking animal.

“It’s too late! Bring the charm with us! Run!” The thing yelled. Maya chased after it, out of the alleyway. She needed answers. For the first time since this whole thing had begun, there was somebody besides that awful witch who might know about these monsters. The two of them sprinted down the street. Thankfully, the monsters seemed to be as slow as you would expect brick and blacktop monsters would be. Pink flame shot out of the alleyway behind them but it came just short, missing them both. Maya heard the screams of bystanders on the street. She started to turn back.

“No!” The cat thing yelled. “We can’t help them like this. I want to help them too but we need assistance first.”

“Like this? Like what?” Maya yelled back. Everything made less sense than usual.

“Run!” The cat thing commanded and Maya shut up and ran harder, feeling her own darkness pushing her forward faster. She scooped up the cat thing and kept running. “Turn right ahead!” It yelled out.

Maya hung a right and nearly ran into four startled girls, one of them in a wheelchair. The thing called something out into the gathering twilight that Maya did not hear clearly. There was a flash of light and then all of them were gone from the streets of Drake City.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 4

June 3, 2017

The Gravity

When Kelsie walked into the locker room, there was already a lot of shouting. It was not the good, after-game excitement shouting. It was angry shouting. Ruby and Nikki were going at it and it looked like they were about to start shoving each other. Kelsie could not tell what the fight was about but she knew it was up to her to end it. She stepped between the warring factions.

“Hey!” She yelled. “You two need to quit it and cool down. Can you do that for me, please?”

“I was just trying to change and get out of here,” Ruby said. “but she picked a fight with me.”

“You little snitch!” Nikki yelled.

“Whoa,” Kelsie said. “How about you tell me what’s wrong, Nikki? We solve problems together on this team.”

Nikki sighed and backed off of Ruby but she was pacing a little. “If Ruby had passed me the ball in that last quarter, we would have won. Instead, she passed to her girl Bailey and Bailey blew it.”

Kelsie glanced over to see Bailey blush and look down. Kelsie walked over and put a hand on Bailey’s shoulder. “Bailey did not blow it. She tried her best. I bet she gets the next one.”

“Yeah, I will,” Bailey said with a smile that warmed slowly and showed her confidence returning.

“And she’s not just Ruby’s girl,” Kelsie said. “She’s our teammate and so is Ruby and so are you, Nikki. Maybe Ruby didn’t see what you saw. We’ll get better at that through practice. We can only get better together, right?” She looked at Nikki purposefully. It was not a hard look or an unfriendly look but it was an unshakably confident look. Nikki looked down, breaking first and looking ashamed.

“Yes, Captain Kelsie,” Nikki said softly.

“I can’t hear you!” Kelsie yelled with a smile. This was directed at the whole room rather than just picking on Nikki.

“Yes, Captain Kelsie!” The girls in the locker room shouted and that included Nikki.

Kelsie beamed with pride. “Besides, what would our coach do if she saw this? I’ll tell you what she would do. She would make all of us do laps and we already just played a hard game. I don’t want to do laps, do you?”

“Okay Okay,” Nikki said with a groan. “We get it. I won’t fight anymore. I’ll play nice. I’m sorry.”

“Awesome,” Kelsie said. She held out her fist and Nikki touched her fist to it. Nikki sighed and turned to Ruby and held out her fist. The two of them touched fists together. Kelsie liked that but decided not to ruin the moment by pointing it all out. She loved the lacrosse team.

One by one, the team filtered out of the locker room. Kelsie stayed behind to tidy up a bit. Nobody on the team would dare be messy in the locker room but there were a few things to tuck away so the janitor could get everywhere with the mop. After tidying, Kelsie decided to take a shower. The loss of the game was hitting her again and it was hard to remain positive.

As the water ran over her and she breathed in the steam, she replayed the highlights of the game in her head. She thought of how they could have done things differently. She thought of how they could work to improve next practice. That was why Coach Marnie had chosen Kelsie as team captain. She was very passionate but positive about everything she did. She did her best to put a smile on her teammate’s faces and a little extra effort into their performances.

It was so quiet when she got out of the shower. She lived for the roar and rush of the game but sometimes a little quiet was good too. She felt safe there because this locker room was like a second home to her. She grabbed a towel and started to dry as she walked through the locker room. Kelsie loved to take her time after a game. The light rail would come around when she was ready. It was also Friday so homework for Monday was not exactly pressing. For the moment, she had all the time in the world.

“Kelsie Gutierrez!” A voice called out and Kelsie yelped and dropped her towel. he bent down to retrieve it, but she looked around wildly.

“Not funny!” Kelsie yelled. “You can’t do that to a girl in a towel!” She huffed and looked around for which friend had played such a dirty trick. When she came around a group of lockers, a thing that was not a cat was sitting on a bench. Kelsie froze in confusion.

“Sorry for scaring you, Kelsie,” The thing said. “We have need of your positive spirit and unbreakable nerve.”

Kelsie nearly dropped her towel again. “W-what!? How can you be talking? What are you talking about? Aren’t you a little short for a college recruiter?”

“I am recruiting you to save the world,” the thing said. “We need you.”

“Who is we? Who are you?” Kelsie asked.

“I will explain at the meeting,” the thing said. “Bring this charm to the location on the note.” Then the thing dropped a charm and a note and ran out of the locker room, leaving Kelsie with more questions. She grabbed up the charm which turned from blue to purple.”

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 3

May 27, 2017

The Sound

Natia sat under the bridge, clutching her guitar to her chest tightly. Usually, she would be with her friends jamming out a little bit. She loved being loud but now it was time to be quiet for once. When she had been headed to the jam space, she was sure that she had spotted the local truancy officer, Mr. Collins. She had thought that she knew how to shake them off but this one seemed especially aggressive. Natia’s usual indestructible confidence was shaken.

She pulled out her phone and texted “007” to her friends both as a warning and to psych herself up. The thought of the famously ridiculous spy made her smile. She could do this. She was better than any Bond, she was Natia Apatu. She looked around for some way to escape. Just a few feet away, there was a grate over a large pipe that looked like it might access the sewer. It was not the most pleasant way to travel but there was a sink and a hose at the jam space. She could get clean again. Mostly clean.

She pulled at the grate and, surprisingly, it came off right away. It was not even that heavy. This did not exactly inspire confidence in the municipal infrastructure. Of course, Natia and her friends regularly raged against that machine so it was not remarkable for her to criticize or expect much from the city. She loved the people but hated the man. The man did not like freedom and Natia was all about freedom.

She stepped into the pipe, ducking her head and slinging the guitar under her right arm. She reached back and pulled the grate back into place the best she could. It kind of looked exactly how it had looked before. At least, this is what Natia hoped. She doubted the officer would crawl through the sewers to catch one preteen girl who was skipping school but the paranoia was real. She quickly and carefully crawled further down the pipe.

Thankfully, the thing was dry. She had imagined it would be absolutely caked with questionable oozing substances so she was glad to be wrong. She idly hoped nobody flushed but as far as she knew, the sewer did not work like that. This was probably just a storm drain. This was going to be easier than she thought. The only worry she had was her guitar. Everything else could heal but her older brother had given her the guitar before leaving for college. It was irreplaceable.

Natia missed her brother dearly. The had been pretty close growing up, squabbling sometimes but they always had each others’ back. They often got into trouble together but Samula was also always getting Natia out of it. She missed that. She really did. After he left, school did not feel worth going to and teachers got no respect from Natia. Not when dreams of a hit record danced behind her eyes. Besides, she had made friends with a bunch of kids who were also done with school.

At the other end of the pipe, was the sewer. Natia tried to count out the distance so that she could slide under and past Mr. Collins. Once she was sure that she had gotten past the guy, he started to climb a ladder. This was so 007. She started to hum before she realized that she was humming Mission Impossible and not James Bond. She hummed one of her own compositions instead. It kept her hands steady.

The manhole at the top of the ladder was heavy. She heaved but nearly lost her balance on the ladder. Instead, she used her shoulder, grunting with the exertion. The manhole finally moved. She shoved it aside as carefully as she could and found herself in an alleyway. She leaned the guitar against the wall and gently moved the manhole back into place, trying not to make any more noise. After that, she sat next to her guitar to catch her breath and get her bearings.

The alley looked kind of familiar. On a whim, Natia clambered up some boxes and crawled into an open window. Luckily, it was the right building. She recognized the crappy wallpaper and everything. Natia sighed with relief. The rest of the gang was probably already in the room. They were a stealthy bunch and half of them usually crashed in the room anyway. They probably had not even known the officer was around.

She headed up the stairs two at a time, shouldering her guitar as she walked. There was not a spot of dirt on it and that made her proud. She started to tune it. IT felt good to be home free. Each musical tone from her guitar made her more excited, more alive. It was time for another day of rock and roll. She opened the door to absolute silence. Nobody was there.

“Where is everybody?” Natia asked the room.

“They got caught by the truant officer,” A voice said from somewhere. “They’re gone.”

“Who’s there?” Natia asked. A thing that was not a cat came out from behind a speaker.

“Natia Apatu. I will not answer that question right now,” The voice said. “But we have a need for your creative energy. It could save the world.”

“Save the world?” Natia asked. “Who is ‘we’?”

“That is not quite settled yet,” The things said. “Take this charm and meet us at the location on the note.”

The thing dropped a charm and a slip of paper jumped out of the window. Natia scrambled over and picked up the charm which went from red to green.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 2

May 20, 2017

The Flame

The doctor came back into the room and Lennon knew from his face that the news was bad. She wiped at her glasses in an attempt not to cry. She hardened her heart and looked up at the doctor almost defiantly. She felt her mom squeeze her hand and the tears almost came again but she held on tightly instead. She had to be strong.

“Lennon, Ms. Clarke,” The doctor said. “I’m afraid I have some bad news for you.”

At that, Lennon’s mom did start crying. Lennon kept it together even though she felt the words tear her apart inside. She found herself focusing on being strong for her mother and trying to comfort her, reaching to stroke her mother’s shoulder and back. This illness had been a long journey for both of them. It seemed the journey was far from over.

Over five years ago, Lennon had lost her father. He had been hit by a taxi on his way to his car after a late shift at work. She still missed waiting up for him so they could eat cookies and talk about their day. She missed Sunday breakfast where all three of them could laugh and have a leisurely meal together even though her father was still usually dog tired from the night before. She knew her mom felt the same. Now, Lennon stayed up alone with only her books to comfort her while mom was off working to cover the bills. Cookies had lost their taste.

Two years ago, Lennon had fallen during gym class. She had thought it was just a fluke and chalked it up to being an awkwardly clumsy nerd. Things went downhill from there. She had thought that her legs were just bruised and injured from the fall but they started refusing to work right. They were weak and she could not stand right. Soon, her legs shook too much with the strain of her weight and she could not stand at all. The school had chipped in for a wheelchair. It made her cheeks burn with embarrassment.

There had been so many tests and nobody had any answers. Lennon felt that she had become an expert on the subject by now. Not only was she living the experience, she was also spending all the time she was not doing her homework studying medical books. She was looking for some clue the doctors were missing that would lead her to walk again. She never wanted anything more. She had found nothing in those books. Nothing useful.

“The tests show what we feared,” The doctor said. “Your legs show no signs of improvement and may only get worse from here. With some work, you may be able to stand briefly in the leg braces but you will most likely never walk again.”

“Never?” Lennon asked. She had always been a bookworm but even bookworms like to walk and play with the other kids.

“I’m sorry,” The doctor said. Her mother hugged her and Lennon allowed a single tear as emotions swirled inside of her. There was a lot of sadness but there was also a lot of anger.

“Can I be alone for a little while?” Lennon asked. The question surprised her mother but not the doctor.

“Of course, honey,” Her mom said. “I want to go over the charts with the doctor if that’s alright?”

Lennon nodded and wheeled herself toward the door. The doctor pressed a button and the door opened, letting Lennon out. She wheeled past the receptionist’s desk, a dark cloud hanging over her head.

She tried to think of all the people she knew who still made a difference while confined to a wheelchair.  There was Dr. Hawkins, Mr. Reeves, Frida Kahlo, and so many more. Still, she pictured having to cross the room for a book and now that simple task was so much harder. She would probably have normally spent her career sitting anyway but not her whole life. It was not fair.

She did not look forward to all the awkward smiles and pitying looks from her friends. Lennon did not want to be pitied. She just wanted to live her life. Everybody kept saying that things would get better but that sounded hollow to Lennon. It was hard to have faith sitting in a wheelchair with no hope of ever getting out. The lobby felt so cold and empty.

That was when she heard the weird purring noise. It was almost like a mechanical rhythm which made it even weirder. It instantly distracted Lennon from her troubles, pushing them aside for the moment to solve a mystery. She rolled toward the noise and found nothing at its source. Which is when a weird cat thing jumped out and startled Lennon.

“Aah!” She yelled. “Stupid cat!”

“I’m not a cat!” The thing shot back. “I’m not stupid either. Though I admit that I am not as smart as you are, Lennon.”

“You can talk?” Lennon asked. She felt that she may have disproved her intelligence by asking that question. “I mean, how do you know my name? What do you want with me?”

“You are strong enough to exist in that chair, Lennon,” The thing said. “We, however, may not be strong enough without your intelligence and heart. We need you.”

“Who is we?” Lennon asked.

The thing produced a charm from somewhere and placed it within reach of Lennon. It started to back away.

“Take this charm to the meeting on the note and you will find out all the answers to your questions and more.” Then the thing was gone. Lennon picked up the charm which went from white to red. She puzzled over it but pulled out the note.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 1

May 6, 2017

(This is part one of my take on the magical girl genre. Enjoy!)

Part One: The Light

Margaret Washington stood in front of the mirror. She took the deep breaths she had been taught in yoga class. Her parents would listen this time. They just had to. She was a Washington and therefore she was a born leader. People listened to Washingtons. Besides, Margaret knew she was on the right side of things this time.

She started to make the journey from her bedroom in the East Wing to the study in the West Wing. Along the way, she saw Marcie and her daughter mopping the front hall. Sometimes it felt like the maids were the closest thing she had to friends. She had no siblings and everybody seemed so guarded and selfish at the academy. She waved at the two women and smiled briefly but she kept walking. She was on a mission.

The Washingtons were amazingly rich. If all the math were done, the family probably ranged between the third and sixth-richest family in the city. It all depended on the way various international money markets and the stock market went each day, of course. Margaret knew how powerful all of that money was. That was what Margaret was counting on. Of course, her plans depended on the kindness in the hearts of her parents. She believed it was there because if it was not, then how could Margaret know she had kindness in her own heart?

She peeked into the study and saw her father at his desk. Her mother had the newspaper over on the couch. Her mother was away from her own office for once. Nobody was on the phone or terribly busy and that was a great sign. It was almost like this was fated to be the moment she made her pitch.

“Mom, Dad,” Margaret said. “I need to talk to you about something.”

“What is it, my dear?” Her mother asked. Both of her parents looked up from what they were doing.

“I need to ask you for a favor,” Margaret said. She felt herself starting to shake and she clenched her fist to stop it.

“A favor?” Her father asked. “What can I buy you this time?”

“No, daddy,” Margaret said with a gesture dismissing the idea. “It’s not like that. I want to start a foundation!” She smiled proudly.

“A foundation?” Her father asked. “What do you mean?”

“I want to feed the homeless,” Margaret answered with a smile. “I also want to start some shelters. Maybe one at first but we can open several more later.”

“Where’s your action plan? What returns can we expect?” Her mother asked.

Margaret’s smile faltered. “No returns, Mom. We would actually be helping people.”

“Cupcake, I don’t think our budget allows for that,” Her father said.

“Dad,” Margaret said. “Our budget is bigger than NASA’s. Besides, as soon as we start everything up, everybody will want to jump in and follow our lead.”

“Your father said ‘no’, sweetie,” Her mother said. “I say ‘no’ too.”

“We’re sorry, honey,” Her father said.

Margaret was completely deflated but she nodded dutifully. She was the intelligent, polite, and friendly Washington daughter. “Thank you for listening,” She said. “I will see you at dinner.” With that, she left the room before her parents could say anything else. She made an effort not to look too dejected and she fought back a tear or two. She also made an effort to glide gracefully as she walked instead of stomping or storming like she wanted to.

Here parents meant well but it seemed like they were constantly amassing money for the future of the family without a thought for the future of the world. Margaret just wanted to spread the wealth around. She was already donating most of her allowance to various causes but she dnot have the financial and organizational heft of a foundation at her back. The foundation could have done a lot of good especially if it was backed by her parents’ cunning minds.

Margaret did not remember the whole walk back to her room but she was glad to shut the door behind her. When she was safe inside again she picked up her hair brush. She began to stroke it through her straight, blonde hair that was the envy of many girls at the academy. And yet, she did not brush her hair simply to look good. It was calming to brush her own hair. She had asked to do it herself instead of the nanny at an early age. It made her feel a little more in control of her fate.

“You really want to help, huh?” A soft voice spoke from the bed.

Margaret whipped around fast and raised the brush to strike like you would grip a hatchet. There was only a cat on the bed. Well, it looked like a cat at first glance but it was actually subtly changing shape over and over as Margaret watched. Its fur was purple but even that was not staying stable. It was kind of hard to keep her eyes on the thing but staring was rude anyway. Margaret could only look puzzled, no answer forming in her head.

“What if you could really make a difference?” The cat asked.

“A talking cat!?” Margaret yelped. She immediately felt kind of dumb for stating the obvious. “What are you doing here? What do you want?”

“I want to help you realize your potential,” The cat said. “I have a feeling that your path does not really have to do with money. I think you could help save the world.”

“Save the world?” Margaret asked. “I’m all for it but you’re going to have to explain.” Somehow, the talking cat thing was getting more normal as the conversation proceeded.

“If you really want to help, take this charm and meet me at the address on the attached note,” The cat said. It placed a pretty little charm on the bed.

Before Margaret could think to respond again, the cat leaped through the third story window and left Margaret to contemplate the charm. The charm’s crystal went from green to white.


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