The door to Misao's apartment, (is it her apartment?) opens slowly, accompanied by the sound of footsteps.
Not the doctor's. Lighter, and with a kind of plastic 'click' to them. Someone is in her apartment.
[This patient needs to be prepped for open heart surgery,] Lisa tells herself as she heads towards Misao's bedroom, [and brought in to Walter. He's going to- not a doctor- help her get better.]
Misao sits up almost immediately upon hearing the footsteps in the apartment. ((It's the apartment Walter's assigned her to... She doesn't pay rent or anything. :P)) She knows it's not Dr. Troy. It could be his wife she's heard him mention, but she doubts she'd come alone.
Her heart races and she's not entirely sure why. She wishes she could remember how she got here and why everything seemed so scary. She watches and waits for the bedroom door to open. If her whole body didn't hurt she might consider getting out of bed. Misao is terrified, but somewhere sleeping deep in her heart, Pixy Misa, her other self, is thrilled just to have something different happen for a change.
The door opens, admitting a young woman in a nurse's outfit. She doesn't look threatening like Walter, but the way that she glances furtively around the room makes it seem like she's hiding something... or having second thoughts.
"We have to get you ready for surgery," she finally says, tugging absent-mindedly at the hem of her red sweater. "Walter says that you havn't got much time, so it's important that things are kept on schedule. Can you..."
The nurse pauses, a perplexed look flashing across her face. Usually, when a patient is being readied for something dire, like open heart surgery, there would be at least a wheelchair or wheeled bed to bring her to the theatre in, and if her health is failing, why aren't her vital signs being monitered? [This room looks more like an apartment bedroom than an ICU... What am I doing?]
There were a lot of worrying things said in that last statement. Misao's never been in surgery before, and she didn't think her injuries were bad enough to need it. Dr. Troy did mention earlier that there might be some internal bleeding, but he said it would heal on it's own. And she's never heard of surgery for bruises no matter how much they hurt.
She tries to say something, but coughs instead. The heavy motions of her chest make her left side hurt again and she winces. Lisa might also notice strangulation bruises around her neck. Although it's not visible, Misao also has a nasty bruise all along the left side of her torso, and her right ankle is sprained. Also, sometimes she coughs up blood, a condition which is thankfully becoming much less frequent.
"Walter?" she asks finally. Despite the fact that Walter Sulivan was the one responsible for all of her injuries, Misao was only familiar with Walter by his name. She wasn't herself during her first encounter with him, she was Pixy Misa. She's not even really sure how she got here in the first place. She woke up just inside the front door of the apartment with no recollection of Pixy Misa's journey here. Like Walter, Pixy Misa is also only known to Misao by reputation. Dr. Troy (she doesn't know his last name) helped her to the bedroom and has been feeding her regularly since she got here. She's been waiting patiently ever since, hoping that Mr. Sulivan would let her go free if she was good.
"Do you mean Mr. Sulivan... or um... is it Dr. Sulivan?" There are a lot of other questions she wants to ask, but this one seems like the easiest. Also, there seem to be a lot of doctors around here. Perhaps there's a hospital nearby?
The woman nods curtly. "Yes, Walter... he told me to bring you to the theatre for your surgery." She advances slowly on Misao, looking back for a moment as if expecting the wheelchair she needs to materialize for her convenience.
"Um, there doesn't seem to be a.... D-do you think you can walk, Miss ...?"
[He isn't a doctor, I don't even know if he graduated from college.]
"Eh!" she gasps quietly, "Amano! M-misao Amano." Misao can't believe she forgot to introduce herself. Where are her manners!
"Um..." she considers the question. If Dr. Sulivan says that I need surgery, she thinks to herself, then maybe that means that I can leave when it's over. She doubts she can trust Walter, but again, she's not sure why. She desperately wishes she could remember how she got here, and the thought of it makes eyes tear up. She hangs her head to try to hide this. Dark shadows cast from her unkempt hair obscure her eyes from view.
"Yes... I can walk," she says weakly, and slowly she pushes the heavy blankets off her legs.
The nurse smiles weakly, and offers Misao a hand. "Alright, Misao it is.... I'm-"
She pauses in mid-sentence, frowning a bit. Did she forget her own name? "I'm, er, Lisa. Lisa Garland." She sighs a bit, noticing how musty and unclean the room seems to be. Walter's mind was obsessed with human filth and decay, so the environments he created reflected his predilections. Why did he have to be so grim? Just like those people from the town cult... Lisa remembers seeing them once, during the spring festival. They had a table set up with pamphlets declaring that wordly things would lead a person's soul to hell. It was obvious that the really didn't know how to live happily.
[Why am I taking this girl into the theatre, again? She doesn't have a heart condition, and even if she did, Walter isn't a doctor...]
Misao takes Lisa's hand but does not put much of her weight onto it as she hoists herself out of bed. She winces as her right foot hits the ground and makes a slight, squeaky gasp at the pain from the sprained ankle. She puts the other foot on the ground easily and wavers a bit as she stands up straight. She keeps her head down to hide her tears and refuses to wipe them away for fear of revealing them to Lisa.
She feels stupid for crying and she can't imagine what would make her so sad all of a sudden. Pixy Misa knows and it fills her with rage. She begs to be freed from Misao's mind. If only Misao knew what that burning in her heart was, she would gladly set magical girl loose.
Standing on her own now, she simultaneously looks as though a light breeze could knock her over and that the whole world could fall down around her and she wouldn't move at all. At war with herself over what exactly she should do, she simply waits to be led.
"Oh!" Lisa notices the faltering in Misao's step, and readjusts her grip around the girl's arm to offer more support.
"Did you hurt your leg? How did you end up in here, anyways? I don't know where Walter gets his victims..."
"How did you end up here, anyways?"
The words resonate and echo through her brain. She feels helpless now. The one thing she's been wondering more than anything else, now brought to life and demanding an answer. She can't answer! Why can't she answer this simple question!?
The tears com full force now and she falls to her knees and onto her side. She curls up on the floor and begins to sob heavily.
Lisa crouches by the girl, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. [Oh... oh my God... he's going to kill her. Not another child... I can't let this happen!]
"Misao? Can you stand? I've got to get you out of here.... please, just trust me. Walter only brings the living into his world for one reason, and I can't stand by and let him do this to a little girl."
Eventually the sobbing dies down. When she's out of tears she lies motionless on the floor for a few seconds before she realizes what Ms. Garland has said.
Without moving, she asks slowly and carefully, "I... I can leave?"
"Yes, but we've got to hurry. He can move anywhere in here. Right now, he's distracted, at least..."
She helps Misao to her feet and attempts to lead her out into the hall, where a red fleshy substance coats the walls and the floor is rusty metal.
Misao, confused but hopeful, lets Ms. Garland pull her along limping all the way. When she sees the fleshy walls, she gasps and holds her hand to her mouth. Without thinking, she lets go of Lisa's hand and starts to back up away from the horrible walls.
"Misao, wait.... we have to hurry."
Lisa reaches out a hand to her, coaxing. "I know it's horrible here, but you can't let it hurt you. The man who made this place is sick. You don't have to suffer because of his imagination."
After some thought, Misao nods her agreement. She takes Ms. Garland's hand again, but keeps her gaze down at the floor to avoid looking at the walls. The dark nothingness under the rusty, grated flooring isn't much more comforting, but at least it isn't alive like the walls.
And so, Lisa slowly walks Misao through the endless maze of corridors that make up Walter's subconscious, moving silently and doing her best not to look at the horrific decorations around them. Eventually, the atmosphere seems to become less oppressive, and the metal, flesh-studded walkway shifts over into a path made from sandstone bricks. If Misao should have the courage to glance around, now, she'll realize that she is no longer in the apartment complex, but on the road leading through a fairytale forest and into...
* * *
It's a sunny day on the shores of Toluca Lake, something that the locals joke happens only once in a blue moon. A few cars pass by on the road, and in the distance, someone is blasting pop music on their radio. Misao is standing in the gateway to a hedged public walking area. The sign above her reads "Rosewater Park".
Misao stands beneath the sign for the park with her eyes closed and her arm stretched out to hold a hand that is no longer there. When she feels Ms. Garland's hand vanish she opens her eyes again to look for her rescuer but can't find her. She takes in her surroundings and when she see's other people, she's relieved. Finally she's back in something that feels like reality. She starts to limp towards a bench to rest for a bit and enjoy the sunshine.
It is about this time that a young couple happens to be walking by who notices the girl that seemed to appear out of nowhere. Misao can hear them talking to each other and then she hears the woman say gently but firmly, "Hey, are you alright?" Misao turns her head towards the couple and her vision blurs. She glimpses another world for a moment and hears parts of words: ".ix..T.le..rt!" She feels herself falling and she sees someone running towards her. She doesn't feel herself hit the ground and everything sounds like it's being muffled by a pillow over her head, but she feels like she's going to be alright.
People are coming to help... She'll be alright...
Pixy Misa stand beneath the sign for the park and wastes no time celebrating her triumphant return.
"NYO Hohoho! Hello, EVERYBODY! Greetings from The Evil Magical Girl, Pixy Misa! <3" She strikes a ridiculous pose, that no one is around to see. "Huh?" she says, puzzled by the lack of adoring or even fleeing fans. Out of habit she lifts her arm as a welcoming perch for a bird that never appears. "Rumiya?" she says, again puzzled by his absence. Not a soul is around. The place looks like it's been deserted for some time and heavy fog fills the air. Not only is the air foggy, but everything in Misa's head is a bit fuzzy too. Normally when Misao transforms, it's for a reason. When Misa comes to life, she feels she has some kind of purpose, someone or something to punish for picking on Misao. But right now, she feels nothing. It's about this time that she notices her trusty fan-shaped wand is missing.
"OH MY GAWD!!!" she gasps. She forgets all about that brain fog feeling she had and starts frantically looking all around for it. "I can't believe I lost it," she yells to herself, "I can never let Sammy know about this!" And then she sees it laying on a park bench, "Aha! There you are!" She grabs the wand quickly and then looks around, hoping no one saw that. And then without hesitation, she holds the wand up and says, "Well, this place is boring. Pixy Teleport!"
The wand flashes and for a second she feels weak and dizzy. She glimpses a sunnier world for a moment, but then it's gone. She looks up at the wand and thinks, There's something wrong with this wand. But then she feels it teleporting her away and she reconsiders, Wait, what am I even thinking!?
Within seconds she is gone.