Magical Girl Syn, Chapter 1, Part 3

Miss Kitty’s was a strange toystore.
It was not a place to buy Pokemon cards or video games or Barbies. Miss Kitty
mostly sold dolls and stuffed animals, ugly, lumpy things that were almost
impossible not to love, at least for Cynthia. Also stickers, huge sheets of
them kept by the checkout counter, and every single year as far as she could
remember Cynthia had received one on her birthday. 

As she walked deeper into the shop,
a bent figure shuffled slowly around the corner. “Grankitty!” Cynthia
cried as if she hadn’t seen the old woman at least once a week for the past

“Cynthia,” the old woman
said gravely. 

They were not actually related.
Cynthia had simply declared Miss Kitty, the wizened old shop owner, her
grandmother on first meeting her, and kept calling her that since. She made a
good grandmother–she was quiet and serious, but indulgent as long as Cynthia
wasn’t too noisy or messy, and something about the way her green eyes twinkled
in that wrinkly dark face screamed “witch.” Cynthia was quietly
certain Grankitty was, if not magic herself, at least privy to secrets beyond
what the nuns could or would teach. She ran a small, dim, old-fashioned
toyshop, how could she NOT have something mysterious tucked away in the back?

“Here for your birthday
stickers, child?” the old woman asked. 

“Of course.” Cynthia

“Not too old for them?”

“Never!” Cynthia cried in
mock-horror. “I plan to be young forever, and the secret is

The old woman chuckled drily.
“Good luck to ya, then,” she said. Every once in a while just the
hint of an accent Cynthia couldn’t place would creep through. 

“Ruthie thinks I’m too
old,” said Cynthia. 

“Fah! I’m thrice as old as the
two of ya together, and I’m not yet too old for stickers.”

Cynthia’s eyes drifted upward,
flicking back and forth as she did the math. “How old ARE you,

“As old as my tongue and
slightly older than my teeth,” she replied sternly. “And you, child,
are old enough to know better than to ask that kind of question.”

“Yes, Grankitty,” Cynthia
said dutifully. She turned to browse the shelves, looking for anything new the
store might have gotten in since her last visit. 

After a few minutes, she found
something, an adorable, floppy stuffed tiger kitten, about four inches long.
“Grankitty?” she called out. “How much is…" 

She trailed off as she stepped
around a shelf and saw Grankitty’s face. It was white as a sheet, and she
looked like she was about to be sick.

"Grankitty–” Cynthia
started, but Grankitty cut her of with a gesture. In the silence, Cynthia
listened. She had grown up in the city; the whine of sirens and thump-thump of
construction was just background noise to her. But those weren’t just sirens
she could hear; there were screams mixed in as well. 

The thumping grew closer, faster, the toys
rattling on the shelves as the ground shook, and then–

Cynthia saw it just a moment through
the crowded display window, a massive, dark, hulking shape, and then the whole
front wall caved in. Shards of glass and bits of green-painted wood showered
over her as she screamed. 

The thing was so tall it had to
hunch over to fit inside the shop, and as wide as it was tall. It was dark
greenish-brown, and scaly where it wasn’t furry. Its legs were thick and squat,
its arms were lean, muscular, much too long for its body, and ended in massive
clawed hands. 

She screamed again, kept screaming.
She’d fallen onto her butt at some point, and scrambled backwards in a panic as
the thing reached for her. She rolled over, onto her knees, struggling to get
away and get to her feet at the same time. 

Then the huge claws were wrapping around her
torso, impossible strength pulling her back and into the air.

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