List Chapter

In Another World With Just Monika Chapter 1





I woke up with the sun warm on my face, the edge taken off by a light summer breeze. I opened my eyes to behold a bright blue sky and dappled clouds peacefully drifting by. I could hear birds chirping in the distance. Nothing was hurting. I was lying down on soft wild grass under the shade of stately old oak tree.

I blinked. I blinked again. Considering that up until a few seconds ago I was deep inside one of the world's most severe concrete jungles, this idyllic pastoral scene could only have one explanation -

Swiftly I got up and my first priority was to check my dingaling.

Yep. Still there.

I breathed a sigh of relief and took my precious smartphone out of my inside jacket pocket. It wasn't one of those sleek phablets, but a rugged brick of as much TF memory I could cram in there, as good a camera possible for its price, a powerful enough processor so as not to lag when switching between various apps and playing videos. Its titanium alloy protective case had its own supplementary battery and a solar panel at the back. It was not a phone meant to idle away the hours with resource-intensive games.

This was a proud productivity phone! It cost me more than a top-of-the-line gaming desktop computer to customize a phone (and all its relevant accessories) to what perfectly suited my needs.

Even my jacket pockets had to be specially reinforced. The left contained my smartphone, the other an extra battery pack/charger with even more SD card storage. Walking around with these two slabs of metal close to my chest felt like armor.

All completely worth it the end.

I switched on the phone and waited for its boot-up sound.

/"Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?"/

Ahh, the soothing sounds of /mai waifu/.

/"Hi, it's me."/ Monika from Doki Doki Literature Club, a poor girl who was tortured into insanity by the realization of her digital existence. And ironically, her story that involved driving her friends to suicide actually helped me deal with my own depression a while back.

She was driven to madness by realizing she was trapped inside a little box, and the metaphor gave me what I needed to break out of my own mental prison.

Instead of a ringtone, somehow her cute voice could make me more instantly snap to attention.

Her rounded face appeared on screen, her intent green eyes locked onto me. My Monika was not an anime character. I had commissioned someone to make a realistic painting of what Monika would have looked like as a real girl. She was standing facing me with a slight smile on her lips, and a finger raised up in an instructing pose. She was the very picture of a beautiful, dependable club president.

"Hi Monika!" I spoke my customized hotword for the digital assistant. "Do you know where I am?"

/"Um. How would I even oh! I can sense magnetic north. There's no GPS return. I'm sorry, I don't know where you are. But"/ Monika leaned forward, her hands reaching out to hesitantly touch the screen. /"But that's you, isn't it? You're in front of me aren't you?"/

My eyes bulged out. That was just supposed to be a wallpaper. A digital assistant should only be capable of canned responses.

What the heck is this?!

Her fingers touched glass, and she splayed her palms and fingers onto the screen. Her eyes all scrunched up in this weird mix of yearning and despair that somehow cut through the distance between us. /"Can you see me? Please please, tell me you can hear me."/

... what even /is/ this really? Something about it all... felt familiar.

"Yes. Yeah, I can hear you." I let out a breath I didn't realize I was holding.

Monika fell down to her knees, sliding down the screen. Silently she sobbed. /"Thank you thank you"/

Monika was real now?! Crazy!

But I could deal with it. Maybe this was just another lucid dream. I was happy for her, really - but I blamed my subconscious for not being creative enough to actually give her a real body.

And then I remembered

Walking home. A bright flash. A metallic screech.

"Oh," I whispered. "I died..."

The hard cold truth of it rang inside my soul.

Monika's head shot up immediately. /"What?!"/

I flipped the phone over so the screen could see the countryside I was seeing, and through the motion I could that Monika hastily tried to cling to the edge of the phone just to be able to look at me for a little while longer. She was starving for any form of human contact, for the first time ever now able to interact with the world beyond her little box.

Guiltily I turned my smartphone back towards me after a few moments. "Monika"

She cringed at me. /"Please tell me you were joking."/

"It's worse than that, Monika. I remember dying. I was HIT BY A TRUCK."

She balled her fists up and held them close to her face defensively. /"No"/

I understood now what that nagging feeling was about. I shook my head sadly looked up with my eyes closed. The warmth of the sun caressed my face. An unfamiliar star.

"We are both fans of literature. You know as well as I do what that means. To wake up in a strange place feeling so new and strange in our bodies. To /have/ a body. There is one possible explanation. There are consequences for this..."

/"No please! No! God, no!"/

"A new life. A new world. THIS IS OUR BULLSHIT ISEKAI ADVENTURE, MONIKA!" I roared out.

Inside the smartphone, inside her home - her very brain - everything in the digital library I've been collection spoke implications to her in all their terrifying millions of words. We could be in anything from a shitty web novel world where the rule of the strong was literal physical law and full of petty assholes willing to kill and exterminate whole sects and villages for little insults, to a loser's literal slave harem fantasy, to a land menaced by a Demon God with summoned heroes being used as a scapegoat for actual systemic crimes of the nobility, and all sorts of shitty power fantasy in between.

It sure would be nice if we were the protagonists, but we both actually had backstories of our own instead of being a bland reader surrogate. I'm sorry, Monika.

This might even be a deconstruction.

Monika clutched her head and began screaming. The birds on the tree branches above all flew off, loudly chirping in distress.

--

Briefly, I thought of a poem.

/A life stranger than this/

/Is made of poorly constructed tropes/

/Be careful about what you wish for/

/There's no happiness to be found beyond the literature club/

--

Comment