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Ten Little Kittens

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Our story begins on a night like any other night, but this night would end unlike any other. It starts in a school, in a club room, where the friends of the Light Music Club were gathered in celebration, as three of the girls had just graduated into college. Several extra tables had been set up for the occasion. The happy chatter of friends talking filled the room with a backdrop of a sweet melody of cat noises produced by Tsumugi Kotobuki and her keyboard next to the door.

At one of the tables Jun Suzuki and Mio Akiyama were talking. The younger bassist was broaching an uncomfortable subject for the both of them. "So, uh, you think my breasts could get that big?" Mio shook her head, just glad Jun was being quiet. Jun pressed further. "I mean, you know, with time?"

Mio kept shaking her head. "No. No, I don't- no."

Jun looked away, somewhat miffed. "Alright..."

Not far off, Nodoka Manabe was standing next to the closet door when it opened and Azusa Nakano stepped out. They looked at each other for a moment, and then Nodoka spoke. "Oh my god, did you literally just come out of the closet?"

Azusa lowered her voice. "I was just getting these cat ears. That's all."

Nodoka looked at Azusa's new set of cat ears stick up off her head. "Why?"

Azusa shrugged. "I figured it's a special occasion, so why not?"

Nodoka shook her head. "At least you have good grades. Otherwise you'd be a definite neet."

Elsewhere, Akira Wada yawned as she leaned back in a chair. Yui Hirasawa sat down beside her, greeting her cheerfully. "Hello, Akira!"

Akira lazily looked over to Yui. "Oh, hi, Yui."

Ui Hirasawa sat down on Akira's other side, her hair let down in a way that made her look identical to Yui. "Hello, Akira."

Akira quickly looked between the two. "What the fuck? Ritsu, I thought you said no plus ones."

Ritsu Tainaka turned from where she was standing and yelled at her bandmate. "Yui, I said no plus ones!"

Yui gave a thoughtful look. "Do clones count as plus ones?"

Ritsu frowned. "Ui's not a clone, Yui."

Ui stood up regardless. "She's right. I shouldn't stay here much longer. I have a flight to catch." While Ui was very much one of them, she shouldn't have been there because she had a flight taking her to the college she had applied for in London.

As Ui made her way to the door, Sachi Hayashi and Ayame Yoshida were discussing the future of their band, among other things. Or at least Sachi was trying to talk about them. Ayame was trying to keep her voice down and raise it at the same time. "Can we talk about this later."

"Later?" Sachi was just trying not to freak out about something they had recently found out. "When, like after Akira dies and apparently leaves all her belongings to you, and all I get is a fluffy bunny? You don't even know how to play a guitar."

Ayame scratched her head. "Yeah, right. Like that'll be what I'm thinking about when my best friend dies. ...I really wanted that bunny."

Sachi shook her head. "You know what? I changed my mind. I'm going to enjoy the shit out of that bunny."

And Akira could totally hear everything they were saying.

In a room of ten girls, Ritsu cleared her throat. "Nodoka?"

Nodoka nodded and stepped to the front of the room. Ritsu handed her a glass of some bubbly drink, and they clinked their glasses together. As Ritsu sat back down, Nodoka was about to speak when she realized Tsumugi was still playing. "Uh, Maestro?"

Ritsu shouted across the room. "Damn it, Mugi! That means stop!"

Mugi made a pouting face, holding down as many keys at once as she could. Regardless, she quickly came out from behind her keyboard and sat down at one of the tables. Ritsu nodded to Nodoka, indicating that she was now free to speak.

Nodoka cleared her throat once Mugi was seated. "Alright, first of all, thank you all for coming. Moving along quickly, is everyone in their assigned seats?" She waited for everyone to confirm that they were indeed sitting where they were supposed to. "Good, now if you'll all look under your chairs, there are envelopes for you. I'd like you to open them all up."

Everyone reached under their chairs to find, indeed, there were envelopes waiting for their hands to grab hold. They started opening the envelopes, most merely intrigued, but a few were excited.

Jun tore into hers. "Oh sweet! What is it, money?"

Ritsu started laughing, but quickly shot down the hope. "Ha ha, yeah... no." Ritsu slid out her envelope's contents to find it was a photograph. A very incriminating photograph. "Nodoka, what the hell is this?"

At the same time, Jun and Azusa were reacting pretty much the same way. Nodoka nodded. "This is justice. That's right, look upon your sins." Akira and Sachi also got upset quite quickly after opening their envelopes.

Mio took a moment to look over the paper that was in her envelope, then turned it around to show it to Nodoka. "Uh, yeah, this is just a bunch of dick doodles."

Ayame jumped up. "Oh, that's where it went!"

Nodoka reached into her pocket and pulled out another envelope. "Shit, I knew I had one extra." She handed it to Mio, and then went back to her spot at the front of the room. "Right, anyway... You all got blood on your hands, and now you're all going to pay." Yui and Mugi gasped at the contents of their envelopes.

Mio opened the replacement, and too one look at the paper before tossing it onto the table in front of her. "Yeah, more dick doodles."

Ayame jumped up to get the paper. "Oh, that's mine too." Mio facepalmed.

Jun set her envelope down and pointed her finger accusingly at Nodoka. "That's not fair. Ton-chan was an accident, the fork slipped, Azusa acquitted me, you're not allowed to talk about that."

Ayame piped up. "Yeah, and Chiyo died for science. That's like, one of the top three or four ways to die."

Nodoka waved her hand at them. "Yeah, I don't care why you did it. The point is, I'm going to get filthy rich from turning you all in. So fuck you." She flipped her middle finger at Ritsu, who returned the gesture. "Fuck you." She repeated the process with Jun, who also responded in kind. "And fuck you." She finished off with Akira, who sent it back in double.

Azusa stood up. "Now, wait a minute. What's to stop us from just killing you and burning the body."

Nodoka reached into her pocket and produced a gun. "Well, first of all, I have this." The reaction was unanimous around the room. No one had seen it coming, and no one was having an easy time believing what was happening to begin with. Nodoka continued. "And second of all, while all of you have killed, only one of you is guilty of coldblooded murder." She took a drink from her glass. "And if that person tries to kill me..." And then she started choking. She tried to say more, but all that came out was more choking.

Ritsu interjected. "We can't understand you. Stop choking so we can understand you." But instead of stopping choking, Nodoka collapsed.

"Nodoka!" Yui jumped up and ran to her friend's side. "Nodoka, no!" She tried to help Nodoka, who had her hands at her throat and the gun still in her hand. "Nodoka, get the gun away from yourse- not me!" She batted the gun away, sending it to the floor. Nodoka flopped flat on the ground suddenly, and a moment later Yui stood up. "She's properly dead! Ritsu, you killed her!"

Ritsu jumped out of her seat. "What? No!"

Yui pointed to the glass standing beside her. "But you gave her the drink!"

Ritsu rushed over and picked up the drink. "Yeah, but look at the glass. There's... uh... okay, there's nothing there."

Mugi observed. "It was probably poisoned by the real killer!"

Akira stood up. "Well, whatever. Let's get out of here before anything else happens."

"Good idea!" Ritsu led the charge for the door.

Nine girls ran through the halls of the school, heading for the front door. When they arrived, however, they found it locked.

Azusa struggled with the door a moment longer. "Shit, we're trapped! We're trapped with the killer!" She started freaking out, grabbing and shaking Mio in her panic.

Ritsu pushed in between them, having spotted something stuck on the door. "Hey, what's this?" It was a neatly printed poem on a piece of paper. She read the title of the poem out loud. "Ten Little Kittens? Mio, what did I tell you about hanging your poetry on the walls?"

Mio shook her head. "Hey, my songs are beautiful, and that's not mine."

Ritsu took a closer look. "What?" She shoved Azusa out of the way and inspected the poem closer. "Uh oh. This looks like some kind of ominous omen for the rest of the evening."

Without warning, the lights in the school went out. There was screaming, and there was thumping, and there was running. And when the light returned, Azusa found herself alone in front of the door. She glanced around, looking for any sign of the others. There was no one. Not a sight, and not a sound.

"Are you frightened?" She spoke to herself. "Yes." She answered herself. "Not nearly frightened enough." She berated herself. "I know what hunts you." And then she stopped. "Stop talking to yourself. That's why no one likes you. Maybe if you stopped talking to yourself, people might like you." She shuffled off to see if she could find a way to escape.

"Down the dark halls of the school, late at night, as the trapped girls rushed about trying to find a way to escape or at least defend themselves, the poem hung in the air. It taunted them, threatened them, and haunted them. It followed their every move, making them look over their shoulders. It clung to their clothes, making them squirm in terror. The words rang throughout the school.

"Ten little kittens here to have a good time. One tried to leave, so then there was nine."

We see Nodoka's body still laid out on the floor of the clubroom, the glass and gun left on the floor beside her.

"Nine little kittens trying to escape. One put it off, and then there were eight."

Jun slowly walked down beside the rows of lockers, stopping at every isle to look every direction repeatedly.

"Eight little kittens, two lives now given. One fell, asleep, and then there were seven."

Akira closed the janitor's closet door behind her, then suppressed a yawn. She was starting to wish she hadn't woken up early that morning.

"Seven little kittens, one always so rich. One was cut short, and then there were six."

Ayame bolted though the halls as fast as possible. She knew the killer couldn't catch her if she was too fast.

"Six little kittens, one standing too high. One choked on jealousy, and then there were five."

Sachi poked her head into a classroom. Seeing it was empty, she stepped in and closed the door behind her.

"Five little kittens, one frightened of gore. One hit too hard, and then there were four."

Mio sat in a corner, huddled into a ball, shivering violently. She had to make herself as small as possible.

"Four little kittens, one drinking tea. One made burned sweets, and then there were three."

Mugi found herself returning to the scene of the crime. (Well, one of them. (Okay, two, if you count the thing with Ton-chan)) She proceeded to prepare some tea.

"Three little kittens, a killer still loose. One got revenge, and then there were two."

Yui was in the washroom. It was the first place she had gone, as she had realized she needed to go the moment the lights went out.

"Two little kittens, the killer not yet done. One took a left, and then there was one."

Ritsu walked up the stairs, step by step getting closer to someone's back. She held her hands around her eyes mimicking binoculars.

"One kitten remains, still standing tall. The killer, it seemed, had died last of all."

Azusa turned around, a frown on her face, glaring down the stairs at her stalker."

Azusa gave Ritsu a weird look. "Why were you on me for that killer line?"

Ritsu stopped. "Uh... no reason."

"And so, our story begins like any other night, but it will end with a night of terror. And so our story begins with ten little kittens running through the halls, having been lured into a trap under the pretense of a friendly party. Who is the killer? That, dear reader, is up to you to figure out."

Azusa stopped and turned around again. "God damn it! Stop narrating, Ritsu!"