Chapter Eight: Last Night’s Rumors:
They found another body last night.
The next morning brought more gossip and rumors to Nagasaki Nihon University High. Last night, another murder took place. The victim was a popular senior named Ono Ichigo. The student body described him as the jock type who was quite a ladies' man. All of the girls had crushes on him. He constantly was on many dates. Perhaps one of them was his last?
Tsuzuki was walking to his class when he spotted two junior girls talking about last night. Curious, he approached them in the hall.
"Excuse me," he spoke up. The girls went quiet as they noticed him. Tsuzuki stopped in front of them.
"What's going on here?" he asked. Their faces looked rather sheepish. One girl shuffled her feet.
"There was another murder last night," she said.
"Another murder?" Tsuzuki asked.
"Yeah," the second girl said.
"What happened?" the "teacher" asked. The students looked around for a beat.
"Not here," the first girl whispered. The three went into an empty classroom. They sat at the desks.
"Okay," Tsuzuki said. "What is this about?"
"Last night, Ichigo went out on a date," the first girl said. "When he didn't come home this morning, his mom called the cops."
"They found his body floating in the pond outside the city," the other girl said. She went pale at her words.
"What happened?" Tsuzuki asked. The girls swallowed and looked down at the desks.
"His body was ripped to shreds," the first one said. "His stomach was ripped out, neck snapped in two, spine broken, and his penis…" They broke down trembling while Tsuzuki eyed them.
"That bad?" he asked, pondering this new information. "And this isn't the first time this happened?"
"No," the girls said.
Tsuzuki looked at them with peeked interest. "When?"
"Over the summer," the first girl said. "The boys go to this student bar called Kiko's and turn up dead."
"I see," Tsuzuki replied. "Were they all on dates?"
"Most of them," the second girl said. "Two of them went alone and were picked up."
"Picked up by who?" the shinigami asked.
"Asahi-senpai," the both said in a whisper.
Naomi sat in her homeroom. The girl felt her hands trembling as her classmates talked again. Calm down! They don't know the details. Just don't say a word. The wave came back again. Naomi held onto her stomach. I think I'm going to be sick!
Suddenly, someone touched her on the shoulder. Naomi spun around startled.
"What?" she cried out. A boy with glasses eyed her with a concerned look.
"It's only me," he said. Naomi stared, silence.
"Oh," she said. "It's you, Jun." The boy smiled at her.
"Of course it is," he said. "Who else would it be?" Jun sat down next to her. "What's the matter?" he asked. Naomi shook her head.
"Oh come on," he said. "Smile, it looks better on you." His old friend forced herself to do so.
"There you go!" Jun said. Naomi felt a little better now. Jun propped his elbows on the desk.
"Rough night yesterday, huh?" he asked. Naomi froze up.
"Yes," she said slowly.
Jun tried to count up on his fingers. "How many guys is that now?"
"Damn, nine bodies over the summer and the start of the school year. That's so wrong."
Naomi felt sick all over again. "Can we not talk about this?"
"Oh? Are you okay?"
"No!" Naomi got up and ran to the bathroom.
"Naomi-chan?" he asked. She didn't hear him after the door closed behind her.
Naomi buried her head deep into the toilet. She felt all of her impurities leave her body in one flush. When she was finished, Naomi sat back, panting. The attacks were getting more frequent as her hunger grew worse. She tightly shut her eyes. /This can't go on/, she thought. Naomi had no real power. It was the one with the strings in its bloody hands. She shook her head.
No! This can't keep on! I have to end this madness! A knock on the stall door interrupted her thoughts.
"What?" she croaked.
"Are you done in there?" a voice asked outside. Naomi wiped away the remaining vomit from her mouth.
"Yeah," she said. "Hang on." The senior rose to her feet and opened the stall door. A junior girl gave her a puzzled look.
"Are you okay, senpai?" she asked. Naomi nodded.
"Yeah," she lied. "I am now." The junior watched as Naomi walked to class. The senior kept her eyes low the whole time. Sayako-chan…
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