Ch 1 - Absent Retrieval
Today, I'm headed to my school, Horizon Academy, and I can't let my wavering thoughts bother me. I'm finally going to see the others and experience another school year.
I wonder what's going to happen.
On the way to campus, I keep examining the triangular Shard in my possession as I felt tense; simply because the vibe I had wasn't like any other day. My black and blue plaid polo sways towards the wind's approach, and I am suddenly filled with a surge of comfort. Maybe I'm just fussing about it too much. It's something to be expected from someone involved in an event like that, but not for all.
After my stress was relieved, I paused from walking for a while, realizing that I forgot the plan for the first day of school. Is there going to be some stunt pulled off by some of the clubs like last year? Or is there gonna be a big stage in front of the main buildings-- no, wait. That was only because the school was still new...
Halfway from my thoughts and towards the campus, I encounter Stella, a member of my group of friends (actually my only group of friends) who also researches about the Spectrum. Just then, her voice disturbs the still silence of the early morning.
"Hey, Cael! I missed you!" Her greeting surprises me. A smile from her petite face which her long, blonde hair tries to block from view emphasizes her striking joy, and her choice of attire, an off-shoulder and a skirt plus sneakers, isn't exactly the fashion for a school day. It's like she's going to a date.
She comes running towards me as if she were a dog who's really eager for their owner's presence. Not that I think that she's a pet or anything, but she is cute. Vacation just ended, and I have to admit; I also missed them in that short passage of time.
I pat her on the head as a gesture for her to decelerate her pace. "Whoa there," I look at her as she backs away a bit as a response. "You're too hyper for an early morning!"
"I was actually excited for today," she says as she brushes the strands of hair blocking her right eye.
"Really? You missed going to school?"
"Yeah..." her voice softens and I hear her mumble something. But, I didn't give it too much attention.
"Well then, no use standing around here," I say as I quickly check my wristwatch for the time and start walking. "Classes start in 10 minutes. We're gonna be late."
"But the academy's pretty close here!" She replies as she catches up beside me. "It's impossible for us to be late."
"Point taken. Let's hurry up."
"Aww. Why are you so tense?"
"I'm not," I reply, which was obviously a lie as my eye rolls to the left. I am, however, having mixed feelings at how she actually noticed this and paid not much heed towards it.
In approximately four minutes, we finally reached the school gates. Students in all sorts of clothing were passing through tall, metallic arcs which look like metal detectors. They react to the special wristband provided by the academy, and also if you enter while not wearing one. Student information is registered there, so IDs aren't something mandatory. Horizon sure is high-tech.
After finally breaching through the crowd, we make our way towards the big oak tree just in front of the three main buildings' facades. There, a group of three was waiting for us.
The first with messy, a tad bit spiky hair-- the one immediately greeting us, wearing a jacket showing a white shirt underneath together with jeans, is Jacob (the group calls him Jake). His eyes dart back and forth from the crowds as if he's some sort of lost puppy. His expression then changes as he finally spots us.
"Hey, you two-- Yeah, you!" He shouts, pointing at us as if we're strangers. "It's too early in the morning for tha--"
He is interrupted as she catches Stella's fast lunge kick. The short-haired girl beside Jacob was quick to evade his fall. Her name's Jana. She's currently wearing a green-striped t-shirt, possibly referring to her Color in the Spectrum (or that may just be her favorite color), partnered with black skinny jeans. She gives Stella this stare, which the latter returns.
"Hmph," Jana grunts, and is the first to look away. Afterwards, she looks towards me.
"Are you actually going to stand there and watch?" She asks. "We have to get out of here fast or we'll get caught and be ordered around."
Now, I finally remember. This year, it's supposed to be some sort of festival celebrating the Spectrum's anniversary. Heck, why would they give it that kind of treatment?! It was brutal, not a lively one.
The last one in a long-sleeved shirt and also skinny jeans, long black hair, glasses, and always carrying a laptop: Catherine. She's actually Jana's sister. And they seem to be polar opposites. She's always pretty quiet, only speaking when it comes to our research. And also, whenever the whole group's really having so much fun. Since she's the one who focused on hardware, I figured that maybe I would settle down if she gives me something.
"No anomalies today?" I ask her in an effort to get her to reply.
"No," she shakes her head. "But, there was something yesterday."
My heartbeat immediately hastens.
"That may be possible," she calmly adds. "But, again, it's best to be careful and alert from here on out."
Just then, I felt a tingle from the pocket where I kept the Shard, but it immediately dies down. They initiate a conversation, but Jake notices me spacing out and even jokes about it.
"Dude," he tries to whisper. "You're drooling."
"What?" I immediately wipe my collar against my lips and notice that it did get moist. "I'm not!" I retort, as the other three, who's already walking towards the field, notices our farce and calls us.
"We're not going to wait for you!"
"Cael, hurry up!"
And Cath? Cath just stays silent.
"Wow, and not one of them called out my name."
Jake looks at me with irritation. And I look back, wondering. He then notices my obliviousness.
"Whoa, are you that dense?" He asks me. "It's been two years!"
I really don't get what he's referring to. So, I just shake my head.
"Wow. Just, wow." He waves the both of his hands up in the air as we proceed to follow the girls. After that, he looks at me with sincerity in his eyes.
"Right. Something else happened in the course of two years."
Him saying that got me ticked off. It's the first day, and that dawns on me. It's the other thing that's honestly been bothering me ever since, and I'm getting sick of it. So, I try to wipe off the feeling by removing the current topic.
"That reminds me, where are the other two?" I ask.
"Keith's probably doing class related stuff," he swings his finger in a circle. "And Els is probably lost again."
"The poor guy."
"You're in a worse situation."
"Ah! Screw you."
The both of us laugh on instinct and we finally catch up to the girls. We were headed towards the old school building's rooftop, our group's usual hangout, since not much people go there anymore.
My thoughts stop in their tracks. This might be what I've been wishing for.
Still, something was lacking.
Something was amiss.
Something other than the two who left.
I ignored the feeling as I was in temporal bliss.
The Shard heavily shook this time.