Chapter 8 - I Look At Him & DrownMature

They moved Katsu's body swiftly from the room leaving the students confused and afraid. The Sensei gave up any illusion of continuing his class and instead hurried out ostensibly to speak to Kocho Aida. Some students had filed out either to go home or call their parents. Those that remained had gathered around Ko who was reduced to a red, blubbering mess. She did not speak; her friends however did and to the point of annoyance. Each sympathetic statement had a layer of sycophantic desire for a reaction. Ko wanted to leave but they had her in their vice; she was there for their entertainment.

Toshi had left soon after he saw this unfold. For a brief moment, he locked eyes with Ko and was afraid she knew. He was convinced that she could see the site lurking in his thoughts. She would point her finger and the school would lynch him alive for murdering their star pupil.

But this revenge fantasy did not happen. Instead, he saw a lost, confused teenager fighting her tears. A mixture of guilt and dread licked his insides with acidic lust. Only one thought was on his mind however. As the rain beat down on the school, he entered the computer lab which was mercifully empty.

He had to ask PMR. There was no two ways about it. Perhaps it was just bad timing or a self fulfilling prophecy but he had to know. After navigating the ultra slow school computer, he found himself typing into the search engine. He punched in The Raining Room and waited for the screen to load. Listings of news articles, flash video links and one obvious mock up of it flooded the screen. It was the usual fluff; Parents worried about '90's urban legend'. Powercuts in Tokyo: Internet access in National's capital restricted following Emperor's ruling. Otaku-Shrine prank: We were hacked! Join our little raining room... if you dare.

Toshi rolled his eyes. He should have known it would have been unlisted. Then he remembered the email. A few hits of the keyboard later and he has found the link. With a deep breath, he clicked and hoped.


On the other side of the building lies the office belonging to the IT Department. Akira and Hideo were the only souls in this mechanized space of broken computers and expensive laptops. A large poster of Harley Quinn dwarfed them both; it was an argument Akira had lost as he had wanted a poster of Maria from the Silent Hill 2 video game. 

Both men were identical save for Hideo's floppy fringe and glasses while Akira often wielded a sleek guitar. They would argue the pros and cons of every film, band and novel until it was time to leave. It was argued the reason they were asked to do so little was to avoid their incessant arguing.

"So... the new Metal Gear." began Hideo with a sideways smile. Akira rolled his eyes and tuned his guitar. Three laptops glowed before them with screens of data.

"Not again, Hideo. I swear to God..." said Akira. He had heard every detail of that game to the point he hated its existence. "I'm not talking about games again. Unless you want me to bring up Silent Hills."

Both men sighed deeply. A sore spot for all, surely.

The third laptop began to flash red. An angry box jumped into the middle of the screen with their personalized warning: Warning! Students accessing Forbidden Sites! FBI alerted!

"Oh goodie, I was getting bored." said Hideo. "Which one is it this time."

"Probably Instagram. You can message on that now." suggested Akira. Once again playing with his guitar, he tuned the E string as he spoke. He gave it a twang before muting it with his palm. "All kids are dumb. At least, they're getting dumber."

"Just blame the internet, Akky old boy. Huh.. this is new." Hideo said. He flashed a warning look at Akira who lost interest in his guitar. "The.. Raining Room?"

Akira barked with laughter. He was well versed in internet pop culture and hated nearly every facet of it.

"It's that stupid fucking urban legend. That dial-up crap that killed all your enemies." Akira adopted a mock-ghoul accent when he said killed. Hideo however was intrigued; he clicked on it.

A sharp, electric sound sparked throughout the room. The lights flickered as though they were afraid of darkness The screen was a blocky mess; as though it could not comprehend what the link had to offer. Both men looked at the mess confused.

"Click it again." said Akira. His voice was oddly muted.

Hideo did. The lights threatened to burst and only stopped flickering when the laptop's screen went black.

For the longest time, both men watched the black screen uncertain of what to say. Hideo tapped the enter key but nothing happened. Frustration crept into his expression as he tried to hit the power button. Still nothing.

Akira stood and pulled out his phone. He swiped and dialed as Hideo looked on.

"Who are you calling?" Hideo asked.

"Kocho Aida. She told us on our first day, remember? Anything related to The Raining Room we need to tell her. I guess she just likes urban legends." he replied. Kocho Aida picked up on the second ring and he told her what had happened. Hideo looked back at his laptop and gave it an angry tap.


As Akira spoke to Kocho Aida, Toshi was typing furiously. Only PMR seemed to be online.

I'm glad you kept your promise, Toshi. Have you had a great day?

Toshi had simply typed Katsu was taken to the hospital today and hit enter before reading PMR's message. He could not think of what else to say; outright accusing 'PMR' of something quite simply impossible made no sense. Unless PMR poisoned Katsu with some weird virus, he could not imagine any scenario where he'd be responsible. But something inside him knew.

Well, karma is certainly a bitch. Least now you can breath easy.

The words burned into Toshi's vision. Did you do something to him?

A pause. Perhaps the longest pause in Toshi's life. He felt a cold bead of sweat run down his forehead and onto his nose. But his hands remained glued to the keyboard.

What do you want me to say? Bullies are horrible, vile, nasty creatures. With all the acts you have told me, it's no wonder he's ended up in hospital.

Toshi stared dumbfounded. It wasn't a yes or a no but he still felt foolish for asking. Maybe just maybe it was all the bad karma. Katsu had gotten away with so much. From the month he used to steal and desecrate Toshi's homework to when he'd destroyed his NDS. Still, it felt wrong. But what had Katsu said before falling unconscious? He could hear him from the back of the class but rumours had swirled soon after. He had to know what happened to Katsu.

The words came to him effortlessly but seemed foolish when they appeared on the screen.

What is this all about? Really?

A pause. Toshi could hear students walking past the door and suddenly became very nervous. He would have a lot of explaining to do.

PMR responded. The words seemed to stain the screen.

Your bully must have one Hell of a killer headache. They're rather contagious, believe it or not. I look forward to speaking to you tomorrow, Toshi.

With that, Toshi switched off the computer and fled. Though students spilled past him in the hall, he did not stop. Had he remained, he'd have seen Ko watching him through her reddened, but curious eyes.

The End

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