Chapter 0:

Prologue: An Unusual Day

Birds Were Supposed to Sing That Day as Well.

"Good morning. Today is April 11th, 2036; it is 6:45 am. The weather forecast is sunny, 23°C."Bookmark here

This information is waking me up. Thinking about the boring high school day ahead of me, the idea of getting back to sleep seems really inviting to me. At least, it was until my mother came to remind me of my daily duties.Bookmark here

— "Get up Iori, you're late already! Moreover, you're on duty today, isn't it ?"Bookmark here

Duty...Bookmark here

This word that sounds so hard to my ears is enough to bring me into desperation for the rest of the day.Bookmark here

After letting out a sigh that nobody wouldn't understand as despair, I'm finally getting out of my bed.Bookmark here

In order to not betray this routine that seems so dear to adults, I dress up in rote before heading, not without effort, to the kitchen to eat my first energetic apport of the day.Bookmark here

As always, my mother cooked her traditional toast of butter and jam, and as always, I hasten to eat them while my father watches the morning news on TV.Bookmark here

"...tension is rising again between China and the United States ... the White House threatens Beijing with reprisals for their violation of Japanese EEZ near Okinawa islands..."Bookmark here

In short, nothing new; everything will work out after some diplomatic discussions—nothing to save me from this gloomy day that was just beginning. After I finished eating, I went to the entrance to put on my shoes before finally crossing the doorstep, repeating my usual line like an automaton.Bookmark here

— "I'm going to school !"Bookmark here

Even the blue sky over the archipelago of Okinawa, where I live in isn't enough to cheer me up.Bookmark here

— "Seriously, what good is a blue sky if I am going to spend my day in a classroom anyway ?"Bookmark here

While approaching my fated destination, I walk past American soldiers enjoying their free time in this dream vacation place that is Okinawa.Bookmark here

Lucky you, I wish I would be as free as you right now...Bookmark here

Eventually, at the end of the street, I'm walking in; I see students that I know are from my school because of the uniform. Our uniform consists of a navy blue blazer with a white shirt, a dark gray necktie, and a trouser of the same color for the boys and the same uncolored outfit for the girl with a ribbon instead of a necktie and a skirt instead of the trouser. The students are free to wear a knit vest to their will, but the only allowed colors are dark gray, navy blue, or brown. The only way to distinguish what year a student is in is by the color of the slippers he has to wear at school. Yellow for the first year, blue for the second year, and red for the third year. It's a sober outfit that contrasts with the colored sceneries of this paradisiac island. Thinking of it, isn't Okinawa the land of sober uniforms? Between the military, the salarymen, and the school students, the rare people wearing extravagant clothes are the tourists.Bookmark here

Working my brain with this depressing thought while going through the school gate, I am brought back to myself by the school counselor greeting me with his usual enthusiasm.Bookmark here

After I arrived in my class, I attended the traditional sermon of the teacher.
I said to myself :Bookmark here

"Those 30 minutes could have been better spent if they were for my sleep."Bookmark here

Once the meeting is over, classes come. This day is no exception to the rule; it is particularly boring and only makes me dream of one thing: to go home.Bookmark here

At school, I am not what you might call a popular student. On the contrary, apart from my neighbors in class, I don't really have what other people call "social relations." I must admit that this is not really what concerns me the most.Bookmark here

However, today is a different day. The class president is asking to see me. Her name is Nayumi, she is a normal girl, without any distinctive sign, she has not too much nor too few friends, studious without being too much but she is dedicated to her task.Bookmark here

Yet despite her apparent normality, the class greatly admired her, and she even had fans among the lower grade students.Bookmark here

— "Iori, do you have a minute ?"Bookmark here

— "Yes, what is it ?"Bookmark here

As I felt the stress building up in me, awaiting the announcement of the work I should take care of, Nayumi sat down at my table.Bookmark here

— "If you don't mind, I would like you to accompany me to the teachers' office, there are several documents that I have to fill out, but it would take too long for me to do it alone. You are the only one who is not enrolled in a club in the class, so I thought you would have the time to help me."Bookmark here

As expected, the dreaded task came. If it were up to me, I would refuse, but I do not want to be taken for an egoist, my already meager social life would only be better. I can say goodbye to my free time after classes...Bookmark here

— "Of course, no problem, I'm after you."Bookmark here

— "Thank you so much; you're saving me !"Bookmark here

You don't say... truly, what a miserable day...Bookmark here

When we finally get to the teachers' room, our headteacher does not hide his astonishment when he sees me.Bookmark here

— "If it isn't Iori? Do you need anything? You're always the first to go home."Bookmark here

Ignoring the teacher's sarcasm towards me, I help Nayumi take the piles of papers on the table before leaving the room.Bookmark here

— "Thank you again for your help; I don't know what I would have done without you."Bookmark here

— "You're welcome; let's go, or we'll never finish."Bookmark here

— "You are more invested in this than I thought you would be."Bookmark here

— "Let's say I like to be efficient when I'm doing something."Bookmark here

Indeed, the sooner we are done, the faster I will be free. I want to go home before sunset.Bookmark here

Once we are back in the class, we start doing our work without exchanging a single word.Bookmark here

After 1 hour we finally finish.Bookmark here

— "Now we just need to photocopy these papers, and we're all done !"Bookmark here

— "Ok, I take this pile; you take the other."Bookmark here

The room in which the photocopier is located is in the basement of the school. Our class being on the second floor, I'm internally sighing, thinking of all the stairs we will have to go down while holding these heavy piles of papers.Bookmark here

After 70 steps going down, we finally arrive in the room. Now we just have to copy all these papers to finally be free.Bookmark here

— "Sorry, it may take a little while."Bookmark here

— "Nevermind, I didn't have anything to do after this anyway."Bookmark here

— "But don't we have homework due for tomorrow ?"Bookmark here

— "Oh... you're right..."Bookmark here

I was so impatient with the soon regained freedom that I had completely forgotten about homework.Bookmark here

We continue the chit-chat while the photocopier is working for us. When this task is finally getting to its end, I rejoice about finally be able to go back home.Bookmark here

Suddenly, a great flash comes from the staircase, followed by a deafening sound and intense vibrations similar to a big earthquake. The ceiling starts to crumble before falling on us.Bookmark here

At this moment, I thought my existence came to an end.Bookmark here

Taylor Victoria
Golden Boy
The Loner
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