Saturday, September 18, 2010

Prologue – Chapter 4

A week later, Iida was teaching Nakajima Akemi and Takamizawa Kyoko's class math in the CAI Room. Perhaps it was because he had witnessed the failure of the demon summoning, but Nakajima was glaring at Iida defiantly. Before, he would never have acted like this. Trying hard to ignore him, Iida continued his lesson.

"Now I'm going to have you take an interactive test using the host computer. However, this test won't affect your grades in any way. Through your interaction with the computer, I'd like you to get a little bit more familiar with any weak points you may have. Begin entering your commands as soon as I give the signal."

The students all affixed their eyes to their screens and silently started answering the questions given them, as the host computer diligently recorded their individual responses.

Iida carefully watched over his class before relaxing a bit.

Once use of CAI spreads, things will get a lot easier for us teachers. Though if it becomes too widespread, the time may come when we teachers aren't needed any more...

Suddenly, as if coming from the depths of the earth itself, a low, rumbling voice shook the CAI room.

"Yod, Heh, Vav, Heh."

The host computer’s magnetic tape started spinning wildly and the screens of the computers in the room started changing rapidly. Eerie colors and strange images flashed onscreen, and strange letter-like symbols appeared and disappeared. The students said nothing, their eyes transfixed to their screens, as if the class was enthralled.

"Nakajima, this is your doing, isn't it? Come on now, there's nothing wrong with a little mischief once in a while, but there are limits!"

His face twisted into a dark scowl, Iida started to walk over to Nakajima's seat, but the moment he moved a student in the first row stuck his leg out into the aisle, tripping the teacher and causing him to clumsily fall forward. As Iida tried to get up, two more students slammed into his back, pinning him to the ground and twisting his arms behind him.

"Wh-what are you doing!? Stop this at once!"

Taken aback at the sudden hostility of his students, Iida struggled to lift his head up as he cried out. The other students, staring ahead with glazed looks as if in a trance, stood up from their seats. Three male students left the classroom, and the others gradually started to surround Takamizawa Kyoko.

Her face drained of color, Kyoko stared, dumbfounded, as her classmates surrounding her. Her catlike eyes were full of fear; her lips trembled up and down, but held shut as if sewn together. A male student with thick glasses touched her chest. As if freed from a curse, Kyoko leapt up onto the desk.

"Stay away from me, asshole!" Kyoko yelled out desperately, whipping out a razor blade held between her thumb and middle finger.

"Stop, Takamizwa! Run!"

Iida's shaking voice echoed through the classroom. Kyoko took a sidelong glance at her restrained teacher, spat, and swung her razor at the student that had touched her. His glasses flew off as his slashed cheek started oozing fresh blood. The student didn’t falter or try to wipe off the blood; obstinately, he grabbed onto Kyoko's right ankle.

"Let go of me, asshole!"

The razor slashed open the student's temple before it sank into his blood-soaked arm, breaking in two. Taking advantage of Kyoko's surprise, another student grabbed her left angle, and the two students now gripping both her legs raised their arms, hoisting her up in the air and dangling her upside-down. Her skirt fell down around her waist, revealing her white legs. Kano Miyuki, alongside Kyoko one of the most beautiful girls in the school, walked up, put her face in between Kyoko's legs, and bit into her inner thigh. Bending backward in pain, Kyoko attempted to fight back, flailing her arms around like an animal caught in a trap, her drooping hair swishing around wildly, but several students knelt down by her head and started to twist her neck around.

"Stop! Stop this!"

As Iida cried out with tears in his eyes, a cold voice spoke.

"Sensei, it's too late."

Nakajima, who had been at his computer entering commands the whole time, looked at Iida with a sarcastic smile on his face.

"Ooh..."

A meager whimper as Kyoko's legs spasmed a few times. Without even attempting to wipe the blood from her face, Miyuki looked up and the two students holding Kyoko in the air let go of her legs. As Kyoko's twisted, lifeless body dropped to the floor, the circle of students broke up, leaving her behind.

The door opened as the three students that had left earlier returned, Kondo following behind them. After hearing that Kyoko was being ganged up on and verbally harassed by her classmates, Kondo came with a mind to teach the know-it-alls of the gifted class a lesson. However, the classroom was completely silent; not at all what he was expecting. The three students led the perplexed Kondo to the center of the room, then quickly moved away.

"Oh my god..."

Seeing Kyoko's corpse left Kondo thunderstruck; words escaped him for the moment. The students in the classroom surrounded him, as if to cut off his path of retreat. Kondo probably could have gotten away had he set his mind to it, but with his mind clouded with shock and anger, he didn't realize just how dangerous a position he had walked into.

"You bastards, what have you done... who killed Kyoko!?"

His body shaking in rage, Kondo's furious, bloodshot eyes turned to the students. The normally meek students who would usually run away if he merely looked at them showed no signs of fear as they returned his harsh gaze.

There was something seriously strange going on here.

A groan. Looking in the direction of the voice, Kondo saw Nakajima standing over Iida, his foot pinning the teacher's head to the ground.

"Nakajima...?"

Never imagining for a moment that the pretty-boy genius could be capable of something like this, Kondo was completely taken aback.

Iida called out to him from the back of his throat. “Run, Kondo! Everyone's gone mad!"

Called back to his senses by the teacher's voice, Kondo howled like a wild animal and charged Nakajima. Right before he reached Nakajima, a dozen students jumped on him and pulled him to the ground. Struggling with all his might, Kondo knocked off the students clinging to him, punching and kicking any that got close. But even with their foreheads split and their ribs shattered, the students picked themselves off the floor as if they felt no pain at all, and fiercely latched onto Kondo. One of them picked up a computer monitor and hit him hard in the back of the head. Kondo's vision blurred with the shock of the blow. He started to stumble; in that instant, the students pulled him to the floor again and restrained his limbs.

"Shit, let me go! I'll kill you!!"

Watching Kondo vainly struggle against the students, trying to get free, Nakajima's handsome face twisted into a cold smile.

"Actually, you're the only one who's going to be killed here. I was hoping to have Kyoko be your executioner, but as you've seen, she's already died. So I've been nice enough to have Miyuki do the job for her. You should thank me."

Cradling his chin in her hand, as if in thought, Miyuki kneeled down near Kondo and brought her face close to his, her chin still covered in Kyoko's blood. Her warm breath caressed his cheek. Kondo's body stiffened up and he shivered a bit. The knife in Miyuki's hand flashed and was drenched in crimson. A gurgling cry came out of Kondo's severed windpipe; his eyes still open, his head folded backward with a sickening crunch.

"Now then." Nakajima crouched down and looked into Iida's face.

"What do you think, Sensei? You see? My demon summoning experiment wasn't a failure. That day, a demon really did appear--inside the CAI host computer. We just didn't realize it. When I was in class here in the CAI room yesterday, the demon sent me a message: "KILL! I UNDERSTAND." He can't escape from the computer, so he used group hypnosis to control the class.”

For an instant, Nakajima's eyes glittered with pity. As if to suppress it, he pressed his lips together and stood up. “By the way, Sensei, I promised to give the demon three souls. Kyoko's, Kondo's, and one other..."

"W-wait, please wait..." As Iida desperately wheezed and struggled, ten students dragged their feet along the floor, slowly approaching him.

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