Success! I have finally finished my short story, which honestly took longer than I had hoped. Procrastination will always be my worst enemy.
Every day seemed to go the exact same way. She would get up, get ready for work, go to work, come home, and go to sleep. Wash, rinse, repeat from Monday to Friday. Kim’s life was boring, and she had accepted that. The only problem was that ever since she got stuck in this rut, her Anima had dulled.
“Hey, buddy. Are you okay?” Kim stroked down her Anima’s back, tracing the faded swirls of colour as they sat in front of the TV. It shifted slightly and rested its head and pointed snout on Kim’s thigh before giving a tired grunt. Kim sighed and focused her attention back on the TV.
“Well what do you think is wrong with her?” Kim and her co-worker, Eve, drove to the office building the two of them worked at. Kim’s Anima had laid down spread across her lap while Eve’s owlish Anima was perched on her shoulder.
“Maybe she doesn’t get out enough?” Eve shrugged, keeping her eyes on the road. “I don’t know, Kim, I’m not an expert on these things.” Kim frowned and looked down at her pale Anima.
“It’s definitely not that. She’s never really liked the sunlight, so shes always stayed inside, even before all this.” Eve snorted.
“Just like all those scientists say, shes exactly like you.”
“Hey!” Kim immediately responded, before actually processing what Eve had said. “Wait, what do you mean?” Eve gave Kim a curious glance before responding.
“You haven’t heard? Scientists have actually come to some sort of conclusion about these guys. They say they’re like a representation of our souls or personalities or whatever, and since we basically don’t know anything else about them, this is actually pretty big news. It’s pretty much everywhere, I’m amazed you don’t know.”
“I don’t watch the news.” Kim shrugged.
“Well you probably should, or at least Google this stuff. It might help you figure out what’s going on.”
“Yeah, I guess I will.” Kim replied as the two of them pulled into the parking lot.
As soon as she got home Kim followed Eve’s advice and sat down at her laptop, bringing up as many articles on the subject as she could. She scrolled through pages and pages of information throughout the night, trying to figure out what was rumor and what was truth, something scientists have been trying to determine since these creatures had shown up.
According to some really out-of-date-looking website, Anima come once their owner reaches the age of ten, then bond with that human and stay with them for the rest of their lives. Though, once their owner dies, they just kinda disappear, likely going back to wherever they came from in the first place (something apparently scientists still don’t know). They seem to represent their owner’s personalities and every Anima, so far, is unique to each person. In addition to representing their owner they also seem to reflect their owner’s emotions in their actions
Kim’s eyes grew heavy as she slouched in front of the bright computer screen, head only held up by a tired arm, when her Anima slowly floated its way into her lap. She looked down at it while a small smile as it curled into itself and fell asleep. Following the creature’s example, she scooped it up in her arms and headed off to bed. As she tucked herself in, that last piece of information got stuck in her head. “They reflect their owner’s emotions.”
She woke to a strange wriggling sensation on her stomach. Upon opening her eyes, Kim realized that the sensation was being caused by her Anima, probably in an attempt to wake her up. After it found itself successful, it used its tail to pull off the covers of the bed and floated off in the direction of the kitchen. Kim slipped into her slippers and followed it out the bedroom door.
As she was putting her waffles in the toaster, Kim ducked under her Anima, who was floating across the kitchen with a container of yogurt towards the dining table. The two worked as a pair, like they had for years. Each working on their own meals in synch, before both settling down at the table.
Kim had ended up going with sweet syrupy waffles, while her Anima got a container of yogurt. Even though it has a certain level of independence, it can’t actually eat solid foods, due to not having teeth.
For the entire duration of the meal Kim’s thoughts kept drifting back to her research from the previous night ‘She’s reflecting my emotions?’ Kim kept asking herself. ‘What does that mean? Do I act like she does, all slow and tired?’ She thought back to the last few days, then the past few weeks, and finally the last few years. When she really thought about it, she couldn’t actually remember the last time she had fun. Sure she watches tv, but other than that? Most of her free time was spent finishing up work or doing household chores. And that kinda worried her. Kim’s hand stopped halfway to her mouth as she got lost in thought. ‘What kind of a life is this, where I don’t actually enjoy myself? I just sit around and go to work, and I don’t even like my job! The only good thing about that place is Eve… What has my life become?’
The feeling of her Anima’s smooth leathery skin against her arm cut off the rest of her thoughts. It looked up at her with sad eyes, as if it could sense how negative it’s owner’s thoughts were becoming. Kim stood up abruptly with determination.
“You know what? I can’t live like this anymore. It’s my day off. I am going to go out and do something fun.” The expression on her face shifted from morose to a look of pure determination. “All right! Let’s do this!” Kim was ready to bolt out the door at that exact moment, and probably would’ve too, if not for her Anima motioning towards the syrupy mess she had let drip over her table and floor, seeing as she was still holding her fork. “Oh, yeah. Okay I’ll clean that up first then we can get out of here.”
The wintry evening kept her shivering into her scarf as she waited for her friend to arrive. Kim’s Anima disliked the cold weather as much as she did, and burrowed itself into Kim’s warm, puffy jacket. Kim let out a puff of air as she smiled at the action. Kim had sent a distress call to Eve after realizing that she doesn’t actually know what people do for fun. She tried the obvious things: going to the park (boring and cold) and the mall (crowded and pointless seeing as she didn’t have anything to buy), she went to see a movie (terrible story and special effects), and went to the museum (pointless and boring, probably the worst idea out of the four). Kim needed Eve’s expertise.
“Speak of the devil…” Kim mumbled to herself as her friend’s car pulled up right in front of her and the window rolled down.
“It’s freezing out there. Hop in before you turn into a popsicle.” She smiled brightly. Kim followed her advice and quickly got in the car as Eve rolled her window back up.
“So, what’s the problem? It’s your day off, shouldn’t you be watching some soap opera on TV or something?” Eve asked as she started to drive down the icy street.
“…I don’t know how to have fun.” Kim stuffed her hands in her pockets and looked out the window, embarrassed. Eve gave her a confused glance.
“Okay, so, would you like to explain, or…?”
“Well, I looked up Anima, like you said, and it turns out that my Anima is acting like this because I act like this. Or at least sort of feel like this.” Kim glanced down sadly at her partner who, at the moment, had it’s head sticking out of her jacket. Eve pondered this for a second before responding.
“I guess that makes sense. Do you actually feel like… That?” She gestured vaguely with her head towards her friend’s Anima. Kim silently nodded. “Well that’s probably not the best. I’m assuming that’s why you called, then?”
“Yeah. I realized this stuff and figured I should try to have fun and enjoy things. But then I realized I don’t really know how to do that.”
“Well what did you try?”
“Um, let’s see… I went to a park and let my Anima play with some other ones for a bit, that was boring, then I went to the mall, also boring, uhh… I saw that movie you told me about last week! It sucked, the people in front of me kept talking, too. The museum was pointless, I don’t really understand the point of putting a bunch of dead stuff on display… And I think thats it?” Eve threw her head back with laughter.
“You should’ve had a pretty fun day! Yet you hated almost all of it. That, my friend, is a real talent.” Kim frowned at her friend’s joke and stared pointedly at the road. “Why did you try all that stuff anyway? I seriously doubt you thought you’d like them. I mean, besides the movie, which was super cool. Did you see the way that robot blew up? Amazing.” Kim rolled her eyes at Eve’s enthusiasm and decided not to insult the movie.
“It’s what people do? Right?” She shrugged.
“People only do that stuff if they like to do that stuff and you, obviously, do not.”
“Then what should I do?”
“Excellent question.” Eve pulled up to a tall apartment building and parked her car, before grabbing her bag and getting out, her Anima following her example. Kim got out cautiously, being careful not to wet her shoes in the brown slush.
“…Where are we, exactly?”
“My apartment building, duh. Have you seriously never been here before?”
“Well then, welcome to my humble abode.” The two of them entered the building and took the elevator up to Eve’s floor. They walked down the long corridors before stopping at a brown door numbered 413. The door opened to a chaotic open-plan room, a combination of the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Dishes were piled up in the kitchen sink and spilled out slightly onto the surrounding countertops. Beside the sink, fresh vegetables and pasta were laid out like ingredients for a meal. Past the kitchen area, a dining table was covered with unrecognizable papers and books surrounded by three chairs, the fourth seemingly missing. The living space was separated from the others by a red futon and a small coffee table facing a large TV. The floor was covered with wires stemming from all corners of the large room that all seemed to lead to the area behind the TV.
“Sorry for the mess, I don’t usually expect visitors. But you are a special case, I have presents for you.” Eve took off her jacket and threw it in the closet before kicking off her boots. She then went off into a hall to Kim’s right, while her Anima flew off through a door on her left.
“Present?” Kim asked. She took off her coat, letting her Anima explore the new environment, and hung it up on one of the unused coat hangers while respectfully taking of her boots and leaving them in front of the closet. Careful not to trip on the wires, she followed Eve down the hallway. Kim found her in what appeared to be her bedroom, with an unmade bed in the far right corner and a messy desk or the same wall. The wires in this room all lead under the small bed. Eve was facing a tall unorganized bookshelf that took up half a way, with a hand on her chin and her hip. She had a concentrated expression on her face as she looked up and down the rows of books.
“Here!” Eve’s expression suddenly cleared and was replaced with a look of excitement. She reached up and picked a few books from the shelves before thrusting them at Kim.
“What are these for?”
“For you to read, duh. I figured since you always like coming up with stories on our breaks at work, you’d like reading these books.”
“Oh. That… actually sounds like a great idea. So what did you choose?” Kim took the stack before looking through the titles. Most of them seemed to be related to mysteries and crime.
“That is for you to find out, I’m not spoiling anything!” Eve grinned and walked out of the room. Kim followed her and found her chopping up the vegetables that were strewn about her countertop. “Well, what are you waiting for? The first book is totally awesome! The plot twist at the end is SO good. I’ll have dinner done in a bit, I hope you like spaghetti.” She motioned for her friend to sit and read. Kim smiled softly and sat herself down on the futon.
“Spaghetti is great.” She replied, before opening the first book and starting to read. Her Anima curled up beside her, its colour starting to return, swirl by swirl.