Disclaimer: This novel contains adult materials including sexually explicit activities, childhood trauma, domestic violence, strong language, and incest. Reader discretion is advised.
Session 12: Dark Dreams Develop Despair
Upon exiting Oransen High, we went to Maxxie’s car, where we began the process of retrieving the VD— which was thankfully still in the glove compartment— and started undoing the swaps. Once everybody was back in their “birth bodies” as Maxxie called them, we took our usual seats in the car and Zoe began our ‘first day post-mortem.’
“Now that everybody is in their original body, do I need to remind you about how I would like for you all to provide a write-up of your experience in each other’s bodies?”
“Yeah, yeah. No need to remind us. How long does this need to be?” Maxxie grumbled.
“Ideally it would be just one or two pages, but feel free to say anything you want us to know about the experience,” Zoe explained.
“Didn’t we already talk about all that stuff?” Maxxie replied with a sigh.
“This is ultimately an experiment, and in an experiment, you should not simply casually look over the results. You need to approach the situation as scientifically as possible. You could complain, but remember, you agreed to this.” Zoe pointed out.
“Okay, okay, whatever you say, Dr. Xing…” Maxxie mumbled as she drove out of the parking lot.
“However, I still feel that we should have discussions about our experiences prior to writing, so I must ask you all, how do you all feel, returning to your own bodies?”
I took a minute to ponder Zoe’s question. I certainly felt a lot bigger. I was still a pretty scrawny person, but I felt far less like I would be brushed aside by a strong enough breeze. Everything was reset to normal. But as I stared at my hands and saw myself in the rearview mirror, I couldn’t help but feel that something was off, and I had absolutely no clue what. Perhaps I was just processing how what I viewed as normal truly was not normal for most other people. Perhaps I gained a greater understanding for how different the individual truly was. I did not ponder that idea in much detail before I responded with a very short and blasé answer.
“I feel fine, like this whole swap never happened… I’m also hungry, but that’s to be expected.”
“I feel the same,” Shiaka chimed in. “Being back in my body makes the whole experience more… unreal when looking back at it. As if it was just part of a realistic and detailed dream.”
“I can understand that feeling,” I added. “But every time I swap, it feels more and more real, and after… however many times, I’m starting to get used to it.”
“I know, right? I had all of these hopes that we would go through this flurry of experiences but… I guess no matter what bod you’re rocking, school’s still school. But even if this was a bit of a bust, I did get a bit closer to you, so I’d say it was well worth it. I mean, our Social Link’s been maxed out at level ten for years now, but if there’s any way to bring it to eleven, this is probably it.”
“Please try to be more thorough in your reflection, Maxxie…” Zoe sighed.
“I’ll be so thorough I’ll be thoroughly through!” Maxxie quipped. “You know I can write decently if I wanna, and I wanna lube your gears and get your brain working on some dope-ass theories!”
Shortly after that exchange, the conversation crawled to a trickle as Maxxie dropped off Shiaka, Zoe, and eventually myself.
“See ya later Jad. I’ll be sure to keep my body nice and warm, just how you like it!” Maxxie said as she drove off.
I sighed as she left and wandered into my house, greeted my mother, and walked up to my bedroom, where I ate my lunch at about 15:45.
After doing my usual after-school ritual of checking through my usual RSS feeds, I then got to work on my write up for my day as Shiaka and my performance as her. Doing that, it… It got me thinking about myself a lot.
How I felt I put in the least effort of anyone in impersonating the person I appeared to be.
How I was unable to articulate… everything that I liked about being in the body of Shiaka.
How I really fit in amongst people I have considered to be my friends for several years.
Zoe was this incredibly diligent person who pretty much always had a level head, and would never blindly rush into anything without some semblance of a plan. He is a very intelligent young man who was born into a poor family, his father died when he was 5-years-old, and his mother busted her ass trying to raise him. …At least until Maxxie’s family gave her a well-paying job that she was proficient at. He’s been through some shit, and he is such a well-balanced person because of that.
Shiaka… I already talked about what she went through when she was a child. But while most people would be just completely, utterly destroyed by that, either removing themselves from society or outright killing themselves, she never lost her resolve. She’s become so much more comfortable around all of us, people in general, since she was the January Girl who ran away whenever somebody tried talking to her. On top of that, she is such a smart little delight, and when it comes to pretty much anything having to do with technology or computers, she knows her stuff. I mean, her programming skills are pretty impressive for someone her age, and she’s been making games, small little prototypes mostly, since sixth grade.
Maxxie… She is such a fun and weird person who I honestly cannot imagine life without. She does have a bit of an organizational problem. But the fact that she can be so dedicated to something and produce such amazing illustrations or digital paintings, it makes me feel like the most incompetent and worthless sack of fucking shit in the world. She has a following of about four thousand people at this point, but she’s not in it for anything but the craft. Plus, she is so open and easygoing, trying to be as nice as she can to people who give her the time of day, it just…
I feel like I don’t deserve to be her best friend. The idea of being in her body again, of having her trust me to that extent, it honestly made me feel a bit ill.
I felt this disgusting flavor of guilt when I was unable to go about her wishes to masturbate in her body. I hated myself for lacking the style and grace she flaunted so effortlessly in handling her sister’s confession of being transgender…
And Terra, her ability to be so strong and tell somebody about something that is just so…
Verde: Jad… are you okay?
Oh yeah, I just have tears flowing down my face as I recall the sense of worthlessness I felt as I realized that my friends are all far better people than me! Compared to them, I’m just a piece of festering fecal matter littering this planet, contributing to all of its fucking problems! I’ve never fucking been better!
Verde: I— I’m sorry if that was the wrong thing to say…
You know so much, but you don’t know how to talk to people? Shit. I forgot these feelings because of what you did to my memories and now… now they are all flowing back. Because you wanted this, right?
Verde: I— I really don’t talk to a lot of people, but, I… I’m sorry about this Jad. I— I should just leave.
Verde? …I— I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings… Yeah, I am the worst. The. Fucking. Worst!
I wasn’t as vulgar about my despair at the time, I was just sad. I was sad, and I meandered about, doing my usual night rituals, before wandering into bed around 21:00. Hoping that I could sleep this depression away. Instead, I had a dream. I don’t often have dreams and… the last one I can remember involves the BBC recycling coffee cups and coffee in order to save their nation from being bought by the Dutch. There was also a little girl in a lobster outfit who shouted, “SIDS, Aurora.” So, yeah, they’re mostly nonsense. The one I had that night placed me in Maxxie’s body— not that it was the first dream I ever had where I was Maxxie, but, you know…
I was talking to a very tall woman, with a dark skin tone. She had short but distinctly feminine hair, and was dressed in a black and red suit. She kept asking me questions which made no sense, stuff like “would you do the borders by next day?” and “if free radical conception is only theoretical, what shape and color will it manifest itself as?” You know, nonsense that I responded to with more nonsense. “Needn’t we borrow ourselves one dark Nippon burger?” and “if we are not oneself can there be a Tuesday?” These nonsense answers for dream people were apparently not the ones this dream woman wanted, as she laughed whenever I said them.
Eventually, she pulled a mirror from her cleavage, which she used to show me my reflection. To show me Maxxie’s face. This dream woman then looked at herself in the mirror… causing her to throw a temper tantrum like a small child. She began bashing her shoes against the floor, and grabbed my naked body by the neck before shoving my body down to the ground. Incapacitated, the brought her hands to my lips, pulling them back with enough force to snap my gums apart. I shrieked as this happened, but I was too shocked to fight back against this attacker. Too shocked to do anything as I felt a layer of skin separate from my flesh.
The woman held the sheath of skin above me, the skin of Maxxie, only for her to bundle it up and throw it aside. She then looked down at me once more and grabbed my hand, bringing it to my face. I saw the same hand I had known for all my life. It was my hand. After showing me this, the dream woman. She then stared at me, forcing me to gaze at her uncanny crimson irises her pupils looked up and down my body.
Seconds later, the woman stood above me… and began shoving one of her feet into my mouth. She jammed it down my throat, through my innards and, soon enough, the rest of her body followed.
It was all a bizarre and surreal sensation at the time, but looking back, it was clear what she was trying to do. Trying to wedge herself into my person, between my bones and organs, in order to wear my body like a suit, much like I had worn Maxxie’s. Her body shrunk to fit within my frame. I felt her hands dig into mine, her fingers wearing mine like a glove, and her head morphing to fit within my skull. Or, at least I thought it was my skull.
As this continued, I lost the ability to move. To speak. To do anything but feel and perceive the world around me. As I accepted this lack of autonomy, I began to stand up but not by my own fruition. The woman inside me forced me to stand up.
After looking down at my form, dressed in my school uniform, her attention was diverted elsewhere. Turning my head, she saw Maxxie, waving at me, clearly seeing ‘me’ as Jad. She had no idea that this woman burrowed herself inside me. That she was the one who was waving back at her and walking toward her. Then, once Maxxie was within arm’s length, the woman leapt at Maxxie, pinning her against the ground, where she bit open Maxxie’s throat.
As Maxxie realized what was happening, she cried out in pain, and then… then I woke up in a cold sweat, nervous. I was unsure of what had happened and, at the same time, eager to forget whatever the hell I had been subjected to…
No comment, Verde? Fine. I guess I’ll just finish this story without you. Not like there’s much left to cover.
Verde’s Doohickey Main Page
Session 01: Re;Birth.exe
Session 02: Osananajimi;Myself
Session 03: Maximum Flare
Session 04: The World of Girl Love
Session 05: It’s Slippery When Wet
Session 06: T-Girl Trouble
Session 07: All The Warriors
Session 08: A School-Style Swap
Session 09: School Daze
Session 10: Starred Social Links
Session 11: Finer Foreshadowing
Session 12: Dark Dreams Develop Despair
Session 13: Back 2 Best Girl
Session 14: Can’t Even Shine In A Prism
Session 15: Maxxie Mit Melancholy
Session 16: The Long Walk Home
Session 17: Obtuse Origins – Omega Overdrive
Afterword: Natalie Rambles About Verde’s Doohickey
Session Extra.1: Adoration
Session Extra.2: Inheritance
Session Extra.3: Resonance
Session Extra.4: Confessions