4 hours to save the world
“Miss Kinoshita, could you refrain from running in the hallway?"
"How many more times do I have to tell you”
Mila made it to school just in time - all out of breath. She hung out with her friends last night and made it too late. On top of that, she forgot to set her alarm and missed her bus. Why does the school have to start so early… sigh…
“--Please take off your headphones and pay attention to your classes."
"I don’t want you around here for another year miss”
Mila gave the hall monitor a brief stare and gave in to their demand. She hoped the school staff would start treating her like an adult now she turned 18. But they only started treating her like an annoying brat more and more. They must think of me as some kind of a delinquent.
She walked over to her shoe box to get a mandatory change of shoes. Mila looked up at the clock and saw she had a couple more minutes to spare. Mila grabbed her bag and took out a BIC pen, which she used to rewind the cassette tape she had been listing to.
“What’s up Mila? You look horrendous today, did you get any sleep?”
Mila looked up at her friend with an annoyed expression on her face. Can’t he talk to someone else? Let me enjoy these fleeting minutes of quiet before all hell breaks loose again…
“Please get out of here you jerk. You were the one that insisted on me staying till 2 last night”
The boy talking to her was her friend Hajime, who used to be her underclassman - something Mila used to tease him about. But since Mila had been held back a year, they were now in the same class together.
“Do you remember this manga I have been bugging you about, Berserker?”
“They are doing an anime of that, it’s going to be totally rad! We have to watch it together”
Sigh… Mila wasn’t interested.
“I am still recovering from that movie you made me watch over the summer.
Somehow its ending managed to make me even more confused than the TV series.”
Hajime let out an uncomfortable laugh and tried to redirect the conversation. Luckily something caught his eye.
“Try not to look too conspicuous, but there is another confession scene playing out right behind you”
Mila turned her head slightly and saw a boy reading a pink letter.
“Another shoebox letter? That must be number 6 this year. How original…”
Mila looked Hajime in the eyes with a stark smile.
“I… I… that was a long time ago…”
Hajime blushed a little.
“Don’t worry… I already forgot.”
A brief but awkward silence followed.
“Do you think the guy will accept it?”
“Mmm… I don’t know. He looks a bit confused”
Mila repositioned herself so she could see the boy more clearly. He was looking around the space. He must be searching for the girl that wrote it. Mila couldn’t help but lend her gaze through the room.
“Hajime... look at 4 o’clock”
A freshman girl had crawled herself up behind one of the shelves on the opposite side of the room. She looked in the boy's direction, making sure not to be spotted by him. Her hands were shaking from excitement.
“Poor thing, she seems to be chickening out. Should we lend her a hand?”
“Hajime... you’re so awkward. It’s non of our problem anyway”
Mila already lost interest in the whole thing. She finished rewinding her tape and put it back in her bag.
“Let’s go to class, the bell will ring any minute now”
Hajime pointed in the direction of the boy. He had walked up to another girl who was changing her shoes next to him. Was she the one that wrote the letter? Or just a friend of his?
Mila’s doubt was soon resolved as the girl moved her head close to the boy and started passionately kissing her. A little indecent, but her courage is something to be envious of.
Then suddenly, they heard a loud scream coming from the other side of the room. The girl that had been hiding behind the shelf had revealed herself and was now running screamingly towards the couple. Had she written the letter after all?
The boy and girl abruptly stopped kissing and looked in the direction of the girl causing a commotion. The boy blushed again, they suddenly had become the middle point of attention. The girls started screaming at each other.
“Mila, do we know these two girls from something?”
Mila suddenly remembered that she had seen these girls fight before. A few weeks ago, after the summer break ended, they had been screaming against each other in the schoolyard. Are they love rivals?
The hall monitor walked up to the girls with an angry voice, trying to break up the fight.
“Please calm it down girls. Go attend your classes.”
But they weren’t having any of it.
Then suddenly, the building started shaking. Great, another earthquake. Mila crouched down on the ground, ducking away for cover. But then indescribable darkness fell upon Mila and the other students. The girl started screaming with an abnormally high pitch, a sound so horrific that it drowned out all Mila’s other thoughts. As the building was crumbling above her Mila felt an unbearable pain like she had never felt before. Soon everything seemed to fade to pitch black, and the only sensation remaining was the haunting scream.
With the terrifying scream still burning in her eardrums, Mila found herself lying in her bed, drenched in sweat. She had kicked her blanket on the ground. It took Mila a few moments to realize. It was just a nightmare… But somehow everything felt so real, Mila could still remember every little detail of it. She looked around her room to find her alarm clock, it read 4:33. Seems like I could get a couple more hours of sleep. But as Mila crouched down to grab her blanket from the floor, she got the fright of her life…