(Still Luke POV)
Day Three (Saturday!!)
(Tear342 has joined the chat)
Tear342: Hey Luke, Guy
ImaFonTechGuy: Hi .3.
DauntlessLukieCake: Heeeeey bruh
Tear342: Remember what we talked about with Sync yesterday, about Yuan?
ImaFonTechGuy: About someone pushing him over the cliff
DauntlessLukieCake: But I thought
DauntlessLukieCake: Guys did I miss something? After I logged off last night??
(FonicallyAwkward has joined the chat)
Tear342: Ion do you know anything else about the cliff
Tear342: with Yuan, I mean
FonicallyAwkward: Like I said I know a little.
FonicallyAwkward: I heard someone got in a fight with him and they both fell over
Tear342: Ion? But there was only Yuan on the beach tho-?
FonicallyAwkward: I saw 2 people, I only recognized Yuan, remember??
DauntlessLukieCake: HEY YO GUYS??? DON’T IGNORE ME!!
ImaFonTechGuy: Let’s all meet somewhere and explain our findings to Luke
Tear342: Definitely not the beach xD
FonicallyAwkward: How about the library? It’s quiet~
DauntlessLukieCake: Cya there
(DauntlessLukieCake has left the chat)
I stuff my tPhone into my coat pocket and head outside. The air is frigid and icy as the orange sky gives way to the sunset. My long red hair flops behind my back; hopefully it provides at least some warmth against the cold. I sprint up the marble stairs and into the school, flinging open doors and letting them slam behind me without a care.
Finally I get to the library where I see Ion, Tear, and Guy. They beat me here even though I ran the whole way. Sheesh. They’re gathered around a round wooden table in the very back-back of the room.
I slowly approach them, silently.
“Lukie Cake’s here,” Tear smiles at me as I take my seat. I wink back in return.
“Okay,” I huff, trying to diminish my blushing smile. “You guys got some major explaining to do.” Then seriousness returns.
“Go on!” I urge half-heartedly.
Guy takes a deep breath in. “I’ll do the talking, I guess.” He sighs. “After class yesterday, Yuan - well, you know what happened. Remember?”
“Good. Just to recap, he was seen out by the cliff with someone, nobody really knows who. Witnesses say the two got in an argument that resulted in Yuan being thrown over the edge. That’s all we know so far.” Guy explains. “Just to spike your memory.”
“You sound like a detective,” Ion giggles. Tear anxiously clears her throat.
“Ion, you said you saw two people on the beach at the bottom of the cliff. Was there anything noticeable about the other person?” She asks. Ion pauses to think for a moment, and I can see the concentration in his eyes.
“He had red hair,” he stops and bites his lip, “And looked pretty unfamiliar.”
“There has to be more,” Guy huffs impatiently.
“Perhaps I can be of assistance.”
We all swirl around to see on heck of a sissy-boy. He has long red hair and is wearing a pink hoodie with loose-fitting blue jeans.
Leaning on the back of my chair with one arm, he flashes a perfect smile at Tear.
“What do you want, Zelos?” I snort, rolling my eyes.
“I was just passing by and couldn’t help but notice the confused looks on your sweet faces~!”
Zelos grins. I begin to feel overprotective of Tear for some odd reason. And a little nauseous.
“So, what seems to be the matter?”
We all sigh.
“Did you hear about the ‘Yuan Incident’?” I lower my voice as I speak to keep any other uninvited conversationalists out of our way, and also for dramatic effect, I guess. “The one that happened last night?”
Zelos nods solemnly, but the stupid, enthusiastic twinkle in his eyes still stays put. “I should know, we are from the same division, after all. Symphonia.” He smiles evil-like.
“If you want, I can give you some input. I was on my way home from Student Council when I saw it happen, right in front of my eyes.”
Zelos winces and rubs his shoulder blade as we stare (and blink) at him in surprise. “You’re hurt,” Ion whines, shivering from the full-power air conditioner behind him.
“It’s nothing,” Zelos winks, “Just a simple little battle scar, that’s all.”
“So you claim you were there when Yuan was killed,”
I sneer unbelievingly, just to change the subject.
“I was nearby and got a little bit of info down.” Zelos says secretively. “Whoever attacked him must have had a real bone to pick.”
“Could it be Kratos?” Ion pipes up with a smile.
“Kratos?” Guy echoes. “Why would he kill Yuan? I mean, they’re relatively good friends…I think,”
“I dunno. I was going by the ‘red hair’ thing.” Ion shrugs.
Tear and I both look out the library window.
“It’s getting late out and are talking hasn’t amounted to anything useful,” She sighs.
“Zelos, explain more, if you would.”
Guy stretches his arms and says
“I’ll tell you everything I know.” Zelos grins.
He explains that Yuan got in a fight with someone in the hallway (I was there, I should know) who threatened him to meet him/her/it by the cliff so they could ‘talk’. In the end, the student got in another fight with him and they both toppled over the edge (He/She pushed Yuan, but as he was falling he grabbed the other person and pulled them(?) down with him), resulting in Yuan’s death and the attacker’s supposed moderate injury.
“I still can’t believe someone would do that to poor Yuan,” Tear whimpers. I’m tempted to get up and comfort her, but not with that Zelos-thing around.
“I wouldn’t call him poor when he had a chance to fight back. Yuan wasn’t a weakling.” Zelos replies in a just-the-facts-ma’am tone.
“You say he had red hair, just like Ion said.” I ask, but it comes out sounding more like a statement than a question.
“That’s right,” Zelos agrees.
“We could start tomorrow by making a list of all the students with red hair and then narrow it down with that list?”
I half-suggest, half-ask. My questions aren’t really turning out as questions anymore, I guess.
“Sounds good,” Guy performs his usual ‘trademark Gailardia’ half-smile.
“But you know what that means…”
Zelos smirks, looking me dead in the eye.
“W-what?” I ask.
“You and I are both suspects, my dear friend.”
With that, Zelos strolls away, disappearing into the sea of bookshelves.
“That guy sure is suspicious.” Ion says with an eye-roll. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the one who killed ’em. Hehe.”
“Ion, you got some weird spunk.” Tear sighs. We all giggle for a moment, but it’s only for a short time before reality sets in.
“What if Yuan was just the first one? What if there’s a murderer going around in the school??” I stutter. I don’t usually speak my mind if it’s something so morbid, but I want to know the answer.
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Guy pats me on the shoulder reassuringly.
“And pray to Yulia.” Ion interjects.
Tear says quietly.
We have to have hope.
Hope that this was all just some freak accident.
Hope that nobody else has to be killed.
Hope that this can be forgotten in the near future.
Hope that we have enough hope to grant all these wishes!
(Emil POV .3.)
I can hardly keep my eyes open as I sit at the table with a tall mug of steaming hot chocolate, surrounded by paperwork and confusing dotted lines. It’s bad enough Yuan died yesterday, but now I’ve got so much to do, since I’m in the Student Council. It was Richter’s idea, really.
Join, he said!
It’ll be fun, he said!
It’ll be fun once I get all this paperwork out of my face!!
I burn my tongue on a steaming marshmallow and flinch backwards in surprise. Guess it’s karma for getting so upset.
I glance over at the clock. It’s 9:01 at night. I should really be getting some sleep, since I was up at 5:00 this morning, but I have to get these filled out or else the world will end.
Okay, not literally. But nevertheless, I have a lot to do.
The sound of footsteps distracts me for a second, but I ignore them and take a second to blow on my hot chocolate.
It’s probably just Marta goofing off upstairs. She’s my roommate-ish-thing. I can’t call it a roommate, since these dorms are actually like mini apartments for two to three people, so maybe she’s my…apartment-mate?? I don’t know…Richter is here too, but he basically sits around all day so you don’t see much of him. And then there’s Ratatosk, which is basically my opposite personality so to speak. He can separate from my subconscious, though, thus I technically have three room/house-mates. Hehe. I really didn’t see that one coming.
The moon outside is full. It’s so pretty this early in the fall. Today was one of those lazy autumn days when it looks warm outside because the sun is shining brightly, but in reality it’s frigid cold and the grass is begging for mercy from the early morning frost that still rests on top of it as dew.
A chill runs down my spine as a howl pierces the silence. Tenebrae. He’s surprisingly allowed on campus, despite being a centurion, which is basically a monster, which is basically a pet in ways. But I’m happy they let him stay.
I try to focus on my work, but Yuan keeps coming to mind. I barely knew him, just that he was a friend of Lloyd’s father. There’s not much I can say. But when you lose someone you actually knew for more than five seconds, it still makes quite an impact.
I squint and try to make sense of a small white dot in the sky. It’s bigger than the other dots that make up stars, but small enough to be a comet or a shooting star. I make a wish out loud just in case.
“I wish everything would be okay, and that nobody else would get killed, and that-”
I turn around in my seat and see Richter. He looks pretty tense. Must be upset about Yuan’s death.
“S-sorry for disturbing you. I was just finishing up some paperwork for Student Council.” I pick up my cocoa mug and try to cool it off again.
“It’s alright, you weren’t bothering me. But…you were talking to yourself again. Are you feeling alright?”
Richter asks. Why does he care? I mean, I don’t wanna be rude, but, since when did he care about my emotional/mental health??
“I wasn’t talking to myself, silly!” I giggle quietly. “There was a shooting star, see, and -”
“Emil, shooting stars are just nonsense. Fairytales. They don’t actually do anything. They’re just for fun.” Richter cuts me off before I can continue. I’m honestly left speechless.
“I-I knew that! I was j-just, uh…I wanted to, um…you know, the thing…you know, the thing, right?”
I must sound like an idiot.
“You’re not making any sense whatsoever.” Richter sighs. He pushes his glasses farther up on the bridge of his nose and leans on the refrigerator.
“Nevermind…” I turn back to my papers.
Richter sits there in silence for a while.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so rude. I should have asked you in advance. Do you want some hot chocolate? I-I can make you some if that’s okay with you.”
I stutter, standing up from my freezing wooden chair.
“No, thanks, I’m okay for now.” Richter forces a smile. I can tell he’s forcing it. Why smile at me for doing something stupid, anyway?
I reluctantly sit back down.
“How is your work coming along?” he asks.
“I’m going to be up very late, that’s for sure. Kind of a shame.” I reply sadly, taking a sip of my cocoa.
“The marshmallows melted. Darn.”
Richter laughs. “How many did you put in there?” Suddenly his smile vanishes as I answer ten. “Hey, you’re not trying to keep yourself up so you can finish those papers, are you?”
I shake my head no, though it’s true. I need something to keep my eyes open. But I can already feel myself slipping.
“I don’t believe you. Emil, you know that’s bad for you! Why do you have to be so stupid sometimes??”
I take in a deep breath and try to channel the anger towards something inanimate, like the pen I’m writing with, to keep it away from Ratatosk. He likes to make an appearance whenever my emotions get out of whack.
I look over at the clock again. It’s 9:18. I sigh.
“Give me the papers,” Richter stomps up to the table and holds out his hand in demand of the paperwork.
“No,” I say sternly. “I have to get this done tonight.”
“Emil,” Richter takes the pen out of my hand. I bite my lip and try not to say anything in reply.
“I have to finish these,” I insist, putting my elbows over top of the pages to keep them in place.
“Emil, give me them. Now.” Richter shoves my arms off the table and collects the papers. How I feel right now as well as the ‘Yuan Incident’, all the extra work, my lack of sleep, and how badly I want to finish all of this is a really bad combination. This won’t end well.
The worst part is…drum roll please…it’s beyond my control.
Totally beyond my control.
“Give them back!” I jump out of my seat and grab hold of the stack of paper sheets.
“Knock it off. I don’t want you up late stressing over all this stuff. And I’m in Student Council with you, I’m sure I can help you out. Let me have the pages.”
I tug on them, ignoring his remarks. “No.”
“Yes, Emil. Give them to me.”
“Nuh-uh. Mine.” I pull the paper stack closer to me.
“No, they’re mine. Well, they are yours, but I’m going to help you with them.” Richter tugs back.
“I don’t need your help. I just wanna do it by myself.”
“Mine!” I pull harder, nearly falling backwards.
“No, they’re mine!”
“Are too!” Richter tears one of the little pages.
Suddenly the stack splits in half, the agonizing rrrrrriiip echoing throughout the kitchen as papers go flying everywhere, some split into two and others chipped or creased. The force from the tugging sends us both backwards a foot or two.
Richter shoves me against the wall and holds his arm to my neck.
“You idiot! Look what you did! If you had just listened to me, this wouldn’t have happened!!”
“If you’d have just backed off this wouldn’t have happened, Richter!”
Richter purposely presses harder on my neck, thinning what limited air I have.
“I hate you…” I gasp. “You miserable little-”
“Whadda ya want?? I’m in the middle of an insult!!”
“Bring back Emil.”
“Why should I take orders from you?”
“Because Emil will always be better than you because he has a brain and a heart that function properly, unlike you! You worthless chicken egg!!”
I freeze. “What did you just call me?” I try to contain a laugh.
“…A worthless…chicken egg…” Richter giggles and loosens his grip on my neck.
“A chicken egg? Really??” I snicker, and he sighs in an attempt to cover up his laughter.
“I don’t know where that came from…” Richter glances around the room. “There’s paper confetti everywhere.”
“Yeah, it’s a celebration. Because I’m a worthless…” I stop in the middle of my sentence to bust out laughing. “C-chicken egg…!!!”
We both slink to our knees, laughing until our chests hurt.
“What were you gonna call me?” Richter asks.
“Huh?” I blink.
“You started with ‘you miserable little-’ and then I cut you off.”
“Oh, yeah, that. I’m pretty sure I was gonna go with something like ‘you miserable little katydid’ or maybe ‘you miserable little hairball’.”
“Is that how you see me…?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
We both lie on the cold floor, surrounded my dozens of torn sheets of paper, laughing every so often, our breathing matched as one. Like friends should be.
“Why…are we doing this…?” Richter stares at me for a moment. I blink.
“I dunno,” I reply. “But I don’t have to do that paperwork, so I can go to bed now!”
I sigh and try to stay awake, despite the fact that I’m lying on freezing cold wood.
“Wait,” Richter stares at me again. “Aster?”
“What??” I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the glass doors to the outside and see my eyes are a dark shade of grayish-green.
“I said to bring back Emil, but instead you gave me Aster.” Richter pokes my forehead and I try to bite his finger like a dog.
“Look at you. Now you’re Ratatosk. Where’s Emil?”
I flinch at the now red eyes in my reflection.
“He’s lost,” I say without thinking.
“I don’t know.”
“You have to know.” Richter picks up a piece of paper and tears it into tiny little shreds.~~
“Still don’t know,”
Richter blinks at me, tossing the scraps in the air.
He stands up with little effort and leaves me in the middle of the floor, paper confetti fluttering to the ground around me. I stay motionless and slow my breathing.
The last sheet of paper lands on my chest.
When I fall asleep and everything goes black, the page drifts to the floor, silent as the frigid fall breeze outside.
I wake up in what feels like an instant.
The room is dark and so dead silent I can hear my heart beating. I’m in my bedroom, I know it, because once my eyes adjust everything becomes familiar again.
I sit up in a flash.
Beside me, on the nightstand where a small, decorative lamp sits, my phone vibrates and glows for a heartbeat.
I stare at the clock on the wall. It’s 2:30 AM exactly.
“Who the hell…is texting me at 2:30...?” I rub my eyes and unlock the tPhone.
PopTartMartie: Are you there???
(FluffyPersonaX3 has joined the chat)
FlufflyPersonaX3: Marta are you ok??
PopTartMartie: Emil plz help me this is super serious!!!
I stifle a gasp and carry my phone with me as I quickly get dressed.
FluffyPersonaX3: Where are you? What’s wrong? Are you hurt or anything??
There’s a long pause before Marta texts me back, giving me time to run outside in a wooly scarf and thick fall coat. It’s so freezing out I can see my breath fogging up the glass on my tPhone.
PopTartMartie: the café
PopTartMartie: Plz, plz, plz meet me there
I blink, unsure, confused.
FluffyPersonaX3: Why the café?
PopTartMartie: Just hurry Pleeeease!!!
This better be a real emergency, I think to myself with a grimace. I sprint down the sidewalk, past the other dorms, my heart racing.
Finally I get to the school. I frantically look for the cafeteria, and when I find it I fling open the doors and rush in.
FluffyPersonaX3: Marta, I’m here
FluffyPersonaX3: Where are you?
The cafeteria is near pitch black. The only sounds audible are the clicking, whirring, and humming of the coolers and refrigerators. My only light source is my phone’s dim screen and a distant, eerie green glow from a microwave in the kitchen.
“Marta!?” I yell into the dark.
My voice echoes through the empty hall, answering itself.
The tPhone vibrates. I unlock it and quickly glance down at the screen.
PopTartMartie: walk forward
A chill runs down my spine.
Can she see me in the dark?
If something or someone is attacking her, how is she able to text me?
And why is it so…quiet??
I unwillingly take a step forward, closer to the first set of tables. Something scuttles past me, in front of my feet. Was it a bug or a mouse; I’m to creeped out to tell.
“Emi-” Marta’s shriek gets caught in the sound of something, like fabric.
It came from the center of the room.
Suddenly the small, middle set of lights and ceiling fans click on.
And there is Marta, stuck at one of the tables, hands tied behind her back, a gag in and around her mouth.
I race over to her. Nobody else is in the room, from what I presume.
“Marta! W-who did this to you?”
I whisper-scream, glancing around the room before crouching down to untie her wrists. Her left comes undone first, and with it she takes the cloth away from her mouth, lowering it so it fits loosely around her neck.
“Emil, we have to get out of here and warn the others.” Marta gasps. I untie her other hand and she jumps up from the bench, pulling me into a tight hug.
“Oh my God…” she whispers, her warm breath tickling my neck. “We have to tell them…”
Marta’s shaking. She looks like she’s about to cry as she lets go of me.
“Alright, calm down. Who attacked you?” I can feel Ratatosk chomping at the bit to seek out the man who tied her up and give him a good punch to the face.
I tuck a strand of her long brownish-blonde hair behind her ear.
The double doors swing open, hitting the wall and emitting a loud clang. A shadowy figure, unrecognizable due to the lack of light, is in the doorway.
“Hello, my dear friend!”
The figure says. His voice is unfamiliar.
“What are you doing back here?” Marta snaps. We link hands, a silent agreement not to desert each other.
“Who is that…?” I whisper to her. She shakes her head no. I’m guessing she has no idea whatsoever. Great.
“Ohh, who’s this cutie, lovely fellow? Did you bring a friend?” The man steps into the light, but I still can’t identify his face. He is definitely a student here. I just know it.
“Marta…” I elbow her lightly to get her attention. “If your hands were tied behind your back, how were you texting me?”
Marta cocks her head. “Texting?”
My phone vibrates.
I look down at it. It reads:
PopTartMartie: Hello Emil~
Another chill runs down my spine and I look back up.
The man in the doorway holds Marta’s phone in between his fingers with an evil grin.
Marta tightens her grip on my arm. I never realized she was hugging it. “My phone…!” She squeals.
The mysterious person removes something from the pocket of his hoodie.
It’s a gun.
He’s going to kill us.
But why? We’ve never intentionally hurt anyone…
Unless Marta has a real score to settle with this guy, I bet we don’t even know each other!
Without thinking I protectively step in front of Marta. The man just laughs for a moment.
“Don’t try to be so brave.” he cackles, “I’m not going to shoot you,”
Behind me I can practically hear Marta’s heart pounding.
The man points his gun to the ceiling, facing it towards the skylight that takes up the majority of it. Through the glass I can see dozens of little stars in the dark night sky. It’s already approaching the time where it gets lighter, but it looks like it’s only 10:00. By now, it’s probably 2:50 at the least.
“What is he doing?” Marta whispers; I shrug.
He fires the gun.
At the enormous glass skylight embedded in the ceiling.
The bullet lands dead center, leaving millions of little cracks all throughout the crystal-clear glass. Marta now stands to my side, both of us hugging each other for safety.
“Now you know not to leave your phone where someone can stroll in and take it!” The student giggles. He fires his gun a final time and rushes out the door, disappearing into the hallway after locking the door. He drops Marta’s phone on the ground before vanishing completely.
If only he knew that someone could open it from the outside-
“Could’ve been worse,” I smile half-heartedly. Marta nods.
I spoke too soon.
All around us, the glass begins falling from the pane in tiny, dagger-like shards. One gently brushes my finger, leaving a scratch.
It starts to bleed within seconds.
“Come on!!” Marta grabs my wrist, pulling me across the room. “We gotta get away from the skylight!!”
As large chunks of the ceiling begin to fall out we successfully evade the biggest pieces and finally reach the end of the café.
“Oh, darn, my phone…” Marta sighs. I’m not surprised. She can’t stand a minute without that thing. By now, it’s probably crushed by the caving-in ceiling. I almost feel bad. Then I get an idea.
“We need it so we can call for help,” I reply. “I’m gonna go back there and get it.”
“No!!” Marta squeals, tugging on my arm. “I mean, it’s fine! Just don’t go back, you’ll get hurt!!”
I wriggle free from her grasp; “I have to,” is my excuse.
I can hear her calling my name over and over as I charge back into the flurry of falling shards. The glass has pretty much stopped falling by now, just some leftover pieces are dropping down every so often. Thankfully it’s less dangerous.
Her phone is almost in reach. I can see it on the floor by the exit, right where our attacker dropped it. I’m so, so close to picking it up when-
I don’t see the sharp, vertical chunk of glass in front of me until seconds after I lose my balance and fall on it.
A horrible stabbing pain shoots through my eye as I pull myself up off the shard-littered cafeteria floor, tiny skylight remnants embedding into the palms of my hands.
Without thinking, I touch my right eye.
Slowly, almost soullessly, I pull a large piece of glass out of it, biting my lip and trying not to scream from the pain.
There’s blood dripping down my face, as well as on the shard that now rests in my lap.
I slink back to the ground, my ears ringing from the sudden silence.
“Emil!!” Marta runs up to me and puts her hand on my shoulder. “Are you okay??”
I shake my head no, too close to crying to say anything without choking. Marta swings her self around and sits in front of me, her expression turning from one of concern to one of fear.
“Y-your eye…!! Oh my God, what happened??”
I can feel myself slipping in and out of consciousness already, so I try to answer the best I can.
It never occurred to me that, when I fell, I landed on a million tiny glass bits.
That explains why my arms are blood-soaked as well.
I can hardly see anymore; through one eye, my left, everything is blurry. Through the other, the right eye, all I see is red. Just red. Like more blood. Blech.
Marta runs over to grab her tPhone, then scuttles back to me like a crab, and, while holding the phone in her mouth (believe it or not), scoops me up and carries me over to a corner where it’s dark, warm, and cozy.
She leans me against the wall and quickly texts someone, I can’t see who. Probably Richter or Colette, most likely. My head is throbbing; I close my eyes and try to imagine this is all a dream.
“Can’t you just use Artes?” I wail, holding my hand over my eye after I brush the teeny shards out of my skin. “It hurts so much!! Make it stop!!” Ratatosk definitely has a say in what I’m feeling right now, as I would never yell at Marta.
Maybe I’m just in too much pain to be nice.
“Only in the Artes room. The rest of the school has an anti-Artes field.”
“Then t-take me outside! Just do something!!”
The pain is beginning to spread to the rest of my head, and I wince.
“I can’t move you, either. You’re already blood-covered as it is.”
Marta brushes my blonde hair (which is now stained red with blood) out of my face and kisses my forehead lightly. It sends painful shocks all over.
“What’s gonna happen to me?” I whine, blinking back tears from one eye. I don’t dare close the other. There’s blood all over my hands and face. I didn’t think it would bleed so much. The shard must have hit an important vein in my eye.
“Richter’s on his way with Colette,”
Marta says, stroking my cheek. I think I guessed pretty accurately back there, right on the dot, when I said I thought she was texting Richter or Colette. Wow.
“When…?” I ask. I feel dizzy. It’s weird trying to talk now.
Marta sighs. “Soon.”
We wait for a good five minutes, Marta talking to me and petting my head to calm me the whole time. When Richter and Colette bust open the doors, Marta’s singing to me.
She turns beet red when they enter the room and instantly silences herself.
“Marta, how’s Emil? We came as fast as we could.” Richter says sternly. Colette nods.
“I heard he got cut and figured I could be of some use.”
She says with a smile. Marta lets out a relieved sigh.
“Thank you so, so much, guys. Come on, he’s over here.”
Richter and Colette follow Marta over to where I’m comfortably and strategically placed along the wall.
“My gosh…” Richter says as he kneels next to me. “Look at that. Did he fall on a shard of glass or something?”
“Yeah, actually, it went in my eye.”
I reply, shocking all three of them. They must have thought I was asleep. “And yes, I’m awake. Barely.”
Colette grins and takes a seat in front of me, reassuringly brushing up against Marta.
“How bad is it?”
“On a scale of one to ten?” I ask. They all nod.
“200 at the least.”
Richter shakes his head and sighs. “This isn’t good.” he mutters. Marta nods in agreement.
“It’s not,” she says. “but you guys are here, so it is.”
It takes about twenty minutes for them to clean the blood around my eye (and everywhere else basically) and put a bandage over it. It’s basically like a crooked bandanna, but it looks more…you know, medical-ish. I’m thankful I don’t have to wear an eye patch or anything, haha. That would be terrible.
So they manage to get me fully awakened and the three of us hobble back to our dorm. As we walk down the jagged sidewalk, I think to myself, At least I’m still alive!
After that, Colette goes back to the dorm she shares with Lloyd and Zelos. How awkward, hehe! Richter sends Marta upstairs to change, because her clothes got bloody and whatnot from taking care of my wounds.
He stays downstairs with me.
“So how exactly did you cut your eye?”
He asks, tightening the bandages around it.
“I tripped over something,” I remark, “The glass was sticking out of a crack in the floor. When I fell it went into my eye.”
Richter sighs, closing his eyes. He’s lucky he can do that with both of them, I think to myself. “Do you remember what he looked like? The guy who shot the skylight down?”
He takes off his jacket and tosses it behind him effortlessly. I shake my head no. “He was wearing a hoodie, so we couldn’t see his face.”
“But you know it wasn’t a she,” Richter implies hurriedly. I nod. “Yeah.”
Richter freezes. “Hold on,” he picks something off the cuff of my sleeve.
“What’s that?” I ask, too weak to turn my head. Richter waves it in front of me.
“A strand of red hair.”
I sigh. “Might just be yours,”
“No, look.” Richter holds it to his own head of hair. “It’s lighter than mine.”
“So you’re saying this could be the same person who killed Yuan?” I shuffle around on the couch anxiously.
Richter nods and flashes me a witty smile.
“We’ve got ourselves a lead.”
Same Day (Sunday)
KitKat177: Yo Saphir!!!
KitKat177: Guess who nearly died last night?
(MeowingDinosaurs has joined the chat)
MeowingDinosaurs: Please tell me you died and this is your ghost
KitKat177: I said nearly you freak :I
KitKat177: And no, it wasn’t me.
I silently curse to myself as I try to remove my English muffin from the toaster with much effort.
MeowingDinosaurs: So who was it?
KitKat177: You know, FluffyPersonaX3, from the Symphonia Division?
MeowingDinosaurs: Rlly? He’s so nice, why would anyone try to kill him?
I freeze for a brief moment.
The muffin still remains in the toaster as I wait for Jade to text me back.
There’s total silence.
*In the original layout I had drawn a little chatbox with a picture of the front cover of a newspaper inside it. Since you cannot include pictures like that on dA, try your best to imagine what it looks like when your pals text you a picture. Thanks for your understanding.*
(Saphir Mental Note: “I love how he used After Effects to make the picture look fancy-seat-of-the-pantsy, XwX!!”)
It takes a while to register in my mind, but Jade sent me a picture of the front over of this Sunday’s issue of ‘The Cliffhanger’, the school’s weekend newspaper, written by the ever-successful Colette herself.
The picture comes out blurry at first, but finally the title comes into view.
“Sudden Clues May Lead to the Discovery of Student Yuan’s Killer”
I nearly drop my phone into the toaster.
MeowingDinosaurs: This is incredible!!
KitKat177: Ik! But Emil tho- did you read the other part yet?
I blink unsurely and call up the picture a second time.
The smaller text under the headline describes how the devious capture of Marta and abuse of her tPhone led to Emil coming to her rescue, only for the both of them being sabotaged by a mysterious student of great suspicion.
The article claims he caused the skylight in the cafeteria to collapse and shatter all over the two.
Marta was barely harmed.
Emil lost the use of his right eye.
He slipped on some little glass pieces and a large shard got lodged in his eye.
I wince as I struggle to read onward.
Next it talks about how a strand of red hair was found that can be used to track DNA and find out who set them up.
It may even be the same person who killed Yuan, based on claims about seeing a red-haired student on the cliff with him.
MeowingDinosaurs: Oh my gosh…!
KitKat177: That’s what I said
MeowingDinosaurs: Do the others know
KitKat177: The paper goes to every dorm
KitKat177: So probably ya
I put my phone down on the counter and continue trying to get my breakfast out of the toaster.
I picked a terribly-sized muffin to put in.
My tPhone makes a quiet chirp-like noise, drawing my attention back towards it. Jade wants to Skype. I figure it’d be better than having to reply to texts all the time.
Quickly and without hesitation I answer.
“Sup?” He asks.
“Hey, Jade,” I say loudly, pulling the lever down on the toaster and releasing it in an attempt to fling the muffin out of the device.
“I can’t believe it. Two weeks into our first year of college and one person’s dead, the other one a total vegetable for the time being.” Jade sighs. I pick up the phone and rush over to the silverware drawer.
“So what are you doing on this lovely morning?”
I inquire, taking out a fork. “Because I am prying my breakfast out of a toaster.”
“This stupid muffin’s too small! It got stuck!”
“I mean, I’m starving right now!” I lower the fork into the slot and begin poking at the muffin.
“This fork isn’t helping either…”
Jade glares at me for a moment.
“Tell me one thing you’re doing wrong.”
I hesitate to say what’s on my mind, but you only live once.#YOLO
“Talking to you?”
Jade groans and facepalms at my answer. “Something else.”
I look from my phone to the toaster to the fork in my hand, then back at my phone, and so on.
“…Putting a fork in a toaster…”
I huff, dropping it into the sink.
“Yes! You’re so smart!” Jade falsely praises me like a child, smiling sarcastically. “What, are you in Kindergarten?”
“Last time I checked,” I say, putting my fingers in the toaster instead, “I was in college and there was a rabid red-haired murderer going around. Thank you very much.”
“Yeah, about that,” Jade drops his smart-alec tone, replacing it with a serious one. “did you read the whole page?”
“No, I was kinda too busy texting my friend Jade. You ever met him? He’s a real smartass.”
Finally I get a firm grasp on the crumbly edge of the muffin. I flick my hand upward as fast as possible, sending the bread flying. It lands perfectly on to a plate.
“Yes!!” I squeal in delight.
“Achievement get: My best friend is an idiot.”
Jade casually remarks.
“Oh, very funny. Now back to what happened last night-”
“Hold on!! Luke is texting me something…”
I wait a few seconds.
Jade texts me a screenshot of his chat with Luke and the others.
ImaFonTechGuy: Anise you’re such a slut
TokunagaAni: why thank you deary
DauntlessLukieCake: So Jade
DauntlessLukieCake: Ol’ buddy ol’ pal
DauntlessLukieCake: Can you and Saphir meet us at Frogurt or something to talk? I have an idea~
KitKat177: Sure :3
FonicallyAwkward: Luke, how often do you go to Frogurt? Really!
DauntlessLukieCake: Maybe 3-4 times a month
DauntlessLukieCake: But there are exceptions
DauntlessLukieCake: Right Aschy-boy?
Smoke+Asches: DON’T CALL ME THAT
SyncaroniAndCheese: xD Your gonna get fat
Tear342: No he won’t :c
NataliaKitten22: He’s a replica
DauntlessLukieCake: Just meet us there at lunch (Like 12:00)
ImaFonTechGuy: And tell Saphir to come too!!
KitKat177: Cya ‘yall .3.
(KitKat177 has left the chat)
“Well then…” I sigh.
“Good thing we all aren’t suspects.”
Jade smiles. I don’t.
“Luke and Asch are. They both have red hair.”
“What’re we gonna do now?” Jade whines.
“I say we sit back, relax, and go to Frogurt at twelve.”
I say with an optimistic wink.
“What’s the worst that could happen?”
There’s a knock on the door that scares me out of my thought process.
“Asch!!” I yell. “Someone’s at the door!! Answer it!!”
I hear Asch groan and stomp down the stairs, then the click of the front door opening.
“Who is it??” I call.
I run to the foyer and hide behind Asch.
In the doorway is…Ms. Winter??
What is our Artes teacher doing here?
I step out from behind Asch and Winter smiles.
“Hi, Luke. How’s your wrist?”
She asks, her long cyan braid flopping behind her as she turns her head to face me.
“I-it’s doing better…” I stutter.
I had forgotten about the injury I got from playing football in Phys Ed that I had complained about during Artes the next day. Asch glares at me as if to say, ‘what injury, dreck??’.
“So, Ms. Winter, uh, why, exactly, are you here?” I ask, trying to sound polite but still get my message across.
Winter’s expression turns grave.
“Did you two read the school newspaper today? They’re automatically delivered to your forms.” She says.
Asch and I nod. “Yeah. We heard about Emil and how they found a strand of red hair.” Asch replies.
Winter pulls us together and looks around to make sure no one is nearby.
“About that red hair. You two have it. That makes you both suspects.” she whispers.
“What’s gonna happen?” I wail on impulse.
Winter frowns. “They’re running DNA tests on it today at the lab. You two have to promise me you won’t get into any trouble - especially you, Luke - or they’ll have all the more reason to think you did it.”
I blush. I always was a troublemaker.
“Asch, Luke, you two are my best students. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you guys. Without Luke, who would tell all those cheesy jokes?”
Winter pats me on the head playfully. “And Asch, you certainly know a lot about your Artes. Amazing. You two…”
She slaps Asch on the back in a friendly manner.
“You two are something special. Don’t let this silly murder mystery snuff out your light.”
Even after Ms. Winter leaves, I can’t help thinking about what she said. The school is going to, instead of narrowing the suspects down by red hair, pick by the students with light-red hair.
Asch might actually not be a suspect, since his hair is darker than mine.
I can’t sit still, and constantly squirm about while trying to watch TV in my beanbag chair. Finally I pick up my tPhone and check the time.,
It’s 11:49. We should all be meeting at Frogurt at 12:00. With a sigh I toss my phone behind me, again, not caring whether I cracked the screen or not.
I ignore it for a few minutes until I hear it vibrate.
Frantically I scramble out of the beanbag chair and snatch up my phone, unlocking it.
I got a text.
TalesOfUmessageBoard: **DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE**
During class tomorrow, Monday, September 29th, a DNA screening/matching assembly will take place. Students similar to the suspect will be individually tested throughout the day.
Await further instruction.
I blink several times to clear my mind.
I didn’t kill Yuan, but
what if something goes wrong?
I, for once, am scared.