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Nov 14, 2019 7:38 PM
Boogey Nausicaa imagines herself a hero
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Two weeks ago, a thing that was only doing a very poor job of pretending to be a woman crawled in through Nausicaa's window and raised its knife above her head and she screamed - 

And her friend the boogieman tore it apart.

Nausicaa had been scared of him back then. It only made sense. But he seemed so lonely hiding under her bed, so she crawled down there - and kept crawling into the infinite shadows -

He seemed to need a hug, was all. And he did save her.

They've been best friends since, and Nausicaa's become more aware. Of the way Nanny doesn't seem to sleep - no actually she doesn't sleep - and seems to know a weird amount of things, and is always meeting with other Nannies outside in the dark...

Of how her friend Sue's sister died, and how it was probably way more horrible than what the adults told them. Which was nothing. How Sue now has a monster of her own, a skeletal thing (Nausicaa's glad she only needs to keep her boogieman from scaring people, not from eating people).

How there's something wrong with two of her teachers, and how her classmate Lianne has something weird in her family and people are following Silvie around who shouldn't be - 

She's also become aware that she probably made her friend the boogieman. Three weeks ago, she saw a fox's skeleton, half decayed, and convinced herself it was going to follow her home and haunt her - 

So, naturally, it did.

And now the rain-monster who brought the drowning dreams touched her boogieman and changed him, and he's weird lately and his shadows keep dripping, and maybe if she believed him she can believe very hard in someone who'll fix him - 

A magical girl, obviously. Someone who will fight for truth and justice and humanity. Someone who can look into people's hearts and bring out their true selves. Someone who'll help because there's something horrible in this town and none of the adults want to know - 

Nausicaa sits on her bed, scrunches up her face, and believes very, very hard.

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-This isn't her bedroom. This isn't the bedroom of anyone she knows. This is a kind of bedroom that hasn't been in style for a hundred years. And her contacts aren't getting a signal. A twitch of her pinky slides the alert out of her view because there's a small girl on the bed who's scared and upset and that's more immediately important.

"Hey," she says softly. (In English. This seems like an American bedroom.) "What's wrong?" She's wearing a soft grey robe in a Japanese style, with footwraps instead of shoes and a dark blue scarf dangling loosely around her neck.

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"Something really bad is happening and my friend got somethinged by a really big monster and now he's drippy and behaving weird. Can you help him?"

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"I'll try. Do you know where he is?"

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"Thanks!"

She jumps down off the bed, bends over to look under, and calls, "Boogie! Boogieman!"

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Shadows boil out from under the bed - wet, dripping, running together - and a fox skull emerges from them to look questioningly at the child and the new woman.

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...That is very questionably friend-shaped.

"Boogieman?"

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"I made him. He protects me from monsters, but the rain monster got him."

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"Okay," she says slowly. It looks like a wraith more than anything, but her gem isn't alerting her to its presence. A soft blue nimbus surrounds her as she reaches out with her magic, trying to see if she can sense emotions from it.

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He's nervous, and somewhat alarmed, and wary of her in a protective way, and fondly exasperated at the same time. And there's something else - a deeper unhappiness, almost a dissonant screaming, like he woke from a nightmare he still can't shake -

He flows a bit closer to the child, almost hunching around her.

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That's definitively not a wraith. They strike only one note, and that always the same.

"Can you tell me more about what happened?"

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"A really big monster flew over the town in a rain cloud. Everyone had drowning nightmares. The boogieman went to look at it. He doesn't talk so I don't know what happened but he looked at it and then he started dripping and something was wrong, really wrong, and he's been acting weird and so has a lot of people - "

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"It's going to be all right, okay? I have magic that lets me help people be happier."

At the same time, she tries to contact the boogieman with telepathy. Can you hear me? Can you talk like this?

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"Yes. What are you?"

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A magical girl. An empath. What happened to you?

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"The Drowning Horror came. I - saw it - everything it was - and it was like I was drowning too, until I remembered the Girl."

"I haven't met any magical girls yet. Just the Nannies, and a windigo, and the meat puppets."

He seems wary still, tilting his head as he regards her.

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I haven't heard of any of those. Or a Drowning Horror. I think... this is not the world I know. She said she made you.

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"I think she did, but I don't remember being made. The Crone might know for sure?"

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I don't remember being made. I remember an entire life. But if she did make you, it's possible she made me as well.

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"Maybe. I don't know, I'm still figuring out how the world works." A bit of frustration: "The language is still hard."

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I want to try using my magic on you, if that all right. I think I might be able to help with the effects of the nightmare.

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He hesitates, then: "Alright."

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She takes a breath, and reaches for his emotions again. Surface manipulations are trivial, and she can toss them off almost without thinking. This is a deeper problem, more like altering a baseline state. Tricky, but not something she's never done before. The catch will be to see if it the change sticks.

Tendrils of light reach out to caress the fox skull as she digs in, peeling apart the layers of wariness and concern and protectiveness with gentle fingers. The burst of anxiety and jolt of sudden fear lurking beneath are what she's looking for. It's... odd. She's never seen something like this before. These emotions are transitory, appearing in the seconds before and after waking to fade quickly as the mind distances itself from the vision it produced. It's like he's perpetually on the cusp, there beneath the surface. She flattens the peak, smooths the edges, rounding it off with comfort, with safety, with the assurance of not being alone.

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Someone being able to do that is a bit alarming but it feels better, like the nightmare that got stuck in his head is forgetting about him, like the echo of the Horror is sloughing off -

"Thank you."

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Happy to help.

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He nods.

He's less drippy, now, his shadows flowing more like smoke around him, outlining curls of fur.

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