Magical Scribe Eleanor Slam versus The Grind Part II

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It was late Friday night when the weasel summoned me to his office and informed me that I wasn't needed anymore. Rather than retirement, I was going to be shipped out. From what I've been told, it's so that his brothers wouldn't find out that he fucked me up as bad as he did. I didn't understand it at the time, but I think he was counting on me witching out sometime after I arrived here.

So I had to gather my few worldly possessions for a one-way flight. And I had to be ready in a day.

It didn't take very long to pack, considering how few things I had : The aforementioned crummy soap and toothpaste; a toothbrush with the blue strip nearly worn away; a plastic hairbrush that couldn't straighten my frustratingly curly hair no matter how long I brushed; a couple sets of plain underwear, an old school uniform, and five socks that didn't match (thank you, thrift store); the stuff I wore when I was brought back here; a peppermint candy I was able to sneak out of the bowl in the lobby; one grief seed; all my remaining funds; and a plastic sack to put everything in.

That left me with a lot of free time that I didn't really know how to spend. I tried calling my house with a payphone - there wasn't a phone in my room - and heard my Dad pick up, but he hung up as soon as I started talking. So I just lay on my little mat and tried to sleep through the rest of the day. And when that didn't take, I started pacing around the room. Trying to tell myself that things would pick up out there, really.

At some point, I heard someone knocking at my door and figured it was time to report to the weasel shit. So I threw it open and growled "What?"

First thing I saw was a sack labeled Burger Suplex, same as the food I'd been getting all week. Second thing I saw was a milkshake with a similar label. Then a face partly concealed by a checkerboard scarf. And finally, a set of wide, tired eyes.

We just kind of stood there like that for a minute. I was kind of embarrassed, and a little bit nervous since I felt like I should say something. It took more effort than it should have for me to finally squeak out a "thanks" for the gesture. For really the first vaguely nice thing that'd happened to me in months.

She handed me the goods and murmured "yeah" before walking away. The scarf trailing behind her did look pretty cool.

Thinking about how much better that stuff tasted is making my stomach protest.

There wasn't any fanfare about my leaving the next morning. Just a message from that asshole cat weasel rabbit fucker to get to the black car outside right away. I wasn't planning on sticking around, so I rushed on out to the car in question. Just wanted to get it over with.

There was something wrapped up in soggy plastic paper waiting for me. I did up my seat belt before unwrapping my gift. It was food. An unholy fusion of egg, bacon, and muffin, and absolutely delicious. Especially since I hadn't had anything resembling breakfast in months.

The front and back seats were separated by a partition - I guess to keep the crazies from attacking the driver - so instead of seeing where I was going, I kept myself entertained by looking out the back window and swinging my feet. Watching the city fall behind right up to the airport.

I had the paper crumpled up in one hand and my little bag of things in the other as the car pulled to a stop. I unbuckled myself and got out, waiting for somebody - maybe the driver, maybe a person waiting here - to walk me through this whole "immigrating" thing. I'm pretty sure I'd need a passport or something like that which I didn't already have. And I certainly can't afford my own flight with this pocket change.

The car drove off as soon as I was out, so it's not them. I scan the drop-off area to find some sign of where to go. I thought I may have been stranded there intentionally.


How'd she do that? I could have sworn she wasn't there earlier. But a few feet away, the same lady I met last night beckoned me over. Her other hand was carrying a paper sack.

After tossing my wrapper into the first trash bin I could find, I followed after her like I was on a goddamn leash. Neither of us said much of anything to each other. Again, I didn't really know what to say here, since I already thanked her last night. I must have looked like a star-struck little kid following around her big sister. Really freaking embarrassing.

It wasn't until she reached the point of no return that she spoke, murmuring, "...Hey. ...You got a shitty deal. ...We could have helped, and we just piled more on."

I couldn't deny that, so I just nodded along. But she's the only one who made any effort to make things suck less for me. That counts for something.

She handed me the sack, which had a passport sticking out the top. I took that out and carried the two bags with my other hand.

"Eightball's trying to hush things up," she explained, sounding pretty bitter, "and it's gonna work. ...But we'll see what we can do."

The lady awkwardly waved goodbye to me, and I returned it even more awkwardly, since I had my hands full. After customs confiscated my shampoo for being too big, I had to hurry to join the rest of the passengers before the plane took off.

The lady in the checkered scarf had pulled some strings. That's what I gathered from finding out I was sitting in first class. It was a commercial airliner, so I wasn't alone, but it meant my lunch was paid for. With nobody seated next to me I had plenty of leg room and a window seat, so I was feeling pretty good, all things considered.

I let the plastic bag containing my worldly possessions drop into the empty seat. I wanted to see what was in the gift bag that lady handed me - the one that bore the emblem of the Eighth. Also settled on something less awkward to refer to her as : "Checkers".

I think it was a care package, or something close to one that was thrown together at a moment's notice due to how sudden my departure was. Beneath the hastily added tissue paper were a few small, non-perishable foodstuffs; a lot of chocolate; an extra grief seed; one of those posters with a cat holding on to a branch with the inspiring caption of "hang in there"; and a card with a phone number on it. Curious, but not something I could do anything about right now. The phone in my cabin - I didn't know they even had those - cost more money than I could really afford.

The flight really wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated. Maybe because I slept through most of it. The seat, after the flight attendant gave me a blanket, was comfortable than my bed back at the Officio, so that probably helped.

I wasn't awake at the time the plane touched down, but the stewardess told me it was time to leave. Which is a shame, because having regular meals and a cozy place to sleep was something that I could get used to. I thanked her for waking me, and for the blanket, and the other things that made the trip bearable, and gathered my things.

It was getting dark out when I arrived. I wasn't sure where I was supposed to go at first, since I'd never had to fly on my own before. I had everything on my person, so I didn't need to go to baggage claim. My original intention was to wander aimlessly through the airport for a few hours - maybe if they don't find me, they'll give up and go home - but I was found as soon as I stepped out of the gate. I was enthusiastically greeted by somebody with a toothy smile, who inquired if I was indeed "Eleanor". I guess I could have lied, but I'm almost sure that they could tell I was lying by how I taste or some other bullshit. Hunting you down seems to be one of their specialties.

Fuck, I hope that tea-guzzler doesn't find my office. I don't think I could do anything if she cornered me in here.

After the introductions were over - I didn't bother to remember her name - she drove me out to the Officio and kept trying to make conversation, getting only short mumbles from me. I wasn't used to being awake at... Whatever time it was back home. I just got the spiel about being welcomed to Australia, and the Sixth, and Warmaster Russ and Incubator whatshisface send their regards even if they're too busy to meet with you, and things would mostly be the same. Except that they didn't have an office ready for me yet, so I had to work in a supply closet until then. After that I was given a room key for their on-site residence and had the rest of the day to get set up.

I had something that could be called a room now. It was small, but it was an actual room instead of a glorified storage space. And the landline didn't have a money slot, so I assumed it was complimentary. I fished the card out of Checkers' gift, and then dialed the number. I thought I might have to pay for long distance, but I was patched through just the same.

Turns out I got Checkers' cell phone number. The rest of my night was her asking if everything was okay, and that the presents were from all of them, and apologizing about that weasel, and reassuring me that things would be okay, and giving me all kinds of tips. Like how I had dental now. And how Australia doesn't have some of the candies I really liked back in America. And that if I needed anything I should call or leave a message. And that was all the time she had right now, good night.

Next day I had a map posted to my door that directed me to my new life. I managed to not get lost somehow, but I remember feeling nauseous the first time I stepped into that supply closet. It smelled really fucking awful, and I had a headache around lunchtime.

I got surrounded by curious cats and nosy dogs, trying to ask me personal questions. The name "Crunchberry" was tossed around, and it seems to have stuck. That was my cue to get the fuck away from them, and I was chased all the way back to the "office". Sometimes they still show up and do it again, and I wish they'd just fuck off.

I got better at managing my money while here, and was able to save up enough to buy a video game console and a small television. When that didn't fill the void, I started buying candy every week. Checkers wasn't always available on weekdays, so we decided that specific times on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night would be the designated "only really good thing I have left to look forward to" period. I don't really consider her a friend even now. More like... I don't know, something else. Somebody to confide in and admire and wish you got to do normal things with.

Back then, I had mixed feelings about moving out here. Now, though... Now I'm really homesick.

Somebody's knocking at the door, so I guess that's enough reminiscing for one day. I hope the tea-guzzling bitch didn't find me.

"May I come in?" a polite voice inquires. I give an affirmative noise, and my afternoon workload is pushed in on a little trolley. I look at it with dread as the door shuts.

The trance kicking in doesn't do anything to cover the pain of writing with burns on your hand. Shit shit shit shit shit that hurts.

This feels like it's gonna be a slow loss of self. So I have to suffer through this fuckawful pain for a bit longer.

To summarize, my options now are to wait for Checkers and her friends to get me out of here, get into a different line of work, or turn into a witch. And Fuckface's antics are pushing me firmly into the third one. I can only hope nobody gets injured too badly when that happens.

Oh... Right, I almost forgot. Should get this out of the way.

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday dear Eleanor... I wish I had cake.