"So lemme get this straight – you'll grant any wish that I want?"
Helga was approached one night by an unusual white animal. The term "animal", perhaps, was too generous a description for the sentient creature; though in some ways it resembled a cat, there was definitely something otherworldly about its logic-defying ears within ears…and then there was that grin…
CORRECT – somehow the creature was able to communicate without altering any of its frozen facial expression.
"And in return for granting any wish that I want, you want me to…fight witches?"
WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE A CONTRACT WITH ME TO BECOME A PUELLA MAGI?
Helga shifted in her seat on the bed. It was an enticing offer. Not only would she get what SHE wanted, but she would also be given magical abilities. It seemed like a no-brainer.
And she could wish for anything! She could wish for a million bucks, her own personal jet plane, and when would she get another opportunity to have the tables turned on Olga? For once, SHE could be the golden child in the family…
THE SCOPE OF YOUR WISH IS INFINITE. IT IS BOUNDLESS. IF THERE IS A BOY THAT YOU HAPPEN TO ADMIRE, THEN YOU CAN MAKE A WISH SO THAT HIS FEELINGS FOR YOU ARE MUTUAL.
"What?" Helga's train of thought was interrupted and she stared at the creature. That HAD crossed her mind, but how did it know she was thinking it? And as soon as the thought popped into her mind, she quashed it – there was no way she could ever wish for that, and was ashamed it had crossed her mind. She loved Arnold, but even if she could, she would never force him to feel the same way about her.
I AM ONLY OFFERING UP SUGGESTIONS. WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE A CONTRACT?
"Hang on, hang on…" Now that she thought about it, she had to question the "magical power" aspect of the agreement. How tough were these witches anyway? They were likely no picnic if she needed help from a little white whatchamacallit…
And on top of that, it never gave her a time frame. How long would she have to fight witches? What if she chose NOT to fight? Were there consequences? There were a lot of unclear matters that didn't sit well with Helga.
Perhaps she had spent too much time around her, but the whole thing sounded sketchy. Too good to be true.
"Uh…I'm gonna have to get back to you," replied Helga, who really had no intention to go through with the wish and secretly prayed that the creature would just leave her alone.
VERY WELL. LET ME KNOW IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND.
The creature leapt off Helga's windowsill and into the night.
"That's a very peculiar dream," remarked Phoebe, when Helga had told her over lunch what had transpired in her room the previous night.
"Tell me about it," replied Helga. "But it's kinda an interesting prospect. I mean, if you wish for anything in the world, what would it be?"
As Phoebe sat quietly and pondered for a moment, Lila audibly rose from her seat across from the two friends, grabbed her tray and moved to another table.
"Well, if it were me," began Sheena, "I'd wish that P.S. 118 would have its very own jazz and tap program."
"I'd probably wish to have a beautiful insect named after me," mused Nadine dreamily. "What would you wish for Rhonda?"
Rhonda scoffed. "Are you kidding? I wouldn't wish for a thing."
"Really?" Helga's raised her eyebrow.
"Of course. After all, how could you improve on perfection?"
Helga rolled her eyes. "I should have known…"
Phoebe giggled. "Actually, Helga, I don't think I'd wish for anything either. I'm happy with just the way things are."
"What would you wish for?" asked Rhonda.
Helga grinned wickedly. "I'd wish for Curly to be in all of your classes from now until your senior year of high school."
After school Helga spent some time at the Heyerdahl household. Phoebe would be accompanying her father to work over the weekend, so it was the only available time she'd have to hang out.
When Helga left Phoebe's house it was already sundown. On the way home she stopped in front of Sunset Arms. Light shone brightly through the windows of the boarding house, illuminating Helga's face and the sidewalk and street below. In one of the windows Helga could just scarcely make out the football-headed silhouette of her beloved. Helga sighed, and continued to trudge her way home.
Helga gasped; suddenly the white creature appeared in front of her path.
"Cripes…you scared the ever-loving crap outta me. What is it?"
HAVE YOU MADE A DECISION? WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE A WISH AND FULFILL THE CONTRACT TO BECOME A PUELLA MAGI?
Helga looked behind her shoulder, longingly at the boarding house. "Well…"
There was a sickening slicing noise. Helga turned to look ahead again and was horrified by what she saw.
The white creature lay immobile in a puddle of its own blood; a sharp black scythe was planted firmly in its skull.
Too stunned for words, Helga simply clasped her hand over her mouth so that she wouldn't scream, and ran the rest of the way home.