The day of the Halloween Dance had arrived. It was October 31st where some people believed that the veil between the living and the dead was thin. They could cross the mortal world, and revisit once again the much-changed world they'd lived. It was also the time where kids, teenagers, and adults alike dressed up as the ghoulish characters they'd chosen for this night, at least that was the case for the other schools. For students of La Orden Academy, we had been ordered by the resident queen bee to dress as one of our favorite 90s icons which were cool anyway.
I finally decided that I would be sticking on my decision that I would just wear a black dress and let them guess which 90s icon I was. While walking the hallway and heading to my locker space, I found Monica whose head stuck inside her locker. Instead of going to mine, I patted Monic's back, and I was greeted by her sudden jolt. She swiftly put everything inside her locker and shut with a thud.
"Y-Yuno!" She stammered while noticing her bewildered eyes.
"Hey, are you okay? I saw you when I was about to go to my locker, and I thought to say hi to you," I could see that she was paler than usual, and I had this feeling that something was going on. "Is this a bad time?"
Monica shrugged it off and patted my arm. "Of course, it's not! I just barely slept last night finishing some articles."
"I thought you're already done with -" I never finished my sentence when Monica fished out her phone from her bag and showed it to me.
"Mmm. Is there something new with your phone?"
She gave me a pointed look and tapped the screen of her phone. There was an article or blog on display.
"Did you write this article? What does it say?"
Monica shook her head and pulled back her phone. She tapped for a moment then my phone vibrated. I yanked it out of my pocket and found a notification that Monica sent a link to me.
"Read it," she ordered.
Tapping the screen, I clicked on the link that she'd sent to me, and my screen was directed to a home page with a header, "Out of Order - A Blog."
It was a long article, but I quickly read through it. The writer or the blogger wrote about the latest news of missing students around La Orden. The blogger had the same information as us like the profile of Raymond Manto., his sudden out of character of moving out of town until the filing of his parents to the police station to declare him as a missing person case. Surprisingly, the next subject was about Jane Manobo - the student from L.O.M.S. Though she hadn't declared as a missing person yet, but her activities were following the same pattern as Raymond's. Sooner or later, the writer won't be surprised that she would be the next big news.
But the last subject intrigued me the most - another teenager who went missing as per his friends. His name was Chad Abad. He was an out-of-school youth who worked in a certain shop at the commercial center. Then three weeks ago, he just disappeared. Unfortunately, no one reported about him, since he had no family in La Orden.
I looked at Monica, and I was left speechless.
"So? What do you think?" She asked me.
"We have to tell Dylan. We have a serious case of abduction going on around in this town."
"I agree. Unfortunately, you have to tell him yourself, since I have to go to the clubroom to meet the other editors about tonight's dance. Sorry. But see you at the dance tonight, okay?"
I nodded understanding her situation. She hurriedly went to another direction and headed to her clubroom, leaving me alone in the hallway.
My problem right now as I don't have Dylan's phone number, so I had to rove around the school to find him. I tried going to a different hallway and let my eyes scanned for the familiar head of Dylan. I was pretty sure that he would be easy to be recognized since he stood very tall and had perfect tousled of black curls on top of his head.
I saw some students walking around while checking the bulletin boards and pulling something out from their lockers. I went further ahead until I no longer saw students milling around the hallway, then my ears picked up a certain melody. It was coming from the room at the end of the hallway.
As I got closer, the melody got louder and clearer. It had a certain gentle tone that could make you hypnotize to get closer and listen to it. I was before the room with the door left ajar. I walked tentatively and tried to peek inside while slightly pushing the door, so I could listen fully to the song.
When my eyes landed inside the room, I found Dylan sitting behind the black piano. He was the one playing the melody.
His hands were dancing on the piano's keyboards while he expertly pressed on the next chord. I could also see that his shoulders were swaying from the movement of his hands.
Then when I looked at his face, I found a sense of vulnerability from him. His eyes remained shut while his parted lips formed a smile. He was enjoying his time while playing the piano. And this was my first time seeing him smile. Seeing him like this suited him. He looked otherworldly while the sunlight basked him with almost blinding lights from behind, complementing it also with the music coming from the piano he was playing.
His hands started to press on the keyboard at a faster pace until he ended it with a final key, ending the surreal experience while watching him.
I heard a clapping sound, and that was when Dylan's eyes met mine. He was startled, and the one who just clapped her hands from his performance was me.
His smile quickly vanished, returning to his default expression which was being stoic and expressionless.
Clearing my throat, I stepped inside the room and walked over to his side.
"Dylan, you played beautifully!"
He just shrugged at me and close the lid of the piano keyboard. "So what brings you in the music room?"
"Actually, I was looking for you." He arched his brows at me. "Since I don't know your number, you need to see this." I gave my phone to him and let him read the whole blog.
After reading it, he returned my phone to me. "I talked to Raymond's parents last night. They are hardly sleeping since their son left them. Just like the rumors we heard around the school, his phone number just stopped texting them for an update, and that was when they decided to come to the police."
"Is there anything else that they thought seem odd before Raymond left or abducted. I don't even know what should be the correct term for his disappearance."
"Yeah, something odd happened. Days before his disappearance, his parents claimed that he saw their son hanging around with a group of boys. They were all wearing casual clothes, but they assumed that they were the same age as their son."
"Is that really unusual? I mean teenagers like us usually hang around with people of our age."
Dylan shook his head. "It is unusual since Raymond don't usually hang with people. If you know him, he was a bit, introverted person."
"Do his parents got their faces?"
Again, he shook his head at me. "Unfortunately no, they only saw their backs. But they reported this info to the police also." He cleared his throat and pointed at my phone. "Anyway, we have to talk to the owner of that blog. I think we could exchange information with him or her."
"Sure. I'll shoot an email to this blog. I guess I will be leaving now. I still have to fix myself for tonight's dance. So see you there!" I waved at him and headed for the door.
"Hey, Yuno wait!" Dylan stood from his position and walked over to me. He fished out his phone from his pocket and raised it before me. Then I heard a snap from his phone. Did he just take a picture of me?
"Let's exchange phone numbers," he offered his phone to me. "So next time you don't have to come and find me."
I just simply nodded my head at him and grabbed his phone. "Sure!"
I was looking at my mirror and putting some makeup on my face. I was already completely dressed in black dress and black stockings, matching it with black boots. I added a darker shade of black on my eyes and popped my black-painted lips.
Looking at myself in the mirror, I looked like a gothic girl than a witch. But I just shrugged at it. No else would be looking at me anyway, so why put effort into it.
I hadn't seen Rayven's figure in the house until now. All I know was that he had a tournament earlier this morning, so he was excused from the morning classes. I assumed he went straight ahead to Tay's house after his game since he informed me that they will be wearing the same costumes.
After looking satisfied with my appearance, I grabbed my small bag and went downstairs. My mom was waiting in the living room while busying herself with her tablet. She will be driving me to school since Rayven was not here to drive me.
My mother noticed my presence and took a second glance at me. "You are so... black, my dear!"
I rolled my eyes at him, a little annoyed. "I'm supposed to be a witch, Mom."
"So where's your hat and broom?"
"Modern witches no longer used those. Can we go now?"
We went to the garage area and climbed inside her car. It felt like an eon already since I'd been inside her car. My mother revved the engine and drove away from the house.
It had been a peaceful ride with my mother. I guessed she was too tired from her work to talk. She just asked me briefly about the school which I just answered vaguely also.
We arrived at the school, and I could see students walking inside in full colorful costumes. Some of them really put an effort to look good tonight.
I kissed goodbye to my mom, and let her know that I will just text her if I need her to pick me up later.
Walking on the school ground, I could almost hear the blaring upbeat sound from the school gymnasium. I saw some students excitedly ran to the gym while some were taking pictures of their costumes.
Standing at the entrance of the gymnasium, I could see a welcome banner above with text - WELCOME TO THE 90s, RAVENS!
The whole gym was transformed into a western movie 90s version of a school where there was a lot of large cardboard with colorful graffitis on the side. There were some old school stereos on display and hundreds of food on the table.
I looked at the corner and found some booths installed for this occasion, and students were queueing in line to take some pictures with it.
Then the music turned to Spice Girls song where most of the girls screamed in glee and sang loudly at the song.
Looking at the crowd, I felt a pang of loneliness. I practically don't know everyone here, and I felt awkward standing on the corner while watching them having some fun.
Then someone grabbed my arm. It was from Monica.
She was wearing a coat and tie while her hair was covered by a black short wig. Monica looked different from the wig where I almost didn't recognize her.
"So how do I look?" she asked.
"Well you look like a femme fatale," Before going here, I checked on the internet who Mia Wallace was.
"Thank you! So you changed your mind and turned into a goth girl?"
I gave her a look. "I'm a witch, Monica!"
"So where's your hat and broom?"
"You have the same dialogue as my mother," I shook my head at her, then we both laughed.
While we were busy catching up, the music changed to another hit song of Spice Girls. And Monica and I exclaimed as we both knew the song. We screamed and sang while dancing randomly on the dancefloor.
After sweating from our stupid dance, we went to the food table and grabbed some plates. I was checking on the prepared food on the table when I felt a figure standing beside me.
And I found a girl wearing red glittered spandex while wearing a fake blonde wig. It was Deena Kim - the last person I wanted to see right now. I guessed she was Britney Spears for tonight.
"Good! You're here!" Deena suddenly grabbed my arm and pulled me away from the table.
Monica was also surprised and trailed after us.
"Hey, where are you dragging me?"
"Who are you supposed to be? You looked hideous in that dress," Deena diverted my question and continuously dragged me.
"I'm a witch! Can't you see?"
She spared me a glance for a moment. Then she returned her gaze to wherever we were supposed to be going.
"Oh yeah. From where? Carrie? Oops, that's not 90s," she laughed at her joke, and we stopped on our tracks. She let go of my arm and found myself standing before a booth. The booth was designed with giant read lips while some students kissed behind the booth and took a picture.
"What am I supposed to do here?" I let my irritation in my voice be heard as I tried to fix my dress.
"Patience my dear," she gave me a smirk, then pulled someone on the side. To my surprise, it was Dylan. He was wearing a cowboy outfit. He was Woody from Toy Story.
"What gives, Deena?" he complained at her. They talked for a while while I felt someone tapping on my back.
"Hey, Yuno. I don't know what kind of sick game that Deena is brewing. But I have to go," Monica said. She was sweating than usual while her eyes scanned around the crowd. "But I have a favor to ask," she plucked out her phone from her pocket and gave it to me. "Can you hold this for me? I just need to go and meet someone, okay?"
I was about to ask her where the heck she was going when she immediately ran off towards the exit. Shaking my head, I looked back to Deena and Dylan. Unfortunately, they were no longer there. Then someone grabbed my arm again and found Deena holding it. She shoved me inside the booth with giant red lips and noticed that Dylan was already inside.
"Since both of you an item now. I want you to prove to me your love to each other through one of the most intimate rituals in the world - by lip-locking," Deena announced to us.
"You mean you want me and Dylan to kiss?"
She nodded at me and pressed her hands on her hips. Some people were starting to gather around us since Deena was making a scene already.
Curling my fists due to my annoyance to this self-obsessed girl, I looked at Dylan's direction.
"We don't have to this, Yuno. We can just simply tell her the truth," he pleaded.
I spared a glance at Deena, and she was waiting impatiently at us.
"You know what, Deena. Two can play this game," I moved closer to Dylan which surprised him. We were breaths away from each other, then I looked at his brown eyes. Surprisingly, he looked nervous about what I about to do. Good. This was also my revenge for him after dragging me physically and figuratively in this drama.
I put my arms over his shoulder and pressed my body onto him.
"Y-Yuno," Dylan warned. But I ignored him.
Then I had to lean over just to get closer on his face since he was taller than me. I used my hand to cup his chin and pulled his face to me.
That was when I pressed my lips to his warm soft lips. I saw his shocked face when our lips met, and I could hear from the background that some people were whistling in appreciation to us.
I was about to pull away when I felt his arms pressed on my back and pulled me closer to him. He closed his eyes and responded to my kiss.
My heart started to beat, and I could almost hear it. It was like everything stopped and what matters was our intertwined lips. Then he ended the short surreal experience by lightly biting my lower lip.
And our eyes met for real this time.
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