Three days pass. We’re told that the victim is Sihle Nabkei, the President of Student Council. Which, as for motivations to kill, makes absolutely zero sense. Sihle is, was I guess, a non-entity. That’s the only way I know how to express it. I mean, I think half of Ochre went ‘who?’ when they were told about the identity of the victim.
I avoid Nevena. She adds me on dozen social media-sites, but I ignore her. I block her messages on my phone. The whole thing was stupid, and I was stupid.
The police investigates, but finds nothing. Hermann and other ‘parents’ are called to a meeting where alot of grown-ups scream for someone to do something. But what? Nobody knows.
A girl in one of the other classes start a hashtag on social media: #NotSafeInOchre. Because creating a hashtag is how you change the world. Notice how thick my sarcasm is?
I practice my nail-throwing. I can hit my target three times out of ten, but it’s a work in progress.
Ochre is changing. Tensions are beginning to rise even more, if possible. People could tell themselves that Tregaro’s death was a fluke. An anomaly– isolated to never happen again. But now? Two murders are starting to look like a pattern, and you know what they say about a third time.
“I think they’re connected.” We’re sitting in the atrium of the Orchard on a beautiuful afternoon. Sunlight illuminates Elena through the glass-window, making her look like an angel. Hmm, I wonder if there are angels?
I pause the videogame. “Connected how? Tregaro could have been killed by anyone. Nabkei…. I knew we had a Student President. But I sure as hell didn’t know who. Can you even name the other members of the Council? What would be the motive?”
We resume playing. Playing a 90’s videogame, a fighting-game, this old thing that Elena found in the attic. I think the name of it starts with a T?
Elena pauses the game. ” I could think of several reasons. Somebody wanted to be Student Prez. A lover’s spat. Envy.” I turn and look at her. “Do you seriously think that there is a person who wants to be Student Presient bad enough to kill? Calm down Machiavelli. I don’t remember her being together with anyone, but what do I know about girls”, I add a bit bittery, in lieu of recent experiences.
“About that… what’s the deal with you and Nevena?” I restart the game. “There is no deal.” I push a button on my console until it squeaks.” Maybe that’s the problem. There was never any deal.” “I am going to need something a little more concrete than that.” I pause the game.”She stood me up on last Saturday, okay. Since then I have ignored her.”
“Eh… Rune, you do realize that she could have had a perfectly good reason, right? An injured relative, something like that? Except Nevena’s kind heal like I do. Probably. I think. But what if they don’t? I shrug noncommittally at Elena.
/Maybe the girl was killed as the end to an mean./ How so? /You say that there is not a proper reason for her death. Perhaps there simply is isn’t one. Her death served some other, arcane purpose./
“Have you come up with a motive for Sihle’s death yet?”, I ask her and start the game once more. “No, and don’t you try to change the subject, Mister.” I shake my head. “I… wouldn’t do that.” Elena just looks at me. “Okay, maybe I would. But not now.” I throw out Verde’s gambit.” Say, if there doesn’t exist a good motive for her death, then maybe her death wasn’t about her death.”
“How can her death not be about her?” Elena’s question gets me thinking. “It could be that her death was an distraction. Or that she knew a secret that someone didn’t want get out. Something subtle.”
“It seems so complex though.” Seeing my way out of the ‘Elenaian’ Inquisition I plow on. “Any motive for killing Tregaro is simple: he was an asshole. But if you can’t find for one for Sihle, then it just stands to reason that there is no apparent motive.”
She halts the game. “Rune?” “Promise me that you’ll call Nevena. Give her a second chance before you nip this in the bud so to speak.”
I start the game, and my character, a scantily clad teenager of Chinese descent whips out two tonfas which she uses to beat the ever-living crap out of Elena’s character, an old man with white hair that stand out on his sides. “She messed up”, I say without removing my eyes from the screen. “That’s what people do. And that is why you give them second chances.”
“Mmmm.” “Remember that time when you refered to Irina Sadovsky as a fat cow in a dress?” I wince internally as externally. “She was wearing a medium-sized dress when she is closer to extra-large!” “Yes, that’s certainly true, but you don’t ever say things like that to girls. And she forgave you.” “Eventually”, I grumble.
I sigh. “Okay, I’ll give it a second shot.” We pick new characters– mine is a man with a red gi and a blond mohawk, Elena reluctantly picks young man with raven wings and tattoos. “On another related matter: I have decided that we’re throwing a party on Friday.” “You think that’s a good idea, murders and all?”
Elena’s characters leaps into the air and roundhouse kicks my character. Looking at the videogame-style fightning, I make a note to ask Greyscale or Hermann about some martial arts training. ” The more reason.” Elena wins. “Dammit, how can you be so good at old videogames?” Elena turns to me, deadly serious. “You have found my secret fetish.”I stop laughing after a while. “Where would this party be?” “Here of course.” “Here?” “Mummy is going to Stockholm for some reason. We’ll have the entire Orchard at our disposal.” “And Miss Havenius is okay with this?”
“Rune, as your best friend: you have to stop talking about my mother as a ‘Miss’ anything. It’s making her feel old, and it’s making me feel weird. And permission has been granted. It’s implicit.” I raise one of my eye-brows, the right one, which makes my scars stand out and makes me look like John Silver.”Implicit, how?”
“By not explicitly forbidding me from throwing a party, she has give me an implicit slip to do so. So Friday. Bring your best mood, and alcoholic beverages in surplus.”
I squirm, a bit uneasy. “We’re minors. It’s illegal for us to drink.” Elena pinches my cheek.
“It’s so, so adorable that you actually think that, Mr-I-arrived-at-the-first-schoolday-hungeover.”