Hidden 4 mos ago Post by stone
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“This place sucks,” Nathan said, looking up at the carpet of grey converging above. “I’m gonna get an ulcer.”

“The attitude of those administrators certainly wasn’t cheery,” Nathan’s boss, Inspector Diego Harris, retrieved his notepad from within the depths of his coat. “But our job isn’t to complain, Inspector Jones.”

“Yeah, yeah. I just think this whole damn place could be a bit nicer.”

Diego Harris and Nathan Jones were detectives—not the glamorous fictional sort, who went about England whenever they wanted, high on whims and intuition and copious amounts of illicit substances. No, they were detectives of the official kind—of the Missing Persons Unit.

The two stood outside the entrance to HAGAY’s admin office, a featureless brick building shaped like a box. It stood stark from the rest of the campus and its late-19th century Victorian architecture, like a petulant child in the grocery refusing to leave without candy.

“Money’s crazy, huh?” Jones said idly. “They can just call us all the way up from London to look for this girl, and boom, we gotta show up. I didn’t even know they could ask for this kinda thing.”

The inspectors’ division had received instructions to discreetly search for a missing student—a girl by the name of Sofia Wright.

“Leave the background questions for an auditor,” Harris said. “Let’s review our info.”

The two strolled down the courtyard as they talked. Classes for the day were coming to a close, as students went about the grounds, headed back to their dorms or to the various clubs at HAGAY.

“167 cm, medium build, brown hair. No previous run-ins with the law,” Harris said from memory. “Described by the admin as ‘excitable, a bit peppy.’ Last seen on the 15th. Didn’t show up for class the next day. Teachers were a bit concerned, but didn’t say anything. The dorm mother reported her missing when she checked her room on the evening of the 16th.”

“Can we search her room?”

“The dorm mother will have to be with us, but yes, we can.”


Sofia’s room perfectly defined the term ‘organised chaos.’ Numerous notebooks sat on her desk and her wastebasket was stuffed with crumpled origami. Clothes sat on her side table, folded but not tucked away in the dresser. A whiteboard hung from the ceiling, detailing study plans and ideas in illegible handwriting.

The two detectives combed through the notebooks, finding nothing more than standard notes for Sofia’s courses. A search through the dressers and desk yielded just as little.

Thankfully, the wastebasket held some recourse—a crumpled origami frog, detailing a clandestine meeting on the pier at night, held the week prior. Further examination revealed another crumpled sheet—the girl had some investigation notes of her own, listing some students’ names and their room numbers.

“Maive… Orlando… Daniel…” Jones muttered as he read the list.

“The meeting time matches up with the time range of disappearance,” Harris cross checked his notes. “Come on—we’ve got some kids to grill.”
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by ERode
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There was a map in Verity’s studio.

A map made of sketches upon post-it notes, depicting an island that did not exist on this planet. Some notes were stained by water, others by dirt. Some were torn as if pressed against a rough surface, others were marked by uncertain charcoal. It was a pastiche of a map, one draw with only an approximation of an appreciation for the art of cartography.

But there was a sense of obsession there. An obsession tightened by the bareness of the studio, how nothing was present in the room of this teenage girl except for equipment and gear, textbooks on all sorts of DIY crafts.

A sense of obsession.

A sense of adventure.

...

"Lookin' fer Verity, officer? Yah, she frequents this place plenty. Real pleasant, pays well, though obviously not with her own money. Don't see those types too often round here, ya know? The type who like to get out there."

"Hmm, yes, I do recall seeing her. She picked up a fairly big package off from Amazon over at our postal office. Well, I say fairly big, but it was relatively small, just quite heavy. Couldn't tell you where she is right now, but she does have a habit of appearing out of nowhere."

"That little girl? Ah, no, she definitely comes here plenty. Big interest in the old maps in our archives and all; couldn't tell you why though. Don't think the HAGAY teachers ever did any real history. Just classical BC stuff. So I suppose it was mostly self-interest on her part. Weird though. Nothing but old and forgotten places here."

...

The sun was setting upon the dockhouse where Sofia had set up a meeting, less than a week before. It was, as well, the last time anyone saw her. The clouds burned red, the waters turned gold, and the detectives muttered to themselves about how only trust fund babies could afford to be a truant in a school as prestigious and expensive as HAGAY. Diego was wiping his brow with a handkerchief, a day of legwork giving him only inconclusive information on how every school had a teenage weirdo. Nathan, zealous, was poring over every crack on the boardwalk, trying to discover any sign of foul play that may indicate that Sofia was murdered by the group that she had summoned.

Neither of them looked up. Not until Verity spoke out.

"Yo." A crunch of potato chips, flavored dust blown by a soft breeze onto Nathan's head. "Looking for Sofia?"

The responses were guarded, the questions were pointed, their combined experience made for years that were double Verity's age, and yet, the brunette still sat atop the roof of the dockhouse, looking down at them. Listened to what they had to say, but answered nothing.

Then, broke the silence once more.

"One of you should go to the second floor of HAGAY. The main building." She smiled. The bag was empty now, and it crinkled as she crushed it into a ball and sealed it in her bag. A drybag. Limegreen. Brand? Sealine. "Call the other once you're there."

They humored her. Better to form rapport, if you couldn't intimidate with authority alone. It was hard, after all, for two detectives to have more power than the heirs to great fortune and fame that often made up the student population here. All of a half hour passed before Diego's phone rang.

And, as if that was the signal she was waiting for, Verity took three steps, leapt off the roof, and crashed into the waters below, all before the man could let out a warning or a shout.

One second.

Ten seconds.

Thirty seconds.

One minute.

Three minutes.

Five minutes.

She did not surface. She was not there.

...

On an island that was not on a map, there were coconuts, the traces of a great monster, and now?

The framework of a boat, alongside a litany of tools and comforts.


...

Second floor. Main building. Her shoes, touching familiar tiling. Her bag, delightfully empty expect for the ball of plastic that bounced inside it. She met Nathan outside the boy's washroom, patted him on the shoulder.

"Figure out how I got from dockhouse to here, without passing you."

There was too much she didn't know yet, about that Sea, about Sofia's sinking.

"It'll help with finding Sofia."

...

"What the fuck?! That girl's a fucking nutjob, Big D!"

"Jesus, kid, don't ever call me Big D again. And I'm going to reserve judgment for now. She might just be a bit kooky...fancy a dive though, Inspector Nathan?"
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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Imogen Reed


Even for two highly experienced professional detectives of appreciable skill, finding one particular name from the list ended up posing a fair bit more challenge than they accepted, not because Imogen Reed took any particular pains to obscure her location, but because nobody seemed to possess a single, solitary clue as to where in the world she might be. Of course, Nathan and Harris obtained her schedule and room number from the faculty as a matter of course, just as they did with the others, in order to aid their investigation, but in an unlucky turn of events her schedule just so happened to be free for most of the morning. When they entered her dormitory they found her room empty, if rather disheveled. There weren’t a lot of clues to be had there, as her drawers mostly contained papers for schoolwork or snacks, but the lack of shoes, phone, laptop, or bag suggested that she happened to be out.

It was when the duo approached Imogen’s neighbors that they got their first taste of their target’s elusiveness. The other young women in the room’s vicinity possessed only the vaguest sense of the student living adjacent to them, seldom seen and never spoken to. Forget whereabouts–even the mention of Imogen’s name drew blank stares. One girl even admitted that she thought that room was unoccupied. Soon the detectives were on their way, first visiting the professor of the prior class on Imogen’s agenda, and then the one she’d be attending later today. Neither could claim any knowledge of her whereabouts, nor her activities in general in order to provide a hint as to where she might spend her time between classes. The students from those classes proved even less helpful, only a few cognizant of Imogen’s presence in their class, and even they couldn’t be completely sure that she’d attended today, or even yesterday for that matter. It didn’t even seem like Imogen was shy or anxious, just completely forgettable. Only one detail kept resurfacing: that she always wore a drab green coat. In the end, Nathan in particular actually ended up feeling pretty bad for the girl. Harris couldn’t say the same; in fact, he couldn’t completely dismiss the somewhat paranoid notion that Imogen was covering her tracks on purpose, after all.

While making their way through the general study hall for the third time since the start of their search, Harris idly cast his eyes around the area again, just to be sure. This was beginning to feel like a wild goose chase, and it was trying his patience. His eyes happened to rest on a lone figure sitting at a table in the middle of the area, and with a jolt he took a double take. Light brown hair, black glasses, checkered beanie, and a drab green coat…it had to be her. When did she get here, he wondered. Surely the two of them hadn’t passed her by without realizing twice? She was right out in the open, for Pete’s sake. He nudged Nathan with his elbow and tilted his head in Imogen’s direction, but after a moment of looking his partner gave him an inquisitive glance. Shaking his head, he made his way over with Nathan in tow, who to his credit managed to come to the same realization only a few steps into the short trip.

Together they stopped at the table, quietly whispering between themselves about how to do this, since Imogen appeared to be sound asleep. She lay slouched in her chair at the table, a huge amount of homework arrayed out before her, including a textbook, a couple worksheets, a page of notes, and another of references. Imogen herself didn’t look too good. Her hair seemed a little unkempt, and the bags beneath her eyes were pretty dark. Despite the impressive number of students cramming into this hall to work, nobody else occupied Imogen’s table, so after Harris pulled out one of the other chairs and sat down, he cleared his throat. “Pardon me, miss?”

Imogen stirred instantly, awakening with a sharp inhalation of breath. She blinked blearily as the initial panic died down, regarding the detectives with a wary, almost fearful expression. “H-huh? Ah, ‘scuse me, uh…yes?”

“Are you Imogen Reed?”

“Y..yes.” After composing herself, Imogen straightened up and adopted a polite neutral expression, the sort one might expect from a bank teller. “Oh…did I nod off? Sorry, I’ve just been sleepin’ terrible lately. Is…there somethin’ wrong, sirs?”

“You’re not in trouble or anything. We just wanted to ask you a few questions,” Harris told her, his voice even. “Just a minute or two of your time, and we’ll be on your way.”

The girl nodded, so he continued. “We’re looking for a student named Sofia Wright. Does that name sound familiar to you?”

He scarcely needed to finish that second question though; the instant he said that name, Imogen reacted. Her tells were slight, but obvious to anyone with entry-level experience in this sort of field. She’d slightly opened her mouth and widened her eyes, as well as instinctively taken a deeper-than-usual breath. She didn’t just know the name. It held some sort of import for her. Still, she furnished the detective with a reply out of courtesy. “Yes, I’ve met her.”

“How do you know her?” Nathan asked.

“Well…” Imogen licked her lips, which for some reason felt oddly dry. “Right after school started, she tried gettin’ a bunch of random freshmen together to make nice. Some sort of program I expect. Didn’t work out though, none of us really wanted anythin’ to do with it. Ya can’t force stuff like that, y’know?”

Nathan crossed his arms, nodding. “Right, right, the semester started a couple weeks ago, didn’t it. But what about last week, Miss Reed? Did you see Miss Wright again?”

Uh oh. Imogen swallowed. These men were getting closer to that day. The day when her whole world flipped upside down, and though nothing changed, everything changed. Every night since then she’d lain awake in her bed, the images and events from that impossible island replaying again and again in her mind. She’d hoped that it was all a dream, that Sophie was fine and just living her life out in the campus somewhere, but now these men were here telling her that Sophie really was gone. But what could she tell them in return? The truth would make her sound insane. In truth, she felt a little insane. Things hadn’t exactly been hunky-dory prior to her little dip, and since then it felt like something had been gnawing at her. She found herself showering more than once per day, washing her face more often than ever, but her mind would not rest, and the itch would not go away. Several times now she’d found herself back at the docks, more than once in the dead of night. Just staring at the water. Unable to do away with the realization that there was something else out there. Once she met Verity there. She hadn’t said anything to her, and really, they didn’t need to say a word. Maybe she felt it too–the sensation of walls crumbling down, and the rising urge to peer beyond them.

“...Yes,” she replied after a moment. The truth, but not the whole truth, she told herself. “Sophie tried to get us together again. Some sort of hazin’ ritual that involves jumpin’ in the water. I said no, you’re mental, we’ll freeze our arses off. She went in, and I went home. No idea what happened after that.” Scrunching her brows together, she looked between the detectives. “Did she end up drownin’? Dyin’ o’ hypothermia or somethin’?”

Nathan shrugged. “That’s what we’re trying to find out.”

“What my partner MEANS to say,” Harris interjected, “Is that we’re not ruling anything out. But I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.” He reached over and quickly scribbled on one of Imogen’s papers, then stood up. He’d given her a number, along with the epithet Detective Diego Harris. “If anything else comes to mind, or you see Miss Wright again, please let us know. We may have more questions for you later.”

He and Nathan went on their way, talking in low tones. Imogen sank down into her chair, her heating thumping in her chest. Who were those two? Were they cops? Did they suspect her? Well, she hadn’t done anything wrong. Sophie had been the one to drag her into this mess. The consequences of her actions were on her. Unfortunately, despite her best attempts to persuade herself, Imogen still felt guilty. And scared. And very, very tired. My first nap in days, and the bloody cops show up to ruin it, she thought ruefully. When was all this going to be over…?
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by AThousandCurses
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"Nani? Wright-chan's gone missing?" Katsumi blinked in surprise with an exaggerated Japanese tone. It had been a while since she had last seen her senior in the halls. There were rumors about a missing person's report, but Katsumi didn't know that person was, in fact, Sofia. The Japanese girl clapped her cheeks together, much to her classmate's displeasure. This was all truly shocking to her. While she didn't know Sofia all too well, she had heard some things about her senior. That she is rather awkward and that she made the top 15 on the science track.

"Yeah, apparently, Sofia's been gone since the 15th. Nobody knows where she went, and I heard there was an investigation going on to find her."

"なるほど, なるほど."

"What was that?"

"Don't worry. Detective Katsumi's on the case now." Pushing up her glasses, Katsumi held her head up proudly. Though given that this wasn't an anime, her glasses didn't shine to signify her importance. Her classmate could only sigh, already tired of the dramatic, as Katsumi made her way around the table. Even if there were detectives who were already on the case and trying to find Sofia, Katsumi couldn't stand by and let her disappearance go unnoticed. She, too, will investigate the disappearance and find her missing classmate.

That and she was a little bored at the moment since she ran out of manga to read.

The first thing she needed to do was find the people who last saw Sofia. In the manga, the protagonist would have to go after leads and find evidence. Whether the leads took the shape of a person or an object, it would bring the protagonist closer to the truth. Since Katsumi didn't have anything to go off, she would have to meet with people that knew her. The first would be her dorm mother-

"Stop snooping. The detectives are already on the case, so mind your business and get back to studying."

Well, okay, she had seen that coming. Still, there was Sofia's neighbor-

"Oh, her? Yeah, we don't talk much. She's kinda bit on the... weird side like you. Though, as far as I know, she didn't come out of her room the next day."

Okay, so talking with her neighbors wasn't helpful at all. In fact, it kinda hurt a little bit, but that didn't matter, right? She couldn't let go of the investigation yet. The next people were-

"Oh, you mean the missing girl? Don't know her."

"Her? Well, I'm glad that she's gone now. With the 15th spot vacant, now I can-"

"Sorry, but I have to do something."

Katsumi slumped her head against the table. Doing investigation in real life was much harder than it looked in the manga, especially when she wasn't a real detective. A groan of disappointment came out as she looked at her notebook. It was a surprise to her that Sofia might've been one of the school's biggest social pariahs, which made it difficult for her to investigate. Not to mention that when she tried to talk with them, they often wanted to disengage from the conversation once she started talking. She didn't know why, but they didn't want to talk to her for more than two minutes.

"Though, I guess it wasn't all too fruitless," Katsumi said as she flipped the page of her notebook. While she was investigating Sofia, Katsumi found that there was a group of freshmen, like herself, that Sofia was supervising. It was for the 'Icebreaker.' She had gotten this information from her 'Icebreaker' Captain when she last saw him. Katsumi didn't have too many fond memories, though, as whenever she tried to speak, the captain often shut her down from speaking. Regardless, she'd have to interview them to see if they had any leads. If that fails, then she'd have to give up this entire investigation.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Scribe of Thoth
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The past week had been odd. Not quite as odd as Danny's unplanned vacation last Thursday, but given that it seemed to be the flashpoint that had severed him from ordinary reality, he supposed he could count everything as one big oddity. He'd woken up Friday morning fully clothed, groggy, thirsty as hell, and almost late for class. He'd have believed the night prior really was just a dream were he not wearing a bathing suit for some inexplicable reason.

Okay, that wasn't too outlandish for him but the point stood.

After that, he was positively assaulted by what's-her-name who claimed she'd heard that he spent the night prior making out with some other girl. He, of course, denied such entirely false allegations, but she claimed some girl sent her video evidence, which was promptly shoved in his face. The girl in the video definitely sounded familiar in a way Daniel couldn't place, but she was also definitely not talking about him. His pleas that it wasn't the same Daniel fell on deaf ears, especially since he couldn't provide an alibi as to his location last night. Apparently some jackass ratted out that he stumbled into his dorm all disheveled in the middle of the night.

He felt bad for a few seconds, but then the giddiness took over. That was easier than he'd expected! Even better that he didn't even have to kiss anyone to be caught making out. The accidental little smirk he had on his face after she walked away apparently solidifed his reputation, given the disgusted noise he heard some nearby girl make. Hopefully his streak of luck would hold out and the real Daniel Kissylips would be too embarrassed to come forward. Danny spent a bit of time that evening prowling social media for the details of the alleged encounter, but too much of the gossip was hidden behind private accounts for him to actually piece together anything concrete.

After that, it was mostly back to business as usual. Once or twice he considered approaching his fellow islanders, but the desire to forget their shared fever dream ultimately won out in the end, lest he end up building a negative association with water in his head. Then he'd be fucked. Plus, imagine if they had no recollection of the entire event. That'd just convince him he was crazy, and he couldn't even afford an optometrist right now, let alone a psychiatrist along with it. So, instead, he threw himself in the pool. It was free.

Unfortunately, he didn't throw himself far enough. Danny came up for air one relatively uneventful afternoon, only to come face to face with two random teachers that he didn't recognize staring down at him from the side of the pool. They had that look on their faces like he was in trouble, but he was completely sure the pool was open. He hadn't even snuck in after hours! Yet.

"Daniel Burkley?" The elder of the duo asked, in that self-satisfied way that told him the man already knew the answer but wanted to hear it anyway.

"Uh. Yes, sir?"

"If you could step out of the pool and follow us, we'd like to ask you a few questions."

Danny wrinkled his nose distastefully. "What're you, a cop?"

The younger man suddenly burst into action with an almost childlike enthusiasm, as if he'd been waiting a very long time for someone to ask him that. His hand shot into his pocket and then thrust itself forward toward Danny, presenting something that unfolded into a badge and an ID that boy couldn't read from this distance anyway.

"Actually, yes! Inspector Nathan Jones. Please step out of the pool."

Daniel's stomach dropped. Alright, he definitely didn't do something illegal-illegal. How did these detectives even find him? He really needed to do some detective work of his own and figure out which of his dormmates was the fucking Karen - what's a male Karen called? Kieran? - that kept tabs on his every move. The situation was so out of left field that he didn't even protest, just climbed out of the water and solemnly followed the detectives to their makeshift interrogation chamber.

And so, here he was; seated in an empty room and draped in a towel, nervousness coaxing his leg into an incessant bounce that made his chair softly creak and would've earned him a lecture about bad habits from his mother ten times over. It annoyed him in the past, but honestly, he saw her point now. It definitely made him look guilty of... whatever he was being accused of.

Inspector Jones and his partner (Daniel could only assume he was the 'bad cop' here) entered after a short wait, taking their seats calmly as if he wasn't about to shit his pants over the whole situation.

"Do you know a student by the name of Sofia Wright?"

Oh no.

"Y-yeah, I know her. I wouldn't exactly call us friends, though." Just as he'd managed to tense his leg into stillness, the fidgeting returned with a vengeance.

"What about the night of the fifteenth," the older detective continued, "You wouldn't happen to have seen her around that time, would you?"

Again with that tone. This guy knew something. Maybe even more than Daniel did. After last week, he wasn't above believing that the government had a top secret supernatural investigation division that was going to whisk him away forever and cut his brain open to pull Kharon out and- Okay, they were probably only interested in Sofia.

"She was my orientation leader or something, and she invited us all to the docks for some dumb good luck thing where we were supposed to jump in the water and freeze our a- butts off. Is- is that a crime?"

"Not quite, but no one has seen Miss Wright since. She's been reported missing."

Wait. She was missing?! Did they leave her on the island? Danny was sure she left with the others. Well, he hadn't actually seen her, but didn't she fall in the water? He didn't have any of the answers these men were looking for, regardless. And he didn't know if he could even properly explain without being consigned to a mental institution. And his family certainly wouldn't like to hear about that scar on their reputation.

Either way, maybe this was another weird stroke of unfortunate luck; the earlier nervousness could've been excused as an anxious boy who didn't know why he'd been called for questioning, and the way his face sunk when they said she'd gone missing surely couldn't have been faked, given that, y'know, it wasn't. He knew more than he let on, sure, but Daniel could only hope he didn't betray that. Because then they'd think he fucking murdered her. And honestly? He might've.

"Missing...?" he repeated, stunned, "I- we- I just jumped in and left. I don't... know if I saw her afterward, but I didn't see anyone drowning or anything." Technically, that wasn't a lie. He just hoped it wasn't close enough to the truth to sound suspicious either, because he really could not explain any of this. Talking less was generally a good policy when dealing with the law, but Danny didn't know what else he was supposed to do. He couldn't come clean, but he couldn't just leave Sofia on some magic island full of evil frogs! Not... that the cops could really solve that, but...

Thankfully, they seemed to let him off the hook. He was sure Inspector Harris, as the older cop had introduced himself after the fact, would be keeping tabs on him regardless, but Daniel certainly didn't intend to engage in any suspicious actions any time soon. Then again, if Sofia was still on the island somewhere and the only way he knew how to reach it was from the docks, and he was nearly the only one with a persona, and the cops were unlikely to figure out that there's a portal to Fiji in the Harbour Academy dockhouse, and they might not have a way to find Sofia even if they could get to the island... Danny's conscience might just have him returning to the scene of the crime like a terrible movie crook. And he didn't even commit a crime!


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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by hatakekuro
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Every night Victor was pulled back in. Every bloody night he stood on the docks waiting for that man in blue to appear again, but the man never did. All he had were questions and the only response he received were the lapping waves under a quiet moonlit night. Sometimes he stared into the water and thought about jumping back in in search of any possible answers, but at the risk of being maimed by another demonic Frog and the Toad or some other strange aberration of nature Victor saw that it was best to avoid entering that world again for the foreseeable future.

Perhaps it was better to forget it ever happened. There was nothing to be gained from obsessing over it. The island was a death trap; they were lucky to have gotten out of it alive and yet, it called to a part of him.

It was eating him alive, but to the rest of the world he was just his usual charming, sociable self. It was business as usual as if nothing had ever happened. One did have to keep up appearances after all. He threw himself into his every day routine, putting all of his energy into maintaining a well connected social life and of course all preparations for the HATS auditions for their next stage play, whenever that may be.

It was better to focus his time and effort into something that was anchored in his own reality. Victor made no attempts to approach the other island castaways to even dare broach the subject. They were most likely trying to put the ordeal behind them and move on with their lives, not that he could blame them. He had no right to dredge up unwanted memories after an experience like that.

Speaking of dredging unwanted memories, there was Victor in the men's locker room changing back into his own clothes after a post-workout shower. While changing, he saw a couple of guys looking at a phone with smirks. They were just some acquaintances that frequently visited the gym that he was friendly enough with. One of them looked up at Victor with a grin and held his phone out to the Frenchman.

"Hey did you see this?" The boy asked, showing the screen to Victor. It was a video of the campus at night, specifically focused on a tree and there were the sound of girls muttering. It was familiar, strangely so as he did not know where he had seen it before, but he had. Then he felt the weight of his sins on his back when from the video came the loud moan of a valley girl calling out Daniel's name.

"Word has it that it's Daniel Burkley. Rumor has it he was making moves on a girl and then snuck out to have a go with another. The man works quick!"

The other boy said, "I didn't realize how much of a dog he is! The girl sounded kinda hot though. Got any idea who she is?"

She's standing right in front of you, thought Victor.

Outside he maintained composure, but inside he was screaming. With all that had happened, he had forgotten about the video and it was now part of the campus latest gossip. Still, the only comfort that he could find was that no one suspected him of being the valley girl in the video. This was a secret that he was going to take to his grave.

After dealing with the consequences of his own actions, Victor walked out of the locker room with his gym bag in tow. He was about to go and grab dinner from the cafeteria when two strangers approached him. One was a youthful man and another was an older, grittier man that looked like he had seen it all. Victor did not recognize either one of them as teacher's or staff around the school. The younger man's attire was too sloppy to be a teacher at this school; his tie was too loose and his shirt's top buttons were unbuttoned among other things. The older man was dressed more sensibly though not many teacher's walk around wearing trench coats and look like they were about to ask someone if they were feeling lucky.

"Hey kid, are Victor Lafayette?" Asked that younger man, earning a stern expression from his companion.

"Mind your manners, Jones." The older man chided the younger one. His gaze returned to the teenager when a look of realization crept upon his face. "Wait, Lafayette? As in the actor? Are you his son?"

Victor cautiously took a step back from the two strange men asking too many question. "That is correct. Pardon me, but who are you two?"

The older man was quick to pick up on Victor's distrust and was quick to remedy his mistake. "Right, our apologies." Both men pulled out case that when unfolded presented a badge and an ID. "I'm Inspector Diego Harris and my partner here is Inspector Nathan Jones. We would like to ask you some questions."

Victor did relax when he saw that they were just police though it did raise questions. How did they even find him? Well, it's not like he had a sporadic schedule so it would not have been hard to track his whereabouts, but still. Also, why him? He was not involved in any illicit activities and as far as he knew, he was certain that those in his friend group were not doing illegal, or at least enough to warrant the involvement of the cops. Unless it was about the other world, but there was no way that had to be the case. If there was some secret government cabal that knew about this, the last thing they would do was send cops in to question him.

So, with no choice to comply Victor was led to a makeshift interrogation room and sat down on an oddly damp chair. It was almost pitch black save for the solitary lamp at the table that lit up the room. He sat there watching the two detectives fiddle around with a file before they sat down across from him. Inspector Jones angled the lamp just so that it was hitting the student's face enough to make it uncomfortable.

Inspector Harris placed a recording device on the table and clicked it. "September 20th, interview with Victor Lafayette." His gaze focused on the boy in front of him. "So, how's school going for you? Are you enjoying it? Making friends?"

Victor arched his brow at the line of questioning. "I've been having a good time. I haven't had a hard time making friends here."

"Good, that's good. So tell me, where does Sofia Wright fit in your friend group?"

"Well, she doesn't. She was assigned as my group leader for orientation. My contact with her and the rest of them has been minimal at best. I'm sorry, but why are you asking about her?"

Inspector Jones interjected, "The girl has been reported missing."

His eyes widened in shock from this revelation. "Missing? What do you mean she's missing?"

"She had been reported missing on the 16th, but was last seen on the 15th. You and some other kids were the last to see her before her disappearance. Can you tell us what happened on the 15th?" asked Inspector Harris. His tone wasn't harsh nor kind, just direct with the intent of digging for the truth.

Sure Victor had not seen her around after the island fiasco, but it was not like he saw her around before then anyway. He had just assumed that as soon as she escaped that she ran back to her dorm to forget that any of it ever happened. Then again, he did not see what happened after he was forcibly removed. Before it was safe to assume that she escaped with the others, but no one told him what happened after he accidentally returned to their world. Perhaps they lost track of her in the chaos.

It's not like he could tell the detectives about the other world without thinking he was a loon. No sane person would accept it as any rational explanation. He could only hope that his shock did not give anything away and was just that of a concerned student.

"Of course. Sophia invited the entire group to take part of some traditional hazing to jump into the freezing ocean. Some were adamant towards the idea, but there was an accident; somehow we all fell into the water, but no one was hurt." Technically it was the truth. They did fall in and it did not hurt them. All he did was neglect to tell them what happened after they fell into the water.

"Did anything else happen afterwards?"

"I don't know. I was the first to leave." Again, it wasn't a lie technically. Victor by all accounts was the first to leave albeit forcibly via getting smacked into the spring. "I'm sorry detectives, but that is all I know"

"That's fine Victor. Thank you for your cooperation. If you think of anything, please call my number," said Diego, handing the French teen a business card.

With that ordeal finished, Victor walked to the cafeteria though his thoughts were far away from whatever half-baked cuisine the school served. There was no way that he was the only one that was interrogated. They probably grabbed the rest of the Icebreaker group. The group and him were the only ones that knew the truth of the matter. They must return to the island to find Sophia regardless if she was dead, alive, or in some other state of being altogether. However, it was going to be difficult with the cops breathing down their necks. No doubt they were going to monitor their movements. They had to find away to get together without raising suspicions.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by OwO
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Of course she worried. There wasn't a bone in Maive's body that wouldn't. While previously Maive had been preoccupied with helping others, the sudden trip to a surreal balmy island had marked a change in her behaviour. Now, she always had something to do. Sorry, she'd tell others, I don't have the time right now.

Long walks along the beach were romantic. Searches along the English coast were less so. Maive patrolled the waters and looked for any clues. Unfortunately, her searches turned up with nothing. Perhaps if she was brave enough to jump into the depths again, she would find something... But she wasn't. She saw Victor frequently. Of course, she didn't have the heart to talk to him about it. She didn't have the heart to talk to anyone else about it, for that matter. After that all happened, Maive had receded into a shell of worry.

And then she was called into a room for an interview and saw two detectives staring her down.

Maive was, of course, not the type to get in trouble. In fact, this was the first time she was called to talk about anything. In anything, she was on the other side of the table whenever her siblings were up to no good. So she would react like anyone in her position would: she'd squeal like a pig. She'd tell the detectives about everything. The other world. Summoning a spirit. Launching everyone into the water and how it was her fault.

But a miracle happened. Though, perhaps it wasn't a miracle considering that Maive's tear ducts were closer to aqueducts at this point.

She bawled until she was unintelligible. The detectives still caught the main words. Hazing, dock, fall. The bit about the island had, perhaps thankfully, been shrouded in snot and wails. Any leading questions were answered in a similar manner. With sobbing and shakes of the head. Any attempt at consoling her or calming her down was, frankly, a failure.

"..." Detective Harris looked at Maive with a look of pity before placing a business card in front of her. "Please call this number if you remember any other details."

And that's how Maive's first run in with the cops went.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Jeep Wrangler
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Someone had texted him on the third day of his absence - a general code of conduct pass on, to make sure there wasn't any disappearance on Franciszek's behalf. It was from a person whose name was unfamiliar to him, like most classmates tended to be, simply spelling out: U OK? MR LIMER WANTS UPDATE?. He responded with the usual - it's fine, just ill, or something like that. He'd be in the day after, and he was, but it was arguable if he was ever really there at all. His mind was lost at sea, taken far off to a place he had no comprehension of. An isle; far off, sunken and trodden in the distasteful, surreal atmosphere that plagued its winds and waters. It caused a great shudder, a feeling so real and so unfathomable that he could not shake it as fiction. Something had happened to him that night. Something painful, sensational and inexplicable.

He'd made no attempt to contact his peers from that evening because they had never made an attempt to contact him. It was the troubling nature of his predicament. Who could he speak to? On the off-chance that it was a fabrication of a delusional mind, which had started to seem even more preposterous than accepting it, then who could bear the ability to understand his issues? Had he gone insane? Had the well-represented kaleidoscopic spiral into insanity, shown in all his favourite books, pledged allegiance against him? Franciszek had nothing to work with. He was quiet, and that silence permitted a strange inability to function, as though he'd shut down and felt nothing else. If anything, that roasted broth of the ocean, the one that had flooded his throat, had never left his mind. Even the salt could still be tasted on his tongue's bruised tip.

The day he'd returned to his lessons he was quiet, at least on the academic scale. He wasn't quite as enamoured by the texts around him nor was he in the mood for the arts. Back in his dorm, he'd taken the time to try and write down his thoughts but it'd came back to him as a scrambled mess, incoherently tied together by mentions of the island. Many of those notes were discarded into a bin just outside the dorm building.

The night before they visited, he'd been sat staring at a phone screen - at a text, specifically - unable to word or send the message. It was a mess. A confession of a surreal nature, not to any crime or wrongdoing but to confusion and anxiety. In the world beyond, he was alone, and it was a cold existence. Press send, he pled with himself, just press it and let him know. But the truth was he couldn't. He'd only add to his disappointment, to the numb, unhappy existence the recipient would feel. He deleted it. Wrote it out again. Deleted it again. Never sent. Never seen.


~


"Frankie?" A voice spilt through his door, as the manager came in, escorted by two men."I have some people here who need to speak to you."

Harris was the first to enter, with a little more ease to show, as his partner sat further behind, ready to scribble notes down. It was a sudden thing - it wasn't exactly unknown between the whispers of HAGAY that some form of interviews had been conducted over something recent, though was often downplayed as a minor thing. Franciszek did his best to adjust himself, but he couldn't shake the slouch in his stature, not the fatigue in his eyes. There wasn't a doubt they'd noticed it themselves.

"Franci-...sorry, Franciszek, is that right?"


"You can..." He yawned. "-just say Frankie...everyone else does."

"Rough night, mate?"

"Don't really sleep well - sorry. I...don't want to be-"

"Don't worry - you're fine." Harris stepped aside, allowing for his partner to at least come into view, whilst the dorm mother peeled off behind them to only vaguely listen. "This is Inspector Jones, he'll just be jotting down a few things, if that's okay? I'm Inspector Harris, we're just doing some routine procedures; have a few questions to ask, if you're okay answering them?"

"S-sure?"

"Don't worry, you aren't in trouble." It was a blunt reminder. Of course he wasn't in trouble. He hadn't done anything but lose his sense of direction, and there weren't laws for punishing the lost. "You been here long - at the academy?"

"Not very long."

"You enjoying it?" He wore a paternal smile on his face; the type that tells someone things are okay, that everything will work out fine. But what good was to a boy who hadn't the heart to talk much?

"Finding it hard to adjust."

"What do you study here?" His partner hadn't started to write down much, at least until something interesting came up his end.

"Literature."

"Nice. Do a little reading myself, on the off days. Helps you focus, doesn't it? Getting lost in other worlds." Franciszek's paranoia skyrocketed at the mere mention of it, but he nodded with a head full of panic and confusion. It was then that the opening act concluded, and the main interlude of the interrogation had begun. "So - in case you were wondering - we're currently looking into a prolonged student absence. Sofia Wright; I believe the name's familiar to you?"

Like that, his heart started to sink. Worry, a tumultuous storm, made waves across his nerves, and his expression sank a little. A deadly premonition warned him that perhaps something had gone so terrible wrong on the night. Something so savage and real that a student, one friendly besides an overbearing nature, had found harm upon herself. It was a terrible thought. He nodded, at first, then shook his head, then nodded again, simply debating over whether something was really wrong.


"Yes-...a little. She was...well...a group leader for some icebreaker stuff. I didn't know her...not personally. But she was really friendly, I think. I liked that. No-...I haven't seen her in a while." Harris looked to one side, to his partner, then back at the boy with a faded smile. The atmosphere around them changed in the blink of an eye.

"We have some people who are worried about Sofia - about where she is. I understand if you two weren't close, but could you please tell me if you noticed anything - anything at all - on the night 15th of September? Can you recall anything?"


Franciszek hadn't intended on lying, nor had he the intention to tell the truth, but as the dialogue within himself flared up, like fire on a stove, he found his eyes turn damp, and a few tears came through. The anxiety was palpable, but it wasn't explicit. The inspectors were kind enough to give him the time to say his piece.

"I...well...I don't...she invited us...some hazing thing...I think, at the docks? I just...I didn't like it. Someone pushed me in. I left...right after. I wasn't the first to leave-...no...wait...yeah, no, I wasn't the first to leave." He wiped his eyes with his knuckle and took a deep breath. Their beady eyes upon him weighed heavily down on his back. What could have he said to the strangers, that he couldn't have said to his own flesh and blood? The pure ingenuity of it all. It scared him to think something had happened to Sofia. He never even knew if she was responsible for such a thing - he thought she was. Maybe she could still have been at large, throwing the innocent into the deep, but he wanted to believe that she was nothing like that; that maybe she was as nice as his mind had painted her to be. He shook his head again. "Sorry...I'm not...used to this. Is she okay?"

"We'd like to hope so." Detective Harris seemed satisfied with his information, or he realised that there wasn't much else to hear, but a boy under pressure by an unexpected presence. It was harder to tell with teenagers his age. Emotions were always a heavy bearing to hold. No doubt any kid in his situation not used to the process had the capacity to be scared. "That's all. Here - we have a number you can call here. If you hear anything, let us know. If she's okay, we'll let her know you helped; might be a better icebreaker than dock-plunging, huh?"
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