School of Redemption
Laverna emerged from her quick shower a couple minutes later. She dried her hair as best she could then left the room. She knew that Mictian would be waiting in front of the dorm like they had agreed, and she didn’t want to keep him waiting for long. On her way down the hallway, she approached a boy arguing with what seemed like his dad.
“I said I’m not leaving!” the boy yelled as his dad carried box and after box of his stuff into the hallway.
“Yes, you are! I’m not letting you stay with a murderer on the loose! What would you mother think?”
“Mom would let me stay and live my own life!”
“You didn’t know her like I did!” He paused as he put another box down. “You are coming with me, with your stuff or without!” The two continued to argue as Laverna passed them. A shiny pen caught her eye as she passed, and before she knew it, she was moving down the stairs with it in her hand. Guilt immediately filled her mind, but she couldn’t just go back up and say she stole it, especially with how the situation was unfolding. She reached the first floor and immediately went to the lost and found. There was nobody at the counter, so she just left the pen and the other stolen belongings there then rushed out to meet Mictian.
Mictian stood just to the left of the door on his phone. As Laverna approached him, he looked up.
“That was quite a quick bathroom break,” he joked, smiling. He could tell from Laverna’s still damp hair what had happened.
“Yeah, never faster,” she joked back. “But in all seriousness, I have to talk to you about something. Can we go somewhere more private?” She had considered not involving him in the whole situation she had found herself in, but she decided Mictian’s smile vanished, and his face quickly became one of concern.
“Of course,” he replied. “My dorm?” Laverna nodded.
“There’s no rush though,” she said. “I’ve had enough rushing around for the day.” From meeting to meeting, she hadn’t had much time to catch her breath.
“We’ve only been up for a couple hours,” Mictian replied. “But yesterday was pretty tiring.” He misunderstood, but Laverna let him.
“Let’s go,” she said, starting toward the door. Mictian followed close behind. As they climbed the stairs to Mictian’s floor, the yelling voices of the two Laverna heard earlier echoed around them.
“Someone’s not having a fun time,” Mictian commented. “Wouldn’t want to be them.” Laverna responded with silence. She wasn’t really in the mood to discuss other peoples’ problems. She had enough on her plate.
The two arrived at Mictian’s dorm. Laverna closed the door behind them and turned to look at Mictian, who stood in the center of the room. She had been trying to come up with a way to ease him into the situation, but she couldn’t come up with anything.
“What is it?” Mictian asked. She was out of time, so she just blurted out the first thing that came to her mind.
“How much do you trust Hecate and Kasdeya?” It was the same approach that Steven had used, and it had seemed to work for Laverna. Couldn’t hurt to try it, right?
“Hecate seems fine. A little crazy, but fine.” If anyone else had asked, Mictian would have probably questioned them, but he trusted her enough to not be skeptical.
“Not at all.” His quick, definitive response surprised Laverna. He only responded like so if he was absolutely serious about his answer.
“Really? How come?” Had Kasdeya said something to him while she wasn’t there?
“She just rubs me the wrong way, you know?”
“Did she do something to you?”
“Not exactly…” Mictian paused. “But like, I don’t trust anyone who hits on me the moment they meet me. It just makes me think they’re shallow.”
“On top of that, did you notice that in our class, she was the only one who didn’t say why she had ended up in that class?” Now that he had mentioned it, Laverna realized it was true. From the start, everyone had chosen to share the secret they carried with them through life, save for Kasdeya. She had just covered it up with the whole “stealing your heart” act she put on. What was she hiding and why?
“So was that what you wanted to talk to me about?” Mictian said, bringing Laverna out of her thoughts.
“Not exactly. I met with Asami earlier.”
“What?!” he exclaimed, surprised. “Are you okay? Did she do anything to you? What happened?” Laverna held up her hand.
“Slow down,” she replied. “I’m fine but let me get to my story.” Mictian fell silent, prepared to listen attentively.
Laverna explained the whole series of events that led to where they were now starting with the text she received and continuing through the meeting with Steven, Lilith, and Asami in her dorm. She told him about their conversation and the future plan to meet that evening. She then explained how they left and when she met up with Mictian.
“Asami hugged you?” he asked, confused. She hadn’t left out any details.
“Strangely enough, she did,” Laverna replied. “What do you make of it? She seemed…sincere in her worry.”
“Well she doesn’t seem to be the kind of person to leave anything vague, so maybe we should take it at face value,” he considered.
“That’s what I thought, but she also is a crazy murderer,” she said. “One wrong move from us and that’s us gone.”
“Well, from what you said, it sounds like Lilith is the leader of their group. I know you don’t like her, but I doubt Lilith would allow Asami to do much to us when they need us.”
“That’s a lot of assumptions you’re making.”
“Sure, but you already decided you’re going to this evening meeting, right?” Mictian asked. He really knew Laverna well.
“You’ve already decided you’re coming with me, right?” She knew him just as well. All that was left was for them to wait for the text.
The message finally came in the late evening.
Behind Shiro Hall. Now. Make sure you’re not followed.
“Message is here,” Laverna said, showing Mictian.
“They could at least be more polite about it,” he commented. His face became serious. “Ready?” Laverna took a deep breath.
“As ready as I’ll ever be. You?”
When the two stepped outside the dorm building, the sun was casting a deep red-orange glow across the campus much like the day before. Butterflies filled Laverna’s stomach as they walked the path towards academic campus. She glanced at Mictian. He noticed her gaze and flashed her a nervous smile. It seemed he was feeling the same as she was.
“You know it’s not too late to turn back,” he said. She scoffed jokingly, trying to lighten the mood.
“You know I’m not going to,” she replied. “Unless you want to.” He smiled weakly.
“I’m with you to the end.”
“Good.” The rest of the walk to academic campus was silent as they both tried to control their nervousness.
Shiro Hall was located across the courtyard from Kuro Hall, so the two didn’t have to go too far into academic campus to reach it. They reached the front with the building towering high above them. Laverna glanced around but couldn’t find another soul around. The air was creepily silent. No birds sang and no wind blew.
“Everything will be fine,” she said, more to reassure herself than anything else. She could hear Mictian take a deep breath next to her. Laverna took one herself, then the two began to walk side-by-side through the alleyway around to the back of the building.
“Mictian? Laverna?” A sudden voice made them both jump. They were only halfway down the side of the building, so they had no choice but to turn around. At the entrance of the alley stood Kasdeya. The red of the sunset cast an enormous backlight on her such that her figure may as well be a black blob in a sea of red. “What are you two doing back here?” she asked. Laverna and Mictian stared blankly at her for a second, trying desperately to come up with an excuse. Suddenly, Mictian practically jumped onto Laverna, pushing her until her back was against the wall.
“We were just looking for some private time,” he lied, forcing a smile.
“Somewhere where nobody would hear us,” Laverna said, playing along. Her face was glowing bright red, but in this situation, it helped to add to the charade. There was a pause as Kasdeya said nothing. Just as Laverna felt the gig was up, she spoke.
“Alright, stay safe!” Laverna thought she heard a hint of suspicion in her voice, but she couldn’t be sure without being able to see her face.
“Where’s Hecate?” Mictian asked suddenly. This was a small trick the pair had used in the past to divert the attention away from themselves. Even though the question was meant to divert Kasdeya’s attention, it worked just as well on Laverna. It hadn’t struck her until now, but it strange seeing Kasdeya without Hecate around.
“Oh, she’s off playing with fire,” Kasdeya replied, voice relaxing. “Every once in a while, we go to a safe spot so she can play with fire without there being a risk of property damage.”
“And you just leave her?” Laverna asked. “Isn’t that dangerous?”
“She can handle herself. And I don’t find the stuff particularly interesting, so I usually go out on a stroll. Hecate is so focused on her own thing that she doesn’t notice I’m gone.”
“That’s pretty convenient,” Mictian said. Kasdeya smiled.
“Yeah, I guess you could call it that.” She shifted her pose, getting ready to leave. “Well, I’ll be off. You two have fun!” Just as she turned to leave, she turned back. “Oh, and be careful not to break the wall!” With that, she walked away, laughing out loud. Apparently, that was supposed to be a joke.
Laverna could hear Mictian let out a breath. She hadn’t realized it, but she had been holding her breath as well. Still pinned to the wall, she suddenly became aware of her rapid heartbeat. It wasn’t just one she was aware of, though. Mictian’s came through loud and clear as well. It was oddly relaxing.
“Sorry,” Mictian said, beginning to pull away.
“Wait,” Laverna whispered, pulling him back.
“Laverna?” he questioned, a little surprised.
“Indulge me for a little.” She stood there, back to the wall and arms around him, for a couple seconds. She buried her face into Mictian’s shoulder. The rhythmic beating of their hearts and the familiar scent helped to calm her down a little until her breathing became normal. Finally, she let him go.
“Ready?” he asked, face beet red. She let out a chuckle, then nodded.
“Yeah.” The two locked hands almost naturally and walked the rest of the way down the alley. They turned the corner and were met with emptiness. The dumpster and a couple wooden crates lay scattered, but the rest of the space lay deserted. The pair glanced at each other.
“I’ll take you up on that private time now,” Laverna joked, squeezing Mictian’s hand a little tighter.