Kagura glanced between the trembling Chiyo before her and their homeroom teacher who was currently talking with Nyamo about something. From what the child had told her Yukari’s driving left something to be desired. She turned back to Chiyo and smacked a reassuring hand on her shoulder almost knocking the small girl to the floor.
“Ah, don’t worry about it, Chiyo, I’m sure coach’ll be the one driving us this time!” She grinned in a reassuring manner.
Chiyo sniffed and wiped her eyes, gazing up at the athlete’s confident smile, “Sh-She will?”
“She’s right, Chiyo,” came Yomi’s voice from beside her. Chiyo looked up at the bespectacled girl who smiled back at her, “I don’t think Miss Kurosawa would let Yukari drive knowing what happened last year.”
“Exactly! We’ll be fine!” Kagura grinned up at Yomi, glad to have someone backing her up against the prodigy’s worries. Yomi simply raised an eyebrow and smirked. She knew the probability of Nyamo letting their English teacher drive them the whole 3 hour car journey to Chiyo’s summer home was little to none but it seemed that Chiyo’s fear addled mind couldn’t think straight.
Chiyo stared up at her friends. She wanted to believe them. She really did.
But some unearthly power was at work that day. She could feel it.
As if to prove her theory, the sound of a car door closing echoed through the now silent driveway.
Slowly, so slowly, the group of girls turned from their respective positions and stared at the minivan with looks ranging from horror to excitement in Tomo’s case. Sat in the driver’s seat was a very satisfied looking Yukari Tanazaki, smiling and tapping her fingers against the wheel.
“Alright! Buckle up everyone, ‘cause I’m driving!” Yukari’s voice broke the eerie quiet, “BEACH TRIP! BEACH TRIP! BEACH TRIP!” She chanted, but sounding more like a funeral march. Tomo eagerly joined in a pumped her fist in time, running to the van and yanking the passenger seat door open.
“Shotgun!” She yelled, like anyone else would try to take it.
Nyamo felt her heart sink at the sight. She didn’t know how Yukari had done it, she didn’t know how she had managed to sneak her way into the driver’s seat without anyone knowing, and she certainly didn’t know how the fuck she did it in the two seconds she had turned to see if everyone was ready to leave.
“Miss Nyamo…” The teacher in question snapped her head to stare into the betrayed eyes of the rest of her students. They had moved to form an arch around the woman and she was momentarily stunned they had managed to move so quickly.
“How could ya let this happen…?” Osaka, for not the first time in her life, was genuinely confused.
The PE teacher risked a glance at the rest of them and winced. Yomi’s expression could only be described as disappointment while Kagura’s held the same, her star athlete slowly shaking her head to add insult to injury. Osaka looked about ready to burst into tears and Sakaki… Sakaki was too busy trying to calm Chiyo down to look up from her kneeled position next to the hyperventilating girl.
A loud beep from behind made them all jump and face the machine that would probably be their demise.
“You guy’s comin’ or what? I don’t fancy spending a whole weekend with this dumbass alone!” Yukari yelled and received an offended sounding ‘Hey!’ from the dumbass in question sat beside her.
“Maybe… Maybe she won’t be that bad this time…?” Someone said. No one way paying attention. They were too busy mentally preparing their last will and testament.
Sakaki held the upholstery of her seat in a white-knuckled grip and squeezed her eyes shut as the van made yet another U-turn. Yukari had already gotten them lost and they weren’t even out of the city yet. Maybe if she wished hard enough she would wake up in her bed at home, her dad shaking her shoulder as a reminder for her to get up for the trip with her best friends and none of this would have happened yet. Miss Kurosawa would have managed to steal the wheel from Yukari and they were whizzing along country roads, already half-way to the beach. She opened her eyes.
This wasn’t her bedroom.
They were certainly whizzing somewhere but the right direction wasn’t it. Neither was it the right lane. A car swerved and honked angrily as Yukari tried to right herself into the correct flow of traffic, letting out a few creative curses of her own.
Sakaki clenched her hands harder into the fabric of the seat and a ripping noise could be heard. Or it would have been heard had anyone been listening rather than concentrating on not having themselves thrown about the vehicle. Next to her, Yomi was also gripping her seat like a vice. She was muttering prayers under her breath. The bespectacled girl hadn’t considered herself to be that religious but now seemed like a good a time as any to start pleading to every God she could think of to spare her life from being ended in a horrific collision.
Behind them were Chiyo and Osaka; the survivors. Being the only two people in the car that had survived Yukari’s driving aside from Nyamo they knew what to expect. But not really.
Chiyo had somehow managed to curl herself into the foetal position while being strapped to a car seat and hadn’t said a word since moving into said position and it was quite unnerving. Osaka meanwhile was making, for lack of a better phrase, distressed Osaka noises. She was trying not to look out of the window too often for fear of witnessing the carnage outside.
Tomo was whooping from the back. After being begrudgingly moved by a weary Nyamo, Tomo had sat next to a shaky Kagura who at the moment looked about ready to burst into tears.
“This is so awesome! It’s like one of those simulator rides at Disney!” The wildcat laughed and thwacked Kagura on the arm as if to say ‘Am I right?’ only to have the other girl whip her head around a glare at her.
“ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS, TOMO?!”
“HEY! Watch you’re fuckin’ language, there’s a kid in the car!” Yukari yelled back, turning fully around in her seat to give a pointed glare to the athlete and take her eyes completely off the road.
There was a collective scream as the minivan careered violently to the side and almost took out a lamp post.
Nyamo smacked her friend upside the head to make her look forward again, “Eye’s on the road, Yukari!”
“Al-right. Geeze, who are you, my mother?” The English teacher joked as if she hadn’t nearly killed them all.
Yomi took a hesitant glance out of her window and noticed that they were thankfully starting to leave the more populated areas. At least now there would be less causalities upon their inevitable crash. She took another look at the tall schoolgirl next to her and noticed something.
“Oh god, Sakaki, are you alright?”
The normally stoic girl was staring straight ahead at the horizon, her face gaining a sickly green colour. She shook her head once. She looked to be concentrating on something very, very hard.
“Are… Are you gonna be sick?” Yomi tried, suddenly gripping the back of her headrest as the minivan made yet another lurching motion nearly throwing them all into the ditch next to the road.
Sakaki squeezed her eyes shut again and tried and failed to control the churning in her gut. Upon the van making the violent turn, she made a sharp intake a breath through the nose and nodded quickly at Yomi’s question.
“Shit…” Yomi muttered, “Miss Kurosawa! Sakaki said she’s going to be sick!”
“What?” Nyamo yelled back. She had been spending all of her concentration trying to direct Yukari in the right direction but by this point she knew it was pretty much pointless.
“I said Sakaki’s gonna start chunkin’ up the back seats if you don’t make Dick Dastardly over here pull over!”
Nyamo almost strangled herself on the belt in how fast she turned around to get a look at the tall schoolgirl. She wasn’t looking too good.
“Yukari, you seriously need to pull over, one of your student’s is ill!”
“Hey, don’t be pushin’ all the responsibility onto me! They’re your students, too!”
A vein in Nyamo’s forehead twitched, “Is now really the time to be discussing who the most responsible one here is?”
“A good a time as any!” Yukari joyfully responded, casually over taking a truck and nearly having a head on collision with another one coming the opposite way.
“Yukari, you need to listen to me for once, damn it!”
The English teacher felt a kick to the back of her seat followed by Yomi’s growing-in-volume voice.
“Not that this isn’t a fantastic time for you two to have a couples dispute,” She snapped, keeping her eyes on the lone wolf beside her who had now begun swaying, “But Yukari, you seriously need to pull over. Like, right the hell now.”
“Kick my seat again and I just might do, right into the sidewalk! And just tell her to hold it or whatever.”
“I’ve been holding it for 10 minutes…” Sakaki weakly responded. She was worried to open her mouth but she felt like she had to say something in this situation.
“Coach, please make her pull over!” Kagura’s panicked voice came from the back of the van. Osaka nodded vigorously in agreement even if the teacher couldn’t see her. Tomo groaned petulantly.
“You guys are such babies! Don’t listen to them, Yukari baby!”
Yomi wished in that moments she had sat next to Tomo only for the opportunity to beat the shit out of her, “I swear to god, Tomo, when this car stops I’m going to pull your intestines out of your eyes.”
“That’s not even possible, Yomi!”
“I’LL MAKE IT POSSIBLE, JUST SHUT UP!”
Yukari made a noise of discontent as they pulled up to a red light. She couldn’t go through it because there was a line of cars in front of her and the other lane consisted of parked ones. She reluctantly slowed the car down. There was a group sigh of relief at the moment’s pause and Sakaki immediately took the chance she had been gratefully given.
Before anyone else even knew what was going on, Sakaki unbuckled herself with shaky hands and grabbed a bottle of water from the side of her bag. She nearly pulled the door off the roller as she yanked it open and leapt out of the still moving car.
“S-Sakaki! Wait a minute!” Someone called after her but she wasn’t paying attention to who as her eyes were focused on the trashcan on the sidewalk only a few feet away.
The other occupants of the car looked away and grimaced at the heaving noises that followed.
Chiyo raised her head, noting that they were no longer moving. A brief spark of hope erupted in her chest at the thought that she had managed to block everything out and that they had already arrived at the beach. That hope was immediately extinguished at the sight Sakaki bent over a trashcan outside her window. They were nowhere near where they were supposed to be. She lowered her head.
Sakaki stumbled back into the minivan with a now half empty bottle of water and looked overall like she’d seen better days. Before she could even sit down, the red light changed to green and Yukari let out a ‘Finally!’ before promptly flooring it causing the tall schoolgirl to fall into her seat with a squeak.
Back on the move, Sakaki quickly strapped herself back in and sighed.
“Hey, Sakaki!” She heard Kagura’s voice from behind her. She turned her head just in time to see and catch something that the athlete had tossed to her. Opening her palm reviled it to be a chewing gum. Sakaki looked back up at her so-called ‘rival’ and nodded once in thanks. Kagura returned it.
It was going to be a long drive.
A long, long drive.