Everything felt too surreal as Millie darted into a corner of the large venue’s main hall and tried to catch her breath. All around her, people in costumes flowed together like a happy, slow moving river. She saw some characters she recognized; Star Wars, Disney, Star Trek and was that a demon? Everyone else though, she had no idea, but it felt strange seeing such a mix of anime, manga, movies, games and TV series character brought to life.
Stalls and stands stretched out as far as Millie could see. The tables were full of so many things that it was hard to put them all into one category, yet they all connected to being geeky or nerdy. There was memorabilia, books, toys, games, posters, clothes and people sighing things. There was also so much noise that the sound blurred into one and it was hard to pick anything out from it.
‘Hey, are you okay?’ a soft, young man’s voice asked to her right.
Millie nodded, not daring herself to speak. He was cute with a soft round, friendly face and flushed pink cheeks. His eyes were very blue and his multi-coloured hair was long. He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt that read Minecraft, with a creeper bursting out of a grey brick wall. There was foam sword danging with a belt around his hips and he had a green plastic backpack on.
‘Bit crazy, isn’t it?’ he added.
‘Yes,’ Millie answered.
She looked down at what she was wearing, once again feeling so out of place. This morning she had gone with white trainers, light blue jeans and a tie-dye blue and white t-shirt with a large butterfly on it and a little white cotton jacket.
‘Here, so you want some water? Always useful to carry some.’
She glanced up shyly and accept the bottle from him. She took a few mouthfuls of warmish water, but she did feel better.
‘I’m Ben by the way. What are you cosplaying as?’
‘I’m Millie, erm, I’m not…I’ve never been to one of these things before. I came with some friends, but I’ve lost them.’
‘Ah. We are in the same boat then! I’ve lost my friends too,’ Ben laughed, ‘it’s fine. To be honest, I’m glad to escape from them.’
‘Why? oh, thanks,’ Millie added and tried to hand the water bottle back to him.
He waved it away, ‘keep it. Why? because, they are all couples and I feel like a third wheel.’
‘I see…’ Millie trailed off her attention drawn away.
A huge bright yellow Pikachu bopped by, his lightening shaped tail wiggling wildly. The three main human characters from Pokemon trailed behind him, the girl laughing loudly and covering her mouth at some joke or story told by the boy wearing the red baseball cap. They all walked passed and faded into the crowd again.
Ben laughed, ‘only at a convention. Hey, are you hungry?’
Millie frowned, ‘sort of, but I should look for my friends.’
‘Okay. I’ll take you to the nearest meeting point then….Did you arrange to meet them anywhere?’
‘No. I don’t think we did,’ Millie replied slowly.
Ben shrugged his shoulders, ‘Let’s go see if they’re there. What are they cosplaying as?’
‘They’re not,’ Millie answered.
‘Guess that makes them easier to spot. Come on,’ Ben said.
They walked back into the crowd together avoiding someone fully dressed as a wolf wearing dungarees.
To Be Continued…