Chapter 1 - A new girl in school
I turn to the side on a high tatami bed with a headboard and light heated brown mattress. (Tatami is a mat made from rice straws.)
I am huddled in a light blue cotton blanket, pillows covering me from everywhere. Next to the bed is a nightstand. A white lamp in the shape of a cat is sitting on it. A cord hangs from the cat’s tail, and an alarm clock lays in front of its legs. The numbers on the clock change, flashing and beeping aggressively.
I pull the duvet over my head and try to push the reality out of my mind. My hair is tousled, and long bangs fall into my eyes. My hair is in an extended hime cut, covering my hips.
I am very pale, and I have cornflower eyes with purple dots here and there. A thick black plain choker hangs around my neck; I wear it everywhere. Fortunately, my school allows for some jewelry.
I raise my right arm and smash the clock. It springs and falls on the tatami floor with a hollow thud—something in it cracks. The ringing stops, but the object already broke.
I look at it sleepily, and my head falls back into the pillow. I enjoyed my warm mattress and didn’t pay much attention to what happened; I still haven’t woken up completely.
I lay in bed until my phone beeped. The sound fully woke me up. Wait for a second... Don’t I have classes today? No, it’s Sunday, and I set my alarm wrong... Or is it Monday?
I reached for my phone and stared at the time for a few seconds. “Holy chocolate soy milk with grilled sausages! I’m going to be late!” I shouted, getting up quickly. The realization of time hit hard.
I blew bangs out of my face with a phone in one hand and ran to the kitchen. While running, I tripped over the clock, fell, and yelled. “AAAAAAAAAH! OW!” I glanced back at it and cursed.
I stood up and ran to my closet, next to the bed, where my uniform hung - the top, a navy blue sailor fuku with a red blouse and with a sailor collar, a navy blue pleated skirt, and black knee socks. I dressed as fast as possible, grabbing my hairbrush from the closet.
“My name is Kurumi, Sakura Kurumi, and today is my first day at this high school; I am a second-year like the rest of you, and I can’t believe I overslept and almost came late!” I thought of introducing myself to the students like this; however, I threw the idea away.
I brushed my teeth and stepped into a pretty big kitchen. I am standing in front of a fish oven, pouring some water in, set the heat, and placing the fish in it. While waiting, I threw all the stuff I needed in my randoseru - a type of firm backpack from stitch leather material.
I waited for the fish, and when the food was ready, I picked up the chopsticks and took a piece of meat with them. I swallowed it quickly and slung the randoseru over my shoulder.
With keys in one hand and a phone in another, I locked the door and ran down. The house has four levels, and I live on the third.
I dashed from my house, and the train station came into my sight. My train! It’s already here! I bumped into a few passengers, who weren’t too happy about that, and who could blame them on a Monday morning. Standing next to the window, stares land on me, thanks to my appearance. At times, people want to take a photo of or with me; they think I’m cosplaying.
A lot of schools rejected me because of how I look. They refused to accept a girl with white hair. ‘Either dye it or don’t return.’ The principals said. Why do we get rejected only because of our hair color? Aren’t we all the same, regardless of skin color, hair color, eyes, height, or weight?
I was furious. Finally, I found one, though! I got accepted! I know people are going to check me... But I hope life is going to be better than before.
I got off the train with some people, making a fuss to get in. Once I got clear of the crowd, I returned to my former pace and continued running.
I tried to be as respectful as possible, switching between a quick walk and a full-blown sprint depending on the number of people around me, though, at times, I’d still bump into people. I apologized and continued my way.
“Good morning!” I greeted the janitor, standing in front of the gates. Finally! I am here!
“Good morning,” the janitor returned my greeting, looking me up and down. I strolled past him and through the lockers until I found mine and traded my shoes in for a different pair.
Soon, I finally found my class and entered. The room is almost full, with a few students missing. I took a seat at an empty chair and placed my randoseru on the desk.
Behind me, three girls talked, and as they saw me, they stopped talking. One of the girls with light brown eyes and straightened brown hair came up to me. “Hey!”
“Huh?” I gazed at the girl.
“I haven’t seen you yet. Who are you?”
“And your name?”
“Two same names? Cool! What brings you here?”
“No, my surname is Sakura. The second is Kurumi. I recently moved to this city because something happened at my school; it kinda ruined my reputation.”
I can’t say the principal expelled me. What would this person think?
“Reputation ruined? I’m sorry to hear that! You can sit with us at lunch. My name is Naomi.” she invited me.
“You’re very nice! Thanks!”
“No problem. Welcome to Nightland High School!” The girl strolled away.
I arranged books in my randoseru instead and placed them under the desk. The teacher came into the room, greeting us to the second term. “As you can see, we have a new student.” The teacher mentioned viewing me.
“Would you like to introduce yourself?”
I nodded and walked up to the blackboard, writing my name on it with chalk, before facing the class.
“My name is Sakura Kurumi. It’s nice to meet you! I hope we can be friends.” bowing to the class, I devoted a genuine smile with everyone peering at me.
I walked through the tables to my own next to the window and found a seat. I waited for the lunch break, getting up once the bell rang for it. While walking, I glanced at a guy, though, didn’t pay much attention to him. I sat on the opposite side of Naomi, checking my bag for lunch, seeing I have none.
Naomi and her friend just finished their meal and excused themselves to the bathroom.
I strolled to my table, in despair, hoping someone at least left a bit of candy until I received this desk, but as if already prepared for disappointment, I just sighed after finding nothing.
Raising my head, I looked at a boy sitting next to me. I felt surprised, not noticing him before. He had dark brown messy hair, long bangs, and pluralized cheek length forelock on each side of his face. His eyes were emerald green.
The first time seeing him, I thought he resembles a character from a manga or the protagonist in an anime.
That sure is unusual. I’ve never seen anyone with this eye color in real life. They are beautiful. He seems irritated and bothered by something unknown to me.
Sitting in my seat, I watched him. His head tilted and placed on the desk, along with his arms. He lowered his head and seemed to be asleep, not paying attention to me anymore.
For an unknown reason, I thought of asking him for food. I didn’t notice him until now, and he did not sit with anyone. Is he a loner? Maybe no one wants to be friends with him; if so, why? There’s something mysterious about him, and I want to know what.
“Hi!” I greeted him. He appeared surprised by me talking to him.
“Hey...?,” he responded, a bit insecure for a while.
“Do you have food?”
“Why?” he frowned.
“I left my bento at home. I have been starving throughout all of the lessons; my friends, it appears, have their bentos already eaten...”
“Naomi and Yua?” The boy asked coldly. “They’re no good. Forget about those girls.”
“Don’t ask questions. Just forget.” he brushed me off.
“Can you at least tell me why? They seem nice.”
He sent a glare in my direction. “Just because a person appears nice at first, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re your friends or that they’ll be nice later on.”
I wondered about his words. What makes him say this? Does he know those girls? Were they his friends once? He says not to ask questions, though...
The boy stood up at the same time he saw Yua and Naomi enter the class. He exited pretty fast; maybe he had to go to the bathroom? Doubting the former, I watched him, my stomach rumbling with hunger and reminding me to fill it. Wait! I wanted food... I’ll follow him; hopefully, he will still be able to give me some...
I chased after him, quickly walking past Yua and Naomi. “Kurumi?”
However, I already exited the classroom, following this strange guy. I saw him go around the corner. Where could this guy possibly be going? And why is he avoiding these two girls?
“Kurumi! Wait!” Naomi followed me, grabbing my hand. “Huh?”
I turned to the girl; he disappeared out of my sight. “Don’t talk with him.”
“Why?” I asked, and Yua’s face darkened.
“Because he’s no good. Avoid him to stay out of trouble and his mess.”
“He’s involved with two guys nobody wants to mess with. Just leave him alone, and you’ll be fine,” she said coldly. “Let’s go back to class now!”
I got pulled back into the room, whether I liked it or not. I couldn’t think about anything else than this guy. So many questions and no answers!