Freefall [Updated, Chapters 7 & 8]

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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapter 5]

Post by Elcor » Sun May 20, 2012 6:07 pm

I feel I need to eat popcorn while reading.
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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapter 5]

Post by CrossRook » Mon May 21, 2012 1:48 pm

Chapter 6: Hook

I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of when chasing a story. I could now add almost killing someone to that list. I kept rationalizing it in my head. She ran from me, she tripped. I needed that information, someone else was dead and their pills stolen by her. Pills that could be used to kill someone else, cause some kind of damage. It was still unsettling.

And who was the Captain? How did she fuck up? How would someone take someone else’s pills away? Was Nakai’s death even related to the theft? I might be chasing up the wrong tree. It could have been a crime of opportunity, Katayama knowing that Nakai was dead and his room full of pills. In fact, this seemed more logical than connecting it at all.

But things needed to be investigated more.

I was lying on my bed when there was a knock at the door. Must be Ikezawa. Telling her to stop by seems like a lifetime ago. I got up and answered the door.

“Hey Hanako, come on in.”

She was still wearing her uniform. I’d changed into a slacks and a loose button-up. She nodded politely then walked past me into my room. I motioned for her to sit on the bed while I took my space at my desk.

She fidgeted in place, smoothing out folds in her skirt.

“So, this is proving to be a lot more complex than I thought it was going to be. Nakai got pretty involved with things before he, uh… Before.”

She just nodded.

“His room was torn apart, like someone was looking for something. Do you have any idea what they might have been looking for?”

Her lower eyelids trembled. She tried to blink away the tears. She looked down and shook her head, ‘no.’

“Hanako, I know it’s hard but you need to be open with me. Hisao quickly made friends with five girls. You, Lilly, Shizune and two others. Do you know who the others were?”

She shook her head again, not looking up. She may have been a suspect now but she was falling apart on me at the mere mention of other people. It would be hard to believe that she was at all responsible.

“So Lilly knew him, too?”

She nodded. “W-we h-had… t-tea w-w-with him…”

“Has Lilly been acting strange lately?”

“W-w-well y-yes… e-e-everyone has.”

“Has she been distant, forlorn?”

“N-No… j-just sad.”

Well, I still should talk to her myself. See what she knew.

“Hanako, could you put me in contact with Lilly? I’d like to talk to her.”

“O-Okay… I-I can d-do t-th-that.”

“It’d be a big help.”

She slipped a hand into her skirt pocket and pulled out a small cell phone. She flipped it open and dialed a number, then raised it to her head.

“L-Lilly? N-No… I’m a-alright… Y-Yes, I’ll b-be home s-soon. U-Uhm… I-I’m with R-Ritsu… from m-my class… s-she wants to speak… to you, a-about Hisao… y-yes, I’m alright… o-okay, I’ll take her down… g-goodbye, Lilly.”

She closed the phone and slipped it back into her pocket.

“We good to go?”

A nod.

“Okay, take me too her.”

Ikezawa got up from the best and walked over to the door. I grabbed my hat off the desk and followed her out. She moved briskly but carefully, as if she were ready to run off at every single step. She made no attempt at conversation. Two flights down and we were in a hallway I hadn’t been before. She picked out a door and rapped her knuckles on it gently.

“Is that you, Hanako?” came a voice from inside.

“Y-Yes Lilly, and I’ve b-brought Ritsu.”

The doorknob turned and the door swung open. Satou stood in the doorway, staring out at nothing in particular.

“Please come in, both of you.”

We walked into the room and Satou motioned us to sit at a table that had been set up on the floor. A teakettle and four cups sat in the middle, the kettle’s spout weeping steam. Satou sat down at the table and Ikezawa next to her. I took a seat across from them, plopping myself on the cushioned floor.

“I don’t believe we’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting before, Ritsu,” said Lilly, extending a hand.

I took it and gave a small shake. Her hands were warm and smooth.

“I don’t think we have. 3-3 and 3-2 so rarely interact. How did you two meet?”

“Hanako lives next door, so we came to be friends that way.”

Ikezawa gave a small smile. The first I think I’ve seen out of her.

“Well, I don’t want to take up too much of your time,” I said, “I just have a few questions. About Hisao Nakai.”

“Such a shame. He was a nice boy, but he must have had his demons.”

“Right, well, I don’t know if Hanako told you this but she believes that there was foul play involved.”

Satou just nodded, a stern expression on her face.

“She did mention that. The two got pretty close before… before he left us, and she was concerned for her safety.”

Satou talked about her like she wasn’t sitting next to her. Like a mother talking about her daughter in front of an older, more mature friend. Ikezawa saw that I had noticed this and gave me a faint smile. Which resented the company of the other?

“Well, I’ve done some investigating and come up with a few strange facts. Hisao’s room was ransacked, someone was looking for something there. I’m not sure what it is or if they found it.”

“Oh dear.”

“Secondly, a girl named Rika Katayama stole Hisao’s heart medication. She claimed to do so because her own supply had been taken as punishment by someone named ‘the Captain.’ Would you have any idea who that could be?”

“No, not at all. Punished? What terrible things was this girl involved with?”

“That’s what I’m trying to find out. Alright, last question. Hisao was known to have associated with five girls during his time here. You two and Shizune Hakamichi I know for sure.”

Satou’s lip trembled at the mention of Hakamichi’s name. Perhaps the bad blood angle had something to do with this. Satou’s words were so kind they almost felt saccharine.

“I still have yet to identify the two others, only riddles about them. ‘Deckard of the Track’ and the ‘Bird with no Wings.’ Do you have any idea who they might be?”

“The former I have no clue about but the second might be referring to third year’s most famous artist, Rin Tezuka. You see, Rin is missing her arms yet still manages to create wonderful works of art, or so I’m told. She is also described as flighty and with her head in the clouds. I do believe that the riddle refers to her.”

“Thank you Lilly, that’s been a great help.”

“Anything, please. I’m just looking out for a new friend, and for a lost one. These things you say you’ve found,” she looked upset, eyes lowered and pale, “Frighten me. I want to know the truth, much as Hanako does now. So be careful, Ritsu.”

“I will.”

“Oh, and please take my phone number. Call me if you need anything, anything at all.”

She handed me a small card with simple, practiced digits on them. For someone who couldn’t see her handwriting was quite good. A sign of extreme training, most of it likely not pleasant.

I took my leave of the two and walked back to my room. Another girl identified answered one question but so many others remained unanswered. At least it was something to go on, instead of asking everyone in the world who ‘the Captain’ was.

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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapter 6]

Post by nemz » Mon May 21, 2012 2:36 pm

I find it rather odd that nobody asks Ritsu to explain why she has 'riddles' for clues, as surreal as that sounds. Could be handled easy enough with just a couple lines of dialog.
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapter 6]

Post by Elcor » Mon May 21, 2012 2:59 pm

Looking forward to the next chapter.
Personally, I'm thinking of the Track Team Captain, but I know that is just to easy.
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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapter 6]

Post by CrossRook » Fri May 25, 2012 12:15 pm

I've been busy playing Ghost Recon, but here are two shorter chapters to make up for it.

Chapter 7

I broke into a sweat somewhere in my sleep. I usually don’t dream, so I just happened to wake up at four-thirty in the morning glued to my sheets. My room was boiling; summer had finally started to arrive. I got out of bed and opened the window. I expected a stiff breeze, I got humidity instead. We were in for more rain, and hot rain at that.

I tried to sleep more but tossed and turned through a combination of being uncomfortably drenched in sweat, encased by the humidity and visions of Nakai falling four stories to an untimely death. Unpleasant, and a sign that I was getting nowhere fast with this case. I needed a breakthrough but I had nothing to go on. Just questions and no one to ask them too.

An hour or so of turning circle in my bed I got up and grabbed a towel from the floor. I left my room and headed for the girl’s bathroom to shower. Disrobing and stepping into a private shower stall, I turned on the water and let it flow over me. Sopping wet, my hair nearly covered my eyes and was slick against the back of my neck. A bar of soap helped wash the faint traces of cigarette smoke and coffee off my body.

The warm water helped me relax and gave me time to think. Somehow I did my best thinking in the shower. I had three leads to go on. Or four. This Captain and that whole conspiracy, the artist, Tezuka, the Hakamichi-Satou angle and the fifth girl. I needed to figure out who was connected to Nakai’s death and more importantly, why. It was frustrating beyond all belief. Maybe I should interrogate Lamperouge again, or drag him around campus pointing at girls and asking if they were with Hisao. There weren’t many good sources of information at Yamaku, there were too many secrets.

And the only information broker in Yamaku had disgraced me, gotten me kicked off the Newspaper when I found evidence of their own secrets. But that was in the past now, I had to focus on Nakai.

I left the showers and walked back to my room, towel wrapped around my body and clothes held in a bundle in my arms. There was a small envelope in front of my door. I leaned over to pick it up and accidentally twisted the wrist holding together the clothes. I reeled back in shock, dropping my braces, shirt, shorts and underwear all over the floor and grasped my wrist with my other hand. Dammit, dammit, dammit! You have to be more careful, Ritsu! The doctors say until you have surgery you must avoid flexing your wrists entirely.

I picked up my braces from the floor in front of me and put them on. My median nerve barked with pain and my middle finger, palm and wrist around it went numb. Recovering my key from the floor, I opened my door and kicked all my stuff inside, then slipped in myself, letting the towel fall to the floor. I flopped onto the bed, still clutching my wrist, sticking my thumb in under the brace and trying to massage the pain away. It only worked so much. There was a bottle of asprin on my desk for moments like these. I downed three capsules and sat back down on the bed.

I remained there, exposed, grasping my wrist until the pain subsided ten minutes later. I pulled out my clothes for the day, a uniform and associated garments, then got dressed. It was only then that I finally sat down at my desk and opened the letter.

‘I have information regarding the Captain, though I’m not sure your interest in him. Meet me at the Shanghai, tonight at nine.’

Nine was pushing curfew but I’d stayed out later before. It was just a matter of finding the best route back onto campus. The letter also confirmed another piece of information: the ‘Captain’ was male. That narrowed my list of potential suspects by fifty percent. Not a godsend but a start.

Chapter 8

I found myself sleeping through another one of Mutou’s lectures. I know that was Suzuki’s job but no matter how much I tossed and turned last night I couldn’t get to sleep, but here in the boring classroom it was lights out instantly. It was the middle of the week and I could tell that I wasn’t the only one with my head somewhere else.

Natsume and Naomi were whispering back and forth. Hakamichi and Mikado were discussing something, hands rapidly signing under their desks. Ikezawa had a book in front of her other than the physics textbook we were supposed to be reading. Maeda and Lamperouge looked bored. Arai next to me was also sleeping. Midweek doldrums had replaced last week’s depression. Yamaku was quick to move on, and it was for the best. As soon as the lunch bell rang I jumped out of my seat and out the door. I had a bird to catch.

I saw a flash of red as I got into the hallway, headed to my left, away from the crowd going downstairs. I pulled my hat down low and followed. The redhead never turned around, just slowly made her way to the roof access stairs. This was going to be interesting. A rooftop confrontation.

I watched from behind a corner as she opened the door deftly with one foot. Impressive. Just opening a door was tough for me, because of the angles involved with turning your wrist. A lot of Yamaku’s doors were adapted for handicapped students, which made it easier, but not all. There were still a few round knobs, and Tezuka seemed to not be impeded at all.

The door swung shut behind her. I waited a few minutes then followed through, hopefully as unnoticed as possible. After climbing the stairs, I emerged out onto the gravel covered roof. Tezuka was sitting along at one of the benches.

“Oh, hello,” she said, looking over at me, “I wasn’t expecting you.”

“Were you expecting someone?”

She shrugged, or at least I think she shrugged. It was hard to tell with no arms.

“Sometimes. A friend likes to eat lunch up here but she’s been real busy lately.”

“Okay… You’re Rin, right?”

She nodded. “I don’t know you.”

“I’m Ritsu, Ritsu Tainaka.”

She cocked her head forward, looking at my arms. She raised a foot and pointed at my brace.

“What happened?”

Well this was probably the wrong way to start off questioning a potential suspect.

“I’ve got a condition. Carpal tunnel syndrome, the nerves in my wrists are damaged. The braces keep me from moving my wrists and accidentally hurting myself.”

“I don’t have one of you yet.”

“Have me? What?”

“I like to keep collections. Of people. Different things about them that make them unique.”

“Ooooo…. Kay. I guess you can include me. It’s not very special.”

“We’re all special, and we’re all not.”

A peculiar observation, to say the least. Though accurate. Time to stop beating around the bush.

“Rin, did you know Hisao Nakai?”

She looked up at the sky, then closed her eyes.

“Hisao is the sky now.”

“Rin, what does that mean?” Did she actually know about his fall? Had I finally stumbled upon something useful?

“He’s gone from us, we all become the ground eventually. But Hisao, I think Hisao is the sky.”

“How well did you know Hisao?”

“How well does anyone know anyone?”

I had to hand it to her, she wasn’t making this easy.

“Did you spend time with him?”

“He helped me with the mural.”

The Mural in front of the dorms must be her work then. Nice job, though not exactly my style. I was more appreciative of modern rather than abstract.

“What was Hisao like?”

“Torn up. Inside. A conflict was brewing.”

“Would anyone wanted to have hurt Hisao?”

She shrugged that armless shrug again. I got up to leave. She wasn’t going to say anything, clearly. I also don’t know how capable she’d be of actually pushing him off this roof. She could kick him, I suppose.

It was this roof, now that I think about it. I’m surprised that it wasn’t locked down, but I guess the ‘these things happen’ attitude towards suicide was enough to push it out of everyone’s minds. I walked over to the fence facing the edge where Nakai fell. I don’t know what I was looking for. Something, anything, to let me know what was going on. I was digging up nothing, it was frustrating. I slammed my hand against the fence, rattling it. A sharp pain surged through my wrist. I ignored it, forced it down.

“Why are you asking about Hisao?” came Tezuka’s deadpan voice.

“I’m trying to find out of he was murdered.”

“That’s not true. Why are you asking?”

I took in a deep breath and stared out over the school grounds. Students were walking about, enjoying their lunch or chatting or kissing or playing or reading. Life moves on.

“Because we all need a purpose, right?” I turned around to face her. “We all have something we need to do to prove to ourselves… to prove… we just have things we need to do.”

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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapters 7 & 8]

Post by Elcor » Fri May 25, 2012 12:53 pm

What! Playing Ghost Recon how could you :cry: XD Sorry just messing with you.

I'm thinking of two people who might appear at the Shanghai, however one isn't that fitting of the criteria.
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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapters 7 & 8]

Post by Tokoz » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:17 pm

Someone's a Code Geass fan!~
suprised you didn't use Nunally. Love the story.

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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapter 6]

Post by Oddball » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:06 pm

Hmm... she's looking for a "Captain" at a school for the disabled, a male, one that may have killed somebody but at the very least had no problems putting somebody's life in danger by taking her pills.

I think I know exactly who the culprit is! The chapter title gives it away!

It's Captain Hook, isn't it?

Anyway, very entertaining so far, but I think you go a bit overboard on Hanako's stuttering. I do like how she's one of the only characters to actually refer to everybody by their last name though.
Not Dead Yet

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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapters 7 & 8]

Post by CrossRook » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:31 am

Tokoz wrote:Someone's a Code Geass fan!~
suprised you didn't use Nunally. Love the story.
I've never seen Code Geass so I actually have no idea what that's referencing...
Oddball wrote:Anyway, very entertaining so far, but I think you go a bit overboard on Hanako's stuttering. I do like how she's one of the only characters to actually refer to everybody by their last name though.
Maybe I have, but I like to think that's its been a very stressful time for Hanako, and she's even talking to someone she's never really talked with before and asking for their help. It would probably exacerbate her stutter.

Update time: I've got the next few chapters planned out (well duh) but have been a bit busy with some other projects and real life stuff recently. I'll try and get some more chapters for this done soon though, don't worry loyal fan.

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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapters 7 & 8]

Post by Morph » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:41 pm

Lelouch is the protagonist of Code Geass and him being in the class is a joke of the devs or something like that.

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Re: Freefall [Updated, Chapters 7 & 8]

Post by JTemby » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:11 am

CrossRook wrote: Update time: I've got the next few chapters planned out (well duh) but have been a bit busy with some other projects and real life stuff recently. I'll try and get some more chapters for this done soon though, don't worry loyal fan.
Any news?

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