Sunday, 26 June 2016

Chapter three (segment ten), 2017, old and new

They must have joined the opening ceremony together, because they were still together standing in the staircase just inside the door to the roof. Ulf knew they had, but he wasn't sure, because he was still in a daze from the news just days earlier.

He didn't want to put the lid on, but Kyoko's father had rather understandably been in a fury, and he had the contacts needed to dig deep enough to unearth Kareyoshi.

Because the moron is not merely a first class arse, he's an imbecile arse to boot.

How anyone with such an epic lack of braincells had been entrusted with the knowledge of the arrivals was beyond Ulf, but he was, and as such untouchable.

Yukio leaned on the crutch he had received more for comfort than any real need. It was the kind of antiquity still popular in Japan and the US with the support in the armpits rather than around the lower arms. “And why are we here?” he growled.

Time to lose a friend, Ulf thought. “You can't. Until we have the proof needed we can't start a manhunt.”

Who cares about proof?” Ryu wondered. He was as furious as Yukio.

You should, you know. Then Ulf regretted his actions last summer. Even with good proof manhunts were best left to the police. Society seldom benefited from vigilantes. “Because it's not the right thing to do,” he said and prepared for the worst. “Besides we're told not to.”

Yukio let go of his crutch and hammered him to the floor in response.

Ulf stood up just to be docked once more. The pain was nothing compared to watching the faces of his best friends.

Where's your loyalty?” Ryu asked.

We don't go after him because there are better ways.” Ulf touched his bruised chin with his hand. It hurt. He deserved it, but that didn't make ambushing Kareyoshi any more right. He'd have wanted to, but Amaya's explicit orders combined with his memories from last summer told him to stay his course.

You had no such qualms last summer.” Ryu gave him a disgusted look and stormed away. A few moments later Yukio followed.

You shouldn't have said anything,” Christina whispered. “You could just have told them to wait. That you had a plan or something.”

And lied to my best friend? Would that have made things better? To betray him later?”

Whatever. I'll talk to them.” And with that Christina ran after their friends.

Only Noriko remained.

Aren't you going as well? Family and friends first, and all that.” Ulf knew that was uncalled for as soon as he said the words, but he sullenly refused to apologise.

You're hurting. That's why you're mean. Family and friends, and all that. That's why I'm staying by your side.” She gave him a look filled with sadness. “I don't agree with your thinking, and you not with mine, but I'll stand by you in this. Because it's important for you.”

But I would have preferred Christina by my side. The moment the thought ran though his mind he regretted it. He gave Noriko a grateful look before looking down. “I should probably go to the infirmary and tell them I fell.”

So the school staff is OK lying to?”

Ulf glared at Noriko. “You know as well as I do that school staff is directly involved with the lies.”

She flinched at his words.

Sorry, that was mean of me. Yes, I'm afraid I'll have to tell a lot of lies. That we all have to.” The worst lie being that Amaya stood behind all those lies when he knew she was spreading rumours among her old colleagues.

She hadn't told him a lot, but apparently Japanese gun-laws more or less guaranteed that the police eventually would hunt the gun-toting killer beyond the grave, if needed. First your sister and now your friend. I'm so sorry, Amaya.


He looked at Noriko's concerned expression. “Yeah. I'm off for the infirmary, and you'd better find Nao lest he starts thinking we're doing funny crap behind his back.”

He wouldn't,” came Noriko's curt reply.

He probably wouldn't, Ulf silently agreed, but he wanted to be alone for a bit.

I wonder how long Christina and I have left, he wondered as he walked down the stairs. Noriko followed him for two floors, and then he heard the sound of her footsteps vanishing into the left wing second floor.

Infirmary,” Ulf told a teacher who wondered what he was doing in the corridor after class began.

A month, two? Doubt two. They'll schedule her to death if we don't break up, and that'll have her fail her exams for sure. Fuckers! It was unfair, but life was unfair. Guess we have to make every moment count. He grinned despite his dark thoughts. Make a lot of memories as they are so fond of here?

But in the end he accepted that he had very little reason to despair. Whatever he felt paled in comparison with the hell that was Kyoko's life at the moment. Gods I wish there was something we could do? I wish this shit never happened, but that's a bit late now.

With that line of thought he had passed vending machines, locker rooms and cafeteria, and he stood outside the infirmary. It was time to lie his heart out. Like how he had seen Christina do a few times he plastered a stupid smile to his lips and slid open the door.

Anyone here?” he called. “I seem to have had a little accident.”

He got no answer, and when he looked inside it was empty. Smirking he rummaged through a cupboard in search for something to apply to his chin. After that he'd have to wait. There would be a lot of waiting from now on.

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