Chapter 2 - School DaysMature

Not far from Yoko's office is a small room almost hidden from the main hallway. Bathed in shadow, a pale face looms over a notepad filled with ink scratches. His clothes are slightly too large for his slender frame; his hair clumps over his eyes as though he's trying to hide from the world.

Toshi Matsumoto wrote with a passionate fury that almost leaped from the page. His notebook was home to a plethora of stories he had written that year. But they were his stories; they did not deserve the attention of the outside world just yet. He enjoyed this solitude; the peace during lunch where he had his ink and paper. His own world away from the grey one he was born into.

With a furious crack, the door swings open spilling in unwanted light. A small group of ruffians pour in leaving Toshi to watch in dreaded silence. Their leader, a muscular, fashionable piece of high school fantasy marches over to him. His own hair is styled in the fashion of that month; plenty of waves and wax to defy taste. Katsu was always one for showmanship; his own friends watched in lustful excitement.

"Ah, Toshi-chan. You left so suddenly... I wanted to thank you." said Katsu, slamming his hands on the desk. Toshi flinched to the delight of his friends. "You just love showing me up, don't you?"

Katsu's smile could cut steel. Toshi tries to speak but his words remain lodged in his throat. The collective stare of Katsu and his gang were enough to overwhelm even the hardened of students.

"Ah, trying to be Yukio Mishima." said Katsu, swiping up his notebook. Toshi sprang into life and made an instinctive grab at the book but Katsu pushed him down with ease. "Don't be brave, Toshi-chan. I don't like that." added Katsu, his voice sharper than any razor.

His friends murmured. A collective smile crossed their faces as Katsu read the notebook silently.

"Nope. Trash, trash, trash." spat Katsu. He began to tear pages as he spoke. "You should become a rice farmer now and save yourself the embarrassment. No wonder you're such a loser."

Though tears threatened to drench his dark eyes, Toshi stood up defiantly. Katsu momentarily stopped tearing pages as he awaited his next move.

"Give it back." Toshi said. His words were weighted and felt pathetic falling from his lips. Katsu's friends broke into a collective squeal of laughter. Katsu dangled the book before Toshi teasingly.

"Take it, you little faggot." he said.

As the laughter swelled to an uncomfortable level, the tears began to fall. Katsu, proud of his achievement, joined in as he pointed at Toshi's wet cheeks. The cacophony struck him harder than anything Katsu had said. In a blind fury, Toshi lunged at Katsu and tackled him to the floor. Taken by surprise, he did nothing as Toshi tore a hank of his hair angrily. Katsu cried out in pain as the notebook slipped from his grasp.

Katsu balled his fists as his friends watched in muted interest. Then, the door swung open suddenly revealing the tall, fashionable figure of Ko. Her hair was a beautiful light brown and flowed as freely as any rural river. Perhaps this is what attracted Katsu to her. Her eyes, soft and kind, widened in shock as she saw Toshi sat upon Katsu in a rage.

"Ko." sputtered Katsu. His voice had taken on a withering quality. No doubt his drama classes prepared him for this dire act. "Call the sensei, please."

Toshi looked through his tear stained eyes to see Ko's mouth widen in shock. Katsu's hair was still lodged in his left hand. He dropped it suddenly, made a swipe for his notebook and left in haste. Ko gave him a wide berth before rushing to her boyfriend's side. Katsu stood feebly and reached for the small patch on his head now devoid of his silky locks.

"That Toshi... he's insane." he said. His eyes, though stern and steely, gave a facsimile of a gentle gaze at Ko who did not know any better. They hugged as his friends filed out of the room. She kissed him softly on the cheek as was her affectionate wont.

"What happened?" she asked. Her voice could have been part of the Winter breeze.

"We came in here to get away from the others and.. he was in here." replied Katsu. His explanations always worked with the sensei's. Even though his grades were near perfect, he still enjoyed covering his tracks when homework was not delivered on time. "I must have said the wrong thing because he leaped at at me and..." Katsu showed where Toshi had torn his hair. "I have a bald patch now."

He chuckled weakly as Ko looked him over with concern.

"That Toshi is an odd person. We should report him.. he'll only do it again. That's what thugs like that do; they find a target and never let up." she said.

Katsu's arms slipped around her. He hadn't even listened to what she said.

"I was thinking that we enjoy the rest of lunch." he said. His voice was hot in her ear.

Ko laughed nervously as he began to kiss her neck. She gripped his shirt tensely before pushing him back.

"Don't get too excited." giggled Ko. Her eyes flickered down to his trousers where a not too subtle bulge awaited her. She stepped towards the door. "Sensei Yamaoka will be in here soon." She held her hand out.

Katsu hid his annoyance and stepped over to grab her hand. They left the class and joined the rest of the school.

As they left, Toshi was rushing out of the school gates as fast as he could. His tears were falling now; he tried shielding his eyes from his classmates but this made it more pronounced. As he reached the empty streets of the outside world, the school mercifully receded.

A vague person watched Toshi depart. His face was undefined in the thick Osaka afternoon. Perhaps it was the shade but his eyes could not be seen among his hidden features. He watched Toshi retreat with a strange curiosity.

The End

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