Short fiction – The Other Side – Sam’s curse

Sam Depp We moved into the other world because my father was offered a job there. The existence of a Medieval fantasy world alongside our own had been discovered about 5 years earlier. Well, discovered is a nice word for it when the portal just freaking opened up in the middle of a road in Chicago. Hard to deny really. It had been long enough since official portals had been regulated (read: guards added) that there was an Earth embassy over there. The UN and some particularly enterprising, or as I like to call them, stingy corporations had moved in. The companies out sourced call centres to The Other Side, because India had got too expensive. Why bother employing humans at all when orcs and elves were dying to fin dout what it was like to answer a telephone and get paid minimum wage.

There’s your vague world view. Hope you liked it. The story I’m trying to tell is about how I had to start a whole new school. I had been against the move from the start. I had friends at my high school, my sister was settled in some sort of Barbie doll haze with a bunch of other 8 year old girls. We had a house with a double garage and wireless broadband. We were happy.

Mom and Dad were sketchy about exactly what Dad would be doing on The Other Side and I can’t say I was that interested. I just protested every way I knew how against moving at all. And I thought up a lot of ways. It didn’t work. Since when do 16 year olds get a say in their own lives? Since never. The retarded thing about it all is that they came to this new world and we had this house with a white picket fence and a yard with a rock garden and Dad planted a lawn out the front so that he could still go out and mow it on the weekend.

Like, let’s move to this whole new environment where there are actually dragons flying around and elves and shit and just change nothing about how we live our own lives. So there we are with a new two car garage and two storeys and lace curtains in the kitchen and outside people are being beheaded if they look at the King the wrong way.

Kelly and I had to go to the same school. It was an Earth style school so it was like super popular with all the non-humans. That was good because it meant it was big enough to have classes for each year level and we weren’t stuffed in the same class with the 5 year olds like some back water country school. Mom and Dad took us in when they enrolled us and the school principal was a fucking centaur. Like yeah, sure, we’ve just transferred from another dimension. I can’t get MTV here and if I misbehave in class I’m going to be sent to half a horse. Whatever.

My sister wasn’t coping at all. She’d found this talking rat somewhere and I don’t know. It was like they had a psychic link or something because it did all the talking for her. No one seemed to think this was fucked up except for me, but like I’ve already said, no one listens to me at all.

One good thing, one tiny glowing candle flame in the endless abyss of darkness of my new life was that Earth had been influencing the kingdom long enough that there was electricity and phone lines and internet. This meant I could still get to my facebook and everything. If I didn’t have my PC I really think I would have gone mental or started cutting myself or something. At least I could still talk to my friends back home.

So my first day of school . I wouldn’t talk to my parents in the morning, I just drank some coffee and left as late as I possibly could. Mom actually kind of pushed me out the door in the end. It wasn’t far to the old barn that they’d converted to classrooms but I took the long way, I cut through a field and stopped to have a smoke. My last cigarette from home. I made it last, I wasn’t going to be able to score any more and witht he portals monitored the way they are I couldn’t have anything like that delivered to me. So I was in this random field, sitting on like, a tree stump and smoking and trying to work out some way to convince Dad I should be sent to a boarding school back in the States when this woman came out of the forest and just stood there staring at me.

‘Well, what?’ I said. Which I know isn’t that polite or whatever but I kinda wanted to be left alone right then.

‘You are not from around here are you, boy?’ The woman said.

‘What gave you that idea? You know, besides my clothes and my hair and the way I speak and this cigarette?’ I flicked the butt of the cigarette away since I was finished with it anyway and this woman was pissing me off.

‘No, it wasn’t any of those things.  Many of the young ones in the city have adopted the Earth style of dress.’ She stopped talking then, like she expected me to say something more.

‘So what? What tipped you off?’ I was pretty annoyed so I let it show in my voice.

‘Well, those who live around here know to avoid me.’ I looked at the woman a little more closely. She had a standard Medieval dress on, made of velvet or something and she had long hair. She wasn’t wearing any shoes. My mouth went a bit dry but I wasn’t scared or anything.

‘Right. Because you’re so scary.’ I said. ‘With your….dress.’ It wasn’t the cutting insult I had intended but the woman had taken another step towards me and she was, kind of, bigger than I’d first assumed. Taller I mean, not fatter.

‘Yes, I am scary.’ She said. Her voice was very pretty. I really wanted to hear her speak more all of a sudden.

‘I’m not scared of you.’

‘You should be. Travellers go missing in these woods all the time. Or they come out different to how they went in. ‘

‘Huh.’ I said. ‘Yeah, but I’m not scared of you, so you can stop trying to freak me out. You’re just a girl. A woman. Maybe. I’m not that sure how old you are.’

‘I’m old.’ She was right in front of me now and I thought that I should get up and face her down but my body didn’t seem to want to move. She leaned forward like she was going to kiss me. Which I was so not ok with. I mean, she wasn’t even hot, she just had a nice voice. Besides she was a weird woman from God knows where.

‘Yeah, I’m not that into kissing you.’ She stopped moving and looked totally put out. I realised I could move again so I stood up and kind of moved her aside. It wasn’t really a push, just kind of a guiding movement. A forceful guiding movement.

‘You dare deny me my sport?’ She said as I pushed past her. I may have shoulder barged her a little. I can’t say for sure.

‘Yeah.’ I said. ‘Pretty much. I’m out of here creepy lady. You get your sport some other place today.’ Then she said something really dull and predictable like ‘how dare you scorn me in this way, blah blah blah’ so I told her off. And she got all weird and close to me again so I had to like push her shoulders to get her away from me and then she really started screaming. I remember what she said then really, really clearly.

‘Not afraid of women? I will teach you to be afraid! I will show you what it is like! When the weather changes so shall you! That is my curse.’

‘Ok whatever.’ I said and I walked away from here. I was really tough and didn’t look back at her. There hadn’t been any flashing lights or sparkling and I hadn’t felt anything so how was I supposed to know that what she said ws an actual real spell? I mean seriously.

I got to school late but I didn’t care when the teacher told me off. I didn’t care about anything at school until it was like, 5 minutes til they had to let us out for the day. It had got real dark outside and the clouds were black like thunder was going to start up. When the first drop of rain fell was when it happened. I didn’t feel hardly anything, which is weird right? I mean, if I was going to curse someone I’d make sure it hurt like fuck whenever they changed forms. I just noticed that my watch was suddenly way too big for my wrist, so I checked it to make sure the strap hadn’t broken or something. My hands were different, smaller. Not a whole lot smaller, but definitely different. Then the difference in my body became really obvious. My hoodie was bulging out on front. Over my chest. Over my full and luscious breasts.

‘Huh.’ I said it out loud and the teacher got all pissy because we were meant to be listening to him.

‘Is there something you’d like to share with the class, Mr Depp?’ He said.

‘Yeah sure. I’m a GIRL NOW!’

Later I went back to the field and sat on the stump but nothing happened except I got really wet in the rain. I went a ways into the forest but no freaky witch lady appeared. I guess she was watching me and laughing but I could never find her, no matter how many times I went back.

I don’t mind it so much, to be honest. I’ve always been thin so my clothes pretty much fit either way. Mom bought me a dress for the big winter festival because I was a girl for it and I kind of enjoyed wearing it at the time. Plus, my hair was long anyway. Most times people don’t even notice the difference. It’s annoying, I’ll give you that, but it’s not by any stretch of the imagination the most annoying thing about living in this shit hole. Rock Band 2 isn’t even going to be released her for another year, for example. I just have to convince Dad that he can get a better job back home. That’s all.

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