I am surrounded on sides by loquacious hordes of people who will not stop chatting. Can they just shut up? I am trying to focus on my schoolwork here! Irked and frustrated, I turn my eyes to the paper in front of me and attempt to block out the noise. After a few minutes, I am finally successful and fully concentrated on the swirl of words staring back at me. Until someone steals my attention as swiftly as the wind.
“What did you get for the last question?” my classmate, Makoto asked.
I glance up from my paper. “I didn’t get there yet,” I say, abashed. “I’m on the one before that one.”
He nodded and waited for me to finish. We traded ideas and revised our answers. I suppose not everyone is an imbecile in this class. There are ten minutes left before the bell rings for third period. I am plagued by boredom until he speaks again.
“So, Akemi,” Makoto starts. “Have you ever liked someone?”
That was sudden, I thought. I look up to the ceiling as though a clever response was painted there. A split second passed and I had missed my chance to reply.
“Never mind. That’s sort of personal, sorry,” he said.
Scream! Scream! Scream!
The bell rang before I could utter another phrase. I am sort of glad that the bell cut me off because I was about to confess to him. On the other hand, the bell’s screech hurts my ears and causes me to get aggravated by the annoying sound. Curse that dang bell! I hurriedly rushed to third period. I would not let Makoto beat me to science class again! He is on a two-day streak. My pride would be shattered like broken glass if he won again.
He rushed out the door, wearing a cute smirk. His smile was a nice curve but something was off. The eyes. The eyes weren’t smiling with the mouth.
My pace quickens and soon we are tied. I attempt to enter the room before Makoto does. He rushes past the door triumphantly. He is now on a three-day streak. We share a laugh before settling into seats on different ends of the classroom. Today was a lab day which meant that we got to look through microscopes and peer into the little world of cells. Well, the school microscopes are as good as the toy binocular I had when I was little. I squinted into the eyepiece lens and scribbled little squares that didn’t really resemble cells.
“What a coincidence.”
I look up and feel the crimson creeping up on my face. Makoto stands at the microscope next me to, grinning. “Not to brag but, I beat you two times.”
“No, you didn’t,” I counter. “You beat me three times.” You idiot, Akemi! I think. Why did you say that?
He gave me a smirk then turned back to the microscope. His teeth are nice, I thought. What? What the hecks are you thinking? Get back to your science schoolwork microscope thing! I scolded myself.
My mind drifts off as I scribble more very illegible and sloppy drawings of the cells. I can feel my former art teacher telling me and urging me to draw better. I doubt my science teacher is grading this anyhow. Hmm, what to do now? Makoto is sitting in the back and probably thinking of his assignment. Here I am, thinking about him. Since when did I do that? I stare at my desk imagining his face. He’s actually pretty attractive now that I’ve noticed.
Scream! Scream! Scream!
Gosh, that bell is infuriating. I hastily pick up my stuff and speed walk to art class. The art room was only ten seconds away from my science class but I don’t want to be late under any circumstances. I guess I’m paranoid about being tardy.
I lean my back against the wall as I wait for the previous art class students to exit. I open up the novel I was reading. Fatal Truths by an unknown author. It’s about a boy who has been emotionally shattered to bits and pieces. It’s one of those stories that leave you tearful at the end and make you want to appreciate the life you have more. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book like this.
The swarm of people had dissipated and it was safe to enter the classroom without being trampled. As I entered the room, I had a really bad feeling. Makoto was in this class and we just had third period together. Where was he? He shouldn’t be taking a lot of time to get here. The bell screamed again and Makoto was nowhere in sight.
Art class passed by painfully slow. Don’t get me wrong, I love drawing but I dislike it when someone tells me how to do it. Soon, the entire day passed by and I didn’t see him again. That’s strange since we had fifth period together. Perhaps he had to go home early. When I arrived home, I opened up Fatal Truths. I was up until midnight reading it. I wonder why the boy is unnamed.
His life is just a chain of events linking up to him living forever and alone on the destroyed planet named Aura. He was born to a rich and loving family. On Aura, rich meant having plenty of resources such as gold, copper, tin, and silver. The boy was schooled in an active volcano and taught to survive even in the most desolate debacles. Many Aurans did not have the luxury of possessing this knowledge. One day, a huge metallic asteroid struck in Aura. This was the work of the Aurans’ enemy, the deceiving, and clever Labyrinthians. Not even most of the educated and knowledgeable Aurans survived. Only the boy did. The boy was the only survivor of the terrible catastrophe.
There was also a girl in his life, too. She ended up moving because of an opportunity to colonize Earth. She moved two months before the asteroid hit. She and the boy had communicated with each other up until he moved to Earth using the surviving spacecraft. They never heard from each other again.
There wasn’t another page after that. How can this be? That was not a good ending. I had checked at the library and there wasn’t a sequel to this. The new head librarian was pretty rude to me about this. He even threatened to take the book away from me. I left before he could reach for the book. Drowning in my dreams, I trip into a deep sleep before I turned off my reading lamp or closed the book.
I am unable to open my eyes. Trying to move my hands and feet, I realize they are bound together by chains. Where am I? Why am I chained? I cannot see a single thing but my sense of hearing had been heightened. I can hear footsteps and dog barks. They are not near but a few hundred feet away, I sense. How can I know that? I must be delirious or still dreaming. The door to this room creaks.
The voice. I knew that voice. So, Akemi, have you ever liked anyone? His question echoed through my mind. Why was I thinking about that this exact moment? He was here. That was all it mattered. He was here to help me. “Mmmm!” I tried to talk through the gag.
A pair of hands with long, quick fingers removed my gag. Those hands also took off the blindfold and chains. “What is going on?” I asked frantically. “Am I still dreaming?” Fear made itself at home in my brain.
Makoto shook his head solemnly through the pitch black darkness. He grabbed my arm gently with one hand and with the other hand, he lifted a finger to his lips to indicate that we should be silent. I follow his swift and silent footsteps out of the room.
I match his footsteps as he leads me through the night. I trust that Makoto will explain everything once we reach a safer place. An abandoned school is up ahead. The stairs in front creak under our weight. We slip inside and I follow him to the moldy cafeteria.
“Akem-,” Makoto breaks down in tears. He leans onto my shoulder and I wait for the waterworks to finish. What happened, Makoto? I thought. My heart reached out to him. I hug and console him, whispering words of sympathy.
“Akemi,” Makoto sniffs. “I thought you were killed after they kidnapped you.”
“Who?” My eyes widened with fear and confusion.
His wet, brown eyes looked up to my perplexed ones. “The Labyrinthians.”
“The book I was reading,” I realize. “This must be a joke.”
“No,” Makoto shook his head. “Fatal Truths is the biography of my life. You wrote it yourself.”