Mistica Chronicles

Welcome to Issue 34

Musical Winning Entry

The Zodiac Gourix strutted across the street, tossing her flowing white mane out of her eyes. She didn't like going to the shops--ordinary people annoyed and bored her with their mindless small talk and insignificant problems. Still, it was a necessary task. A Gourix had to eat.

She paused in front of a window after noticing a flash of bright colors just inside. It was probably some bawdy display to appease the commoners, but she couldn't stop herself from looking anyway. As her icy eyes peered through the glass, a pair of small, bright, beady ones stared right back. The Gourix jumped back, startled, then quickly composed herself again, hoping no one had seen. She looked through the window again and saw that the eyes belonged to a small pink bird, which was now chirping away happily. The Gourix turned away in disgust; she didn't like the twittering, high-pitched sound. As she turned, a sign in the window caught her eye:

"Shelter for homeless cooties--please adopt me!
(no lovebugs allowed)"

The Gourix began walking again without a second thought. She didn't want an obnoxious bird in her stately home. As she approached the street corner, however, she felt a small sting on her back heel. She whipped around, thinking it was a tack or thorn of some kind. It was neither. The Gourix just caught sight of a small, pink lovebug before it scuttled away into the forest of legs walking on the sidewalk. She felt annoyed, but only for a split second.

Suddenly, her annoyance left her. All the conceit and arrogance that had plagued her for years was gone with this tiny little sting. She felt wonderful, better than she ever had. In her euphoria, she caught sight of the little LuvBird in the window, still singing his heart out. The Gourix smiled, noticing how odd it felt, then was overcome by an impulse like a tidal wave.

Buy that LuvBird.

She rushed back to the window and threw the door to the shelter open. Cages full of bright pink cooties lined the walls, making the place seem quite cheerful. A mild-mannered Tarinooki greeted her, asking, "How may I help you?"

"I'd like to adopt that LuvBird!" The Gourix gasped, suddenly panicked that it might have already been claimed.

"Oh, wonderful! He's been sitting in here ever since last Valentine's Day. Poor little guy. He’ll be so happy now!"

The Tarinooki walked over to the window and plucked the little bird off his perch, bringing him over to the Gourix. The LuvBird immediately sat on her shoulder and cuddled into her neck. Sutahi didn’t think she’d ever felt so happy in her life. She raised a clawed finger and carefully patted the bird’s head, and was rewarded by the noise of his joyful chirps.

“I’ll need to know your name, miss,” the Tarinooki said, slightly bemused by the massive quantity of love the Gourix obviously had for the LuvBird.

“Sutahi,” she said, not taking her eyes off the bird.

The Tarinooki frowned. Something wasn’t quite right. He looked carefully at Sutahi and noticed a pink color slowly blossoming up her back leg. It stemmed from one small heart-shaped puncture wound in her heel. Suddenly, everything made sense. He walked quickly into his back room where he kept cootie shots at all times, just in case someone got bitten by one of the shelter cooties. He walked back out to see Sutahi still completely absorbed in her new friend. It pained him to take away their bond, but he couldn’t let someone go walking around with a condition like love sickness--he knew firsthand the damage it could cause.

With cootie shot in hand, the Tarinooki edged around to the side of Sutahi and swiftly stuck the needle into her tail. Within moments, Sutahi was blinking bemusedly and looking around in confusion. “Where am I?” she demanded, back to her normal haughty voice. “Ugh, what’s this thing?”

She brushed off the LuvBird, who immediately stopped chirping contentedly and looked up at the Gourix with his feathery chest deflating.

“Where am I?” she demanded again. “And who are you?” she asked the Tarinooki.

“I’m the manager of this shelter for cooties. I’m afraid you’ve been bitten by a lovebug and gotten lovesick. I’ve given you a shot though, so you should be fine now,” the Tarinooki said, frowning at the Gourix’s rudeness. “You were about to adopt this LuvBird. Seems like he may not get a home after all though.”

Sutahi turned tail and walked out of the shop without a word. Halfway down the street, she stopped suddenly. What was she thinking? She had given the LuvBird and the Tarinooki both such false hopes. The Tarinooki had healed her, and she hadn’t even thanked him! Sutahi turned around yet again and walked back to the shop. She opened the door timidly and edged inside. The LuvBird was back on his perch, huddled down to seem as small as possible. He cocked his head at Sutahi and gave one feeble cheep. Sutahi stroked him cautiously and he slowly began warbling again, softly then increasing in volume as he realized she really meant to take him home this time.

“Back again?” The Tarinooki had emerged from the back room. His voice was mild as ever, but with a slightly icy edge to it this time.

“Yes.... I just wanted to thank you for helping me. And I’d like to adopt this LuvBird.”

Maybe her sting just hadn’t healed completely, or maybe there really was a grain of kindness in her icy heart.