Volume 1 – The Phantom School
For many minutes, Idil and I just stood there without doing anything. It was impossible to accept. After all of our struggles against various threats, and solving the mysteries of ‘the curse’… It was all for nothing. We have believed that there was a way out of this place. In our minds, we kept chasing every little spark of hope… But then, all the sparks were suddenly put out. Our hopes were replaced with depression. We have been fighting a war we had already lost when it started.
But now, it was time to accept our fate. We had a task to perform before the sunrise. We could at least avoid further losses by warning the people that will arrive in the morning.
“Let’s not be late.” I told her.
She opened the notebook and turned the pages until she found an empty page. She grabbed a pen from the floor and started writing down.
“It will take a while to write down everything we found out about the building and the curse.” she said.
She sat down and started writing. After she wrote a few words, she stopped.
“You don’t have to force yourself to write proper paragraphs.” I said. “Just make sure you write down everything.”
“Okay, don’t worry about it.” she replied, and started writing again.
Meanwhile I had nothing to do. I thought I could use the posters around the hallways as warning signs as well. I grabbed another pen from the room.
“I’m going to leave notes on the posters.” I told Idil.
“Go ahead.” she told me. “It doesn’t matter if we are together anymore. It is all the same. But still… DO try to come back in one piece. Being the last person alive doesn’t sound good. Don’t make me wonder.”
“I wouldn’t let you have the honor of being the last survivor.” I said. She chuckled, perhaps for the last time.
I was about to leave the room when she stopped me.
“Hey.” she said. I turned around. “It won’t make much difference, but I just have to say…” She said that and a few tears dripped from her eyes. “I… love you.”
I could only respond by dropping a few tears myself.
“Don’t make it awkward.” she said. “Go away, you have things to do. I will be here.”
I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t even look at her face. I couldn’t do what I wanted at the end of our short lives. I looked down as I turned around and left the room. I closed the door behind me, but I couldn’t leave. I sat in front of the door in tears. After a few moments, I could hear her sobbing in the room.
“I love you, too.” I said. She could not hear me. For a strange reason, I did not want her to hear me. I didn’t know what I thought. Maybe I was afraid of deepening our connection just before we were separated by death. If it wasn’t for the curse, my own heartbeats would kill me. I slowly stood up and started walking down the hallway.
“I love you, too.”
– – –
I was very tired, but I had written warnings on all the remaining posters around the school. We were running out of time. We had to ‘complete the task’ before the sunrise. I was slowly making my way back to the principal’s room. Although my mind was in power, my heart was telling me not to go back there. I couldn’t handle the silent screams in my heart if I saw her just before our farewell.
Suddenly, it felt like the floor slipped beneath my feet. The whole building shook for a few seconds, making an ominous, low-pitched humming. Apparently, earthquakes were the latest trick of the curse we would experience. I stopped in the hallway and just looked around until the vibration stopped. After that, I kept walking slowly towards the principal’s room. I pushed the door open.
Contrary to my expectations, I couldn’t see Idil anywhere. I looked around the room for a while.
“Idil!” I yelled.
I saw her slowly standing up behind the wooden table. She must’ve hid under the table during the short earthquake. It was funny… We were still trying to evade death, even now.
“It took a little too long.” she said.
“Idil…” I said. “Just so you know…”
“Don’t.” she interrupted. “No. Please, don’t make it hurt!”
“I love you, too.” I said. It felt like the time stopped.
“Idiot.” she replied, and broke down in tears. “You were supposed to pretend I didn’t tell you that, at the end of our lives!”
She turned her back to me and sobbed for a while.
“We are running out of time.” I told her. “Did you write down everything?”
“Want to proof-read?” she said, without looking at me.
“There is no need if you are okay with it.” I told her. “But we should put the notebook somewhere teachers can easily find.”
“The teachers’ room is the obvious choice.” she said. “I know it might not be in a good condition, but that’s the best place to place the notebook.”
“Alright.” I said. “Let’s go.”
“No.” she replied. “You should go, I will be waiting here.”
“Please be with me.” I said.
“I want to rest for a while before we… I mean, you know…” she told me. “Please, don’t make me go there.”
“Oh, if that’s what you wish… I will be going on my own, then.” I said that and got out of the room, heading for the teachers’ room.
I walked downstairs and entered the teachers’ room. The room was in it’s original state when I arrived there. I simply put the notebook on the large table in the middle of the room and got back into the hallway.
I walked back upstairs, and to the principal’s room. I pushed the door. But this time, it didn’t open.
“Not now!” I yelled in frusturation. “Idil, are you okay in there?”
I got no response.
“Idil!” I yelled once more, still trying to push the door. This time, she replied.
“Leave. Leave me here. Don’t make it harder for both of us. Turn around and walk away.” she said.
“What are you saying!?” I replied.