The moon was dim that night, and the dark sky was naked, disrobed of its starry garments. It was a chilly night. As she ran, the air was like the cold strike of a knife against her body. The ground was tough and bumpy, and it tripped her a few times. But each time, Darcy would get up, and keep running. She had to leave that place; she should never be found. She was scared, so scared, of what she had done, and of what she thought was so easy to do. Why was it so easy? Darcy was running the opposite direction of the campus. It should have been impossible to do; she was just a normal person. She was not a murderer. She crossed a road and kept running; the car lights were blinding. She is a murderer now. She has killed two people in cold blood. There was no going back. What was done cannot be undone. She bumped into someone but did not bother to stop or apologize. Darcy ran on and on. Where to? What place would await someone like her? There was no home for someone like her, no warm embrace of a relieved mother, no loving blue eyes, nothing. Yes, only nothingness awaited her impatiently, only a dark cold place, a lonesome place, a closed off place. That was her destination, and so Darcy ran.
That fateful night had yet to come, and Darcy, oblivious of the hectic days that awaited her, was sitting in the final row of the classroom, listening to her teacher reading a soliloquy from Macbeth. She hadn’t anything against the play; in fact, it appealed to her immensely, since she liked such dark tropes. However, this was her second year in college, and she was having Macbeth for the second time now. Her pen drew random listless lines on her notebook. Shakespeare wrote a ton of tragedies they could study, so why was her curriculum so obsessed with this play in particular? She guessed it was the professor’s preference; as he apparently had his PhD on Macbeth. Why did they have to study Shakespeare every year anyway? Darcy was now drawing a cube and shading its sides. Yes, he was a great playwright; yes, his plays transcend time and space; but he wasn’t the only great writer in the world, was he? Why did they have to study tragedies in particular? Why couldn’t they study something different? Like detective novels. Darcy loved detective novels the most. She loved everything about them, from the setting, the tension, the suspense, the murders, all the way to its very predictability. Yes, all classical detective novels end with some sort of revelation; she found comfort in that certainty, though most critics perceived it as flaw and a reflection of artificiality. Tragedies, too, end in a certainty, that of death. So why was one genre elevated to the realm of high arts, and the other categorized as common literature? Her hazel eyes stared outside the window. It was a sunny day, and the campus was overflowing with people as usual. She thought about her book, which she named E.G.G, and wondered if she would make some progress writing it today.
The lecture finally ended, and leaving the classroom, Darcy was mentally yelling: “Unsex me here!” “Unsex me here!” Her professor had read that one soliloquy with so much passion, and now she couldn’t get it out of her head. It stuck more to her because the said professor was a man, and was reading it with a somewhat feminized voice, which Darcy and the rest of her colleagues found as hilarious as it was attention-grabbing. Now in the hall, she took steady and soundless steps towards the campus. It was a Monday, so every corner of the faculty was filled to the brim. People everywhere, looking their best and smiling their brightest as they conversed naturally with one another. Her eyes watched them with a tinge of contempt and envy; for this was not something as easily accessible to her. Just coming to your faculty in the morning, seeing your friends, saying “good morning!” with a big smile, or with a tired tone, and having them reply accordingly, asking how you were doing, or why you sounded so tired; Darcy wished she could have that. It sounded easy enough, simple enough for anyone, but not for her, not anymore. But it was alright; she had grown used to it at this point.
Yes, Darcy thought to herself as she walked out into the campus, I don't need anyone. Whether or not she needed them however, people were scattered everywhere around her, all in packs, as she would like to describe them, some laughing, some talking, some making out, some smoking. Although she hated to admit it, the sight made her feel terrible and bitter. Just like high school, her college years would be wasted. She would be lonely for the rest of her life. She sniffed audibly and walked down the stairs. At least she wasn't bullied anymore, well not as much. Just your usual judgmental stares and snickers, but nothing as extreme as high school. There was progress, at least. She walked to her usual tree and sat down there. She took out her journal, phone, and earbuds. Settling on her favorite song, she began writing down some ideas about this mysterious antagonist. As she dwelt upon this character's appearance and personality, something blocked the sunlight from her, and she had to look up. What her annoyed hazel eyes fell upon was a very beautiful girl with shoulder-length beige hair that smoothly veiled her ears and beautiful ocean-colored eyes that had been hiding underneath sunglasses.
"Are you lost?" Darcy immediately said, removing one of her earbuds. Not only did this person interrupt her at her favorite part of the song, she was also mesmerizingly beautiful. She hated pretty girls the most. She knew it was childish of her, but she couldn't help but envy how easy life seemed for them: all the friends you could get, all the handsome boys, all that fun... Darcy wanted some of that, knowing full well that nobody's life was that simple. The girl in question smiled in recognition.
"Nope, I am exactly where I wanna be."
Well, Darcy thought, not everyone is perfect after all. This mysterious beauty had a really manly voice. At least that was fair. With this idea in mind, she became a little less unfriendly towards this stranger.
"What do you mean? Do we know each other?" She shut her journal and placed it neatly by her side along with the pen.
"Nah... but I do know you." She smiled brightly and Darcy felt another pang of jealousy at how beautiful that smile was. The girl then sat next to her casually. Darcy remembered a second important reason why she didn't like this type of people: they have no sense of personal distance whatsoever. Before she could protest, the girl looked at her straight in the eyes and said confidently:
"You're that detective, right?"
Darcy frowned in confusion. A detective? She did write detective stories, but she hasn't published anything online for a long time now, and when she did she used the pseudonym Hard-Boiled, and had never shared her personal profile on the platform. This person must have made a mistake, though a welcome one. Darcy felt a little proud to have been mistaken for a detective.
"Ah, I think you have the wrong person. I am not a detective, just a college student."
The blue-eyed girl opened her mouth to say something, but was interrupted by a pair of boys who passed by and waved at her mockingly. She flashed them a middle finger and a grin, which shocked Darcy. Not so feminine, are we? She thought, though she would usually hate it whenever anyone criticized how unlady-like she was. It's the freaking 21st century, she would say. However, today, history seemed to have stopped at the 18th century as she stared judgingly at this girl flashing middle fingers at passing gentlemen. She would think about it later tonight and blame herself for being so narrow-minded. But until then, she had this strange encounter to deal with.
"You're in the Lit section, right?" The girl turned back to her, all in smiles. "I major in Computer Sciences, you know, coding and stuff..." Darcy could tell that this girl was trying to establish a friendly atmosphere, but she was not in the mood to cooperate.
"Yeah, cool. Anyway, you have the wrong person so..." Then, feeling bad for her unfriendliness, she added: "Good luck, though. I hope you find the detective you want." She was surprised however, to be met with an all-knowing smile that seemed to penetrate her.
"Nope. I got the right one, and I need you to find someone for me." Noticing the sheer confusion on Darcy's face, the stranger added: "My friend. He was kidnapped a week ago, and I will need your help to find him."