Chapter 15:

A Painful Truth

A Place between There and Now

The teacher's gaze wandered around the room as if looking at the students who once sat at those desks. "Good morning my children, today we are going to teach you about the Umbraus also known as the Shadow. But first, let me introduce you to a new Student.”

I heard the doorbell being pressed down. My gaze wandered to the wall, a girl opened the door and stepped into the room. “This is your new classmate, her name is Yui, she will now tell you a little about herself.” The girl walked up to the teacher's desk and stood next to him. He looked down at her. She made no effort to say anything to us, she just stood there and did not move her lips even a little.

The teacher was a bit perplexed but that did not upset him. “Ok then, you can sit down at the table in front of Yukio. If you have any questions you can ask but be aware that he can be quite annoying and if you are not careful he can lecture you about his favourite series or game.” He was actually quite right, I was actually one of those obnoxious kids in middle school, especially after I couldn't talk to Tetsuo anymore, why did he have to get a girlfriend out of everyone too, it really pissed me off. But the teacher, the hangman, he couldn't have known. How should he have known about me, about my interests? It could all be a guess, his statement would apply to many students but I didn't think so.

I looked up, Yui was standing in front of me, she was looking me straight in the eye with her empty gaze as if she was thinking about how she was going to kill me. “Could you help her turn the table away from the window, Yukio? We really should have moved them right after art class yesterday.” I didn't know why I should react at all, what was going on here anyway? "Yukio? Do I really have to kick you out again for something like this? Why are you always like this towards everyone, why can't you just get along with others?" The teacher slammed his hand on the table and gave me a nasty look, somehow this seemed very familiar. I stood up and looked him stoically in the eye, I was not at the age to be impressed by such things, but I wanted to know what the teacher meant when he spoke of the shadow so I just played along.

I walked to the table in front of me and lifted it. It was not heavy, even a 15 year old girl could have lifted it easily, not to mention that she could have just pushed it across the floor. She took the chair and pushed it behind the desk and sat down. As I walked back to my seat I looked back over my shoulder at him, Tetsuo was sitting there, as usual, a little behind the table because he was so fat that he didn't want to squeeze under it. I turned around, it was just her, Yui, why was she sitting in his seat? What was the teacher thinking? Where was Tetsuo and why had the teacher completely forgotten him?

I shook my head, I could feel the confusion shrouding my thoughts in mist and making it harder to think. I had to concentrate, I didn't know what was going on and I had to concentrate on what my goal was. I wasn't here to rummage through my memories, no, I was here to find out more about the shadows, this place and maybe even the teacher. If I was ever going to escape from here, I had to think more tactically, I had to plan, learn to deal with my surroundings, understand how this place worked, what happened here and how I could escape and not become part of its history.

I was determined, I looked up, the teacher looked me in the face and smiled. "ok, you can sit down now Yukio". I followed his request and sat down again. "Okay students, since she doesn't want to, I'll tell you a little bit about your new classmate. As you already know, her name is Yui and she is my daughter." It was clear that Yui was uncomfortable as if the whole class was staring at her, but she tried to hide it as best she could and simply drew in her block.

"She likes to draw, just like you Yukio." he looked at me again, I felt both annoyed and uncomfortable at the same time. I thought it was strange that the teacher only mentioned the two of us all the time, even though he was pretending to teach a whole class. "She can be a bit quiet and stand-offish, but please be nice to her anyway." He talked as if we were in primary school. I knew that bullying was as big a problem in middle school as it was in primary school, but I also knew that something like this wouldn't make her situation better.

I shook my head again, why was I thinking about such things again, I couldn't care less. Why was it so hard for me to concentrate my thoughts? It was the classroom, wasn't it? It all felt so familiar. Was it perhaps a kind of nostalgia that robbed me of the ability to think clearly? "That's enough about her, I was already late so we don't have time to talk about Yui anymore, even if I could for hours, I'm very sorry."

Yui flinched as if she could hear the other students laughing, but there were none, no one was laughing, no, not that day. I could still hear the laughter of the other students from that day in my head. No, that was a lie, I had long forgotten the laughter of the others, it was Tetsuo's laughter that I couldn't get out of my head, that he would do something like that out of all of them. A friend, an enemy, it was all the same. Love and hate, both arose from a personal interest, a difference of opinion or the same desire. i took a deep breath and closed my eyes, I had to stop thinking so much, otherwise, this wouldn't get me anywhere. I exhaled and opened my eyes.

"To get back to the subject at hand, take a look at this drawing." He took a piece of paper and hung it on the board with a magnet. on it was the black silhouette of a man. "Umbraus are the product of the eponymous Umbraus-Projekt which is a long-term research project by our lauded corporation Gazation. we thank Gazation, of course, for building this school, but it is this invention that will change the world. An Umbraus has the ability to reproduce infinitely, this is caused by the death of one of its shadows. They were originally built as a weapon, but thanks to the end of the war, there are now plans to use them to end world hunger in Europe and Africa. More precise explanations for the reproduction process and the general functions of Umbraus are not available to the public, but you don't have to know how the saviour of the world works to believe in him anyway. However, from early reports that were made available to the public to draw them to their side, it appears that an Umbraus is unaware of its own existence. An umbraus appears to think it is human, which caused many people to start protesting against the experiments because they believed that an umbraus was a genetically modified human. However, an outsider can clearly see that an umbra is not human, to them it only looks like a silhouette of a human being which is so black that it can never be illuminated no matter how bright the light is that is shone on it.”

I raised my head, Yui and the teacher both stared at me. They raised their arms and pointed their fingers at me. They opened their mouths and said at the same time "An Umbraus thinks he's human! Face the truth traitor, monster, you're not human, you're a tool, a weapon, a salvation, a cure but one thing you never are and you will never be, alive!” The Teacher continued "Once an Umbraus is confronted with the truth and feels cornered, he is open to the truth. Yukio, look at your hand!" I slowly lifted my Arm “face the truth, you are one!” My hand, it was black.

“What are you going to do now Yukio, are you going to fight, face the truth or are you going to hide under your desk?!" I didn't feel anything, I got up and walked to the teacher's desk. I reached into my Jacket’s right pocket. “Like you already said, I was made to be a weapon, so I will do what I was made for and fight. But I will not be your tool, I will not fight for you and neither will I fight on your side. When something tries to hinder me on my path I will fight, I will kill and I will be successful. You just happen to be someone I despise, someone I hate, someone I fear. And like an animal or as you said monster, I will fight what I fear.” I pulled the knife out of my pocket and cut through his throat with one quick swing. He fell to the ground, blood gushing out of his neck.

I sat down on the teacher's table and put my knife next to me. I started to laugh "Yes! that's what you deserve, burn in hell where you belong!" It felt so good to finally give him what he deserved. I heard a sob behind me and looked next to me, my knife gone, I turned around and saw two eyes burning with rage. I looked down, my white shirt was stained red with blood. Yui pulled my knife out of my stomach. I said "Can't you give me a win?" before I fell backwards and landed next to the teacher. I looked into his dead eyes, he was smiling.

- booting #018

- repeat