With every crack coming from the woods, my eyes scan the darkness between the trees. Our camp is well lit, thanks to some of my glowing light-spheres floating above the tents, hanging from the branches above or swirl around like little fireflies. Although we‘ve been on fire today, distance-wise, six hours of sleep is more than sufficient to me, so I‘m leaning against a birch now and literally think these words onto these pages.
After our escape from the French military, we didn‘t waste precious time. Momo was quick to create a duplicate of Blue‘s silver-glittering backpack, one with actual hiking gear and regular pilgrim-equipment instead of an entire room‘s worth of girly stuff. But although it turned out to be a great deal lighter, Blue had troubles to lift it over her shoulders, let alone keeping it there. Its weight dragged her down until she began complaining that it would hurt her. After a mile, we already had to take a break. I had suggested it, for my girlfriend‘s pale face, crooked stature and apparent overexertion became alarming.
While Kate treated her with comfort and protein bars, Momo and I had a private talk. “We need to map this out,“ she said and merged both her hands into a flat surface. Then she spread her arms and thus sprawled out the skin-colored surface into a four feet wide and tall sheet which instantly developed the ridiculously precise features of a map of France. “We are here.“ A little red dot appeared near the middle. “About half-way done. 400 kilometres to go. Divided through eight, that is around fifty a day.“ The picture zoomed in, similar to Google Maps. “So today‘s destination would be Durfort.“
As I touched Momo‘s ‘hands‘ I could scroll the map around like using a touchpad. “Crap. How are we... that‘s two daily distances in only one day and then some. How are we-“ I softened my voice. “Momo, that‘s fifty kilometers every day from now on. Kate and I have grown stronger. For the three of us it‘d be no big deal, but not for Blue anymore. She‘s... well, just look at her. All her strength came from her magic. It‘s like you‘d expect a toddler to run a marathon now.“
Momo spawned a second pair of arms and literally kneaded her nose like taffy, a gesture I had noticed before whenever she was thinking hard about something. “But she has to keep the backpack on,“ she said. “That is part of the challenge.“
“I know. We‘ve barely walked two miles. What do you think?“
Her silence disturbed me at first. Then she shrug her shoulders and said: “It is not going to be easy. But I was always of the opinion that we are all stronger than we think we are. Strength comes from the mind, as does conviction. That is what we now have to focus on. Encouraging Blue‘s inner strength.“
“That won‘t bear fruits if she keeps dragging herself around like a blue... Blue. Sorry, too soon.“
Momo ignored that and came up with the ingenious idea. “We need to keep amusing her.“ She looked over my shoulder. “Hey Blue!“ She took her thumb in her mouth and blew. Momo‘s body puffed up like a blowfish, only six meters in diameter. Her clothes had comedically grown along with her, but she rather looked like a giant gymnastic ball dressed in a fancy jumpsuit. “What did one butthole say to the other?“ A knotted balloon‘s neck appeared on her. It instantly untangled and like a released balloon, Momo sailed through the air, flying loops and causing an intense fart sound behind her.
That lured at least a smile back on Blue‘s face. Momo wasn‘t done yet. Reduced to an actual deflated balloon, she stretched her rubbery texture and blew herself up once more, only that her head and limbs jutted out this time. I wish I had could have made a picture. Momo‘s gigantic translucent torso of a balloon with tiny arms and legs sticking out looked hilarious. Blue couldn‘t help herself and giggled. Momo‘s torso bursted, firing a wave of candy into all directions, as if it had been filled with lollypops, jelly beans, gummi bears, bubblegum, chocolate bars and suchlike. When the sight cleared, the asian girl had reassumed her typical body. With her hands on her tight hips and a knowing smile Momo began to sway her waist. From no specific direction, the prelude of a song started playing. In strict time she nodded her head. There were horns and cymbals and a bass and the snapping of fingers in the invisible band even before the lyrics set in. When that moment came, Momo‘s hand morphed into a microphone and her sweet Korean voice sounded expressively through the valley. Never having attended a K-Pop concert before, I gotta say, she did sing amazing. I might wanna revisit that genre once we‘re home again. The song was incredibly rhythmic and full of female energy. As Momo‘s section ended, she was quick to spawn her alter egos. Within a second she grabbed into her cleavage and pulled Min-A out, human sized, mike in hand and all. My eyes had been too slow to catch how she had done that. Momo‘s black-haired self sung her part, then opened her hand and revealed a miniature version of Juhee who jumped off her palm and grew to her size before her feet touched the soil. Blue had begun to chew her grinning lips in the meantime. In midst the song, the three girls stretched like extremely flexible rubber, entwined with each other in form of three rising spirals and began twisting the vortex around, causing a whirlwind to arise. The twister adapted the color of red strawberries, tiny hearts ejected and the music crescendoed. It towered into a thin pillar while the red color sunk down to the thin base of the funnel, forming the sultry curves of Ara just in time to take over the song. The redhead wore red latex, just the way Blue loved it. While Ara danced in the foreground, the whirlwind in the background slowed down, turned dark and dense until it became a black semi-liquid column which quickly collapsed into itself. The black pool of ooze swirled and sloshed around a bit before four wobbling pillars sprouted from it. The one which remained black and gleamy forged Ru-Ri, clad in inky latex, who began singing in a harsher voice even when thick squirts of her creation were still splashing around. I could hear Blue squealing despite the boisterous music. The other pillars reassembled the three tornado-girls, so Five4Five could chant the first refrain in union.
Momo kept proving her burlesque. I‘m doubting that there is anything she can‘t achieve with her body. As her song progressed, her transformative gimmicks became more and more inventive. The girls exchanged their hairdos as if they‘d be wigs, danced into and through each other to switch catsuits, formed skipping ropes and dancing canes with their fingers, exploded into fireworks only to recreate themselves from the sparks or scattered into swarms of neon-colored butterflies. The singing persona in the foreground mainly swayed or stretched body-parts, coiling themselves a dozen times in their elastic arms, lengthened their torsos to encircle the entire spectacle, waved their extended arms like sinusoids or performed incredible acrobatic feats only a rubber-girl could carry out.
Although Blue seemed to understand Momo‘s intention, she took the bait and began to sing along. I willed an illusion of a latex suit around my body and took care about the show‘s lighting. Suddenly the place was lit with lasers, spotlights, swirling fireballs, colorful fog and so on.
But there was something else about Momo‘s performance. The way she exerted herself, the creativity behind her transformations, it all gave the impression that she had anticipated a show like that for ages. The fact that people can‘t witness acts of magical nature doesn‘t mean that we should test their ignorance, so if Momo had done those gimmicks live on stage, someone surely would have noticed something. It appeared that she lived out her dream to combine her stage life with her abilities for the first time. At least that‘s what her grinning faces expressed when the song ended with all five of them putting all their sprawling arms over everyone‘s shoulders.
Blue and I clapped and cheered. Kate had acted reluctant during the show and kept that attitude afterwards. I don‘t know why that was. However, it felt great to see Blue smile again. She still looked too pale and kinda like a ghost. Although her mouth grinned, her eyes didn‘t carry that delightful sparkle. But it was a start and that mattered.
“We hope that helped a little,“ Juhee said.
“We will sing for you whenever you want,“ Min-A promised.
“We love you, Blue,“ Ara said. “I would kiss you if you were not already taken.“
Ru-Ri grunted. “Pff, whatever they said.“
Blue wiped a tear away. “Thanks girls. Yeah, I‘m feeling much better already. That surely helped. But... but...“
I tried to comfort her a bit by coiling my arm around her waist. “Come on, you can talk openly.“
“But in here-“ she pointed at her chest, “there‘s nothing. It‘s empty. I feel cold and weak and tired. Everything‘s so... exhausting.“
“Congratulations, you‘re totally human,“ Kate said.
Blue sighed. “Then being human totally sucks.“
“No worries, you‘ll soon get used to it,“ I guaranteed. “What matters most now is to reach the border in time. And I‘m so so sorry to say that, but the world literally depends on you getting your cute little butt across it.“
“But I don‘t know if I-“
“You must, Blue. It‘s gonna be exhausting, demanding, despairing and it‘s going to hurt. Your legs will burn as if they‘d fall off. But there is no place for self-doubt here.“
Kate also fondled her. “You always told us that the main ingredient for our achievements is to believe in ourselves. Now practice what you preach.“
“We did the math,“ Momo said. “It is possible. You just need to believe in yourself as much as we believe in you.“ She opened Blue‘s backpack and started throwing items out. “Ok. Map, food bag, second pair of shoes, jeans and tent. Let us ditch these things first. Either you do not need them or we carry them.“ Momo kneaded her nose once more. This time, however, she detached it from her face as if she‘d be an anatomy model. With her nose in hands, she stretched and moulded it long and broad until it reached the size of a medicine ball, turned it blue sequin by passing her fingers gently over the surface and pulled out two straps, an abdominal belt as well as a band for the chest. To make the backpack look less like a snout, she rounded it off and dipped her flat hands in to create additional pouches on its sides. “This one is smaller and lighter,“ she said. “Rainproof and more handy. You can balance the weight on your shoulders, belly or chest. Until now you carried everything with your shoulders alone.“ Momo sneezed, causing her nose to reappear. “You actually only need to carry your clothes, water bottle, shoes, sleeping bag and mattress. Less would be cheating, I fear.“
“Let‘s see,“ Kate said, wiggled her fingers and telekinetically conducted Blue‘s things to hover from one backpack into the other. When Blue lifted it up, she overestimated her new backpack‘s mass, hoisting it well above her chest.
“Hey, now it‘s super light,“ she said, with that sparkle in her eyes returning. “You‘re awesome Momo.“
With the intend to lift the spirit, I jokingly said: “Hey, and I can help you about your fatigue,“ and flashed up an illusion of a steaming cup of cappuccino. Blue chuckled at first. Then, when she inhaled to clear her nostrils, she smelled it, too. I was already starring at the white mug in my hands. Its comforting warmth spread through my fingers and evoked a feeling of contentment. Its firmness confused me. Moreover, I couldn‘t sense the cup or the coffee anymore, in other words I couldn‘t feel the light in them. And then there was that invigorating odor of rich strong fresh brewed coffee with heavy cream and a slight sweetness. And I remembered how ink had dripped from my light-pen or how the illusion of my phone had functioned just like the real one. But back then I had full control over the photons which composed those items. Instead of billions light particles, my sixth sense perceived nothing at all inside the cup. My nose though sniffed the scent of steaming hot coffee.
Blue took the mug from my shaking hands, smelled and sipped of it. Her tongue had turned as vulnerable as the rest of her. The heat of the drink caught her on the hop. Obviously not used to pain, she shrieked and dropped the cup. The dark beverage coursed through the conifer needles on the soil.
All eyes were on me. Even Momo‘s alternate personalities stared with asking gazes into my direction. Kate knelt down to touch the cup, inspected it and dropped it to the ground where it shattered. “It‘s real,“ she whispered. “Jodie, it‘s real!“
Blue‘s excitement came back with full force. “Do it again! Again, again!“
Nodding I focused on my covering. The light-particles in my non-existent clothes became so apparent that it tingled. They buzzed around like subatomic insects who established a formation, in this case a pitch-black latex catsuit. The more I fixated on the arbitrary chaos, the more graspable it got. Even to the point where I could predict with confidence where each individual light particle would move in the next moment. My sharpest sense then imagined them to slow down. First, my suit flickered like a dying light in a gulp. Then I felt a sudden cold because of the particles‘ reduced speed. I put my concentration on it, embraced the stiffness around me and, in shock, disbelieve and awe, gasped for air. The neckpiece of the catsuit mildly strangled my throat. The crushing pressure I was exposed to all the sudden squeezed every inch of my skin inwards, forcing me to become aware of every tiniest curve. The latex fought my skin wherever it reached, even on the tips of my fingers or between the space between my boobs. The suit allowed for absolutely no air between it and me anywhere. Consequently it tore and arched everywhere beneath my head. Incredibly unpleasant at first, the slight pain soon turned into a still wrenching, but strangely invigorating stimulation. It became a pleasant pain which I kinda welcomed and snuggled into pretty quickly. Proof of that was an aroused smile which had snuck itself on my face.
“Are you alright?“ my sister asked. “Did it work?“
“It did,“ I whispered, pulling myself together not to cry with joy. “It worked. It‘s not an illusion. It‘s real.“ Blue stroked over my shiny surface and recognised the smooth texture of skin-tight latex. The suit defined my breasts as if I wouldn‘t be wearing anything at all, what visibly mesmerised her. She couldn‘t keep her eyes and hand off my protruding nipples. Blue‘s other hand held mine. Her heavy breath didn‘t try to hide her arousal. Her kiss came with slobber and tongue. She exposed herself as the latex fetishist she had always been in that instance. Along the way she apparently had turned me into one as well. Who would have guessed?
“More,“ she said when we broke the kiss. “Please, more.“
“My pleasure.“ Blue pressed herself so close against my shoulder that the allover ache intensified. For her liking I let sparkles glitter around my hand before firing them forwards where I casted an illusion of an ultralarge, loveable, non-creepy plushy teddy bear. The world‘s biggest stuffed animal, as tall as an elephant, materialised when I willed the illusion to become physical. Now made out of real velour fabric and silky stuffing, the fluffy toy tipped to its side. An impatient Blue squeezed me tighter. I shot another gush of glitter at a clearing close by and conjured a little cabin to stand in the centre of it. Once again the illusion converted into tangible wood and stone, with a dim light burning inside.
“Like that,“ I wondered about my new power. “Just like that. First, the illusion. And then...“ A shallow pond was unearthed into the meadow. I turned mere bended light into reality. I created matter with but a thought. Exactly how my mind pictured it. It didn‘t need more.
After a swing of my hand, the lawn in front of the cabin transformed into grey asphalt with a bunch of parking spaces. With a grin wider than that of the Cheshire Cat, I pictured my Dad‘s old motorcycle and released that thought out of my fingers. It emerged not a second afterwards. That also happened with the cars we‘ve always dreamt about, the DeLorean from Back To The Future for me and a purple Lamborghini for Kate.
We celebrated my new ability by me bringing a full feast into existence. Through my practice in casting illusions, creating whatever I imagined proved itself to be as nonchalant as visualising the objects I desired. Though my creations were only malleable when they were still just an illusion. Once turned into matter I can neither reshape nor delete them. But hey, it‘s not like there‘s a limit of how much I can create anyway.
A look at my phone‘s clock urged us to move on. Breaks longer than half an hour just aren‘t in from now on. So I had three glowing balls surround us at all times to guid our way through the darkness. The sun‘s disappearance surprisingly also came with a great advantage. We don‘t have to suffer the midsummer hotness anymore. But, yeah, below the line it still fucking sucks.
The freshly energised Blue marched with determent steps without ever lamenting about her exhaustion. She wiped her sweat away whenever it dropped from her eyebrows. While I kept my latex covering tight and tearing, Blue had to change clothes into something more suitable for hiking. My recently discovered ability allowed for the creation of a set of functional wear around her body; a sapphire shirt, a short orange sports pants and a pair of hiking socks. Ordinary clothes looked so odd on her. It was like on the first day of our journey when we had first seen her.
Although Blue‘s legs appeared as frail as brittle branches, they didn‘t let her down anymore. Occasionally I had to recharge her with some coke or sweets, but Momo could soon convince her to eat more energising foods like bananas, nuts or eggs. I‘ve never really realised that Blue‘s diet had exclusively contained high sugar, carb and calories. She actually gaged when she tried a paprika. Fortunately so accepted protein bars as good enough nutrition. No wonder that the girl is so pale.
The walk today proceeded mostly in silence. We all had things to digest after that punch in the guts and we rather focused on maintaining a brisk step. Whoever has ever hiked over thirty kilometres on a single day knows what I‘m talking about. The sounds of boots becomes peacefully hypnotising, the lust to speak wastes away and the slight noises all around turn into a natural orchestra. I had a lot of time to ponder about my new life, now that I could basically have anything I wished for with a thought. Did I even need to search for a job if I could just create a bag of a gazillion pounds? I tried that today, it works like with everything else. Does this label me as the richest person on earth? Or had money become meaningless to me because I wouldn‘t need it anymore to get what I wanted to buy? Should I choose a life of materialism or a life of achievements? How will my future problems and challenges look like? Would I even love to live a life without obstacles? Am I even still human? Those kind of questions occupied me. I felt like I had transcended into a superhuman plane of existence. Sure, I had already developed superpowers in the last two weeks, and amazing ones on top, yet I‘ve never felt above human in any way. The magic had been for shits and giggles mostly. But today I had felt genuinely powerful for the first time. It still sounds absurd. Me, nerdy little Jodie freckleface Buckle, as they had called me in school, is about to become a reality defining goddess. Oh God, that sounds arrogant. I just hope my powers won‘t go to my head. I don‘t wanna become a smug cliché.
After five hours we reached a village called Montcuq. Another five laid ahead of us. Usually we would have settled there and called it a day, but that‘s off the table from now on. Anyway, we stopped on the market place to shake out our legs and eat a bite. The village appeared more deserted than all the other we came across. The telltale signs of the upcoming apocalypse must have scared the inhabitants into all directions, not to mention the few soldiers who secured the place. One of them, an actual pretty handsome young man, approached the cozy canopy bed which I had thought into reality in midst a petite avenue. That was stupid of me. He asked why we hadn‘t broken off our journey, considering the frightening occurrences. All the other pilgrims had. He wanted to see our passports, but Momo and her personas visibly were reluctant to reveal the band‘s whereabouts. Blue also didn‘t seem overjoyed. After an awkward silence, Kate spoke up.
“We‘re no threat,“ she said. The young soldier began to gawk at my sister like an eight-grader on his high-school crush. As if she had transformed into the most breathtaking thing he ever had the luck to lay his eyes on within a moment‘s notice. “Although we‘re magical beings with incredible power and partly the cause of the world going dark.“
She smiled and gestured that she had the situation under control. “But you‘re not going to remember any of this. Now straighten your cute uniform and leave us be.“ He adjusted his hat and pulled down his sleeves, then nodded at Kate and bowed goodbye. With a complacent smile, Kate blew a kiss after him which appeared to physically reach him.
We‘ve talked about her mind-controlling powers on the way here. Blue believes that the reason why she hadn‘t made much progress during the last week was because she had focused solely on developing abilities which affected her body. That approach had transpired into a dead end. Turned out that she‘s more successful when it comes to mental powers. Kate had mastered telekinesis more than I had. Even Momo isn‘t at all able to lift objects with the power of her thoughts. And now she states that her fist try to impose her own will on another person had been when she saved me back in the camp. If that isn‘t natural talent, I don‘t know.
Despite all that, Kate never appeared quite as fulfilled as anyone would expect her to be. She rather kept her silence and didn‘t make it into a big deal whenever we tried to have a chat about it. Could be because mind-control is kind of a difficult topic which could easily be abused when in the wrong hands. But I can‘t believe that this is what bothers her. Even though she‘s a responsible and caring character, she often tends to boss friends and relatives around at home. Maybe she‘ll approach me eventually to tell me what‘s going on. I must say, I‘m kinda worried about her.
On the second half of today‘s route, Momo advised Kate and me to use our powers more frequent in front of Blue. That would encourage and amuse her enough to keep our pace. As soon as Blue came back from her pee break, Momo turned herself into a cat-sized golden dragon and played tag with her. Later she transformed into a pink bubblegum and allowed Blue to chew on her for quite some time, changing her flavour now and then. By accident Blue somehow managed to swallow her friend, but Momo quickly escaped her body by converting into carbon dioxide and was breathed out without Blue even noticing. In general she put her flexibility to show the whole time. Momo‘s movements all had something superhuman pliable to them, as if she wouldn‘t house a skeleton at all. She often would stretch her arms way up to the treetops, scratch her meter-long neck, use her limbs as lassos to collect fruits from trees or enlarge body parts to ridiculous comedic degrees. I kept on creating random stuff like water pistols, vuvuzelas, street lambs or little flowers while Kate flew colors into the sky.
Utterly exhausted and with blisters on each toe we finally arrived in Durfort. We placed our tents in a forest besides the village and fell asleep the moment our bodies hit the mattresses. Six hours later, I woke and am now sitting here telling you how terrified I actually am. I know it doesn‘t make the impression. That‘s because I only wrote about the pleasant things about today. I didn‘t write about the panic attack which had come over me in a restroom in Montcuq. Or how those emotions‘ words haunted my thoughts to the point where I teared up in secret more than thrice. Today would seem like a fun day for someone who‘d read this entry without having walked along with me. The truth is, I‘ve spent most of the day fearing what would happen next. What if we aren‘t going to make it in time? The world would fall into eternal chaos and we‘d be fully responsible. What if they wouldn‘t stand to their words and cause the apocalypse regardless? I had to think about my parents. About my friends at home. About all the people who wouldn‘t deserve to suffer. All depended on us. Preferably I‘d pack our things this instant and try to jog as far as my legs would bring me. After today, I doubt that we can walk fifty each day. But we have to. No matter to which costs.
Via Podiensis, Day 15: My TurnMomo‘s arms stretched well over thrice their actual length and took Kate and me by the hand. “We are going to do this together,“ she said and tightened her grip. Her hand felt like flexible, warm clay. My fingers sunk into her palm. “I am going to keep stretching them. Try not to let go.“
“Try not to push so hard,“ I said. “We can‘t grow back limbs.“
“We are going to see that.“
“What, hey, hold on-“ but I already felt her pushing. Gently, not that harsh, but with regard. Another set of arms sprouted beneath Momo‘s pits, right through her silver latex bodysuit. They as well extended to reach us and palpate our arm muscles.
“Still tensed. Relax you two. Think about... pudding. Imagine you are made of pudding.“
The background story is that today morning, I woke up in a sweaty sleeping bag, with my titties inflated like a pair of birthday-party balloons. Tore right