Chapter 1:

One

The Dark Classroom


"Did you remember your lunch?"

Santiago Powers was just walking out the front door as his mother shouts to him, standing next to his father.

Santiago: "Yes, Mom, of course."

Santiago's mother: "I can't believe our boy is already off to high school."

A tear was rolling down her cheek. The first 15 years of Santiago's life sped by like a cheetah for his parents, and now he was leaving for his first day of high school.

Santiago's parents: "Have a good day!"

Santiago: "Thank you!"

The door shut behind him, and his life was never going to be the same.

---

Santiago sped through the streets of Seattle on his bicycle. He felt like an entirely different man with his ass on his bike seat. He and his bike went together like Phineas and Ferb. With his feet on the pedals and his Nirvana mix blasting from his Airpod, Santiago felt like a king.

Or at least until he had finished three quarters of his commute to school...

Turning a corner, Santiago collided into a pedestrian, knocking them both onto the ground. The other dude was wearing a hoodie, had navy blue hair, eyes of that same color, and the same height as Santiago. Santiago was so shocked by the boy's appearance that he missed the chance to apologize, and the boy sprinted away from the scene.

---

Santiago: "So this is it, huh."

Before he knew it, there he was at the front gate of Marcus Kirby High School. Looking to both his sides, he saw all sorts of kids his age walk through the gates: tall guys talking and laughing away together, cheerful blonde girls, and gloomy kids who looked as if they hated every last thing about education, because they probably did.

Santiago walked in the giant building with excitement and searched for his name on the bulletin board, and there he saw, under 9th grade Class 1, along with 27 other students’ names, the unique name given to him by his parents followed by the name of his entire family.

Santiago: “Let’s go, lucky Class 1!”

Santiago exclaimed his excitement in cheer, but that cheer quickly shifted to discomfort when he turned to his right side and saw two slightly older looking girls, probably juniors or seniors, staring at him in suspicion. After a moment of awkward silence between Santiago and the girls, the girls slowly walked away from the bulletin board having said nothing, one of them still staring for a few seconds after walking.

Did I really say something that weird, Santiago thought as he began to walk the opposite direction toward his homeroom. His lack of understanding what had just happened made him feel uneasy throughout his brief stroll.

---

Santiago was one of the first kids to enter the classroom. He glanced at the seating chart and saw himself assigned to the third row, second to the right.

As students entered the room after him, he noticed that almost all of them were appearing exceptionally gloomy, and it only added to his uneasiness.

Seconds before the ring of the first bell, a tall man with short brown hair, glasses, a shirt, tie, and khaki pants rushed into the classroom and introduced himself to the class.

Mr. Brown: “Good morning, boys and girls! My name is Mr. Brown, and I will be your homeroom teacher throughout the school year. This is my twelfth year teaching at Marcus Kirby, all in this same room, and I hope we can make this one the best yet.”

The teacher sure seems like a nice guy. Santiago was relieved by the kindness of his teacher, as he knew that a kind teacher would make his academic life easier.

Roughly ten minutes passed, Mr. Brown was lecturing away, the students were as bored as a typical high school student in class, and Santiago accidentally knocked his pencil off his desk with his right arm. As he looked to his right to grab the pencil, he happened to catch a glance of the student sitting next to him, and noticed that the kid looked surprisingly familiar. In fact, he was the same strange looking guy that Santiago had bumped into on his way to school less than an hour earlier!

Upon realizing this, Santiago received a feeling he had never felt before. His blood was rushing through his veins, and his heart felt like it was racing like Sandman in the Steel Ball Run. I can't let myself get this nervous on the first day of school! Santiago tried to keep his composure, but he felt too nervous by this chance encounter. He decided to use this opportunity to apologize for their previous incident. He ripped out a piece of paper from his notebook, wrote "I'm sorry for ramming my bike into you this morning", and placed the sheet on the desk to his right without catching Mr. Brown's attention.

Seconds later, the blue haired boy returned the sheet to Santiago's desk, having written on the next line "please leave me alone". Santiago was confused by the boy's refusal to make amends, and it also made him feel down.

---

Several boring hours of classes passed, and the bell rang signaling the beginning of lunchtime. Santiago hoped to use the lunch hour to spend time with the blue haired boy and hopefully reconcile, but the kid sprinted out of the classroom. Santiago, refusing to give up on this potential acquaintanceship, prepared to chase after him, but he was tripped by a leg and fell to the floor. Another male classmate helped him back up with a smile.

"I'm very sorry about that. My leg slipped. Stupid school floors, you know? (chuckles)"

Santiago: "Please, don't worry about it. Shit like that happens all the time."

The boy reached out his arm, hoping for a handshake.

"My name is Chad."

Santiago shook his arm and smiled back.

Santiago: "I'm Santiago."

Chad: "Say, Santiago, why don't you eat lunch with me and my buddies?"

Behind Chad, four other classmates, two boys and two girls, were forming a circle with their desks, lunch boxes on the desks.

Santiago accepted Chad's offer, not wanting to turn down his friendship. As the lunch period went by, the group ate and chatted away, and Santiago was getting along very well with them. However, he still was not able to stop thinking about the peculiar blue haired boy. He didn't want to take no for an answer. He wanted to spend time with him. He wanted to know more about him...

Xeno
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