Mika wondered if her heart would ever stop thrumming in her ears; its rate had slowed to something more normal, whatever normal was, but it still pounded loud enough she fear it might burst. Try as she might, she could not stop the image of Kiyoko, torn apart and bleeding down Mika’s arms and chest, from flickering into her vision, no matter how tightly she shut her eyes.
She didn’t even know if Kiyoko was still alive.
Mika stared at her hands. She had showered since she had returned home, and her skin was clean and pink and smelt faintly of citrus soap. But she could still feel the wet, stickiness of blood between her fingers. It had been warm as it seeped from Kiyoko’s body, but had rapidly cooled on her skin, drying dark brown and cracking when she moved.
Something like a sob escaped her lips, though no tears fell from her eyes. Some how she felt as if she might never cry again, as if the ability had been robbed from her with her recent transformation into a Magical Girl. Mika curled into the foetal position, pulling her blanket over her head, a cocoon of safety. Of course, if demons had been so inclined to attack then, the thick sheet of wool and cotton would have done nothing to protect Mika, but it made her feel secure; right now, that was enough.
Mika clasped a soft, worn bear to her chest; the thing had proved a source of comfort for her since the day she was born, but tonight was the first time in her life that it didn’t feel enough. She held it tighter and, had it been a real creature, she would surely have snuffed out its life, she squeezed so hard. But the bear was nothing more than a toy, and so, not for the first time, survived her fierce embrace.
Mika was not sure how long she lay there, hidden in a sanctuary of her own making, trying to block out the memories (or where they nightmares?) but eventually slumber caught her in its spell. Exhaustion took its toll and she slept, not peacefully, but at least without haunting thoughts.
Sunlight streamed in through the window, dimmed only by the pink coloured curtains that hung there, transforming the glow into something rose tinted. An electronic beep sputtered to life from a clock on her bedside, rousing Mika. She reached an arm out from under the covers to silence the noise with a single click.
Slowly, as wakefulness descended, Mika stretched out her limbs, stiff from the way she had slept. Sitting up, teddy bear still clasped in her fingers, Mika pushed the curtains aside, peering out at the world, already bustling despite the hour. Her brow furrowed.
It was such a beautiful morning. Birds chirped in the trees, and the people on the streets smiled at one another.
“Was it all a dream?” Mika whispered, to no one but herself.
It did not feel like it. But she hoped beyond all hope, that it was.