Chapter 7:

Chapter 1 - Part 7: Circle of Friends

I’ll Wait For You At The Train Station

Before I could see the school gate, someone called me from behind. At first, I ignored it for I thought that I misheard something. Also, why would someone call my name? That was ridiculous.Bookmark here

“Hey.”Bookmark here

Once I recognized the voice, I looked back. Behind me were four girls. They were the ones who talked to me and apologized for being “observers” while the bullying took over. That includes our class rep wearing eyeglasses -she was the one who called me. Too bad, I could only tell who they were by their voice and faces, it was so stupid to ask for their names knowing that we’ve been classmates for months. Couldn’t decide how to make a proper response, I instinctively nodded.Bookmark here

“How’s your summer break? Did you go somewhere?”Bookmark here

What’s with the sudden question?Bookmark here

“I-I went hiking… with my parents.”Bookmark here

I lied. I was supposed to say mountaineering, but that was a hardcore outdoor activity for them to believe.Bookmark here

“Oh! So you’re into that… nice.”Bookmark here

Another girl, the distinguishing feature of her was a twin tail, so I’d call her Twin-tail-san for now. Twin-tail-san butted in by saying:Bookmark here

“Where did you go?”Bookmark here

Maintaining a conversation is hard!Bookmark here

“M-my parents were the ones who know the place…”Bookmark here

“Oh…”Bookmark here

Their nonsensical questions followed by random conversations continued until we arrived at the school gate. Altogether, we entered our room. There was an unoccupied seat nearby the window. When I stared at it, the other girls glanced too, but their faces displayed relief.Bookmark here

“Aren’t you glad that she’s gone?”Bookmark here

One of them -with a shoulder-length hair- told me. The light from the morning sun pierced through the window as it landed towards the empty desk. There was supposed to be a girl named Ayanokouji-san glaring at me seated on its chair, but now she was gone. She ran away from trouble, and at some point, I do get curious if her new school would fit her terrible personality. I bet she’d be hated again there. Suddenly, one of the three scary girls went towards the desk while smirking. The remaining two was from afar holding their laughter, as though Ayanokouji-san’s change of schools made them into a formidable victor inside the class. Bookmark here

I stare again at the other one, then noticed what prank she was planning. While holding a vase with a white flower, she placed the heartbreaking item on Ayanokouji-san’s desk. After that, she returned to the group. Couldn’t hold it any longer, they burst out laughing. Now I could tell how evil and disgusting they were. They have no respect. Putting a flower on the desk means that the person who once occupied it had died. Although everyone knew here that Ayanokouji-san’s absence was due to the change of schools, they still pulled off that prank… for the sake of their personal entertainment.Bookmark here

“They’re evil.”Bookmark here

Our class rep spoke softly.Bookmark here

I agree with her, and since they were showing their true nature in the public now, I could tell that they wouldn’t hesitate to bully me soon. Perhaps too soon, I thought. As they caught me staring at them, they went after us. The other girls beside me dropped their gaze, intimidated. Meanwhile, I didn’t move an inch. I was more than prepared for this. So, what would they do? Punch me? Kick me? Address me with nasty insults or false names? My expectations were like an off-key note, though. Before us, they faked an earnest smile.Bookmark here

“Aren’t you happy now that Ayanokouji-san left? I couldn’t count how many times she bullied you. She’s the worst don’t you think?”Bookmark here

But you were the ones behind it.Bookmark here

If I was strong enough, I would’ve revealed that without hesitation. Unluckily, I don’t have the courage to step up. Despite knowing their ulterior motives of making a fool out of us, I went along the current by nodding.Bookmark here

“Hey…” one of them called indecisively. “We’re aware that we couldn’t get along with you on the first time we hung out at the karaoke. It was our fault for forcing you to do the things that you can’t do, it was also our fault for ignoring you after that.”Bookmark here

Fakes.Bookmark here

“We regret that. So now… w-we would like to…”Bookmark here

Fakes.Bookmark here

“-start over. Is that okay?”Bookmark here

Beside me, class rep gazed in concern while shaking her head in disagreement. I guessed she knew them more than I do. Caught in the act, the three girls scowled at her. That simple action alone served as a solution for her to leave and walk towards her seat.Bookmark here

“I-I’ll go ahead.” Shoulder-length hair-san said as Twin-tail-san followed.Bookmark here

“Me too.” The other girl with a short height forced a smile at me before leaving. The circle of good classmates that I’d supposedly have crashed down after a frown that resembled a scary threat. I was not afraid of them, but getting these good classmates involved would burst forth remorse on my conscience. If I make a move now, their attention would be pressed back against me.Bookmark here

“Of course. It’s all in the past now so let’s forget about it.”Bookmark here

I played pretend. After I replied they smiled; they might’ve thought that I was too easy to be manipulated. I would fight this battle alone, it was no different to what I have been doing from the beginning. One of them wrapped an arm to my shoulder.Bookmark here

“Hey. Would you like to go somewhere after school? You’ll be the one to choose for a place to hang out this time.”Bookmark here

I bet they were enjoying this. Since this situation happened so fast, I couldn’t think of an answer. That was why I reasoned out instead:Bookmark here

“I’ll think about it…”Bookmark here

They inclined their heads.Bookmark here

“Think about what… picking a place? Or come with us…”Bookmark here

“U-Uhm, picking a place.”Bookmark here

“I see.” One of them sighed and continued. “We thought you don’t want to come.”Bookmark here

“I’ll think of a place. Thank you for inviting me.”Bookmark here

“I often see you skimming your Twitter. I’ll invite you to our chat group.”Bookmark here

I agreed as they invited me in their Twitter messenger group. As soon as the bell rung, their leader amidst them half-raised her hand.Bookmark here

“Talk to you later.”Bookmark here

I headed to my seat located at the front crossing my concerned classmates. Looking at their eyes, I could determine what they were trying to tell. It was either the words of apology such as “I’m sorry” or a warning like “Don’t go with them”.Bookmark here

I know. I know. Don’t worry.Bookmark here

Now that I took a seat, I started thinking for a place where I could either escape or humiliate them. Wait… did I just say humiliate?Bookmark here

Am I gonna fight them now?Bookmark here

I received a Twitter notification on my phone.Bookmark here

@Majo_77: [Have you thought of any?]Bookmark here

I snickered upon looking at her name. Majo [1] matched her, she was indeed a witch. As our homeroom teacher began today’s subject matter, I put the smartphone to my skirt pocket. Returning to the topic, I just thought of my last resort, reasoning that my mother messaged me to go home early. And so, that was what happened after school. Surprising enough they let me go home without complaints. I fell asleep on the bus and woke up a few seconds it arrived at my stop. As I get out, my smartphone vibrated. I looked at my phone to see plenty of new messages from the three girls. I already have a feeling that those were harsh remarks pointed towards me. Nonetheless, I still gave it a read. I scrolled up their conversation over and over until I arrived in the first unread message.Bookmark here

@Majo_77: [You know that girl… she escaped again.]Bookmark here

@Kiriko_Shima: [Yeah, let’s give that germ a piece of advice tomorrow.]Bookmark here

@Kagawa48: [Germ huh, that’s hilarious. She’s called that way by the Ayanokouji bitch too.]Bookmark here

@Kiriko_Shima: [Maybe she pooped on grade school]Bookmark here

@Kagawa48: sent a sticker [POOP]Bookmark here

Just as I thought.Bookmark here

I scrolled down their conversation after concluding that I didn’t have to waste my time reading it. I’ve heard of this kind of bullying before. The bullies would force you to join their chat group, only for you to read their numerous sarcasm. I grinned upon thinking about their stupidity. Before doing these, they should’ve first reconsidered the person they’d bully. I was immune to their preposterous comments. If physical pain such as being punched was not a problem for me, no doubt psychological attacks like this wouldn’t make me budge. My phone vibrated over and over but I decided to ignore it. Bookmark here

I went home safe. It was around 9:00 PM when I went to bed, but strange enough, my phone was still buzzing. I never thought that their fingers have long tolerance for typing on the phone. Would they put on such an effort just to offend me? They were too passionate I’d say. Now that I thought about it, what if I leave the group? My eyes snapped as I thought of a good idea. I opened my Twitter app and pressed the mail button leading me to the group message interface. Their tactless comments continued as I typed on my phone at full speed.Bookmark here

@nless944: [I know your secrets. Ayanokouji-san told me every dirty part of your group. Go ahead and kill me if you can. @Majo_77, you deserved to be called like that because you look like a witch.]Bookmark here

I had the itch to challenge and insult them. Was I out of my mind for declaring that? Perhaps I was still affected by their commentaries despite denying to myself that I was being susceptible to it. After sending the message, I left the group.Bookmark here

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[1] Majo (魔女) -translates as Witch.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.