The so-called meeting turned out to be nothing I was expecting. Actually, it was everything I was expecting, as I wasn’t really expecting anything from the outset. Seconds barely passed, and as the sound of the clock ticking echoed inside my head, I began to wonder why I even thought this was a good idea.
We were given Oscar’s other submissions as promised, and as I had doubted, the handwriting didn’t match in the slightest. That note was written by someone else, which makes all our efforts utterly pointless. The writer of the notes may as well not even be here.
“You’re seeing so many interesting people, so at least try to seem happy about it.” Sonny, being a creature of the crowd, whispers in my ear. She’s already aware that everything has been a tragic disappointment for me up until now, but asking me to smile is just a cruel thing to do. There was nothing interesting to smile at here. Even if there was, I tend to not smile that often in the presence of people I don’t know; no specific reason; it just makes my face uglier than it already is.
“In other words, acting all feisty and testy, right after you suggested this, and asked for Peto's writings just makes you look the more suspicious, if not a hypocrite.” She continued. She’s always been good at rephrasing her statements in a way I can make sense of, which is another perk of being a creature of the crowd. So, with Sonny’s encouragement, which was much more of a warning, I smile like a horse that was given a muffin.
There are nearly twenty people present in the library, some of whom I can swear I have never met in my entire life, let alone bumped into them on campus. They seem to not show up a lot in social gatherings outside of the library. Some of these people have previous experience creating stories online or writing for online magazines. Ninety percent are only wannabe writers. Although, Will is already on his way to becoming one. His novel, a sci-fi that not only has no science but even deteriorates your brainpower, left me dumbfounded. Not the content; I haven’t even read a page, but mostly the existence of it. Considering his odd obsession with the classics, sci-fi would be the last thing I imagined him going for, but I guess what you write is not so similar to what you read.
“There’s no rule that says writers should study literature, and even I didn’t know why I chose it.” He splutters immediately once the topic is brought up, rubbing the nape of his neck the whole time.
How is this guy not expelled from here yet?
“I mean, the guest of honor here doesn’t talk much, or do much; I can’t even fathom how he's not expelled yet.”
“So what made you wanna study literature? At first glance, you don’t seem like the type to belong here.” Inquires a girl with big, round glasses that barely stayed on her face. Sonny’s face brightens up, and her eyes spot my distress as soon as she sees me. “Well, that’s the same thing I’m wondering.” Gloats Sonny, laughing at my misery like a child.
Why are you studying literature?
The same question Sonny asks every now and about, despite knowing the answer; as if me admitting it, matters to her.
“My reason is related to a person I admire. I came here to follow her.” I exasperate and meet Sonny’s face once more. She glances back with an ever-so-satisfied smile so full of pleasure. A blissful expression that boasts her ulterior objectives to the entire room.
“So, why did you come here?” I decide to play Sonny's game and direct the same question at her. The ones present in the room stayed silent. They could feel the tension rising.
“Just like you, I came here to peruse my love and passion.” She articulates bluntly. “Following what you love is not a sin, is it?” She adds, “If it is, then may I rest in hell.”
Of course, what she is saying, is an obvious lie.
“I don’t remember a moment in my life with you expressing your love for literature.” I daunt her, wasting no time. I don’t want to let her regain control of the conversation as she usually does.
“I said I’m here to pursue my love. I never said it was what you thought it was.”
With that, the entire room goes silent; everyone feels awkward adding anything to that, and even the frequent whispers stop. Sonny eyes me, awaiting a reaction, or a bashful face, her expression exhibiting how proud she is of her playful comeback. As fast and sudden as it arrived, the silence leaves as Will and others start talking even more excessively than before, trying to cover up the uncomfortable situation we caused.
Things come up.
Events are discussed.
Sonny’s eyes gradually leave me, as she indulges herself in the conversation at hand. This was nothing but a pointless get-together that did not answer any of my lingering questions.
Who wrote the notes?
Who gave it to me? And why?
How is this person related to Oscar Peto? And how is HE related to me?
Why am I dealing with another suicide case? Were the events from three years ago not enough for me?
None of these questions of mine have been solved, which is rather odd. This place, and these people, were the most connected to him. There has to be something.
Some other link.
Someone, who’s aware of something.
Someone, probably in this very room.
Then again, this sort of plot twist usually happens in crime stories. These things are not really applicable to real-life matters. There is barely any chance, but it is possible that the first note was a mere event that only coincided with the death of a person, and the second note is a follow-up of the same joke.
It’s possible, at the very least.
In a run-of-the-mill crime story, the protagonist would brush it off as a coincidence as well, until the deaths start piling up, and he goes "WOW! IT’S LEGIT!” and finally connects the dots and realizes what’s going on; when it’s too late for so many people; and that’s exactly why I’m going to such extents to solve this before someone else ends up dying. I don’t want to be an idiot crime novel character. I’m going to put a stop to whatever is going on before it spreads. So, even if there is a slight possibility, I need to consider it.
The so-called fateful encounter I was looking forward to, ends without putting an end to many things. Being the first person who leaves the party, since they still had more things to talk about, including me and Sonny and our relationship (the glasses girl was particularly interested). I let Sonny handle those, since it was her fault we attracted some attention, and wander around in the hallway, waiting for people to arrive, and for today to begin.