Dreams, Don't Die
“The Dead…Writers’…Society?” I asked with hesitation and puzzlement.
“Yes yes!” the brown-haired classmate replied with increasing eagerness.
“Umm…first, who are you?” And please let go of my hands already!
“Oh, sorry.” The girl finally released her hands from mine and took a step back. It was then that I figured the only reason why she’d let go was to introduce herself with unnecessary grandeur. “I got caught up with the pleasantry that I forgot to introduce myself! Hahaha!”
There’s been nothing pleasant about this interaction so far!
She brought her right hand to her upper chest and posed elegantly. “My name is Zoey Stewart! Nice to meet you, Taiyo Moriyama!”
“Taiyo would suffice, thanks. Anyway, what’s ‘The Dead Writers’ Society’?”
“Well, I’m glad you asked!” Zoey enthusiastically placed my hands into hers…again.
“ ‘The Dead Writers’ Society’ is where literature enthusiasts meet and discuss about literature and creative writing…after hours.” For a short while, her expression changed from enthusiastic back to haunting then back to enthusiastic. Meanwhile, my expression may appear of nervousness I was more uncomfortable than nervous.
“O-oh, umm…I have…things to do after school. So, I’m afraid I can’t join…the literature club.” This is true. I do have things to do after school, like my part-time job on some days, and I’d much rather be at home writing, watching anime, reading, and playing video games. Besides, I’ve never heard of this ‘Dead Writers’ Society’ before. The name alone screams macabre and gloom!
“Well tell me, when is your next day off?” Zoey asked straightforwardly.
“When’s your next day off?”
“I-I’ve never said-- ”
“You didn’t have to say, because I’ve seen you before at your workplace.”
Well, calling her a stalker would be a stretch. I do work at a popular hangout place for family and teens in this city, a multi-faceted entertainment place. Anyone who knows anyone could be spotted at that place at least once during a month. Still though…
“I…don’t have to work today.”
“Ha!” Zoey let go of my hands and twirled around twice before posing to point at me. “So you ARE free today!”
Who is this girl!?
“If you attend today’s gathering, there may be snacks and discussions of anime and manga ~!” She said this in a sing-song voice.
You’re saying that as if the mention of anime and manga is enough to get me to join! And you gotta be sure about these things!
Before I even had a chance to respond to her invitation, she slipped a folded note into my hands and placed her arms across my shoulders, as if we’ve been friends for a very long time and are already comfortable with each other.
“C’mon, Taiyo. I can tell by your business proposal speech in class earlier. You’re passionate about literature, and I can sense that without a doubt you have a passion for creative writing, riiiight~?”
Just who is this girl?
“Besides, it doesn’t hurt to try new things every once in a while. It’s our last semester of high school. Let’s try to have fun until the very end.” She was close…very close…
The chime for the start of the next class!
“Hey you two, you can have your chat during lunchtime or after school. Get to your next class!” Mrs. Robins scolded.
Zoey and I spoke simultaneously. She let go of her arms around me and joyfully leapt back two steps. “So, I’ll see you this afternoon after school. Don’t keep me waiting~!”
Don’t insist things upon me!
Zoey skipped down the hall towards her next class. She’s going to arrive late.
And, I’m going to be late if I don’t get going!
I neatly shoved the folded note into my pocket and hurriedly set off towards my next class.
It was a good thing that Athena had already left the class during that weird conversation. I just hope she didn’t see or hear anything. Heck, I just hope anyone didn’t see or hear any of that!
Narrator: Little did Taiyou know, someone WAS watching that entire interaction. That someone was hanging out by the doorway of the business classroom near the lockers. Taiyo was too much in a hurry to his class to notice, but that someone was stood there, mouth agape about what had transpired and what was managed to be heard.
It’s lunchtime. Lunchtime at the school is divided into four intervals randomly decided by the school at the beginning of a semester. Lunch is also eaten inside the school’s cafeteria. My lunchtime is in the first interval. After lunch, most students gather outside in the courtyard to continue conversing, fresh air, exercise, read a book, or finish homework they may have happened to “forget” was assigned. I, too, often go out to the courtyard after my lunch. It’s there where I’d either converse with friends, read a book, or just have my heads in the cloud about my next story idea. Today, though, I just want to enjoy the time to myself, take in nature, and bounce around story ideas in my head.
“Hey, Tai!” a voice called out to me as I sat on the bench in the courtyard.
So much for that.
My perception snapped back to reality as I focused on the person approaching me from the cafeteria door. It my best friend Kaito Willsman, Kai for short. He’s an introvert, just like me, except he’s a bit more extraverted when it comes to interacting with people. As introverted as I am, I seem to talk more when I’m around him.
Kai and I have known each other since the first semester of our freshman year in P.E, where we were rivals competing for the spot of setter for the school’s freshman volleyball competition that is held to start the new school year every August (I know, what’s an introvert like me doing trying out for setter?). After competing against each other and failing to land for spotter, or even libero or any other positions (we weren’t even close as good as the other students who tried out!), we faced the fact that we just aren’t great at volleyball and should look for other hobbies. It was then that we became friends, developing into best friends.
Kai is approaching me with a friendly grin and eyes closed. I’d say it’s not unlike his usual disposition. Though, something seems off. I picked myself up from the bench I was sitting on to return the friendly greeting. With each step, he began to pick up the pace until…
“Tai! Buddy! So great to see you!” Kai greets, throwing his arm around my shoulders.
I guess he didn’t get the memo about personal space either. “H-hey Kai. Nice to see you. You doing alright, man?” I asked, chuckling uncomfortably.
“I saw it. I heard it. All of it.” Kai’s friendly demeanor to that of seriousness.
“Uhh…what are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb with me, Tai! The first week back to school and you are already going to hit it out of the park?”
I still have no idea what he’s talking about. Chuckling, I responded, “Are you talking about baseball?”
“I’m asking are you going to SCREWWWWWWWWWWWW?!!!!!!!!”
Kai’s “screw” echoed throughout the courtyard. Every student stopped their conversations, their exercises, their book readings and homework, and stared at me and my best friend, who was standing with bent knees, palms facing the sky, and clenched fingers.
Just say WRRRYYYYYYY while at it! “Ahahaha! Good one, buddy! What a funny joke!” I laughed, loud enough to be heard, trying to be convincing.
The silence. The stares. It continued for what seemed like a whole five minute!
Narrator: It was actually five seconds.
Finally, someone broke the silence. “Where’s your screw?” someone asked from within the crowd. The crowd of students all broke out into uproarious laughter and resumed about their activities.
I suddenly, and harmlessly, kicked Kai into his left side. He’s sprawled out onto the ground and I towered over him with a scowl on my face. “What the heck’s gotten into you?”
“More like, are you going to be getting into some girl’s pants?”
“What? Of course not! Why’d you think I’d do something like that!?” I was flustered, my face was a hint of tomato red from embarrassment from hearing such a thing, and anger because of Kai’s assumption. It’s not like I don’t know about…ahem, the birds and the bees. It’s just that I wouldn’t do such a thing if I’m not in a committed relationship that’d lead to marriage! And I don’t like talking about such things openly, even among friends! After all these years, what kind of person does he think I am?! I kicked him again, hoping that’ll jump start some sense into him.
“I…saw…and heard you…talking to that girl in your…business class…this morning.” Kai spoke between the so-called pain I inflicted upon him. Wanna know how I know he’s faking? I wasn’t even putting my weight into those kicks!
“Stop faking or I will actually exert force in my kicks.”
Kai promptly stood onto his feet and dusted himself off. He cleared his throat and began to explain in a more normal tone of voice. “As I was walking to my next class, I saw some girl holding your hands, getting close to your face, and put her arms around you. I also overheard you and her speaking. She said about meeting after hours, called you passionate, and that it doesn’t hurt to try new things for once and for you and her to have fun this semester until the end.”
Crap! I had forgotten all about that interaction! Though, it’s possible to insinuate such lewd things from an innocent conversation if you’re a passerby.
I let out a loud sigh, seemingly fed up but mostly exhausted from this day alone.
“The girl even slipped you a note before you two departed ways. An invitation to an after school rendezvous between her and you! Oooooo!”
“And you’re going to rendezvous with the emergency room if you don’t shut up with this crap already.”
I pulled the neatly folded note from my pocket for Kai and me to read. I’m going to prove to this idiot that it’s not anything that he’s thinking of. I unfolded it once, twice, thrice, and…open! Kai and I peered through the contents of the note, except…there wasn’t much to look at.
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO
THE DEAD WRITERS’ SOCIETY
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7th, 2009
WHERE: ROOM 206
DON’T BE LATE
The lettering of the word ‘cordially’ was written elegantly. However, the lettering of ‘The Dead Writers’ Society’ seemed as if blood is dripping from each letter. Everything else was as normal as normal can be.
Kai blinked his eyes. Without a doubt, his mind must be hollow right now. All that escaped from him was a simple, “…Huh…”.
“Now do you understand? It’s not anything promiscuous, or whatever’s going through that head of yours.”
“Right, but what’s ‘The Dead Writers’ Society’?
I shrugged, “Beats me. I’ve never heard of such a school club existing my entire time at this school.”
“Yeah, neither have I. And you like literature and creative writing and stuff. I’m sure you would have jumped on the chance to join back when we were sophomores.”
(Before I forget, readers, it should be noted that freshmen students aren’t allowed to join any clubs or organizations during their first year.)
“So,” Kai continued, sitting onto the bench, extending both of this arms and casually crossing one leg over the other, “you’re thinking about joining?”
“I don’t know about joining. I mean, I have a part-time job and there are other things I have to do after school sometimes.”
“Dude, part-time job aside, all you do is write, read, play video games, and watch anime. All of what could be done even after the club meeting.”
Don’t you, of all people, call me out on my crap. (-_-) “Yeah, but -- ”
“Ah ah ah! Before you make another excuse, think about it.” Kai placed his index finger against the temple of his head. “You want to go to a great university, right? Now’s the time to start preparing for it. The admission people look at how active students have been during their four years, not only your GPA and your grades. Aside from the business club you’ve joined since sophomore year, you haven’t really participated at any other events or clubs. This ‘Dead Writers’ Society’ is a perfect opportunity to put your passion for writing and literature to the test!”
Kai’s right, as much as I hate to admit. I have to focus more on club activities. But, that doesn’t mean I can slack off on my classes. Will I be able handle my classes, the business project, and attend that literature club? It doesn’t hurt to try, but…
“But what if I will get laughed at? What if my writings and my ideas are so bad, so laughable that I’ll be laughed at or ignored?”
“Tai, if there’s anything to take away from any of the stupid things I’ve said over the years, I want this to be the one to remember: ‘It’s better to stand for something you’re passionate about and get laughed at than to not stand for your passion and to let it die for the sake of conformity.’ ”
Kai may be an idiot at times, but he does say some sensible things. Whether it’s fate that brought this friendship together, or just sheer luck, I am thankful to have him as a best friend. Silently, I smile to show my agreement.
Kai uncrossed his legs and stood on his feet, his thumb pointing at his chest. “And you’re not going at it alone, because I’m coming with you to this meeting!” He spoke with such confidence. That idiot. No, really, that idiot.
“I know good and well you want to be nosy!”
“I still think you and that chick have something going on, Tai ol’ buddy.” Kai’s grin is so smug, so infuriating, so wrong!
“Shut up! There’s nothing going onnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!” My voice echoed throughout the courtyard as the view panned towards the winter afternoon sky…or so I imagined in my head. In reality, I didn’t raise my voice. I don’t foresee a day where I’d ever do such a thing.
The school day carried on without any incident. Before I knew it, the electronic bell chimed to end the school day. 2:45 PM. Students who do not have any club activities are to vacate the school campus by 3:15. Students who have club activities are permitted to stay on campus until no later than 5:00 PM, which is usually when all sports training concludes for the day.
After the bell chime, I walked to my locker to put away any books and binders I do not have any assignments for, and to grab the ones that I do have assignments, along with my book bag. Closing the door to my locker, waiting behind it was a familiar and infuriating smug, crap-eating grin.
“You know, your face is going to stay like that the longer you do it, and it will be all that will be remembered of you in our yearbook,” I said without a shred of enthusiasm.
“Yeah, but it will be so worth it when I witness the experience of a lifetime.”
“Again, there’s nothing going on between me and that girl. Don’t you have anything better to do?”
“Yes: to join you in this literature club meeting!”
With a sigh of defeat, I simply said, “Sure, knock yourself out. Didn’t know you are a masochist for disappointment.”
“Whatever you want to tell yourself.”
Sigh. There’s no winning with this guy.
The two of us trekked the hallways in search of 206. There are some classrooms I’ve never stepped foot in all my four years at this school. It’s not a fairly large school, but it’s also not a small school. There are enough teachers to teach each subject were it to be divided into two different classes due to a full class. For example, Mrs. Robins teaches business class at max capacity. There’s another teacher, Mrs. Jones, who also teaches the same subject, and another business teacher. They all teach in the same vicinity of each other, usually next door to each other. This isn’t always the case, as there’s only one foreign language teacher per foreign language, and those classes tend to fill up quickly during class registration day.
I seem to be rambling, but the reason this thought came to mind is because I have never before stepped foot in any of the room 200s nor have I ever walked down this hallway. After some minutes, Kai and I managed to find room 206, tucked away amongst the red lockers that lined the walls. Very easy to miss if you weren’t specifically looking for it, very difficult to find if you are specifically looking for it.
I stood in front of the closed room. I’m always nervous about meeting new people. I don’t know what they will think of me, if they are being honest, or if they have some ulterior motive. More than that, I often worry about coming across as weird or boring. Joining a club is something I need to do, but why is it something that I need to do?
“Quit stalling and let the good times roll!” Kai interrupted my train of thought, opening the door and pushing me inside the room.
I was hopping on my right foot, attempting to catch my balance with a heavy backpack on my back (where else would it be?). After three or four hops, I paused, placing my left foot flat on the floor. Lifting my head, I noticed three people in the room.
One person, a female, is sitting in a chair using a computer. She is wearing goth emo clothing, complete with the metal studded wrist band, black Jnco jeans, and a shirt with the logo of their favorite rock band. Another person, a male, is sitting on top of a desk and reading a manga I’ve never heard of, wearing normal clothing…well, except for that Naruto headband wrapped around his forehead! And finally, the (seemingly) most normal person in this room, a male, who was dressed normally, is sitting in a chair, one leg crossed over the other, the fist of his right hand pressed against his right face cheek as he read a book titled The Silmarillion by Tolkien, not once bothering to look up. It must be an intriguing book.
The goth emo girl and the headband wearing boy directed their attention towards me. My nerves began to kick into overdrive as their eyes were focused on me, as if they were laser guns, ready to fire.
“O-oh. Umm, hello. N-nice to meet you.”
The headband wearing boy leapt from his desk and dramatically landed onto the floor, one hand on the ground, the other behind his back, still holding the manga on the page he was reading he was reading.
“Looks like we have a guest, or an unwelcomed intruder!” the boy boomed.
Darn it, what did Zoey rope me into?
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