Main Gate - Under a Nearby Waiting Shed
The water came pouring down from the sky, rain drops pattering against the concrete streets surrounded by an eerie afternoon fog. The sounds of the rain were harsher against the steel roof of the school's waiting shed, which were like a constant stream of pebbles striking the top of it. This was a normal and average day. There were only two kinds of weather in the town of Soggan, rainy and going to be rainy.
The girl underneath the waiting shed on the other hand had two kinds of moods, angry and going to be angry.
"Rrgh..." Stupid frickin' rain..., she growled as she hobbled on her crutch toward the seat and sat down. She grabs her handkerchief from her pocket and begins wiping off the water from her crutch.
Going home was all Jane Harp ever looked forward to at the end of the day. She wasn't a part of any after school activities, not that she could join any to begin with. Her leg made any physical activities hard, while her general attitude made social ones almost impossible. Any sports clubs were out of the question, for obvious reasons. Now if there was a paraplegic sports group, there would be fun to be had... for her. Everyone else? They'd hate it. She'd be way too competitive and probably end up giving them more disabilities than when they'd started. 'Yes coach, I accidentally slammed my cane into their crotch. I didn't mean any of it. Not at all.' She could already imagine it, the world record holder for the quickest disqualification, Jane Connie Harp.
There was also an after school support group in school for kids like her, but she barely attended. The kids there were all a bunch of whiny babies and wusses crying over the smallest of things. Oh I'm sorry you can't learn how to write with your other hand, Sarah. What's that, Bobby? The doctor said you can't play football for a month because your foot needs to rest? BOOHOO. What's wrong, little Timmy? Fell down the well and broke your arm and now you have to keep switching between your spoon and fork when you eat? Suck it the hell up! At least you were told you'll recover eventually. Learn to deal with it. Those kinds and their complaints irritated her beyond anything else in the world.
...Well, almost anything.
Jane's face contorted into a deep scowl as she turned to face the tiny pink shoebill waddled up to her, gazing with its beady, sparkling red eyes. The bird opened its beak and nodded its head as if it were bubbling with happiness and excitement.
"Frieeeend! How is friend? Play with Friend? Play!" Said the shoebill, hopping up and down while flapping its wings. The chain around the bird's neck rattled loudly with each jump.
"Go away." Jane growled, focusing on cleaning her crutch. However she knew that this bird would never go away, no matter how many times you ask it or tell it, and she's totally asked nicely before. With her hands, holding a crutch, menacingly.
"Friend is your friend! Friend never leave! We are friends! Now we go do friend things!" Friend was now tugging on Jane's sleeve with his beak. Jane tried to ignore it, gritting her teeth through each tug.
"Frickin'... Do you have to be so damn loud? You said you'd leave if I agreed to be your friend!" She groaned, trying to keep her voice down so as not to draw attention from the group starting to gather at the gate.
"Yes." The bird tilted his head.
"You're still here." She glared at him, gripping her crutch tightly.
"Oh. Friend did leave! And now friend is back!" He opened his beak wide, smiling.
"You son of a... I meant leave forever! Why can't you understand that?!" She was now whispering loudly with a hushed rage. A few days ago she agreed to be this stupid pink bird's friend because it said it'd leave if she did. Obviously, it didn't. She's lost track of how many times she's had this conversation with him. It was like talking to a child. No, it was exactly that.
"Friend can't leave. Friend is bound by contract! Forever! We are friends."
"Rrgh..." Jane grinded her teeth. She was losing her patience for the millionth time this week. "Then at least don't follow me around everywhere like some sort of creep! That's not what friends do! Friends give each other space!"
"Oooooooh! Is this what friend's friends do?" Friend asked, tilting his head.
Her mouth twitched. "Y-Yeah! I have a bunch of friends! And none of them bother me. Ever. In fact, they're never around, and I'm happy with that!"
"So Friend just needs to disappear and friend will be happy with Friend?"
"Overjoyed. To. Tears." She said, drilling the thought into the bird's head.
"Okay!" Friend said excitedly, wiggling its plump body. "Friend go poof to make friend happy!" In an instant, the bird disappeared in a cloud of sparkly, pink dust.
Jane blinked. Did that actually work? Was the bird gone now? Would she finally be left alone in peace and quiet, with nothing but the rain? Was she finally going to go home without being harassed by a tiny pink spawn of hell? She might actually just start crying with joy. Already, tiny drops of tears were forming at the corner of her eye. She wiped it away with her soft and feathery pink scarf.
"Huh...?" She looked down to the scarf around her neck. This wasn't pink before. And it certainly never had any feathers on it.
Why is friend crying? said a voice in her head.
Jane stopped and gripped the sides of her head. Did she just hear the birds voice... inside her mind?
"ARRGGH! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!" She yelled, shaking her head violently to no avail. "GET OUT GET OUT GET OUUUUT"
But friend wanted Friend to disappear! Is friend not happy?
"NO I AM NOT GET THE HELL OUT!" She was not.
Friend is sad.
OUT. She thought, violently.
In that moment, the color drained out of Jane's scarf, becoming a deep, shadowy black. The pink color traveled through her scarf for a moment, writhing as if it was a living thing. When the color reached the tip of her scarf, Friend the Pink Shoebill shot out and rolled into a pole, smacking his beak right into it. Jane's mind was once again her own, undisturbed. She gave a frustrated sigh of relief.
Friend rubbed his beak and hopped back up on his two feet. He waddled over to Jane and smiled as if nothing had happened. "Friend! Play?"
A dark shadow hung over Jane's face as she scowled at the bird. However, a thought crossed her mind, changing her expression into a twitching, malicious smile. She stood up from the bench using her good leg, softly chuckling to herself. She gripped her cane tightly and tapped it on the ground. "Fufufu...You want to play? Make friends?" she asked in a menacing tone. Anyone who knew her knew that when she started speaking like this, things were about to go horribly, horribly wrong. Unfortunately, Friend did not understand the concept of vocal tones and was nodding with excitement to those words.
"Alright, then why don't you go make friends with those people over there? You like that, don't you?"
"Ooh, more friends? I like friends!" Friend said, waddling to turn his back to the girl. There was a glint in Jane's eyes as she watched the curious bird turn around to look at the group by the main gate. She firmly planted her good foot into the ground, supporting herself on it. She carefully swung her crutch back, winding herself up as she focused her eyes on the bird.
"THEN LET ME HELP YOU MEET THEM!!!" She swung her crutch as she yelled at the top of her lungs, striking Friend with the tip of her crutch and sending him flying like a golf ball going over the speed limit of a school zone.
Main Gate - The Squad
In the midst of all that was happening here, the group hear the sound of something screaming, getting closer and closer from one direction. Suddenly, a small fuzzy ball breaks through the fog and rain, it hits the ground and splashes up water from a puddle. The ball comically bounces and skids on more puddles along the pavement, splashing water everywhere before coming to a screeching halt at the feet of the group, face down in a muddy puddle.
Air bubbles form in the mud around the shoebill.