CHAPTER 1: The X Code
4 months had passed since Mr. Albert—Chaos's father was imprisoned. In that four months, a lot has changed.
Liberty High acknowledge our group as an official detective group. Meaning, we are allowed to help the campus police during investigations. Other than that, Daeril was questioned at court in regards to his crimes. Hinatulan siya ng pagkakulong but Chaos, his brother, testified saying, Daeril is innocent. Matix helped by removing all possible evidence that Daeril is an accomplice of Mr. Albert. Dahil doon, Daeril's punishment was to move out of Liberty High. He is now studying in a community college in Manila with my sister, Monday.
Maliban doon, wala nang ibang nagbago. Chaos is still Chaos. Hindi pa rin niya napapatawad ang ama niyang pumatay sa pamilya niya. He still can't accept the fact that his biological father is a killer.
But how did Daeril and Chaos become siblings?
Noong bumisita ako ng kulungan para kausapin si Mr. Albert, I learned the truth. Mr. Albert's wife bore a child which is Daeril and later died after giving birth. Daeril grew up in a foster home and was adopted by a rich family. When Mr. Albert's wife died, he went crazy and accidentally met Chaos's mother. Dahil sa pagkaulila sa asawa, Mr. Albert raped Chaos's mother. She bore a child and named him "Chaos".
"Natutulala ka na naman." Tinatapik ni Effie ang balikat ko.
It's the first day of school. Grade 11 na kami, first year of senior high school.
"Naalala ko lang si Mr. Albert. Naalala ko yung mga nangyari sa atin dahil sa kaniya." Sagot ko.
"He is in prison. Hindi na niya tayo magagalaw." Effie smiled reassurely.
Tumango ako at luminga-linga. Nasa tambayan kami na ngayon ay narenovate na. "Nasaan nga pala sina Matix at Chaos?"
"Si Matix, nasa computer lab doing his computer thing. Si Chaos naman, hindi ko pa siya nakikita." Sagot ni Effie.
I nod. "Sige, salamat." Sabi ko at lumabas ng tambayan.
Pagkalabas ko, tutungo sana ako sa computer lab para utusang i-locate ni Matix si Chaos na mukhang walang balak pumasok sa first day of school pero biglang may bumangga sa akin mula sa likuran dahilan para madapa ako at mahulog ang mga gamit ko sa bag.
"Hala, sorry po!" Paumanhin ng babae habang tinutulungan akong ilagay ang gamit sa bag ko. Her black-blue hair is styled with pigtails with curls in the end. Her round glasses suits her small slanted eyes.
I smiled, "it's fine. Mukhang nagmamadali ka." Sabi ko.
Tumango ito. "Hindi ko kasi mahanap ang section ko." Ngiwing sagot nito.
"Ano ba section mo? Baka matulungan kita." Alok ko.
"STEM1-7." Sagot nito na ikinalaki ng mga mata ko.
"Woah, nagkaklase pala tayo. Nasa third floor ang classroom natin for the orientation. Pinakadulo." Sabi ko. Hindi ko siya masasamahan since kailangan kong hanapin si Chaos.
Masaya itong ngumiti. "Salamat!" Anito at tumatakbong umakyat ng hadgdan.
Nagpatuloy ako sa paglalakad para hanapin si Chaos. Pagkalipas ng ilang minuto, tumigil ako sa likod ng Liberty High. Chaos was there, sitting alone. Mukhang malalim ang iniisip nito.
Tumabi ako ng upo sa kaniya. "Ilang buwan na tayong magkakilala and I'm pretty sure you already consider me as your friend. Kaya kung may problema ka, I'm all ears." Ngiting sabi ko.
Chaos sighed while playing with a twig. "Now I know why my mom named me Chaos. I was the reason why her life went chaos after all. She hates me.." anito.
I sighed. "Kung ayaw niya sayo, hindi ka niya palalakihin. You once told me that your parents raised you with love and care. I'm sure despite what happened to her, she still loved you." Sambit ko.
Tumango ito. "You're right but I still feel guilty. I was the fruit of my mom's ****."
"But you gave her the justice she deserved, right? Mr. Albert is now in jail. Wala na siyang bibiktimahin." I assured.
"You're right again." Chaos chuckled.
I chuckled. Those 4 months weren't easy for Chaos. Hindi niya matanggap ang lahat ng impormasyong nalaman niya. Especially when the DNA results of Mr. Albert, him and Daeril came out which all tested positive. But through those 4 months, I always made sure that I am with Chaos's side.
"Friday.." Chaos called.
I blinked rapidly. "Ha?"
Tinuro nito ang phone ko. "Kanina pa nagriring ang phone mo. May tumatawag yata." Anito.
Mabilis ko kinuha ang phone at sinagot ang tawag nang hindi tinitignan ang caller id. "Hello?"
"Sis!" It was Monday.
"Monday? Kamusta ka?"
"Okay naman. I called to report to you about Daeril."
Oo nga pala, Monday moved from a private university to a community college just to be with Daeril. Those two had mutual feelings towards each other kaya sumunod si Monday kay Daeril sa college. Ever since, gawain na ni Monday ang ireport saakin ang kung ano ang ginagawa ni Daeril sa university.
Pasimple kong sinulyapan si Chaos na nakatingin sa akin. "What about him?"
"Just his usual self. Cold, distant but a smart-ass." Ani Monday.
I smiled. "That's nice. Wala na bang iba?"
"Well...wala naman. He's been a good boy." Sagot ng kapatid ko.
"Sige. Tatawagan ulit kita mamaya. I need to get to class." Paalam ko saka pinatay ang tawag.
"Was that about Daeril?" Chaos asked.
Tumango ako. "Daeril is doing fine. No problems." Paninigurado ko. He must be worried of his brother.
Chaos tched. "Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not worried of him at all. In fact, I don't care about him." Anito saka naglakad papunta sa building.
Natatawang sinundan ko siya at pumasok na rin ng building since malapit nang magsimula ang orientation.
"EVERY STUDENT in class has different schedules. So make sure to attend your resignated classes regularly." Saad ng professor saka nilipat ang powerpoint slide.
"Just to prevent being lost, the science laboratory is located at the second floor. Ang computer lab naman ay nasa fifth floor." Anito at nilipat ulit ang slide.
Natigilan ako sa paglalaro ng ballpen ko nang makita ang nasa powerpoint ng professor.
Instead of words regarding the orientation, isang malaking X ang nasa powerpoint slide.
"What the—" galit na humarap sa amin ang professor, "who messed up my powerpoint slide?!"
No one spoke. Everyone was silent. What does the X means? Para sa amin ba ang letrang iyon? Was it just a prank? A hidden message?
The powerpoint slide automatically moved from the next slide. This time, there was a message:
Check under your desk.
Lahat ng estudyante, tinignan ang ilalim ng desk.
"Prank lang ba 'to?"
"Anong meron sa desk natin?"
Tanong ng mga estudyante.
I checked under my desk but unlike the others, there was a paper under it with a message written on it:
We act based on his orders...
Ano daw? Sino si X? Is this Mr. Albert's another accomplice?
Sinulyapan ko sina Chaos, Effie and Matix. Looks like they got a message too. I looked around. No one seemed suspicious.
After a few minutes, the bell rang. Hudyat na tapos na ang klase. Lahat ay nagsilabasan na maliban sa professor na inaayos ang powerpoint slides.
Chaos, Effie, Matix and I stayed inside. "So all of us received a letter? No one but us?" Chaos asked.
"Oo nga. But what does this mean?" Tanong ni Effie habang pinapakita ang mensaheng natanggap.
Pinagdikit-dikit namin ang mga papel na natanggap namin.
Chaos received: "The master is not yet done.."
Effie received: "There is more yet to come."
Matix received: "If you wish to know who we are, go to the library. Little Esper, Documentary section, pp. 34."
"The message stated the word 'we'. So the one behind all this is more than one?" Chaos asked.
"What is Little Esper? Is it a book?" Tanong ni Effie.
"Little Esper is a book about experimented children who gained powers and used it to slaughter scientists who used them like lab rats. Iyon siguro ang gusto ni X. Maybe they want us to search for the book and read page 34." Matix answered.
Tumango kami saka lalabas nng classroom nang nagsalita ang professor. "Excuse me." Tawag nito.
"What?" Chaos arrogantly asked.
"I know this is sudden but please find the person behind this real quick. I don't like pranks and all. Ayon sa balitang narinig ko, your group is an official detective club? So maybe you can help me?" Tanong ng professor.
Agad akong tumango. "We are going to find them, ma'am." I reassured at lumabas na kami ng classroom para tumungo sa library.
"IS THE BOOK 'Little Esper' available?" Tanong ko sa librarian.
Saglit na nagtipa sa keyboard ang librarian bago sumagot, "the book was borrowed just a few hours ago."
Nanlaki ang mata ko. "Really? Sino ang nanghiram ng libro?"
Ngumiwi ang librarian. "Sorry, names of the student who borrowed books are confidential." Sagot nito.
Magalang akong tumango saka humarap kaya Matix. "Matix, do your thing." Utos ko.
Tumango naman siya saka nagtipa sa keyboard. He needs to hack the library's system to know who borrowed the book.
"What the?" Ani Matix.
"May problema ba?" Tanong ni Effie.
Tumango si Matix. "Someone is blocking my computer address."
Chaos snorted. "And here I thought you are the greatest hacker in the world."
Inungusan ni Matix si Chaos. "Shut up." Anito saka nagtype ulit sa keyboard.
Makalipas ang ilang minuto, wala paring nangyayari. "This is impossible. I made sure that my computer address is well hidden. Someone blocking it might be a hacker."
"So X is a hacker?" I asked.
Matix shrugged. "I guess so."
Chaos sighed. "Since Matix failed to do his job, I guess we have to do this the old way," he continued, "deduction."
"Paano naman natin malalaman kung sino ang taong nanghiram ng libro based on our deduction?" I asked.
Saglit ba nagisip si Chaos. "Someone borrowed it a few hours ago. It seem a little suspicious. No one borrows a horror book on the first day of class."
Effie interfered. "Wait, Little Esper is a horror book?" Naguguluhang tanong nito.
I nodded. "Bakit?"
"The paper that Matix received, it stated Documentary section. If it is a horror story, why would X tell us that it might be in a different section?" Effie deduced.
Chaos nodded earnestly. "So X borrowed the book but placed it on the Documentary section?" He asked.
Matix closed his laptop. "We need to find out why."
Agad kaming pumunta ng documentary section. Naghiwa-hiwalay kami para mahanap agad ang libro. After few minutes, Effie shouted, "I found it!"
"Shh!" Panuway ng librarian.
"Turn it to page 34." Agad na utos ni Chaos.
Effie opened the book and turned it to page 34. A higlighted paragraph welcomed our sight:
..and then Violet screamed in pain from the machine electrocuting her brain. The scientists did the same to seven other children. Months of pain felt a lifetime of pain. Violet gained the power of intelligence but came with a psychotic mind. Her desire to kill her master rushed through her body and the pleasure to taste blood soared through her senses. She took a long sharp knife and pierced it within her master's torso. She dragged him to a bed and strapped him a machine like helmet and started to electrocute his brain until it exploded like a balloon and squeezed some parts like a jelly.
Another sentence were higlighted below the page:
"I will take my revenge..but it's gonna be bloody." Violet snapped.
"So X wants to take revenge?" Matix asked.
"The video from four months ago, four children were with Mr. Albert. Maybe they are the ones who sent us the message? The ones who are plotting revenge for putting their master to prison?" Chaos deduced.
"But why is this book in the documentary section?" Effie asked.
I answered, "this is just my observation, but the highlighted words, they tell Violet's story. We all know that documentary means a story of someone's life. Paano kung X experienced the one Violet experienced?"
Chaos snapped his fingers. "That's a good deduction, Friday. What if Mr. Albert enslaved X and brainwashed them to come after us now that Mr. Albert is in prison?"
Effie was about to speak up when the lights suddenly turned off. "A-Anong nangyari?" Kinakabahang tanong ko.
The students pati ang librarian ay gulong-gulo sa nangyayari. Some immediately ran away while some ignored what happened.
"Aaah!!" Biglang sigaw ng estudyante at tumatakbo palabas ng library.
"Ano bang nangyayari?" Hindi mapakaling tanong ni Effie.
"She came from the library's basement." Chaos said. Agad kaming tumakbo papuntang basement ng library.
As soon as we entered, nakita namin ang mga estudyanteng nagkukumpulan sa gitna ng basement.
"Kawawa naman siya.."
"Mabait siyang estudyante. Sino kaya ang gagawa nito sa kaniya?" Sabi ng mga estudyante.
"Anong nangyayari rito?" Tanong ni Matix sa mga estudyante.
"Uy, buti nandito kayo. Kayo ang official detective group ng school diba?" Tanong ng lalaki.
"Kami nga. Bakit? Anong nangyari dito?" Tanong ko.
Tinuro ng estudyante ang isang lalaki na nakahandusay sa semento at naliligo sa sariling dugo. Nakamulat pa ang mga mata nito. "Nadatnan namin si Kenzo na nakahandusay dito. Walang witness ang nakakita sa nangyari. Nagulat nalang kami nang bigla siyang nakahandusay diyan."
Lumapt si Chaos sa bangkay. "Hmm, the wounds are still fresh. Anong oras niyo siya nakita dito?"
Nakapamulsang sumagot ang estudyante, "ngayon-ngayon lang. Nang mamatay ang ilaw, sigaw ni Kenzo ang narinig namin at heto nga, nakita namin siyang patay na."
Tumango-tango si Chaos. "So the lights were turned off purposely.."
"Si X kaya ang may kagagawan nito?" Tanong ko kay Chaos.
"Possibly. It can't be a coincidence that a death of a student happened right after we deduce about X's life." Sagot naman ni Chaos.
Sumabad ang estudyante, "X? May kilala kayong X?" Makahulugang tanong nito.
Humarap kami sa kaniya. "Bakit, kilala mo siya?" Tanong ni Effie.
Umiling ang estudyante. "Hindi pero iyan ang nakasulat sa semento." Tinuro ng estudyante ang semeto.
Isang malaking letrang X ang nakaguhit sa semento gamit ang dugo ni Kenzo. Hindi ko 'to napansin kanina..
"So X really killed him.." Matix uttered under his breath.
"Tinawagan mo ba ang police?" Tanong ni Effie sa estudyante.
Tumango ito. "Tinawagan ko sila agad."
Humarap ako kay Chaos. "Paano yan? Hahayaan ba nating malaman ng police ang tungkol kay X?" Tanong ko.
Kumunot ang noo nito. "Of course not. X is after us. We can't drag the police into this. Especially since Effie's father is a police chief. Ayokong madamay ang ama niya dito."
Lumambot ang expresyon sa mukha ko. "So anong gagawin natin?"
"We evacuate the students in the library basement and stage this murder as suicide." Sagot ni Chaos.
"Wala na bang ibang paraan?" Tanong ni Effie na nakikinig pala sa usapan namin.
"If there are any other plans, hindi ko isusuggest 'to. I know the basics of law and what we are about to do is a crime but we have Matix for that. He can pull some strings and clean our names." Ani Chaos at humarap sa estudyante.
"Tell the other students to vacate the library basement. We need some privacy to investigate this matter." Anito at agad namang pumayag ang estudyante.
Nang umalis ang mga estudyante, saka namin nilinis ang dugo na nagkalat especially the letter X. If properly thinking, tama nga siguro ang ginagawa namin. We can't let the police get dragged into this mess. Nakataya rin dito ang ama ni Effie. If the police are involved, X will come after them. We also can't point out a random student to be a suspect.
"In order to commit a perfect crime, you need to be aware of the surroundings. If we want to stage this as a suicide, we need to think about the position of the body. No one commits suicide in the middle of the library basement so.." Chaos dragged the body inside the basement's storage room.
"Second, materials. According to my research, Kenzo Millan is a right handed person kaya sa kanang kamay niya natin ilalagay ang knife na nilagyan ng dugo niya." Ani naman ni Matix na ikinaikot ng mga mata ko. Seriously, kung hindi ko lang sila mga kaibigan baka isipin kong mga mamamatay tao sila.
"Third, cctv. The library basement has only two cctv. One at the entrance and one at the librarian's desk." ani naman ni Chaos.
I crossed my arms. "Paano natin ieexecute 'to? I mean, surely the cctv at the entrance captured Kenzo entering but at the librarian's desk? It won't be enough evidence."
Matix smirked. "You underestimate me too much, Friday. I am not just good at hacking but I'm also good at editing." Pinakita nito sa amin ang laptop at isang cctv footage ang nagplay doon.
"See this, Kenzo was seen at the librarian's desk cctv. Hindi dahil pumasok siya sa storage room kundi ay para magtanong sa librarian. I can edit Kenzo walking towards the storage room and tamper someone else talking to the librarian para magmukhang hindi napansin ng librarian na may nakapasok na pala sa storage room."
Napatingin ako kay Matix, amused of what I heard. "Wow, hindi ko alam na ganito ka pala kagaling."
Matix proudly grinned. "I know right."
Napatingin naman ako kay Effie na kanina pa tahimik. "Okay ka lang ba?"
Niyakap nito ang sarili. "I'm just scared. We are commiting a crime, Friday. We are tampering evidences and creating false suicide!"
I massaged her arm. "Relax ka lang. Trust your friends. What happened to optmistic Effie? Let us just put our trust in Chaos and Matix." I assured.
Tumango naman ito kasabay ng pagsigaw ni Matix. "Done! I already sent this to the cctv operating room baka sakaling doon nila panoorin ang cctv footages. "Ani Matix.
"Good job, Matix." Saad ni Chaos saka tumingin sa paligid.
Ilan minuto ang lumipas nang biglang nagsidatingan ang mga police. "Effie!" Sigaw ng ama nito.
"Nasaan ang bangkay?" Tanong ng chief.
Tinuro namin ang nasa storage room. Lumapit doon ang mga police at investigators.
"So it was a suicide..." the chief uttered. Humarap ito sa amin. "We will investigate this matter thoroughly. Magpahinga na kayo. Kami na ang bahala. We will see if this really is suicide or not." Anito.
"We already investigated the scene. It was indeed suicide." Ani Chaos na may hindi maipaliwanag na expresyon sa mukha.
Saglit kaming tinignan ng chief isa-isa at ngumiti. "May tiwala naman kami sa inyo. Kayo yata ang magaling na detective group sa school." Tumawa ito. "Sige na, we will clean this body and send the reports to the headquarters. Bumalik na kayo sa classrooms niyo."
Umalis na kami ng library basement. Somehow, natatakot ako sa pwedeng mangyari. We just committed a crime. Who knows kung ano ang pwedeng mangyari sa amin. Oh well, bahala na. I trust my friends..
....and I’m back!! Dapat sa December pa ito pero naexcite ako hehe. Medyo matagal-tagal ang updates but I will try my best to publish chapters frequently.
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