The Trouble with Karma
A Whateley Academy Story
The Trouble with Karma
Thursday late afternoon, Oct 13th, 2016
“It’s ALIVE,” the girl cried out with what began as a maniacal laugh, but quickly turned into a giggle. “And totally CUTE!”
The girl known as Petshop danced around her lab in excitement, delighted that her latest creation had turned out so well. It was small, and furry, and oh so adorable. It was absolutely perfect, exactly what her latest customer had asked for. But of course, she specialized in making the perfect pet for each of her customers.
After a minute of excited celebration, she finally calmed down and turned her attention back to business. First though, she ran her hands through her shoulder-length ginger hair, straightening it up and making sure that the half dozen brightly-colored hair clips hadn’t come out. Then, she adjusted her lab coat. As a devisor, she was required to have a lab coat. Everyone said so. However, hers was much cuter than anyone else’s. Her lab coat was pink, with pictures of bunnies, kitties, and puppies all over it.
“Good job, Petshop,” she announced aloud, since she deserved the congratulations but there was nobody else there to do it.
Of course, Petshop wasn’t her real name. That was Amelia Vaughn, not that most people at Whateley knew that. Other than her friends, almost everyone at school called her Petshop. Well, except for her art teacher, who insisted on calling her Elmira for some reason.
Amelia looked over her newest creation again, smiling proudly at the cute little ball of fur. She wanted to pick it up and hug it, and pet it, and cuddle it. Her eyes gleamed with excitement and anticipation of doing just that. However, as she reached for the cute little creature, she heard a faint chirping noise from beside her.
“What is it, Bitsy?” Amelia asked.
She looked down at the creature that was sitting on the floor, looking every bit as cute and adorable as her new creation. Bitsy was the result of a ‘big idea’ that she’d had last year, a burst of real inspiration. She was a cute and furry animal that looked something like a cross between a fennec fox and a monkey, with a long prehensile tail and big ears. Bitsy was also covered with a light violet fur, which lightened to pink when Amelia bent down and scratched her behind the ears. Seconds later, Bitsy was purring away.
“You’re right, Bitsy,” Amelia said, giving her new creation another look, along with a sigh of disappointment. “It’s still brand new and isn’t stable enough for that yet…” She smiled at the little ball of fluff and promised, “I’ll cuddle you later, cutie.”
Since Amelia was aching to cuddle something, she turned away from her new creation and went to a large cage which held a rabbit. It wasn’t just any rabbit, of course, because she’d made it herself. Not only was it cute and adorable, it was also completely and totally fireproof. Or at least, it was designed to be, not that she’d actually tested that.
“I’m not like that mean girl who blows up bunnies,” Amelia said, snatching up the rabbit and hugging it, in spite of the fact that the rabbit was scrambling to get away. “Don’t worry Ember, that scary demon girl won’t be able to hurt you…”
Just then, Bitsy began to squeak and chirp, getting Amelia’s attention. For a moment, the young biodevisor thought that Bitsy wanted cuddles too, until she realized that her furry little lab assistant was trying to remind her of the time.
“Oh no,” Amelia cried out. “I’m gonna be late…”
Amelia quickly put Ember back in into her cage, then rushed out of her lab as quickly as she could. Behind her, Bitsy shook her head in clear exasperation while her fur shifted color to a light purple. A couple seconds later, the creature scampered over to Ember’s cage and locked the door, before the other animal could escape.
A short time later, Amelia arrived at Wondercute’s secret clubhouse. As soon as she stepped inside, she saw that everyone else was already there and dressed in their fuku uniforms. She felt a stirring of annoyance since she was the only one who hadn’t changed clothes yet.
“I’m here,” Amelia announced unnecessarily.
“Good,” Gigi said, giving Amelia a welcoming smile. “We were afraid that you got eaten up by man-eating…girl-eating hamsters or something.”
“Not yet,” Amelia responded with a grin, wondering how difficult it would be to make carnivorous hamsters. And would they look better with pink fur, or normal colored fur? Or maybe purple…
Then, Amelia shook her head and glanced around the room. Twitch was holding Wondercute’s mascot, the invisible bunny named Harvey. Of course, she couldn’t actually see Harvey, but she could see the bright yellow ribbon that someone had tied around his neck. Without saying a word, Amelia went over and began to pet the bunny in Twitch’s arms, grinning as she did so.
“Best invention ever,” Amelia said proudly. Of course, she was proud of all the cute animals she made, even ones like Harvey, that she couldn’t see.
“Definitely,” Samantha exclaimed, rushing over to pet Harvey as well. “He is so cute…”
Amelia gave Samantha a jealous look at that since the other girl could actually see Harvey, thanks to a magic spell she’d used. Of course, Amelia could have asked Samantha to cast the spell on her too, but she had her pride as a biodevisor. If she wanted to see the invisible, she was perfectly capable of coming up with her own way of doing it. However, Amelia didn’t want to replace her eyes, just so she could see invisible bunnies. She liked the eyes she was born with just fine.
Samantha was a pretty girl, though she had minor GSD because of her avatar spirit. She hosted some kind of unicorn spirit, and because of that, her hair was pure white, and she had a bony knot on her forehead, which was actually a vestigial horn.
Whenever Amelia saw Samantha, she couldn’t help but wondering what her spirit looked like and if it was cute. She also wondered if that spirit would ever actually turn Samantha the rest of the way into a unicorn, because that could be totally awesome…and scary at the same time. And as usual, these thoughts made Amelia consider how she could make her own unicorn. THAT would be totally awesome and super cute.
“Don’t even think about it,” Samantha warned her, apparently guessing what she was thinking. “You remember what happened after that My Little Pony thing last year. Mrs. Carson banned you from trying to make another one…”
“But that was LAST year,” Amelia protested. “And Mrs. Carson isn’t even here anymore…”
“Yeah, but I don’t think Mr. Mazarin is going to let you either,” Gigi said.
Amelia glared at the other girl. “Curse you for being boring and responsible.” She stuck out her tongue to emphasize this.
“That is why I’m the leader,” Gigi responded smugly.
However, Samantha laughed. “I thought it was because nobody else wanted to fill out the paperwork…”
Suddenly, Nina cried out, “I wanna watch Sailor Moon…”
“Cardcaptor Sakura,” Jessie argued.
At the same time, Breakdance and Meow Mix were digging through the pile of videos, trying to find their own shows to watch. Amelia looked the four girls over, knowing that a loud argument was about to break out, and she didn’t even know whose side she was going to take yet.
“We’re here for an official meeting,” Gigi said, trying to get everyone’s attention. “We can watch anime AFTER our meeting…”
“But I was just getting the popcorn,” Twitch pouted.
“We’re supposed to talk about our enemies,” Gigi announced, which got a couple of the others to look at her. “You know, like that creepy zombie girl, those perverts, or…”
“The bunny killer,” Amelia exclaimed. There were emphatic nods from some of the others.
“They need to learn how to respect the power of cute,” Gigi reminded everyone of their sworn oath to fight the enemies of cute.
“And bunnies,” Twitch added, holding Harvey protectively.
Just then, someone started knocking on the clubhouse door, which made everyone pause in surprise, then look back and forth in confusion. Their clubhouse was a secret, and nobody outside of Wondercute was supposed to know where it was. Since all of them were already inside…
“Who in the world could that be?” Samantha gasped, putting voice to the question that all of the others were silently asking.
“I’ve got it,” Twitch exclaimed as she rushed to the door, still carrying Harvey awkwardly under one arm.
A couple seconds later, Twitch opened the door and revealed the person who’d been knocking. It was a girl, who looked like she was only about seven years old. She had long dark hair that was nearly black, and a broad grin on her cute face.
“Karma,” Amelia blurted out in surprise, recognizing the girl who was sometimes seen sneaking around the devisor labs. “What are you doing here?”
“I thought it was opportunity that was supposed to knock at the door,” Samantha commented with a giggle. “Not Karma.”
Karma grinned excitedly as she announced, “I wanna join Wondercute…”
“Um…,” Gigi said, giving Karma an apologetic look. “I think you’re a little too young for our club…”
“But I like cute stuff,” Karma protested.
“How did you even find us anyway?” Nina asked curiously.
Karma brightened at that. “I followed Petshop.”
Several pairs of eyes turned to stare at Amelia who defensively said, “It’s not my fault…”
Without waiting for an invitation, Karma started to enter, only to be blocked by Jessie. “Sorry, but only Wondercute members are allowed in…”
“But she isn’t a member,” Karma said, pointing at Samantha.
Amelia looked to Samantha and snickered. Samantha was wearing her Wondercute uniform, a white and gold fuku with a unicorn symbol on the chest. But in spite of having a uniform, and coming to all the Wondercute events, the other girl kept insisting that she wasn’t with Wondercute anymore. Apparently, Karma was the only one who’d actually been listening to those denials.
“And you need a uniform,” Twitch added excitedly, before twirling around to show off her uniform.
“But she isn’t wearing a uniform,” Karma pointed out, looking at Amelia.
“I just haven’t had a chance to change into mine yet,” Amelia responded.
“I’m afraid you have to go, Karma,” Gigi said.
Karma pouted, “But I wanna join…”
A moment later, Karma was gently but firmly ushered back out of the clubhouse, and then the door was closed and locked behind her. Amelia felt a little bad about that, but Karma was just a little girl, and none of them wanted to hang around with someone in grade school.
“Now,” Gigi announced, trying to get everyone’s attention. “We were talking about our enemies…”
Thursday early evening, Oct 13th, 2016
Karma crouched low as she peered around the corner of the desk. There were still some people working in the devisor labs, but she wasn’t concerned. She knew from experience that gadgeteers and devisors didn’t pay a lot of attention to their surroundings, especially when they were working on something. That meant it was usually easy to sneak past them.
With a mischievious grin, Karma whispered, “Sneak sneak sneak,” as she crept from one desk to another.
As far as Karma was concerned, the devisor labs were one of the best places on campus. There was always lots of neat stuff around here, and she never knew what she’d get to see next. She only wished that people wouldn’t keep telling her that she was too young to be there, or to play with any of the really cool stuff.
“I am not too young,” she muttered to herself defensively.
Unfortunately, Karma heard that all the time. She was too young to play with that jet pack someone had left out on their work station. Last week, she was too young to play with that ray gun. And now, she was even too young to join Wondercute.
“It’s not fair,” Karma pouted.
But in spite of her frustration, Karma wasn’t about to dwell on that at the moment. Instead, she knew just how to distract herself. The devisor labs had lots of cool and exciting things for her to play with, and all she had to do was find the right one…without getting caught.
Karma made her way through the labs without being seen, until she came to the large bin where students threw away broken devises and parts. She knew that sometimes, people threw away some really neat stuff. In fact, she’d once found a grappling gun in that very bin, that actually worked. It was just too bad one of the teachers took it away from her.
Suddenly, a voice from behind Karma demanded, “What are you doing in here?”
Karma snapped around and looked up at Mrs. Hastings, the devisor shop teacher. She had brown hair that was pulled back in a bun, and which was greying at the temples. And while Mrs. Hastings was usually nice, she could sometimes be really scary too. Karma gulped.
“What do you think you’re doing here, Karma?” Mrs. Hastings asked.
“Nothing,” Karma answered with her best innocent look.
Mrs. Hastings gave Karma a very skeptical look. “Somehow, I doubt that. Now then, how many times have I told you that you aren’t supposed to be down here?”
“Um… Two times?” the girl responded nervously.
The teacher shook her head. “It was more than two times.”
“Three?” Karma asked hopefully.
“More than three,” Mrs. Hastings said with a sigh. “A lot more than three. Now shoo. You don’t belong down here.”
Karma quickly hurried off, annoyed at being caught, especially before she’d even had a chance to really find anything interesting. Since she’d just been chased out of the devisor labs, she needed something else to do. Maybe she could try getting into Wondercute again…
Suddenly, Karma stopped and began to grin as an idea came to her. All of the members of Wondercute had been in their clubhouse, including Petshop. Petshop always had all the best and cutest animals, so Karma was certain that she had to have LOTS of them in her lab.
Karma glanced around to make sure that Mrs. Hastings wasn’t watching her, then she made her way to Petshop’s lab. Unlike a lot of kids, Petshop got to have her very own lab, and it was easy to find because the door was painted pink.
Once Karma was inside, she looked around the large lab in awe and amazement. Half the lab was filled with all sorts of strange looking equipment, which looked exciting and confusing at the same time. However, it was the other side of the lab that drew Karma’s attention. There were cages with lots of cute animals in them.
“Wow,” Karma exclaimed, staring at a bird that was bright pink, with lots of fluffy looking feathers. Then, she caught sight of a bunny, with long fluffy fur. Her eyes widened in awe. “It’s so fluffy, I’m gonna die…”
But before Karma could reach into the cage, something suddenly ran towards her, making a strange chirping sound. She stared at the creature, which had violet fur, large ears, and a long tail like a monkey. For several seconds, Karma just stared at the creature, trying to decide what it was, because it looked a little like a monkey, though that definitely wasn’t what it was. And at the moment, it seemed upset at her for some reason.
“Can I pet you?” Karma blurted out eagerly. She bent down to pet the creature but it backed away and continued chirping at her, almost sounding like it was trying to chew her out. Karma giggled at that. “You’re really cute…” That didn’t seem to improve the creature’s mood though.
Karma spent a couple minutes, trying to get the violet creature to come to her, but it remained out of her reach. After she realized that he wasn’t going to let her pet him, she decided to look at the rest of the animals instead. There were some mice and hamsters, but the one that really caught her attention, was just a little ball of fur, about the size of a baseball. It didn’t seem to have any head or tail, just long fluffy fur, which felt really soft when she began petting it.
“Oh, you’re so soft,” Karma said, gently picking the furry creature up so she could pet it better. It sort of purred in her hand, which made her giggle in delight.
Just then, the lights suddenly began to flicker, though only for a couple seconds before there was a spark from the furry animal that Karma was holding. A moment later, Karma was stunned to realize that she was now holding two of those furry creatures.
“You had a baby,” she blurted out gleefully. However, when she looked them over, she couldn’t tell which one was the mama and which was the baby. They both looked exactly the same, and they both began purring the same.
For several minutes, Karma remained where she was, looking back and forth between the two furry spheres. She glanced down to the violet colored creature that was watching her from beside her feet, but it didn’t seem to have any answers either.
“There’s two of them,” Karma announced, beginning giggle as an idea began to form. “Petshop won’t miss one of them…”
Karma felt rather proud of herself as she put one of the furry creatures back where she found it, or at least where she’d found the mama, then began walking towards the door with the other.
“You’re so soft and fluffy,” Karma told her new pet. “I’m gonna call you Fuzzy.”
Friday late morning, Oct 14th, 2016
Amelia stood in her lab, staring down at Bitsy, who was clearly agitated. In spite of the fact that she was the one to create Bitsy, she still couldn’t understand what her little assistant was trying to say.
“What is it?” Amelia asked, bending over to comfort Bitsy.
Bitsy’s fur had darkened into a purple color and she let out an odd warbling sound, before rushing over to the faraday cage that contained Amelia’s latest creation. The little furry ball was still there, looking exactly like it had the last time Amelia had seen it, so she had no idea why Bitsy was getting so excited.
“There’s no need to be jealous, my cute little girl,” Amelia assured her lab assistant, petting Bitsy and making sure to scratch her behind the ear, right where she liked it best. “You’re still my favorite…”
For some reason, Bitsy was still upset. Amelia gave Bitsy a treat, then turned her attention to her regular tasks, taking care of her other pets. For the next fifteen minutes, Amelia cleaned cages, put down food, and even gave each animal a little bit of love and attention, while Bitsy followed close behind, making sure that each cage was locked again afterwards.
When Amelia was finished, she bent down and scratched the now pink-furred Bitsy behind the ear and said, “Now, I’ve gotta get going, so keep an eye on everyone, okay?”
Bitsy gave a trill of exasperation, but Amelia was already hurrying out of the lab, hoping that she still had time to get a quick bite to eat at Crystal Hall before she had to get to her next class.
Amelia arrived at the Crystal Hall a short time later, where she quickly grabbed a tray of food and went to the table that was reserved for members of Wondercute. She was pleased to see that a couple of her friends were sitting there today, since they didn’t always eat together.
“Hiya,” Amelia greeted Gigi and Samantha. “You two have just got to see the new pet I made. He’s so cute and furry…”
The other girls simultaneously responded with, “Awwww,” and then demanded the chance to pet it.
Amelia smirked at that. “Not yet. He’s not stable enough for that yet…” Then she let out a sigh because she really wanted to hug and cuddle the thing too. “But in just a couple more days...” Then, she grinned almost maniacally as she imagined hugging and petting the cute little thing.
“You get kind of scary when you have that look,” Samantha pointed out a little nervously.
“You should see her whenever she sees that bunny girl in Melville,” Gigi said, only to pause to giggle. “Oh yeah, you have seen her…”
“Isn’t that bunny girl so KEWT?” Amelia exclaimed gleefully. “Maybe I should make something that can turn other girls into bunny girls too… Can you imagine having a bunch of bunny or kitty girls running around school? Wouldn’t that be awesome…”
“Awesome and scary,” Gigi agreed, giving Samantha a nervous look. “But I don’t think I’d wanna be one…”
“I’m already a unicorn girl,” Samantha pointed out wryly as she tapped the bony horn nub on her forehead.
Just then, Amelia noticed two more girls coming towards their table. Twitch and Jessie were both in junior high, and were the youngest members of their club. Still, Amelia was happy to see them, because it meant that there were more girls she could tell about her new cute creation.
“Hi,” Twitch greeted them with a broad grin, pausing to adjust the violet colored witch hat that she was currently wearing
Twitch usually wore a hat like that, and Amelia wondered if she could talk the younger girl into wearing a pink one, because that would be super cute. Pink with ribbons around it. She nearly squealed as she imagined how cute the girl would look.
“I thought you were eating with your other friends today,” Gigi told Twitch.
“I was,” Twitch responded with an excited grin. “Then I found something awesome…”
“And super cute,” Jessie offered.
Twitch nodded agreement. “And I had to show you guys…”
With that, Twitch held out her hands, and it took Amelia a moment to realize what she was holding. It was a cute little ball of fur, which looked exactly like the one she’d left locked up in her lab a short time ago.
“Where did you get that?” Amelia demanded, suddenly remembering the way Bitsy had been acting.
“I found it on the sidewalk,” Twitch answered, looking confused. “Isn’t it cute?”
“Absolutely adorable,” Amelia agreed as she reached over to pet the creature. “But how did it get out of my lab?”
Friday afternoon, Oct 14th, 2016
School was over for the day, so Karma was free to wander around campus, looking for something fun and exciting to do. Technically, she had a babysitter whose job was to keep her from doing that very thing, but Karma was good at escaping unwanted supervision.
Karma giggled to herself, wondering how long it would take for her latest babysitter to get out of the closet. The last one hadn’t been very good at that game and was stuck in there for a couple hours. She had good hopes for the latest one.
“Come on Fuzzy,” Karma said, petting the furry creature in her hand. “We’re on an adventure…”
The girl paused to look around, trying to determine where she and her new pet should go. There were always lots of interesting things happening on campus, so she just needed to find one. That shouldn’t be too hard, though the question was, where should she start.
Before Karma could decide, a familiar voice called out, “Hello, Karma. What are you up to?”
Karma looked over and saw Laura coming towards her. Karma liked Laura, because not only was she nice, but she was also blue and looked sort of like a giant Smurf. And of course, Laura was also a devisor, and devisors always had the best toys.
“Hi, Laura,” Karma greeted the blue girl cheerfully.
Laura smiled and asked, “So, what do you have there? A kitten?”
“This is Fuzzy,” Karma responded proudly, holding up her new pet.
Laura’s eyes widened in surprise, and she demanded, “Is that a tribble?”
“No,” Karma responded defensively. “His name is Fuzzy, not Tribble…”
“No,” Laura started to say. “What I mean is…”
Suddenly, a spark shot out from the devise hanging from Laura’s belt and hit Fuzzy. A moment later, Karma was holding a second Fuzzy in her hand. She let out a squeal of surprise and delight, accidentally dropping the new one onto the ground. Karma wasn’t worried about having harmed the other Fuzzy though, because this kind of thing had been happening all day. Every time she saw a Fuzzy fall, it seemed completely unharmed. And as if to prove this, both versions of Fuzzy began to trill and purr.
“It is a tribble,” Laura exclaimed, confusing Karma, who wondered why Laura was beginning to get upset. Who could get upset over a cute little ball of fur like Fuzzy? “Where in the world did you get a tribble?”
Karma blinked. “Um…I found him.” Then she grinned. “Isn’t Fuzzy great. He’s a mama again…”
“Again?” Laura repeated with a groan. “How many times has Fuzzy been a mama?”
Karma just shrugged at that. “Lots…” Then she picked up the new Fuzzy and offered him to Laura. “You want one? They’re really good at purring…”
Laura was about to answer, when someone yelled, “There she is… I found Karma…”
As soon as Karma heard that, she snapped around and saw most of the girls from Wondercute, dressed in their uniforms, and coming right at her. For a brief moment, Karma just stared in surprise, then she turned and began running as fast as she could.
“What in the world are you all up to?” Laura demanded of Nina, who briefly paused while the rest of Wondercute continued chasing Karma.
Nina gave an apologetic shrug to her cottage mate. “Sorry. Top secret Wondercute stuff…”
“Let me guess,” Laura said with a sigh, gesturing towards Petshop. “She made the tribbles…”
“Um…maybe,” Nina responded, before shrugging again and then running after the rest of her club.
Karma glanced back and saw Petshop glaring at her. “Give me back my tribble, you tribble thief…”
Karma responded by sticking her tongue out at the older girl, then she ran even faster. “Gotta catch me first…”
A few seconds later, Karma ran past Giggles, and there was a spark that shot from Giggles and hit Fuzzy. A new Fuzzy appeared and fell to the ground, though Karma was running too hard to stop and pick him up. Instead, she ran around a corner and focused on getting away.
Friday afternoon, Oct 14th, 2016
“Where’d she go?” Amelia demanded as she looked around in frustration. They’d lost sight of Karma a minute ago and she had no idea where the brat had gone with HER tribble.
Samantha shook her head and commented, “You know, for a little kid, she sure can run fast.”
“I don’t know,” Gigi responded as she floated up into the air for a better look. “There…” She pointed to the ground. “She’s leaving a trail of tribbles…”
“Like bread crumbs,” Twitch exclaimed with a giggle.
“Then follow the tribble brick road,” Nina announced with a giggle.
“Follow the tribble brick road,” Twitch repeated with a loud giggle of her own.
Twitch adjusted her hat and then held up her latest invention, a staff with a crystal on the head of it. The devise definitely looked magical and impressive and helped play into her interest in magic. She used the staff to point in the direction of the next tribble.
Gigi landed next to Amelia and said, “Just like following Hello Kitties…only furrier.”
“There are tribbles all over the place,” Amelia complained, looking at the trail of cute furry balls. She wanted to hug each and every one of them, but didn’t have time. It was all she could do to try collecting them all.
“Yeah,” Samantha agreed, giving Amelia a sympathetic look. “You’re really gonna get in trouble this time…”
“But it’s not my fault,” Amelia protested. “I had it locked up in my lab…”
“Obviously not good enough,” Gigi responded, though she quickly added, “But they are totally cute… When we’re done, I want one…”
“Me too,” each of the other girls immediately added.
They continued chatting as they followed the trail of tribbles. Amelia picked up another one, and wasn’t sure she’d be able to hold any more. Her arms were already full.
“I see her,” Gigi announced. She was floating up in the air again, courtesy of her gravity powers. “She’s sitting in the Quad…”
Amelia let out a sigh of relief, then tried to keep up with the others as they rushed towards the Quad. She kept dropping tribbles, then had to stop and pick them back up. When they reached the Quad, she saw that Karma was just sitting at one of the benches, petting her stolen tribble.
“Is it bad that I kind of feel jealous of her right now?” Nina asked.
“Can I get a tribble as a familiar?” Twitch asked excitedly.
“You’re not a real mage,” Samantha reminded her.
Amelia stood there with her arms full of tribbles and announced, “Give me back my tribble…”
Karma sat there, making a show of thinking about it before shaking her head. “Nope.”
“I’ve got her,” Twitch announced, holding out her staff.
Amelia saw sparks coming from the crystal at the head of the staff and exclaimed, “NO!”
“You can’t tase a seven year old,” Samantha told Twitch.
“It’s just my sparky staff,” Twitch responded with a roll of her eyes. “To make a big dramatic entrance…” And with that, she held the staff up and sparks began showering down around her.
“Don’t,” Amelia cried out, but it was too late.
Suddenly, all the tribbles in her arms began to double in number and spill out all over the ground. Twitch squealed in surprise as one of them fell on her feet, and dropped her staff right next to the tribbles. A moment later, the sparks seemed to shoot out straight at the tribbles, who began multiplying again. The air was filled with a popping sound as the tribbles kept reproducing, creating a growing pile that suddenly made Amelia think of popcorn popping.
“They’re energizers,” Amelia blurted out, unable to take her eyes from the growing pile of cute furry balls. “They absorb electricity to reproduce…”
“Oh, NOW you tell us,” Gigi grumbled, stepping back from the furry pile, that was now four feet tall and growing.
After a minute, Twitch’s staff seemed to have run out of power because the pile was no longer growing. At that point, Amelia let out a sigh of relief.
“Now, how am I gonna get all these little guys back into my lab?” Amelia asked.
“Will they even fit?” Gigi asked uncertainly.
Amelia gulped and began to consider this for several seconds, but before she could determine the answer, the wind picked up. At first, she barely noticed it, until Twitch let out a yelp of surprise.
“What…?” Amelia started to ask, only to notice that the pile of tribbles was much smaller.
A strong gust blew over them, and Amelia watched with a sinking feeling as more than a dozen tribbles were blown away, to join the others that had already been taken by the wind. Amelia gulped, since all she could do was watch the tribbles rolling across the campus like little furry tumbleweeds.
Friday afternoon, Oct 14th, 2016
Karma crouched down behind a bush, trying not to giggle too loudly. Just a minute ago, she’d taken advantage of all the sudden confusion to run and hide. She knew from previous experience, that this bush was a great hiding spot, at least from that direction. And from there, she could still see everything that was going on too.
Wondercute had come chasing after her, and then, the next thing she knew, there were lots of new Fuzzys. LOTS of them, all over the place. Karma couldn’t even count that high, nor was she inclined to try. Instead, she just watched the other girls, grinning as she did so.
“They’re fun to play with,” Karma whispered to Fuzzy.
She was delighted that the other girls had come to play with her, though disappointed that they weren’t better at the game. She’d been sitting right out in the open, just waiting for them, and she’d still been able to get away. They really weren’t very good at hide and seek.
After another minute, Karma told Fuzzy, “I’m hungry, and it’s almost time for dinner.” The furry creature responded with a faint purr, which made Karma grin. Then, as Karma left the cover of the bushes and hurried away, she promised her furry pet, “We’ll play with them again tomorrow…”
Saturday morning, Oct 15th, 2016
Amelia frowned as she made the long walk between Dickenson and Schuster Hall. Just a short time ago, a message arrived, saying that she had to report to administration. And while the message hadn’t said anything about why they wanted to speak to her, she was pretty sure that she already knew the answer.
“It isn’t my fault this time,” Amelia protested with a pout.
All around her, she could see tribbles scattered across the campus. They were so small and light that the wind kept catching the creatures and sending them rolling around like little furry tumbleweeds. One of the tribbleweeds rolled right past Amelia, who was tempted to grab hold of it, just on general principle.
“They’re so cute,” Twitch cried out, running after one of the tribbles, even though she already had three others in her arms. “And they’re everywhere…”
“I’d been thinking of making them other colors too,” Amelia said, getting distracted and momentarily forgetting that she was in trouble. “Imagine them all pink, or violet…”
“Or green,” Twitch exclaimed with a loud squee of delight. “That would be so awesome…”
Amelia nodded to Twitch in agreement, thankful that her friend had come along to keep her company and provide moral support. All of Wondercute was probably in trouble for their role in spreading the tribbles, but as their creator, she was the one who received most of the blame.
“Stupid Karma,” Amelia grumbled.
If that little girl hadn’t broken into her lab and stolen her tribble, then none of this would have happened. She’d kept the thing in a faraday cage to make sure it couldn’t replicate until it was stable and in a controlled environment. Of course, there had been a few previous accidents, like the invisible bunnies, or those cute little frogs back home, so Amelia wasn’t surprised that they’d blame her for this one too.
Her eyes moved over to the side, where she saw one boy with a leaf blower, using it on some tribbles. They little balls of fur went rolling away to join the other tribbleweeds, while the boy laughed in delight.
For a brief moment, Amelia thought of yelling at the boy for being so rough with those cute tribbles, but then she reminded herself that she didn’t have time for that. And admittedly, it didn’t seem to be actually hurting the tribbles at all, since some of them were purring as they rolled away. She’d had her own little fantasy of raking a bunch of tribbles into a big pile and then jumping into it, but she never would have actually done it. At least, that was what she tried telling herself.
“I’ll deal with him when I get done,” Amelia promised herself to ease the guilt of ignoring what the boy was doing. “And that brat, Karma.”
When they arrived at Schuster, Amelia saw that there were more tribbles scattered down the hallway. The lights flickered, just like they had in Dickenson, which told her that her creations were busy replicating themselves. Of course, that was no surprise, since that seemed about the only thing they did do.
“These things are like rabbits on Viagra,” Twitch commented with a giggle.
Amelia gave Twitch a look of surprise at the comment, since the girl usually came off as being too innocent for such a comment. Then again, Twitch did hang around with the Bad Seeds, most of whom were bad influences. She really should spend more time with her Wondercute friends instead.
“Actually,” Amelia responded almost absently, “they replicate asexually, effectively cloning themselves.”
As soon as Amelia stepped into the office where she’d been told to report, she looked around and gulped nervously. There were three faculty members in there waiting, which told her that she was really in a lot of trouble.
The first was Miss Ellison, a beautiful blonde woman who was currently wearing slacks and a nice blouse. Amelia was glad to see Miss Ellison, because she both knew and liked the magic teacher who served as the faculty advisor for Wondercute. If anyone there would take Amelia’s side, it would be her.
Then, there was Ms. Claire, the dean of students. Amelia knew that if Ms. Claire was there, then this was a bad sign for what was to come. And finally, there was Mr. Turner, the assistant headmaster.
Amelia was relieved to note that the actual headmaster, Mr. Mazarin, wasn’t waiting for her too. He seemed like a nice old man, but she knew that he used to be a supervillain, so he always made her nervous and uncomfortable.
“Hello, Amelia,” Miss Ellison greeted her, looking almost apologetic. She was holding a tribble which she was gently petting. Then she gave Twitch a nod and faint smile. “Michelle.”
Ms. Claire and Mr. Turner glanced to Twitch but didn’t say anything about her not being invited. Amelia realized that they probably didn’t care if Twitch saw her get chewed out, and that they might even want a witness to spread stories to the other students, as a warning.
“Do you know why you’re here?” Ms. Claire asked with a deep scowl. Amelia could only nod.
“Tribbles,” Mr. Turner said in a flat tone. “What were you thinking?”
Amelia squirmed under his gaze. “One of the guys in the science fiction club asked me to make it,” she explained defensively. “They wanted a mascot…”
“And you just had to make them as realistic as possible,” Ms. Claire commented wryly.
Amelia nodded at that, puffing up a little in pride. She was very good at making pets for people, and that was worth being proud of. “It was hard, and I had to mimic an energizer trait, just so they’d be able to get enough energy to multiply…”
“Amelia,” Ms. Claire said. “I would have thought that the TV show that inspired these creatures, would have served as warning enough about creating them…”
“But they’re so cute,” Amelia gasped, giving them her best puppy dog eyes and silently pleading. She noted that Miss Ellison nodded agreement, which she took to be a good sign.
“These things may be cute,” Mr. Turner said, “but they’re an environmental catastrophe and an ecological disaster…” The lights suddenly flickered and his scowl intensified. “Not to mention, damaging to the power grid… If these things get out…”
“It’s not her fault,” Twitch exclaimed, from where she’d been standing in the back, trying to avoid the attention of the adults. “Karma stole it from her lab…”
“Why am I not surprised?” Mr. Turner muttered with a shake of his head. “Regardless, this is a serious problem that needs to be corrected before things get worse. Now, tell me everything about these tribbles you made…”
Amelia felt nervous and excited at the same time. In spite of the fact that the tribbles had gotten out of control and gotten her in trouble, she was still proud of having made them.
Once Amelia was finished answering questions, Mr. Turner scowled down at her with a thoughtful expression. “You’ve created a nice little problem,” he said. “And I think you know, that there are going to be consequences for your recklessness…”
Amelia cringed at that, expecting the worse. However, Miss Ellison abruptly said, “I think we should give the girls a chance to clean up their own mess before we worry about punishments.”
“That might provide some motivation to clean this up themselves,” Ms. Claire mused.
“You make a good point,” Mr. Turner respond, scratching his chin.
It only took Amelia a couple seconds to realize that Ms. Ellison had just given her and the rest of Wondercute an opportunity. If they could take care of all the tribbles on their own, then she might not be punished nearly as badly as she would be otherwise.
Mr. Turner fixed his gaze on Amelia, making her squirm uncomfortably before he said, “I’m giving you and your friends a chance to contain this on your own. You have three hours.”
“Thank you,” Amelia blurted out in relief.
“You’d better get started,” Mr. Turner told her. “Your time has started.”
Amelia squealed and then ran out the door, with Twitch following close behind. She couldn’t do this by herself, so the first thing she needed to do was find the others.
Saturday morning, Oct 15th, 2016
As soon as the two girls had departed, Robert Turner looked to his associates, Brittney Ellison and Elaine Claire. Both of them had been working at Whateley for longer than him, in spite of the fact that Brittney had only begun the year before.
“You know,” Elaine commented wryly. “It’s been awhile since the UN has sanctioned one of our students. If any of our current students is going to earn that dubious honor, I suspect it will be Petshop.”
“Biodevisors,” Robert said, rubbing his temples to stave off the headache that was forming. “Out of all the mad scientists, they’re by far the most dangerous…”
“There’s no need to blow this out of proportion,” Brittney commented with a cheerful smile.
Elaine glared at the perky blonde teacher, who was currently petting one of those tribbles. “Did you have to bring that thing in here?”
“They’re very soothing,” Brittney responded while still smiling. “You should try petting one.”
“I think I’ll pass,” Elaine said, though she smiled faintly. Robert had seen her petting one of the things on the way into the office.
Brittany continued petting the tribble, musing, “Back when I was still a magical girl, I would have loved to have had a familiar like this. Unfortunately, as cute as these little guys are, they’d be pretty useless for something like that.” She let out a faint sigh of disappointment.
“I just hope this doesn’t turn out as bad as that Pokemon incident,” Elaine said with a shake of her head. “The last thing we need is another one of those neon yellow rodents, running around and shocking people. Four students were sent to Doyle.”
“That was before I came on,” Robert reminded her. “But I have read the file.”
“That was an unfortunate situation,” Brittany admitted with a sigh. “But this isn’t the same thing at all…”
Robert gave her a skeptical look. “Perhaps not, but I doubt that Petshop will be able to get this genie back in the bottle, especially in the time limit I gave her…”
“Don’t underestimate those girls,” Brittany told him with a knowing smile. “They may surprise you.”
“Either way,” Robert said, “these tribbles need to be contained and dealt with. I would like to get this issue resolved before our headmaster returns from his trip tomorrow.”
“That would be a good thing,” Elaine said, giving Robert a knowing smile. “I noticed that you didn’t tell the girls, that the facilities and grounds crews are already cleaning up the tribbles…”
Robert responded with a faint smile of his own. “I thought that they’d feel a little more motivated this way.”
Saturday late morning, Oct 15th, 2016
“We need a plan of action,” Gigi announced.
Gigi stood in front of the rest of Wondercute, holding up a garbage bag that had been stuffed full of tribbles. The fact that they were trilling and purring was quite a distraction, making all of the girls present want to just hug and pet them.
“We’re never gonna get anywhere like this,” Nina agreed, holding up her own garbage bag.
Amelia looked around at the other members of Wondercute, all of whom were dressed in their uniforms. It probably would have made more sense to dress in work clothes, since they were raking up piles of tribbles and stuffing them into bags, but this was an official Wondercute event, so they all wanted to dress appropriately.
“This is fun,” Twitch exclaimed, holding up the leaf blower that she’d been using.
Meow Mix and Jessie continued raking tribbles into a big pile, while Breakdance and Samantha piled them into garbage bags, or at least, that was what they were supposed to be doing. Instead, Breakdance was laying in the middle of the pile, playing with the tribbles, while Samantha kept stopping to pet them.
“I feel bad for doing this,” Samantha admitted. “Putting tribbles in bags…” She pouted at that.
“You’re not hurting them,” Amelia explained. “They don’t really need to breathe or anything, so they won’t suffocate…” But even as she said that, she held several tribbles that she was cuddling with. “Oh, do you need another hug…”
“There are too many tribbles,” Gigi complained. “We’ll never get them all cleaned up in time…”
“Yeah,” Nina agreed. “Especially since they keep making more, faster than we can pick them up…”
“And these guys aren’t helping,” Samantha said, gesturing to some students across the courtyard, who seemed to think that the tribble infestation was the best thing ever.
Three students, two boys and one girl, were dressed up in what appeared to be homemade Star Trek uniforms, playing around with toy phasers and communicators. Or at least, none of the three were devisors or gadgeteers, so Amelia assumed that those were just props.
On the other side of the courtyard, there was a boy, who was holding what appeared to be a bazooka. It took Amelia a moment to realize that he was holding a potato gun, and she only realized this in time to see him shooting a tribble out of it.
“Tribble launcher,” the boy cried out triumphantly. “Oh yeah.”
“Don’t shoot my tribbles,” Amelia yelled at him.
Amelia started to run after the boy, except that Nina grabbed her shoulder and said, “We don’t have time for that…”
“But...,” Amelia protested. “He was shooting my babies out of a gun…”
“And we’re stuffing them in garbage bags,” Samantha pointed out, only to earn a glare in response.
“You’d better treat my babies with respect,” Amelia warned.
“Let’s go back to the clubhouse,” Gigi suggested. “We can take a break and make a plan for how we’re gonna fix this…”
The girls all quickly agreed, then carefully set their bags full of tribbles aside and started for their clubhouse. Even though they knew that they had a limited amount of time, raking up tribbles was hard, both physically and emotionally.
When they reached their secret clubhouse, Nina was the one who opened the door. Immediately afterwards, all the girls rushed inside, only to stop and gasp in stunned disbelief at the sight awaiting them.
The floor was covered with tribbles, making it nearly look like they had a shag carpet. And then, in the middle of this, was the intruder who was obviously responsible.
“Hi,” Karma exclaimed, waiving cheerfully at them. Breakdance waved back, until Jessie slapped her hand down with a glare.
Amelia just stared at Karma, surprised to see that the little girl was currently wearing her own version of a Wondercute uniform. It was a red and black fuku, with a symbol on the chest that Amelia couldn’t quite make out, because Karma was holding a tribble up to her chest with both hands.
“How in the world did she get in here?” Gigi blurted out. “The door was locked…”
“My lab was locked too,” Amelia pointed out in frustration.
“Can I join Wondercute now?” Karma asked eagerly. “I’ve got my own costume now and everything…”
“No,” Amelia exclaimed, angry at this girl who’d stolen her creation and had caused them to spread all over campus. It was Karma’s fault that she was in trouble.
“I found something really cool I wanted to show you guys,” Karma continued on excitedly. “This is really neat…” And with that, Karma pulled out a stun gun and held it up to the tribble in her hand
“NO!” Amelia cried out.
“He likes it,” Karma assured them. “He purrs real cute…”
Samantha leapt at Karma, trying to get the stun gun away before she could use it on the tribble. Suddenly, sparks went flying from the stun gun, which fell to the floor, right into the middle of the tribbles.
“Watch out,” Twitch exclaimed, even as the popping sound began to fill the air.
New tribbles began appearing quickly, piling up around the stun gun and getting enough energy that they immediately replicated as well. In moments, the furry pile began growing larger and larger. The lights flickered as more tribbles formed all around the room, increasing in number at a shocking pace.
Karma burst out giggling as she began dancing around the furry floor, somehow managing to avoid stepping on any of the tribbles. Then, with a mischievous gleam in her eyes, she touched Amelia and exclaimed, “Tag, you’re it.” And before Amelia could respond, Karma ran out the door, leaving her and the other Wondercute members behind, in danger of being drowned in tribbles.
Amelia tried to wade through the tribbles, which were now up to her chest and still rising. She felt a surreal mixture of fear and delight. She was surrounded by tribbles. Cute, soft, furry, balls of fluff. In spite of herself, she let out a squeal of joy, realizing that her fantasy of swimming through a pool of cute furry animals had just come true.
Saturday late morning, Oct 15th, 2016
Karma ran through the tunnels, giggling as she did so. She liked playing with the big kids. They were a lot more fun than most of the kids her own age.
When Karma left the tunnels and returned to the main campus grounds, she paused to wait for the girls to catch up to her. However, when they didn’t immediately rush out of the tunnels, she frowned impatiently.
“You’re it,” Karma called out as a reminder to Petshop, but there was no indication that the older girl heard her.
When Wondercute still didn’t appear, Karma began pacing back and forth as she waited for them. She was sure that they were gonna come after her. They had to. That was the game.
“Don’t worry,” she told Fuzzy. “They’ll be here soon.”
Then, Karma noticed a big pile of tribbles that was moving around. Out of curiosity, she went over, only to see a hand sticking out of the pile.
“Are you okay?” Karma asked, gently brushing tribbles off until she revealed the person beneath. “Giggles…,” she exclaimed, recognizing the devisor, who made some really neat things, like those zappy gloves.
Giggles was gigging, but between the giggles, she managed to say, “Thank you…Karma.” She scrambled away from the tribbles, looking exhausted, though she was still giggling in a way that kind of scared Karma a little. “Those little furry bastards drained me…”
“Okay,” Karma responded, not completely sure what Giggles meant.
“Being a walking battery is great when I’m building things,” Giggles explained, “but these things sucked all the juice out of me, and made more of them, which sucked out even more juice…”
“Okay,” Karma repeated, though this time, she thought she understood a little better.
“I need to get back to my room,” Giggles muttered as she began walking away, carefully avoiding the tribbles. “And lock the door so these things can’t get in…”
“But they’re cute,” Karma protested, holding up Fuzzy so that Giggles could see. “See…” Giggles backed away with a worried look.
Suddenly, a voice yelled out, “There she is!”
Karma snapped around and saw that the girls of Wondercute had come out of the tunnels. A grin of anticipation formed, right before Karma blew them a raspberry and began to run.
“Get the tribble thief,” Petshop yelled out.
“Shouldn’t we get the tribbles under control first,” Samantha asked, though none of the others were listening to her.
Giggles just remained where she was, watching the scene and giggling hysterically. Then, she eyed the tribble pile again before turning and running for safety.
It didn’t take Karma long to realize that she’d made a big mistake. Not only was she badly outnumbered, but the older girls were all bigger than her…and faster. However, instead of being discouraged by this, it only motivated her to move faster.
Karma noticed that one of the other girls was getting too close and dove for a nearby bench. She scrambled beneath the bench just a moment before Meow Mix leapt at her, just barely avoiding the cat girl. A second later, Karma came out from the other side of the bench and was immediately back on her feet and running.
With a loud giggle, Karma thought about how worried she was about getting caught…and how exciting this game of tag was. She let out a squeal of glee and ran for a nearby building, hoping that she could use that to lose Wondercute. Then, as she picked up her pace even further, she grinned almost maniacally. This was so much FUN.
A few seconds later, Karma tore around the corner of the building and almost ran right into another girl. The near impact brought her to a halt as she fell to the ground, though she made sure to hold Fuzzy just right so he didn’t get squashed.
“Watch where you’re running,” the older girl said with a look of annoyance.
Karma looked up at the girl, who was wearing black clothes and a lot of dark makeup. She’d seen this girl around before and knew that he was called Penny Dreadful.
“Sorry,” Karma said, holding out Fuzzy. “You wanna pet Fuzzy?”
Penny Dreadful sneered. “I was kind of looking forward to the zombie apocalypse, but lucky me, I get stuck with the fu…stinkin tribble apocalypse.” Then she chuckled to herself, “At least if they were zombie tribbles, that would be cool…”
“Zombie tribbles?” Karma asked before scrunching up her nose. “Gross…”
“What are you…?” Penny Dreadful started to ask before looking around and seeing Wondercute approaching. “Now, why are those sugar-hyped dingbats chasing after you? You know what…I don’t care.” Then with an almost evil grin, she announced, “I owe them, so it’s your lucky day, kid…”
Penny dreadful held out her hand and a large, muscular, and disgustingly rotten zombie appeared in front of her. Then, almost as soon as it was formed, it charged right at Wondercute, who screamed, making Karma giggle as she ran away again.
When Karma looked back, she saw that several of the other girls were distracted by Penny Dreadful and her gross zombie, but not all of them. Petshop was leading the charge and still coming straight at her.
“Give me back my tribble,” Petshop yelled.
Petshop continued running, wondering what was wrong with all these other tribbles. There were more Fuzzys all over the place, so why did Petshop care about her Fuzzy?
“Don’t worry, Fuzzy,” Karma told the furry creature she was clutching in her arms. “I won’t let her get you…”
Karma ran past a couple tribbles, or at least, she though they were tribbles until she bumped one and saw that it was only a small pile of fur. She didn’t have time to stop and look though as the other girls began outpacing her on both sides.
The little girl looked around for a way out, but realized that she’d run away from her escape routes, and was now out in the open, surrounded by Wondercute. She didn’t have any place to hide, and the other girls had her trapped.
As soon as Karma came to a stop, so did Wondercute, though they all moved in to surround her. Her eyes darted between them as she considered how easily she could run through the openings. She grinned faintly as she planned to do just that.
“You can’t have Fuzzy,” Karma stated, defiantly holding out Fuzzy.
A second later, Karma suddenly realized that there was something wrong with Fuzzy. He wasn’t purring or trilling like he’d been doing earlier. Instead, he was completely silent, and feeling strangely light.
“Fuzzy,” Karma asked cautiously.
While Karma tried to figure out what was wrong with Fuzzy, a strong gust of wind hit and the tribble blew apart like a dandelion puff that had just been blown on. Fur flew away on the wind, leaving Karma with empty hands and no sign of her pet.
“FUZZY?” Karma cried out in shock and horror. She stared down at her empty hands, then in the direction that the fur had been blown to and began crying.
Saturday late morning, Oct 15th, 2016
Amelia looked around the office where she once again found herself facing Mr. Turner, Miss Ellison, and Ms. Claire. However, this time, she had all of Wondercute with her…and Karma.
After the tribble that Karma stole had blown away with the wind, the girl had burst into tears. She hadn’t even resisted when Wondercute brought her to the office to see Mr. Turner, and had only just stopped crying.
In spite of herself, Amelia couldn’t help but feeling sorry for Karma. Amelia knew that if she was in Karma’s place, and saw a cute furry animal, she probably would have done the same thing. When it came to cute animals, Amelia knew that she had a tendency to get a little carried away, so how could she blame Karma for doing the same?
“It’s okay,” Miss Ellison said as she bent down and consoled Karma. “I know you’re sad about Fuzzy. I understand. I just lost my tribble, Mister Fluffikins too. I’m afraid that these tribbles just don’t live very long, but remember, you gave him the best life you could and made him happy while he was here, and that’s the important thing…”
Karma wiped her eyes and nodded at that, before reluctantly responding, “Okay…”
Mr. Turner gave Karma a sympathetic look, then let out a sigh. “Tribbles are self-destructing all over campus, leaving nothing behind but little piles of fur…”
“Thankfully,” Ms. Claire commented. “Amelia told us that this was going to happen, but it is occurring a bit faster than I’d expected…”
“What?” Gigi gasped, staring at Amelia. “You knew this was going to happen?”
“Yeah,” Amelia admitted, letting out a long sigh. She felt horrible for the way all these cute tribbles were dying, and her own eyes were getting a bit teary as a result. “They’re not stable, and every time they replicate, they become even more unstable. Heck, most of them are all clones of clones of clones, which makes it even worse.”
Samantha let out an exasperated sigh. “Then why were we sweeping up tribbles, if you knew they were all going to go…poof…anyway?”
“Because these creatures were getting into absolutely everything,” Mr. Turner pointed out with a scowl. “They were starting to cause power outages as they multiplied, and this was only getting worse. Thankfully, they situation is resolving itself a little sooner than expected.”
“Poor tribbles,” Twitch said with a pouting expression. “They’re so cute…”
“Poor Fuzzy,” Karma exclaimed sadly.
Mr. Turner looked at all the girls with a scowl. “I’m not happy with you Amelia, for creating these things in the first place. I’m not happy with your friends here, for making the situation worse.” Then he stared down at Karma. “And I’m not happy with you for stealing that tribble from Amelia’s lab and causing this problem…”
“I’m sorry,” Karma said, giving him her best puppydog eyes.
“I have a daughter of my own,” Mr. Turner told her, seeming almost amused, though he tried hiding it. “I’ve built up a bit of a tolerance to that look.”
“Now, what should we do with you all?” Ms. Claire asked.
Karma’s eyes went wide and she immediately pleaded, “Don’t make me clean Hawthorne…”
“I’m afraid that I have something worse for you,” Mr. Turner said with a stern look. “I’ve already called your mother…”
“NO,” Karma cried out. “Not Mama… Please, don’t call Mama… I’ll clean Hawthorne with a toothbrush…”
Amelia noted that Ms. Claire was trying to hide a smile, though not very successfully. In fact, even Mr. Turner seemed somewhat amused by this.
“I’m afraid I don’t have a choice,” Mr. Turner told the girl. “While that sounds like a fine punishment, you aren’t a student here so I can’t assign you punishments that way…”
“What?” Amelia blurted out in surprise. “She isn’t a student?”
Miss Ellison answered, “Oh no. Karma attends a grade school off campus…”
“She hasn’t even manifested yet,” Mr. Turner commented.
“I can manifest,” Karma protested. “Just don’t tell Mama…”
Just then, a voice called out from the office doorway, “Susan Moira!”
“Eeep,” Karma cried out, before ducking behind Mr. Turner for protection.
Amelia looked to the woman who stood at the door, immediately noticing the black scales on the top half of her face, the black horns, and the black devil tail. Of course, she also recognized this woman. This was the art teacher, the Imp.
“Um…hi, Mama,” Karma said, peaking out from behind Mr. Turner.
“Mama?” Gigi asked in surprise.
The Imp looked down at Karma with a wry smile, announcing, “I hear that we have you to thank for all the hair balls…”
“It was her fault,” Karma announced, immediately pointing to Amelia.
“Way to throw her under the bus,” Samantha said with a giggle.
“I don’t know whether I should be upset by this,” the Imp told her daughter, “or proud.” Her smirk and the tone of her voice clearly suggested the latter.
“Proud,” Karma offered cautiously. “Definitely proud.”
The Imp tussled the girl’s hair as she mused, “What did I ever do to deserve this kind of aggravation?” Then she immediately glared at Mr. Turner. “Don’t answer that.”
“Not a word,” he promised, not bothering to hide his smirk.
A moment later, the Imp smiled down at Karma. “If I’ve said this once, I’ve said this a thousand times. You’re karma, come to bite me on my tail…”
“I don’t bite your tail,” Karma protested almost indignantly. “Yuck…”
“Well, not since you were teething anyway,” the Imp admitted with a chuckle. “But if you’re this much trouble now, I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when you’re a teenager…or when you manifest.” She paused to shake her head, though she was clearly smiling, then began leading Karma towards the door. “Well, come on Karma, let’s get you back home…”
Amelia watched Karma as the little girl left, noting the red and black fuku uniform that she was currently wearing, and the symbol on her chest. It was a black circle with horns and a devil’s tail, which had seemed familiar before, though now Amelia knew why.
After they’d left the room, Amelia heard the Imp from the hallway, asking, “Now, what did I tell you about getting caught…? You know this means I have to tell your father now, right?”
"But Mama," Amelia heard Karma protest from down the hallway.
“Wow,” Twitch exclaimed, her eyes gleaming with excitement. “Karma can join my other club… I can’t wait to tell Racoon…”
“Um…what about us?” Amelia hesitantly asked, afraid that she’d be the one stuck cleaning Hawthorne with a toothbrush.
“I believe you still have a mess to clean up,” Ms. Claire said, holding up a broom and dust pan. "Then you have a date with the TV. Specifically, you’ll be watching Star Trek, the original series. The episode, of course, will be ‘The Trouble with Tribbles’. This time, please pay attention to something other than how cute and cuddly the tribbles are, as I have no intention of putting up with you for the next twenty years while you try and de-infest Whateley of whatever your next brainless creation is. Now get to cleaning up all that hair!"
Amelia could only groan at that, deciding that her next creation wasn’t going to have any fur or hair at all. Maybe a pretty rainbow colored fish, or a pink snake, or… Then she paused with an almost manic grin, whispering, “I bet a dragon could be really neat…”
Sunday, Oct 16th, 2016
Deep beneath Whateley, a solitary ball of fur rested in the middle of a rarely-used tunnel. The tribble made no movement at all, though a faint trilling sound emanated from its furry body. It called out to others like it, but received no response.
Further down the tunnel, something heard the sound and came to investigate. A large rodent approached the furry creature, then paused beside it to sniff. Once it was satisfied that the tribble didn’t seem to be a threat, the bright yellow rodent poked at the smaller furry creature, exclaiming, “Pika?”
Note: No tribbles were harmed in the making of this story.