N’s phone told him it was 10 past 6. The bus was late. Again. And he felt so… fidgety. It felt to him like he was wasting his time, but not in the same manner as usual. Not just sitting and getting bored as stuff failed to happen around him, but that instead stuff was happening, but he had refused to partake.
But… So what!? So what if he’d been distracted by it all afternoon? It had been his choice. It was dangerous. It was ridiculous. He didn’t want any part of it. Like, what, a portal to other worlds? A likely story. The biggest consequence it would probably have would be a blown fuse or something like that.
He found himself biting his nails and crossing his legs, looking at the horizon. The sky was the same hues as yesterday - perhaps a bit more sanguine-looking at best.
12 past 6.
His left foot was now silently tapping against the asphalt. The bench he was sitting on was crummy, and the people from yesterday ditched sticking around this time, so he had no conversation to distract himself from his thoughts with.
Still 12 past 6. Damn it.
Okay, so… Maybe he was regretting his choice a bit. But only because he had nothing else to do. It would’ve been good for a laugh after it failed to work, right?
...Probably not. He really, really wasn’t the kind of person to laugh at other people’s misfortunes.
13 past 6… He told himself he was going to stop checking his phone so often like this.
After a moment, he felt a wave of resignation crash upon him. This whole thing just… sucked. He was trying to understand what his brain was telling him, but the only thing he got out of the jumbled mess of thoughts was that he felt like a damn coward... He had no reason to! That’s not even what cowardice is! ...What even is cowardice anyway? A roundabout way to mock following one’s survival instincts? He wanted to huff, but that’d have been unlike him.
But yeah. He was regretting it. Why did he even refuse? He slouched on the bench a bit.
He thought of Sam. Of Jules. Of Lucie, too. Were they helping with the preparations, or only watching? Was it finished already? Had it failed? Had they been sucked into another world by accident? Urrgh. Morbid thought. He felt a shiver crawling down his spine.
He looked down. He could feel his torso rising and lowering with each of his breaths. They were drawn out, slowly eroding his desire to stay put.
He looked down on his phone one last time.
17 past 6.
Still no sign of the bus.
He stood up, and walked back in the direction of the main building.
Walking through the corridors of the school, N felt an eerie tenseness. The air smelled different… He was considering going back out and thinking some more about the meaning of cowardice as he neared the lab’s door.
As his hand was slowly approaching the handle, he heard - no, not just heard, but felt- an ungodly screech of something tearing apart. His instincts kicked in and he swung open the door, hurtling down the stairs as fast as he could.
The noise was horribly loud. He quickly covered his ears with his hands, before noticing his friends, spread across the room, doing just the same. The professor was near the machine, holding himself up thanks to an adjacent table, his headphones on. In the center of the device was a ray of purple light, slowly expanding and widening. The bigger it got, the more it took on the appearance of a crack, of a crevice in the air itself. An immense gust of wind started expelling from the hole. Cardboard boxes started falling off the tables, their content spilling out on the floor, the lightest bits of metal and hundreds of papers blowing across the room.
Something tried to pull itself out of the portal. The surface of the hole expanded forward like something gooey, and as it got tense, it eventually broke out. The portal slowly oozed away from what appeared to be a bandaged hand.
Behind the hand was an equally bandaged arm, followed by a torso covered in the same gauze-like fabric, as well as expensive-looking jewelry - center piece was an intricate collar with a green emerald in the middle.
Other bumps were making their way through the stretched rift - undoubtedly a leg and a head. But the head had bizarre triangular shapes atop it. It too pierced through, and was revealed to be just as covered in bandages and jewelry as the rest of the creature.
It slouched forward in a way that looked unintentional, and the rest of its body slipped out of the crack, which went back to its original shape before starting to shrink at alarming rates.
In an instant, the portal was gone, and in the middle of the gate was a (probably?) undead (did actual mummies even follow the rules of pop-culture?) creature covered in precious trinkets, with triangular bumps on top of its head and… a tail, too?
The machine started to ominously beep and creak and the professor quickly rushed to it.
“What the hell happened!?” N shouted, hoping for an answer. They hadn’t seemed to have noticed him arrive yet.
“Marcus! You came!” Exclaimed Jules in panic. Urgh. He had forgot not to call N this name - but in an emergency like this it was understandable his mind was focused elsewhere. “I don’t know! The professor managed to get the portal to work once, but it did not look like that at all!”
Sam was taking a stance like he was ready to pounce at the creature at any moment, Lucie seemed concerned as she shuffled in her bag looking for something, Jules was fleeing towards N and the professor was occupied trying not to let the machine break down.
Then the mummy slowly stood up. Its movements were slow and restrained by the tight fabric covering it. The four students stayed silent, stunned.
It seemed to look around. Wait, could it see through its coverings? Its illogical gaze stopped on Lucie, as she was approaching it with compassion in her eyes.
“Are you okay? Can you understand me?” She asked, extending her hand towards it, presenting it a half-unwrapped chocolate bar.
“NOOOOOOOOO!” suddenly screamed Sam, rushing towards her and grabbing the creature’s wrists before it could touch her - a remarkable feat of instinct, as its hands were glowing ominously.
To everyone’s surprise, he was struggling. The creature matched him in strength. Sam was pushing with all his might, but his opponent, while not able to fight back with as much energy, didn’t flinch.
Lucie ran back to her bag and emptied it on the floor, looking for anything that could help. Jules had gone to the professor and was now helping him keep the device stable. Meanwhile, N was looking around for anything he could use as a weapon.
Sam’s hands slightly slipped from the mummy’s wrists, and found themselves in contact with the creature’s own hands. Their fingers interlaced and he groaned in pain. Sam’s bones started cracking and shortening, his muscles wasting away.
N ran in with a nearby chair and shoved it in the creature’s torso, immediately severing the connection. Sam scurried off to one of the corners of the room, coughing and struggling to catch his breath.
But now N was the one fighting with a monster that clearly overpowered him, he had lost the element of surprise, the chair would probably not hold for long, and he had the info he absolutely had to avoid being touched by its hands.
“Hey!” screamed Lucie trying to get his attention. She jumped into the fight and helped him hold the chair. “Take this and attack them from behind, I’ll distract them…!” She held out a pair of scissors. He nodded, grabbed the makeshift weapon and let her handle the chair. The creature seemed to double its efforts, desperately trying to grab her, but she held out as best she could, the chair wincing as its plastic foot started to bend and splinter.
Without wasting a moment, N shifted to the creature’s behind, grabbed a bandage. The mummy groaned in panic and shifted its attention back to him, trying to turn around, but its movements were too sluggish. He started cutting through the multiple layers of cloth until he’d opened them all. A dusty gas started leaking out of the mummy, and it deflated as whatever was inside wasted away.
Lucie fell on her butt, sighing in relief. He followed her gesture and did the same, panting.
Mr. Robert and Jules were still desperately trying to hold the machine together.
But it was a lost cause.
The professor quickly grabbed Jules by the shoulder and dragged him away as fast as he could as the metallic structure fell apart in a cacophony of noise.
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- Princess Alchemist Catgirl
Bio: I write the LGBTQ gender bending stories I wish I had when I was a teen, and all the internet had was cis gaze erotica. I write so that future trans kids have better stuff to look at to figure themselves out than what I had.