Chapter 5:

The Morning After

School of Redemption

               Laverna opened her eyes. She had managed to drift into a fitful sleep after a while, but she was nowhere near rested enough. Mictian still lay asleep next to her, one hand clasped in hers. After his scare the previous night, he had insisted on going to sleep like that saying that he couldn’t go to sleep otherwise. Looking down at him, she sighed. He looked so peaceful, but she doubted that would last once he woke up. He had always acted like a little kid whenever something didn’t go his way, possibly because of his wealthy upbringing. Whenever the two had gotten caught in the past during their escapades, Mictian would always complain her ears off until his parents came and bailed them out. Mictian’s parents had many connections that had prevented them from getting into any major trouble, but they weren’t enough to scrub their criminal records.

               “It’ll be fine,” she whispered, squeezing his hand. Even as she said it, she doubted that the words were true. There was no way to know the future, but it wasn’t looking good. Asami would surely be hunting them after what they saw yesterday. Laverna had told the police about Asami, but there was no guarantee they could find her fast enough. On top of that, whatever happened at her dorm the previous night had left her fearing returning to her dorm. She couldn’t stay away forever though. Staying with Mictian was nice and probably one of the safest options, but she didn’t want to force him to support her again. She would have to check out the state of her dorm later.

               She reached for her phone on the nightstand. There were a couple notifications, but she ignored them for the moment. It was already 10:30, but she still felt like she had gotten hit by a truck. Her head spun and her muscles ached. She tried sitting up, but her muscles refused to work. As she let her muscles relax once again, Mictian stirred next to her.

               “Sorry, did I wake you?” she asked.

               “It’s fine,” he replied. “I think I’ve had enough sleep for now.” He let go of her hand and sat up, wincing in pain.

               “You, too?”

               “Ugh,” he groaned. “We’re out of shape.” Laverna chuckled in response, finally managing to sit up. It was good to know that he was feeling a little better. She checked her phone again to see a notification from Thettle University.

               “Did you see this?” she asked, showing it to Mictian.

               “Not yet,” he replied. “What’s it say?” She began to read aloud:

Good morning. This is a message from the president of Thettle University, President Suzuki. As some of you may know, there was police presence on academic campus late last night. This was in response to a murder that took place in Kuro Hall. The identity of those involved will remain anonymous for privacy and safety reasons. The investigation is still ongoing. If anyone has any information that may be of any help, please report it immediately.

For six years, Thettle University has prided itself with being the second chance many students needed. Their past mistakes have closed many doors for them, but we believe it is important to open those doors once again. Supporting these students are important for their futures as well as ours. Thettle University has always stated that our unique educational system has been proven to reduce these students’ crime rate and increase their contribution to society. However, we understand that the very presence of these students may bring stress and anxiety to others on campus. There is currently no evidence point towards who committed the crime that took place last night, and it is our sincerest hope that no student will take action based on discriminatory beliefs. We are confident that the great students of Thettle University will band together to support each other.

For the safety of our students, we urge everyone to stay in your dorms as much as possible. If it is absolutely necessary to leave your dorm, please only move about in groups. Classes will be cancelled until further notice. We will inform you as the situation progresses.

Stay safe,

President Suzuki

               “Wish we had gotten Hecate and Kasdeya’s contact info,” Mictian said, thinking.

               “Maybe,” Laverna replied. “But they’ve got each other to rely on, just like we’ve got each other.

               “True, but next time we see them we should still give them our numbers.”

               “Agreed.” She stood up, stretching to the ceiling. It was a struggle given the state of her muscles, but the stretch felt very nice.

               “Sorry about yesterday,” Mictian said. Laverna turned around as he spoke. He sat at the edge of the bed looking down at the floor like he was ashamed of something.

               “For what?” she asked. She was pretty sure she already knew what he was apologizing for, but she just wanted to confirm.

               “I was a little clingy yesterday.” She had guessed correctly.

               “A little?” she joked, laughing. She winced as he muscles screamed. Recomposing herself, she continued. “But in all seriousness, it’s all good.”

               “You sure?” Mictian asked. “I think I might’ve gotten annoyed.”

               “I’m sure, and don’t mind at all.”

               “That’s good to hear.” In the past, she had never been in a position to help others, and she had gotten used to that. It felt good being relied on for a change, especially when it was Mictian who needed her.

               “You can rely on me more, you know,” she blurted out.

               “I might have to take you up on that offer,” he chuckled. “You might never get that arm back if you’re not careful.”

               “Don’t overdo it, or we’ll look like a couple.”

               “What’s wrong with that?” Mictian asked. “We’re already partners in crime, why not--” He cut himself off, turning red. He looked back to the floor.

               “Why not what?” There was a pause.

               “…Nevermind.” Laverna wasn’t oblivious. She knew what he was about to say, but she wasn’t going to push it. If he wasn’t ready to ask, he wasn’t ready to ask. Similar events had happened in the past, so she knew it would come up again. When he eventually would get around to asking, she already knew her answer.

               “Lunch time,” Mictian said suddenly, changing the subject. Laverna checked her phone again.

               “Didn’t we have that meeting with Hecate and Kasdeya?” she asked.

               “Think they’ll still show?” Laverna could tell that he really meant ‘Do we have to go?’.

               “It would be a good chance to get their numbers if they do.” Mictian grunted, standing up.

               “Guess we’ve got no choice then.” He paused. “We’re already late. Ready to go?” She nodded, grabbing her belongings and heading towards the door. The two headed out and down the stairs. As they approached the front door, they could hear the sounds of yelling.

               “Uh oh,” she said as they stepped outside.

               The sun blinded the two for a moment. Laverna reached up to shield her eyes, allowing them to adjust. It took her a moment to understand what she was seeing. The yelling was caused by a huge protest passing several feet in front of them.

               “No more criminals!”

               “Get them out!”

               “Enough is enough!” The two stood just outside the door watching the protest. They weren’t scared per se, but they definitely were cautious.

               “I see you’re here to watch the spectacle, too.” Laverna turned as she heard Kasdeya’s voice. She and Hecate were sitting on a rock nearby watching the protest as if it was a stage show. Hecate was holding a bag of popcorn and there were several empty soft drink cans on the ground.

               “Sorry we’re late for the meeting,” Mictian said.

               “Oh, don’t worry,” Hecate replied. “This is plenty entertaining.”

               “You don’t find it a little worrying?” Laverna asked. “After all, they are protesting about us.”

               “Nah, they’ll never know who we are unless we tell them.” She sighed. “But now that you’re here, why don’t we head somewhere a little quieter?”

               “Frankson?” Kasdeya suggested.

               “Sure,” Mictian replied. “I’m sure basically everywhere else is closed right now.”

               Hecate and Kasdeya stood up, collected their garbage, and started walking towards the dining court. Mictian and Laverna followed close behind.

               There was a sharp ding sound as Laverna’s phone got a notification. She paused, pulling out her phone. Mictian stopped a couple paces ahead of her.

Come to your dorm room at noon. If you value his life, come alone and tell nobody. I will know.

               As she read the message, her stomach dropped. It was from an unknown number. The “his life” must refer to Mictian. Could the message be from Asami? Somehow, Laverna doubted it. If Asami wanted to silence them for what they saw, there were much easier and less roundabout ways to do so. Laverna didn’t think that Asami cared much if others knew who she was and what she did. So who was this from?

               “Something wrong?” Mictian’s question snapped her out of her thoughts. She hesitated for a moment.

               “No, everything’s fine,” she replied, smiling despite herself. She didn’t need to get him involved. There was no reason to give him something else to be worried about.

               “Alright, then. Let’s go, slowpoke,” Mictian joked, poking her shoulder. The two jogged to catch up with Hecate and Kasdeya. Laverna let out a sigh. Today wasn’t going to be fun either.