Hello everyone! This is the third chapter of my first fanfic. Before I continue, I want to ask you one thing. Did you realize something's weird from the previous chapter? If you don't, I guess you better read the last chapter.

- Anyone's thoughts will be in italic.

This chapter will take focus on Mullet. He will hang out with his new friends, including Robbie, whom he currently doesn't like. Is his relationship with Robbie is getting better or vice versa? And is he having a good day with no kinds of strange thing fears him? Let's get right into it.


Chapter 3

Just Go with the Flow

The bus is always fully occupied in the afternoon as students and some workers ride the bus to go home or somewhere else. The driver always knows his passengers who come and go at the school bus stop. So he had no worry about their faces. Like today, where the passengers are 60 percent of students, 30 percent of workers, and 10 percent of random citizens. Just after the door's closed, the LCD at the ceiling of the bus displayed the information, which it reads :

NEXT DESTINATION

EAST YAMAI

Mullet, who is currently sitting next to the bus window, can see the new scenery where he lives now. He cannot move his sight away from the window as the bus drives through as the bus has just driven a few blocks away from the school. He's currently just seeing the residential area. The houses here are not as much as in his hometown. Which makes the residential area less dense. The residences are also accompanied by convenience stores, small restaurants, and other public buildings that serve a few people.

"Hey Mullet, did you enjoy the view, huh?" Kano's question annoyed Mullet as he looks thoroughly at the view.

"Dude! You broke my vibe. Quit bothering me, man!" Mullet quickly replied without looking away from the window. His left shoulder nudges Kano, telling him that he doesn't want to be disturbed.

"Haha… yeah, enjoy the view, tourist," Kano teased him.

Without any complies, Mullet continued to look by sticking his forehead to the window. His eyeballs tracked the houses and the shops one by one, then he looked at the sky to refresh his sight. Then he continued looking. Man, the residential area in this city is greener and even beautiful than in my hometown.

His hometown thoughts remind him about what happened at the school rooftop earlier, where his friend, Robbie, which he misunderstood. At first, he thought Robbie dissed his hometown. But he realizes if his hometown is also Robbie's hometown. Even though he already forgave him, Mullet still upset because of his rogue attitude. Being yelled at by him at the bus stop in the morning, where Mullet picked up his wireless earphone. Then at the shoe locker where he acted like a delinquent and intimidated him shortly. But thanks to his appearance, Mullet is not afraid of Robbie. And even if he wants to fight, he ready.

I know he made a lot of trouble with me but forget it. Let's listen to the music.

Mullet took his mp3 player from his pocket (he doesn't use his phone to listen to the music), plug the wireless earphone into the mp3 player, and his ears. Then he set the lo-fi hip hop music to make his mind really calm. The bus aura soothing as the harmony of the quiet bus atmosphere and the cold breeze from the air conditioner unites by the beautiful scenery and relaxing lo-fi music from Mullet's mp3 player.

His mp3 player that he bought 8 years ago hasn't broken yet, the red-painted steel of the mp3 player may have some scratch on it, but the white buttons of the mp3 player aren't detached from its place. Plus, the astronaut sticker that attached to the mp3 player hasn't peeled off. Even though it was there for 3 years.

3 minutes passed, the bus halted at one of the bus stops after speeding away from the previous one (School bus stop). the LCD displayed the words again:

YOU HAVE ARRIVED

AT YOUR DESTINATION

Mullet didn't saw the text messages displayed from the LCD. He was focused on the students and some workers walking out of the bus. The bus exchanged the arrived passengers with the passengers who want to go. The passenger that left the bus is similar to a soldier, who reloads his assault rifle with the new magazine. Lined up orderly. Their footsteps sound and the pounds can be felt by Mullet and the other remaining passengers.

"We are going out in the next two stops. So, sit back and relax," Kano informed Mullet, who is looking at the incoming passengers. Felt someone was talking to him, he paused the mp3 player.

"What?" Mullet asked.

"We are going out in the next two stops. So, sit back and relax," Kano repeated.

"Oh," Mullet nodded.

He continued the song on his mp3 player, where it played some songs 3 minutes ago.

After all of the passengers sat down, the bus door closed. The driver pressed a button, and another info was displayed by the bus LCD.

NEXT DESTINATION

COLONEL BLVD

Mullet sighed as he had to wait for the next 2 stops before they arrived, but he saw something off happens unexpectedly. The LCD glitched out with a black and bloody red text, and also his mp3 player stopped suddenly. The LCDs information is like coming directly from satan as the scary red typeface, and the info was written by:

GET OUT WHILE YOU

STILL CAN!

The glitch lasts half a second before the words, and the LCD display reverted back to normal. But that's enough to make that 17 years old boy startled like a cat. The situation became tense after the jumpscare that comes to Mullet.

"What the heck?!" Mullet's words were repeated by Robbie after a split second. Robbie's voice can be heard by Mullet and the other passengers around him.

"Dude, are you okay?!" Kano asked when he saw Mullet recoiled back to his seat.

"Uhh… okay"

"Don't scare me, buddy,"

Mullet knows if there's no use to ask Kano about the glitch as Kano and the rest of the passengers weren't notice (Excluding Robbie, who also alerted).

Alright, relax. Do not get panic. Let's play the music again. Clear your mind. Mullet hypnotizes himself into staying on the track, so the passengers don't think about his craziness. Probably this is all just a prank. I'm gonna teach them lessons tomorrow.

The bus finally went away from the previous stop. The air conditioner inside made cold sweat on Mullet's face and both of his arms. But his sweats were eventually gone as he continued to see the new scenery around him. The lo-fi hip hop in his mp3 player comforts him and matches with the district that he passes through - the apartment complexes.

The buildings are a little dense and more crowded than his hometown. Mullet assumes the adult workers, singles, and some loners live here. The apartment in this district resembles a European flat because the apartments only have 3-5 floors. The color of those shelters is mostly beige to white with the color theme of acacia and spruce wood. These colors made the apartment appearance looks natural and not too futuristic. The park and the European-style trees make the district more beautiful. I wish I could rent an apartment here, soooo beautiful.

His sight got focused as the bus drives to the rainbow-colored apartments. The perfect spectrum of the apartment stole Mullet and some student's attention. Added with some hippies gathered together to have fun made Mullet's day better. Just a matter of time to see until the bus drove away from the apartments again.


20 minutes after the second stop, they finally arrived at their destination, The Glory Mall. Nino chose that 5 story mall since the location is very strategic. First, the mall is close to the beach. Second, the mall has most people wanted. Such as a small bank, pawnshops, cinema, Arcadium. One of the popular gaming centers in the world, souvenir shops, and many more. Third, the mall has a metro underneath, made the accessibility to the mall easier. And last but not least, is the Minuscule park where located behind the mall. The Glory Mall serves anything to please their customers.

Mullet and Robbie were stunned when they looked at the spacious mall in front of their eyes. What is this mall? Is this paradise?

The gang walked to the entrance. The atmosphere inside kicked into their exhausted soul - recharged them back to 100 percent instantly. That very spacious mall could make the newcomers or tourists will be lost inside the mall if they don't remember the entrance. Nonetheless, the mall isn't complicated like a maze.

The gang sat at the information center. There are some benches for people who want to rest after their long walk. Some of the people bought something, and some of them just want to relax after eye washing. The classic 70s rock music accompanied the whole mall.

Nino explained the route and places that they will go like a professional tour guide after their stamina recharged.

"Okay, everyone! Now the time is 15:50. It takes 50 minutes from school to here," said Nino after she looked at her clock on her phone before continues, "We will go to the Kurteen bookstore first. There are some new books arrived. Then we go to the game shop since they discounted most games today. You can buy them, BUT if you have the game console. Then we go to the Arcadium, we can use Shouko's card to play. The next place is the cinema. They aired the new movie titled "The Rise of the Lizard Dude" today at 17:30. And last but not least, we go to This Pizza To enjoy our dinner. We all going home no later than 8 PM. Any questions?"

Robbie let out his voice after Nino spoke, "Speaking about Arcadium, I have the card too,"

"I have one, and it's still has a lot of credits inside," Mullet replied (He still has previous credit that can be used at any Arcadium game center).

"Great! we can use each card for two," said Nino, "Now let's go then!"

The gang finally starts their hangout. They used the escalator to the second floor instead of using the lift in front of the information center. The second floor is consists of clothing stores, jewelry shops, souvenirs stall, toy shops, and two bookstores, including Kurteen bookstore that 20 metes away from the escalator.

Kurteen bookstore is the most visited bookstore by students and teenagers since they sell textbooks, thesaurus, novel, manga, teenage magazines, manuscripts, and comedy books. It also sells stationery inside. Kurteen bookstore is different from general ones as their target is for teenagers and students (and college students). They do not sell other books such as storybooks, business books, adult magazines, etc. In other words, the bookstore is called the universal teen's library.

While Nino and Kano searching out for their thesaurus and Mary seeking the teenage magazines, Mullet, Robbie, and Shouko looked at the novel. The trio doesn't look at the new arrival because they already have one each. The newly arrived one that they saw before is titled "Rigor Mortis" and "The Book of Juan," but instead, they search for the discounted novel as that bookshelf has "80% OFF!" on it.

The book is sorted by the alphabet from top to bottom. Shouko looked at the books thoroughly. Her golden eyes tracked the list of the book while her long black hair is still hanging neatly. Her pose is like a princess. Meanwhile, Mullet and Robbie just glanced at each book. Their eyeball tracking raced from top to bottom like a downhill rally. Their finish line is the book that they are interested in.

But Mullet and Robbie's eye-tracking race was beaten by Shouko, who was already found her book and asked the duo.

"Sorry to interrupt both of you, guys. Did you find your book?"

Mullet and Robbie looked at Shouko, who holds her book with the right hand.

"Uhh… not yet," Robbie and Mullet replied.

"Oh, that's okay. Take your time, sorry to interrupt you guys,"

"No. That's okay. We will find our books soon," Robbie promised.

Few moments passed. Mullet and Robbie finally found their novel. Mullet picked up a book titled "Escape" while Robbie picked up a book titled "Black Journal,"

"Hey, Shouko. What is your book about?" Mullet asked.

"This book? Oh… the title is "My Message for You" I see the description on the back is interesting. The story is about a girl who wanted to give a message to her lover before she went to a place for a long time. Then she trapped into the future where she made an unforgivable mistake and… Err sorry! Did I spoil the story for you?" Shouko's scared pose made Mullet and Robbie felt a little bit guilty.

"No, it's okay! It's fine," said Mullet and Robbie synchronously.

"We actually found our book," Mullet shows his novel before continues, "This one's interesting because I love any story about escape from somewhere,"

Robbie continues by showing the book title, "Well, this one's interesting because it is related to my tv show,"

"Hey, guys! Did you already found something that you like? We are going now before it's too late," Nino alarmed her friends as the time keep moving to 16:20.

Then everyone walked to the counter to purchase their books. Mullet and Robbie are the last ones at the counter while Nino and her three friends already walked out of the bookstore.

"The price is 1100 yen for "Escape" and 1400 yen for "Black Journal," the cashier tells each book price. Mullet and Robbie took their money from their own wallet. Just after they purchased the novel and starts to walk out, the cashier halted him.

"Hey, you two. Don't forget to remember the contents of the book," then the cashier lowered his pitch into a scary voice, "Because they can lead you to the way out. Or at least stay alive,"

They are both confused, and they both just answered, "Okay," to the cashier and walked out of the bookstore. Neither Robbie nor Mullet wanted to ask because their friends are waiting.

The gang continued to the game shop located on the right-wing of the mall. It took 2 minutes to get there. The gang was stunned by the Black Friday promo since most of the games are discounted, and some are for free with conditions. Including some game consoles that discounted 20%. It is their lucky day to snatch almost all of the free games because they already fulfill it.

Without wasting time in the game shop, they moved to the Arcadium. When the gang arrived, Mary asked about the cards, "Are you sure we used all cards to play? Why don't we use Mullet's card because he has more credits?"

Nino objects to Mary's suggestion, "Nah. Instead, we can play any game separately without borrowing one card. And also, we can play some multiplayer games here,"

Mary didn't answer.

"Okay. About the cards, you will play with Shouko," said Nino while she pointed her finger to Mary, "Robbie will play with me, and Mullet will play with Kano. But Mullet don't have to top up, duh. Any questions?"

Mary objected to Nino's words, "Wait! Why did you ask me to play with Robbie while I had to play with Shouko? Why not you borrow Robbie's card to play with me and let Shouko play with Kano instead?"

Robbie interjects their talk unwillingly, "Uhh… actually the card must be top up by its owner. They prohibit to top up the card without it,"

"But…" before Mary rejects again, she had thought. Oh yeah. What if Robbie is busy with his game? It's rude to borrow his card while he is occupied. Then she let out a sigh and agreed.

"Fine, I'll play with Shouko… go ahead, Nino. Play with Robbie! You like him, right?"

Mary's words make the gang gasped and Robbie blushed. His face turns red and completely shy. He lost his words and he covered his face with his novel that he just bought- acting out like a shy guy, who was just teased by his lover.

Mullet, who doesn't affect by her tease shows no expression. What if I was in his position?

After Mary's teasing moment, the gang entered Arcadium and played some games until 5:20 PM. They proceed to the Cinema and ordered six tickets for The Ries of the Lizard Dude movie. It takes around 15 minutes for them to wait until theater #1 opens.

After they finished watching at 7:20 PM, they walked to This Pizza for dinner and recalling the previous movie.

"Hey, that Lizard Dude's tongue hit that electric wire on that power pole is so funny," Mary laughed out loud.

"Yeah. Especially when the mailman says, "Oh no! The Lizard Dude rides the lightning!" while his tongue swings like Tarzan" Nino brushed her hair.

"Oh yeah. He has thrown away after that! Then he waves his hands to the pilot in the airplane before he flies out of the screen," Kano recalled the broken fourth wall of the movie.

While they're still recalling the movie, Mullet, Robbie, and Shouko just laughed without saying anything. Because they afraid if they would cancel the jokes. Instead, Shouko asked the duo.

"That movie is so funny. What do you think?"

"Haha, being a lizard is so funny. Even there's a joke that Lizard Dude was crying out loud because his eggs were cracked by that mafia," Robbie replied.

"At least he saves the day-" Mullet's compliment about Lizard Dude got interrupted by the waiter who delivered their food and drinks.

"Sorry for the wait. Here is the vinyl-sized Malaysian delight pizza with a cheesy corner, two iced teas, two Cappuccinos, and two White Frappes. Bon Appétit,"


After they've done eating. They went out of the mall at 7:50 PM. The nighttime temperature hits the gang like frozen steel (but less cold than winter). Their fatigue after joy time can be seen by their faces and their shriveled posture. Nino, who is very jaded, closed their hangout.

"That was fun, guys. Let's hang out again next time. Goodbye!" Nino waves by to the gang before she and Kano walk away.

"Bye!"

The gang finally split up. Nino and Kano were the first to left the mall. They used the metro underneath the mall. One minute later, Shouko and Mary finally left the duo as their taxi arrived. The two black sedans show their existence like a scary black horse with a friendly horseman. Mullet and Robbie are the last of the gang - waiting to leave the mall as they used the same white-blue bus that they used to go to school.

After their friends out of their sight, Mullet and Robbie don't even talk to each other. Although they had fun back in the mall. They realized they had to silent and stay away from each other if they are avoiding getting into trouble again. They both still blinded by what happened back in the morning until afternoon, and they had to hide their anger as Nino asked them to hang out. And the cold war never ends for them.

10 minutes later, the bus arrived. The headlight of the bus brightened the dark asphalt that has black, soulless color. The white lamp inside of the bus emits the driver and the current passengers inside. There are some passengers still going out to the mall.

After all of the passengers came out, it's time for Mullet and Robbie to get inside. There are only 10 passengers on the bus, including Mullet and Robbie. Again, they went silent like two stones. The cold air from the air conditioner strikes Mullet again - making it feels like a fridge. Plus, the white lamp inside of the bus enough to made his body curled cold until they arrived at their stop at 9 o'clock. Where Mullet and Robbie split up to their home.


"How was your first day at school? was it great?" Hiro asked.

"I don't know," Mullet answered his big brother, who is currently watching TV.

"Sorry, I don't cook your dinner tonight. We're running out-"

"That's okay, I already ate with my friend,"

"Good then," Hiro replied without looking at his little brother. His eyes were busy watching the news on tv. Judging by his appearance right now, he already took a shower.

After 10 minutes of shower, Mullet goes to his bedroom and lays on his bed like a solid statue. His mind was stirred with anything that happened in the school, from his first day of his new school, new friends, and his feud with Robbie.

One thing that he weirded out is the strange things that happened today. The agonizing scream, the glitch, and the message from the cashier at the bookstore. What is going on here? Has Robbie realized the same thing? But why the others don't? Or maybe, this is just an overly abundant prank for us?

Unfortunately, while thinking about those weird stuff, the clock shows 10 PM - time for him to sleep. He turned off the lamp, shuts the window, and he finally sleeps. Preparing for the second day in school.

To be continued…


And that's all for chapter 3.

Once again, please review it. Any Constructive Criticism, positive comments, and advice are welcomed.

See you in the next chapter and Thanks for reading!