Magical Scribe Eleanor Slam versus The Witch

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I spent the last few hours tuning out everything happening around me and trying to find my Happy Place. I don't think I have one at this point. Goddamn Fuckface. I'm not opening my eyes if -you- tell me it's safe to do so. Safe for you isn't safe for me, I'll take blissful ignorance over-

"May as well, kid," Checkers reassures me. So I guess it's fine now. It takes a bit for everything to come back into focus, but when it does...

What the hell am I looking at?

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All around me are desks. School desks, work desks, desks that usually go by a name I can't remember off the top of my head. They're freaking everywhere. Most of the ground is composed of them packed together really tightly, and the terrain is really uneven. There's desks forming little barriers, desks strewn around...

There's desks piling up to the pitch black sky. That is a lot of desks.

Wait, the sky's black and starless. How can I see anything? Is that... Is it snowing?

I get a better look around and freeze up when I catch sight of a sheet of paper with writing on it. What does this have to do with witches?

...Why's my trance not triggering? What the fuck-

Fuckface forcibly lowers me to the ground before I can muse any further. She's released her grip on me, which means I could run... But I don't want to leave Checkers stranded with her. What does she want?

Throwing her arms wide, Fuckface announces, "BEHOLD, the witch's barrier!" while Checkers shoots her a dirty look. She goes into some spiel about how this place is the mental landscape of a magical girl before she became a witch. It's... It's very depressing to hear. I mean, I'd heard about it before. That witches are magical girls who used too much magic or lost all hope, but actually being here, in the lair of what used to be a girl like me...

"But first," Fuckface's voice rings clear, "you MUST get into costume!" I guess even Checkers is in uniform now, but...

"But I -like- my cozy new pa-" I realize halfway through that Fuckface really won't take "no" for an answer, and sigh in resignation. "...Fine." A little flash of light later and I'm suited up in this ridiculous getup - Weasel shit ought to be in jail for how much this thing exposes. Then Fuckface hands me some kind of spear; I thought she wanted me to summon my own weapon or something?

"This is an EMERGENCY MEASURE!" she yells, making my ears ring. I guess I don't have to ask anymore, and it feels... Okay-ish in my grip. I dunno, I'm not an expert on weapons. It does feel reassuring to hold something, though, and I don't want to look like a scared little kid by clutching Checkers' hand the entire way.

Fuckface leads us on, with Checkers bringing up the rear. Maybe she was considering breaking me out of here... No, she looks every bit as defeated as me. Goddammit, Fuckface, you're gonna FOR FUCK'S SAKE PUT ME DOWN YOU-

Something loudly crashes to the ground behind me, followed by the sound of metal grinding on metal a ways up. I turn to look, and find that the way back is blocked by a landslide of desks. If I'd still been standing there...

"...Checkers?" I call out, realizing that she's not with us anymore. If you let her be crushed under that pile, Fuckface, I will NEVER-

"Not dead," she calls back. "Gimme a minute, not leaving you alone with-" There's a shift in the wreckage before another landslide (deskslide?) triggers, and Checkers screams profanities as her voice gets closer and closer. I try to wrench out of Fuckface's grip, but it's pointless - both struggling against her and trying to help Checkers get over here. Fuckface insists, "She'll be fine, trust me!"

The pile gives one last violent shudder before its peak topples toward me. Fuckface pulls me out of the way again as Checkers rides down the debris.

She stomps on ahead of us and growls, "Let's get this over with." Fuckface laughs and lets me go, taking the lead again.

I'd swear we were lost at several points. Captain Fuckface kept leading us on, and the path all around us kept falling over and trying to crush us. It was scary the first few times, but after the fifth time it started to feel like something of a farce. At least Checkers didn't get separated from us again.

Speaking of, she apparently had the same idea as me. She'd stopped our guide to chew her out for getting us lost. I took the opportunity to look around at this bleak hellscape. Other than the desks, there were some weird, spiny projections that crowned the top of the towering piles. They were covered in tar or something like that. I can't get a very good view of it, though; it gets blurry from this distance and I have to squint.

Either there's another tower falling, or Fuckface is really goddamn handsy today, because she just grabbed me by the waist. And has Checkers scooped up in her other arm? And there's some kind of thick line of something like tape that's-

Out of freaking NOWHERE, there's a strong lurch as though I'm on a goddamn roller coaster, and I can't feel the ground beneath my feet anymore. The wind just blew my ridiculous hat off. What the hell-

Are we flying? I can see that we're soaring above the ground, so we're airborne. So how- Wait, we're tethered to that... Sword?


FUCK! I don't care if you stuck the landing, I'm feeling dizzy from the sudden adrenaline rush and... FUCKING HELL! Just... FUCK, you didn't even warn me!

Fuckface isn't even acknowledging my scowl, and set me on the ground like a goddamn garden gnome. There's a big crater where that sword landed, and I don't know how we avoided falling into that hole. All the dust in the air makes me sneeze.

Checkers seems to be alright; less shaken than me, but she's not really paying attention to that shithead.

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We're surrounded by... Things. Flat outlines of creatures in blocks of green, more of them slipping out of the tiny spaces between the desks that made up the landscape. Some of them look like people, menacing us with swords and axes, but the majority are very beastly in appearance. Freaking wolves and spiders and shit. All of them move as though they were skipping through time, like something out of an old video game.

I realize now that I was no longer holding the spear. I... I think I dropped it when Fuckface catapulted us over here. "Checkers..." I murmur, clutching her sweater sleeve as I try to hide behind her. I don't want to look helpless in front of her, but I really am right now. Dammit, I can't do anything to help...

"...Hey Crazy Cunt," Checkers growls again, some kind of kitchen knife in her hand, "You just gonna stand here?"

"Indeed!" Fuckface yells right back, sword somehow back in her hand, "The POINT of this exercise is-"

"The POINT," Checkers interrupts, waving her knife angrily at the things that are closing in, "was to have her kill a witch, right? This shit is your problem."

Fuckface just... Stands then and scratches her head - how come she still has her hat? "You're being awfully demanding today, Cooldown... But FINE!" she barks, hefting that stupidly large sword. "Now OBSERVE, Slam, what it is that you should STRIVE to be : an Eversor of INCREDIBLE MIGHT!"

Fuckface charges away and cries out like some kind of wild animal. The... familiars, I think the word is, start dying in droves as she hacks them into pieces. If there's something she's good at, it's drawing attention; everything seemed to be trying to swarm her, with limited success. There's no blood, though. They seem to be full of large candy sprinkles. Weird.

Checkers leads me away from the carnage, whispering, "Don't eat that stuff, kid. It'll mess you up." It's hard to tell where we came from, but I think Checkers was herding me back that way. Now was as good a time as any to try and escape from Fuckface.

Suddenly everything goes dark. A scrap of paper just frigging hit me in the face. Why the fuck... No, this isn't the time to explode. This is nothing. I just remove it from my face and toss it away... After reading it. I'm a little curious as to what kind of stuff would be on a page that doesn't trigger my trance.

The writing's pretty... Jagged, I guess. Like hasty, angry scribbles. Really hard to make out...


...What the fuck.

What the flying fuck is this? What the fuck? What the fuck? What the fuck? What the fuck? WHAT THE FUCK?

"Move it, Papers!" Checkers hisses at me, "That fuckwad's gonna finish up her murder spree real soon..."

I didn't even realize I'd stopped moving. But fuck. What the fuck? How the fuck? What is this?


I hold up the note for her to see, my voice trembling a little as I spoke. "This... rant," I try to explain, "it's... It's something I said the other day, but... Angrier. More... Murderous."

"...'Fuck the Sixth! Fuck the Eighth! Fuck Incubators! Fuck magical girls! Fuck all of this! I'll kill them! They're all gonna fucking die like the dogs they are!'" Checkers puts the note down and sighs, rubbing the bridge of her nose while explaining, "Christ, kid, that doesn't mean any-"

"HEY!" Fuckface interrupts, covered in candy confetti a short distance from us. "That's the WRONG WAY! We've got witches to waste! Come ON Slam, a better life awaits you just up ahead!"

Better life would be one without you in it.

...Fuck, what does it mean? It doesn't seem like something remotely possible, but... Fuck. This is really starting to creep me the fuck out...

We traverse back through the spot where the fight erupted earlier, taking the long route around the crater. The remains of those sprite-monsters litter the ground, along with any candy sprinkles didn't fall into the crevices.

Turns out we'd landed in a valley, so that means hiking out through the only area that was remotely climbable : a steep incline made of stacked chairs and desks. Fuckface tests it by going first, and the whole thing collapses on her, stopping a few feet from Checkers and myself. I don't find it as funny as Checkers, though I put on a little smile to keep up appearances.

Fuckface emerges after forcing her way out, and doesn't look any worse for wear. I guess I could have indulged myself earlier, but it's too late now.

We don't have a way forward anymore, but we also don't have a way back. And I really don't want to get hurled through the air like that again. I don't know what, if anything, Fuckface is thinking, but she's staring at Checkers expectantly. I look to her as well, wondering if she has something.

"Oh, for--" Checkers groans in irritation, before she pulls out a broom - did she always have that with her - and holds it out. "Get on." Fuckface gets on in front, I get on in back, Checkers sit in the middle. I didn't question why, I just assume she knows what she's doing.

As soon as I feel my feet leave the ground again, I clutch onto Checkers like a friggin' albatross, which made her yelp. I murmur an apology without moving at all - because I don't want to fall. We're flying, we're actually freaking flying. Though I've got my eyes shut again, because I don't want to throw up while Checkers is watching.

"Good thinking," Fuckface praises - of course it's good thinking! Even a moron like you could see that. There's some shift in movement before pirate bitch girl announces, "As I suspected, our destination is right THERE!" My stomach lurches as we quickly descend.

I hope this ends soon.

I don't let go until I feel firm ground beneath my feet again. I pull myself off of Checkers and open my eyes again.

We're surrounded by high walls on all sides, covered in something brown. Looks like the floor is made of the same material. It feels... Spongy as I walk on it, like a giant cake. Checkers and I are following behind Fuckface, who just used that ribbon-tape-whatever from earlier to pull some familiars away from a giant, spiny ball. It looked like they were attacking it for whatever reason, but now they're a twinkle in the dark, dark sky.

"Eleanor Abbot Slam, step forward!" Fuckface barks out. I look at Checkers, who responds with a shrug, before timidly walking forward. "Your task now is to engage the witch," Fuckface explains, pacing in front of us with her stupid sword resting against her shoulder. "Though it WILL be perilous, know that WE, BOTH Cooldown and myself, are RIGHT BEHIND YOU, ready to STEP IN at a moment's notice if things go pear-shaped." Then you do it, Fuckface. I'm not even armed.

Still, it's reassuring to have two people here that are strong enough to bail me out. Even if this whole thing is a stupid idea. I might actually survive this.

My legs are trembling as I approach the spiky mass. As I get closer, I can almost make out some details on it. The spikes, for instance, are flat, rather than conical, and have little holes near the top. The points are silvery in color, while the rest is a copper. Or bronze. I don't have much experience with different metals.

It's about twenty to thirty feet from the thing that I start to smell something familiar. Or rather, I become aware of something I've smelled all along since I got here. It was there before, but I didn't really notice because I was used to the scent. Now, though, now the scent is strong, strong enough that it makes me dizzy.

It's ink. Leaking out of those spines... No, nibs. Those are pen nibs. Those are freaking pen nibs.

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The mass shivers, then lazily uncurls itself like a pillbug. The entire thing reveals itself to be a giant head, the nub spine things everywhere but its face and hair. The nubs look much... Spikier, somehow. Like they're being extended. The witch's dull amber eyes swivel in their sockets to focus on me. Its lips curl into a confused pout.

Its face is mine. Right down to being framed by wiry lavender curls.

I'm looking at me.

We just... Stare at each other. I'm... I don't know what to do. I can't kill another me. I just can't.

And all this time, the thing has been completely silent. Not a sound coming from it, not even from its movement. And I haven't heard anything from Fuckface or Checkers. It's so quiet I can hear myself breathing.

The witch breaks the silence first, by opening wide and crying out. Its wail of rage and sadness sounding exactly like me. At first. Then it... Everything erupts in ink. It cries tears of ink, its maw drips with ink, its spines... So much ink it makes me nauseous just-

Fuck. FUCK!

It shouldn't have been able to clear the distance as fast as it just did, but one moment I had plenty of room, next it's just inches from my face! How the fuck-

My entire body shudders with fear, and my legs give out on me. I can vaguely hear shouting over the sound of my heart pounding, as I bring my arms up to... That's not going to do a damn thing to stop it. I don't feel any better at conjuring a weapon than I did yesterday, I just want to run and forget this ever happened.

But I can't. I can't move my legs at all. And as it opens wide to take a bite out of my head with its ink-stained teeth, I realize... I'm going to die here.

...This isn't fair. I'm going to die by my own witch. None of this is fair at all.

There's a weird pressure of something wrapping around my left arm, and I feel myself yanked away as the witch snaps its mouth shut. I feel off-balance after that.

...I can't feel my other arm.

"Jesus, Papers..."

I think that's Checkers talking. I don't know. There's a loud buzzing in my head as I'm looking at the stump where my arm was, which feels... Warm.

I'm too panicked to panic any more. Now I just feel... Really numb. And tired.

"This was a mistake... This was a HUGE mistake."

So tired. So fucking tired.

"Well no shit!"

It's... It's not bleeding too much anymore. I got some of it on Checkers, though.

"Look at her soul gem! Did -you- bring any grief seeds?"

I guess... It doesn't really hurt too much, either. I've had stuff that hurt worse.

"...Oh fuck! Don't you witch out on me, kid."

I slowly turn to look up at Checkers, my vision growing misty. Past her, the witch-me rests in two separate, burning halves, its insides gushing out like a fountain. Fuckface's sword looks house-sized from here.

Deep breaths. Deep, wheezing breaths. It's over.

My voice croaks as I speak, but I have to know, "That was... Me, wasn't it?"

Checkers can't look me in the eye when she murmurs into her scarf, "...Yeah. "

...Fuck. I think I'm crying. I'm crying and sobbing when I ask, "Isn't this too much?" before coughing up snot all over her sweater. Things are so fucking bad and now they're gonna get worse because I'm crying. They always get worse when I cry. For me, for whatever I care about. It always gets worse when I cry. Every time.

"I-I know I'm... I'm not good," I confess. "I've been a-a-a terrible person. I'm, I'm really bad and... And I deserve bad things."

And now Checkers and Fuckface are... Bad things are gonna happen to us all. Because I'm weak, and I'm crying.

"Papers..." Checkers tries to console me, and I -want- to be consoled. I -want- everything to be okay.

But I... I just can't fucking stop. I can't fucking stop myself from crying.

"Do... Do I really deserve all this?"

I can't fucking take it. I... I just can't fucking take this.

...And then, mercifully, everything goes black...

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