Lanuleta University - Psychology
Where Everyone Is Female
The absence of the voice worried me as much as my sudden change of gender. Movement felt so disconcerting because my body impression in my head didn't match what I was feeling. I was grateful for the small breasts on my chest. They were still rather sensitive though.
I tried calling out to the voice…and paused. The more I heard it, the more this voice resembled 'the voice'. It wasn't a perfect match, but it felt very similar.
I tightened my broad lips, scratched at my elbow, and figured I couldn't hide out in the bathroom forever in the hope this would just pass.
Walking around didn't help the disconcerting feeling, so I tried to focus on the world around me and not trip.
I tightened my bag and noticed a little toy frog dangling from the end of it which wasn't there before. I brushed back a bit of hair. I really didn't like it this long. I searched my bag for an elastic and found one near the bottom. I also noticed my papers and books were a lot more organized than I was used to.
With my hair back, I walked down the hall and into the meditation area. I didn't notice any major differences. There were only girls in this room but that was usually the case. I walked quickly past the counselor's door.
Outside, I tried to get my bearings. The campus layout was a little different, but I recognized the library.
As I walked, I watched. After a while, I noticed there were only girls. I paused a bit to watch a couple of female crowds go by. I thought I caught a boy or two, but I soon realized they seemed to be boyish-looking girls with short hair and loose clothes.
Attire varied a lot between rather girly and very masculine. Some of the girls looked mean. I walked quickly past them.
Eventually, I made it to the Lanuleta Bronze. Only it was just marked as "Leta". Made sense if everyone was female. But I did wonder how the counselor was pregnant.
The bronze looked more like an opening flower in this iteration. It didn't have the Venus or Mars iconography. My old art teacher would frown at me to say it looked like something by Georgia O'Keefe but that was all that came to mind. I hiked my pants a little and tried not to dwell on certain parts of this body and how they felt as I walked.
As I made my way across campus, I kept my eyes searching for but never encountered a single guy. Stopping at the activities hall, I found another set of bathrooms without any gender labels.
There were a couple of cats made of smoke on the tables with girls petting them over where the chess set usually was. I walked along till I came out on the other side of the hall. From there, I could see Longbloom Hall.
And, when I got to it, I was surprised to see it still had the same name. Checking my little narrow watch on my wrist, I noticed it was just a few minutes to class time.
Inside, the room was already full of girls. I noticed a girl writing words on a page by looking at it.
"Michelle! Over here!"
I followed the familiar voice to Nasira's grinning face and waving hand. Her voice sounded a little different though. Her hair blazed like an energized flame.
She pointed to an empty seat next to her and I made my way over. When I sat down, she wrapped her arms around me and gave me a tight hug followed by a wave of light perfume that surrounded me.
I tried to keep my heart from racing and other parts of my body from responding in new, strange ways. When she finally finished the hug, Nasira still held my hand in hers. We were about the same height, but her hand felt so big and enveloping.
"I'm sorry I didn't stop by last night. I missed you so much."
Her voice was so familiar and yet it wasn't quite Nasira's voice from my world. I moistened my lips and tried to think of something to say.
There were so many vague things and outright lies I could try to mask my lack of knowledge, but I decided, butterflies swirling like a whirlwind inside, to say simply, "It's wonderful to see you."
The first thing I'd ever said to Nasira. My head throbbed. I second-guessed it. Even if this wasn't the same Nasira, she had the same presence about her.
Nasira actually blushed and smiled brightly at me. Her hair glowed. Then she gave me a lingering kiss right on my lips. I felt suddenly flush and trembly. When she pulled away, her hand lingered on my neck and her eyes widened, "Oh, wow. I can see you really missed me too."
She seemed ready to give me another kiss, but she stroked my cheek instead. "This time, I'll come over to your dorm when class is over, okay?"
The memory of her kiss still washing over me, I could only nod back. She did the talking for both of us.
Her words flowed on and on and I listened. She talked about a song she listened to, a beautiful song, and her words served to reenact it. Her words by my ear were so soothing, like constant, smooth waves on a beach.
And, in that relaxation, I realized what her voice reminded me of. She sounded like the voice (but separated from its usual harshness, like it was this morning). Same as I did. Our voices both flowed with that same feeling.
It was so odd to hear that voice reflecting in her voice as well as mine. I didn't know what to make of it.
Before I could ponder further, an older woman with many of the same features as Professor Kellemann walked in and settled into the tall chair in front of our desks.
She flipped open the textbook and her eyes met mine. "Michelle Reyes?"
"Yes, ma'am?" I chimed in without knowing if that was the proper address in this world.
The Professor chuckled and noted, "See, I can remember names. I'm not going mad. Not yet anyway. I sensed you had a concern during our last class. You waited to speak to me but left before you had the chance. And I just got a voice-mail from your counselor about…a concern as well. Now, if it's private, I can talk to you outside, but I sense it has to do with the mental magic from our last session, so it might concern others in the class too."
It felt like every eye in the room was trained on me. I trembled and Nasira put an arm on my shoulder. I took a breath and just spoke honestly, "I was unsettled by the last experience at the end of class. And I felt like I had an echo where reality kinda blurred and I was someone else. Everything was reversed."
The professor set a finger on her lips. "I see. What we do in here for mental experience does sometimes react to magical abilities. But it shouldn't cause so much disruption. It's very mild. Are there any other factors which might be involved?"
All I could do was shrug. The professor brought up the counselor and I told her I had another echo then.
There were some murmurs around the class and the professor eventually led me out of the room to speak in the hallway.
She put a hand on my shoulder and said, "If you'd like, you can sit out the session today."
I pondered it. On the one hand, another exposure could put me back in my own reality. But it could also make things worse.
I asked her, "What will the next session be?"
"Just a little preview of memory. A positive experience with some oddities and seeing if anyone can catch the oddities. Will that be okay?"
I nodded, and we went back to the room. Nasira wrapped her arms around me and whispered, "I'm so sorry." I reassured her that I was fine.
It didn't take long for the experience to set in. I was on a beach chair. The breeze was lovely, but the sky was green. I was still Michelle and dressed in a one-piece swimsuit. My eyes fluttered and my breathing slowed. It was so nice.
A moment later, I was on a table getting a massage. It was incredible. I noticed that the girl rubbing my back had an extra pair of hands, but I was too relaxed to care.
In the calm and quiet, I thought I heard something. A murmuring sound. Not quite a voice. Not like the voice. I couldn't tell for sure what it was. But the more I relaxed, the clearer it was.
I felt like I could almost decipher the words when the experience ended and I was back in my normal clothes with Nasira's arm around me in a room and world of girls.
I made little notes while listening to the experiences of others. But I couldn't put my enthusiasm into it when I didn't know if I was going to be in this world for even ten minutes more.
On the other hand, I had to wonder if I would be here permanently. We closed on a replay of the opening experience with all the anomalous elements pointed out. There were several which had been noted but ones I never would've caught. Like where I floated on the chair instead of sitting in it. And the massage table was made of graham cracker.
Kellemann noted that we would be starting on "states of consciousness" next week, so this was just a prelude.
"Perception was a challenging issue even before the time of magic. Now, it's even harder with the involvement of interfacing thoughts through telepathy."
Not to mention parallel universes, I thought to myself.
When we were dismissed, Nasira snuggled up to me and invited me to go eat at the café. Her touch tickled at my back.
I felt a throb of realization and guilt. I was standing in the place of someone else, someone who this Nasira loved. I bowed my head and told her, "Actually, I think I should go back to my room."
Nasira leaned closer, the colors of her hair waning. "What's wrong? Do you feel sick?"
I shook my head. "No. I just don't want to intrude."
I knew that would confuse her, so I looked away. But her hand guided me back. She didn't look surprised or sad. She looked so very calm and her hair rippled with warm colors.
"Your smile is so much more beautiful than your frown. Come on, Michelle."
I really did feel hungry and I enjoyed being around Nasira, but I wasn't the Michelle she knew.
I was about to tell her I was sorry. I was about to say how it didn't feel right and even say that I wasn't her Michelle, when she seemed to sense what I was thinking.
With calm assurance, she said, "I know you. And I love you. No matter what…" Her gaze felt so deep and relaxing, like that little experience, that I couldn't help but lean into it. She brushed my long, black hair and told me I was a beautiful girl.
No matter how strange it seemed to hear, it felt good and right. And I smiled for Nasira with the clearest, brightest, and most sincere smile I could give. She kissed me on the cheek and walked out with me.
I tightened my bag and flipped back some of my hair. Nasira looked over at my bag and proclaimed, "I always love your froggy. "
Automatically, I smiled, thanked her, and heard myself say, "I'd like to get a bunny too."
That didn't seem like something I would say, but it came to me naturally. I should've been worried, but I felt so very relaxed around Nasira. She told me that after classes Friday she would go with me to pick out the perfect bunny to stick on my bag.
I examined the empty space next to the frog and wondered what other kinds of decorations I could put on it. I was still lost in thought as Nasira ordered a burrito at the café for each of us.
We sat on the same side of the table.
Nasira giggled, opened the wrap around her burrito, and said, "You're a nice looking burrito. What kind are you?"
I bit into the end of mine. It tasted like a veggie burrito. I never used to have that kind, but this one felt right and soothing.
After I'd eaten half of the burrito and Nasira had told me about how her roommate almost overflowed the toilet, I rested against her shoulder. She quieted with a smile.
It almost didn't even matter that she was a girl and I was as well. It just felt right. No matter the reality. Like two waves on that imaginary beach combining and flowing into one another. It felt so close…
Eventually, I let her shoulder rest and I picked out a book from my bag and glanced through it.
The cover said, "Your Final Exam." An odd title. It had to be a study book or something.
Nasira poked the cover and asked it, "What's a mean old study book doing with a nice girl like my Michelle?"
Something felt familiar about that but, instead of worrying, I gave a little giggle.
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Bio: I'm MajorKerina and I love to collaborate creatively with a group of friends to make tales where people have their genders, identities, and very realities questioned, contorted, and turned upside-down. I like slice-of-life with a spicing of the supernatural, strange, or surreal. Reality with a scent of the impossible. You can find me on DeviantArt, Twitter, ScribbleHub, and other places.