1. Shu's Family
When he left this morning, everything seemed normal. Shu was in a hurry as usual. It was only when he was late coming home that Mom and Dad started to worry. I knew my idiot brother. He was probably poking around the old smokestacks or bugging the old shopkeeper. When he came home, I realized how wrong I was.
Shu was later than usual. I tried not to worry, but that boy attracts trouble like flowers attract bees. As soon as the door opened, I was prepared to lecture him as usual, but he looked so... tired. Could this really be my son, the same boy who can't sit still for more than two minutes? He dropped his bag and gave each of us a tight hug. He mumbled something about not being hungry and went up to bed. What happened to my Shu?
When Shu came down for breakfast, I expected the usual. Hoping to save my paper, I put the paper down and turned on the news. The report was about a recent shooting in America. When the video played, the gunfire affected Shu. At the sound of the gun, he threw himself back and looked around wildly, checking for an unseen enemy. He calmed down after a minute, but it was strange nonetheless.
2. Oda (kendo captain)
Whatever happened to Shu yesterday changed him. Maybe it was the talk we had, or maybe something happened to make him realize rushing in doesn't help at all. Oh sure, he was acting normally this morning, talking and laughing with the others. However, when I watched him spar in kendo, his attitude changed. Gone was the loudmouth goofball that tackled problems headfirst. This boy had a calm, calculating look in his eye. In mere moments, his opponent defeated. Afterwards, he was the same idiot I remembered, but his performance had shaken me. He wasn't acting like this was a simple kendo spar or even a match. No, it was the look and actions of a man fighting for his life.
3. Shu's Teacher
I was teaching the class like usual, and I guess Matsutani fell asleep. Normally I would wake a student, but I didn't notice he was sleeping until it started. Thrashing, mumbling, and sweating are common for nightmares, but this was ridiculous! I have to admit I was intrigued as to what could possibly be causing such an extreme reaction. I caught snippets that sounded like "water" and "save", but the rest didn't make sense. When I did wake him, his eyes shot open. He scrambled to get away, knocking his desk to the floor. Matsutani was backed in the corner, reaching for something. I could have sworn he said something about shooting, but it was probably nothing. He calmed down and straightened out his desk. I returned to the front of the room and made a note to look into it.
4. Shu's Classmates
I don't know what Shu has been doing, but he must have gotten mixed up with a dangerous group. You don't just get scars like those on accident.
We were changing for gym when I saw. His back was covered with scars. Overlapping lines were starting to fade, but how the hell did it happen? I've only seen marks like that in books when someone was tortured...
It isn't just his back. Shu was walking with a slight limp. I caught a glimpse at his leg and saw a round scar. He covered it quickly, but I can't help but worry. It makes me wonder if everything is really okay.
The first thing I noticed is how quiet Shu is sometimes. Just yesterday, we were learning about the Rwandan genocide and he looked close to tears. He didn't speak the rest of the day.
Shu is normally a chill guy. He is always quick to make a joke and knows how to lift everyone's spirit. Yesterday though, that was bad. The way he shaking made it seem like he lived through the Rwandan genocide himself, but that's impossible. Guess he is just sensitive to that kind of stuff.
5. Shu's Friends
Lately, Shu hasn't been himself. I mean, he still jokes around and plays baseball with us like before. It's just, sometimes he seems kind of... distant, almost like he's in his own world. Well, I guess he was always a dreamer.
Shu spends a lot of time at the smokestacks. I know he is the best climber and used to go up there a lot when we were younger, but he goes there every evening to watch the sunset. He never pegged me as the kind of guy who liked that kind of stuff.
Whenever we play video games, I noticed Shu will never play a first-person shooter. He'll play fighting games and other games, but never shooting games. He never had a problem before. Maybe it has to do with whatever happened a while ago. A lot of our classmates have been talking about him.
Even though we are all the same age, Shu seems distant at times, almost older. More mature maybe. I've only ever seen that look when I talk to my grandpa. He was in WWII and sometimes has flashbacks. Shu, what happened to you?
Returning home was a big change. I tried to revert to how I acted before, but it's hard sometimes. It even took some time to adjust to eating regular meals. I usually can act the same as before, but I know people have noticed a change. I can't hide the scars I have from the whip or when I was shot in the leg. I learned to change alone to avoid unwanted questions.
In kendo, I have vastly improved. I unconsciously use the military training I received in Heliwood, it's instinctual by now. Oda actually spoke to me about being the vice captain next year.
Twice now, I've made stupid mistakes that sent red flags that something was wrong. At the mere sound of gunshots, I react as if I was in battle again. Dreams are plagued by memories of what I went through. I even fell asleep in class and almost attacked the teacher. It was only because I didn't have my stick that I stopped. Hopefully, I can control my actions soon, but I know I will never truly forget.