Darius whispered to his sister. "What are we talking about again?" At least I think he thinks he's whispering but his deep voice was very audible.
"You know, that still unknown cult that was kidnapping teenagers for over a week?" Demi explained. "That was like, the easiest question in the test."
Darius realized we've all heard him and looked down, scratching his head. "History's not my best subject."
"He means he's dumb and doesn't pay attention to class," Scarlet said.
Darius glared at her sister. "Shut. Up."
"What do you think they were trying to do?" Caprice asked.
"Don't know," Demi said. "I haven't read anything about that yet."
"They're crazy," Cana said. "Crazy people do crazy things."
"I don't know," Cato said, picking up another pile of reports to read, his dark hair swept to one side that his bangs covers one of his eyes. "They did manage to create a monster that been hunting kids for years. So maybe they're not that off in the head."
I still can't help but stare at Cato. I know we've just survived the most horrific encounter any sixteen-year-old would have in their lifetime and looking good is the last thing on our minds right now but come on? Orange, wool turtleneck and suspenders? It's like he's asking me to make fun of him.
On our way here, I told Harmony all about it about, hoping to get a laugh. I am in desperate need of a laugh right now. I think all of us are.
This girl knows a thing or two about fashion. Long sleeves white top with a neckline that reveals her collar bones, matched with a dark blue mini skirt. A brown, leather bag was slung over her shoulder. Her white sneakers with black stripes complete her outfit. I like it. She's cute.
But as usual, being the ray of sunshine that she is, Harmony twisted Cato's unique fashion sense into something positive like "He's got his own style." Or "Fashion is about being comfortable with yourself." Or something to that effect. So I told Cana, who I thought shared my sense of humor, but she actually said that Cato looked good. So I may be wrong here.
"Right," I said, trying to get back on the topic. "So it was a Shade week. What happened?"
"Well..." Demi said as he started reading the paper his holding. "Looks like after the U.V. lights prevented any deaths, the phenomenon lingered way past its time. So the week turned to a month."
"So if it met its quota of twelve dead kids a week, the, what do we call it—"Haunting Week"—stops?" Cana asked.
"Maybe," Demi said. "It doesn't look like they tested that theory."
"Gee, wonder why," Cana said.
"Wait a minute," I said. "So that means the Shade HAD been changing over the years."
"I guess," Demi said. "But small changes, and not all of a sudden."
I turned my attention back to the paper I've been reading. Another year before Mrs. Rott's discovery. But the H.I.S. or Haunted Identification System—the picture-taking thingy—was already implemented. Apparently, someone had thought that if this thing was summoned in the city, then maybe it was tied to it. So the city tried evacuating all those who are identified as haunteds. And it worked.
When the first night of the Shade Week came, nothing happened. There had been no casualties. There were no reports of Shade sightings in the city they thought they've finally figured it out. But the day after, all morning news channels only covered one story, all reports of a possible Shade casualty. Only this time, it was in Manila. A city adjacent to ours, the place where the haunteds were taken. There hadn't been an incident where the Shade appeared elsewhere except here in Bastillio so as expected, the news went viral. And that didn't sit well with our neighboring countries.
There had been multiple meetings between nations about the incident. Various leaders from around the world, mostly from surrounding countries, came to these talks. I imagine it must have been like an ASEAN summit, only they're talking about the Shade and not economy.
In the end, they figured that the Shade is not tied to to our city, Bastillio. Unfortunately, that means that the phenomenon would continue to spread over other cities or possibly across continents, following where the haunteds are. In the end, a law was signed forbidding haunteds to leave their city for the duration of the phenomenon.
"Hey," Leo said as he leaned next to me, trying to take a peek of the report I'm reading. "You got something?"
"Oh," I said. "This is..."
I gave them the summary of what I've read.
"Huh," Cato said. "Always wondered why they didn't just send us off somewhere else."
There was a knock on the door.
YOU ARE READING
In 1970, the mysterious cult's mass kidnapping and ritualistic killing led to the summoning of the Shade-a paranormal entity of living shadow. Ever since then, starting in October in Bastillio-a city in the Philippines steeped in history and superst...