Preston Preparatory Academy was an old school, the oldest school on Landgema Island.
It was built towards the end of the nineteenth century and was still Landgema’s most popular and prestigious school.
Landgema Island is a large island (and continent) located between Europe and South America.
There are twelve cities in Landgema Island and each city has a top school but Preston Prep topped all the schools.
Being the first and only school on Landgema Island in the nineteenth century, only wealthy people and people from noble families afforded to send their children to the school.
Not much had changed since then.
Now the twenty-first century, the school was highly populated with students from wealthy families, and a minority came on scholarship.
Esther was part of the minority.
The school offered a variety of opportunities to the students.
The school had a Performing Arts Department for students who wished to pursue a career in acting, music or any other form of art, be it calligraphy or paper art.
It also had a Creative Writing Club for those who enjoyed writing novels, comics and reading.
There was the Science Club, the Computer Club, and several others. There were also clubs for the different sports played in the school.
Esther easily did not fit into any club. She could enter the Academic Club (a club created by students who loved all subjects and couldn’t just pick one club) if she wanted to, but preferred not to. After all, her grades were outstanding, but so were the grades of everyone else.
Preston Prep Academy prided itself in having the most intelligent students on Landgema Island.
Esther yawned as she made her way past the several hundred students in the hallway and to her classroom. She was a smart student but studies, coupled with her duties as the school’s Head Girl, wore her out.
Her election into power by the school Head Master towards the end of Year 12 shocked her as much as it did everyone else.
She had not expected it at all because she only had one friend and rarely came into contact with the school authorities, but mostly because she was from Mamar.
Mamar is a small city in Landgema that is notable for its black population. There are very few white people in Mamar.
Esther’s parents had migrated to Saint Liane before she was born because her father had received a great job opportunity.
He had long passed away but she still thought of him from time to time.
Esther was not respected as the Head Girl by the other students in power and she concluded that it was because she was black.
Preston Prep had very little diversity and it had been that way for years. It was actually a shock that there was diversity in the school.
The Vice Head Girl, Kamella, never hid her dislike for Esther. She gave her a stink eye whenever she walked into a room and, though she and Esther were supposed to share a dorm room, she blatantly refused.
Esther did not blame her because Kamella had been campaigning to be the Head Girl for as long as Esther could remember; only to have the position handed to someone who didn’t even think of holding any power.
Esther was glad that they were in separate classes.
She sighed as she entered her classroom.
“You’re... two minutes early, Brown,” Mr. Mack, her Geography teacher, stated as he checked the time on his wrist watch. “Your classmates wait until the last second before they get into my class.”
“I had nothing else to do, Sir, so I came straight to class.”
She chose to sit at a desk in the front of the classroom.
“Not even friends to talk to?” Mr. Mack asked.
She shook her head, “No.”
Her only friend was in a different class, so they barely spoke in between classes.
“I was just like you when I was younger,” Mr. Mack said as he brought out a folded map of Landgema from his briefcase. “No one wanted to be my friend because I was overweight and dug my nose for gold every single day. They used to call me Booger Boy.”
Not much had changed since then. Mr. Mack was heavily obese and he still picked his nose when he thought that no one was watching.
“One minute left,” Mr. Mack said. “Let me go and wash my hands first.”
Mr. Mack walked out of the classroom.
The teachers at Preston Prep were top teachers in the country but once you got to know them, you would also know that they were like everybody else.
Some teachers, like Mr. Mack, loved to reminisce about their past. Other teachers were serious and kept to themselves while the rest were comedians but serious when they needed to be.
Esther sat alone in comfortable silence for a while before another student walked in.
She knew him because he was one of the diverse students. His mother was a South Korean while his father was a Landgemite.
He wasn’t a student from her class, and so she wondered what he was doing there.
Kai peeked into the classroom before entering it and closing the door behind him.
“I need to speak with you.”
“Why?” Esther asked, one eyebrow rose higher than the other.
“Aren’t you the Head Girl?”
“Yes,” Esther nodded, knowing full well that Kai knew that.
Kai walked up to her and took a seat on the empty chair beside her.
“I have a problem.”
“Then go to Dexter or anyone else,” Esther said. “Dexter’s the Head Boy.”
“Dexter has a large ego and the others have shunned me,” Kai replied. “You’re my only hope.”
“Okay, what’s it about?”
“The missing students,” Kai breathed out.
Seven students had disappeared from the school. The students had reported the case but the Head Master dismissed them. He told them that they had travelled for an inter-school competition.
Esther waved him off. “They’ve probably gone for the school competitions.”
“That’s what I thought too,” Kai said. “Until I saw this.”
Kai retrieved something from the pocket of his trousers and handed it to Esther.
Esther looked at it. “What am I supposed to do with a piece of paper?”
”Open it up!”
Esther took in a deep breath and unfolded the piece of paper.
There was something written in black ink. It was written with a gel pen. Esther loved gel pens.
“Read it,” Kai urged.
Esther sighed and read what was written on the paper.
I want to kill him with a knife. Yes, a knife. I sharpened the knife. I sharpened a new knife. Why? To make it sharper of course.
So sharp that I could drive it deep into his flesh and cut his bones.
It would be nice to make him suffer. He should learn a lesson for setting his eyes on what doesn’t belong to him.
And then slowly, but surely, he won’t be able to handle the pain anymore and he would ask for me to kill him. But I won’t do that. I’ll let him suffer and let him bleed to his death.
He should keep his eyes away from what belongs to me.
Esther turned back to Kai after reading the writing.
“Do you want me to be honest?”
Kai nodded his head.
“Are you a member of the Poetry Club?” Esther asked. “That’s pretty dark if you wrote that. It’s pretty repetitive and it’s-it’s just not th-“
“No,” Kai said. “I found that.”
“I think there’s someone dangerous around us and he has something to do with the missing students.”
“Kai, you’re overreacting.”
“I thought that too until I found this in my room,” Kai said. “I think these are detailed plans on how to kill someone. The missing students might be in some serious trouble.”