"Hello, Harajuku!" – Day Zero: Prologue…
The morning sunshine was not a welcome guest in Samael Brimmel's college dormitory, but it was certainly gentler than any alarm. He threw his window a quick glance and sat up in his bed, drowsily rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. Somewhere outside, he could hear the eager chirps of a songbird through the crisp morning air. Yes, it was definitely a nice start to the morning...
After pulling himself out of his bed, he scanned the dorm room. Everything seemed just as it usually was... there were dirty clothes pushed up into every corner of the room, and he could hardly see the carpeting through the scattered papers lying everywhere about the floor. Most of the mess wasn't his, of course, but occasionally he saw his sheets of music mixed in with his roommate's manuscripts. Sam looked to the room's other bed and saw Aden shift uncomfortably under the sheets, as though the sunlight was slowly killing him, which would hardly be a surprise.
Samael strutted into the bathroom, giving the youth in the mirror a short smile. He pulled a small, black comb from the sink counter, quickly running it through his messy, deep red hair. It quickly fell into his signature set of disheveled bangs. Stopping to examine his reflection once more, he frowned at the sauce stain over his set of pajamas. Doing the laundry was so expensive in college.
The light murmur of Aden's mutterings could be heard coming from the dormitory room, and Sam reluctantly decided to come out and check on his roommate.
Aden was seated at his desk, a simple wooden table beside his bed, scribbling away at what was probably another assignment for his creative writing course. Sam let out a short sigh, tapping the blonde on the shoulder. Aden pivoted his head around to give his friend a glare, and demanded, "What is it that you want, Sam?"
Letting out a sheepish laugh, Sam replied, "You don't usually get up before noon, and I was wondering what you were up to."
Aden rolled his eyes, returning his gaze to the work in front of him, saying, "I've got a project due by the end of the month, and I don't have a lot of time to waste."
"And that's why your Skype's opened on your laptop?" Samael teased, tapping the opened laptop on Aden's bed. Aden scowled at the remark but otherwise ignored it.
"Anyway, I have to head to the dean's office," Sam said, giving a short wave of dismissal to his roommate before turning to his closet to pull out some decent clothes.
Curiosity piqued, Aden glanced at Sam and asked, "What for?"
Sam gave Aden a questioning glance before answering, "The trip's tomorrow, isn't it, Aden?"
The blonde's eyes widened at the mention of a "trip." He flipped through a couple of papers before sighing, "Shit, yes it is. I guess I really don't have a lot of time for this project."
Sam laughed loudly at the comment, earning a glare from Aden. Disregarding the glowers, Samael zipped up his bark-colored hoodie and readjusted his belt. Scrutinizing himself in the closet mirror, he turned to the dorm entrance and took the handle, throwing the door open.
The halls of the Rocenta School of Arts were adorned with student-made statuettes, watercolor paintings, and many other colorful creations. The lavish red carpeting even made the everyday stroll between classes seem as though one was gliding down the catwalk.
Coming down the passage in long strides, Samael glanced down several hallways in search for his destination. He read the hall numbers as he went: 400... 300... 200... 100... 0...
Turning down Hall Zero, Sam scanned the path ahead of him. At the end of the hall was a grand door frame adorned with a lion motif.
"Yup, the dean's office..." he murmured, making his way down the hall.
The office was a quaint little room, the walls lined with potted plants and portraits of past deans and heads of the school. Samael had seated himself on the far end of the dean's desk. At the opposite end, of course, was the dean.
"Good morning, Brimmel," Dean Abernathy greeted in a monotonous manner.
The dean's salt-and-pepper hair was framed well by the thick-framed glasses seated upon his broad nose. His eyes, however, seemed dull and glazed over, almost as though there was nothing behind them. He was sharply dressed in a suit with a red tie, going over some documents before him.
"Good morning, Mr. Abernathy," Samael said with a nod, nervously pulling his arms off of the table and resting them in his lap. There was something about the dean's office that unsettled him.
"You're here to talk about this... trip of yours, correct?" the dean questioned, pushing his glasses further up the bridge of his nose.
Sam nodded, his hands balling up into nervous fists. "Yeah, it's for the cultural study course and all. Mrs. Jensen already arranged the flight, and my group has this week's homework to do during the trip."
"Of course..." Mr. Abernathy nodded, his voice trailing off. "I have the tickets for you and the other students, as well, but there is an inquiry I must make."
"Y-yes?" Samael asked, tensing up.
"Now, you yourself have a perfect record, clean as a whistle, Brimmel... but I'm afraid some of your friends may not qualify for the trip."
Sam shifted in his seat, leaning over and onto the dean's desk. He asked with an unintentional glare, "What exactly do you mean by that?"
Abernathy readjusted his frames, pulling another sheet of paper from a manila folder.
"I believe both Aden Rolbertein and Kay Young are members of your party?" Samael nodded at the dean's question, and Abernathy continued, "You may be aware of their... er, 'track record' at this school. Rolbertein and Young have both only attended half of their classes in the past week alone. If it weren't for their test grades, they would have been removed from the classes long ago." The dean leaned toward Samael, placing his hands on the desk, and saying, "We cannot have students like that representing our university, Mr. Brimmel."
Sam shifted again in his seat, but out of a different sort of discomfort. Students like that... he didn't like the way he'd said it. "Mr. Abernathy," he said, "I don't mean any disrespect, but I disagree. Aden and Kay have been working very hard in their classes, even if their attendance isn't the best, they're some of the best in their fields. We've all been working really hard to save up money for this trip, and it wouldn't be right to stop Aden or Kay from going."
"...Of course," the dean agreed, "Which is why we're moving on. Now, the rest of your group consists of Clover and Violet Thompson, correct? I'm afraid we'll have to bar Miss Clover Thompson from the trip."
"Wh-what?" Samael asked, his eyes widening and his fists clenching, "Why would you say that? If anyone deserves to go, it should be Clo."
"Absolutely so," Abernathy said, "but that is the exact reason as to why she cannot. Her duties as the leader of several of our student organizations are causing a bit of a stir in the student body. Our biggest worry is about this coming week's football game, you see, because without her to organize the-"
"Sir, I really don't see your point," Samael interrupted, standing from his seat, "You're saying you want to hold back a student from a learning opportunity because of sports?"
The dean seemed to squirm in his own chair, reluctantly answering, "We can't put the wants of a few over the wants of the school, I'm afraid."
"I don't think something like a sports game is really so big a deal," Sam scoffed, leaning over towards the dean as he spoke, "It's not like she's a star quarterback, she's the head of the pep squad and the cheer captain."
The dean hesitated before finally setting his folder aside, letting out a sigh, and murmuring, "You have a point, Brimmel... in that case," he pulled a small envelope from a desk drawer and pushed it towards Sam, "here are your tickets."
"You actually got them?" Aden asked, pulling his headset off and pushing his laptop off of himself.
When Samael had gotten back to the dorm room, Aden had apparently given up on his big project and simply pulled back into bed. The blinds were all shut, and he had covered himself with his blanket up to his waist. He'd seemed to have been in a conversation with someone, but he'd ceased his chatter the moment Sam had walked in.
"Of course," Sam said, flinging himself onto his bed. He pulled his cellular phone off of the end table by his head and began dialing a number into it, "If the school trip's tomorrow, we'd need them today, Aden."
"Yeah, yeah, I know," Aden muttered, pulling his computer back up to his lap.
First Sam let the rest of the group know that he had their tickets. They were all fairly excited, although Kay, as usual, lacked any sort of inflection. Afterward, Sam slipped off of his bed and slipped his shoes on. He quickly circled around to Aden's bed and poked the blonde.
"Hey, Aden, why don't we go out and pick some stuff up for the trip, eh?"
November 1st, 2013, 22:20, Diet Building, BioTech Laboratory
Tomorrow will be the last day of this experiment, though I must admit that I shall certainly miss my participation in this project. It is, of course, of utmost importance that records of this laboratory are not to be kept, but I feel I must continue on, at least for the sake of scientific investigation.
Test subjects are stable. When subjected to the gaseous Sigma compound, mutation is almost immediate. Clearly, the compound is much more effective when breathed in through the lungs than when it is consumed in either solid or liquid state.
Previous test subjects have turned to cannibalism as a source of sustenance. Subjects which consume the flesh of another seem to mutate into a deeper state. Further experimentation is necessary.