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Her heartbeat became palpable. With her senses heightening and hairs all over her standing, making her a bit scared of what's going to happen next. Figuring that it would be best not to stay in a closed space, she shoved the doll inside her bag once more, hid the needle back inside her pen and stormed out of the stall of the girl's lavatory, leaving any baffled girls on the way.

It has come to her attention that the baffled people on the corridor were not the cause of her stampede but because of a certain chaos out in the school's storage gym.

In the commotion, she grabbed whoever was within her reach. "You, what happened?"

The girl cowered. Her big glasses stood out, she has orange curly hairs that she kept short, reaching her ears. She might not reach the beauty standards to boys, but she's definitely pretty with that look of a girl who spends her time nose buried in books. "S-someone died out there."


Four eyes cringed and went pale, so she decided to leave her and dashed headfirst towards the commotion. She reached the courtyard near the benches. There were sensitive people backing away. Various whispers threatened to overwhelm everyone surrounding the area.

"Is it the work of school shootings?" a short girl with seemingly onion shaped hair asked the Indian twins who stood next to her.

"This isn't a work of a gun!" One twin said, and she and her sister towered over there short companion.

"It's a crime of passion then?" the short girl said.

"There could be a serial killer roaming the school grounds." The other twin said as she and her sister wrapped their protective arms around the small girl.

She wove her way through spaces in the crowd; her eyes graced the presence of a dead boy.

A dead Thomas Kinsley—with three stabs each in the head, the stomach, and the heart.

At the sight of him, a menacing smile crept up to her face, but she quickly changed her facial expression into a startle. She saw Akko, bent onto her knees, a meter away from him. She somewhat had a bottle of water she's been gripping onto as tears fell to her cheeks, frozen from terror.

"Make way! Make way!" Wangari, the president of the Newspaper club, arrived with a microphone with a cardboard that says 'LNN' tapped to it. Her club mates were beside her. The camera girl and the writer girl whose names still completely elude her. "This is it, girls. Today marks history and a revival of the Newspaper club!"

Somebody just died and that the Newspaper Club's priorities are sorted that way. Probably Thomas' death was something students are unaffected about.

"The headmistress's here!" Someone shouted and cleared the way when the authoritative old lady and a group of professors arrived to do their investigation, probably preparing everyone for a lockdown while they wait for the ambulance and police to arrive.

Akko caught a glimpse of her and ran to her like a cowering child. "Sucy! S-Sucy, s-someone killed him. I was with him a couple of minutes ago and he ordered me to get him some water, I came back to this!"

The Japanese girl was a mess of faucet tears, even her ponytail that held most of her bangs were unraveled.

Sucy didn't mind the mess she's doing to her uniform for she completely understood her shock. She might not like Thomas very much for he liked to bully her around—but Akko is an angel.

She's too innocent to the gruesome sight she and it will forever haunt her that she saw the dead body of a person who was alive minutes ago.

Sucy remembered feeling annoyed earlier that morning. Arriving to school was the most unsettling thing ever for Luna Nova Academy was past its prime during the Golden Age of its glory. Now, it was such a small school with few students and it meant that everyone knows everyone and news get circulated fast. That's why the Newspaper club's in shambles. No matter what they do to save it, there's just no need for a school newspaper here.

When she reached the hallways, everyone's always talking about everyone. Even the janitors, the teachers, the lunch lady and for now, the buzzing topic is how yesterday, her secret was revealed. An undisclosed revelation the moment her contact lens fell and the whole school saw her eyes.

"Mushroom eyed freak," they would all whisper behind her back.

She wore contact lenses to hide the fact her pupils' shaped like an outline of mushrooms.

Sucy spent her time ignoring them. She arrived at her locker and fumbled through the combination. She was taking her books for the morning period when could hear footfalls walking towards her.

"SUCY!" A high pitched voice yelled enthusiastically in the morning.

"Akko," Sucy greeted back. Turning sideways, she saw the bubbly Japanese exchange girl—who was what she as close to a best friend—wearing bunny ears. Sucy forgot what she was doing when she spotted that. "What's up with that?"

"It's with a bunny costume dress!" Akko said in a silvery voice. "I can't wear the whole costume to school, you know." She said, arranging the hat on her head.

"Well, it's ridiculous." She said, bluntly.

"Oh Sucy, you're always straightforward. One of the things I like most about you." She removed her silly hair band with rabbit ears and placed it in her locker which was luckily next to Sucy's. "Hey, have you heard the news?"

"What news?"

Akko inched sideways closer and used her hand to cover the other side of her mouth. "You know, that bully who's always out to humiliate other kids—Thomas and his boy trophies?"

"What about that wimp?"

"They got caught stealing some liquor and since Thomas is the chief's son and a minor, he was just let off with a warning."

"What?" Sucy rasped. "You mean the gossips were something else than about us school losers?"

"Why yes, your contact lens accident was yesterday's news."

"So, I guess you found leverage to piss him and his bunch of hooligans off?"

"Yes of course," Akko admitted, her eyes shining with unbridled determination. "I can keep on fighting them back; I keep spare clothes in case they'd ruin my clothes again—with tomatoes."

"That sounds like you keep on losing despite your determination to show them off."

"Well... I at least I tried! I don't want to be that coward who gives into fear of not doing it and stand for up to yourself!"

"There's a fine line between bravery and recklessness." Sucy rolled her eyes. "Why won't you let me report it to the student council or the teachers?"

"What? And be subjected to more bullying? I prefer not to!"

"Hey losers!"

Sucy's eyes crossed at the arrival of a few interveners. Despite being a freshman, Thomas had gained a following from all year levels, the other guys all stood around him, making it seem that they are untouchable rebels. But honestly, he pisses his pants whenever the Student Council president is present.

Sucy was pretty sure Thomas likes the Student Council president similar to a boring drama plot of a Japanese anime Akko made her watch.

Thomas looked like he just smoked before heading to school and sprayed loads of earthly cologne all over him. Even if he did all that, Sucy can smell a hint of nicotine on him.

"Girls, could you all be nice and sweet to treat us to lunch?" he said, striking up a conversation with them.

Akko's face showed she had an internal panic. "You're assuming I have enough money."

"What did you say?" Thomas' voice rose higher and some of his lackeys began cracking their fingers and other kinds of stuff of intimidation. "Are you sassing me?"

"Umm..." Akko pursed her lips, knowing what lies ahead of her fate if she goes against them.

It was ironic to think that Thomas is a troublemaker, despite the fact that his father was the Sergeant of Blytonbury—he supervised Constables and is training to become a Detective. But then again, privilege kids tend to be the most troublesome.

Akko looked at Sucy, horror reflecting from her eyes, mentally asking her for help.

Sucy found herself put on a spot. Weighing the fact on how she could help this time. Even if her friendship with Akko started out weirdly, Akko was the first one in a decade to ever see the real her without judging.

Three years ago, when they were freshmen, they were doing a group project in Akko's home. Akko was kind to her, even if she used Akko as a guinea pig in her experiments. Even Akko's guardian was kind to her and invited Sucy to stay for the night.

From that then on, Sucy told Akko the truth. The reason why poisons are special to her, why mushrooms were her favorite, and that she showed her what her eyes really looked like. Not because she needed to remove her contacts, but because she wanted to show Akko and that she trusts her.

That was the most joyful decision that Sucy did. From then on, they both got real close.

Sucy deeply cared for her, even if she would roast the Japanese girl every now and then or she would send her to a test of chemical reactions. So she rattled her brains and got a quick comeback. "This is a strange situation to engage in gluttony, Thomas Kinsley."

Thomas bared his teeth, slowly inching his square jaw near Sucy's face, wearing his menacing mask, "Well I'm sorry, bitch. It's not my fault that we have to experience hunger."

"Spoken like a true jerk." Sucy retorted causing Thomas' eyes to got bloodshot red and grabbed her by the jaw. "You are a true Sodomite."

"I don't like the way you talk." He growled.

"I'm genuinely surprised you know what Sodomite means."

To her surprise, Sucy's jaw unhinged forcefully. He was pressing his fingers hard and it hurt badly. Clenching, to ease the pain, Sucy found her jaw suddenly unable to close.

"Stop it! Let go of her!" Akko pulled him away from Sucy.

"It takes a sinner to know one, sinner!" Thomas was beyond pissed, his followers all watched from the sidelines as they all cheered on him. He sneered at the fact that Sucy was struggling with a forceful locked jaw.

Then when she successfully closed it without any complications, her vision blurred and her hearing dimmed, Sucy found herself losing consciousness but managed to stay awake when her senses sharpened as the sole focus of her attention was on a single hair fall out of his head when Akko pulled his locks.

And now Akko's voice of talking some sense to him was evident. Thomas' lackeys were on guard, ready to jump in if Thomas says the word, but he didn't.

He raised his finger at her. "You bitch, what if I pull your hair! How would that feel?" Then he pointed at Sucy. "This is not over!" he flipped them off then left with his cronies.

Few people had witnessed the fight and were scared to even help any of them. So they sighed in relief when it was over.

"Are you okay?" Akko asked, tears threatening to fall in her eyes. She was inspecting Sucy's cheeks.

"I'm okay." Sucy took a lungful of air. "That was the worst locked jaw I ever had."

Akko giggled a bit. A sparkle of relief featured in the shine of her bright eyes.

Sucy once more caught sight of Thomas' hair strand on the floor.

"Take it... take it..." the voice cooed. An ominous voice said from inside her bag. "I trust you will find my capabilities fascinating."

"Shut it," Sucy exasperated. "I don't care if no one else hears you. I don't want to talk to you."

"But you do feel it, do you?" the voice continued. "Your blood sings for retribution. Pick it up and use the power I behold."

The temptation was unbearable.

Sucy hated Thomas. He was loud, unbearable and he makes everyone feel shit. He fed on their weaknesses. Getting rid of him was one less person to be scared about. So maybe it was worth it.

The rest of the day went with grim reminders of the fact that we learned that Thomas Kinsley died as if a stake was hammered into his chest.

The whole student body was on probation. They weren't allowed to leave the premises but the classes didn't resume. It was as if the whole place was in a lockdown. As the students wait for the case to come close, people can't help but gossip. Sucy can't help but hear ludicrous theories—like Thomas Kinsley was just at the wrong place at the wrong time—that Thomas Kinsley was killed by his lackeys—that Thomas Kinsley faked his own death so he could leave the country—but none as crazy as the truth.

All the while, Sucy had a prickling sensation in her neck in all corners, so she tried to remain her neck it up high. The single thought that she might have been the reason for his demise could only mean one thing.

"You're a killer."


She wondered what light was left in her heart.

"SUCY MANBAVARAN!" It was rare for Akko yell out her whole name. So her attention shifted to her jolly best friend.

"What is it, Akko?"

"You seem quiet." She made a bunched up face. "You look paler than usual... almost gray. Are you okay?"

"I'm okay." Sucy smiled weakly, "Just shock."

"I know it's quite a scare." Akko tried to brush off her worries. Her outburst finished and now she's somehow unperturbed, but Sucy knew she was still shaken off.

"Akko," Sucy landed her hand on top of the shorter girl's shoulder. "Don't feel bad for what happened. It's not your fault."

Akko clenched her fists tighter; she had gone stiff as a board. She was detained for about two hours, asking her as the sole witness and possible suspect until she was let off the list.

Sucy's heartbeat was pumping hard in her chest. Akko needed her. Sucy needed her to calm her down too. But Akko doesn't know anything—about her—about an ancestral doll—or what really happened.

"Stay calm."

She heard the doll whispering in her head again.

"Stay collected." Said the voice that persuaded her to kill him.

Then Sucy's morning flashed in her mind like a broken projector. Horribly remembering that she brought the voodoo doll with her to school, Sucy was sweating like waterfalls, and that she needed to get away.

"Umm... Akko, I think I need to go to the bathroom." She mustered with a voice in an octave.

"Oh," Akko raised an eyebrow, observing her. "Sure. I'm certain you need to go alone?"

"You love her."

A slow smile plastered on her face and went to the ladies' room amidst the tension. She hid in the farthest cubicle and rummaged her bag.

"Love could be water or toxic. What will she be?"

"She was there for me when nobody else was."

"You're so jittery." The voice said as soon as Sucy found the doll hiding inside her bag. "You should lay off the caffeine."

"I killed him, didn't I? B-but I didn't! It... It was a coincidence!"

"Whatever it takes for you to feel better about the murder."

"How could I know such sorcery to kill?"

"You followed the instructions."

"I didn't know it could kill!" Sucy shouted, forgetting that I'm still inside the comfort room. "I thought it was just you know, punching him in the chest."

"No spell is that harmless. You hammered him in his heart."

Sucy clenched her jaw as if her jaw was linked to Thomas. But this time it was to control her rising temper. She could feel the guilt eating its way to live in her stomach.

"I thought you hated him, Sucy."

"I did! But not like that!"

The doll looked at Sucy with her buttoned eyes. It was weird that Sucy can see the doll's emotion similar to a piteous look emanating from the buttons.

"I am your companion, Sucy. Only you alone can hear me. I alone can see through you. Your eyes, a window to your soul... you thought you showed your friend the real you, but you are mistaken. Your heart is dark like the abyss and nothing like a void. I can see your deepest desires. You want revenge. You want revenge to all those who rejected you, those all who harmed you, those who left you. Or you don't want revenge at all?"

For a minute there, her voice was so sultry and honeyed. Sucy can feel something hypnotizing in her revelation.

Sucy could imagine the doll's cross-stitched lips sneer sinisterly. It was disturbing at first, but now it was her truth. She gasped for breath every time she exerts herself of the heavy truth such as this was her new normal.

To accept everything in, to take everything in, and to breathe more oxygen to her brain even if the smell in the cubicle was less pleasant. A sneer that reflected the doll's crawled its way to her face. "You're right. This is my gift. I should use it to my heart's content."

Sucy didn't know that her life was starting to be revolving around strands of hairs.