Chapter 14:


The WTP Club

Fog lay over the city as Va stepped off a bus early in the morning. She had tied her blond hair into a ponytail. In tow she had a bag in which she had hidden an axe. She strode along the deserted sidewalk. The air was already so cold that some smoke formed as she exhaled. She loved this time of year. Bookmark here

Suddenly, she felt a cold hand on her shoulder. Bookmark here

"Wait, Va!" Bookmark here

Va's heart stopped for a second. Startled, she jumped away and turned defensively toward the unknown person. In the midst of the fog, Glenn's face appeared. Bookmark here

"What are you doing here? Don't scare me like that!" she screeched reproachfully. She expected Glenn to bicker back as usual, but he didn't seem to be in the mood for arguments at all. Bookmark here

He walked up to her without saying a word and then looked deep into her eyes. "I've fallen in love with you, Va, I want to be with you and I don't want you to expose yourself to that risk."Bookmark here

Va was caught off guard completely and didn't know what to say. That came very sudden after all. Bookmark here

Glenn took a deep breath and waited nervously for her answer. Bookmark here

Va rubbed her hand over her face, being visibly overwhelmed. Although she still hadn't said anything, the confession seemed to make her happy somehow. Bookmark here

Glenn gathered all his courage and asked "Can I kiss you?" Bookmark here

"No, you can't." Va instinctively shook her head.Bookmark here

Glenn was irritated. Why did she seem happy if she didn’t want him to kiss her? Bookmark here

"Why not?", he asked, slightly disappointed, but kept his composure. Bookmark here

"Because I have a mission to fulfill. Besides, I might be moving far away soon; you couldn’t be together with me either way", Va explained calmly. Bookmark here

Glenn wouldn't to give up so easily. "How is that a problem?", he shouted militantly "I'll go with you. After I graduate from school, I can go everywhere I want. Nothing is keeping me here!" Bookmark here

"You can't come to where I am going", Va replied, shaking her head again.Bookmark here

"Why wouldn't I be able to come with you?" Glenn asked persistently, but Va would not answer anymore.Bookmark here

Instead she said "I have to hurry now so I won't be late. Take care, Glenn. Stay strong, because I am too!" Bookmark here

She dashed over to him quickly and briskly stroked his curly hair. Then she trotted away. Bookmark here

Glenn was rooted to the spot. He considered running after her, but somehow, he felt that Va would definitely not want that. So he slowly turned around and made his way toward the abandoned factory. Bookmark here

"So this is what rejections feel like", he said to himself with a forced smile. An aching emptiness spread in his stomach.Bookmark here

When Va arrived at the agreed meeting place, Bane and Smoke were already waiting for her. Bane had his arms crossed and was impatiently tapping his right fingers on his left upper arm. Bookmark here

"There you finally are", he said slightly annoyed when he caught sight of Va.Bookmark here

The three of them were standing at the bottom of the hill from which Va had planned to spy into Keiichi's room back when the semester had just started. Bookmark here

Bane handed out horror clown masks for Smoke and Va to put on. On the one hand, they were meant to hide their faces from potential surveillance cameras installed inside the house. On the other hand, it was much cooler to commit crimes under a horror clown mask, as Bane claimed. Bookmark here

Va lost all faith in Bane's sanity but did as she was told. She also put on gloves before taking the axe out of the bag to avoid leaving fingerprints on it. Bookmark here

As the church clock struck the sixth hour, the group started to run toward the house. The fog covered them and they were almost invisible from distance. The three threw their axes over the fence into Keiichi's garden and nimbly climbed after them. Then they carefully sneaked up to the front door.Bookmark here

Bane raised his axe high, took one wide swing, and within seconds the front door went to pieces with a loud crash. This made a lot more noise than Va had expected. She glanced around paranoidly while Bane and Smoke hit the door a few more times to allow the group to enter. Bookmark here

"Alright, the first hurdle is overcome", Bane whispered. He assumed that Keiichi must have woken up from the noise, so they now had to find him as quickly as possible and keep him at bay. They had to prevent him from calling help at all costs. Bookmark here

The three ran to the end of the corridor and up the stairs to the second floor of the house, where Keiichi's room was located. Once they reached the top, they found several closed doors. Bane and Smoke started opening the doors on the left side of the hallway, while Va opened those on the right side. Bookmark here

The second door from the left appeared to be the room, they had been looking for. Bane was standing in a bedroom that definitely belonged to Keiichi. All over the wall were posters of anime. One of the two closets was filled from bottom to top with video games, DVDs, and anime merchandise. And at the desk, Bane's eyes captured a laptop that Bane believed to be the item he was looking for. Bookmark here

Strangely, however, there seemed to be no sign of Keiichi himself in the entire room. His bed was empty, and the bedclothes were folded neatly on the bed. Consequently, he couldn't have just woken up from the burglary. Bane hoped that Va had tracked Keiichi down in the meantime and greedily ran straight to the desk to grab the laptop. Bookmark here

Just as he put away the axe and clasped the laptop with his hands, he suddenly felt a sharp pain on the side of his neck. What was that? Everything suddenly began to spin. What was happening here? He felt his hands shaking uncontrollably and he had a hard time holding on to the laptop. Desperately, he tried to grab the axe to defend himself against the unknown attacker. But before he could reach it, his legs also failed, and his entire body sank to the ground. Bookmark here

"Fuck, fuck!" Bane cursed as he lay on the floor, feeling the numbness spreading all over his body. His entire musculature seemed to be failing. Slowly he noticed how he was tiring, and it became difficult for him to keep his eyes opened. Everything went black and before he knew it, he had passed out.Bookmark here

What followed was quite a strange dream. Bane himself was in a horizontal position and watched colorful clouds dancing around him. He tried to reach for the clouds whenever they approached him. However, they evaded him at the last second every time. After seemingly endless desperate attempts, he noticed how the fluffy ground beneath him slowly dissolved and a cold concrete floor revealed itself. The clouds started to disappear as well and he caught sight of an ugly, bare ceiling.Bookmark here

"Are you awake?" he heard Va asking. Bookmark here

Tired, Bane rubbed his eyes. What on earth had he been dreaming? His head was pounding, and his body was freezing. He tried to think back and remembered the stinging sensation he had felt before he had fainted. He grabbed his neck. There was a small hole, though to Bane's relief, it was not bleeding. Bookmark here

"Where are we?", he asked with a groan. Bookmark here

"Probably in Keiichi's basement", Va answered dryly. Bookmark here

Bane looked around. They were sitting almost completely in the dark. Only a dull bulb in the distance gave them a little light so they could orient themselves. Bookmark here

He himself was inside a basement compartment that was probably intended to store items. The bars, normally providing protection from theft, held him captive. On the other side of the bars was a long corridor. What was its the end could not be seen from Bane's prison.  Bookmark here

Va was locked up in the neighbouring basement compartment, watching him closely. Looking at Va, Bane noticed that they had been stripped of their masks and also their axes. He sighed and sat up. At least he could move his body again, although every movement was an effort.Bookmark here

Then he heard a door at the end of the corridor open and footsteps leisurely approaching the two. As the shadow of the person loomed into his compartment, Bane glanced up.Bookmark here

"How's it going, boss?", Smoke asked him mockingly. Bookmark here

"Traitor!" Bane snorted contemptuously. Bookmark here

"I didn't think it would be so easy", Smoke said with an arrogant smile "You really are a fool." Bookmark here

Bane straightened up and strode to the front edge of his cell to speak face to face with Smoke. "YOU are the fool here. Your masquerade was obvious. I saw through it from the very beginning. This is all part of my REAL plan, you know!" he said self-exalting.Bookmark here

Smoke was not fazed by the bluff. He threw Bane a smirk before walking over to Va's cell. Bookmark here

Bane watched him somewhat irritated as he took his keys out of his pocket. What was he about to do? Slowly Smoke put one key into the lock and turned it. Bookmark here

The barred door opened with a squeak.Bookmark here

Bane's eyes widened. What was going on? Bookmark here

Va rose slowly and walked wordlessly out of the compartment. Bookmark here

"Welcome back, Va!" Bane suddenly heard another voice, which he immediately recognized as Keiichi's. Bookmark here

Va returned the greeting as Keiichi headed toward the three of them. Then she gave Bane a disdainful look. Bookmark here

Smoke laughed "Is this part of your 'plan' too?" Bookmark here

Bane shook his head in disbelief. He didn't understand what was going on anymore. Bookmark here

Keiichi took Va by the hand and said "I'm so glad you're back with me. It's been way too long." He seemed relieved. Bookmark here

All of a sudden, Bane started laughing out loud. He roared "Oh, I see! Now I understand! Now I understand everything! Va! You are genius! You're the most brilliant actress I've ever met!" He lowered himself and a tear of joy ran down his cheek "Va I am so happy to have met you. I don't think I've ever been so entertained in my life before. Thank you, thank you, just thank you for this wonderful performance! If I ever get out of here, I'll be at your feet, Va." He closed his eyes and let his head sink happily into his neck. Bookmark here

Va and Keiichi watched him closely but didn't say a word.Bookmark here

Then Keiichi turned to Va. "Let's go, we have a lot to catch up on." He waddled back up the hallway and Va followed him silently. The expression on her face was more serious than ever. Bookmark here

"You really are a ridiculous, pathetic person", Smoke said contemptuously and spat into Bane’s prison. Then he left him alone.Bookmark here

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