It all seemed so harmless...
I mean, really. How was I supposed to know? How could I possibly have known?
All I did was make a wish.
"This is the most boring summer vacation ever," I grumbled. I felt completely justified in the statement. When I was reduced to staring through a telescope at 2 in the morning on a Sunday, it was obvious there was nothing else to do.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I love looking at the stars. Wouldn't really have a telescope if I didn't, would I? But when you live in a city like San Francisco, it would be more accurate to say "attempting to look at the stars, but not really seeing a whole lot." Stupid pollution.
Stupid internet going down.
Stupid broken DVD player.
Stupid Becky being out of town.
I let out a heavy sigh and my shoulders slumped. "I kinda wish something would just happen, already!"
I yelped and started at the unexpected - and unfamiliar - voice, just barely managing not to fall out of my chair. "Who-? What-?"
I looked over at my desk... and froze. Sitting on it was... was...
It was the most bizarre-looking thing I'd ever seen. Some kind of small creature - which looked like someone had crossbred a bunny and a cat, then added something extra - about two feet long (including tail), covered in often white fur. It apparently had four ears; two that resemble an average cat, pointed and up, while the other two were long, tassel-like appendages that split into three sections at their tip. The tassels faded from white to pink and had three red dots horizontally before the splits... and also bore a pair of floating golden rings. Last, but certainly not least, it had two beady pink eyes with dark maroon irises and a tiny, sigma-shaped "cat mouth".
"My name's Kyubey."
And it talked.
I stared at it for a long moment, then sighed. Either I was so tired I was hallucinating, or my mind had finally snapped. (Either way, I clearly had a better imagination than I'd ever given myself credit for.) "Um... okay."
We stared at each other for another long, drawn-out moment.
I blinked first. "What do you want?"
"I want you to sign a contract with me, and become a magical girl!"
Oddly enough, what struck me most about that was that it didn't move its mouth when it spoke. "...why?"
"Why wouldn't you want to? You'd be saving lives! And in exchange for making a contract, I'll grant you any one wish you want!"
Had Mom accidentally slipped something into our dinner? I knew her drug problem was the main reason for the ongoing divorce proceedings, but that had never happened before.
That I knew of.
"Anything, huh?" I asked, trying to bring my mind back to the situation at hand... even if I didn't actually believe it was real. Still better than thinking about the "fun" that my family life had become.
Or how the shouting and fighting had been stressing me out so much lately that I'd begun wondering if maybe I should start looking for Mom's stash, or outright ask if she'd share.
Dad's picking you up in the morning, I reminded myself. Just hang in there a little longer.
"Tell me what you want most, in the whole world, and I can make it happen."
That was a pretty big statement, coming from such a small critter. Still, why not play along? "And what if I don't know what I want? Because if you're waiting for me to ask for my parents to stay together, forget it."
"I'm not. But you're wrong about one thing."
"Oh? What's that?"
"I'm very real, and this is definitely happening."
What the-? It heard me thinking? "Which is exactly what a hallucination would say."
I could have sworn I say it smile. "If you say so. That isn't exactly something that happens all that often on my planet."
"...you're an alien?"
I'm not gonna lie, my heart started beating faster in excitement at that. Meeting life from another world had always been one of my fondest dreams.
No wonder my Mom loved her drugs so much; they were awesome!
"Yes. But no one else can see me. Only magical girls... or possible ones."
How convenient. "And what if I asked for proof of life beyond this world that everyone could see, and couldn't possibly ignore?"
The thing's gaze seemed to become more intent. "Is that your wish?"
Sure, why not? "Yeah. Yeah, it is."
So, I made my wish.
I made a contract.
I opened Pandora's Box.
God, forgive me.
The strange, egg-shaped glowing jewel was digging into my hip, but I couldn't take it out of my pocket with my Dad in the car next to me.
I'd gotten maybe an hour or two of sleep before he arrived to pick me up, but thankfully he didn't comment on my appearance. Mom didn't even bother waking up to see me off - though, given that she hadn't been roused by my pre-dawn screams, I doubt she could have, even if she'd wanted to.
Yes, screams. Because as it turns out, becoming a magical girl hurts like you would not believe. Or maybe my drug trip had turned bad. I still wasn't entirely ruling that out, though the evidence was beginning to stack up against it.
Though, if that was true...
We were on the Golden Gate Bridge when it happened. There was a guttural rumbling, a sound so deep and loud that I felt it more than anything. I had exactly five seconds to be confused...
...before a mountain of flesh loomed out of the fog.
For a moment - the briefest of moments - I stared at it in wonder. This... Whatever this was, there was no way anyone could mistake it for a terrestrial life form. Now everyone would know. The world would know.
We weren't alone.
It was amazing. Awe-inspiring. Even more so because of one thing:
I had done this.
That was when it sunk in that the thing was getting closer and closer to the bridge...
My stomach began to twist.
It collided with the bridge, which began to crack apart. It expedited the process.
I had enough time to think Wait, this isn't right... before we hit the water.
I had done this.
The death toll from that first kaiju was... appalling.
Oh, yes. "First". There were more.
So many more.
So very, very many dead.
It all seemed so harmless...