Reads: 140

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON – WEEK 2

Reina stared at Kasumi's tray next to her. Reina still had the poisonous substance she had stolen from the chemistry classroom, although granted it was at home at the moment, tucked away somewhere in her bedroom, but a quick glance revealed the new cameras, which were surveying the room. No, Kasumi couldn't be poisoned. Not here, anyway...

The girl in question joined Reina, and she had brought Yume with her. Kasumi said, “Hello Reina, this is Yoshida Yume. We've been friends ever since junior high school.” She looked to Yume and said, “This is Honda Reina.”

Yume had a focused look to her. It was almost like she was already analyzing Reina, and Reina didn't like it. However, Yume seemed to allow herself to relax a little, and she said, “Hello, Reina. How are you?”

“Fine, and yourself?” Reina replied. Just act as she usually did, and all would be well.

“So-so, been keeping myself busy.” The three girls got started on eating, and Yume asked Reina, “Will you and Kasumi be doing another treasure hunt sometime soon?”

“Not anytime soon.” Came Reina's reply.

“Yeah, Reina and I agreed on that.” Kasumi sighed, her features drawn and distant. It was possible that she may develop depression because of Sayuri and Sachiko's deaths. Seemed like she was still taking the alleged murder-suicide pretty hard. “Is there any further information on the murder-suicide, Yume?”

“Other than the police are convinced that it was just that, and that Sayuri was the murderer, no.” Yume looked to Reina and asked, “Is there any reason why you chose such an isolated place to hide the treasure, Reina?” The interrogation had begun.

“I was looking for landmarks, something easily identifiable.” Reina responded.

“That seems rather irresponsible. Where did you place the other treasure boxes?” Yume remarked.

“One at the nearest Shinto shrine to my house, and one outside the entrance to the high school parking lot.” Reina replied.

“Why did you choose such low-surveillance places?” Yume questioned.

“To add to the mystery, consequently heightening interest. Kasumi and I are small creators, so I thought that by putting these boxes in lonely places we would attract more attention. I doubt I will be repeating the same mistake again.” Reina said, hoping that would be the end of it.

Yume said, “I see...” She still seemed suspicious. Reina took the time to look around the lunchroom, trying to spot Kosuke. Surely by now he would've shown up. Yume noticed this and she asked, “What's wrong?”

“Kosuke is missing.” Reina answered, before shaking her head and saying, “It's probably nothing. Likely went to the restroom.” Yume set her lunch aside and left the cafeteria. Kasumi watched as Yume went, and Reina asked her, “Is Yume okay?”

“Hm? Ah, yes, she always disappears at unusual times. I think she sees Kosuke's disappearance as a lead, and is going to try to find him. She'll be back before the lunch period is over.” Kasumi said, unfazed by Yume's sudden departure. Reina saw no reason to go after Yume, as likely that would be suspicious, so she decided to keep eating as well. She noticed something else as she looked around the cafeteria – Akira, Daichi, and Masaru were also gone. She paused for a moment, mid-chew, and set her chopsticks down. She started to rise when Kasumi asked, “Where are you going, Reina?”

“Akira, Daichi, and Masaru are also missing.” Reina then left the cafeteria as well, but mostly to search for Daichi. The others could perish for all she cared. Kasumi followed her, and the two girls headed to the third floor, where their classrooms were located.

***

No one was in either classroom, so that was ruled out. Reina had noticed Yume slip into the boys' restroom, which Reina didn't foresee going so well, and Kasumi and Reina had to stand in the hallway for a minute. Kasumi asked, “Are they a part of any clubs?”

“Masaru is on the baseball team, but I don't think the others are in any clubs.” Reina replied.

“Then perhaps someone is at the gym. Although I suspect that such a building is locked at the moment.” Kasumi suggested. The lights suddenly went out, almost as if there was a power surge. The school had become eerily quiet, and Kasumi had screamed and clinged onto Reina for comfort. It was a contrast from how calm she was when they were investigating the crime scene the previous night. She had pressed against the girl, and she was shaking. At least the excessive amount of windows in the building provided some light to see by. Someone came running towards them, and Kasumi jumped at the sound and quickly dragged Reina into a classroom, before sliding the door shut and holding it in place. She stared wide-eyed through the windows on the door, searching the dim light for danger.

Reina went to grab the other set of doors when Yume came running into the room, saying, “I heard a scream, is everyone alright?”

“Yume!” Kasumi almost seemed moved to tears. Yume ran over to her and motioned for Reina to come over, which she did so. “I found nothing in the boys' restroom, but have you two seen or heard anything strange?”

“The power is out, and Masaru, Akira, Daichi, and Kosuke are all missing.” Reina replied.

“Four students? And they are all upperclassmen boys?” Yume raised a brow at this, before getting out a blue, patterned notepad from her pocket and writing down some notes. A pen rested in the spiral of the notepad, before being replaced. Reina was willing to bet that Yume had never smiled a day in her life. She was truly a no-nonsense type of amateur detective.

“Yume, what if we're next?” Kasumi seemed to be barely keeping herself together.

“As long as we stay together, I am certain that we can defend ourselves.” Yume assured her, pocketing the notepad. She looked to Reina, “Any suggestions?”

“The gymnasium. Masaru is on the baseball team. Perhaps he can be found near the gym.” Reina said.

“At this hour? No one should be there, but we will go investigate.” Yume said. The trio headed down the flights of stairs. As they made their way down, not a single teacher was in sight. “How strange, shouldn't there be teachers patrolling the hallways?” Yume inquired to no one in particular. Reina had to admit that it was odd. She knew that normal humans panicked, especially if they were minors. To combat this, why was it that there were no adults whatsoever trying to figure out why the power was out?

They walked past the faculty room on their way to their lockers to change their shoes out, when they saw sleeping bodies in the room. The group stopped and glanced into the room, hearing the snores of teachers and seeing other faculty like the headmaster and the guidance counselor investigating the situation. They were looking at a birthday cake that one of the teachers must have received permission to bring in. The teachers must have been drugged. Yume said, “Headmaster Hiranuma and Mrs. Abe has that under control, we should find the boys.”

The girls changed their shoes out, hearing the clamor of the other frightened and confused students in the cafeteria from their location. The lunch staff had likely told everyone to stay in place until further notice. The power seemed to make an attempt to come back on, but it just as quickly cut back off again. Yume said, eyes narrowed at the lights, “Someone is purposely doing this.”

The three went around behind the school and to the gymnasium. Yume tried the door, and it came open. She said, “It should be locked at this time.” Once inside, everything seemed undisturbed. The group started checking behind the stage first, and after finding no one, not even a suspicious object, they moved their search to the closets around the gym only for the search to become fruitless. Yume remarked once they had searched the gymnasium, “Something isn't making sense. Unless it was a petty thief trying to steal from the school in broad daylight, why was the gymnasium open?”

“Perhaps we should find the location of the breaker box or the backup generator. We may find some clues.” Reina recommended. It was silent unanimous agreement that the trio make their way towards the location of the breaker box.

However, once they left the gymnasium, Kosuke came out of seemingly nowhere and said, “Reina! There you are! Where the hell were you?” As expected, the boy seemed tense.

“I could ask you the same.” Reina countered.

Yume's interest was piqued, and she asked Kosuke, “Where were you during the blackout?”

“In the restroom of course! Let me tell you, going in the dark was not fun!” Kosuke answered.

“Is that so? Which restroom on what floor?” Yume inquired.

“The second floor, duh! Practically no one goes in that particular restroom during lunch.” Kosuke said. Yume whipped out her notepad and took some notes, and Kosuke asked Reina, “Why are you hanging out with the school detective anyway, Rei? She just doesn't seem to be part of your crowd.”

“She isn't you, that is correct.” Reina responded. Kasumi had to hold back a laugh, but Reina could tell that she found her biting remark amusing.

“Ha, ha, very funny, Rei.” Kosuke seemed to have become mildly annoyed.

He reached for her hand, but Reina dodged him. “Do you know where Akira, Masaru, and Daichi went?” Might as well give the illusion that she was on Yume's side.

“Eh? Nah, I don't know where they went.” Kosuke said.

Reina looked to Yume and Kasumi, then asked, “Do you have everything under control from here?” She had lost interest in sticking around, but she would give the illusion of politeness.

“Of course. Let us know if you find any good leads.” Yume said, before she and Kasumi left.

Kosuke and Reina headed back into the school, but on the way Reina asked, “Why didn't you stay in the cafeteria with the others? Surely after using the restroom you returned to the cafeteria to find me.”

“Because I know how you are, Rei. You are never one for following the rules.” Kosuke answered, and that was the end of that conversation.


Submitted: March 18, 2021

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