Magical Scribe Eleanor Slam (story)

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The announcement was delivered as a notice taped on the inside of my door. It said that I have to take my things out of the broom closet by next Thursday, and move them to my new office. I have been here three months, enduring nightmares thick with the smell of turpentine, but better late than never. Behind a wooden door with the nameplate "Eleanor A. Slam", no title, is where I get to work for the rest of my life. When I walk into the room, the door shuts itself behind me. No distractions allowed, after all.

I guess it's not a bad little office - it's mostly bare, needs some personal touches - and few in the Sixth can boast that they have their own. That's normally reserved for the people at the very top. So it means that they care about my wellbeing; but they don't care enough to end this torment. After all, the Sixth doesn't want its precious eversors wasting time writing that could be spent training. No, that is almost entirely my job, because I'm their special Vanus.

I examine the windows and see they decided to add bars to them. They're not taking any chances this time, after hearing what I tried back at the Eighth. I bet they reinforced the glass, too. Well, at least it should keep the drop bears out. Not that I can see much through the frosted glass.

I stomp back to my shiny little black swivel chair and spin around slowly. Remembering what the Incubator said about how to relax myself, I try those breathing exercises and reassure myself that things aren't so bad. I could be homeless. I could be chained up. I could be dea-

Well, that might be an improvement.

Sigh. I never wished for this.

There's a knock on the door and I compose myself before speaking. "Come in."

Some girl whose name I can't be bothered to learn opens the door and wheels in the first gurney of the day, covered in boxes of varying sizes. She tells me the usual spiel : take a box, fill out the forms inside, then put them back in the box they came in. Lunch break isn't until all these papers are filled out. Start on the second set afterwards before you go home.


She does a little curtsey before leaving me alone with my hated nemesis. I take a long hard look at a box containing financial records and order forms that need to be checked for errors. Maybe it won't be so bad this time. I lift up the box and upend its contents on my desk. And as soon as I lock eyes with them, it starts.

I'm almost used to having little to no autonomous control of my body during my little "work trances". I clutch at the gem around my neck as my casual attire is replaced by my Official Magical Girl Costume, appearing with little fanfare or special effects. Well, maybe there's a subtle noise I can't hear, everything's kind of muffled during these states. It might as well be some kind of crunching noise, since I look like a breakfast cereal mascot. Getting sick of being called Crunchberry.

I reach into my pockets and pull out an assortment of pens with one hand, the other grabbing a sheaf of papers without me even looking at it. And as I look it over, I can feel it. Unfamiliar thoughts pouring into my head like a raging typhoon, granting me the knowledge of what I need to do, without comprehension of any of the alien symbols written down. A mental cheat sheet that doesn't show its work. I whip my pen back and forth in neat little strokes, writing down words that mean nothing to me and crossing out parts that look identical to the others. Flip page, write write, flip page, write write. Put the pages aside and grab the next one. The Incubator was smart enough to leave holes in the boxes so that my trance state can see there is unfinished business. Put papers in the box, toss it to the side, grab another box and start all over, discard empty pens, acquire fresh pens. All in the span of a few minutes, but each stack of remaining boxes is about as tall as I am.

Within the first hour my eyes are already watering from being unable to blink. I can see little halos of light around the black ink on the page, not that I can tell them where to look. I develop tunnel vision, there's only the task in front of me. My wrist begins to ache dully in protest of this treatment. And as time drags on, I begin to lose my sense of self.

Each new page means another memory pushed aside, filled in with incomprehensible knowledge. With only the scratching of the pen, the buzzing in my head, and the boiling corruption as ambience, I struggle to remember why I'm here, what I'm doing, who I am, as the maelstrom of eldritch knowledge tears through my head. Rending such useless thoughts until only a pristine, perfect worker is left behind. There's some kind of repeated sound in the background, but I can't even identify it.

At some point, I lose all awareness of anything but the words, words I only know I must write down. At least I can't comprehend pain.

As soon as the last box is packed up, I start to regain cognizance of my surroundings. I can hear a crackling noise in my head as my memory gradually returns. It's a bit disconcerting to remember who you are in bits and pieces that aren't even in order. And I become aware of how much I ache from keeping my posture.

I bite back the urge to scream; it never helped before and it won't help now. Just... Breathe. I take a good look at my soul gem and retrieve the last grief seed I was allotted. A little tap, and the darkness flows out of the jewel as it returns to its immaculate blue color. How long was it this time? The caged wall clock has its hands at quarter to twelve, which is faster than what it used to be; I bet the Incubator will try to compensate for it later. Good news is the pain hurts a little less now, so I think I can manage to haul everything back. It'd be nice if somebody else was here to do the heavy lifting, though. I'd like to be able to eat now rather than later.

As I shake my head, my peripheral vision picks up something in the window. I try to look at it, but it's hard to make out. Some kind of reddish thing is hurtling towards the window. Looks like a person. Must be one of those assholes from the other day trying to get to me again. Heh. Like to see them try to break through magical girl-proofed windows. I recline back in my chair to take in the spectacle, glad to have a distraction.

"RRRROARING WINDOW BREAKERRRRRRRR!!" it roars out as its cry of battle, a shrill voice definitely belonging to a magical girl. And I watch as that somebody kicks through magical girl-proofed windows and scatters glass and twisted metal everywhere. I'm barely aware of something silvery swinging in the breeze outside, as they crash right into the boxes and bury themselves beneath them. The work of an entire morning of suffering, ruined by some asshole. Well it serves her right.

Said boxes are thrown back with great force as this intruder stands to her feet. I realize I'm sitting here with my jaw open as I try to take in this figure. She's wearing some kind of maroon long coat over a frilly pink dress. She also has a hat, with a little lacy flower decoration... thing. Is that a pirate hat? It's a goddamn pirate hat. She's dusting herself off like nothing happened and she's dressed like a pirate, what the hell. Have I gone completely mad?

Judging by her hairstyle, I'd guess she's a foreigner as well. That would explain some things.

Still, what the hell?

"Oh, yeeeeeeeeaah!! It's Crunch time!" she calls out triumphantly, punching at the air, before turning to look at me.

Oh man. I really, really, really don't like the way she's looking at me right now...