Chapter 2:

Darkest Hour

66 Hours

The rest of the school day went by without any incident and the time has almost come for us students and teachers alike to go home for the day. Incidentally, the classes in Matsubara Senior High end right around 4 in the evening.

With the season being mid-winter and all I bet the sun will start to set in an hour or so, and it must already be freezing cold outside.

Just as I look out the window and ponder on that the bell rings, freeing us from a boring lecture that I haven’t heard a single word of.

“Alright everyone. Please do a revision of this chapter, and also read up to page 76 for Monday. Have a nice weekend.” Suzuki-sensei, our history teacher, announces while he stuffs the thick book he has been holding for the entire time inside his bag, and steps out of the classroom.

“Hey, I’ll be going to Matsumoto-sensei’s office. She said that she needs me for something. I won’t be long, so wait for me okay?” Mayu turns to me, right as she is picking up her schoolbag.

“Roger.” I reply nonchalantly.

She mouths a “thanks” before skipping out of the classroom, in her usual energetic fashion.

Right as I start collecting my stuff, I suddenly notice that something is missing. Incidentally, what triggered that acknowledgment, was a certain emptiness in my right pocket.

“No way…” I mutter to myself as I realize that my phone is not where it’s supposed to be.

I frantically start searching around, hoping that I had put it somewhere else instead, and it had just slipped my mind. But not matter where I look, be it my bag or blazer pocket, my phone is nowhere to be seen.

I feel like groaning, given how frustrated I am, but I obviously hold It in. The fact that only 1 or 2 of my classmates still remain in the room doesn’t give me leeway to be a weirdo. With a shake of my head, I quickly get up with my schoolbag in hand and go about searching the school.

Courtyard, bathroom, Cafeteria…

After a good 10 minutes of aimlessly searching around the school, I sigh in exasperation, as I lean and slide down against the hallway wall.

If I don’t find it she’s gonna kill me...

And of course I’m talking about my mum, since it’s a brand new ePhone she bought for me 2 months ago.

After a half-minute break, I regain my composure and decide to think it over once again, as I get up and start over my search. And just like that, as soon as I get to my feet, something inside my brain clicks.

“Biology class!” I pump my fist in the air triumphantly, knowing that I may have cracked the mystery.

I must have misplaced it underneath my desk during biology class, like I usually do when I’m playing games instead of paying attention to the teacher.

The biology lab is pretty big, which is a factor that decreases the chances of me getting caught by the teacher while doing so.

Now that I have a clear destination in mind, a certain relief washes over me, as I walk down the corridor. The fading echo of my hasty steps is the sole source of any noise, really driving home the fact that I may be one of the last students still in the school, since club activities are temporarily prohibited for a short amount of time. The reason? Well, exams are just around the corner, and apparently Matsubara High doesn’t take those things lightly.

Right around now, the building next to this one, housing all the clubrooms, would be bustling with students.

Yet again, the feeling that I may just be alone in the school, rises up from within me, and replaces the relief I felt just a few moments earlier.

I want to get out of here…

I can’t really tell why, but that thought suddenly crosses my mind. Why am I feeling this way? Did Himura-san’s prank really get to me?

Am I actually a scaredy cat?


Right as I’m lost in thought, my body collides with a foreign object. Something… soft?

A thud and the sound of books scattering across the floor, redirects my gaze downwards.

There rests, a girl donning the school uniform, with a great number of books sprawled at her feet.

Straight and long, crimson red hair, tied in a neat ponytail, and the rest falling as a side fringe across her face.

Big and round eyes, of a deep blue color.

Curvy, but tight figure, clearly visible even over her uniform.


That’s the student council president and the school’s idol, Mochizuki Ayase!

Did I just get into a cliché situation with the school’s hottest girl?

Right as I study her well-proportioned and delicate face, I can make out a faint hint of irritation.

…Did I make her mad? I’m in trouble, aren’t I?

“Oh, I’m so sorry, I swear it wasn’t on purpose!” My voice comes out a little squeakier than I would want to, as I try to salvage the situation.

I extend my hand out to her, and soon, the irritation on her face feels like a distant dream. A gentle, and sweet angelic smile has taken the place of the scowl she had been wearing.

Talk about a 180 turn…

It truly felt like she flipped a switch.

“No, it’s okay.” She finally speaks up as she accepts the hand offered, her voice smooth and refreshing, like a cool spring. “Thank you…”

“No, I mean, I totally spaced out, so…” I reply in a hasty manner, as I go about collecting the scattered books at our feet. “…Here.” I hand the big, and let me add, heavy pile to the girl in front of me, offering up a small smile.

“Again, thank you.” She smiles sweetly at me yet again and I suddenly feel my heart racing.

Damn, she’s gorgeous…

Hot girls are dangerous. Dangerous and bad for my heart too.

“Uhm… sorry, but I don’t think I got your name.” She looks at me, furrowing her brows, as she takes ahold of the big pile of books.

Of course she doesn’t know my name. She’s one year older than me and we don’t share any clubs. Not to mention that she’s the student council president and I’m… well, pretty much a nobody.

“Makes sense…” I chuckle to myself, before giving her a small shrug. “I’m Kobayashi Hideki, from 3-A.”

“Well then, I’m…”

“Mochizuki Ayase. Student council president.” I fill in before her, causing her eyes to widen in response.

“…It appears I’m famous.” She voices, after a light chuckle, that makes her seem even cuter.

“Uhm, well, I mean, everybody knows who you are so…” I try not to sound too nervous, despite my beating heart. But of course, I fail.

What the hell is going on? Am I that into her?

“Here, let me help.” Having earned yet another small laugh from the student council president, we split up the books between the two of us.

“Quite the gentleman.” The smile that could possibly illuminate the whole town at night, stays put on her lips, as she starts walking ahead of me.

“Yeah, well, gentleman is my middle name…” I mouth kind of reflexively, trying to break the ice. “…Where are you delivering these?”

“The teachers’ office. They told me to swing by after I was done with some student council business.”

“Damn, aren’t they working you hard enough already? I mean… the position of student council president is hard enough as it is.”

“Well, it’s not that bad. When you take up such a position you’re prepared to work a little harder than anybody else.” Mochizuki-senpai explains as she knocks on the door of the teachers’ office, before sliding it open.

“Oh Mochizuki-san. Thanks for delivering these.” The math teacher, Ibuki-sensei voices as soon as the both of us step into the room. “Oh and Kobayashi-kun as well. Thanks for your work.”

“Good evening, Ibuki-sensei.”

We both give a polite bow, before we put our respective stack of books on the nearest desk.

Right as I do, I look around and notice that Ibuki-sensei is the only one here. All of the teachers must have gone home.

But what about Mayu?

I think, before I shrug to myself and decide that she probably left without me.

“Truth is, I was about to take my leave, so if you could lock up after passing out a book in each of the teacher’s desk, it would be greatly appreciated.” He announces, and makes for the door, without giving us a chance to reply.

“O-okay. As you wish sensei.” As Mochizuki-senpai takes ahold of the key handed to her, our math teacher is already out the door.

“Did he look like he was in a hurry, or was it just me?” I ask, unable to contain how dumbfounded that had left me.

“Yeah, it did actually…” She replied in the same manner, clearly perplexed.

As soon as we got our bearings back, I decided to help Mochizuki-senpai short out with the books, just like a gentleman would, and we soon parted ways. She said she still had some leftover tasks involving the student council, and of course my task wasn’t yet complete.

After that little detour, I finally ascend the stairs to the 3rd floor, and find myself alone, in the top floor of the building, for a second time today. To add to that, now that I was alone yet again, the same uneasy feeling welled up within my chest, once more. With quick, and nervous steps I walked towards the biology classroom, and coiled my fingers around the handle tightly.

I just gotta get my phone, and get the hell out. Mayu’s probably home anyway.

Right as I’m about to slide the door open, I suddenly realize it won’t budge. I pull at it, hard, but it just won’t give in.

What the hell? Is it locked?

But instead of locked, it feels… different. Like it’s stuck.

Is this damn floor playing tricks on me again!?

With yet another, more fierce pull at the door, it finally gives in. But this time, I didn’t feel any resistance, making the added strength feel like an overkill.

“Huh?” Dumbfounded on what just transpired, I take a look at the door.

Pretty… normal?

“Whatever…” After a dismissive shake of my head, I walk inside the specialized classroom. The shutters are letting the slightly orange hue pass through the windows, and one of them, oddly enough, is wide open. Apart from that, the room seems quite normal.

But who would leave the window open?

I think to myself, as I walk to the back of the lab. Something feels off…

Right as I take a look at the section underneath the upper part of the desk I was sitting on earlier today, I’m delighted to spot my precious phone.

“Yes!” I cheer all by myself, securing the device inside my right pocket.

With an elated expression, I look up.

Then, right as I do, I can clearly make out something on the whiteboard. Something that definitely wasn’t there when I first looked.


Drawn on the whiteboard, is a clock, painted in a red color. Both hands, point at the number 6. The drawing seems fresh, and frankly, not so well made. I have a feeling the biology teacher would have done a better job at drawing something like that.

My feet are frozen on the spot, but I drag them onwards nonetheless.

Why a clock? And why do the hands point at 6:30?

Suddenly, I wish I had payed attention during biology class.

But that wasn’t there when I walked in… right?

Instinctively, and as I feel my uneasiness growing, I find myself right in front of the whiteboard. Before I can even think of why, I swipe a finger across the board, and notice that the paint won’t come off.

“What the hell is this?”

I repeat the same motion yet again, but the outcome is the same. Nothing. Determined to see what the hell is up with that mysterious paint, I turn around to pick up the eraser from the teacher’s lectern.

Suddenly, I hear a soft click. Whipping my head back around, I notice the window has just closed. But windows like that don’t just close by themselves…

I don’t know why, but I suddenly turn back to the whiteboard, my heart hammering against my ribcage.

There’s nothing there. Not anymore. The clock is gone. Gone, like it had never even been there.

“There's something dark... I sense darkness in this school.”

Then I suddenly recall Himura-san’s words. Her distant gaze, and that… that silhouette lurking in the darkness.

My heart is just about ready to burst out of my mouth, as I turn on my heel and make for the door.

As soon as I’m out, I pick up the pace and walk down the stairs. In a matter of seconds, that actually felt like an hour to me, I’m finally out of the school building and onto the courtyard. I just want to get out. Mayu has already left, so I’m on the clear!

As soon as the school gate comes into view, I’m tempted to break out into an all-out sprint.

I just need to get out… As soon as I do, all those disappearing clocks, windows with a mind of their own, and talks about darkness will be a thing of the past…I just need to get out...

Right as I continue repeating that sentence, over and over I suddenly bump into someone once again.

Or was it something?

I turn to look up but there’s nothing blocking my exit to the outside.

Man I must be seriously hallucinating right now…

After questioning my sanity, I try to take yet another step forward but my foot is unable to advance any further than the threshold of the school.

What the hell…?

It’s like there is an invisible wall between the school and the outside, right at the threshold of the gate. This must be some kind of trick. I try to climb over the school fence but I’m met with the exact same force blocking me from even edging outside school grounds.

Am I… trapped in here?