Arcadia High School: The New Arrivals

Paige Turner

Level 1
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
8
Essence
€2,367
Coin
₡15,000
Tokens
0
World
Erde Nona
Profile
Click Here
It was 10:25 p.m., at the corner of Mi’ihen Avenue and Tyree Lane. Despite the presence of magic in the world, it was not so different from a traditional city street. The only sound which permeated the Arcadian streets were the low hum of magic orbs which acted as street lamps. The occasional growl of dragons or air-bus engines as they flew around the sky, though with each passing minute, these noises became less common. Although the buildings, walls, lampposts, and other structures had a more natural, fantastic feel to them, they didn’t really seem entirely unusual. Just another coat of paint, really. For Paige’s sake, it either made navigating the streets easier and more challenging, as depending on circumstance. Arcadia had no centralized style with its architecture, so areas and districts were easily identifiable. Specific landmarks, however, sometimes seemed to blend together, as much of it appeared to be whimsical nonsense.

Paige was writing in a book as Michael walked down the avenue. His attire was much darker than his school uniform, which was especially noticeable whenever he walked into the beams of the streetlamps. A long, well-worn purple raincoat, “complimented” by faded jeans and off-white sneakers. Atop his head was a baseball cap with the words “Fazbear Entertainment” on the front. Surprisingly, he wore a handkerchief around his neck. I guess he doesn’t need the one I got. The sneakers don’t blend well into the shadows, but at least the rest of him will fade in easily. Paige had worn black jeans and a dark blue hoodie with the hood up for this express purpose; the style was not her forte, but it would help in the long run.

“Good thing you came early,” Paige said, “especially since I had to go to the store a second time since you responded so late.”

“Sorry about that…” he replied. Mike looked uncertain, as if he were considering whether to leave or not. “Are we really going to break into the school?”

He must be struggling to grasp what is happening. Oh well, he’ll realize it soon enough. “That should be obvious.”

He put a hand to his head. “Are you sure? Why did we decide to meet three blocks away?”

“Well, it would look pretty suspicious if I just hung around the school for half an hour in dark clothes.”

“I guess that makes sense. Uh, what’s that book you’re writing in?”

“Nothing important,” Paige said. Mike seemed content, if unsatisfied by this response. “Here’s your stuff.” Handed to him was a pair of gloves and the second handkerchief. She had bought it for him, after all. “Let’s go.”

As they walked down the street, the school’s architecture peeked from over the street. Its arrogant grandeur during the day was gone, now replaced by a reserved isolation. Many a building, from churches to business offices, looked relatively stunning with their dimly lit windows and magical luminescence. Some abandoned structures even had moss which glowed in the dark. Arcadia High, however, was completely dark inside, almost as if there was a deep abyss residing behind its many arched windows. Its larger-than-life entrance door seemed so sealed off that it was practically part of the wall. Paige picked the lock in about a minute, and the two of them went into the bleak confines of the lobby.
 

Touko Fukawa

young lover's rage
Level 1
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
6
Essence
€2,476
Coin
₡11,500
Tokens
0
World
Erde Nona
Profile
Click Here
It was easier to get in by the second floor.

Especially if you had the keys.

She jumped, and grabbed the edge of the now-retracted fire escape.

Easily pulling herself up and over the metal-grated platform, she gave the fire door attached to it a try. Locked from the inside. Why did she expect that? Paying that no mind, she stepped up onto the handrail, before leaping to a nearby classroom's windowsill. Digging her nails into the wooden frame, she yanked it open in one swift movement. Jackpot. No skills necessary, here.

Except, well, athletics.

She slid through the window like a cat through an open door- using the momentum to close it behind her without even thinking about it. That was easy. She'd had much more trouble getting into apartments before- so the practice had helped her quite a bit. If it had come to it, she would have simply broken the window, but thankfully she didn't need to be so crude. Now, the fun really started.

Based on what she recalled, there was a janitor or monitor of some sort on call at all times within this building. That would be an issue, but not a major one. If she was quick enough, it would be no issue at all- and if she wasn't, well, this wasn't a big job. It was simply data collection. Not like there was a dead body to argue over. Breaking into lockers was child's play.

That in mind, she approached the door of the classroom- opening the lock with her keyring, and easing it open with an ominous creak. It was Lyon that was the real issue- befitting that name, his wealthy parents had his house guarded by a pack of security guards like it was a goddamn prison. She would have to figure out his schedule out of the home to even have a chance. Confidence was important, not stupidity. And unfortunately, it really seemed like the best way to get that information was a locker raid.

She'd memorized the location and number perfectly, in advance. The first floor, by the janitor's closet.

Staying by the side of the halls and keeping her footsteps light, she made her way through the pitch black hallways; their only illumination that of dim street lights in the distance shining through the occasional window. In this lighting, and her outfit, she was scarcely recognizable anyway. Another thing that emboldened her. With her mop of hair down from its braids, in a simple tank top and shorts so short she could savor every last mark on her left thigh (with the bonus of quick access to the holster on her right), and the manic glow of excitement in her eye, it should have been clear to anyone she was a wholly different beast than their librarian. If they even thought to connect the two at all.

With a grin, she slid down the banister on the staircase, too.

No sense in not having fun while she was here after hours.

Her nerves were sharper as she neared the locker itself. Not only would she need to spend some time here to sort things out, it was close to the Janitor's closet. And he was one of the ones that had a habit of staying after hours- something she had confirmed last time, along with the location of the locker. That made this easily the most delicate part of the operation. Get her information, and get out. Perhaps if this were one of the other lockers, she would have time to idle, but...

She was about halfway through forcing open the lock with a pair of scissors when she heard the distant snippets of conversation.

Shit.

All at once, she leapt and scrambled, ending up somehow on top of the flat rooves of the lockers, in perhaps a two foot space between their top and the ceiling. Staring crouched in the direction she had heard the conversation, she looked like some sort of hideous gargoyle, with her mess of hair covering the majority of her face and hanging down. They were voices she recognized, in the back of her mind. She couldn't put names to them, but she could say one thing- they were certainly not the voices of any faculty members.

Other students.

She hadn't thought she'd be in good company for her crimes today.

Restraining herself, she managed to keep her voice down to only a breathy laugh.
 

Michael Afton

Amateur Paranormal Investigator
Level 1
Joined
Sep 11, 2018
Messages
9
Essence
€2,480
Coin
₡19,500
Tokens
2
Profile
Click Here
“The basement door is this way, right?” Paige said as she and Michael turned the corner and walked into the hallway. Fukawa, crawled up in between the two-foot space between the lockers and the ceiling, stared down at them like a barn owl, watching them steadily grow closer to her.

“Should be. I can’t imagine it would be anywhere else.”
Michael replied, tensing up as the darkness of the hallway enveloped them. It almost made it pointless to disguise themselves with how hard it was to see. Worse, he couldn’t help but feel a presence within the hall, something practically looming right behind the both of them. The thought alone made his hands shiver with a coldness the gloves Paige gave him couldn’t protect.

“You nervous?” Paige asked, hearing him let out a muffled groan behind the handkerchief around his neck.

“Of course I am! I-it’s dark and we broke into the school!” He whispered, eyes darting around the hallway.

“Relax. The only person who should be here is the janitor, yeah? Easy enough to avoid.”

“I mean, I guess. What if someone else is here and DOES see us, though?”

“Seriously? It’s pitch dark in here. I can barely see you.”

“I still think we should use the flashlight.”


Paige rolled her eyes. “Yeah, and let him see a lit hallway when it’s supposed to be dark? It’s easier to keep the light off.”

“If stumbling down the hallway feeling for a doorknob is easy.”

“You complain too much.”
Paige replied before taking a step to the side. She grabbed Mike’s arm to drag him with her as she ran her hand along the lockers beside her. They shook, rattling like snakes, enough so that Fukawa could feel them approach through the cold metal. Her giggling grew louder.

Mike stopped, limbs locking up. If Paige could see him, she would have seen he looked like he had seen someone get stabbed in the stomach.

“What is it?” She asked.

“Did you… hear that just now?”

“The creepy laughter?”

“Yeah.”

“Nope.”

“You know, when you said the janitor wasn’t a ghost, I didn’t think I’d have to take that idea seriously ever again.”

“Did I say that? I forgot.”
Paige said as they finally walked past the sitting Fukawa.

The librarian could barely keep still. With how on-edge the boy was, she could only imagine the sheer terror on his face if she hopped off the lockers and snuck behind him right then and there. She imagined him jolting and jumping up into the air like a chaotic bolt of electricity if she just slithered behind him and whispered softly into his ear. It’d be adorable, if nothing else.

His girlfriend, however… she couldn’t see her face, but she cringed at her voice. Perhaps it was the way she spoke, with her words laced with smugness, loaded with a sense of indestructibility. Or, perhaps more likely, it was the simple fact that it was because of her interruption that prevented her from opening up Lyon’s locker. She had been planning the heist for days, and it was only ruined by the unknowable interference of a teenage tomboy.

Michael and Paige finally stopped at a lonely large door in the middle of the hallway.

“Here it is. You know what to do, right Night?”

“Open Mike Night, dude.”

“I refuse to call you by your full nickname on principle alone.”


Michael had to admit that the pun was pretty freaking bad. He walked over to the edge of a nearby row of lockers to peer by them and down the rest of the hallway. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll keep a lookout, Book Lady.”

Just as Paige got onto her knees to pick the lock of the basement door, she turned around with a confused and very disappointed glare at Michael.

“Huh? It’s Mage, Night. Mage. ‘Book Lady’- what?” She replied, sounding absolutely offended.

“S-sorry! It just… that was the name before! It came… out of my mouth.”

“Well, shut up. Stealth.”
She said before returning to the door.

Fukawa’s crimson eyes glowed brightly in the dark. A far grander heist had been planned for that night, it seemed.

What a terrible coincidence! Perhaps it’s time for a little payback.

Her tongue rolled out like a snake as she let out a small, but audible cackle. It reverberated around the hallway, the sound seeping through their disguises and directly into their minds.

“Well…”
she said, voice low, growling, “I wasn’t expecting company.~”
 

Paige Turner

Level 1
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
8
Essence
€2,367
Coin
₡15,000
Tokens
0
World
Erde Nona
Profile
Click Here
In that moment, the darkness of the room felt especially blinding.


“What- who’s there?” she whispered, looking around slowly, cautiously. A cold sensation crawled up her forearms, her sense of touch growing numb. Very little light seeped into this hallway, so little that it was hard to tell if her eyes were closed or not. She could identify Michael’s silhouette, which had huddled closer to her for safety. There was also enough light to see where the lockers started. However, there was not enough to see the other end of the hall. Not enough to identify where that voice came from. “Where are you? What do you want?”


“I could ask you the same thing, book lady!”


And then she looked up. Two rings shone a dim red, dreadful spotlights catching the two students in their escapades. Whoever or whatever possessed those eyes sat with legs crossed atop the lockers. Its form was difficult to make out, and impossible to identify. It looked human enough, but considering how magical this world is, it could be a pixie or a doppelganger or any other absurd creature that she had never seen before.


It hopped down from the locker, and paced around the duo. Its voice, with the edge of a knife and the elegance of a hatchet, held a mocking tone that felt particularly oppressive. “You’ve got a lotta nerve, coming here without permission. Don’t ya know you can get expelled for trespassing?”


Michael shivered beside Paige, a small distance separating the two. He had started stuttering, but nothing coherent came from it.


I can’t honestly blame him. Paige took a breath and responded. “Of course… of course we do.” She stared straight forward, trying not to look at the figure despite its inability to see her staring at it.


“So what, you just wanted to break a couple rules, huh? Huh, huh?!”


Paige remains silent.


“Hellooo! What are you doing here?”


“U-u-u-uh…” Michael, hunched over with his hands held to the chest, tried to gather his thoughts enough to produce a complete sentence. “W-we came here… t-to, uh-”


“Not you, Open Mike Night! I’m talking to little miss tomboy over here!” Michael backed away, putting Paige between them. She found that the eyes had shifted to her, and felt a few beads of sweat rolling down her cheeks.


“...We’re here to look for something.”


“Ooo, what kind of something?”


Paige hesitates once again. How much control do I even have? If I tell them, the plan may be busted, but if I don’t, then-


She feels something press against her neck. It was cold, pointy, and metallic, and it felt like the slightest bit more pressure would send it straight through her throat. She had no say in how this conversation unfolded.


“You’d better stop cutting up, before I decide to join you!”


Reluctantly, Paige looked away and muttered “We came to enter the janitor’s closet.”


The figure took the metal away from her neck, walked back, and gave a restrained fit of laughter. “That’s all?! If you wanted a delicious glass of bleach, the convenience store is right down the street!”


Responding with a nervous laugh, she tried to look this… thing in the eyes. “Heh… well, I’m... not that edgy. But we have a good reason to investigate.” This is a terrible idea, Paige thought before pushing through her fear. “I’m guessing that… you also… have some reason to be here? ...Right now?”


“Rightamundo, Book Lady! I’m also looking for something tonight. But I can’t leave witnesses, you know. It’s bad for business!”


Suddenly, an idea came to mind. One that might get the duo out of this predicament. Putting forth as much confidence as she could muster- not much, but hopefully enough- Paige turned completely toward the voice. “Well, if we are a problem for you, then perhaps we can strike a deal.”


Michael turned to Paige, violently shaking his head as if to say ‘What are you doing? You’re going to get us killed!’


However, the stranger closed their eyes, and it almost looked like they crossed their arms. “Interesting… You’ve got guts to give me an offer. Alright, spill the beans!”


“The offer is simple. We won’t tell anyone that you were here, even if we get caught ourselves. In exchange, we ask you to do the same, and also refrain from injuring us.”


They opened their eyes, a skeptical glare shining in the dark. “How do I know you won’t just rat me out to the police the instant you get out of here?”


“Well, that would make it easy for us to get caught, wouldn’t it? It may make them wonder why we were around the school so late. Depending on how tonight goes, I don’t want to give more incriminating evidence if we can help it.”


“Wait,” Michael whispered, “w-what do you mean… ‘if’ we can...?”


Paige bent over and quietly replied within his ear. “Don’t worry about it, just play along.”


A low hum rang through the hall as the unknown individual contemplated. Finally, they responded. “Okay, I love a little drama anyway! You better watch out for Mr. Janitor, though, he’s a crazy one!” And before the duo realized it, the stranger was already gone.


Michael stood there, looked at his companion, with the faintest hint of concern on his face being visible through the black of night. “Can we trust that thing?”


“I’m not sure, but it won’t do us any good to worry about it. Let’s head on.”


As Paige walked ahead, hand to the lockers, he gave a heavy sigh. “This isn’t very good for my heart…”





Eventually, the duo made their way to the janitor’s closet. Pale blue moonlight shimmered through a single window, bathing the closet door in an eerie glow. It was just a normal door, like any other in the building. However, the idea of what lay behind made its white paint feel like a bright facade. I’m going to enjoy ripping the blanket off this case.


Paige kept an ear out, checking if anyone was moving nearby. It was silent. She pulled Michael away from the door, in case someone was inside the closet and was able to hear them from within. “That creep told us to watch out for the janitor, so he’s probably inside. We should think of a way to lure him out.”


“But how do we know he isn’t patrolling the halls, and we just didn’t run into him?”


She shrugged. “We don’t. But he’s not a security guard, he’s a janitor with a secret. So if he’s only here to guard what’s in the closet, he’d be better off just standing out front or guarding from inside.”


Michael slouched over, arms folded. “I don’t know, it seems pretty dangerous…”


“Come on, Night, we need to get in there.” Mike was still slouching, clearly not understanding how futile it was to complain in this situation. They had already broken in; to backpedal would be to have broken the law for nothing. His emotions were getting in the way of rational thinking. “Look, I get it. You don’t want to get caught and expelled. But we need to keep going. If we don’t push forward, the strange things I told you about will never get resolved. So you need to buckle down so we can get to the bottom of this, alright?”


He looked away, though it was hard to tell through both the dark and his low-tipped ball cap. Eventually, he gave Paige a side glance. “Okay then. What are we going to do?”
 

Touko Fukawa

young lover's rage
Level 1
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
6
Essence
€2,476
Coin
₡11,500
Tokens
0
World
Erde Nona
Profile
Click Here
In one swift motion-

She stabbed, and wrenched.

The locker didn't so much pop open as shriek like a car crash as she pried the lock completely off, tearing a hole straight through the metal. It was an uncomfortable noise- and she didn't like that it needed to be done, but beggars couldn't be choosers. She'd need to be swift, considering that in the distance, she heard some noise in response- perhaps her allies, perhaps her enemy. Who was to say?

"Jesus, what the fuck's-" The sound of someone in the distance mumbling. She'd need to hurry it up.

Flinging the door open, she made her inspection. Its innards were about as much of a mess as she would have liked to make its owner's. Papers and homework strewn about like a fucking typhoon had hit it. What a slob- maybe he needed the maids at school, as well. Made it difficult to get what she wanted to do done quickly. A shame.

"Well... st th- ...oor's..."

She shuffled through the papers rapidly, grasp eventually landing on what looked to be a small planner. School provided, of course. It was meant to be an assignment notebook, but as she flipped through it, it became clear he was like any other student in the school- it really just contained a menagerie of different things he was doing. Mentally, she took down a few dates and places- Saturday, the coffee shop downtown. Next Tuesday, the mall. There were similar others marked down for the next month or so too, which she burned into her brain.

"Hey, do- ...ee that...?"

Flinging it back to where it was, she rummaged about the rest of the locker. He hadn't left his phone here, which was a shame, but to be expected. However, he had left a few fun things- a watch, some thin chain necklaces, and some sort of older music player. They looked somewhat valuable. With a smile, she slipped them into her sleeve.

"What... what is it...?"

Her work done, she elbowed the locker shut, though it was pretty much worthless as a gesture. The thing was just scrap metal at this point.

Footsteps rang out through the halls, faster and faster, louder and louder. Like her heart, racing faster and faster.

"Might want to start running, you two! I'm outta here!" came her voice, raspy and harsh like a snake, as she glanced towards the door she had seen the two breaking into. She punctuated this with a laugh, which she made as quiet as possible. Sadly, that was still about the volume of normal conversation. Not that she waited long enough to even acknowledge what their little crime was, barely giving the door a glance as she made her way in the opposite direction.

The only pause she made along the way was to slip the valuables in through the vents of another locker down the hall.

And so her footsteps, growing faster and faster, disappeared up the stairs.
 

Paige Turner

Level 1
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
8
Essence
€2,367
Coin
₡15,000
Tokens
0
World
Erde Nona
Profile
Click Here
The sound of clashing metal had caught them both off guard. Michael, in particular, jumped out of his skin with a gasp, his flashlight clutched close to the chest. It was as if someone dumped a crate of aluminum cans out onto the floor. Paige quickly grabbed her companion by the arm, dragging him behind the corner of another hall. After all, it would not have mattered where the janitor was if he could hear that obnoxious racket anywhere near the closet.

“Jesus…” Mr. Jeffers could be heard from within, swearing under his breath with that shaky, suspicious tone of his. As he came out into the moonlight, his thin frame looked both elusive and fragile. His hair was ruffled, his shirt untucked, and his face was worn from the work he does every day. The janitor pulled out a light, closed the door, and hurried down the hall, completely missing the intruders planning to invade his personal space to investigate the loud clashing noise.

Watching after his shadowed form as he walked away, the duo snuck over to the closet and checked it out. It had not been locked. “Well…” Michael said, “at least the door’s open.”

Paige opened the closet, moonlight peeking past the open door into one corner. From what it looked like, nothing seemed particularly special about the closet that Paige didn't notice before. Although, just like last time, the lightbulb hanging from the ceiling was off, even though the janitor was just inside. Perhaps that was for a reason? Of course, Paige thought, it wouldn’t really help if he saw the light on from down the hall. Michael seemed to think the same, as he turned on his flashlight and shone it inside.

Immediately, the light revealed ruffles in the back wall, like it was made of cloth. Putting her hand to it, the cloth gave way a bit. “This is a curtain,” Paige said. “I get it… I thought it was weird that such a shallow closet would use shelves on the side walls, and not the back.”

“So he just… stands behind the curtain all day?”

“Well, what else could it be? Let’s check it out. I’ll go first.” Paige pushed the curtains aside, stepping over a low wall of janitorial supplies in the process. Michael kept the door open and looked about for anything he could possibly use to make a quick getaway, keeping an eye and ear out toward the dark hallway.



Dimly illuminated in blue, what lied behind the curtain was the most stereotypical stakeout office Paige had ever found. A small, grey, L-shaped office desk sat squarely against the left corner. A short rolly chair was pushed away from the desk. About ten to twelve large paper coffee cups sat along the far wall, the scent of ‘AsteriusBucks’ hanging in the air. They were complemented with a couple bags of fast food and several pack of crackers in a trash bin. Against the right wall were a pillow and sleeping bag, crumpled up as if to inefficiently conserve some space.

But most notably, there was a computer monitor on the desk at the left wall, with some image radiating the blue light in the room.

“Hey, Night. Come over here.”

While Michael was stepping over the supplies, Paige was taking a look at the monitor. Several images of some unknown room were opened in separate windows, and wherever it was, it was as dark as anywhere else in the school. There were some shelves, it seemed, but she did not see anything of note.

“Huh…” Michael was getting a good look at the footage. “I... don’t know where this is.”

Paige looked around, and noticed a cable running up from the computer tower and into the left wall. “Hey, that cable… Isn’t the basement on the other side of this wall?”

“I think so. Do you think…?”

“Yeah.” Paige rested her hand on her chin. “This might be recording the basement.”

“Yeah, maybe. Kinda odd, though, especially with it locked. What could he be-”

He froze, eyes as wide as a river, face as pale as a ghost. His glare toward the screen could have cut through steel.

Paige gave a worried glance. “What? What is it?”

Michael grabbed her by the shoulder and jabbed at one particular window of footage.

“W-what the fuck IS that?!”
 

Michael Afton

Amateur Paranormal Investigator
Level 1
Joined
Sep 11, 2018
Messages
9
Essence
€2,480
Coin
₡19,500
Tokens
2
Profile
Click Here
Michael’s finger wavered over the monitor, pointed straight at something barely perceptible in the darkened blue room of the office and equally blackened basement. At first, Paige almost thought that Michael had gotten spooked again over nothing but a blurry image of a shelf.

That is, until one of the shelves started to move. It lumbered forward, its form murky within the static of the camera footage. It moved to the camera, each step making its legs visibly buckle. Yet, somehow, it kept shambling and keeping itself above the ground, like each stomp was being lifted by strings and then set down by a clumsy puppeteer.

As it approached the camera, Michael could see its head was buried within its hands. It couldn’t possibly see where it was going past those grotesquely-built hands, with fingers wide and claw-like, as if to tear at the very fabric of reality around it. He couldn’t see its body, but he could see… blood. It had to be blood, covering the creature in blackened ink from the top of its spiked hair to the bottom of its torn-up shoes.

“W-what is- is that a…?” Michael stammered, voice soft.

Then, the creature’s hands fell away as its head settled against the wall underneath the camera. It looked up, suddenly seeing the motion of the camera sliding back and forth in the basement room.

“Oh m-my god…”
Mike whispered, gasping.

The creature’s face looked pallid in the camera’s footage. Its skin had almost entirely rotted off, and Mike swore he saw flies buried within its cheek and eyes. The eyes, its small, pin-prick eyes glowing silver in the darkness, gazed up into the camera, gazed into the two teenagers staring back at the creature in the basement. The same black ichor coating its body oozed out of its open maw, where something… meat-like sat in various sizes of viscera within its jaws. But amidst all of the gore, the flies that ate at the corpse, and the ghastly illumination within its twitching eyes, something about the monster struck Mike.

“He… he looks like a… a…”

“A teenager…”
Paige replied, her voice soft.

Suddenly, a new voice, harsh and snake-like, interrupted them.

“Might want to start running, you two! I’m outta here!”

Footsteps. They echoed throughout the halls outside, fast, sprint-like, desperate.

“He’s coming back!” Michael whispered, his voice a hiss, but he couldn’t move. Not while that creature was looking at him.

“Come ON!” Paige hissed back, giving his arm a hard tug. Michael almost tripped as Paige pulled him out of curtain-covered office, his leg snagging the curtain before letting go. It flourished, like it was waving to them, urging them to flee through the darkness as the duo rushed out of the door.

They exited the room before Paige suddenly stopped. She shut the door, flinching as the close echoed throughout the hallway. She pulled out her lockpick and jammed it into the door, her movements rapid, shaky even, as she worked at the lock.

“Go go go go go go!”
Michael urged, about ready to completely bolt from his spot next to the lockers. The footsteps boomed around them, the keys hanging off of Mr. Jeffers belt ringing about like the bells of the damned, growing ever louder, ever more piercing, as he descended upon them through the darkness.

He could leave now, he realized. He could run now and leave her to her fate. He didn’t have to do this; he barely even knew her!

Yet... his legs remained locked in place, unmoving, until Paige gave the word.

“Got it! Go!” Paige said before whirling around, and with her word, Michael sprung like a rabbit, or a jack in a box, and ran with her down the hall. They didn’t stop running, not until they opened the massive gates of Arcadia High School and ran underneath the statues of gargoyles and griffins that loomed above them as they finally stopped on the very edge of the island that the High School sat upon.
 

Kurusu Akira

Joker
Level 1
Joined
Sep 11, 2018
Messages
6
Essence
€2,059
Coin
₡14,000
Tokens
30
World
Erde Nona
Profile
Click Here
There had been a break in on the school last night, between 10:30 and 11:00 pm. Jeffers had told her the morning she had arrived that the school became unusually loud, than more than once he had to dash around the undead hallways to chase after footsteps, whispers, and the shrieking noise of destruction of school property – one of the lockers had been teared apart, with some of its contents incriminatingly scattered near the scene. Lyon's locker, to be precise.

That leaves the biggest suspect out, but brings a few others to picture. Colling's gang, from 3rd "C", a long-time rival of Lyon's group. Rudy and the other cheerleaders, who last month received a nasty prank on their own lockers after rejecting Brad. Paul from 2nd "F", one of the kids Lyon himself steals from every other week. The library prank this same week. The list goes on.

But Jeffers barely brought the locker's incident this morning. Instead, most of his usual stuttering was wasted on proclaiming someone had broke in on his closet, being convinced the back curtain covering the security PC was too out of place. Normally, he takes the time to flatten its folds as neatly as possible, in order to fool people to think it's a wall. When he came back from one of his patrols, not only it had "a million folds" (on his own words), but the job was so sloppy it even left a few inches uncovered for the right wall.

Besides that, no other reports. No missing school items, or revolved archives, nor broken apertures.

So, someone broke in to mess up with Lyon, but also to peek into Jeffer's quarters. Was one of those a distraction, perhaps? If the objective was targeting Lyon, then it wouldn't make sense to mess around with the closet. The other way around sounded better: Lyon was an easy target, had a lot of enemies, and breaking a locker would make plenty of sound to distract a cowardly janitor into leaving the hidden desk.

Who would possibly be interested in the hidden desk?

There was one suspect that came into Amanda Waltzer's mind immediately after Jeffers ended his report: Michael Afton.

His head was stubborn, his resolve unbreakable. No amount of mind tinkering could take away the inhuman connection he had for those hellish machines his family worked with. This was a fact she had learned to live with, and at this point driving him away from the basement was a monthly routine she even scheduled on advance.

"Monthly" was a keyword. She had just dealt with him the other day. How could he get his curiosity back so quickly?

And for that, at nearly 15 minutes before the first bell, she had assembled a reunion with the only suspect she could gather at this hour.

The morning sun rays from the recently opened window glimmered all through her office's desk and onto the wall shelf on the other side of the room, it being covered with books and archives she barely revised anymore. Across her desk, separated from her with the wall of light, sat Akira Kurusu, the only nerd Michael hanged out with that bothered to show up at school on a timely manner. Like usual, his eyes didn't need to distract themselves in order to avoid contact with his professor’s, and his face showed a resilience most students could only envy at in situations like this.

And yet, his anxiety was so obvious it made her skin chicken up.

"Do you know why we're here?" she said, cutting the silence.

"The assignment due next monday?"

"I suppose. Have you run into any problems doing it?"

"Thankfully, no." He's lying. "Afton helped me." Mentioning Michael made his anxiety suddenly spike, but it quickly went back to normal.

This kid was too obvious.

"How was it working with Afton?"

"Good, I guess. He's so much better than me at the subject though." Not a lie.

"Alright, I'll go straight to topic then. What do you know about last night's break in? The janitor informed the administration this morning that someone had messed up with a student's locker."

A cold wave ran through her spine, signaling another sudden spike of anxiety on the kid, this time stronger and more lasting.

He didn't answer, and for a moment, his eyes shifted away from hers, towards the window. Several different thoughts ran through his head, one flowing into the other, but she couldn't discern any of them from this distance.

Amanda waited until his confidence came back. She could just make an excuse to his first period's teacher if they ran out of time.

After a few long seconds, he discreetly gulped. "I... do know about last night". Honestity. "I overhead a few students talking about it, but I didn't pay them that much attention." A half truth.

"And you didn't report it?"

"I didn't believe they would actually do it, and I was busy with something else." Another half truth.

"That's a serious breach to the school's honor, and a punishable misdeed, Mr. Kurusu."

His eyes widened a little.

Enough playing around. "Such an event could get you expelled in a moment, and I'm pretty sure you know that too."

Another anxiety spike.

"But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The last thing I would want is for one of my students to lose their life's opportunity over a silly, although grave, mistake. And I know you're lying about not knowing much about last night."

"Are you trying to bribe me?"

"You're quick – no need to explain myself then. You tell me what you know, and I won't report you to the principal."

He let out an exaggerated sigh, and relaxed his posture a little. "So, instead of getting me expelled, I sign out someone else for it."

"Pretty much."

Once again, his eyes drifted away as his thoughts started dancing on his head. His anxiety diminished, but that cold wind still coated his presence.

Their eyes met again. "And what if I lie?"

"Are you the kind of person who would lie in the face of a professor?" Yes he goddamn is.

The school ring took out his turn on the conversation, its loud noise permeating the room. Once it ran out of energy, she continued. "Don't worry about that, I can talk with your professor if needed."

It took him a moment to respond. "I don't know who broke in last night. They were guys from 3rd year, but that's all I remember." A blatant lie.

Now it was her turn to let out a sigh. There weren't that many people who would circle around her arguments like this, but those few who were, were a pain in the ass. This kid wasn't even good at it.

Time for a more direct approach.

She stood up from her chair, and circled towards Kurusu, who flinched slightly at the gesture, and she put her hand over his shoulder.

"Now tell me, Mr. Kurusu, how do you know about last night?"

Flashes of an after school afternoon crossed through his –and in turn her– head. He was with Touko, the librarian, both spying two other students from behind the main hallway entrance. His source? A girl on a cap (not a student of hers) and Michael Afton himself.

She knew it!

And just as it appeared, the flashback on his mind faded.

"I already told you," he said, following up on their original conversation.

"Yes, you did. And I believe is getting late." She let go of his shoulder.

He stood up himself too and tried getting away, but she interrupted his walk to freedom with another comment.

"One last thing." She grabbed his wrist and brought him back to her. His body froze in response, every tendon under her grasp as tense as steel wire. "I do not appreciate being lied like this, Mr. Akira Kurusu. From now on, you'll only talk the truth with me, for in this battlefield, you are nothing but a mere soldier at my command."

She let him go. "Have a nice day."

Waves of icy panic giving place to vibrating confusion and then shifting back to cooler auras emanated from him. It takes a little while for an order to drill itself on someone's mind, but eventually he went back to normal. His real usual self, devoid of anxiety and filled with empty thoughts, unlike the persona that entered her office a few minutes ago.

"Thank you. You too."

He exited her office, only the sound on his phone's ringtone and his steps filled the thick air of the room.
 
Top